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Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 3:48 PM
— Eric Church headlined the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sept. 29, which was his last full show of 2017. His fans came from all over the country to see him one more time, and Church instantly recognized the fans as his own.
During an emotional appearance on the Grand Ole Opry a few nights later, Church remembered his time with the Route 91 crowd. He said, “I watched them hold American flags up during ‘How ‘Bout You.’ I watched them put an American scarf around my neck during ‘Springsteen.’ They held records up when I played ‘Record Year.’ They held boots up when I played ‘These Boots.’ And I was so moved by it, mainly because I looked at ’em and went, ‘This is my crowd. I’ve seen this crowd all year. They’re mine.'”
Since it was the last show of the year, Church decided to get out into the crowd in Vegas and thank the fans for giving him such an incredible year on the road. There was an open space that ran through the middle of the fans, and he ran through it towards the middle of his set.
“I went down the right side, and I shook everybody’s hand, and I told them, ‘Thank you for coming. It’s been a heck of a year. It’s been a hell of a year, actually.’ I went all the way down the right side. Waved at my sound guy. Came back up the left side. Smiling faces. Hands in the air. Pictures being taken. I jumped back up onstage. I played ‘Holdin’ My Own’ and ‘A Man That Was Gonna Die Young.'”
He then watched in horror on the news as a gunman shot into that same crowd on Sunday night during Jason Aldean’s show.
He told the Opry audience, “Forty-eight hours later, those places that I stood was carnage. Those were my people. Those were my fans.”
Church admitted he didn’t want to be onstage at the Opry this week, but then he saw a woman named Heather Melton being interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN while wearing one of his tour t-shirts. Her husband, Sonny, was gunned down in the mass shooting, and Heather Melton told the anchor they were at the festival to see Church, who was Sunny’s favorite artist.
Church continued, “Then she said, ‘We have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night.’ Over here, section three, row F, if you’re there, row four, there’s some empty seats. Those are their seats.”
The tribute to those fallen fans continued as Church added, “The reason I’m here tonight is because of Heather Melton, and Sonny, who died, and every person that was there. Because let me tell you, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw them with boots in the air. What I saw, that moment in time that was frozen, there’s no amount of bullets that can take away. Nothing.”
Church remembered the victims in Las Vegas with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
He also said the shooting “broke something” inside of him, and that the only way he’s ever fixed anything broken inside himself is through music. So, Church wrote a new song to cope with the tragedy called “Why Not Me” and debuted it on the Opry stage that night.
I didn’t want to be here tonight. I didn’t want to play guitar. I didn’t want to walk on this stage, but last night, let me try to get this out, last night somebody sent me a video of a lady named Heather Melton and she was talking to Anderson Cooper on CNN and she had on our Church Choir Tour shirt. And he said, “what brought you to Vegas?” and she goes “We went there to see Eric Church because he was Sonny’s [her husband who died] it was his guy, and we went there to see his guy.” And then she said “We have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night.” And there’s a, over here, section 3, row F, if you’re there in row F, there’s some empty seats and that’s their seats. And, I’m gonna tell you something, the reason I’m here, the reason I’m here tonight, is because of Heather Melton and her husband Sonny, who died, and every person that was there. I’ll tell you something, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw them with boots in the air. And what I saw, that moment in time that was frozen there’s no amount of bullets that can take away. None. And that night, something broke in me, on Sunday night when that happened. And the only way I’ve ever fixed anything that’s been broken in me is with music. So I wrote a song...
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 6:37 PM
Washington — National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster is resigning from the Trump administration and will be replaced by former U.S. ambassador John Bolton, according to a tweet Thursday afternoon from President Donald Trump.
>> Read more trending news/ Who is H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security advisor/
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 8:40 PM
Just over 24 hours after GOP leaders unveiled the details of massive plan to fund the federal government, the House and Senate gave easy bipartisan approval to the $1.3 trillion spending measure, even as members in both parties grumbled about the actions of their leaders, the process, the size of the bill, the amount of money involved, and the specifics.
The final Senate vote – which took place soon after midnight – was 65 to 32 in favor of the over 2,000 page bill, which no lawmaker claimed to have read from start to finish.
“Washington has reached a new low,” complained Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who ridiculed the increase in spending agreed to by both parties.
“This is beyond pathetic. It is irresponsible, and a danger to our Republic,” Perdue added.
“Our congressional budget process is badly broken, and this Omnibus bill is just another symptom of Washington’s sickness,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).
Among the many items in the final bill:
+ A big boost in defense spending, giving the Pentagon $700 billion in 2018, an increase of over $60 billion.
+ A substantial increase in domestic spending, highlighted by money for infrastructure, medical research and more.
+ Two bills pressed in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting – the “Fix NICS” bill that would funnel more information into the instant background check system for gun buyers, and the “STOP School Violence Act,” which would help schools better recognize possible threats of violence in the future.
A rush to a final vote in the Senate was first delayed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who spent hours going through the bill, tweeting out what he found – but after about 600 of the 2,232 pages, the Kentucky Republican called it quits.
“I will vote no because it spends too much and there’s just too little time to read the bill and let everyone know what’s actually in it,” Paul tweeted.
“Every Republican would vote against this disgusting pork bill if a Democrat were President,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). “This spending kegger is a wildly irresponsible use of the taxpayers’ money.”
At the White House, officials acknowledged that if the GOP had 60 votes in the Senate to stop a filibuster, they would have designed a much different bill to the fund the operations of the federal government through the end of September.
But they still argued the measure funded a number of the President’s priorities.
“It funds national defense,” said White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney. “It funds opioids, it funds school safety.”
Earlier on Thursday, the House approved the bill on a vote of 256-167, as the two parties switched arguments from several years ago – when it was Republicans complaining about Democrats bringing a big bill to the floor with little time for review.
This time, it was Democrats echoing the Tea Party line of, “Read the bill!”
When the bill reached the Senate, Senators were ready to quickly approve the plan, and head out of town on a two-week break for Easter.
But the fine print caused some troubles, as Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), reportedly objected to a provision put in the bill that would rename a park in his state after a former Governor, Cecil Andrus, described in home state press reports as a past rival.
In the hallways off the Senate floor, Risch was not interested in discussing the Idaho dust up with reporters.
The hours of waiting, which included a procedural vote that called on the Sergeant At Arms to request the presence of absent Senators – left one short-timer aggravated.
“This is juvenile,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who is not running for re-election this year.
“This is a ridiculous process that we go through where people extort us, until we get so tired, that we are willing to do whatever it is that they wish for us to do,” said Corker just before the clock struck midnight.
Corker said it would have been better to come back at 8 am and vote, but he backed off that threat, and allowed Senators to finish work on the Omnibus, which funds the government only through September 30.
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 11:01 PM
AUSTIN, Texas — A bomb found at a FedEx facility in Southeast Austin on Tuesday morning was addressed to an employee at Austin Med Spa, according to spa workers and the employee’s mother.
Anita Ward, a nurse at Austin Med Spa, said FBI agents and Austin police told her Tuesday morning that her daughter, who also works at the spa in downtown Austin, was to be the recipient of the unexploded bomb at a FedEx sorting facility at 4117 McKinney Falls Parkway near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Ward, who did not want to give her daughter’s name, said her daughter does not know Mark Conditt, who police say terrorized Austin with a series of bomb attacks that left two people dead and five injured.
Anita Ward said Conditt also did not look familiar to anyone who works at the spa.
“We’ve been trying to just keep it in the down low just for the FBI and police,” Ward said. “All of us here are just very thankful for the FBI and police and the work they’ve been doing.”
“I got to see a little bit of the inside of (the investigative process) and they were very quick at checking and stopping this package, and so we completely 100 percent credit this to them for stopping this from being delivered to our office,” she said.
Ward’s daughter attends Austin Community College, but did not attend the school from 2010 to 2012, when Conditt was pursuing a business administration degree but did not graduate.
“They’re still investigating, we’re still providing them information,” Ward said. “We pretty much know as much as (authorities) can release to us. We still have a lot of unanswered questions.”
For now, Ward said she and her daughter are scared but thankful for the work of the FBI and Austin police. “We’ve both been very actively concerned and involved with this, her being targeted.”
Police said the unexploded package at the FedEx facility in Southeast Austin was one of two sent from a Sunset Valley FedEx Office store. Authorities determined it was a bomb and detonated in a controlled manner, they said.
The first three victims, all in East Austin, were two black men who were killed in the attacks and a Hispanic woman. Two white men were injured on Sunday when they accidentally triggered a trip wire attached to a bomb in Southwest Austin. Ward and her daughter are white.
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 9:48 AM
BOSTON — Shoppers looking for a bargain lined up at Toys R Us stores across the country to cash in on the liquidation sale that was expected to begin Thursday.
However, the sales have been postponed, according to multiple reports.
WYFF reported that a sign on the Greenville location stated that the liquidation sale was postponed until further notice.
The sales are now expected to start Friday, CNN Money reported.
But no matter when the sales start, experts told CNN Money that bargain hunters should be ready to go as soon as the sales begin.
Toys R Us announced last week it was closing or selling all of its stores in the United States, but shoppers need to act fast.
MORE: Toys R Us store locator
Industry experts say shelves will clear out quickly and the sale may only last about 30 days.
Inventory on the most popular toys are already slim, and whatever is left will be the first to go.
People with Toys R Us gift cards and Endless Earnings Gift Cards should use those first.
Toys R Us will not accept them after April 20.
Starting Thursday, stores will not be accepting coupons or rewards.
If you have a return, Toys R Us will accept items for the next 30 days, but anything purchased during the liquidation sale is final and cannot be returned.
Amazon, one of Toys R Us’ most fierce competitors, is apparently considering buying up some of the empty store fronts once Toys R Us officially closes.
The Seattle-based company recently bought Whole Foods and opened its own line of bookstores and convenience stores.
Toys R Us is closing 735 locations, and will lay off about 31,000 employees.
Before you shop, check your location. Some local stores were part of the initial closing announcement and have been liquidating for weeks.