Day: February 14, 2019
Trump Gains Weight, Now Considered Obese
President Donald Trump has put on some pounds and is now officially considered obese.
The White House on Thursday released results of his most recent physical, revealing that his Body Mass Index is now 30.4. That's based on the fact that he's now carrying 243 pounds on his 6-foot, 3-inch frame. People with an index rating above 30 are considered obese.
Dr. Sean Conley, the president's physician, said the 72-year-old president "remains in very good health overall."
He gained four pounds from last year. His resting heart rate is 70 beats a minute and his blood pressure reading was 118 over 80, well within the normal range.
Conley said routine lab tests were performed and Trump's liver, kidney and thyroid functions are all normal as were his electrolytes and blood counts. An electrocardiogram, a test that measures electrical activity generated by the heart as it beats, remained unchanged from last year.
Trump went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last week for his second periodic physical, which lasted about four hours. During his exam, he received a flu shot and an inoculation to help prevent shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash.
"I performed and supervised the evaluation with a panel of 11 different board-certified specialists," Conley wrote in a memorandum to the White House. "He did not undergo any procedures requiring sedation or anesthesia."
Source: NewsMax America
Owen Shroyer returns to host the War Room today and as major breaking news to discuss including President Trump declaring a national emergency, signing a bill that doesn’t give full wall funding, and the Department Of Justice admitting they attempted to remove President Trump. We also take callers response to these stories.
Source: The War Room
Obama Posts Special Valentine's Day Tribute to Michelle
Former President Barack Obama wished wife Michelle a happy Valentine’s Day on Twitter.
He wrote: “Happy Valentine’s Day to the extraordinarily smart, beautiful, funny, one and only @MichelleObama. It’s true; she does get down to Motown.”
Attached to the tweet was a photo of the two dancing.
The Hill noted that the Motown line was an apparent reference to her appearance at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, where she gave tribute to the “Motown records I wore out on the South side.”
Source: NewsMax America
Blue 'Mexican Oxy' Pills Devastating US Southwest
Aaron Francisco Chavez swallowed at least one of the sky blue pills at a Halloween party before falling asleep forever. He became yet another victim killed by a flood of illicit fentanyl smuggled from Mexico into the Southwest — a profitable new business for drug gangs that has pushed the synthetic opioid to the top spot for fatal U.S. overdoses.
Three others at the party in Tucson also took the pills nicknamed "Mexican oxy" and police flagged down by partygoers saved them by administering naloxone overdose reversal medication. But the treatment came too late for Chavez, who died at age 19.
The four thought they were taking oxycodone, a much less powerful opioid, investigators believe. The death of Chavez and many others, officials said, illustrate how Arizona and other southwestern states bordering Mexico have become a hot spot in the nation's fentanyl crisis. Fentanyl deaths tripled in Arizona alone from 2015 through 2017.
"It's the worst I've seen in 30 years, this toll that it's taken on families," said Doug Coleman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge of Arizona. "The crack (cocaine) crisis was not as bad."
With plenty of pills and powder sold locally out of the arriving fentanyl shipments that are also distributed around the U.S., the drug that has surpassed heroin for overdose deaths has touched all Arizona demographic groups. Chavez' family says he was working at a restaurant as a prep cook with dreams of becoming a chef and trying to turn his life around after serving prison time for a robbery conviction.
Also killed in the state over the last year by the pills that go for $9 to $30 each were a 17-year-old star high school baseball pitcher from a Phoenix suburb and a pair of 19-year-old best friends and prominent former high school athletes from the mountain town of Prescott Valley. The parents of one, Gunner Bundrick, said their son's death left "a hole in our hearts."
Popping the pills at parties "is a lot more widespread than we know," said Yavapai County Sheriff's Lt. Nate Auvenshine. "There's less stigma to taking a pill than putting a needle in your arm, but one of these pills can have enough fentanyl for three people."
Stamped with "M''on one side and "30" on the other to make them look like legitimate oxycodone, the pills started showing up in Arizona in recent years as the Sinaloa cartel's newest drug product, said Tucson Police Lt. Christian Wildblood.
The fentanyl that killed Chavez was among 1,000 pills sneaked across the border crossing last year in Nogales, Arizona by a woman who was paid $200 to tote them and gave two to Chavez at the party, according to court documents. It's unknown if he took one or both.
At the same crossing last month, U.S. officials announced their biggest fentanyl bust ever — nearly 254 pounds (115 kilograms) found in a truckload of cucumbers, enough to potentially kill millions. Valued at $3.5 million, most was in powder form and over 2 pounds (1 kilogram) was made up of pills.
The tablets in most cases are manufactured in primitive conditions with pill presses purchased online and the amount of fentanyl in each pill can vary widely, Wildblood said.
"There is no quality control," he said.
While Chinese shipments were long blamed for illegal fentanyl entering the U.S., Mexico's Army in November 2017 discovered a rustic fentanyl lab in a remote part of Sinaloa state and seized precursors, finished fentanyl and production equipment — suggesting some of it is now being synthesized across the U.S. border.
Most fentanyl smuggled from Mexico is about 10 percent pure and enters hidden in vehicles at official border crossings around Nogales and San Diego, Customs and Border Protection data show. A decreasing number of smaller shipments with purity of up to 90 percent still enter the U.S. in packages sent from China.
Although 85 percent of the fentanyl from Mexico is seized at San Diego area border crossings, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment said seizures have surged at Arizona's border and elsewhere around the state.
DEA statistics show Arizona fentanyl seizures rose to 445 pounds (202 kilograms), including 379,557 pills, in the fiscal year ending in October 2018, up from 172 pounds (78 kilograms), including 54,984 pills, during the previous 12-month period.
The Sinaloa cartel's ability to ramp up its own production of fentanyl and label it oxycodone shows the group's business acumen and why it remains among the world's top criminal organizations, despite the conviction in New York this week of cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, Coleman said.
"If they see a market for their stuff, they'll make it and bring it up," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fentanyl is now the drug involved in the most fatal overdoses in the U.S., with fatalities from synthetic opioids including fentanyl jumping more than 45 percent from 2016 to 2017, when they accounted for some 28,000 of about 70,000 overdose deaths of all kinds.
Fentanyl was also involved more than any other drug in the majority of overdose deaths in 2016, the year the pop artist Prince died after taking fake Vicodin laced with fentanyl. Heroin was responsible for the most drug overdose deaths each of the four years before that.
CDC figures for Arizona show the statewide deaths involving synthetic opioids excluding methadone, largely from fentanyl, rose from 72 in 2015 to 123 in 2016 and then skyrocketed to 267 in 2017.
In the first federal conviction of its kind in Arizona that linked a death to distribution of any drug, a woman from a Phoenix suburb last year got 12 years in prison for selling fentanyl tablets that killed a 38-year-old Arizona man.
And in Tucson, Chavez' relatives wonder why the woman accused of smuggling the pills across the border allegedly decided to hand them out at the party, saying they were Percocet, which contains oxycodone and acetaminophen, and "something else," according to court documents.
The woman, Jocelyn Sanchez, denied describing them that way and was charged with transporting and transferring narcotics. Her lawyer, Joel Chorny, declined to discuss the case.
Nicknamed "Sonny Boy, Chavez was the third of 10 children born to Leslie Chavez, who was brought to the U.S. as an infant and deported back to Mexico last year, two months before he died. In a phone interview, she said Mexican officials arranged to have her son's body brought across the border so she could say goodbye.
She said she had "heard about how these pills were killing people" but never thought it would happen to one of her children.
Chavez had a 2-year-old daughter and despite his robbery conviction "was trying to get his life together, he was trying to be good" for the toddler, said his sister, Seanna Leilani Chavez.
The dealers, she said, are only interested in profits.
"They will sell you poison, take your money, and not think twice about how they could possibly be killing someone's son, father, brother or grandson," she said.
Source: NewsMax America
House Panel Backs Expanded Gun Background Checks
A key House committee has approved a bill to require background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, a first step by majority Democrats to tighten gun laws after eight years of Republican rule.
The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the bill 23-15 Wednesday, sending it to the House floor. If approved by the full House, the bill would be the most significant gun-control legislation approved by either chamber of Congress in at least a decade.
Democrats have pledged additional gun legislation, including restrictions on high-capacity magazines and a measure to allow temporary removal of guns from people deemed an imminent risk to themselves or others.
Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., called the background checks bill long overdue to address a "national crisis of gun violence" that claimed nearly 40,000 lives in 2017.
"Our country is awash in guns, and we have the shameful death toll to show for it," he said.
The vote on the bill came after a contentious, daylong hearing in which Republicans offered a series of amendments, all of which were blocked by Democrats. Republicans said they were ready to offer additional amendments when Nadler shut off debate around 8 p.m., 10 hours after the hearing began.
Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the panel's senior Republican, called Nadler's action "disturbing" and said it did not bode well for the two-year congressional session.
"If this is the way the chairman wants to begin this session of Congress, I really wonder where we go from here" and whether the two parties can work together, Collins said.
But Democrats said Republicans were delaying a vote on the bill because they oppose universal background checks for gun purchases.
"This isn't a debate, it's a show," said Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla. She called universal background checks for all gun sales common sense and said, "Let's move forward."
As if to demonstrate her point, freshman Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., displayed a large cup that read, "The Second Amendment is my gun permit." Steube was among several Republicans who tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill.
Fellow freshman Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., said lawmakers "know background checks work, that they save lives, and yet we need to close loopholes" that allow some private purchases and transfers to be made without background checks.
Instead of working with Democrats, "Republicans are adding more loopholes, which is shameful," Dean said.
Republicans pushed to allow exceptions for victims of domestic violence and transfers among family members, but were dismissed by Democrats.
Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., a freshman whose son was killed by gun violence, said she has been working on gun legislation since his death more than six years ago.
"As a survivor of gun violence myself, I refuse to let my colleagues stand here and devalue the importance that this bill has," she said.
Wednesday's vote came a day before the one-year anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said that while the bill "can't bring back" any of those killed in Parkland or other shootings, it will help reduce gun violence. "If this legislation prevents one person wishing to do harm to others with a gun from doing that, it will be something we can be proud of," he said.
Source: NewsMax America
Trump Tells California to Return $3.5B for High-Speed Rail Line
President Donald Trump wants the $3.5 billion back from California for the high-speed rail line project that would have connected major cities in the north and south of the state following California Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement he was scaling back the plan, Politico reports.
Trump on Wednesday tweeted that California officials "owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now."
California started construction on the line in 2015, a project backed by $10 billion from the state and $2.5 billion from the federal government. It was most recently projected to cost $77 billion.
Newsom did not officially cancel the project but said it would "cost too much and take too long" as currently planned.
"There simply isn't a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A.," Mr. Newsom said. "I wish there were."
California could be forced to give the money back to the federal government if it misses Central Valley construction by a December 2022 deadline, according to Politico.
Source: NewsMax America