TRNS News Notes is brought to you by Victoria Jones. Victoria Jones is the Chief White House correspondent and global analyst of the Washington DC based Talk Radio News Service, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

News Notes will be off tomorrow, Wednesday, for Veterans Day. We’ll be back on Thursday, 12 November

 

News Now
  • Missouri president, chancellor resign
  • Court keeps block on Obama’s immigration plan
  • GOP debates tonight: Details
  • Fox Business: the Anti-CNBC?
  • Obama, Netanyahu mend fences
  • Jordanian officer kills two Americans
  • Judge: NSA must stop bulk data collection
  • Athletic doping chiefs: Ban Russia!
  • Report: Jaw-dropping Russian cheating
 
Missouri President, Chancellor Resign (AP, TRNS, me)
• Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system and the head of its flagship campus, resigned Monday with the football team and others on campus in open revolt over what they saw as indifference to racial tensions at the school. Wolfe took “full responsibility for the frustration” of the students and said the complaints were “clear” and “real” (bit late)
 
• For months, black students had complained that Wolfe was unresponsive to racial slurs and other slights on the overwhelmingly white main campus. The complaints came to a head two days ago, when at least 30 black football players announced they wouldn’t play until the president left. A graduate student went on a weeklong hunger strike
 
• Wolfe’s announcement came at the start of what had been expected to be a lengthy closed-door meeting of the school’s governing board, where pressure was building for his resignation. Wolfe urged students, faculty and staff to use the resignation “to heal and start talking again to make the changes necessary.”
 
• Hours later, the top administrator of the Columbia campus, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, announced he would step down at the end of the year. The school’s undergrad population is 79% white and 8% black. The Columbia campus is about 120 miles away from Ferguson where Michael Brown, 18, was killed last year in a shooting that sparked nationwide protests
 
• In response to the race complaints, Wolfe had taken little public action and made few statements. As students leveled more grievances this fall, he was increasingly seen as aloof, out of touch and insensitive to their concerns. He soon became the protesters’ main target (would he have resigned if the football players hadn’t joined in? hmm. $1 million = pressure)

 

“Change is Needed”
• In a statement Sunday, Wolfe acknowledged that “change is needed” and said the university was working to draw up a plan by April to promote diversity and tolerance. But by the end of that day, a campus sit-in had grown in size, graduate student groups planned walkouts and politicians began to weigh in (students said April was too late – and it was)
 
• At a presser Monday, head football coach Gary Pinkel said his players were concerned with the health of hunger striker Jonathan Butler, who hadn’t eaten for a week. After Wolfe’s announcement, Butler ended his strike. Football practice was to resume today ahead of a weekend game – canceling could have cost the school more than $1 million
 
• Protests began after Payton Head, the president of the student govt at the Columbia campus, said in Sept that people in a passing pickup truck shouted racial slurs at him. Head is black. In early Oct, members of a black student organization said slurs were hurled at them by an apparently drunken white student
 
• Frustrations flared again during a homecoming parade, when black protesters blocked Wolfe’s car, and he didn’t get out and talk to them. They were removed by police. Also, a swastika drawn in feces was found recently in a dormitory room
 
• The university has announced plans to offer diversity training to all new students starting in Jan, as well as faculty and staff. The board planned to appoint an officer to oversee diversity and equality at all four campuses. It also promised a full review of other policies, more support for victims of discrimination and a more diverse faculty
 

Court Keeps Block on Obama’s Immigration Plan (AP, Hill, me)

• President Obama’s plan to protect from deportation an estimated 5 million people living in the U.S. illegally suffered another setback Monday in a 2-1 ruling from a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a Texas-based federal judge’s injunction blocking the admin’s immigration initiative (not big surprise – conservative court)
 

• Republicans had criticized the plan as illegal executive overreach when Obama announced it last November. Twenty-six states challenged the plan in court. The admin argued that the executive branch was within its rights in deciding to defer deportation of selected groups of immigrants, including children brought to the U.S. illegally
 

• The opinion by Judge Jerry Smith – President Reagan nominee – joined by Judge Jennifer Elrod – President George W. Bush nominee – rejected admin arguments that the district judge  abused his discretion with a nationwide order and that the states lacked standing to challenge Obama’s nationwide orders
 

• In her dissent, Judge Carolyn King – President Jimmy Carter nominee – said the admin was within the law, casting the decision to defer action on some deportations as “quintessential exercises of prosecutorial discretion,” and noting that the Dept of Homeland Security has limited resources
 

• “We strongly disagree with the Fifth Circuit’s decision,” a WH official said. “The Supreme Court and Congress have made clear that the federal govt can set priorities in enforcing our immigration laws.” The admin is expected to appeal – likely to the Supreme Court, which could take it up this term
 

 

• Three Tuscaloosa, Ala, police officers have been placed on leave after numerous videos were posted online showing officers pulling a University of Alabama student from an apartment, jolting him with a stun gun and beating him with a nightstick – over a noise complaint. There’s an internal investigation… It’s pretty shocking – oh – no, not anymore
 

 
GOP Debates Tonight: Details (WSJ, me)
• WSJ and Fox Business Network host the next Republican presidential debates tonight in Milwaukee. The primetime debate starts at 9 pm ET and includes top candidates earning 2.5% or higher – four recent national polls. Will last two hours. The remaining candidates have an earlier – kiddies table – debate at 7 pm ET – one hour
 
• Eight candidates for the main debate: Donald Trump (25.3%), Ben Carson (24.5%), Marco Rubio (11.8%), Ted Cruz (10.0%), Jeb Bush (5.5%), Carly Fiorina (3.0%), John Kasich (2.8%) and Rand Paul (2.5%)
 
• Earlier debate: Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum are in the debate – they reached 1% support in at least one of the recent polls. Not qualifying: Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore – Christie and Huckabee were bumped from the big table debate this time
 
• Moderators: Primetime – FBN anchors Maria Bartiromo and Neil Cavuto, along with WSJ editor-in-chief Gerard Baker. Early debate: FBN’s Trish Regan, Sandra Smith and WSJ bureau chief Gerald Seib (once again, insistence on three moderators to pander to networks and personalities, rather than the integrity of the debate – would be better served with just two)
 
• The debates will be shown live on Fox Business Network. The WSJ’s live coverage and analysis kicks off around 6 pm on wsj.com and the WSJ mobile app

 

• Fast food workers will protest outside the GOP debate tonight to bring the issue of a $15 minimum wage to the forefront of American politics. Across the country, fast food workers will strike in 270 cities, organized by the Fight for $15, a Service Employees International Union-backed campaign
 
Fox Business: the Anti-CNBC? (Politico, me)
• “My goal is to make myself invisible,” Neil Cavuto, one of three moderators for the primetime debate, said in an interview. “That I’m not the issue … That we’re not the issue. The answers to what we’re raising become the issue.” Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus has dismissed CNBC’s debate on 29 October as a “crap sandwich”
 
• RBN Moderator Maria Bartiromo said, “After that
[CNBC] debate, I realized, I knew my marching orders. It was clearer than ever what my marching orders are, and that is to help the viewer, help the voter better understand what each candidate’s plan is, is it a realistic plan, can it work and how is it different from the next guy or gal.”
 
• During the CNBC debate, Ted Cruz thundered at the moderators: “This isn’t a cage match” at one point, accusing them of focusing on loaded, negative questions. Afterwards, many of the campaigns ganged up on the RNC. As a result, the RNC suspended plans to partner with sister network NBC News on a February debate
 
• FBN will allow more time for answers than at previous debates and will utilize a bell to signify when time is up, which should at least make it easier for the moderators to keep the stage under control. (oh i dunno…) The network is also planning to keep close track of how long each candidate is speaking in order to insure equal time
 

• Cavuto warned that tonight’s debate will be a serious discussion about issues and that Fox Business won’t become a character in the campaign soap opera. “Don’t trivialize this, don’t ‘gotcha’ this, don’t make this into something it’s not. It’s a debate on economic issues, it’s not Access Hollywood.” (they should ask Carson about his bio stories, however – regardless)

 

• Deep dive by NYT reports that Cuban peers of Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas), dispute Cruz’s father’s tales of fighting as a rebel leader in Cuba in the 1950’s, throwing Molotov cocktails and running guns. They remember him as a teenager who wrote on walls and marched in streets – not a rebel leader blowing up buildings (NYT)
 
Obama, Netanyahu Mend Fences (NYT, Hill, TRNS, TRNS, me)
• President Obama on Monday said it was time for him and PM Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to move beyond their “strong disagreement” over the Iran nuclear deal and work together on confronting Iranian misbehavior and bolstering Israel’s security, as the two leaders had their first encounter since their feud over the agreement
 
• “It’s no secret that the prime minister and I have had a strong disagreement on this narrow issue,” Obama said, seated beside Netanyahu in the Oval Office. “But we don’t have a disagreement on the need to making sure Iran does not get a nuclear weapon … And so, we’re going to be looking to make sure we find common ground there.”
 
• Speaking to reporters after the session, Netanyahu called it “one of the best meetings I’ve had with Obama,” describing it as devoid of tension. “The conversation was in very good spirits and honest,” he said. “No one hid the disagreements between us. Rather, we focused on how to go forward.” (i noticed a different tone in both their voices monday – conciliatory)
 
• “I want to make it clear that we have not given up our hope for peace – we’ll never give up our hope for peace,” Netanyahu said earlier in the Oval Office. “And I remain committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state.” (not sure Palestinians want “demilitarized state”)
 
• Both leaders said they would spend a substantial amount of time during the private meeting discussing the renewal of a 10-year package of U.S. military assistance to Israel. The deal expires in 2017,  but Obama said he wanted to get a “head start” on renegotiating it. Officials on both sides described the meeting as “businesslike” and “cordial.” (phew)
 
• WaPo reports that, as the Democratic 2016ers prepare for their second debate this weekend, Hillary Clinton plans to make gender and her experiences in the male-dominated realm of national politics a centerpiece of her 2016 bid (mistake – millennial women don’t care and are lukewarm to her and Sanders supporters think it’s a swipe at him) (WaPo, me)
 
Jordanian Officer Kills Two Americans (Reuters, AP, me)
• A Jordanian police captain shot dead two U.S. govt security contractors, a South African trainer and two Jordanians at a U.S. funded police training facility near Amman on Monday before being killed in a shootout, authorities said. President Obama said he was treating the attack “very seriously” and a full investigation was under way
 
• There was no immediate word on the attacker’s background or motive. But Jordan is a staunch U.S. ally in the Washington-led campaign against ISIS militants who hold large areas of neighboring Syria and Iraq, a position Jordanian officials say leaves the kingdom vulnerable to jihadist attacks
 
• The shooting spree took place on the 10th anniversary of al Qaeda suicide bombings that targeted three Amman luxury hotels and killed 57 people, the deadliest militant attack in Jordanian history. Security sources said earlier militant plots to attack the training center had been foiled. Six people were wounded in Monday’s attack, including two Americans
 
• Jordan’s role in the war against ISIS has raised disquiet among some Jordanians about instability at their borders. They fear that Amman’s enhanced role in the campaign might provoke Islamist bloodshed in their country. King Abdullah believes fervently that ultra hardline jihadists pose an existential threat to the kingdom
 
 

• President Obama finally “created” his very own Facebook page on Monday. The president used his first post on Facebook to urge the public to help in “speaking out” to address climate change while giving a tour of the WH backyard

 

Judge: NSA Must Stop Bulk Data Collection (AP, WSJ, me)
• U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon says the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone data on hundreds of millions of Americans is likely unconstitutional, even as the program is set to expire on 29 November
 
• Leon on Monday ordered the NSA to stop collecting metadata from any phone calls from a Verizon Business Network Services landline belonging to plaintiff JJ Little and his law firm. But the judge’s prohibition doesn’t extend to any other Verizon customers – or anybody else 🙁
 
• Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman first filed the challenge to the USA Patriot Act in 2013. Leon previously said the bulk collection of phone records is likely unconstitutional. But the govt successfully challenged whether Klayman could prove his cell phone had been monitored by the secret program
 
• “This court simply cannot, and will not, allow the govt to trump the Constitution merely because it suits the exigencies of the moment,” Leon wrote in his decision. A spox for the Justice Dept, which had argued the case, didn’t immediately comment
 
• In June, Congress passed a law that will end this bulk collection of the records. Instead the NSA will be allowed to search the phone companies’ databases for such call records, but only if it gets a warrant. The change takes place on 29 Nov and govt lawyers had urged Leon to allow the NSA to conduct a transition to the new system on its own schedule

 

• The Supreme Court on Monday ruled for a police officer who shot and killed a fleeing suspect from a highway overpass. The court’s decision was unsigned and issued without full briefing and oral argument, an indication that the majority found the case to be easy. In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the ruling endorsed “a ‘shoot first, think later’ approach to policing” (NYT)

 

Athletic Doping Chiefs: Ban Russia! (BBC, TRNS, me)
• Russia should be banned from athletics competition, a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report has recommended. Wada’s independent commission examined allegations of doping, cover-ups, and extortion in Russian athletics, which also implicated the IAAF, the sports world governing body (see story below for head exploding details)
 
• It says Olympics London 2012 was “sabotaged” by “widespread inaction” against athletes with suspicious doping profiles. Russia was also accused of running a “state-supported” doping program. The report recommended that five athletes and five coaches should be given lifetime doping bans
 
• IAAF President Lord Coe (Sebastian Coe – Olympic gold medal runner) said that the Russian athletics federation, Araf, had been asked to respond to the allegations by the end of this week. “One of our hopes is they will volunteer to take the remedial work. If they don’t, the outcome may be no Russian track and field athletes in Rio.”
 
• The acting head of Araf, Vadim Zelechenok, said, “Any suspension should be discussed at the meeting of the IAAF in November. It should be proven that any violations were the fault of the federation and not individual sports people. We should be given a chance to clear our names.”
 
• The international police body Interpol says it will be coordinating a global investigation into the suspected corruption and doping. The report’s co-author, Richard McLaren, said that actual results of international athletics competitions had been changed because of cheating

 

Report: Jaw-Dropping Russian Cheating (BBC, me)
• The report: said Russian security service FSB were present at the Moscow and Sochi labs and that this was part of a wider pattern of “direct intimidation and interference by the Russian state with the Moscow lab operations.” Confirmed allegations that some Russian doctors and/or lab personnel acted as enablers for systematic cheating along with athletics coaches
 
• Found that Russian law enforcement was involved in efforts to “interfere with integrity of samples.” Identified the intentional and malicious destruction of more than 1,400 samples by Moscow lab officials after receiving written notification from Wada to preserve target samples (mind is now completely boggled)
 
• Suggested that neither the Russian athletics federation (Araf), the Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada), nor the Russian Federation can be considered anti-doping code-compliant. Found that Rusada gave athletes advance notice of tests, hid missed tests, bullied doping control officers and their families and took bribes to cover up missed tests (bullied families??)
 
• Recommended that Wada withdraw its accreditation of the Moscow lab as soon as possible and advocated the permanent removal of its director Grigory Rodchenko, whom it accuses of asking for and accepting bribes and intentionally destroying samples he was told to keep (but wait – there’s even more in the BBC story)

 

• Donald Trump ranted against Starbucks’ plain, red holiday cups Monday night in a rant – amid another rant – claiming, “No more ‘Merry Christmas’ at Starbucks. No more.” All this because a loon called Joshua Feuerstein went on a video rant against the cups. He claims it’s a war against Christmas (lose the backwards hat, Josh + Jesus didn’t pack heat – grow up) (me, WaPo)

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___________________
Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Justin Duckham, James Cullum and Anthony Herrera contributed to this report

 

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