Alec Baldwin, Cher, Robert De Niro among celebrities at anti-Trump rally

Published: Friday, January 20, 2017 @ 10:28 AM
Updated: Friday, January 20, 2017 @ 12:37 PM


            NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Alec Baldwin speaks onstage during the We Stand United NYC Rally outside Trump International Hotel & Tower on January 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Alec Baldwin speaks onstage during the We Stand United NYC Rally outside Trump International Hotel & Tower on January 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Nicole Moschella contributed to this report.

On the eve of Donald Trump being sworn in as the United States' 45th president, a massive rally was staged in the streets of New York near Trump International Hotel and headlined by a man who has played Trump on TV: Alec Baldwin.

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Attended by the likes of Robert De Niro, Michael Moore, Cynthia Nixon, Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Cher, the Rev. Al Sharpton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the protest focused on fighting a perceived shift to authoritarianism under the Trump administration. Baldwin, often criticized by Trump on Twitter for his parody of him on "Saturday Night Live," assumed his Trump character at different points as he addressed the crowd.

In a serious tone, Baldwin said: "Donald Trump and Steve Bannon and Mike Pence and all these people that are a part of Trump's administration think you're going to lay down. The one thing they don't realize is that New Yorkers never lay down ... Are you going to fight? Are we going to have 100 days of resistance?

"Children ... they're never too young for you to start to teach them about what's going on here. They're never too young for you to teach them what a real American is. And an American wants full participation and full transparency of their government. And we've never been further away from that than we are now ... But there is hope. The hope is us and us fighting. One hundred days of resistance."

Cher, however, said it's "hard to have hope right now."

"I couldn't watch him come into Washington. I don't know that I will be able to watch the news for a very long time," she said.

"I kept seeing all of the things that he was doing, and I kept saying, 'This will be the thing,'" she said in reference to Trump's controversial actions before the election. "He's getting away with things that no president has gotten away with and it doesn't seem to bother anyone."

Despite voicing her opposition for the new president, Cher said that she hopes he'll make positive change. She also clarified her opinions, saying she doesn't hate his supporters.

DeNiro called Trump "a bad example of this country and this city."

"I don't care where he goes, I just never thought he'd go to Washington," he said.

Moore, who helped organize the rally, told the crowd: "We're going to win, folks. A little bit of pain, a little bit of pain, but a lot of work on our part will stop this man. He will not last the four years. It's a dangerous combination, a narcissist and a public official because it's all about what's in it for me -- me, me, me ... And when they think like that, that's when they break the law, and that's when he'll go down."

Vegetables sold at Walmart, Trader Joe's recalled for Listeria

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 9:43 PM

Mann Packing recalled various vegetable products over Listeria concerns. (Photo: Food and Drug Administration)
Mann Packing recalled various vegetable products over Listeria concerns. (Photo: Food and Drug Administration)

Mann Packing is voluntarily recalling various vegetable products sold at Walmart, Trader Joe's and Target over concerns of Listeria monocytogenes, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The company said “a single positive” test result in random sampling by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency sparked the decision to issue the recall notice. Listeria infection can cause fever, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms and even miscarriages.

"As an owner of this company and a mom, providing safe and healthy foods to our consumers and their families is always our top priority," Gina Nucci, director of corporate marketing, said in a release.

The recall includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli and vegetable medley products distributed throughout the United States and Canada with “best if used by” dates from Oct. 11 to 20.

Affected items include:

  • Walmart 12-oz. bags of broccoli cauliflower florets, broccoli florets and stir fry medley, 32-oz. bags of broccoli florets, 16-oz. bags of broccoli slaw, 10-ounce bags of cauliflower florets and super blend, 6/16-oz. bags of cauliflower and 2-lb. bags of vegetable medley.

  • Trader Joe's, 10-ounce bags of kohlrabi salad blend.

  • Archer Farms 12-oz. bags of broccoli slaw, broccoli cauliflower florets, broccoli medley and brussels sprouts, 9-oz. bags of shaved brussels sprouts and 10-oz. bags of cauliflower florets.

Aldi supermarkets also issued recall notices for Mann products.

Echoing Reagan, Trump pushes Congress to act swiftly on tax reform

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 10:05 PM

Pushing the House to take another step this week on the road to major tax reforms, President Donald Trump used an op-ed in USA Today to argue that GOP tax plans will “ignite America’s middle class miracle once again,” as he channeled former President Ronald Reagan, saying with “tax reform, we can make it morning in America again.”

“Revising our tax code is not just a policy discussion — it is a moral one, because we are not talking about the government’s money – we are talking about your money, your hard work,” the President wrote.

Mr. Trump meanwhile used a conference call with House Republicans on Sunday to make much the same argument – that now is the time for action on tax reform.

Here is where things stand on Capitol Hill when it comes to GOP plans to move legislation on tax reform.

1. The budget comes first for the GOP. Before they can focus solely on tax reform, Republicans must approve a non-binding budget outline for 2018, which would authorize expedited action on a tax bill – without the threat of a Senate filibuster. The Senate approved their plan last Thursday, and now the House seems ready to accept that this week, though the budget details are sure to give some GOP fiscal hawks some heartburn, as the plan would not ensure a balanced budget within ten years. But GOP leaders are basically telling rank and file Republicans that now is the time for tax reform, and that there is no use in getting caught up in a battle over budget cuts. Look for the House to vote later this week.

2. But ‘what if’ the House refuses to go along? If enough Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate-passed budget, then there would have to be formal House-Senate negotiations, which could take some time to hash out a deal on the budget resolution for 2018. That would obviously delay work on tax reform, and make it that much more difficult to swiftly get a tax bill moving on Capitol Hill. It seems unlikely that will happen, as more conservative lawmakers have been assured they will get votes on measures dealing with budget savings. But it is safe to say that the ‘normal’ Republican focus on budget deficits has melted away now that the GOP is in charge of the White House and Congress. Here is the sales pitch being made by the Republican Study Group, which says Speaker Paul Ryan has promised votes on some budget-related bills.

3. Let’s assume the House approves the budget – then what? If the House heeds the advice of President Trump, and votes for the Senate-passed budget outline this week, then the focus will shift to the tax-writing committees of the House and Senate – the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee, as they produce an actual tax reform bill. Remember – we don’t have a bill as yet from the White House – just some bullet points. In 1985, President Reagan sent Congress an actual 489 page bill as a starting point. President Trump’s bullet points are just a small piece of a much larger bill that is expected to be released by Republicans, as the scrums of reporters grow each day for key lawmakers, like Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

4. What’s the possible timing on tax reform? Ask veterans of Capitol Hill what they think about a GOP tax plan, and they cannot imagine it getting done this year (or even at all). But the White House and GOP leaders in Congress keep talking about doing it fast, maybe having a vote in the House before a Thanksgiving break, and a Senate vote in December. If we go back and look at the tax reform timeline in the Reagan Administration, it took a lot longer. The House Ways and Means Committee started work on a draft bill in late September 1985 – it took two months to finish. The deal almost fell apart in December, as the House voted to approve that plan just before Christmas. In the Senate, it took six months to get the bill out of committee and to a vote, in June 1986. In other words, Republicans think they can move at legislative warp speed compared to thirty one years ago in the Congress.

5. Remember, there are a lot of details involved. If you are going to do just tax cuts, that’s pretty straightforward. But if you are going to try to do sweeping tax reform – for both the individual and corporate sides – that is very complicated. Just look back at 1986, and you can see that bill is filled with rifle-shot provisions intended to help just one company or group. Back then, there was no way to get this out to the voters. But with the internet and social media, these types of provisions will get a lot of attention and scrutiny.

6. One more thought on timing – from 1986. As I write this on October 22, it is 31 years to the day that President Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act into law. But I clearly remembered the final agreement being struck in August – and the vote taking place soon after Labor Day. My memory was correct. So, why did it take another month for the President to sign the bill into law? For one, there were a number of errors in the final agreement, which needed to be fixed. So, on September 25, 1986, the House passed H. Con. Res. 395, to make “technical and clerical” corrections in the final bill. The Senate took that up a few weeks later, and made some changes, which were sent back to the House. The House made a few more changes. But no final resolution was agreed to, as the Congress adjourned for the year on October 18, 1986. So, four days later, the President signed the bill into law anyway. Want to do some more reading about what happened in 1986? Here you go:

And by the way, that explanation of the 1986 Tax Reform Act runs almost 1,400 pages. Happy reading!

Conjoined twins thriving after surgery to separate them

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 8:33 PM

Conjoined twins were separated and are thriving. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)
Conjoined twins were separated and are thriving. (Photo: WSOCTV.com)

Conjoined twins from Mooresville are thriving nearly five months after a long surgery to separate them.

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Erin and Abby DeLaney, 15-month-old girls, were attached at the top of their heads.

Their surgery, which was on June 6, took 11 hours, but it was a success. They were recently discharged from the hospital.

The family said it is grateful to the team at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Priscilla Presley parts ways with Church of Scientology, reports say

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 8:06 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Dream Foundation)
Jesse Grant
File photo. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Dream Foundation)(Jesse Grant)

Priscilla Presley has quit the Church of Scientology, 40 years after she joined, according to the Daily Mail.

“I’ve had enough. I’m done,” Presley reportedly said.

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Presley — who initially joined the church after the death of her husband, Elvis — allegedly told friends she was leaving.

The church’s membership includes a long list of Hollywood celebrities, including John Travolta and Tom Cruise.

“Priscilla reached out to John Travolta after Elvis died in 1977, and that’s how she ended up in the church,” the source said. “She has been in it ever since, and she raised her daughter, Lisa Marie, in it.”

Lisa Marie Presley left the church in 2014, which apparently made remaining with the church a difficult task for her mother.

“They are very close as a family, and leaving the church has been a family decision,” the source claims.

In recent years, several celebs have ditched the church, including Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman, who are both ex-wives of Tom Cruise, still a member himself. The testimonies and interviews of former member Leah Remini; one of the stars of the popular sitcom, “King of Queens,” appear to be impacting the church.