Romney exit resets 2016 field, gives boost to Bush – Fox News

Mitt Romney’s announcement Friday that he will not run for president a third time has reset the budding 2016 field – with political strategists saying his exit could position Jeb Bush as establishment favorite while helping him assemble a campaign team in key early-voting states.

At the same time, the former Florida governor could become an even bigger target for party conservatives who criticize both Bush and Romney as too moderate; now, only Bush remains.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

“Unless [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie can show he is more viable than he has demonstrated at this point, we are going to have one establishment candidate versus an entire conservative field,” Steve Deace, a syndicated conservative radio talk show host based in Iowa, told FoxNews.com.

Being the “establishment” candidate would have its upsides.

Now, veteran operatives who were torn between Bush and Romney will be free to put their energies into the Bush camp, should he decide to run. Had Romney run, both men would be vying for the same resources, including Wall Street money and institutional party support.

“This frees up any uncertainty for campaign funders who just did not know what to do between Jeb and Mitt – they no longer have that conundrum,” one Republican strategist, who did not want to be named, told FoxNews.com. “Plus there is a whole pool of conservative establishment voters who would have been torn between [them].

“It doesn’t mean that they will automatically shift to Bush, but he will have a greater ability now to pick [those voters] up.”

Even before Romney’s announcement, Bush was starting to pick up members of Romney’s old gang.

On Thursday, Bush’s team confirmed that Romney’s former senior Iowa adviser, David Kochel, had signed on as a senior strategist for Bush’s newly launched Right to Rise PAC.

Reports also emerged that former Romney donors were moving toward Bush, and folks who ran the ground games in key primary states in 2012 were no longer as enthusiastic. Doubts lingered over whether he could manage a third campaign and win.

Bush also flew out to Utah for a private meeting with Romney last week.

“I will give [the establishment] credit,” Deace said. “They were headed for an all-out self-immolation with both Romney and Bush running. So Jeb goes out on a plane and basically knee-caps Romney in public.”

Romney didn’t quite frame it that way on Friday. In a conference call with supporters, only three weeks after he surprised donors by announcing he was weighing a run, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said he was out.

Romney said he believes that he could win the nomination, and that he would have enough funding and support.

But he said it would have been a “difficult test and a hard fight.” He said he did not want to “make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of” becoming president.

On the heels of the announcement, Romney planned to have dinner with Christie Friday night.

Along with Christie, plenty of other potential GOP candidates could compete with Bush for the big donors and the high-profile strategists, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and others.

But there are signs Bush – after avoiding a big conservative summit in Des Moines last weekend that Christie attended — is ready to make the foray into the first-in-the-nation caucus state in a big way. Those caucuses are now one year away.

Charlie Szold, communications director of the Iowa Republican Party, told Fox News that Bush has called the chairman of the Iowa GOP, and “indicated he’s interested in playing here in Iowa.”

“I would say, clearly, Governor Bush hiring David Kochel is a good indication he’s interested in Iowa and wants to participate actively in this process,” Szold said. “Kochel has been a good friend to Iowa for many years and we’re excited to have him playing such an important role in a presidential election.”

Bill Whalen, political analyst at the Hoover Institution, said Romney’s exit should send a signal to Bush to get his campaign, if that is what he intends, in full gear.

“I think the lesson for Jeb Bush is to get in early and start staking out positions,” he said. “It’s probably time to stop playing footsie. Start collecting money and support and force the rest of the field to react.”

The conservative base is starting to react, too, said Whalen, who noted that “now there is one less person to beat up and now the focus is on Bush.”

Deace said Romney’s decision not to run “clearly puts a bigger bull’s-eye on [Bush’s] back,” but at the same time, he said, conservatives had hoped that Romney and Bush were going to have to fight it out a bit longer. Right now, there is a herd of potential candidates playing to the conservative base — including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — who would have to wrestle each other for the support of the base come primary time.

Whalen said one shouldn’t count out a “mainstream runoff,” either. “There is a large pool of money in Republican circles… they are looking for the candidate who is the most capable of winning 270 electoral votes,” he said, adding: “While Bush would be the front-runner, he would not be the overwhelming front-runner.”

He said Romney’s exit has created an “opening” for Christie, Rubio and even Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

If Romney’s own words Friday are any indication, he is not banking on Bush either:

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee.”

Fox News’ Lauren Blanchardcontributed to this report.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Why you should care about the measles outbreak–even if you're vaccinated – Fortune

A measles outbreak spreading across the country has sickened 86 people in 14 states, raising fears of an epidemic. But what’s different this time is the high number of adults falling ill –including some who have been vaccinated.

“We’re seeing more adults than we have seen in a typical outbreak,” says Anne Schuchat, director of the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The outbreak originated in Disneyland in December, sickening 11 people last month and another 56 people in January. The others most likely contracted the disease while traveling internationally in areas like Indonesia, India and Dubai.

The median age of infected patients is over 20, and not all of those were part of the anti-vaccination movement, whose adherents deliberately forego vaccines out of fear that they will cause more harm than good. At least six people diagnosed with measles got their measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and all but two of them got the standard two-shot sequence.

This isn’t about measles vaccine effectiveness, which is actually one of the most effective in the world. Two doses provide 97% protection against infection and has been proven safe, says Schuchat. This is about the effect an outbreak has on the wider population when a select group of people remain unvaccinated.

The vast majority of both adults and children infected were unvaccinated–whether for health-related issues, lack of awareness or as part of the anti-vaccination movement. Medical professionals say the ongoing measles outbreak is the inevitable consequence.

Measles is a wildly contagious disease and is still common globally, sickening nearly 20 million people annually. The virus spreads through the air when an infected person breathes, sneezes or coughs. It’s so contagious that if one infected person coughs in a crowded area, 90% of the non-immune people in the vicinity will catch it.

Even with the safest and most effective vaccines, there’s still a “long tail,” meaning that a certain number of people won’t build up the needed antibodies to protect them from the measles.

“If you have really high coverage…you will get some people who are two-dose failures,” Schuchat said.

No one knows the exact reason why. The measles vaccine is a two-shot series. After the first dose, 5% to 7% of people still don’t have sufficient immunity, so a second round helps ensure that enough people reach that protective threshold.

“Then there’s the issue that because of biological variability even people who were vaccinated and clearly protected for one, two, three, four decades, immunity wanes or decreases to the point where they become susceptible,” says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Disease.

That leaves an even higher number of people vulnerable to airborne infection.

If the vaccination rates were high enough to prevent an outbreak, the two-shot failures or those with waning immune systems wouldn’t be at much of a risk. It’s what experts refer to as the “herd immunity.” But the moment vaccination rate falls below 90% or 95%, the disease can find enough hosts to spread.

“When you have only an extremely small proportion of the population vulnerable, herd immunity will protect them,” says Fauci. “When you have a substantial proportion, like the 10%-plus that we’re seeing in certain communities in California, then herd immunity doesn’t work very well.”

That appears to be what happened at Disneyland, where measles took hold in even vaccinated adults. While vaccinations may not fully protect everyone because of a mixed antibody response, it still contributes to increased overall public immunity and prevent these outbreaks before they even start.

“This is not a problem with the measles vaccine not working,” says Schuchat. “This is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used.”

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Mitt Romney Says No to 2016 Presidential Run – ABC News

PHOTO: In this photo taken Dec. 1, 2014, Mitt Romney smiles on the field before an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins in East Rutherford, N.J.

In this photo taken Dec. 1, 2014, Mitt Romney smiles on the field before an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins in East Rutherford, N.J.

AP Photo

Share

Copy

For Mitt Romney, it appears that the third time is not the charm.

On a conference call with supporters on Friday, Romney said he was taking a pass on another White House bid.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney said.

Listen to an audio clip of the call:

[embedded content]

Romney did not endorse any of the numerous potential Republican candidates who have expressed interest in running for president.

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat[ic] nominee,” Romney said. “In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”

Romney has been flirting with another White House run in recent weeks, and looked like he was edging closer to a bid — until today.

“I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again, if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely,” Romney said. “Accordingly, I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team.”

He then essentially released his donors, telling them they were free to support other candidates.

Just Thursday, Team Romney suffered a high-profile defection that agitated members of Romney’s inner circle when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is seriously considering a 2016 run, announced he was signing up David Kochel to oversee his exploratory efforts and ultimately run his campaign.

Kochel is one of the best Republican operatives in the business, based in Iowa, but involved in races across the country. He was a core part of Romney’s 2008 and 2012 teams, but he is also close to Mike Murphy and others in the Bushes’ orbit.

Matt Rhoades, Romney’s 2012 campaign manager, told ABC News: “Mitt Romney is a good man who always does the right thing for his party and our country. Working for him is an experience I will always cherish. I look forward to seeing what new big challenge he tackles next.”

Though the former Republican presidential nominee’s message on the call was clear, he also sounded notes of confidence, asserting that he was “convinced we can win the nomination” and would have enough funding to do so. But he acknowledged, it would be a “difficult task.”

He even said he would have the “best chance” to beat the Democratic nominee, specifically citing the new focus on poverty that he has been talking about in recent speaking appearances.

Nevertheless, Romney told supporters he did not want to make it “more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president.”

He added, “You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country.”

Romney ended the call without taking questions.

Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another potential 2016 contender, will dine together this evening, a source familiar with the plans told ABC News. This news, which was first reported by The New York Times, comes after the recent meeting between Jeb Bush and Romney last week.

Bush was among the first probable Republican White House hopefuls to weigh in on Romney’s announcement.

“Though I’m sure today’s decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America’s promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense,” Bush said in a statement. “Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said of Romney: “He certainly earned the right to consider running, so I deeply respect his decision to give the next generation a chance to lead.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., noted: “I hope to work together with him to grow our party and lead our country forward.”

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Jurors in Aaron Hernandez trial can watch Super Bowl – Boston Globe

FALL RIVER — Jurors in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez are allowed to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, but Judge E. Susan Garsh urged them to be “vigilant” and remove themselves from any discussions about the case, if it comes up during the game.

The admonition came after testimony ended on the second day of the trial in Bristol Superior Court, where Hernandez is facing accusations that he killed Odin L. Lloyd, 27, in June 2013.

Ursula Ward, Lloyd’s mother, was overcome with emotion and had to leave the courtroom when graphic photos of her son’s fatal gunshot wounds were shown to jurors.

Ward broke down as North Attleborough Fire Captain John White Jr. identified the wounds.

Garsh instructed jurors that they should only consider the photos for evidentiary purposes. “Please put aside any emotion or sympathy,” she said.

Also Friday, Shaneah Jenkins, Lloyd’s girlfriend and the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, testifed that Lloyd and Hernandez were at “the beginning stages of a friendship” at the time of Lloyd’s slaying.

She made brief eye contact with Hernandez when prosecutor Bill McCauley asked her to identify him. “He’s right there,” she said. “He’s wearing a black suit with what looks like a blueish tie and a white shirt.”

Hernandez kept a steady focus on Shaneah during her testimony. Her sister Shayanna was not in the courtroom.

Shaneah Jenkins, a second-year criminal law student at New England Law Boston, said Hernandez and Lloyd sometimes smoked marijuana together in Hernandez’s basement, which she described as the athlete’s “man cave,” complete with a home theater, bar, pool table, and fitness area.

With a quiet, somber demeanor, Jenkins identified photos of the basement that were placed on a courtroom monitor, including one image of a pool table with a large Patriots logo in the center.

Jenkins said she and Lloyd began dating in March 2012, after she met him at a Comfort Inn she worked at in Connecticut. Lloyd regularly stayed there at the time. She later graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a criminology degree and began planning to attend law school in the Boston area.

Once Hernandez and Lloyd became friends, Jenkins said, they supplied each other with marijuana. She testified that sometimes when she picked Lloyd up in Dorchester, they drove a short distance to a house where Lloyd obtained marijuana that he took with him to North Attleborough.

Victim’s girlfriend says Hernandez used marijuana with her boyfriend

On one occasion shortly before his death, Jenkins said, Lloyd showed her a picture on his phone of a stack of joints that he had rolled. But normally, he rolled just one joint at a time, Shaneah testified.

She also gave a detailed description of the security cameras inside and outside Hernandez’s residence, as well as a “goldish-brownish” vehicle that never moved from a parking spot in his main garage.

Jenkins will resume testifying on Monday.

Testimony earlier in the day centered around the discovery of Lloyd’s body in a North Attleborough industrial park in June 2013.

David Swithers, a business owner in the industrial park, testified that he found Lloyd’s body “stiff and motionless.”

Swithers also testified that he had never seen anyone previously in the area where Lloyd’s body was found, though he conceded under cross-examination from defense lawyer Charlie Rankin that he told police days after the murder that he had heard people would jog and walk through the area.

He also told Rankin that he could not recall telling police that one of his workers had mentioned seeing a black SUV in the area on the morning that Lloyd’s body was found. Rankin told him that the anecdote was in Swithers’s initial audio interview with police. Swithers conceded the point.

William Anthony Cambio, 30, of Providence, who works for Swithers, testified that he was notified of the body by teenager Matthew Kent. Kent, who found the body while out for a training run, testified about his discovery Thursday.

Cambio said he, Swithers, and Kent went to see what Kent had found. “I saw a guy laying down,” he said. “He appeared very still, and it appeared that he was dead.”

The 25-year-old Hernandez is being tried for first-degree murder and other charges in the death of Lloyd, whose body was found June 17, 2013. Two of Hernandez’s friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, are also charged with murder in the slaying.

The trial began with opening statements Thursday and testimony from Kent and the owner of the lawn and tree care business where Lloyd worked.

The high-profile legal showdown comes as Hernandez’s former teammates are slated to play in the Super Bowl on Sunday. Hernandez played in the Patriots’ last Super Bowl appearance three years ago.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

ISIS launches attack on oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk – CNN

Story highlights

  • U.S. military says chemical weapons expert killed in airstrike near Mosul last week
  • Officials: Iraqi forces fend off ISIS fighters in Ramadi
  • Militants have taken over an area southwest of the city of Kirkuk

For months, ISIS has been facing off with the Peshmerga — armed fighters who protect Iraqi Kurdistan — to the west of Kirkuk. It had gone into areas on Kirkuk’s outskirts, but not the central city.

Until now, apparently.

Heavily armed militants attacked an abandoned hotel in central Kirkuk that local police had used as their headquarters.

ISIS launches assault on Iraqi city of Kirkuk 02:27
PLAY VIDEO

Peshmerga and Kurdish anti-terror units later raided the hotel, wresting control of it from the militants and killing three of them, according to Peshmerga sources. In addition, two suicide bombers detonated themselves in an attempt to keep the Kurdish forces out.

Also Friday, ISIS militants took over Maktab Khalid, an area about 12 miles southwest of Kirkuk, after heavy clashes with the Peshmerga.

Among those killed was Brig. Gen. Shirko Fateh, the highest-ranking operational commander of the Peshmerga brigade located in Kirkuk.

Photos posted by ISIS purportedly show the group’s militants in control of parts of south and southwest Kirkuk, burning tents that had been used by Peshmerga troops.

Oil reserves make Kirkuk a big prize

Kirkuk is a strategically important city in the months-long fight, one that has pitted ISIS against the Peshmerga, Iraqi government troops and an international coalition that has carried out airstrikes against the terrorist group.

Kirkuk, in northeast Iraq, is located on top of some of the country's largest oil reserves.

Kirkuk, in northeast Iraq, is located on top of some of the country's largest oil reserves.

EXPAND IMAGE

It is one of the few notable cities — apart from the region of Kurdistan and its capital, Irbil — in northern Iraq that haven’t fallen to ISIS. Part of its significance stems from the fact its oil reserves are almost as much as those in southern Iraq.

The Kurds and the central Iraqi government in Baghdad have long wrangled over control of those reserves, with each side wanting to keep hold of them. ISIS, which relies heavily on revenue from oil smuggling to fund its operations, has been coveting them, too.

Peshmerga forces took over the Kirkuk area in June when the Iraqi army crumbled in the face of ISIS’ advances and have played a vital role in defending it from ISIS since.

In December, ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb attack there that killed at least 17 people and injured more than 20. The attack, according to ISIS, was meant to send a message to the Kurdish people and Peshmerga fighters.

Peshmerga progress

Still, Kirkuk is hardly the only place that has seen recent fighting — which may be part of ISIS’ rationale for Friday’s attack there.

The group has been fending off an offensive from Peshmerga fighters around Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and a focal point for all sides in the conflict, that has left the Sunni extremist group on its heels.

The city of 1.5 million people on the Tigris River has been held by ISIS since June. ISIS has invested heavily in governing the city. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, pronounced his leadership of the caliphate at the Grand Mosque there in July.

Kurdish officials say that as long as ISIS holds Mosul, it threatens Kurdistan. Likewise, neither the government in Baghdad nor its coalition partners can rest while terrorists occupy Iraq’s second-largest city.

Peshmerga forces have made steady progress against ISIS north and west of Mosul over the past two months.

They have taken some 3,000 square kilometers (1,160 square miles) of the Sinjar area, as well as the area around the Mosul Dam, choking off access routes and threatening ISIS’ main resupply routes.

The U.S. military said Friday that an ISIS chemical weapons expert was killed during a coalition strike late last week.

Abu Malik worked in Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons program before joining al Qaeda in 2005, U.S. Central Command said.

He was killed January 24 near Mosul.

“His death is expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish (ISIS’) ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons against innocent people,” the military said.

Officials: Iraqi forces fend off Ramadi attack

There’s little doubt, though, that ISIS remains a very real force, and threat, in much of Iraq.

The group, which calls itself the Islamic State, still controls a vast swath of that Middle Eastern nation and neighboring Syria. Its goal is to have a vast caliphate under its strict version of Sharia law, with its followers proving they will stop at nothing — having been blamed for the large-scale killings of civilians, mass kidnappings and forcing women and girls to become sex slaves — during its quest.

That violent campaign continued Friday, and not just in Kirkuk.

Dozens of gunmen believed to be from ISIS faced off Friday morning about 175 miles (285 kilometers) away in central Ramadi, police and health officials in that city said.

Several hours later, that onslaught had been foiled and 20 gunmen were dead, according to the officials.

Elsewhere in Ramadi, a suicide car bomb explosion at an Iraqi army checkpoint killed one soldier and wounded six others.

Violence flared in other parts of Iraq as well that, while it hasn’t been tied to ISIS, is further proof of the country’s unsettled state.

Six explosions went off Friday around Baghdad, leaving at least seven dead and 23 wounded, according to police officials.

The deadliest such blast was in Bab Al Sharji, a busy commercial area in central Baghdad, leaving three dead and 10 hurt.

Hope fades for ISIS captives as deadline passes

CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh reported from Amman and Yousuf Basil from Atlanta, while Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London. CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq, Greg Botelho, Tim Lister and Frederik Pleitgen contributed to this report.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Wall Street wasn't ready for another Mitt Romney campaign – CNN

Story highlights

  • Private equity could be back in the spotlight if Mitt Romney runs for president
  • Industry took a beating when Romney ran in 2012

The corridors of high finance were the target of intense hostility during Romney’s last presidential run. President Barack Obama’s campaign successfully seized on the former Massachusetts governor’s time at private equity firm Bain Capital to paint a picture of an industry that destroys middle-class jobs while wealthy executives reap generous profits — often taxed at lower rates.

Romney looks like a candidate 00:57
PLAY VIDEO

Financial executives remember the attacks in 2012 all too well and, faced with the possibility of another Romney campaign, are wary of another round of negative attention.

“His formal entry will shine brighter light on some of the issues in the industry that people in the industry would rather not have a bright light on,” said Jonathan Foster, managing director of the New York-based private equity firm Current Capital.

Romney told supporters Friday he won’t embark on another campaign.

READ: Romney talks minority outreach

The Private Equity Growth Capital Council, a Washington trade group that spearheaded a campaign in 2012 to improve understanding about the industry, stood ready to beat back criticism if Romney went back on the campaign trail.

PEGCC is “prepared to engage and counter any mischaracterizations and attacks from the right or the left that could undermine the reputation of the private equity industry,” Ken Spain, the group’s vice president of public affairs, said in an email before Romney’s Friday announcement.

Romney may decide on ’16 in two weeks 01:00
PLAY VIDEO

Romney faced widespread skepticism from plenty of fellow Republicans who questioned his conservatism and ability to bond with voters. Everyone from News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch to rank-and-file GOP members of Congress threw cold water on the idea of a third Romney campaign.

That would have made make finance — where Romney spent decades of his professional life — even more important as he sought political and financial support. In a sign of the industry’s significance, Romney made one of his first significant public acknowledgments that he is seriously considering another campaign to GOP donors in New York this month.

If Romney ran again, the spotlight would have again shone most brightly on the private equity sector, which acquires companies and restructures them with the end goal of turning a profit.

READ: Chelsea Clinton, Romneys to attend same Manhattan lunch

Scott Meadow, a private equity investor who has done business with the former governor, said one of the biggest challenges in 2012 was to get the media to portray fairly the kind of work that PE does and the range of organizations, such as pension funds and endowments, the industry supports.

“It really felt like it was not in the interest by the press to get out — to really explain what the idiosyncrasies are and benefits are to private equity,” Meadow said, adding that there’s a prevailing sense among PE executives that it’s “a waste to go forward trying to defend the industry.”

But there’s no sign that the climate for Romney has improved since 2012. The wealth he accumulated during his years as a PE executive will still be scrutinized, as issues like income inequality and raising the minimum wage have become even more politically potent.

Romney, Bush meet in Utah 01:47
PLAY VIDEO

The midterm elections in November demonstrated that private equity — which had already become a better-known household phrase thanks to the 2012 elections — remains a rich target for criticism. In several key statewide races across the country, politicians with PE backgrounds, including gubernatorial candidates Bruce Rauner in Illinois and Tom Foley in Connecticut, were targeted by their opponents for their work in private equity as well as their massive wealth.

Rauner won his race, while Foley and other PE candidates, such as Senate hopeful Greg Orman in Kansas, were defeated.

“His opponent basically trashed the hell out of him and trashed the hell out of the fact that … companies that he invested in killed old people or something like that,” said Bill Daley, Obama’s former chief of staff, who served as an adviser on Rauner’s transition team. “Those sort of stories are tailor-made out of the private equity industry.”

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

How the Dow Jones Industrial Average Fared Friday – ABC News

Associated Press

Major U.S. stock indexes closed lower Friday, their third decline for the week.

The government reported that the U.S. economy grew at a slower pace than expected in the final quarter of 2014 even as wages rose.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 251.90 points, or 1.5 percent, to 17,164.95.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 26.26 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,994.99.

The Nasdaq composite lost 48.17 points, or 1 percent, to 4,635.24.

For the week:

The Dow is down 507.65 points, or 2.9 percent.

The S&P 500 index is down 56.83 points, or 2.8 percent.

The Nasdaq is down 122.64 points, or 2.6 percent.

For the year:

The Dow is down 658.12 points, or 3.7 percent.

The S&P 500 index is down 63.91 points, or 3.1 percent.

The Nasdaq is down 100.82 points, or 2.1 percent.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Market Wrap: Stocks End Month Down; Shake Shack Shares Rally – DailyFinance

US Markets Look To Extend Gains After Losses Earlier In WeekSpencer Platt/Getty ImagesBy Sinead Carew

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks ended lower Friday after a volatile session as investors worried about weak U.S. growth data and whether instability in Europe could hurt corporate earnings in the United States, at the end of a rough month for the market

U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter as weak business spending and a wider trade deficit offset the fastest pace of consumer spending since 2006.

This came after Greece’s finance minister said the government wouldn’t cooperate with the European Union and International Monetary Fund mission.

It feels like a flight-to-safety trade on a month-end. People are putting money into assets that have done well this month.

A brief afternoon rally from rising oil prices failed to stick as investors, nervous about U.S. and global economies, fled to bonds from equities and even sold off utilities stocks, the worst performing sector on the day.

“It feels like a flight-to-safety trade on a month-end. People are putting money into assets that have done well this month,” said Peter Coleman, head trader at ConvergEx Group in New York, who said Friday was a good reflection of the month.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 251.9 points, or 1.45 percent, to 17,164.95, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) lost 26.26 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,994.99 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 48.17 points, or 1.03 percent, to 4,635.24.

The S&P energy sector was the only one to finish higher Friday with a 0.74 percent increase after falling as much as 1.5 percent earlier in the session. It rebounded when crude futures rose 8 percent after a survey showed the biggest decline since 1987 in the number of rigs drilling for U.S. oil.

For the week, the Dow and S&P were each down 2.8 percent, and the Nasdaq fell 2.6 percent. For January, the Dow was down 3.6 percent and the Nasdaq was off 2.1 percent.

The S&P fell 3.1 percent in January, which was its biggest monthly loss since January 2014 and its first back-to-back monthly decline since April-May 2012.

Consumer Continue to Spend

Consumer spending was a bright spot as data showed U.S. consumer sentiment rose in January to its highest in 11 years on better job and wage prospects.

That confidence appeared to be reflected in some corporate results. Amazon.com (AMZN) shares jumped 13.7 percent after earnings beat Wall Street expectations on strong holiday season sales.

“Winners are being rewarded, whereas the market has really no tolerance for anything that comes up short,” said Randy Bateman, chief investment officer of Huntington Asset Management in Columbus, Ohio.

In contrast to the broader market, shares of burger restaurant Shake Shack rose more than 118.6 percent in their market debut.

About 8.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, well above the almost 7 billion average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets.

NYSE declining issues outnumbered advancers 2,107 to 991, for a 2.13-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 2,040 issues fell and 691 advanced, for a 2.95-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and 15 lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 43 new highs and 86 new lows.

With additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos and Ryan Vlastelica.

What to watch Monday:

  • The Commerce Department releases personal income and spending for December at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • At 10 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for January, and the Commerce Department releases construction spending for December.

These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results:

  • 1-800-Flowers.com (FLWS)
  • Anadarko Petroleum (APC)
  • Exxon Mobil (XOM)
  • Lennox International (LII)
  • Pitney Bowes Inc. (PBI)
  • Rent-A-Center (RCII)
  • Sysco (SYY)
  • Children watch what you do, and they learn by example. Without getting into too much detail, show them how you handle your money so they can see the way it should be done. When you plan the family vacation, share with them how you’re deciding where to go based on what you can afford. When it’s time to go school clothes shopping, explain how you can buy them one just really expensive pair of sneakers or the cheaper pair plus other stuff like that cool new backpack.

    1. Explain your spending decisions

  • We live in a world where we expect things can make us happy. Help your kids understand that experiences — seeing the world, exploring and learning, spending time with loved ones — are so much more important than any stuff could be. Nurture their creativity. Feed their curiosity. Make their lives rich with experience, and they’ll learn to be content no matter how much money they have.

    2. Emphasize experiences over things

  • You don’t need to break the bank to have a good time. Help your kids understand that a frugal life doesn’t have to be a boring life by choosing entertainment options that are high in fun but low in cost. It costs nothing to walk through a local park and plan a nature treasure hunt. It costs nothing to give your kids a trunk full of your old clothes and makeup and let them play dress-up. It costs nothing to set up a tent in the backyard and let them “camp out” for the night. Focus on fun that’s creative, interactive, and physical. Your kids will learn you don’t need to spend a ton of money to have a good time.

    ​3. Show them how to have fun on the cheap

  • Making your kids work, in exchange for money, helps them understand that money “doesn’t grow on trees” and that Mom and Dad aren’t their personal ATM. Budgeting their allowance also teaches the importance of good stewardship of their money; when they know they’ve only got so many dollars for the week, they’re more likely to think twice about whether that candy bar or comic book is really worth purchasing. They also learn to make tradeoffs: they can afford either the comic book or the candy bar, but not both.

    4. Give them an allowance

  • When you give your kids their allowance each week, help them divide it into three jars: One for spending money, which they can use right now on anything they want, one for savings, which means putting it aside for things they’ll want in the future, and one for giving to a cause of their choice, like animals, the environment, or childhood cancer. Help your children develop the habit of saving for a goal, such as a big toy, a trip to Chuck E. Cheese or a new video game. This will help them learn delayed gratification and the importance of putting money aside.

    5. Instill a savings habit

  • Frugality isn’t about saying “no” all the time; it’s about making the most of the money you’ve got. Help your kids understand this by turning it into a fun game. When you go grocery shopping, challenge them to find the cereal that’s the least expensive. When it’s time to plan their birthday party, tell them you’re willing to spend so many dollars and work with them to plan a fun bash within that budget.

    6. Make it a game

  • Kids love helping out with grownup tasks. If you’re fixing the pipes under the sink, ask your child to hand you tools and explain what you’re doing as you work. If you’re washing the car, let them lend a hand. If you’re planting a veggie garden, ask them to pull weeds or water the plants. Use these moments to teach them the value of fixing things yourself and putting in a little elbow grease. And if your child is extra-helpful, give them a bonus –- and help them put that money into the savings jar.

    7. Invite them to DIY

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle. We live in a throwaway society where we’re always looking for the newest gadget and tossing things in the trash the instant they show a sign of wear. Teach your kids the value of making things last and reducing waste by doing things like mending clothes when they rip and turning old milk cartons and egg containers into arts and crafts.

    8. Practice the 3 R’s of adult life

  • Help your kids to understand the gimmicks and false promises advertisers use to try to entice you into buying their products. Once they understand how advertising ropes us in, they’ll be less susceptible to ads and marketing.

    9. Debunk advertising

  • Every kid has said, at one point or another, that they “really need” something because all their friends have it, or they saw it on TV, or any number of other reasons. Gently correct your child when they use this language and explain the difference between something you really, truly need and something you merely want. Help them to understand that money should first be spent on needs, and that you can’t expect to get everything that you want.

    10. Explain the difference between needs and wants

  • More from Paula Pant

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Ex-NFL star Hernandez, alleged victim had nascent friendship: witness – Reuters

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez looks on during his trial in Fall River, Massachusetts, January 29, 2015. Hernandez is accused of murdering semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. REUTERS/Steven Senne/Pool

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez looks on during his trial in Fall River, Massachusetts, January 29, 2015. Hernandez is accused of murdering semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.

Credit: Reuters/Steven Senne/Pool


(Reuters) – A semiprofessional football player found dead in an industrial park near former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez’s home in 2013 was in the “early stages of friendship” with the rising NFL star, the dead man’s girlfriend said on Friday.

But Shaneah Jenkins, also the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée, said she did not remember her late boyfriend, Odin Lloyd, having phone conversations with Hernandez, who has been charged with his murder. Defense attorneys contend the two men were friends.

The testimony at Massachusetts Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, came during the first of two murder trials Hernandez faces this year. He also has been accused of killing two men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012 following a dispute over a spilled drink.

Prosecutors on Friday showed graphic photos of Lloyd’s body as it was found by a jogger in an industrial park near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home on June 17, 2013. Authorities have said he was shot six times.

The images of Lloyd’s body, sprawled on the ground in a bloodstained shirt, prompted Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, to begin sobbing and leave the courtroom.

Jenkins, 23, said she and Lloyd had visited the house in North Attleborough where her sister, Shayanna, lived with Hernandez and their baby.

Asked to characterize the relationship between Hernandez and Lloyd, Jenkins said they were in “the beginning stages of a friendship” and were “cordial.”

“From what I’m aware of, they were only together when my sister and I were present,” said Jenkins.

She said the two would “hang out and smoke” marijuana in Hernandez’s basement, where the former National Football League star had a “man cave” with a pool table and a bar.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Investigators have not recovered the gun they say was used to murder Lloyd, 27.

Prosecutors have argued that Hernandez and two friends, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, picked up Lloyd at his home in Boston in the early hours of June 17, 2013, and later drove him to the industrial park where his body was found.

Wallace and Ortiz also have been charged in connection with Lloyd’s slaying and will be tried separately.

(Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Scott Malone, Mohammad Zargham and Eric Beech)

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Judge to Aaron Hernandez jury: Enjoy Super Bowl but be vigilant – CNN

Story highlights

  • Judge closes Day Two of Aaron Hernandez murder trial with a warning
  • Odin Lloyd’s girlfriend testifies that victim and Hernandez were not close
  • Former New England Patriots tight end has pleaded not guilty in the death of Lloyd

That is the dilemma for 12 jurors and six alternates in the Massachusetts murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez when the region’s beloved Patriots play in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday.

On a day in which the girlfriend of victim Odin Lloyd took the stand and Lloyd’s mother again left the courtroom in tears, Bristol County Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh on Friday had a warning for the jury.

“I am not going to forbid you from watching the Super Bowl if that’s something that’s really important to you,” she said.

But the judge closed the second day of testimony by advising jurors to be vigilant for mention of Hernandez, who helped lead the Patriots to Super Bowl XLVI nearly three years ago.

“You hear that word, you’ve got to walk out of the room,” Garsh said. “Distance yourself.”

Hernandez will not be watching his former team. He’s incarcerated in a high security unit where prisoners are forbidden from watching TV.

Hernandez, 25, pleaded not guilty in the 2013 killing of Lloyd, 27, who dated the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée.

Two alleged accomplices, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, have pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately.

As she did one day earlier, Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, walked out of the courtroom sobbing as prosecutors showed the jury graphic photos of her son’s body.

Lloyd, who was shot six times, was shown lying on his back in the industrial park where his body was found.

Later Friday, Shaneah Jenkins, 23, who was dating Lloyd at the time of his death, took the witness stand. Her sister, Shayanna, is Hernandez’s fiancee and mother of his child.

Shaneah Jenkins testified that she introduced Lloyd to Hernandez on her birthday in August 2012.

Jenkins told the jury that Lloyd and Hernandez were in the “beginning stages of a friendship.”

She said the two men and others would gather in Hernandez’s basement “man cave” — with fitness and theater rooms, a bar and pool table emblazoned with the Patriots’ logo — to smoke marijuana.

But Jenkins said she was not aware of her boyfriend and Hernandez hanging out except for the day Lloyd was killed.

In opening statements Thursday, defense lawyer Michael Fee said the two men were close friends and that Hernandez had no reason to kill Lloyd.

Evidence destroyed

Fee described the victim as one of his client’s “partying pals” who was known as the “blunt master” for the marijuana cigars he often procured for Hernandez. The two men could have been brothers-in-law, he said.

“Aaron Hernandez is not the murderer of his friend,” Fee said. “In June 2013, Aaron Hernandez was planning his future, not a murder.”

The case has divided the Jenkins sisters, who sit on opposite sides of the courtroom — Shaneah with Lloyd’s mother and Shayanna with Hernandez’s family. Shayanna was not in court Friday.

Other witnesses Friday described how Lloyd’s body was found near Hernandez’s house. One man said he saw the victim on his back, stiff and motionless, with “flies flying in and out of his nose.”

In the front row, Lloyd’s mother wept.

On Thursday, prosecutor Patrick Bomberg said Hernandez not only orchestrated, but also participated in and covered up the killing.

Bomberg summed up the prosecution’s largely circumstantial case, telling the jury that Hernandez and his associates killed Lloyd and then “took evidence with them and tried to and, in some cases were successful, in destroying evidence.”

The three picked up Lloyd and drove to a secluded area where he was shot and killed, Bomberg said.

A marijuana blunt found near Lloyd’s body had traces of both his DNA and that of Hernandez, Bomberg said. Hernandez’s DNA also was found on a .45-caliber shell casing found in a car he had rented.

A footprint at the industrial park where Lloyd’s body was found matched sneakers worn by Hernandez, the prosecutor said.

‘Never had a chance’

Though the motive for the killing is unclear, Bomberg said Lloyd and Hernandez were at a nightclub days before and the defendant appeared annoyed. Hernandez was angry when he left the club.

The defense said the one-time NFL star worth $40 million was targeted by police and prosecutors in the death of the semipro football player because of celebrity status.

Hernandez “never had a chance” as authorities zeroed in, Fee told the jury.

Fee sought to plant doubt in the jury, saying police went after Hernandez from the start.

“As soon as they found out Aaron Hernandez — a celebrity football player for the New England Patriots — was a friend of Odin Lloyd’s, it was over,” he said.

The prosecution will try to “dazzle and distract you” with the fruits of an investigation that was “sloppy and unprofessional,” Fee said.

The case against his client is “just a story and it’s not true,” he added.

The prosecutors will argue that Lloyd’s killing was a “joint venture.” Under Massachusetts state law, prosecutors don’t necessarily have to prove who pulled the trigger. Under joint venture, anyone who actively participates in a killing can be found guilty, according to legal experts.

On June 16, 2013, Lloyd was riding with friends in a black Chevrolet Suburban, which police later learned was rented by Hernandez.

Close friend Daryl Hodge was with Lloyd when he said Lloyd got a text from Hernandez, asking to hang out later that night.

Former NFL player charged with murder 02:51
PLAY VIDEO

As they parted ways, Lloyd told Hodge he’d see him later.

Lloyd’s body was found the next day.

The judge has blocked any mention that Hernandez was indicted in connection with two other killings in Boston. Hernandez pleaded not guilty in the shooting deaths of Ernesto Abreu and Safiro Furtado outside a bar in Boston in 2012. A trial date hasn’t been set.

CNN’s Susan Candiotti and Laura Dolan contributed to this report.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.