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Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.
 

Putin “probably approved” London murder of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, British judge says – developing
 
Quick News
  • Monster storm heads to Northeast
  • Obama says he has Flint’s back
  • Flint water emails: “Political football”
  • Obama touts auto recovery, knocks GOP
  • Trump: Cruz “nasty guy”
  • Senate Democrats block Syrian refugee bill
  • AG Lynch on defense over guns
 
Monster Storm Heads to Northeast (Accuweather, me)
• A major snowstorm will hit areas from Philadelphia to Boston with heavy snow Friday and could immobilize areas from Washington DC to the southern Appalachians with blizzard conditions by the weekend. The storm will bring significant snow to more than 50 million people and could bring traffic to a standstill in part of the mid-Atlantic states
 
• As the storm strengthens, winds will increase as snowfall rates ramp up. An all-out blizzard will unfold in some areas. Whiteout conditions will occur in several states. The storm is likely to shut down some highways and could cause some airports to close. Delta has already announced some travel waivers (um – my power will prob go out in the first five minutes…)
 
• The storm is expected to extend along a 1,000 mile path from near the Mississippi River to Cape Cod, Mass. It will begin in parts of the South and Ohio Valley on Friday and will expand slowly northeastward over the mid-Atlantic and southern New England during Friday night and Saturday, before exiting southeastern New England on Sunday
 
• Gusty winds and the clinging nature of the snow can bring down tree limbs and cause sporadic power outages. The worst conditions will be from southwestern Virginia and the West Virginia mountains to northern Maryland and some Pennsylvania, where a blizzard is in store. (oh great) 1-2 feet of snow will fall, with accumulations in some areas between 2 and 3 feet

• Stock markets in Asia have suffered further losses today, one day after global turmoil saw billions of dollars wiped off the value of shares. Japan’s Nikkei index closed more than 2% lower. Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed 1.6% lower after a volatile trading day. All eyes are on Wall Street for the opening bell this morning (BBC, me)

 

Obama Says He Has Flint’s Back (NYT, Reuters, AP, me)
• Speaking in Detroit on Wednesday, President Obama said that he “would be beside myself” if he were a parent in Flint, Mich, which has lead contaminated water. Obama said that in a WH meeting with Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, on Tuesday, “I told her that we are going to have her back, and all of the people of Flint’s back, as they work through this terrible tragedy.”
 
• Gov Rick Snyder (R-Mich) asked Obama on Wednesday to reconsider his denial of a federal disaster declaration to address the drinking water crisis, saying its severity poses an “imminent and long-term threat” to residents. Obama declared an emergency but determined that it’s not a disaster because it was man-made and not natural
 
• Facing protests, lawsuits and calls for his resignation, Snyder apologized to the city’s residents on Tuesday and called for the state to spend $28 million on initial fixes. The Michigan House on Wednesday approved his request; the measure now moves to the Senate (Snyder would like to blame Obama if he doesn’t declare it a federal disaster)
 
• Flint, financially strapped and under a state-appointed emergency manager, switched to Flint River water in April 2014 from a Detroit-run water system, to save money. Complaints about the water quickly began. But Flint didn’t return to Detroit water until October 2015 after tests showed elevated levels of lead, which can cause brain damage, in the water and some children
 
• Corrosive water from the river, known locally as a dumping ground, caused more lead to leach from Flint pipes than Detroit water did. The EPA has come under fire for its slow handling of the crisis, and agency head Gina McCarthy is scheduled today to brief congressional staffers about the Flint contamination (read NYT for great details of lame mismanagement by all)

 

• Read Gov Rick Snyder’s emails relating to the Flint water crisis – note – most of the emails released are to Snyder, and not from him (NYT)

 

Flint Water Emails: “Political Football” (NYT, Time, Detroit Free Press, me)
• Michigan Gov Rick Snyder’s (R) former chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, referred to people raising questions about the quality of Flint’s water as an “anti-everything group.” Other critics were accused of turning complaints about water into a “political football.” It took months of complaints for officials to concede that Flint was in the midst of a public health emergency
 
• Muchmore told Snyder that “some in Flint” are turning the situation into a “political football” to try to “shift responsibility to the state.” “I can’t figure out why the state is responsible except that Dillon
[then state treasurer Andy Dillon] did make the ultimate decision so we’re not able to avoid the subject.” (er – a clue? – as Flint and its people were utterly powerless)
 
• The messages show that from the moment Flint decided to draw its water from a new source, the Flint River, officials were discounting concerns about its quality and celebrating a change meant to save the cash-starved city millions of dollars. Flint was in state receivership, its finances controlled by a succession of four emergency managers appointed by Snyder’s admin
 
• The mood grew less upbeat as time went on. People talked about smells and rashes. Residents carried jugs of brownish water to meetings. One state legislator warned the governor in a letter that his constituents were “on the verge of civil unrest.”
 

• Within months of the switch, a GE engine plant in Flint found that the city’s water had corroded parts, and stopped using it. A hospital saw that water was damaging its instruments, and stepped up its own filtering and use of bottled water, as did a local university (but still, the state thought the water was OK for the poor residents)

 

Obama Touts Auto Recovery, Knocks GOP (Hill, me)
• President Obama on Wednesday knocked the Republican candidates vying to replace him next year for being “dead set” against bailing out the U.S. auto industry in 2008 and 2009. “Remember…these are the same folks that would’ve let this industry go under,” he said during a speech to the United Auto Workers union in Detroit
 
• Obama spoke after visiting the North American International Auto Show in an effort to tout the U.S. auto industry’s turnaround under his watch. “They said it was going to be a ‘disaster,’ he said. ‘They’ll run it into the ground.’ Those are quotes by the way. I’m not making that up. Look it up.”
 
• The auto bailouts began in 2008 under former President George W. Bush, but the Obama admin placed conditions on the assistance in 2009, including the removal of GM’s general manager. “When I hear, today, some of these folks running for president, who can’t bring themselves to admit what you guys have accomplished, I don’t want you to take that seriously.”
 

• The industry, as well as the admin’s highway safety regulators, are under fire after widespread recalls at companies including GM and airbag manufacturer Takata.The Transportation Dept said last week it has reached a “historic” agreement with U.S. automakers on a set of principles for safety improvements after the spike in recalls (nobody looks good)

 

• SecDef Ash Carter said in Paris Wednesday that defense ministers from France and five other nations have agreed to intensify the campaign against ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq, and that there was broad agreement on a coordinated plan to take back the cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria from the militants (AP)
 
 
Trump: Cruz “Nasty Guy” (Hill, WaPo, Hill, Politico, me)
• GOP 2016er Donald Trump said in a sometimes agitated interview with CNN’s Don Lemon Wed night that “everybody dislikes” Ted Cruz. “I mean, he’s a nasty guy that everybody dislikes him. You’re going to have to make deals, you’re going to have to get these senators and congressmen and all of these people, you have to cajole them. … You gotta make deals.”
 
• Cruz, in New Hampshire, said: “Mr Trump said that they should support him, because — he said — ”Ted won’t go along to get along. He won’t make deals with the Democrats.’ Well, I don’t think there are a lot of Republicans who think the problem with Republican leadership is that they won’t make deals with the Democrats.” (Trump’s people, anyway – and Cruz’s)
 
• Trump said he urged Sarah Palin to reference her son Track’s recent domestic violence charge at his rally Wed as a way to prompt dialogue about military trauma. “I thought it was good for many other sons and daughters coming back from the Middle East where they have traumatic problems, and I suggested it.” (wonder if that’s entirely the case)
 
• Palin, campaigning with Trump, seized a chance to blame her son’s arrest on President Obama. Track, 26, was arrested Monday in a domestic violence case in which his girlfriend told police she was afraid he would shoot himself with a rifle. He was charged with assault, interfering with the report of a crime and possessing a weapon while intoxicated
 
• “They come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to this country. And that starts from the top,” Palin said (so, Palin, all about self-reliance and taking responsibility for yourself, all your actions – it’s different for her children)

 

• The solar system may host a ninth planet – dubbed “Planet Nine” (lame name) – that’s about 10 times bigger than Earth and orbiting far beyond Neptune (not you, Pluto – little loser), according to research published Wednesday. Also, computer simulations predicted the location of other objects beyond Neptune – (mind blowing) (Reuters, me)

Senate Democrats Block Syrian Refugee Bill (Hill, Politico, me)

• Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked, 55-43, legislation from the House that would “pause” the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the U.S. until the Obama admin certifies that they aren’t a national security threat. The two sides just couldn’t agree on how to proceed. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk
 
• The vote came after Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) sought votes on a handful of amendments, including one on Donald Trump’s push to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) called the effort “ridiculous” and said Democrats were “bringing the circus to town on the floor of the Senate.” (Trump a circus?)
 
• Democrats fired back. “When we offer them a chance to vote on another statement by Republican presidential nominee Mr Trump … they run like scalded cats,” Sen Dick Durbin (D-Ill) said. 2016er Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) missed the vote as did Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
 
• Reid had laid out the strategy in a floor speech. “Republican leaders, including the speaker and the Republican leader, have pledged loyalty to Donald Trump and his disgraceful policies. … Republicans who support these illogical plans should be prepared for the next logical step: voting on his vision of America.” (are you kidding me? in an election year?)

 

• The Obama admin will announce as early as today its plan to introduce new visa requirements for European travelers who are dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, or who have visited any of these countries in the last five years – designed to make it harder for Europeans who have fought for ISIS to enter the U.S. (AP)

 

AG Lynch on Defense Over Guns (Hill, AP, Reuters, me)
• AG Loretta Lynch defended President Obama’s recent executive actions on guns Wednesday before the GOP-led Senate Appropriations subcommittee on commerce in the face of fierce Republican criticism. “I have complete confidence that the common sense steps announced by the president are lawful,” Lynch said
 
• President Obama earlier this month unveiled a series of executive actions on gun control. Among other things, they will expand the number of firearms dealers who must conduct background checks and require dealers to report stolen guns. “Let me be clear: The Second Amendment is not a suggestion,” chair Sen Richard Shelby (R-Ala) warned Lynch
 
• “It’s clear to me that the American people are fearful that President Obama is eager to strip them of their Second Amendment rights,” Shelby said. “The department is on notice: This subcommittee will have no part is undermining he Constitution and the rights that it protects.”
 
• “The Gun Control Act lists the people who are not allowed to have firearms, such as felons, domestic abusers and others,” Lynch said. “Congress has also required that background checks be conducted as part of sales made by federally licensed firearms dealers to make sure guns stay out of the wrong hands.”

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___________________
Victoria Jones – Editor

Talk Media News provides breaking news coverage of domestic and world news to more than 400 radio stations across the United States.