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  • Dems claim Trump inspired El Paso killings

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten Democrats seeking the presidency tripped over some details as they sparred in a debate thick with policy and personal stories. Several made provocative accusations that President Donald Trump inspired the deadly shooting in El Paso, Texas, last month.

    On the policy front, Bernie Sanders claimed his approach to health care has a stamp of approval from everyone who studies such matters, which is not the case. Joe Biden misrepresented recent history when he said the administration he served as vice president didn’t put migrant kids in “cages.”

    Here’s a look at some of the assertions in the third round of Democratic primary debates, the first to have all qualifying contenders square off in one night:

    BETO O’ROURKE, former U.S. representative from Texas, on last month’s mass shooting in El Paso: “Everything that I’ve learned about resilience, I’ve learned from my hometown of El Paso, Texas, in the face of this act of terror, that was directed at our community, in large part by the president of the United States. It killed 22 people, and injured many more, we were not defeated by that. Nor were we defined by that.”

    JULIAN CASTRO, former U.S. housing secretary: “Look, a few weeks ago a shooter drove 10 hours inspired by this president to kill people who look like me and people who look like my family.”

    THE FACTS: Nobody has claimed that Trump “directed” the shooting, as O’Rourke suggested.

    Earlier in the debate, O’Rourke had said the shooter was “inspired to kill by our president,” an accusation also made by Castro.

    It is difficult to know for sure what led the gunman to open fire inside a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people. The suspect posted a manifesto online before the shooting that echoed Trump’s comments on immigration. Yet he said his own views “predate Trump and his campaign for president.”

    The screed spoke of what the suspect called a “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” railed against immigrants and warned of an imminent attack. Nearly all of the victims had Latino last names.


    BERNIE SANDERS: “We have the highest child poverty rate of almost any country on Earth.”

    THE FACTS: This oft-repeated line by the Vermont senator is an exaggeration.

    There are nearly 200 countries in the world, many with people mired in extreme poverty that most Americans would struggle to fathom. Poverty is also a relative measure in which someone who is poor in one nation might look rather prosperous in another.

    But the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development updated its child poverty report in 2018. The United States had an above average level of child poverty, but it was not at the bottom of the 42 nations listed in the report. The United States still fared better than Russia, Chile, Spain, India, Turkey, Israel, Costa Rica, Brazil, South Africa and China.


    JOE BIDEN: “We didn’t lock people up in cages, we didn’t separate families.”

    THE FACTS: His comment about cages is wrong.

    The “cages” — chain-link enclosures inside border facilities where migrants have been temporarily housed, separated by sex and age — were built and used by the Obama administration. The Trump administration has been using the same facilities as the Obama administration.

    Democrats routinely accuse Trump of using cages for children without acknowledging the same enclosures were employed when Biden was vice president.

    The Obama administration also separated migrant children from families under certain limited circumstances, like when the child’s safety appeared at risk or when the parent had a serious criminal history.

    But family separations as a matter of routine came about because of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” enforcement policy last year. More than 2,500 children were separated from their parents at the border and a government watchdog has said it’s possible thousands more were separated. Obama had no such policy.


    SANDERS: “Every study done shows that ‘Medicare for All’ is the most cost-effective approach to providing health care to every man, woman and child in this country.”

    THE FACTS: Not exactly.

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report earlier this year that total spending under a single-payer system, such as the one proposed by Sanders, “might be higher or lower than under the current system depending on the key features of the new system.”

    Those features involve details about payment rates for hospitals and doctors, which are not fully spelled out by Sanders, as well as the estimated cost of generous benefits that include long-term care services and no copays and deductibles for comprehensive medical care.

    report this year by the nonprofit Rand think tank estimated that “Medicare for All” would modestly raise national health spending, the opposite of what Sanders intends.

    Rand modeled a hypothetical scenario in which a plan similar to legislation by the Vermont senator had taken effect this year. It found that total U.S. health care spending would be about $3.9 trillion under “Medicare for All” in 2019, compared with about $3.8 trillion under the status quo.

    Part of the reason is that “Medicare for All” would offer generous benefits with no copays and deductibles, except limited cost-sharing for certain medications. Virtually free comprehensive medical care would lead to big increases in the demand for services.


  • Drug Education Council holds meeting about new vaping dangers

    MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Members of the Drug Education Council in Mobile will talk about recent illnesses related to e-cigarettes and vaping.

    Health officials will hold a meeting releasing new information and data about how the vaping epidemic is affecting our area.

    The Alabama Department of Health says it is investigating five reports of potentially severe lung disease associated with electronic cigarettes or vaping. The US Government announced its refining how it’s measuring the outbreak in breathing illnesses in people who vape. It’s now only counting cases closely linked to electronic cigarette use.

    On Thursday, health officials said there are 380 confirmed cases. Probable cases have been reported in 36-states and one US territory. The Alabama Department of Public Health says most of these cases are seen in young adults and adolescents. Symptoms of vaping related illness include chest pain and vomiting. So far, no single device, liquid, or ingredient has been identified as the cause, and health officials advise people not to vape until more is known.

    The meeting at the Drug Education Council begins on Thursday morning at 10 o’clock.


  • MPD chief addresses national crisis of recruiting, retaining police officers

    MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – The Mobile Police Department says a national crisis of recruiting and retention difficulties hits home.

    “We’re experiencing the national crisis that exists as it relates to recruiting,” said Chief Lawrence Battiste.

    He tells News 5 says a big part of the struggle involves bringing in and keeping quality applicants.

    “We don’t want someone we had to lower the bar for, and six months into their training, or a year into their training, we have to let them go because they’re not meeting the standards,” said Battiste. “Or they won’t follow through with the standards, and we knew that to begin with.”

    Battiste claims the department still has enough officers to fight violent crime in Mobile.

    “I think we’re keeping up with crime trends,” he said. “If you ask me if we had more officers, could we be more proactive? Yes we could. We could address the window dressing stuff like speeding motorists and some of those things, things you could call quality of life issues for many communities.”

    Below is the letter Mobile Police issued on the topic:

    "The Mobile Police Department is confronting the national crisis of recruitment and retention of police officers. It’s one of many urban police departments across the nation affected by a shortage of qualified applicants and at the same time is struggling to retain the funded strength of its workforce due to the fierce competition.

    The department completely exhausted its most recent list of 200 applicants, provided by the Mobile County Personnel Board. Of this number of applicants, only 32 met the requirements to begin the next Mobile Police Academy on September 16. The goal was to start a class of 45. The department is short 13 potential new police officers.

    The application process is quite lengthy and takes an average of three months to complete, making recruitment efforts continuous year-round. Regardless of the constant recruiting, there are still not enough applicants in the pool suitable for employment.

    Applicants must prove they are both physically and mentally fit and willing to work in a dangerous work environment. Many applicants didn’t qualify due to recent and frequent drug use, or too many traffic violations or criminal offenses. Environmental factors such as the low unemployment rate and the highly competitive paying jobs advertised in the private sector also make it a challenge to recruit police officers. And, media portrayal of police in a negative spotlight has certainly made the profession less attractive.

    The city of Mobile has the largest police department and the only police academy in the southern part of the state. As a result, this creates an enormous strain on the Mobile Police Department because officers who are trained here are highly sought after by other surrounding local agencies.

    Current recruiting efforts simply don’t keep up with the attrition. The attrition rate last year was 65, with only 50 new officers being hired. So far this year, 47 officers have left the department and a total of 32 new officers have been hired.

    In this highly competitive environment, the Mobile Police Department plans to increase its applicant pool by providing a $1,000 referral bonus to any city employee who recruits a police officer applicant. However, the applicant must successfully complete the Mobile Police Academy. The department also plans to recruit officers back into its ranks from other agencies by offering a $5,000 sign-on bonus.

    Modern policing and technological advances in law enforcement requires a better-educated applicant for what has traditionally been considered a blue-collar job. For this reason, the department looks to improve the quality of its applicants by offering a sign-on bonus of up to $3,000 for higher education, plus the existing education incentive of up to 15 percent."


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