Trump ally gets 40 months’ prison amid presidential meddling row

first_imgTopics : Donald Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to 40 months in prison for impeding a congressional investigation, in a case that ignited a firestorm over the US president’s political interference in the justice system.Stone, a veteran Republican operative and one of the president’s oldest confidants, was convicted in November of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to cheat in the 2016 election.”The truth still matters,” said US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson as she handed down the sentence to Stone, who will remain free while his request for a new trial is considered. “I’m going to let this process play out,” he said at an event in Las Vegas. “At some point I’ll make a determination… We’re waiting.”Trump sparked outrage by decrying a “miscarriage of justice” after prosecutors he smeared as corrupt recommended Stone be jailed for up to nine years, in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines.’Unprecedented’ The president has attacked the jury previously, as well as Jackson, who last year jailed former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for unlawful lobbying and witness tampering. Attorney General Bill Barr, who has been blasted for being too close to Trump, personally intervened to have the “extreme and excessive” recommendation withdrawn, prompting all four prosecutors to quit the case.At Thursday’s hearing, Jackson hit out at the “extraneous commentary” surrounding the case and “the unprecedented actions of the Department of Justice within the past week.” But she added that she chose a lower sentence because she was moved by letters from Stone’s relatives and friends, casting the 67-year-old grandfather as a caring family man who had helped NFL players with brain injuries, rescued dogs and supported criminal justice reform.Stone is the sixth aide of Trump — who was impeached last year for abusing his power but acquitted by the Senate — to be convicted of charges arising from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference.Barr said the president’s comments had had no impact on his the decision, but has found himself vilified by Democrats who accuse him and the president of undermining the rule of law.In addition, more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials have signed a statement calling for Barr to resign.In a rare public rebuke, the attorney general said the Trump’s Twitter pronouncements in ongoing cases were making his job “impossible.”His attempt to distance himself from the president was met with skepticism however by critics who accuse Barr of having repeatedly acted more like Trump’s personal lawyer than a public servant.’Covering up’ for TrumpAnd Trump has continued in any case to be outspoken in his support for Stone, who appeared in court in a striped suit and a polka-dot tie.The self-avowed “dirty trickster” was convicted of lying in testimony to Congress about acting as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, which released documents hacked by Russia that embarrassed rival Hillary Clinton during the 2016 White House race.The seven-count indictment also accused Stone of threatening an associate and his dog to stop him cooperating with investigators.Stone accused jury members of being biased against him and appealed to overturn their verdict.Jackson had previously forbidden Stone from posting on social media about his trial, after he shared a picture of her on Instagram with what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun sight.She said Thursday his actions had risked the safety of the court, and rejected any suggestion that the case against him was brought over his political advocacy.”He was not convicted and is not being sentenced for exercising his first amendment rights, his support of the president’s campaign or his policies,” said Jackson.”He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.” “Roger Stone’s insistence that it doesn’t, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundation of our democracy.” Trump said soon after he believed Stone had a “very good chance” of being cleared in the long run, accusing the jury without evidence of being “tainted.”The president controversially commuted the sentences this week of nearly a dozen criminals with links to his friends and political allies — including a corrupt politician and a tax fraud police chief.But he ruled out immediately issuing a Stone the pardon many had been expecting.last_img read more

The Keeneland Experience

first_imgSally and I joined two other couples and went to Keeneland Raceway last weekend.  As I have written before, this beautiful facility in Lexington, Kentucky, becomes an experience just by being there.  Add to that the fact that this track attracts some of the finest horses in the world for its meet makes it even more fun for the betting enthusiast.Keeneland recently changed from a synthetic racing surface back to a dirt surface for its main track.  Keeneland was a dirt track for most of its 80 years, but like so many facilities, they thought the maintenance and drainage on a synthetic surface would improve the racing experience.  However, most horse owners believe the artificial surface causes more racing injuries and, thus, they prefer the dirt track.The dirt surface is comprised of sand, silt, and clay native to Kentucky.  It features a unique drainage system that is found only at Keeneland.  It would take too long to describe this system in this article.  In a nutshell, they place the dirt mixture on a very porous base and then add two large draining tracts along the rail and the outside fence.  The water literally goes through this surface as if it were a kitchen sieve.Keeneland did this for the safety factor and they also needed a dirt surface to qualify to host the 2015 Breeder’s Cup.  You have one week left to visit this beautiful facility.  I recommend you do so.last_img read more

Ind. Senator drafted military suicide prevention bill

first_imgU.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (R-Ind) drafted a military suicide prevention bill.WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate is passing the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act with an 89-11 vote.U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) drafted the bill that would require an annual mental health assessment for all service members.Specialist Jacob Sexton, of Farmland, was enlisted in the Indiana National Guard when he took his own life while on a 15-day leave from Afghanistan.The bill, which is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, now heads to President Obama to be signed into law.Sen. Donnelly said, “This common sense change will ensure we are focused not only on our Armed Forces’ physical readiness but also mental readiness.  We make strides in the effort to reduce the stigma of seeking help—truly, it is a sign of strength.”last_img read more

U.S. soccer legend Tim Howard says Manchester derby ‘like nothing American sports fans have seen’

first_img“There’s just a lot more nerves,” Howard, now an analyst with Turner Sports, told Sporting News. “You can feel it. It is palpable. When you go into a normal game, or even a big game, there’s nerves and people are anxious. But when you get into a derby, you know, both sets of fans are feeling it. It’s nail-biting; it’s just very intense. There’s an intensity about a derby that other games don’t have simply because there’s more than just a win or a loss. It’s about city pride and city supremacy.”The Manchester derby in which Howard appeared roughly 15 years ago was far different from the one that will be staged — or should we say waged — Saturday afternoon at Etihad. It will be the same in all the ways Howard described. In other words, it still will be a derby. It no longer is controlled by the team in red, however.It has been altered, for at least the foreseeable future, by the injection into City of so much incredible wealth through the purchase of the club by the Abu Dhabi Group in 2008, as well as by the subsequent retirement of Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson.City got richer. United got, well, less smart.Since the City purchase in September 2008, the record in league games between the two is City 10 victories, United nine victories and three draws. In this decade, though, the record favors City 10-7-3. And since Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-13 season, it is City by a 7-3-1 margin. The derby has been played since 1894. More than 21 percent of City’s league victories in this series have occurred since the takeover, which represents only 9 percent of those 125 years.“It’s a wonderful case study, if you will, of the transition of these super clubs,” Fox Sports soccer analyst Alexi Lalas told SN. “You have your traditional, staid, old money, and then you have this nouveau riche that came in, and the juxtaposition between the two, and the competition between the two, from a locale standpoint. But also these are two — certainly at this point — global brands. One amassed that type of recognition globally very quickly, and one filtered over decades.“The ability for that old money to compete with this new money is as fascinating to me as the Xs and Os on the field. It plays out every day and every week, oftentimes through the scores of the games or the players that are signed or the coaches that are signed. It’s really amazing what they are, or what we perceive them to be, and how different it is from what they were 10 years ago.”When U.S. soccer hall of famer Claudio Reyna played at City from 2003 to 2007, or when fellow American great DeMarcus Beasley was there on loan in the 06-07 season, Manchester City was what might have been called, charitably, a “mid-table” team. City averaged 45 points in that period, flirted with relegation twice, only finished in the top 10 once.The two Americans were gone only a year when the ownership team arrived from the United Arab Emirates, with businessman Sulaiman Al-Fahim promising significant spending on player talent that was personified by the purchase of Brazilian star Robinho’s contract from Real Madrid.As the spending on players escalated — with Robinho, Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany followed by Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Emmanuel Adebayor in 2009 (for a combined 100.5 million pounds), then Yaya Toure, David Silva, Edin Dzeko, James Milner and Mario Balotelli in 2010 (a combined 117 million) and Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy in 2011 (a combined 74 million) — City advanced from 50 points in 2008-09 to 67 and fifth place, to 71 points and a first-ever spot in the UEFA Champions League, to 89 in 2011-12 and the club’s first title since 1968.“I think it’s a little disingenuous to say that it’s all about money,” Lalas said. “Yes, it’s about money, but there’s plenty of money out there for other clubs. I don’t think City often gets enough credit for the smart way they have spent ridiculous amounts of money. You look at the infrastructure that’s been built, albeit very quickly … and it’s translated into success and results but, most important, it’s translated into relevance. I don’t look at Man City through the lens of what they were 10 and 20 years ago.”Brian Dunseth, the former U.S. international who now is co-host of the Counter Attack program on Sirius/XM FC, has a personal stake in the City-United derby and agrees with Lalas’ assertion.“I think the first thing everybody’s going to talk about is the money, and that’s rightfully so,” Dunseth told SN. “I think the thing that’s been incredible is you can throw as much money as you want at things, and we’ve seen that happen in the Premier League, but the reality is you’ve got to have a plan. You’ve got to have a vision. And you have to have the right people in place to execute said plan and vision. I think that’s what’s been one of the most amazing things to watch.“As a fan of the Premier League, to see the idea start to be put in play, and to see how they’re executing and the level of competition, and to see the amount of players around the world that want to be part of such an incredible project.”A veteran of more than a decade as a television and radio soccer analyst, Dunseth also happens to be a longtime Manchester United fan. You can hear it reflected in his conversations with co-host (and avowed AC Milan fan) Tony Meola on their afternoon program. Dunseth’s love of Man U began when he was a high school player in Southern California and teammates with a young man named Ben Hooper, whose family was from Oldham, a city in the Manchester region, where they had become loyal United fans.When Dunseth slept over at his friend’s house on a Friday night, he was puzzled to discover the family waking up at uncomfortably early hours. “I just kind of inadvertently fell in love with United watching the games with a friend.”As the group that came to be known as the Class of 92 developed — David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs — and coincided with the purchase of Eric Cantona midway through the 1992-93 season, following Man U became even more delightful for Dunseth, and he also got the opportunity to visit its training site and compete in training games with U.S. youth teams against the Man U reserves.From the time Dunseth adopted the Red Devils, they won four of the five Premier League titles between 1993 and 1997 and 13 in 21 years under “Sir Alex”. There also were Champions League titles in 1999 and 2008 and five FA Cup victories, including the one featuring Howard in 2004.Good times, right? And then came the City revolution, led by elite managers Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and, best of all, Pep Guardiola. And the Man U devolution, with Ferguson’s retirement followed by a series of managerial missteps including the overmatched (David Moyes) and the overconfident (Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho). United’s average finish in the Premier League since Sir Alex departed: fifth. The only trophies won were one FA Cup, one Europa League, one League Cup and one Community Shield. That’s a decent month for City at this point.“Obviously, being a Manchester United fan has not been the greatest,” Dunseth said. “We’re in a phase where they’ve passed Manchester United in a lot of ways. But being able to watch them, nonetheless, has been incredible.”There is a sense among some Manchester United fans that the heart of the problem with their club is ownership, specifically American ownership, with the club in the hands of the Glazer family of Florida. The anti-Glazer campaigns would have greater merit were they not launched almost immediately after the late Malcolm Glazer took control of the club in 2005 — at a time when Ferguson and his team still were a dominant force in the league.It is clear, though, that however much the club’s front office knew about the timing of Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 — he made his announcement just weeks before claiming his final Premier League title — there was no coherent plan regarding how to move forward without Sir Alex even though he had passed age 70. Dunseth contends that the departure that same year of chief executive David Gill also was an issue.“How do you replace two heavyweights that had created such an identity?” Dunseth said. “And on top of that, when Sir Alex walked away that was an incredible squad but also an aging squad. And I think to this day you’re trying to figure out how to replace that.”This has become a delightful time for Manchester City supporters around North America — not all of whom hopped on board what had suddenly become a shiny, gleaming vehicle during the past decade.Ryan Marshall launched the Man City supporters’ group in Indianapolis in 2016, so it seems a little like that’s how it went. The timing was somewhat connected to Manchester City expanding its outreach across the Atlantic. But he became a fan in the mid-2000s and chose the club specifically because it was not one of the established powerhouses.“I’ve always been kind of, more of an underdog,” Marshall told SN. “Which I know City is not seen as anymore. But I think I identified with that. And most of the City supporters I had met were always super friendly, no matter where I was. Maybe some of the criticism they get not only here, but also abroad, is for not being the loudest or the typical ‘empty-seat’ banter that they get.”Marshall loves City enough that even though he since has moved to Florida, he still runs the MCFC Indianapolis (@Cityanapolis) Twitter account and is active in the group. He does not, though, fly in each week to watch games at Chatham Tap in downtown Indy, instead watching with his new group in the Tampa area.And though he knows it would be better for the rivalry if Man U were, well, Man U again, and that those who follow the game worldwide would enjoy these derby games that much more if they regained the relevance in place during the brief period between the Abu Dhabi takeover and Sir Alex’s departure, he is enjoying seeing the Red Devils standing 10th in the league with just 18 points from 14 matches.“I love the way they’ve been playing. I hope they keep playing the same way for the next 50 years,” Marshall said. “I think in terms of just if you’re a fan of somebody outside the top six, it makes it more relevant and watchable and you get more excited for it if Manchester United is succeeding.”As we saw last weekend when Michigan played Ohio State and the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Cleveland Browns, American fans understand and appreciate rivalries as well as any fans in any country.Canadian fans understand it, too — the long rivalry between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens extends beyond the ice and into the political realm.  American soccer legend Tim Howard filled the most pressurized position in the sport in the FA Cup final, through 121 appearances with the U.S. men’s national team, in that harrowing 2010 World Cup group game against Algeria that ended with Landon Donovan’s magical goal. Through all of that, however, he experienced nothing quite like the feeling of a Premier League derby.He stood in goal for Manchester United against Manchester City at both Old Trafford and what is now Etihad Stadium. He felt the intensity course through the city — no, honestly, it raged through the city — in the week leading up to the game. There is a difference, though, between a rivalry and a derby that only occasionally infiltrates the North American sporting culture. It’s there in the basketball rivalries between North Carolina and Duke, Louisville and Kentucky and Cincinnati and Xavier — that sense of proximity, that one literally could be living next door to the enemy.The truth about the Manchester derby is that Manchester United’s rivalry with Liverpool probably is more hotly contested, more enduring and deeply felt. There are some Man U fans who will be conflicted regarding the inevitable by-product should the Red Devils win or draw in Saturday’s game at Etihad and undermine City’s pursuit of first-place LFC.“These derby matches are like nothing American sports fans have seen,” Howard told SN. “It truly is a city divided. It’s all people care about and its all you hear about. You know that you just have to win. It’s the bare minimum. When I was at United, Man City hadn’t quite been taken over and splashed all their millions and billions of dollars. So it was a known thing that we were meant to win every one of these games.”last_img read more

JOBS: MORE CHEFS NEEDED AT TOP HOTEL AFTER TOURISM BOOST

first_imgONE of Donegal’s leading hotels says a huge upturn in visitors to the county is helping to fire up the local economy – and they now need extra chefs to cope.The Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny says it has seen record increases in visitors staying there.“We need more chefs to cope with demand,” said Carolynne. “We’ve had a very successful 2014 with record highs in occupancy since January so we need to add to our already huge team of chefs.”The hotel needs a Chef De Partie, experience necessary, flexible who is able to work well under pressure and maintain the very high standards of food & consistency.The also require an experienced Chef, Monday – Friday 7am – 3pm, who also must be flexible and who can work on own initiative.Anyone interested should email a CV to [email protected] “We have been extremely busy with tourists – both Irish and European visitors – with a huge demand for family staycations.“We have also seen a huge increase in Wedding Business since the launch of our new Vintage, Couture & Classic wedding packages in January 2014.“We attribute this year’s success on the foundations we have built over the years, we have a supreme level of repeat business and our strategy of maintaining valued repeat guests has certainly been paying off.“Each year over the last few years, we have achieved such great results that we were worried about beating the results again the following year, however, with hard work, dedication and excellence in customer service, we have seen this strategy take on a ‘snowball’ affect.“We are delighted to see Donegal in such high demand amongst the domestic family market and oversee visitors. I personally believe that the development of the Wild Atlantic way – and being on the route – has highlighted the beauty of the west coast of Ireland from Donegal to West Cork because it introduces the visitor to some of Ireland’s most incredible experiences, its coastline, seascapes, history, culture and people. “It entices and inspires the visitor to explore more with these areas, areas which we have always been proud of, but never really able to put it together in this way. It’s still in its early stages, but it is something I am passionate about selling because it is guaranteed to create amazing memories for all who embark on this stunning journey around the coast of Donegal.”JOBS: MORE CHEFS NEEDED AT TOP HOTEL AFTER TOURISM BOOST was last modified: July 17th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:advertchefsdonegaljobsMount Errigal Hotelrecruitmentlast_img read more

The mother of lesser dogs

first_imgImagine, after a hectic mundane day, you return home exhausted, when your dog quickly runs towards you to welcome you with a drooling kiss and a wagging tail. You look at his innocent, kind face that seems to express his gratitude to you for being a great companion. So, what is so unique about the relationship between a man and his four-legged companion? It’s the “unconditional love” that both the parties shower on each other eternally. And it is not just the loyal, unconditional love; being the best playmates of humans, these little pooches are said to combat their owner’s depression or any other physical disorders as well. They affect us in a number of unbelievable ways as they ward off anxiety and dementia. Our canine companions are even proved to be excellent stress busters with their outstanding mood-lifting capabilities. It is an out-of-the-world experience to be blessed with a canine friend in life who is nothing less than our own children. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSulakshmi Dasgupta, a resident of Chittaranjan Park in the Capital and a social activist, had set herself as an epitome of animal lover. Her extreme love for animals, especially dogs, has given shape to her plenary passion of feeding stray dogs across the city. Her promise to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in providing utmost nourishment to the strays genuinely makes her a mother of the canines. Sulakshmi’s journey began with feeding around 10 to 12 dogs a day in the vicinity of her locality. “I am extremely compassionate about dogs since childhood. When I was young, my eyes were always and only at the homeless, neglected dogs and I wondered how helpless they were. Other than feeding biscuits, I could hardly do anything to help them. Post my marriage; I received a huge moral and monetary support from my husband, Pinaki Dasgupta, who is also an animal lover. Then I, along with my small team started feeding approximately 70 dogs at places like C R Park, Kalkaji, Okhla and Greater Kailash. And today, the figure has swelled up to feeding 500 plus stray dogs across South Delhi.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe necessity to feed the strays on a regular basis is manifold. Being territorial in nature, dogs become restricted with a limited place to survive in metropolitan cities, which makes it difficult for them to hunt for food. They seldom go to another territory unless extremely hungry or to mate. Even in such situations, they sometimes come back wounded as the other areas are always protected by their respective alfa-males. Hence, the fate of many strays is to rely on poisonously rotten throwaways or waste food from roadside eateries, which is not enough for a healthy survival in a specified territory. Consequently, they end up being malnourished and hungry. Pinaki Dasgupta says, “She believes in never turning away a hungry stray. Her motto has always been helping the needy animals. Her helpers and she prepare 350 kgs of the meal including rice and chicken on a daily basis and distribute it among numerous dogs. Other than feeding, she also gives shelter to the accident victims whenever needed and provide them with veterinary services like neutering, operations, regular vaccination of anti-rabies, and offers post-operative care as well”. Sulakshmi said, “As far as my funding is concerned, there are some people around me who have also contributed to help me pursue my activity. A big or a small contribution is not the factor. It is their immense support that has always motivated me to keep moving ahead. I believe that taking small steps makes a huge difference. There was a time when the inflow of donations was not consistent. So I decided to sell off all my jewellery and heirloom collections as my four-legged babies are the gifts of God who mattered to me the most.” On being asked about the increasing violence towards neglected dogs, she said, “Our society comprises a section of insensitive humans. Pelting stones, hitting them with sharp objects and reckless driving contribute to fatal injuries or accidents. Fracture or amputations of legs are also getting common these days. My heart bleeds when I find these innocent, loyal animals in pain. Fortunately, such disturbances have witnessed a decrease in my locality and in some parts of Okhla.” After years of struggle and fighting all odds, Sulakshmi has brought such an act of daredevilry into public notice. 15 years of independent and benevolent service finally gave birth to an organisation called “Swargasaathi,” which is also useful in raising funds for the homeless. Satisfied with what she is doing in her life, Sulakshmi is living it up with two of her canine children at home. A big salute to the human parent!last_img read more