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May 15, 2014

The small town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, is in an uproar over remarks made by Robert Copeland, a member of its three-person elected Police Commission, who shouted a racial epithet at a restaurant TV screen as it aired footage of President Obama. And that's not all: Copeland is fully standing by those remarks.

As the Concord Monitor reports, here is what he wrote in a letter, responding to a resident who had complained to the commission:

"While I believe the problems associated with minorities in this country are momentous, I am not phobic. My use of derogatory slang in reference to those among them undeserving of respect is no secret. It is the exercise of my 1st Amendment rights," it read. "I believe I did use the 'N' word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse (sic). For this I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such." [Concord Monitor]

The Union Leader reports that the commission will hold a regular public meeting tonight, which is expected to attract a big attendance. Eric Kleefeld

2:47 a.m. ET

Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Mexico has killed at least 248 people, Mexican civil defense chief Luis Felipe Puente said early Wednesday, including at least 117 people in Mexico City, where the mayor said buildings collapsed in 44 locations. The earthquake's epicenter was about 76 miles southeast of the capital, near Raboso in Puebla state, the U.S. Geological Survey says, and Puente put Puebla's death toll at 43, plus 72 in Morelos state, 12 in the area outside central Mexico City, 3 in Guerrero and 1 in Oaxaca. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said at least 22 people, including 20 children, have been found dead in a collapsed school in Mexico City, and 30 children and eight adults are still missing.

Peña Nieto said late Tuesday that rescue efforts are ongoing and the main focus for the government, but that 40 percent of Mexico City and 60 percent of Morelos have no electricity. The 7.1 temblor struck 11 days after a massive magnitude 8.1 quake hit off the coast of Mexico, killing at least 98 people, and exactly 32 years after a terrible earthquake struck Mexico City, killing thousands. You can see footage of some of the damage, swaying buildings, and shattering windows in the CNN report below.

And for an eyewitness account, Richard Justin Permenter spoke with The Associated Press from Puebla on Tuesday. Peter Weber

2:05 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Tuesday evening, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said that he was ending bipartisan negotiations for a bill to stabilize health insurance markets and make a few changes to the Affordable Care Act, because after four hearings and involved negotiations, his group had "not found the necessary consensus among Republicans and Democrats." The unexpected decision appears aimed at shoring up support for the Senate GOP's last-ditch plan to repeal ObamaCare, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), by removing any alternative legislation.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the HELP Committee and Alexander's main negotiating partner, said she is "disappointed that Republican leaders have decided to freeze this bipartisan approach and are trying to jam through a partisan TrumpCare bill," adding that she is still committed to reaching a bipartisan deal. Alexander said that especially since Graham-Cassidy gained steam, appetite within his party for his bill was very low. "I know how to get bipartisan results, but I'm not a magician," he said.

Republicans expect to start voting on Graham-Cassidy next Wednesday, Axios reports, before a Sept. 30 deadline for passing a health-care bill with only 50 votes, with no Democrats. The Congressional Budget Office won't have its analysis on how much the bill would affect coverage or its costs for consumers until October. On Tuesday, a group of 11 governors, including five Republicans and independent Gov. Bill Walker (Alaska), urged the Senate to drop Graham-Cassidy, joining AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and other patient advocacy groups, plus Jimmy Kimmel.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are believed to be opposed to the bill, and Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are seen as the key votes on the measure — three GOP no votes, and it doesn't pass. Haley Bird at the Independent Journal Review notes:

Graham-Cassidy would convert ObamaCare's subsidies and Medicaid payments to block grants to states, allowing each state ample leeway to decide coverage rules and patient protections, plus cut Medicaid sharply and change its structure. Graham argues that it's the last barrier to "socialism." Peter Weber

1:02 a.m. ET

Hillary Clinton was on Stephen Colbert's Late Show on Tuesday, and before the interview ended, he presented her with a gift. Colbert explained that he did a live show on Election Night, and as it became clear that President Trump would win, the audience looked like it was at a funeral. "One of the things I regret least about that night, but I do regret, is that we had a whole packet of unused Clinton victory jokes," he said. There was "a really, really nice video shot by Katy Perry — now that the femitariat was taking over, how men would be regulated to subservient positions," he explained. Colbert didn't tell any of the jokes, but he did show Clinton — and, eventually the audience — a slightly blurred (for the audience) photo of naked men who were ready to come out on Election Night with a message for the nation. You can catch a glimpse of the photo, and Clinton's reaction, below. Peter Weber

12:33 a.m. ET

In May, during a visit to Washington, D.C., Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sat in a car and watched as his security detail violently attacked peaceful protesters in a park across the street from the Turkish ambassador's residence. The U.S. indicted 15 members of Erdogan's security detail over the attack, plus four others, and on Monday, President Trump's administration scrapped a $1.2 million arms deal to Erdogan's security forces in retribution. Also Monday, PBS NewsHour's Judy Woodruff sat down with Erdogan, who said he was sorry about the misunderstanding, and so was Trump. The interviewed aired on Tuesday night.

"Actually President Trump called me about a week ago about this issue," Erdogan said. "He said that he was sorry and he told me he was going to follow up on this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit. The protesters were insulting us, and they were screaming and shouting. The police failed to intervene properly." A White House official told Axios that Erdogan's "comments were not true and the president did not apologize."

In the rest of the interview, Woodruff and Erdogan discuss NATO, Russia, and the underlying tension between the U.S. and Turkey over Syrian Kurdish forces, which the U.S. considers valuable allies against the Islamic State and Erdogan repeatedly dismisses as "terrorists." You can watch the entire interview here. Peter Weber

September 19, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel shared a very personal story with viewers earlier this year about how when his son, Billy, was born, doctors discovered he had a condition that required emergency open-heart surgery. Billy is doing great now, but the experience left an emotional Kimmel wondering how in the United States, whether you live or die could hinge on how much money you have.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) later appeared on Kimmel's show, and told him he was going to enact the "Jimmy Kimmel Test," meaning families with kids like Billy shouldn't be denied health care and there shouldn't be any limits to how much insurance companies pay. "He got a lot of credit and attention for coming off like a rare, reasonable voice in the Republican Party when it came to health care," Kimmel said on Tuesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live. But now Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have made up their own health-care bill, which completely fails the Jimmy Kimmel Test — about 30 million people would lose coverage, states would decide if insurance companies can charge people more for pre-existing conditions and if they could enact lifetime caps, and many people would have higher premiums, Kimmel said.

The hypocrisy was not lost on the host (who tweeted before the show a picture showing a very happy Billy helping him write the monologue). He shared clips of Cassidy's publicity tour touting the Jimmy Kimmel Test, and he said he doesn't appreciate the fact that Cassidy "just lied right to my face." Kimmel ordered Cassidy to stop using his name, and to stop by the studio anytime to take the new Jimmy Kimmel Test — "it's called a lie detector test." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

September 19, 2017
iStock

A chihuahua-dachshund mix named Sir LaRue Winnieschnitzle — aka Chewbarka — saved several lives when he alerted his family to a fire about to engulf their Florida home.

Early one recent Tuesday, James and Theresa Parsons woke up to Chewbarka, 3, barking his head off. He wouldn't stop, so Theresa Parsons got up to see what was making him so upset; once at the back of the house, she saw the porch was on fire. "It was a wall of flames," James Parsons told the Tallahassee Democrat. The Parsons ran to the front door and escaped. Firefighters estimated that the house sustained $85,000 worth of damage, and while the family was safe, they lost nearly everything, including heirlooms.

The fire took place on Theresa Parsons' birthday, and despite the devastation, the family is looking at the bright side — neighbors have rallied to give their teenage son with autism a new Nintendo 3DS to replace the one burned in the fire, James Parsons was able to sift through the ashes and find his wife's wedding band and engagement ring, and, of course, their dog Chewbarka is a hero. "Everything happens for a reason but we don't know what the outcomes are going to be," Theresa Parsons told the Tallahassee Democrat. "But we stand firm in our faith." Catherine Garcia

September 19, 2017
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Sometime in June or July, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about President Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The questioning over the summer could mean that investigators do not see Rosenstein as a major figure in the probe, several people with knowledge of the interview told the Journal. Rosenstein took the reins of the FBI investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, and he appointed Mueller in May to his role as special counsel. Catherine Garcia

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