Posts tagged with "Associated Press"

California Senate passes measure to keep Trump off 2020 ballot unless he releases tax returns

May 6, 2019

The California State Senate has passed a bill  that would require candidates appearing on the presidential primary ballot—including President Donald Trump, who is gearing up to run in 2020—to release five years’ worth of income tax returns.

The Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act (SB-27) was approved in a 27-10 vote in the State Senate, The Hill reports. The act would require California’s Secretary of State, within five days of receiving the returns, to make redacted versions of the returns available to the public on his or her website.

According to The Hill, the bill represents a response to the president’s continuing refusal to release his tax returns as presidential candidates traditionally have done, claiming he is under audit.

“We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn’t have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns,” said State Senator Mike McGuire (D), who co-authored the bill. 

All ten Republicans in the State Senate voted against the bill’s passage.

“I get that playing the resistance card may be good politics for the majority party, but I would submit that it’s bad policy for Californians,” Senator Brian Jones (R) told the Associated Press. 

Other presidential candidates would also be subject to the bill, but several 2020 Democrats already have released their tax returns.

Similar bills are making their way through the Washington State and New Jersey State legislatures, The Hill said.

Research contact: @thehill

Death’s door: Did somebody die in the house you are buying?

October 10, 2018

If you are in the market for a new home, your home inspection may provide a reality check about the structure, itself: Oops, there are termites. Yes, the paint is lead-based.

But will you be forewarned that deaths or depravities have occurred on your new doorstep? Not so much.

In facts, there are few cities or states where full disclosure is required. For example, California law requires owners to acknowledge if a death occurred on the premises—but only if it took place within the previous three years. Fifteen states have a law that, only if the buyer asks and only if the seller knows, are they required  to disclose the information, but no legal action can be taken if they do not.

And the fact is, people care about the history of the homes. A 2007 Associated Press poll found that 34% of Americans admit that they believe in ghosts—and even larger numbers say that they just would not want to live in a place where someone has died, no matter how “natural” the demise was.

What’s more, looking at the economics, a death in a home—especially a tragic death—can impact its value by more than 25% and take it 50% longer to sell than comparable homes, according to Realtor.com.

So what’s a buyer to do? Luckily, there’s a website that can help. DiedinHouse.com “is the first of its kind, Web-based service that helps you find out if anyone has died at any valid U.S. address,” the site claims.

Founded in 2013 by software engineer Roy Condrey, DiedInHouse.com enables users to determine if the home of their dreams has had a dark former life (or even accommodates the afterlife). From murders and suicides to meth activity and arson, website uses data from over 130 million police records, news reports, old death certificates and more to determine if your house has seen horrors.

Condrey told Forbes in a 2015 interview that the website’s creation resulted from a “ghost story.” In 2012, Condrey received a text message in the middle of the night from one of his tenants that read: “Did you know that your house is haunted?” Condrey, who rents several properties, went down a cyber rabbit hole seeking, but could not determine if his property had, indeed, been the site of a gruesome crime or death.

“I went online to find a ‘Carfax’ of sorts for deaths in homes and I didn’t find anything—but I did find pages and pages of people asking if there’s a way to find out if their house is haunted,” Condrey told the business news outlet.

He later learned through his data collection that, in fact, at least 4.5 million homes nationwide have had documented deaths take place on the premises. The number of homeowners that know about the history of their home, however, is unknown.

Sometimes the house is new, but the property has seen violent crimes in the past. Condrey pointed out that “serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Jr., raped and murdered at least 33 teenage boys then buried 26 of them in the crawl space of his home in Chicago. The house was demolished and in 1988 a new house was built in its spot.” That’s information that new buyers probably would want to know.

He tells another true story of a father and his daughter who were murdered in their house in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 2002. Their deaths were not disclosed to the new owner, a middle school principal. He was shocked when he found out, but could not legally back out of the deal. He moved into the house; then had the house blessed by his church. In 2010, he was found murdered there. After that, the address was changed from 9337 to 9335 Columbia Boulevard—and it went back on the market. It ultimately sold for just $330000 in February 2012; comparables in the same area go for $507,000.

Considering the price–both psychological and monetary—of buying such a home, the cost of a report from the website seems reasonable. The price of 1 search is $11.99.

Research contact: info@DiedinHouse.com

Trump unleashes torrent of tweeted threats against Iran

July 24, 2018

President Donald Trump sent out a furious, all-caps tweet aimed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani late on July 22, warning the leader to stop threatening the United States, the Huffington Post reported.

In a late-night screed similar to his “fire and fury” harangue against North Korea last August, the POTUS warned the Iranian politician and Islamic cleric, “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH, BE CAUTIOUS!”

According to the German publication, Deutsche Welle (DW), President Rouhani began the exchange earlier in the day by warning the United States that Iran could shut down international oil shipments in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, if Washington continues to provoke his nation—as Rouhani believes America has done by backing out of the nuclear deal framework that it signed with its allies in 2015.

After refusing to support the deal, the Trump administration also had demanded that signatories to the framework end all imports of Iranian oil when the sanctions go into effect in November, but the State Department rolled back those demands saying it would work with countries on a “case-by-case basis.”

“We have always guaranteed the security of this strait,” Rouhani told diplomats in the Iranian capital last Sunday. “Do not play with the lion’s tail; you will regret it forever.”

“Whenever Europe has sought an agreement with us, the White House has sown discord,” Rouhani said. “Americans should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace,” he added. “Likewise a war would be the mother of all wars.”

Rouhani and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei have both rejected calls to negotiate with Trump over a replacement sanctions relief deal.

Brigadier Gen. Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, a commander for the country’s Revolutionary Guard, brushed the threatening tweet from President Trump off on July 23 as mere “psychological warfare” against the regime, saying Trump wouldn’t dare act on his threats, the Associated Press reported.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on July 23 reiterated Trump’s warning to Iran, telling Fox News that “if needed, and steps are required, this president is not afraid to take them.

“He’s certainly not going to tolerate the leader of Iran making threats against Americans, making threats against this country, making threats against Israel,” Sanders said. “This is a president who is going to stand up and make sure he is doing what is necessary.”

A majority of Americans wanted the Trump administration to adhere to the Iran nuclear deal, according to a public opinion poll released in early May by Morning Consult and Politico. The poll, which included online interviews with close to 2,000 Americans registered to vote, showed that 56% of respondents expressed support for the deal, while 26% expressed opposition to it. The pollsters described these numbers as a “record high” in support of the deal, and a “record low” in opposition to it.

Research contact: editors@morningconsult.com

Maddow breaks down on-air over plight of immigrant babies

June 21, 2018

MSNBC’s star moderator Rachel Maddow dissolved in tears at the end of her show on June 19 when trying to read breaking news from the Associated Press about the whereabouts of babies separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border under President Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy. She handed the program off to Lawrence O’Donnell, host of The Last Word, who was on-site at a Border Patrol Processing Center for children in McAllen, Texas, Mediaite reports.

The AP story read, in part:

Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas, The Associated Press has learned.

Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley [Texas] shelters described playrooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.

Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in a new influx of young children requiring government care. The government has faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations.

When Maddow could not read the script, she asked for a graphic to be shown on the screen instead. When that was unavailable, she said, tears flowing, “I think I’m going to have to hand this off. I’m sorry.”

O’Donnell did succeed in reading the full story on-air.

Later, Maddow apologized on Twitter:  “Ugh, I’m sorry. If nothing else, it is my job to actually be able to speak while I’m on TV,” she wrote. Then, after concluding what she was trying to say, she added: “Again, I apologize for losing it there for a moment. Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile.”

Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, AP notes, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in an influx of young children requiring government care.

Research contact: @garanceburke