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Homeowner Finds Female Burglar Hiding in Shower: Police


Wolcott police have arrested two women accused of breaking into a house when the residents were home.

Vanessa Alvarado, 19, of Naugatuck and Tayler Grant, 20, of Naugatuck both face burglary charges.

Police said on Wednesday around 6 a.m. they received a call from a woman who said she thought there was a burglar in her home. The caller reported that she and her husband heard noises coming from the second floor, and she grabbed her young son and got in the car to call police while her husband went to investigate. She also reported that a Hyundai with CT plates was parked outside their home with a female inside.

Her husband reported that when he went upstairs he found a female hiding in the shower. He yelled at the suspect, later identified as Alvarado, who handed him a bag of his wife’s jewelry, apologized, and ran away.

The wife saw Alvarado get into the Hyundai with the passenger, later identified as Grant, and drive off toward Plymouth, police said.

Police spotted the Hyundai in the road nearby and approached it. Police said it appeared that the driver, Alvarado, could not drive the stick-shift vehicle. He ordered Alvarado out of the car, but she refused until he physically removed her.

Police said they found multiple items stolen from the victims’ home on Alvarado as well as inside the car. Police said the car was stolen as well.

Both women were arrested and charged with burglary, larceny, conspiracy to commit burglary, and conspiracy to commit larceny. Each suspect was issued a $100,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Wolcott Police Department

Cal State Offers Black Living-Learning Community Housing


Students at a Southern California university moved into on-campus housing that included a new option — dormitories designated for students "interested in issues of concern to the black community."

Cal State's Halisi Scholars Black Living-Learning Community, designated units within the nearly 200-unit campus residential apartments, was offered in time for the new school year after student reports of racially insensitive comments at the school east of downtown Los Angeles. The school's Black Student Union issued a call in November 2015 for changes, including the new living-learning community.

Twenty-four students are living in the dorm space, and the school said there is a wait list to get in. Applications are no longer being accepted for fall 2016.

The plan drew reaction on social media and among others who called it segregation and "black-only" housing. That's not the case, school officials and students said.

"They see something that says black housing, and they automatically equate it with black only," said student Jonathan Thomas. "It can be for anybody."

The apartments at Cal State Los Angeles are among several themed living communities, which are designed for students with common academic goals and interests. Other themed communities include the first-year residential experience for new students, scholars housing for honors college students and gender-neutral inclusive housing, which also has a long wait list, according to the school.

"This is not segregated housing," said CSULA spokesman Jonathan Thomas. "This housing is open to all students. It focuses on programs that are inclusive and non-discriminatory."

Cal State LA is not alone in offering themed housing. UC Berkeley offers African American, Asian Pacific American, Native American, women in science ad engineering and others themed housing.

Stanford University has four themed dorms. UCLA has a diverse list of learning communities, including Afrikan Diaspora, Gender, Sexuality, and Society, Sustainable Living and the Visual and Performing Arts Collective. 

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Dallas Newspaper Breaks 75-Year Tradition, Endorses Clinton


For the first time in more than 75 years, the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday endorsed a Democrat for president of the United States.

"There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton," the paper's editorial board wrote.

The endorsement came a day after the paper criticized Trump for "an authoritarian streak that should horrify limited-government advocates," in an editorial titled "Donald Trump is no Republican."

Breaking with a decades-old tradition of encouraging readers to vote for the Republican presidential candidate in the general election, the paper said it didn't "come to this decision easily."

"This newspaper has not recommended a Democrat for the nation's highest office since before World War II — if you're counting, that's more than 75 years and nearly 20 elections. The party's over-reliance on government and regulation to remedy the country's ills is at odds with our belief in private-sector ingenuity and innovation. Our values are more about individual liberty, free markets and a strong national defense."

While acknowledging its past issues with Clinton's handling of "certain issues," the editorial board contrasted her "experience in actual governance" to Trump.

"Resume vs. resume, judgment vs. judgment, this election is no contest," the paper's conservative-leaning editorial board asserted, noting Clinton has spent "years in the trenches doing the hard work needed to prepare herself to lead our nation. In this race, at this time, she deserves your vote."

Photo Credit: AP

Live Blog: Apple Event in SF


Today's the day.

Apple debuted a series of new updates and enhancements for its trademark line of technology products at a packed Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco Wednesday.

But the tech giant also took something away: The familiar 3.5 mm headphone jack. Adding features to keep up with the competition, Apple took a risk Wednesday, hoping people are ready to get rid of their wired headphones. 

With Sia reminding guests how important music is to our lives, Apple introduced a new way to listen to tunes. The wireless headphones, which will be available for $159 starting in October, are called Air Pods.

"Up to now, no one has taken on the challenge to really define the audio experience wirelessly between your mobile device and your headphone, in a way to take advantage of a way to do something new and great," said Apple's Phil Schiller. 

Michael Combs, of San Francisco, a current earphones user, was wowed.

"Wires keep us constrained sometimes, so it's nice to be able to not worry about them," he said.

Others didn't give a nod to the air pods.

"It's still going to be kind of awkward," said Dylan Mahoney, of San Francisco. "It's going to be odd with the pieces that come with it. I think I'll hold off until it's one piece entirely in the year."

The Cupertino-based company also rolled out a new Apple Watch, titled Series Two. Aimed at the runner, this device represents a partnership with Nike. 

"When you go out for a run, you don't want to be distracted," said Nike President Trevor Edwards. So the Apple Watch offers "just what you need at a glance."

To that, Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Campbell's Creative Strategies Inc., added: "It's focusing on what is really selling right now -- fitness" while also featuring a GPS capability.

Trying to boost sales of several gadgets at once, Pokemon Go is also headed for the Apple Watch.

The iPhone 7 starts at $649 dollars. Its larger counterpart will begin at $769, while the Apple Watch is priced from $369. 

Here is NBC Bay Area tech reporter Scott Budman's live blog from the widely-watched Apple Event:

11:56 a.m.

And, we wrap with Sia. Cool. Thanks for tuning in. I'm off to test some devices....

11:50 a.m.

iPhone 7: $649 for 32GB

iPhone 7 Plus: $769 for 32GB      

Pre-order 9/9.

Shipping 9/16.

11:42 a.m.

And, on cue, a demo of view games - all about improved graphics and sound.

This further solidifies mobile devices as solid gaming platforms. A big challenge to Xbox and PlayStation, because you already have a smartphone...

11:38 a.m.

And, now onto iPhone performance.

New chip called "A10 Fusion."

Claiming 50% faster than previous chip - that will make gamers (and Millenials) happy.

11:34 a.m.

More headphones - a line of 'phones from Beats.

Some are wireless - Apple offering alternatives.

I expected Beats to be more integrated into the Apple world, to be honest.

They paid Dre a lot of money.

11:30 a.m.

Apple is officially wireless - the "Air Pods" let you listen to music from phone or watch.

They also let you tap, and ask Siri a question.

Will people walk around with these?

11:08 a.m.

Now talking about iPhone 7 camera.

Clearly, cell phones are getting better - lots of good picture-taking options for Apple to Android smartphones.

11:05 a.m.

iPhone 7 features: Water resistant, better camera, new seal.

10:55 a.m.

Apple Watch "Series 2" will start at $369. Also a Nike option. Original Apple Watch now $269.

10:48 a.m.

One Final Nintendo note: The stock shot up again, Now up 25% on news of Apple partnership.

10:47 a.m.

Apple Watch also comes with a "Nike" feature for runners.

Remember when Nike got rid of its band?

Rumor had it that Apple snatched up some of those engineers and designers.

The President of Nike now speaking...

10:40 a.m.

New watch - "Series 2," built in GPS, more water-resistant. Looks like new set of bands, too.

10:32 a.m.

Apple just announced that PokemonGo is coming to the Apple Watch. People are actually looking for Pokemon here.

Did I mention that it's been a heck of a summer for Nintendo?

10:27 a.m.

Tim Cook now talking about Apple Watch.

Says it's the top-selling smartwatch. OK, but its not the top-selling wearable - that's Fitbit.

10:23 a.m.

Apple now talking about iWork. Audience attention distracted by the fact that Apple tweeted out un-announced details of its iPhone 7. Seems it'll be waterproof after all. 

Meanwhile, Nintendo shares up 7%. Call that the iPhone effect.

10:17 a.m.

Tim Cook talking about donation made to "ConnectEd" - a way to help low income kids. An initiative called "Everyone Can Code" teaches coding, granted with Apple products. Will they create apps and make money? Now, that would be cool.

10:12 a.m.

As a Gen-X er, I'm touched by how crazy the crowd here cheers when Apple announces that Mario will come to the App Store. Been a big year for Nintendo.

10:06 a.m.

Tim Cook kicks off the event talking about Apple Music. Claims 17 million subscribers. 

10:01 a.m.

First, a video. 

Carpool Karaoke, with Tim Cook.

Crowd eats it up - now they're singing "One Republic."

9:56 a.m.

So, suddenly all the buzz is about this easy to find ad on Amazon for the iPhone 7 - wireless headphones included...

9:53 a.m.

The #iPhone7 is already on Amazon, wireless headphones and all.

9:41 a.m.

In place at Bill Graham Civic.

About as crowded and chaotic as a concert here, and I've been to many.

Cool venue. Maybe as much speculation as to what act will play music as to whether or not we'll have headphone to plug in in the future.

NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Apple
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Three Dead After Two Small Planes Collide at Georgia Airport


Three people were killed Wednesday when two single-engine planes collided in midair at a Georgia airport, federal aviation officials reported.

The planes involved in the deadly collision at West Georgia Regional Airport were a Diamond Aircraft DA20C1 and a Beech F33A, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official, NBC News reported.

The airport is located about 50 miles west of Atlanta and has no air traffic controllers or control tower. Pilots communicate with each other on a shared radio frequency.

No details about the victims were immediately available.

Photo Credit: WXIA

Charges Dropped Against Man Who Beat Wife's Would-Be Rapist


Charges against the Bronx cab driver who beat the attacker trying to rape his wife have been dismissed at the urging of the dead man's family.

The family of Earl Nash asked that manslaughter charges against 61-year-old Mamadou Diallo be dropped Wednesday during a court appearance.

Diallo had been accused of beating Nash to death with what appeared to be a tire iron on May 31.

Authorities had previously said that Nash forced his way into the family's Washington Avenue apartment, exposed himself and tried to tear Diallo's wife's clothes off. She called Diallo -- who wasn't home at the time -- and one of the woman's cousins tried to fight off Nash.

Nash got into the elevator as the woman's husband was coming to her aid. The woman pointed out Nash to her husband, and sources familiar with the investigation said the husband swung what appeared to be a tire iron at Nash.

The pair then scuffled. Nash whipped Diallo with a belt, and the husband in turn bashed Nash in the head and body with the tire iron, the sources said.

One of the blows appeared to fracture the left side of Nash's skull, and the man was pronounced dead on arrival to Lincoln Hospital. The autopsy determined the 43-year-old Nash died from cardiorespiratory complications associated with his injuries, acute cocaine intoxication and heart disease.

Diallo was arrested and released without bail after Nash died. As he left the court upon his release, some onlookers cheered and said they didn't think the man should have been arrested. 

His cab license was to be reinstated Wednesday. 

Yosemite Photographer Solves Mystery, Finds Wedding Couple


The mystery has been solved.

After a breathtaking snapshot of a mysterious newlywed couple embracing on top of a Yosemite ledge led an amateur photographer on a wild goose chase, the secretive duo has finally come forward. Bride Catherine Mack, who has been identified as an actress from Australia, posted the epic photograph of her and husband Rick Donald on Instagram after days of staying hush-hush about the viral spectacle.

"This special moment was caught by Mike Haras who we don't know (at all)," Mack said on her Instagram. "He was just taking a sunset shot and we happened to wander into it.

Karas, an amateur photographer from Hawaii, had spent nearly one week hunting down the then-mysterious duo before finally making contact with the newlyweds Tuesday night after getting their contact information from two wedding photographers who shot the wedding.

The much-anticipated introduction was a special moment for both Karas and the oblivious bride.

"She was laughing and happy about the photo," Karas said. "She didn't know how big exactly the story had become."

Karas said the newly-introduced friends talked for roughly 30 minutes or so and the Hawaii photographer who happened to capture the magical moment will be sending some of his shots to the couple later this week.

Mack told NBC Chicago that the couple found it "quite hilarious" that the story had spread so rapidly. 

"We just thought it was quite funny," Mack said. "It's a modern day love story with social media."

Although some question the authenticity of the once-in-a-lifetime snapshot, Karas understands the criticism, but claims it is 100 percent real.

"Those who know me know I wouldn't make stuff up," Karas said. "So, it's not a big deal. At the end of the day, all that matters to me is the bride and groom loved it and hearing her voice, level of enthusiasm about the photo and the whole ordeal when we talked on the phone was all the validation I needed. That was the reason we even sent this in the first place."

The viral roller coaster ride has been wild for Karas, but he's elated to have found some closure.

"It's crazy how fast something can spread," he said. "Also, social media at times can be negative, but when leveraged in the right way, it can really be a great way to do something good."

Photo Credit: Michael Karas
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Top Entertainment: Eddie Murphy at 'Mr. Church' Premiere


Check out the latest photos of your favorite celebrities.

Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Obama Nominee Could Be First Muslim-American Federal Judge


Muslim-American groups are applauding President Obama’s decision, announced by the White House Tuesday, to nominate a Muslim-American lawyer to serve in the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C. If confirmed, attorney Abid Riaz Qureshi would become the country’s first ever Muslim-American federal judge, NBC News reported.

“I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice,” Obama said.

Qureshi graduated Harvard Law School in 1997 and currently practices in Washington, D.C., specializing in healthcare fraud and securities violations.

Advocacy and civil rights groups have commended the president’s nomination, which comes during the final months of a presidential race in which GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters have repeatedly called to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.

Photo Credit: Carolyn Kaster, AP

Hawk Found on I-91 in Cromwell


It was not a stranded driver or a crash that brought state police and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection out to Interstate 91 in Cromwell on Wednesday. It was a hawk on the highway.

“It's not just stranded motorists who receive roadside assistance,” state police said in a Facebook post.

State police said troopers from Troop H in Hartford, Department of Transportation service patrol and crews from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to I-91 north near exit 21 after receiving reports of a hawk strolling along the shoulder and DEEP will provide further assistance to the hawk.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
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Cow Spotted Loose in Southington


Some residents of Southington had some unusual company on the roads yesterday. A cow was loose. 

Lori Dibble said she pulled over when she saw the cow on Spring Street Tuesday night and blocked traffic coming down the hill from hitting the animal. 

Southington police said only that they have a report of an animal on Spring Street around 6:30 p.m. and believed it had escaped from a local farm.

Photo Credit: Lori Dibble

Alligator Warning Signs Worry Some Florida Parents


Alligator warning signs posted near some Florida school bus stops have parents concerned.

Connecticut May See Early Fall Foliage


Summer days are quickly disappearing and many people are gearing up for swing in seasons.

"I love actually walk through the woods to see the leaves turning to go up to the tower and to see a lot of Connecticut from up there it's beautiful," Simsbury resident, Linda Yorgensen, said.

But with much of the state in a moderate drought, New England's signature fall foliage could take a hit.

"We might see some trees losing their leaves early, we might see some actual early fall foliage because as trees get stressed they tend to shut down towards the end of the year," said Chris Donnelly, Urban Forestry Coordinator for the DEEP. "And that's essentially the process that leads to fall foliage."

In just about one month leaves will go from green to brilliant fall colors. The DEEP is forecasting the peak to start right around Columbus Day, October 10, and extend through the start of November. But with the exceptionally dry conditions, the season might not last as long.

Despite the threat of a shorter foliage season, Jim Christopher, the owner of Green Acres Bed and Breakfast in Simsbury isn't concerned.

"At this point we're probably half booked for October and expect to be almost fully booked for the month of October,” explained Christopher. "So whether the leaves change or not, people have already made a commitment."

But for anyone making leaf peeping plans, no matter the length of the season, you will be able to find the colors of fall somewhere.

"They may be muted in some areas I expect other parts of the state they'll show up very, very well," said Donnelly.  "I look for low lying areas to show a lot of vibrancy because of course they'll be areas that have more moisture available to them so there should be areas where it's as good as it's ever been."

The DEEP Interactive Fall Foliage map is now available so you can see when the peak colors will happen in your town.

Photo Credit: AP

Zika Doubled Birth Defect Rate in Brazil, Study Shows


The arrival of Zika virus in Brazil doubled the rate of birth defects involving the nervous system, including microcephaly, researchers reported Wednesday.

Rates of Guillain-Barré syndrome — a rare, paralyzing side-effect of some infections — nearly tripled, the researchers said. And rates of other inflammatory conditions such as encephalitis doubled in the northeastern part of Brazil that was hardest hit by Zika, NBC News reported.

Separately, the World Health Organization tweaked its statement on Zika and the rise in rates of birth defects and Guillain-Barré syndrome, saying the virus is the "most likely explanation" for both.

"Beginning in mid-2014, we observed an unprecedented and significant rise in the hospitalization rate for congenital malformations of the nervous system, Guillain-Barré syndrome, encephalitis, myelitis, and encephalomyelitis," Brazil's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation explained in its report, which was published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Photo Credit: AP, File

LifeStar Responds to Pedestrian Hit by Car in Bristol


LifeStar responded to a pedestrian struck by a car in Bristol on Wednesday. 

Around 2:05 p.m., crews responded to 285 Middle Street after a pedestrian was hit by a car, Bristol Police said.

The 57-year-old woman was suffereing from serious head, chest and leg injuries before she was flown to Hartford Hospital. Police said she is in critical condition. 

A preliminary investigation found that the pedestrian was crossing Middle Street in a westerly direction when she collided with a southbound 2011 Ford Taurus. 

The 56-year-old man driving the car was not injured.

The crash remains under investigation.

Any witnesses are asked to call police at (860) 584-3036.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Police ID Human Skull, Remains Found in East Lyme


The human remains that were found in East Lyme last month have been identified.

Police said the human skull and other skeletal remains have been identified as James M. Balantic, 51, of Danielson.

On the morning of Aug. 15, a jogger found part of a human skull near a new development off Sleepy Hollow Road and Van Winkle Way.

As responding officers searched the woods, detectives found more skeletal remains.

The human bones were sent to the office of the chief medical examiner to determine the cause of death. Those results have not been released.

Eastern District Major Crime detectives continue to investigate. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fact Checking the Commander in Chief Forum


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made some inaccurate claims during an NBC “commander-in-chief” forum on military and veterans issues:

  • Clinton wrongly claimed Trump supported the war in Iraq after it started, while Trump was wrong, once again, in saying he was against the war before it started.
  • Trump said that President Obama set a “certain date” for withdrawing troops from Iraq, when that date was set before Obama was sworn in.
  • Trump said that Obama’s visits to China, Saudi Arabia and Cuba were “the first time in the history, the storied history of Air Force One” when “high officials” of a host country did not appear to greet the president. Not true.
  • Clinton said that Trump supports privatizing the Veterans Health Administration. That’s false. Trump said he supports allowing veterans to seek care at either public or private hospitals.
  • Trump said Clinton made “a terrible mistake on Libya” when she was secretary of state. But, at the time, Trump also supported U.S. action that led to the removal of Moammar Gadhafi from power.
  • Trump cherry-picked Clinton’s words when he claimed Clinton said “vets are being treated, essentially, just fine.” Clinton had said the problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs were not as “widespread” as some Republicans claimed, but she went on to acknowledge problems, including the issue of wait times for doctors.

The forum, sponsored by NBC News and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was held Sept. 7 at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City. “Today” show host Matt Lauer, and members of the military and veterans in the audience, questioned the candidates separately.

Trump and the Iraq War

Trump said he “was totally against the war in Iraq,” while Clinton claimed that he supported the Iraq War before and after it started. The facts don’t support either candidate’s strong assertions.

Our review of Trump’s statements before and after the Iraq War started found no evidence that Trump opposed the war before it started. In fact, he expressed mild support for invading Iraq when asked about it on the Howard Stern radio show on Sept. 11, 2002 — about six months before the war started.

Stern asked Trump if he supported a war with Iraq, and Trump responded, “Yeah, I guess so.”

In the NBC commander in chief forum, Trump cited an Esquire article that appeared in August 2004 to show his opposition to the war. But that article appeared 17 months after the war started.

As for Clinton, who as a senator voted in October 2002 to authorize the war in Iraq, the Democratic nominee claimed that Trump “supported it before it happened, he supported it as it was happening and he is on record as supporting it after it happened.”

But just as there is no evidence that Trump opposed the Iraq War before it started, the Clinton campaign offered no evidence that Trump supported the war “after it happened.”

The Clinton campaign cited Trump’s interview on March 21, 2003, with Neil Cavuto of Fox Business just two days after the war started.

Cavuto asked Trump about the impact of the war on the stock market. Trump said the war “looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint,” and he predicted the market will “go up like a rocket” after the war. But Cavuto does not ask Trump whether the U.S. should have gone to war with Iraq or whether he supports the war, and Trump doesn’t offer an opinion.

As early as July 2003, Trump expressed concern on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” about money being spent in Iraq rather than in the U.S. Two months later, Trump told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, “I guess maybe if I had to do it, I would have fought terrorism but not necessarily Iraq.”

Clinton invited her audience to read Trump’s comments on the Iraq War. They can read our timeline, “Donald Trump and the Iraq War.”

Withdrawal from Iraq

Trump said President Barack Obama set a “certain date” for withdrawing troops from Iraq, but that date was actually set by President George W. Bush.

NBC’s Matt Lauer asked Trump about his tendency to respond, when pushed for details on his military proposals, that he’s not going to give details because he wants to be “unpredictable.” Trump responded, “Absolutely,” and went on to criticize Obama for revealing the withdrawal date.

Trump: If I win, I don’t want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is. … This is what Obama does — “we’re going to leave Iraq on a certain date.”

Trump made a similar claim in August.

As we said then, Republicans and Democrats disagree on whether Obama or Bush is to blame for withdrawing all combat troops from Iraq at the end of 2011. But that date was set when Bush signed the Status of Forces Agreement on Dec. 14, 2008. It said: “All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.”

In the NBC forum, Trump also called the withdrawal of troops “a terrible decision.” As we’ve explained before, Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s secretary of state, later wrote that Bush wanted an agreement for a residual force to remain, but Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki objected.

Once Obama took office in January 2009, he had three years to renegotiate the deal, which his administration tried to do, to leave a residual American troop force. But Maliki still didn’t agree. Negotiations broke down in October 2011 over the issue of whether U.S. troops would be shielded from criminal prosecution by Iraqi authorities. Whether Obama did enough is a matter of opinion: His then defense secretary, Leon Panetta, later wrote that the president didn’t press hard enough for a deal. But some experts say Iraq was more closely aligned at the time with Iran and there wasn’t a deal to be made with Maliki.

So, both presidents had a role in the withdrawal of troops. But Trump wrongly said that Obama was the one who set a “certain date” for withdrawal and let U.S. enemies know about it, when that date was set before Obama was sworn in.

It’s worth noting that Trump said in a March 16, 2007, interview on CNN that the troops should be withdrawn quickly from Iraq.

Trump, March 16, 2007, on CNN: You know how they get out? They get out. That’s how they get out. Declare victory and leave, because I’ll tell you, this country is just going to get further bogged down. … And there’s nothing — by the way, we’re keeping the lid on a little bit but date we leave anyway it’s all going to blow up. … So, I mean, this is a total catastrophe and you might as well get out now, because you just are wasting time.

Air Force One

Trump said that Obama’s visits to China, Saudi Arabia and Cuba were “the first time in the history, the storied history of Air Force One” when “high officials” of a host country did not appear to greet the president.

That’s not true. Other presidents have encountered similar low-key greetings on foreign trips aboard the presidential aircraft.

Trump referred to the fact that Cuba’s president, Raul Castro, did not greet Obama at the airport on his historic visit to Cuba in March, that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman did not meet Air Force One at the start of Obama’s trip to Riyadh in April, and he referred to China’s handling of the president’s arrival in Hangzhou last Saturday for a Group of 20 meeting.

Whether or not those arrivals constituted snubs of a U.S. president as Trump claims is a matter of debate. But Trump is wrong on the facts when he claims it has not happened before. It has.

In 1984, for example, Ronald Reagan landed in Beijing and was received by China’s foreign minister rather than the president, whom he met only later. Similarly, on a 1985 trip to West Germany, Reagan was met by the foreign minister and not Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

These and other examples were dug up by our friend Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post‘s “Fact Checker,” who researched a Trump claim in April that Cuba’s and Saudi Arabia’s handling of Obama’s visits were “without precedent.” Kessler said of Trump, “once again he’s wrong, wrong, wrong.”

Kessler also noted that during Richard Nixon’s historic 1972 visit to China he was greeted at the airport by the country’s number two man, Premier Zhou Enlai. His boss, Chairman Mao, didn’t even agree to meet with Nixon until after he had arrived at a guest house.

Trump Not Privatizing the VA

Clinton said that her plan to overhaul the Veterans Health Administration would not include privatization, which she said Trump supports.

Clinton: I will not let the VA be privatized. And I do think that there is an agenda out there — supported by my opponent — to do just that. I think that would be very disastrous for our military veterans.

But Trump refuted that statement when it was his turn to discuss his plan to help veterans. “I would not do that,” Trump said, referring to Clinton’s claim that he supports privatization.

Trump: And by the way, I never said take the VA, the Veterans Administration, private. I wouldn’t do that. Too much respect for our people. I heard it was said that I said that. I would not do that. But I do believe, I do believe, when you’re waiting in line for six, seven days, you should never be in a position like that. You go out, you see the doctor, you get yourself taken care of.

Trump’s campaign published “The Goals Of Donald J. Trump’s Veterans Plan” on its website last October. It doesn’t call for the VA to be completely privatized.

One of the biggest changes that plan would make to the current VA health care system is allowing veterans to get care at any non-VA medical center that accepts Medicare.

“Under a Trump Administration, all veterans eligible for VA health care can bring their veteran’s ID card to any doctor or care facility that accepts Medicare to get the care they need immediately,” the plan states.

“The power to choose will stop the wait time backlogs and force the VA to improve and compete if the department wants to keep receiving veterans’ healthcare dollars,” the plan says.

Trump’s proposal would seemingly go further than the Non-VA Medical Care Program, which allows eligible veterans to access care outside of the VA under certain circumstances, such as when VA medical centers cannot provide services. The program requires pre-approval for veterans to receive care at a non-VA facility in non-emergency situations.

Trump’s proposal would also go further than the bipartisan Veterans Choice Act of 2014 that President Obama signed into law, creating a temporary program, separate from the Non-VA Medical Care Program, that allows eligible veterans to receive health care at a non-VA facility if they would have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment at a VA medical center, or if they live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital.

Trump stuck to the idea of allowing veterans to choose between public and private hospitals when he released his most recent “Ten Point Plan To Reform The VA” in July.

Point 10 of the plan says: “Mr. Trump will ensure every veteran has the choice to seek care at the VA or at a private service provider of their own choice. Under a Trump Administration, no veteran will die waiting for service.”

Trump reinforced that part of his plan during the NBC News forum as well.

Trump: Under a part of my plan, if they have that long wait, they walk outside, they go to the local doctor, they choose the doctor, they choose the hospital, whether it’s public or private, they get themselves better.

To be clear, Trump supports giving veterans a choice between VA hospitals and private ones. That’s not the same thing as supporting the complete privatization of the system that provides care to veterans.

Agreement on Libya

Trump criticized Clinton for making “a terrible mistake on Libya” when she was secretary of state. But, at the time, Trump also supported U.S. action that led to the removal of Moammar Gadhafi from power.

Trump made his claim in response to a question posed by Lauer on whether Trump will be “prepared on Day One,” if elected president, to tackle “complex national security issues.”

Trump, Sept. 7: One hundred percent. Hey, Matt, again, she made a mistake on Libya. She made a terrible mistake on Libya. And the next thing, I mean, not only did she make the mistake, but then they complicated the mistake by having no management once they bombed you know what out of Gadhafi. I mean, she made a terrible mistake on Libya.

This isn’t the first time Trump has ignored his past support for the U.S. intervention in Libya.

During the 10th GOP debate, Trump said he had “never discussed that subject” when Sen. Ted Cruz called him out on supporting U.S. action in the country. But, as we wrote, Trump said in 2011 that the U.S. should go into Libya “on a humanitarian basis” and “knock [Gadhafi] out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively and save the lives.”

Trump made that comment in a video posted to his YouTube channel in February 2011:

Trump, Feb. 28, 2011: I can’t believe what our country is doing. Gadhafi, in Libya, is killing thousands of people. Nobody knows how bad it is and we’re sitting around. We have soldiers all over the Middle East and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage. And that’s what it is, a carnage. … Now we should go in. We should stop this guy which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it and save these lives. This is absolute nuts. We don’t want to get involved and you’re going to end up with something like you’ve never seen before. Now, ultimately the people will appreciate it and they’re going to end up taking over the country eventually. But the people will appreciate it and they should pay us back. But we have to go in to save these lives. These people are being slaughtered like animals. … We should do it on a humanitarian basis. Immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively and save the lives.

Even though Trump now says Clinton’s support for intervention in Libya was a “terrible mistake,” it doesn’t change the fact that five years ago he supported Gadhafi’s removal.

VA ‘Just Fine’?

Trump twisted Clinton’s words when he claimed Clinton said “vets are being treated, essentially, just fine.” Clinton said the problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs were not as “widespread” as some Republican supporters of privatization of the VA claim, but she went on to acknowledge problems in the VA system — including the issue of wait times for doctors — and what she would do to address them.

Trump highlighted the issue of wait times to see a doctor as “one of the big problems” in the VA, and then suggested Clinton doesn’t think the VA has problems.

Trump: And by the way, Hillary Clinton six months ago said the vets are being treated, essentially, just fine, there’s no real problem, it’s over-exaggerated.

Lauer interrupted, noting that Clinton “went on after that and laid out a litany of problems within the VA.”

Trump insisted his version was accurate, adding, “I’m telling you … she said she was satisfied with what was going on in the Veterans Administration.”

That’s not accurate. The comments in question from Clinton came during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Oct. 23, 2015. Maddow asked about talk among some Republicans of abolishing the VA and privatizing it. “The reason they are able to propose something that radical is because the problems at the VA seem so intractable,” Maddow said.

Maddow asked if Clinton had any “new ideas for trying to fix” the VA. Here was Clinton’s response, with the part Trump is referring to in bold.

Clinton: Yeah, and I don’t understand that. You know, I don’t understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans, and overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment. … Now, nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from the Republicans, in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have.

Maddow: But in part because there has been real scandal.

Clinton: There has been. And – but it’s not been as widespread as it has been made out to be.

Now, I do think that some of the reforms that were adopted last year should be given a chance to work. If there is a waiting period that is just unacceptable, you should be able to, in a sense, get the opportunity to go out, have a private physician take care of you, but at the cost of the VA.

But I think it goes deeper than that, because if you look at not only VA health care, but the backlog on disability determinations, there’s something not working within the bureaucracy. And I have said I would like to literally appoint a SWAT team to bring in people and just tackle the disability, have an ongoing review of the care that is being given, do more to make sure that every VA hospital is delivering care to the highest standard of the community, because, unfortunately, some are doing a lot better job than others are.

Clinton accused Republicans of underfunding the VA because they “want it to fail” so they can privatize it.

Clinton added, “But we have to be more creative about trying to fix the problems that are the legitimate concern, so that we can try to stymie the Republican assault.”

Indeed, the Clinton campaign website states that Clinton wants to “fundamentally reform veterans’ health care to ensure access to timely and high quality care.” The campaign says Clinton “was outraged by the recent scandals at the VA, and as president, she will demand accountability and performance from VA leadership.” The site specifically mentions Clinton’s dissatisfaction that “[m]any veterans have to wait an unacceptably long time to see a doctor or to process disability claims and appeals” and promises she will “[b]uild a 21st-century Department of Veterans Affairs to deliver world-class care.”

Trump cherry-picked the part of Clinton’s response that said problems in the VA have “not been as widespread as it has been made out to be,” to make the blanket claim that Clinton is “satisfied with what was going on in the Veterans Administration” and that “vets are being treated, essentially, just fine.” But Trump is leaving out the parts of Clinton’s answer that acknowledged problems in the VA — including the wait time issue Trump highlighted as one of his biggest concerns.

Photo Credit: AP

House Democrats Release Emails Showing Colin Powell Advising Clinton


House Democrats released email correspondence between Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, NBC News reported.

The email exchange, which was released on Wednesday, took place in January 2009. Clinton asks the former secretary of state about restrictions in using a Blackberry, and Powell responded with how he used a land line to get around State Department rules.

"I didn't have a Blackberry," Powell said in the email. "What I did was have a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient). So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers. I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts. I did the same thing on the road in hotels."

Photo Credit: AP

Dozens Lined Up For North Haven Chick-Fil-A Opening


Chick-Fil-A is getting ready to open it's newest location in Connecticut.

More than 100 people pitched tents and camped out in the parking lot of the North Haven restaurant waiting for it to open Thursday morning.

The first 100 people in line will win free Chick-fil-A for a year. Some have been camped out for more than 24 hours.

The other Connecticut Chick-fil-A locations are:

25 Hazard Ave, Enfield

156 Federal Rd Brookfield

Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury

1098 N Colony Rd Wallingford

Assistant Chief Campbell to Continue As New Haven’s Interim Police Chief


Wednesday was the first day on the job for New Haven Police since the public announcement of former Chief Dean Esserman’s resignation.

According to the city's police charter, New Haven’s mayor has the authority to appoint a new chief.

Mayor Toni Harp has not announced plans about the search for a permanent replacement, but the city’s Director of Communications Laurence Grotheer said she would like police to continue initiatives from Esserman’s tenure as the city’s top cop.

"Right now we’re still adjusting to the news of the chief’s resignation," Grotheer said.

For now, Assistant Chief Anthony Campbell will still serve as New Haven’s interim police chief.

“Making sure the morale of the officers in the department is up and also trying to navigate as the department starts the healing process," Campbell said.

Among the most vocal critics of former Chief Esserman’s leadership and public outbursts was the New Haven Police union. Members voted 170-42 that they had "no confidence" in Esserman in June.

“This uniform represents stability, peace, law, justice for many people. But for a lot of people, it represents injustice, pain, suffering," Campbell said.

"The morale in the department was great on chief Esserman’s absence,” union president Craig Miller said of the time since Harp placed Esserman on a 15-day paid leave on July 26. Esserman then immediately transitioned to sick leave on Aug. 15 before his resignation effective Sept. 2.

The next chief needs to do a better job representing the department, Miller said.

"Qualities Campbell has," Miller said. "Good speaker, he's well respected, he likes to work with the community, always answers your calls."

According to the city's police charter, qualifications to serve as chief include having earned a college bachelor’s degree and five years supervising a police department with at least 200 employees that serves a population of at least 100,000 residents.

"I don't know that any decision has been made what a search committee will look like," Grotheer said.

Harp wants the next chief to stay committed to community policing, Grotheer said.

“She knows that it is largely responsible for decreasing crime rates in the city over the past five years,” he said.

Officers walking their beats, technology investments like ShotSpotter that detects gunfire and weekly crime statistics meetings are other initiatives Grotheer said the mayor wants preserved under the next chief of police.

"That data driven analysis and information has also helped bring crime down in New Haven," Grotheer said.

The terms and conditions of Esserman's resignation agreement have not yet been released to the public.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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