Katrina Anniversary

By Katy Ricalde

I spent most of my young life in a small town in South Carolina. To me Clemson will always be home. As a kid I always found it funny that anyone that asked my parents where they were from would always get the same response—“New Orleans, Louisiana,” they would say with pride. I remember once looking at my dad and saying, “but you have lived in South Carolina for 15 years—you are from South Carolina.”  He just looked at me and said, “No-I am from New Orleans and I always will be.”

Hurricane Katrina hit my junior year of college. Two of my uncles were firefighters in the city and my aunt was a nurse. While the rest of my extended family (4 grandparents, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, a young cousin, and 2 dogs) escaped the storm to our home in South Carolina (joining my immediate family of 5, plus 3 dogs) the rest stayed behind to see how they could help—to do their jobs. After all, how bad could it be? They had all survived many a hurricane.

We all know the damage the storm caused—it really was devastating to the city and our house guests stayed for almost 2 months. In the end, nearly all suffered damage to their homes— My aunt, uncle and cousin lived in a FEMA trailer parked outside their home while they rebuilt from the damage a large tree caused—but they were very fortunate compared to so many others along the Gulf Coast.

Growing up we always spent Thanksgiving in Louisiana and Katrina certainly wasn’t going to stop my parents from breaking tradition. We drove through the Lower 9th Ward –where most of the damage from Katrina occurred due to the levee—and I remember thinking it looked like a ghost town. The electricity was still down and the bright neon graffiti on the homes- left by rescue workers marking survivors (or deceased) found inside—really stood out.

I remember seeing a deceased dog—a German Shepard—folded in half over a fence as it had clearly tried to escape the flood waters.  I remember driving by hundreds of homes and seeing people’s belongings—everything they owned-water damaged and piled high on lawns.  And I remember the feeling I had--one of shock and a total lack of understanding for how a city in America could still look like that so many months later.

My parents drove us past the hospital I was born in and the first house they shared as a couple and as new parents-or at least what was left of it. I knew the bond to the city they have and will always call home only grew stronger that day. 

Below are a few photos I took on that Thanksgiving day in 2005—a day I was reminded of what it truly means to be thankful. 


Fox Fan Shares Amazing Birthday Cake!

Thank you to Fox News viewer and [big] fan David G. Kern for sharing this photo of the cake his wife made for him for his 42nd birthday! We love it and we hope it tasted as good as it looks! And adorable boys--

Krauthammer on a potential Biden run for office: ‘It could create a real challenge [for Clinton]’

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Wednesday on “Special Report” that former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has been dogged by questions about her email, sees a viable challenger for the race to the White House in Vice President Biden… and she has reason to worry.

“The reason she had to cut short her vacation, the reason she is scared is, up until now, no matter how bad things got, there was no alternative,” Krauthammer said. “She had no opponent.”

As Biden mulls over a presidential run,  President Obama’s press secretary stopped short of saying the commander-in-chief would endorse his vice president if he declares his candidacy.

“The words coming out of the White House… earlier in the week was pretty ominous [for Clinton],” Krauthammer said, “[The president said] choosing [Biden] was the best decision Obama ever made, when obviously he chose Hillary as well. So it was a signal.”

Krauthammer went on to say that could spell trouble for the Clinton campaign.

“If she loses Obama’s support, if there is only a hint or a rod to the previous Obama supporters, bundlers, et cetera that his choice of successor is Biden, it could create a real challenge,” he concluded.



National Geographic Presents Warlords of Ivory

The upcoming September issue of National Geographic magazine features the story of a special investigation into Africa’s illegal elephant poaching and ivory trade, to answer the questions, "who exactly is killing the elephants and why?".

It is also the subject of National Geographic Channel's "Explorer: Warlords of Ivory" August 30th documentary. Investigative reporter Bryan Christy commissioned the creation of life-like artificial elephant tusks (they had to smell, feel and look like the real thing), which he implanted with a hidden GPS device to track the world's elephant poachers and see the road the ivory travels. It is a fascinating investigation, a crime story, making the direct connection, for the first time, between ivory and terrorism (you probably remember when the group Invisible Children shot to fame after its video "Kony 2012" went viral? This investigation connects poaching to Kony).

If you think about it, the average person has no idea that there is a definitive connection between these beloved animals and terrorism and while most people can easily name a drug lord or a mafia boss, very few people could name a wildlife trafficker. Just a few days ago, while the world was preoccupied with the killing of Cecil the lion (due, in part, to the fact that Cecil's killer has a name and a face), 5 more elephants were poached for their ivory and the news didn't make headlines because there is no criminal, no face, to place the blame on. It is National Geographic's hope that Christy's investigation will change this trend.


Ingraham: “It’s a long way to the nomination”

Laura Ingraham told viewers Friday on “Special Report” that when it comes to assumptions about Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, “It’s a long way to the nomination. We’ve got a year.”

Her comments came ahead of a Donald Trump pep rally in Mobile, Alabama Friday evening. The Trump campaign said that 42 thousand people had RSVPs to the event, which would make it a record crowd for either party in this campaign cycle.

Ingraham also predicted a massive pushback from the Bush campaign in the months ahead.

“They’re prepared to do whatever is necessary to terminate any problem that comes to the floor and Donald Trump is a problem,” Ingraham said. “And so I think we can plan to see with a huge Bush largesse - they have money to blow and they are going to raise a lot more if necessary.”

Hillary Clinton in "panic mode"

Jason Riley, columnist with the Wall Street Journal said on "Special Report" that the Hillary Clinton campaign is in "panic mode," as they try to tamp down the latest controversy over classified emails.

"We know they're in panic mode because they keep telling us they're not in panic mode," Riley told viewers.

Riley pointed out that the email issue has dogged her in recent weeks, eclipsed policy announcements aimed at helping the middle class, "The media isn't talking about Hillary Clinton's plan to reduce college costs, plans to address income inequality. They're talking about her server and her email."

The former secretary of state held a news conference yesterday fielding questions about top secret communications, refusing to directly answer a question about whether she had the server wiped clean.

"That news conference was a disaster; I think they're in damage control mode," concluded Riley.



Our friends over at Bad Lip Reading have done it again-- and this time WE are the source of the laughter. The Special Report team found this to be quite amusing and we hope you do as well. All in good fun and we had a good laugh. Warning--there is a bit of language in here so viewer discretion is advised. 

Krauthammer says when does Hillary use her standard "what difference" line

Syndicated Columnist Charles Krauthammer told Tuesday's "Special Report with Bret Baier" viewers that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just needs to pull out her standard scandal line when answering questions about her private email server.

"I'm waiting for her to say 'at this point, what difference does it make,'" Krauthammer said, referencing the comment that then Secretary of State Clinton used during a contentious 2013 House Oversight Committee hearing about how Clinton handled the Benghazi bombing that killed four Americans. 

Krauthammer explained that candidate Clinton's answers to questions related to her email scandal "enters the world of farce."  The syndicated columnist referenced what he called a punch-line  of a joke.  "The answer to it is "in a closet, in a bathroom, in a loft in Denver," Krauthammer said.  Adding, "and the question is where are the highest secrets of the State Department kept."

There are reports that the Clinton server was maintained by a small Denver company that allegedly kept the server racks in out of an old bathroom closet in a downtown Denver loft.

Off The Vine

By Phil Vogel

While collecting Grapevine stories often times there are stories that are great/funny/interesting that just don't make the cut. So here are a few of my favorite pickings that fell off the vine--

State Supreme Court vs State Legislature. The battle is on in Washington State over education funding. The high court has issued a daily fine of $100,000 until lawmakers comply with a court order to improve the way the state pays for its education system. The court has demanded, numerous times, that the Legislature pay for the reforms and programs it already adopted, including all-day kindergarten, smaller class sizes, student transportation and classroom supplies. The Governor and legislative leaders are set to meet Monday in Seattle to discuss what steps the state should take – meanwhile the fines, which will be put in a dedicated education account, continue.

Watching the Watchmen. Five Government Accountability Office employees have been indicted for lying about their income to make their kids eligible for reduced-price school lunches – cheating taxpayers out of $11,000. Prince George’s County, MD State’s Attorney said there is no excuse, “Their actions are made even worse by the fact that some of them claimed to have not just low income, but no income at all, even though they were working full-time jobs at the GAO.” The GAO, which is responsible for uncovering government waste fraud and abuse, is following the legal process and will decide what actions to take regarding the employees.

Enough is Enough. Even government contractors have had enough of executive orders. A letter from four associations representing federal contractors pled for no more, “We respectfully request that no further presidential directives primarily focused on government contractors be issued for the foreseeable future.” The organizations supported some of the orders but cited inefficiencies and unintended consequences that contribute to an estimated thirty cents of every contract dollar going toward compliance with regulations.

Dumpster Diving. A South Dakota VA hospital accidently threw out patient files containing personal information including social security numbers. Then… they didn’t tell the patients for over two months. Senator John Thune (R-SD) called it “gross mismanagement.” The box of files was mistakenly put in a dumpster – only to be found two days later by another employee who fished them out. The VA says it is confident that the information did not fall into the hands of identity thieves.

End on a Good Note. Politicians don’t often get in the news for good reasons. But the Mayor of Dallas is all over local news after saving a woman’s life with the Heimlich maneuver at a local dinner. Mike Rawlings knew just what to do because of his time as a lifeguard and a boy scout. The woman called the mayor her guardian angel – and pledged her vote. 

Napolitano: Clinton presumed to know “what is top secret and what is not” in email server

Judge Andrew Napolitano told viewers Thursday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that when it comes to Clinton’s knowledge of the data in her email servers “Mrs. Clinton is presumed to have known in the years she was Secretary of State what is top secret and what is not.”

His comments came as more details continue to emerge about the sensitive information in Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Clinton aides continue to say that email she sent via private email wasn’t classified at the time and is even suggesting that the former secretary of state didn’t know information was classified because it wasn’t marked as such.

“If somebody removed the top secret terminology on it, that person committed a felony,” Napolitano said. “But she is presumed to know what is top secret, whether it is stamped top secret or not.”



Coming Up

Tonight we'll take a look at how difficult it can be to get a candidate's name on a ballot in a given state. We'll explain the new calendar, the logistics, and define "sore loser laws."

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