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Transit Officials Reject LA-Area Freeway Tunnel

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A proposed 5-mile tunnel linking two Los Angeles-area freeways could be dead after a transit board rejected the idea. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted Thursday to eliminate the tunnel as an option for closing a gap between the 710 freeway in East Los Angeles and the 210 freeway in Pasadena. The route went through South Pasadena, which has bitterly fought a freeway extension for decades. About $700 million in county money was available but the total tunnel price tag was about $4 billion and critics said it was unfundable. Instead, Metro directors voted to fund street and transportation improvements to ease traffic that jams San Gabriel Valley streets in the gap. Caltrans will vote on the tunnel next year but without Metro support approval is considered unlikely. (© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.) Read More »

Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Against Trump Travel Ban

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination,” a federal appeals court said Thursday in ruling against the executive order targeting six Muslim-majority countries. In a 10-3 vote, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said the ban likely violates the Constitution. And it upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Republican administration from cutting off visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the revised travel ban unveiled in March. Trump’s administration had hoped it would avoid the legal problems that the first version from January encountered. A second appeals court, the 9th U.S. Circuit based in San Francisco, is also weighing the revised travel ban after a federal judge in Hawaii blocked it. White House spokesman Michael Short said the administration was confident that its order is legal. “These clearly are very dangerous times and we need every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence,” he said. The Supreme Court almost certainly would step into the case if asked. The justices almost always have the final say when a lower court strikes down a federal law or presidential action. Trump could try to persuade the Supreme Court to allow the policy to take effect, even while the justices weigh whether to hear the case, by arguing that the court orders blocking the ban make the country less safe. If the administration does ask the court to step in, the justices’ first vote could signal the court’s ultimate decision. A central question in the case before the 4th Circuit was whether courts should consider Trump’s public statements about wanting to bar Muslims from entering the country as evidence that the policy was primarily motivated by the religion. Trump’s administration argued the court should not look beyond the text of the executive order, which doesn’t mention religion. The countries were not chosen because they are predominantly Muslim but because they present terrorism risks, the administration said. But Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory wrote that the government’s “asserted national security interest … appears to be a post hoc, secondary justification for an executive action rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country.” The three dissenting judges, all appointed by Republican presidents, said the majority was wrong to look beyond the text of the order. Calling the executive order a “modest action” Judge Paul V. Niemeyer wrote that Supreme Court precedent required the court to consider the order “on its face.” Looked at that way, the executive order “is entirely without constitutional fault,” he wrote. Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, said the partisan split was troubling. If the Supreme Court follows the same kind of partisan divide, the Trump administration may fare better since five of the nine are Republican nominees. Still, he said, it’s difficult to make a confident prediction because “Supreme Court justices don’t always vote in ideological lockstep.” The first travel ban issued Jan. 27 was aimed at seven countries and triggered chaos and protests across the country as travelers were stopped from boarding international flights and detained at airports for hours. Trump tweaked the order after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the ban. The new version made it clear the 90-day ban covering those six countries doesn’t apply to those who already have valid visas. It got rid of language that would give priority to religious minorities and removed Iraq from the list of banned countries. Critics said the changes don’t erase the legal problems with the ban. The Maryland case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center on behalf of organizations as well as people who live in the U.S. and fear the executive order will prevent them from being reunited with family members from the banned countries. “President Trump’s Muslim ban violates the Constitution, as this decision strongly reaffirms,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case. “The Constitution’s prohibition on actions disfavoring or condemning any religion is a fundamental protection for all of us, and we can all be glad that the court today rejected the government’s request to set that principle aside.” (© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Read More »

Sammy Wilk – “I Just Want People To Be Happy Again”

Sammy Wilk was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Today he lives in Los Angeles, California and has over 1.25M Twitter followers plus another 2M on Instagram . How did this 21-year old from the heartland become a music and fashion celebrity? Wilk sat down and provided CBS with the inside scoop. “Back in Omaha it happened super organically,” said Wilk. “Me and two of my buddies, Jack and Jack, we just started making videos that we thought were funny. A lot of people liked them and it grew out of nowhere, from zero followers to like 30,000 in a few weeks.” From there, Wilk’s popularity continued to grow at a steady clip, to the point where he couldn’t even go out in public without being swarmed by loyal fans. “We would go to San Diego and it was madness with a bunch of girls screaming. It was just a super-wild experience, but it was fun,” said Wilk. Despite his meteoric rise to fame, Wilk manages to stay grounded and focused on bigger goals than fame or fortune. “I just want people to be happy again and I feel like it starts within you,” said Wilk. “That’s part of the whole Wilk Project, I’m giving 15% of my clothing line towards the Wilk Project and if you can’t donate anything, just be a better person.” Check out for more information on the Wilk Project and to stay caught up with all of his latest projects. Read More » USA, LLC
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