Chief Keef drops off a brand new track titled “Excited” produced by Nito Beats. Stream the song up top and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Her family said in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday that after Cole received a kidney transplant in 2009, she was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare lung disease that causes shortness of breath, dizziness and sometimes chest pain. Because Cole’s case was idiopathic, the exact cause is unknown.
The statement read: “(Cole) responded well to pulmonary arterial hypertension-specific agents over many years, during which she performed many concerts world-wide, but eventually succumbed to intractable right heart failure, an outcome that unfortunately commonly occurs in this progressive disorder.”
Cole died last week. She had battled drug problems and hepatitis that forced her to undergo a kidney transplant.
In a prime-time, televised town hall meeting Thursday, Obama fielded tough questions from high-profile gun control opponents and supporters alike, often answering with sympathy and without confrontation as he tried to reassure Americans there is a middle ground on a fiercely divisive issue.
But Obama didn’t hold back when asked by CNN moderator Anderson Cooper about the notion that the federal government — and Obama in particular — wants to seize all firearms as a precursor to imposing martial law. He blamed that notion on the NRA and like-minded groups that convince its members that “somebody’s going to come grab your guns.”
“Yes, that is a conspiracy,” Obama said. “I’m only going to be here for another year. When would I have started on this enterprise?” Obama defended his support for the constitutional right to gun ownership while arguing it was consistent with his efforts to curb mass shootings. He said the NRA refused to acknowledge the government’s responsibility to make legal products safer, citing seatbelts and child-proof medicine bottles as examples.
Taking the stage at George Mason University, Obama accused the NRA of refusing to participate in the town hall despite having its headquarters nearby.
“Since this is a main reason they exist, you’d think that they’d be prepared to have a debate with the president,” Obama said.
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said beforehand that the group saw “no reason to participate in a public relations spectacle orchestrated by the White House.” Several NRA members were in the audience for the event, which was organized and hosted by CNN. And the NRA pushed back on Twitter in real time, noting at one point “none of the president’s orders would have stopped any of the recent mass shootings.”
The White House has sought to portray the NRA, the nation’s largest gun group, as possessing a disproportionate influence over lawmakers that has prevented new gun laws despite polls that show broad U.S. support for measures like universal background checks. Last year, following a series of mass shootings, Obama pledged to “politicize” the issue in an attempt to level the playing field for gun control supporters.
The American Firearms Retailers Association, another lobby group that represents gun dealers, did participate Thursday. Asked how business had been since Obama took office, Kris Jacob, vice president of the group, replied: “It’s been busy.”
“There’s a very serious concern in this country about personal security,” he added.
Obama’s actions on guns have drawn major attention in the presidential campaign, with the Democratic candidates backing Obama and the Republicans unanimously voicing opposition. Donald Trump, addressing a rally in Vermont just as Obama was holding the town hall, said he would eliminate gun-free zones in schools on his first day if elected to the White House.
“You know what a gun-free zone is for a sicko? That’s bait,” Trump told the crowd.
Obama’s broadside against the NRA came two days after his unveiling of a package of executive actions aimed at keeping guns from people who shouldn’t have them. The centerpiece is new federal guidance that seeks to clarify who is “in the business” of selling firearms, triggering a requirement to get a license and conduct background checks on all prospective buyers.
The plan has drawn intense criticism from gun rights groups that have accused the president of trampling on the Second Amendment and railroading Congress by taking action on his own without new laws. Just after his 2012 re-election, Obama pushed hard for a bipartisan gun control bill that collapsed in the Senate, ending any realistic prospects for a legislative solution in the near term.
The town hall featured several well-known figures in the gun debate. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in 2011, stood as her husband, Mark Kelly, asked Obama about confiscation theories. Taya Kyle, whose late husband was depicted in the film “American Sniper,” asked the president about why he doesn’t highlight falling murder rates. Cleo Pendleton, whose daughter was shot and killed near Obama’s Chicago home, asked about his proposals to stop gun trafficking across state lines.
Father Michael Pfleger, left, Pastor at Saint Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago, speaks with former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., right, and her husband Mike Kelly, center
Kimberly Corban, an NRA supporter, told Obama she’d been raped by an intruder and now feels that owning a gun “seems like my basic responsibility as a parent … I refuse to let that happen again.”
Ahead of the town hall, Obama put political candidates on notice that he would refuse to support or campaign for anyone who “does not support common-sense gun reform” — including Democrats.
All the candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination support stricter gun laws, so Obama’s declaration in a New York Times op-ed isn’t likely to have an impact on the race to replace him. Instead, it appeared aimed at Democratic congressional candidates from competitive districts who might want Obama’s support on the campaign trail this year.
Hennessey reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Washington and Jill Colvin in Burlington, Vermont, contributed to this report.
Obama accused the gun lobby of taking Congress hostage, but said “they cannot hold America hostage.” He insisted it was possible to uphold the Second Amendment while doing something to tackle the frequency of mass shootings in the U.S. that he said had become “the new normal.”
“This is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns,” Obama said in a ceremony in the East Room. “You pass a background check, you purchase a firearm. The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules.”
Obama wiped tears away as he recalled the 20 first-graders killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He paid tribute to the parents, some of whom gathered for the ceremony, who he said had never imagined their child’s life would be cut short by a bullet.
“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” Obama said.
Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Victims
At the centerpiece of Obama’s plan is a more sweeping definition of gun dealers that the administration hopes will expand the number of sales subject to background checks. Under current law, only federally licensed gun dealers must conduct background checks on buyers. But at gun shows, websites and flea markets, sellers often skirt that requirement by declining to register as licensed dealers.
Aiming to narrow that loophole, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is issuing updated guidance that says the government should deem anyone “in the business” of selling guns to be a dealer, regardless of where he or she sells the guns. To that end, the government will consider other factors, including how many guns a person sells, how frequently, and whether those guns are sold for a profit.
The White House also put gun sellers on notice that the administration planned to strengthen enforcement — including deploying 230 new examiners the FBI will hire to process background checks.
The impact of Obama’s plan on gun violence remains a major question, and one not easily answered. Had the rules been in place in the past, the steps wouldn’t likely have prevented any of the recent mass shootings that have garnered national attention. The Obama administration acknowledged it couldn’t quantify how many gun sales would be newly subjected to background checks, nor how many currently unregistered gun sellers would have to obtain a license.
Pushing back on that critique, Obama said every time the issue is debated, gun rights groups argue the steps wouldn’t necessarily have stopped the last massacre, “so why bother trying?”
“I reject that thinking,” Obama said, arguing it would be worth it if the measures would prevent even a single gun death. “We maybe can’t save everybody, but we could save some.”
To lend a personal face to the issue, the White House assembled a cross-section of Americans whose lives were altered by the nation’s most searing recent gun tragedies, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and relatives of victims from Charleston, S.C., at Virginia Tech. Mark Barden, whose son was shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School, introduced the president with a declaration that “we are better than this.”
Invoking the words of Martin Luther King Jr., Obama said, “We need to feel the fierce urgency of now.”
Obama’s actions carved a predictably partisan fault line through the presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both competing for the nomination from Obama’s party, praised the president and pledged to build on his actions if elected. The Republican field formed a chorus of voices vowing to annul the whole package, with Marco Rubio claiming Obama was “Obama is obsessed with undermining the Second Amendment.”
In Congress, Democrats and Republicans similarly lined up on opposite sides. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Obama was acting within his “clear authority,” but echoed his call for Congress to finish the job. But House Speaker Paul Ryan predicted a certain challenge in the courts.
“Rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, he goes after the most law-abiding of citizens,” said Ryan, R-Wis. “His words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty.”
For Obama, the executive actions mark a return late in his presidency to an issue he’s elevated time and again but has been unable until now to advance. By bypassing Congress, though, Obama is limited to steps far more modest than what he and likeminded lawmakers had long envisioned.
After the Sandy Hook shooting, Obama in 2013, Obama sought far-reaching, bipartisan legislation that went beyond background checks to ban certain assault-style weapons and cap the size of ammunition clips. When the effort collapsed in the Senate, the White House said it was thoroughly researching the president’s powers to identify every legal step he could take on his own. A more recent spate of gun-related atrocities, including in San Bernardino, California, shootings have spurred the administration to give the issue another look.
Here’s an UPdate to our report on the death of Grammy winning singer Natalie Cole.
A representative of Cole released the following statement to TMZ:
“It is with heavy hearts that we bring to you all the news of our Mother and sister’s passing. Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived … with dignity, strength and honor. Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever.”
When the cause wasn’t known. The 65-year-old entertainer reportedly died of congestive heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital on Thursday.
“I love you all” were Natalie’s last words to her younger twin sisters – Casey and Timolin Cole – who were by her side in her last days and reveal “we’re suffering but she’s at peace,” reports the Daily Mail.
The singer and songwriter, best known for her performances of songs such as “Inseparable,” “Pink Cadillac” and “Unforgettable,” was the daughter of the singers Nat King Cole and Maria Hawkins Cole. She was recently struggling with health issues, which resulted in her canceling some tours, according to TMZ, which was first to report the news of her death.
Cole struggled with drug addiction in the 1980s and learned in 2008 that she had hepatitis C.
“I was a heroin addict, sharing needles with the crowd I was with,” she told People magazine in 2008. “At the time, I was having fun. I didn’t know. Then, 25 years later after a routine blood test, my doctor tells me, ‘You have hepatitis C.’ My life crumbled before my eyes. I never had symptoms. I didn’t know anything about it. Would I still have a career? Was I going to die? How long did I have? I was devastated. I had to let it sink in for six weeks while they ran more tests.”
The singer ended up receiving chemotherapy and taking an antiviral drug called Ribavirin. However, she also had issues with kidney failure. In 2009, she received a kidney transplant from an organ donor, a deceased fan.
Cole’s health issues hadn’t made headlines in recent years, but SFGate reported in October that she had canceled all her November and December tour dates after a medical procedure required an “extended hospital stay.”
Here’s a smattering of messages and thoughts from various celebs about Natalie Cole:
Natalie Cole is survived by her son, Robert Yancey, from her first marriage to music producer Marvin Yancey.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A deputy was fired Wednesday after video showed him flipping a teen backward out of her desk and tossing her across a classroom, with the sheriff saying the officer did not follow proper procedures and training.
Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields was told of his firing late Wednesday morning, Sheriff Leon Lott said. Lott said he would not describe the now-former resource officer at Spring Valley High School as remorseful, but that Fields was sorry the incident happened and tried to do his job.
The student was being disruptive and refused to leave the classroom despite being told by a teacher and administrator to do so, Lott said, and that’s when Fields was brought in Monday to remove her from the class. She again refused, and Fields told her she was under arrest, Lott said.
She continued to refuse, and video shows the deputy flipping the teen backward and then throwing her across the room. At that point, Lott said, Fields did not use proper procedure.
“I can tell you what he should not have done: He should not have thrown that student,” Lott said during a news conference.
The agency’s training unit looked at video of the incident and determined Fields did not follow proper training and procedure, the sheriff said.
Lott said he would not release Fields’ personnel file, saying only that some complaints have been filed in the past against him, none of which came from the school district.
Court records show at least three complaints, though Fields prevailed in two of those cases.
Trial is set for January in the case of an expelled student who claims Fields targeted blacks and falsely accused him of being a gang member in 2013. In another case, a federal jury sided with Fields after a black couple accused him of excessive force and battery during a noise complaint arrest in 2005. A third lawsuit, dismissed in 2009, involved a woman who accused him of battery and violating her rights during a 2006 arrest.
Calls for Fields to be fired began mounting almost immediately after the video surfaced, and the FBI began a federal civil rights investigation at Lott’s request. The confrontation was captured on cellphones by students, one of whom said it all started when the girl pulled out her cellphone and refused her math teacher’s attempt to take it away during class.
Lott had said Tuesday that the girl was uninjured in the confrontation but “may have had a rug burn.” However, her attorney contradicted that.
“She now has a cast on her arm, she has neck and back injuries. She has a Band-Aid on her forehead where she suffered rug burn on her forehead,” Columbia attorney Todd Rutherford told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday.
The sheriff suspended Fields without pay Monday. Lott, who rushed home from an out of town conference when the news broke, said that a teacher and vice principal in the classroom at the time felt the officer acted appropriately.
Email, phone and text messages for Fields have not been returned.
More than a dozen parents and community members spoke out at a Tuesday night meeting of the Richland 2 School District. Some, black and white alike, said that the issue wasn’t based on race and that the incident shows that teachers and administrators need to work harder on finding ways to handle defiant students.
Craig Conwell was angry, imploring board members to take action and saying Fields should have been fired immediately.
“If that was my daughter … that officer being fired would be the least of his worries,” Conwell said. “We are sick and tired of black women being abused. You can say it’s not racist all you want to.”
The deputy also arrested a second girl who verbally objected to his actions. Both girls were charged with disturbing schools and released to their parents. Their names were not officially released.
The second student, Niya Kenny, told WLTX-TV that she felt she had to say something. Doris Kenny said she’s proud her daughter was “brave enough to speak out against what was going on.”
Lott said the charges against the two students would not be dropped and would be dealt with at a later date. However, he commended the students who recorded the incident, saying he encouraged citizens to record authorities and bring it to his attention if they think something is wrong.
“I can’t fix problems if I don’t know about it,” Lott said.
Sheriff’s officials have stressed that the incident was not an issue of race. But a local NAACP official, who praised the Justice Department for investigating, said this was not something white students had to deal with.
“To be thrown out of her seat as she was thrown, and dumped on the floor … I don’t ever recall a female student who is not of color (being treated this way),” South Carolina’s NAACP president, Lonnie Randolph Jr., said Tuesday.
Kinnard can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP .