Monday, August 31, 2015

Good morning everyone! Happy Monday to you!

Joining today's show are John Heilemann, Nicholas Confessore, Al Hunt, Carol Lee, Amy Holmes, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Sal Paolantonio, Steve Schmidt, Chris Jansing, Michael Isikoff, Hugh Hewitt, Sara Eisen, Shanon Cook and more.

Two Polls are the headline this AM. The Iowa Polls below were done by Bloomberg Politics and The Des Moines Register.

Liberal revolutionary Bernie Sanders, riding an updraft of insurgent passion in Iowa, has closed to within 7 points of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race.

She's the first choice of 37 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers; he's the pick for 30 percent, according to a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll.
But Clinton has lost a third of her supporters since May, a trajectory that if sustained puts her at risk of losing again in Iowa, the initial crucible in the presidential nominating contest.

This is the first time Clinton, the former secretary of state and longtime presumptive front-runner, has dropped below the 50 percent mark in four polls conducted by the Register and Bloomberg Politics this year.

Poll results include Vice President Joe Biden as a choice, although he has not yet decided whether to join the race. Biden captures 14 percent, five months from the first-in-the-nation vote Feb. 1. Even without Biden in the mix, Clinton falls below a majority, at 43 percent.

"This feels like 2008 all over again," said J. Ann Selzer, pollster for the Iowa Poll.

In that race, Clinton led John Edwards by 6 percentage points and Barack Obama by 7 points in an early October Iowa Poll. But Obama, buoyed by younger voters and first-time caucusgoers, surged ahead by late November.
In this cycle, Sanders is attracting more first-time caucusgoers than Clinton. He claims 43 percent of their vote compared to 31 percent for Clinton. He also leads by 23 percentage points with the under-45 crowd and by 21 points among independent voters.

Sanders, a Vermont U.S. senator, has become a liberal Pied Piper in Iowa not as a vote against Clinton, but because caucusgoers genuinely like him, the poll shows. An overwhelming 96 percent of his backers say they support him and his ideas. Just 2 percent say they're motivated by opposition to Clinton.

Back in January, half of likely Democratic caucusgoers were unfamiliar with Sanders, who has been elected to Congress for 25 years as an independent. He has jumped from 5 percent support in January to 30 percent. Clinton, a famous public figure for decades, has dropped in that period from 56 percent to 37 percent.

"These numbers would suggest that she can be beaten," said Steve McMahon, a Virginia-based Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns dating to 1980.
"But," he added, "it's still early, and Hillary Clinton's done this before. She knows what it takes to win."

If Clinton survives the caucus and primary gauntlet to become the nominee, nearly two-thirds of likely Democratic caucusgoers say they're "mostly confident" she can win the general election. Twenty-four percent are mostly nervous, and 9 percent aren't sure.
Wild card: Will Biden decide to join race?
The open question is what Biden will see in these results. Will he see a teetering front-runner in distress? Or that Sanders has already consolidated a big share of the support available to a Clinton alternative?
In a May Iowa Poll, just before his eldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer at age 46, 8 percent of likely caucusgoers listed Biden as their first choice for president.
A Biden bid also would open a two-front war for Clinton. If he were to declare a candidacy, he'd almost certainly get a bump in his numbers.
The vice president saps support from both Clinton and Sanders, the poll shows. Without Biden in the mix, Clinton is at 43 percent and Sanders is at 35 percent.
"So, Biden takes 6 points from Clinton and 5 points from Sanders," Selzer said.
The Iowa Poll of 404 likely Democratic caucusgoers was conducted Aug. 23-26 by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Voters shrug about Clinton email controversy
What's driving Clinton's downward slide and Sanders' surge?
"Voters right now are flocking to the angry, authentic outsiders and moving away from the cautious or calculating establishment insiders," McMahon said.
Clinton has been dogged by media questions and an FBI investigation about whether her use of a private, home-based email server while secretary of state undermined U.S. security.
In Iowa on Wednesday, she said use of personal email "clearly wasn't the best choice." But Clinton, who says voters don't bring up the issue, downplays the investigation as "about politics."
Selzer said Clinton's right about the unimportance of the email controversy at this point in the caucus race — 76 percent of her supporters and 61 percent of all likely Democratic caucusgoers say it's not important to them. The emails are at least somewhat important to 28 percent of all likely caucusgoers, with an additional 10 percent saying the issue is very important.Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton greets fairgoers during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register)

"The stuff with the emails — that doesn't bother me," said poll respondent Craig Glassmeyer, 50, a screen printer from Cedar Rapids. "It's just being politicized, as well as Benghazi. How could it have been her fault, you know? They really don't want Hillary in there, and so they're fighting as hard as they can to block her nomination."
Still, Glassmeyer is one of the 14 percent who say they're not sure who their choice is yet or are uncommitted. He's trying to decide between Clinton and Sanders, "who may be too liberal for me," he said.
No traction for 3 lesser-known hopefuls
Meanwhile, three candidates are in danger of not meeting viability thresholds in the Democratic caucuses.
Martin O'Malley, who campaigns on the progressive results he achieved as Baltimore's mayor and Maryland's governor, has 3 percent support.
Jim Webb, a former U.S. senator from Virginia who stresses his military experience as a Marine and later a Pentagon official under President Ronald Reagan, is at 2 percent.
And Lincoln Chafee, an ex-Republican and former Rhode Island governor with an anti-war message, gets 1 percent.
The way the Democrats run their caucuses, voting isn't a silent, private-ballot experience. Instead, neighbors gather in batches across the state for a dynamic, public free-for-all, where the frontrunners' fans noisily recruit less popular candidates' backers to join their team. If a candidate can't muster a viability percentage, usually 15 percent, his or her backers must regroup with one of the viable candidates or remain uncommitted.
O'Malley's lackluster performance in the new poll perplexes Kedron Bardwell, a politics professor at Simpson College in Indianola.
"Having seen him speak with solid depth on issues, I'm surprised O'Malley isn't getting more traction in Iowa," Bardwell said. "Maybe his style is just too subdued for the bombastic and polarized pre-2016 American politics."
Sanders supporters really, really like him
But the love for Sanders runs deep, the poll shows.
Selzer noted that 39 percent of likely caucusgoers say their feelings about Sanders arevery favorable, with another 34 percent saying mostly favorable. Only 8 percent have a negative view of Sanders.
Contrast that with Clinton: Fewer feel very favorable about her (27 percent), and twice as many view her negatively (19 percent).
Still, she's doing better than in fall 2007, when she was viewed negatively by 30 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers.
Poll respondents say they're wild about Sanders because of his authenticity, refusal to run a negative campaign and his big ideas, which include government-paid college tuition and health care for all.
"He doesn't sugarcoat anything, and he has answers to actual questions. He doesn't just use talking points," said Deb Bolfik, a 41-year-old grocery store worker from Des Moines who intends to support Sanders in the caucuses.
Austin Haywood, a 27-year-old appraiser who lives in Adel, said he supports Sanders because the senator holds rivals accountable for decisions they made in the past but doesn't attack them. "I think that's what people in America really want to see," Haywood said. "As fun as it is to watch 'Real Housewives: Political Edition,' people really want to see the truth, and they really want to see what's actually going on. They don't want to see this sideshow that's become our political process."
Asked about Clinton, Haywood said: "I think she's fine. Personally I don't like her as my candidate, not necessarily for the reasons that the media is currently portraying. I think she's getting a terrible rap right now."
Haywood, who works in the financial industry, said he's seen the negative effects of repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which barred commercial banks from engaging in investment banking. He believes Clinton doesn't take strong enough stances on breaking up big banks or opposing the Citizens United court ruling, which opened the floodgates to unlimited amounts of money in campaign politics.
Sanders does, Haywood said.


Democrats on Trump

Likely Democratic caucusgoers take a dim view of businessman Donald Trump, whose unorthodox campaign has roiled the Republican field.
  • 85 percent view him unfavorably, including 63 percent who say their views are very unfavorable.
  • 14 percent view him favorably.
  • 1 percent aren't sure.

About the poll
The Iowa Poll, conducted Aug. 23-26 for The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, is based on telephone interviews with 400 registered Iowa voters who say they definitely or probably will attend the 2016 Republican caucuses and 404 registered voters who say they definitely or probably will attend the 2016 Democratic caucuses.

Interviewers with Quantel Research contacted 2,975 randomly selected active voters from the Iowa secretary of state's voter registration list by telephone. Responses were adjusted by age, sex and congressional district to reflect all active voters in the voter registration list. Interviews were administered in English.
Questions based on the subsamples of 404 likely Democratic caucus attendees or 400 likely Republican caucus attendees each have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. This means that if this survey were repeated using the same questions and the same methodology, 19 times out of 20, the findings would not vary from the percentages shown here by more than plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. Results based on smaller samples of respondents — such as by gender or age — have a larger margin of error.
For additional technical information about this study, contact Michelle Yeoman atmyeoman@selzerco.com.
Republishing the copyright Iowa Poll without credit to Bloomberg Politics and The Des Moines Register is prohibited.
Donald Trump has built up tremendous support in Iowa — he's very wealthy, he loves the Bible and he'd be just terrific as president of the United States. And he's very handsome.
That's according to interviews with some likely GOP caucusgoers in Iowa.
A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll finds that Trump, the flamboyant real estate entrepreneur, has 23 percent support here. But Ben Carson, a soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon, has been a submarine, quietly cruising into second with 18 percent, just 5 percentage points from the front-runner.
Carson has the highest favorability rating of the 17 Republican candidates, with 79 percent who view him positively. Only 8 percent have negative feelings about him.
All the other candidates are grinding away in the single digits, in this order: Ted Cruz and Scott Walker (both 8 percent), Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio (both 6 percent), Carly Fiorina (5 percent), and Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul (both 4 percent).
"Wow," said Kedron Bardwell, a political science professor at Simpson College. "This poll will have Republican consultants shaking heads in bewilderment. Not since 1992 has anti-establishment sentiment been this strong."
Bringing up the rear are Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and John Kasich (all with 2 percent); Rick Perry and Rick Santorum (both 1 percent); and Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki (all with less than 1 percent).
'Mad as hell' voters drawn to outsiders
Candidates who are political outsiders don't seem to be just a summer fling, as some analysts had predicted, but a budding long-term relationship five months out from the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
Combine Trump, Carson and Fiorina — three candidates who have never been elected to any public office — and their support accounts for 46 percent of the vote.
Part of what's driving their ballot share is a "mad as hell" contingent. Forty-three percent of likely GOP caucusgoers say they're mad as hell about the Internal Revenue Service; 48 percent about Democrats in Congress; 57 percent with President Barack Obama; and 58 percent with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
They're not just mad at Democrats: Three-fourths are frustrated with Republicans in Congress, with 54 percent unsatisfied and 21 percent mad as hell.
Electing a nonpolitician is "becoming more important as I realize that the Republicans in Washington are no different than the Democrats," said retired engineer Craig Wiegel, 63, of Bettendorf, who participated in the Iowa Poll in May. "They tell you one thing until they're voted in, and then just go along with the Democrats."
Walker was his top choice in the May poll. Now, he is paying attention to Carson, too. Cruz, who castigates the "Washington cartel," is also a possibility, Wiegel said.
The Iowa Poll of 400 likely Republican caucusgoers was conducted Aug. 23-26 by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Carson attracting Christian conservatives
Several poll respondents describe Carson as a kind Christian whom they can trust. Carson beats Trump with Christian conservatives (23 percent to 16 percent) and also with women (20 percent to 16 percent).
Melanie Hobbs, 45, of Sioux City, a stay-at-home mother who home-schools her seven kids, names Carson as her first choice because he's "totally against abortion, and that's one of our biggest issues."
Hobbs also thinks Carson aligns with her thinking on immigration.
"We need to build a fence. We need to stop the influx of illegals," she said.
As for Trump, who is viewed favorably by 54 percent of Christian conservatives, Hobbs said she has two thoughts: "One, he is better than what we have. But two, I'm not sure I trust him. I believe he could be a charlatan. I believe he could be telling us what we want to hear, then pull stuff like Obama has. Deceive us. I just don't know enough that I could trust him."

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Will Iowans reveling in the Trump and Carson love fest wake up with a political hangover at some point and wonder what happened to that great crop of governors they used to talk about?
All of the governors — Walker, Bush, Huckabee, Christie, Jindal, Kasich, Perry, Gilmore, Pataki — talk up records of accomplishment, but that's not driving caucus commitments. Only four of the nine (Walker, Huckabee, Jindal and Perry) crack the 50 percent level in favorable views from likely caucusgoers.
Negative feelings toward two long-term U.S. senators, Graham (59 percent) and Santorum (37 percent), also underscore the exact point caucusgoers say they don't want: prior service in elective office.
Skating over the thin ice, for now, are two first-term senators, Rubio and Cruz, part of the tight pack trailing the leaders, who earn favorable ratings from 67 percent and 61 percent, respectively.
"I'll be watching closely to see which GOP candidates veer wildly into the outsider lane, versus who will stay true to principle and their records, hoping to find a niche with more steady, establishment GOP voters," Bardwell said.
Trump now viewed favorably by most
In the last Iowa Poll, in May, Trump had the highest unfavorable rating of all the Republicans, back when he was tied for ninth place with 4 percent. Trump has almost completely reversed his rating. Then, 27 percent had positive feelings about him and 63 percent negative. Now, it's 61 percent positive, 35 percent negative.
"People asked if he could right the ship of his upside-down favorable scores. The answer is: Yes, hell yes," said J. Ann Selzer, the pollster for the Register/Bloomberg Iowa Poll.
Poll respondents might not know many specifics about Trump's positions, but they don't really care. The majority of likely Republican caucusgoers say they're willing to put trust in their top candidate to figure out the issues once in office (57 percent).
Among Trump supporters, the feeling is even more widespread (65 percent).

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Like Democrats in 2007 who looked for their savior in Barack Obama, Republicans in 2015 seem to be looking for their savior in Trump.
Scott Walker, governor of neighboring Wisconsin, led in two Iowa Polls earlier this year, in January and May. In July, Trump came to Iowa to ask Republicans to toss Walker off the first-place perch, and they complied.
"He's got that Type A personality to go out and get what he wants and not back down," said Trump supporter Garrison Reekers, 43, a deputy sheriff from Belle Plaine who considers himself a business-oriented establishment Republican. "There's too much money in politics, and Trump can afford to take care of himself, and then he doesn't have to put on somebody else's agenda."
Large swaths of likely caucusgoers from both parties share Reekers' frustration with the amount of money in politics. Forty percent of Republicans are mad as hell about it, and 61 percent of Democrats, their highest number in that category.
Respondents keeping their options open
The poll is bad news for Walker, who is collapsing in his firewall state, shedding half the support he had in May.
"I don't think he's dynamic enough at this point," said Christian conservative respondent Julie Roe, 47, of Eldora, who works in ag marketing.
Roe likes Huckabee and Cruz, and says she would never caucus for Bush, because "all he wants to do is make government bigger" and he has "no concept of how the real world lives" because he "has never lived anything close to a middle class life."
She also said she detests political dynasties.
Bush continues to struggle in Iowa. Only 45 percent of likely caucusgoers have favorable feelings about him; 50 percent view him negatively. Bush has yet to spend a dime on TV advertising here, but his super PAC launches ads in September, hoping to use its financial advantage to tell the story of Bush's conservative record to a larger audience.
Politics watchers also might be surprised to see Huckabee and Fiorina so far back. He's a previous winner of the Iowa caucuses, in 2008, and she's hot on the national scene after a widely praised national debate performance a month ago.
Dorothy Vos, 79, of Oskaloosa, a retired nurse and a farmer's wife, is among the 5 percent who back Fiorina. Carson is her No. 2. But she's still looking at almost everyone.
"I have a few I've totally ruled out, but all in all I'm very flexible," Vos said.
Ten percent of likely GOP caucusgoers are uncommitted or not sure of their first choice.
Every voter quoted in this article is keeping an open mind, expressing willingness to swap to a different first-choice candidate.
A prime example of likely caucusgoers' fickleness this cycle: In late May, 58 percent said they'd never caucus for Trump. Now, a combined 32 percent say he's their first or second choice, and he's cut in half his "would never support him" score (now 29 percent).
Poll respondent Barbara Olson, 63, of Burlington says Trump is now her first choice because of what he has said about stopping illegal immigration and repealing Obamacare, and because he's "a very good, savvy businessman."
"I think he could do a little different on his comb-over. Be a man, speak up: 'I'm bald,'" Olson said. "But he's a good guy, and he has very good ideas." — Jason Noble contributed to this report.

About the poll

The Iowa Poll, conducted August 23-26 for The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, is based on telephone interviews with 400 registered Iowa voters who say they definitely or probably will attend the 2016 Republican caucuses and 404 registered voters who say they definitely or probably will attend the 2016 Democratic caucuses.
Interviewers with Quantel Research contacted 2,975 randomly selected active voters from the Iowa secretary of state's voter registration list by telephone. Responses were adjusted by age, sex and congressional district to reflect all active voters in the voter registration list. Interviews were administered in English
Questions based on the subsamples of 404 likely Democratic caucus attendees or 400 likely Republican caucus attendees each have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. This means that if this survey were repeated using the same questions and the same methodology, 19 times out of 20, the findings would not vary from the percentages shown here by more than plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. Results based on smaller samples of respondents — such as by gender or age — have a larger margin of error. For additional technical information about this study, contact Michelle Yeoman at myeoman@selzerco.com.
Donald Trump on Friday took aim at longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, poking fun at her marriage to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who he called a “perv” and a “sleazebag.”

Speaking to donors in Boston, The GOP presidential front-runner noted that Abedin — whose first name he repeatedly pronounced “Ooma” — has worked closely with Clinton and would have access to classified information.

“And who is Huma married to?” Trump asked. “One of the great sleazebags of our time, Anthony Weiner.”

The businessman then mimicked typing on a cell phone and said in a mocking tone, “I love you very much.”
It was a reference to Weiner’s admission that he repeatedly sent and received sexually explicit material via Twitter and texting. The scandal cost him his seat in the House of Representatives.

Trump noted that he “knew him before they caught him with the —“ he trailed off, again mimicking typing on a phone.

“And he was a bad guy then; it turns out that he was a really bad guy,” he added.

“So Huma is getting classified secrets,” Trump said. “She’s married to Anthony Wiener, who’s a perv. No, he is!”

“Do you think there’s even a five percent chance that she’s not telling Anthony Weiner … what the hell is coming across?”

Though Trump said he knew Weiner “was a bad guy then,” Trump did donate $2,000 to his campaign in 2010.

Nick Merrill, Clinton’s traveling press secretary, tweeted a response later Friday night, saying that “there’s no place for patently false, personal attacks towards a staff member.”


“He should be ashamed of himself, and others in his own party should take a moment to stand up to him and draw the line for once,” he added.

Suspect arrested in 'execution-style' killing of Texas deputy sheriff. A Texas man faces a capital murder charge in the "execution-style shooting" of a sheriff's deputy while he was fueling his patrol car near Houston, authorities said.

Deputy Darren H. Goforth was in uniform when he was shot in the back Friday night in what authorities described as an unprovoked killing.

The suspect, identified as Shannon J. Miles, has been in police custody since Saturday.

His criminal history includes convictions of resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct with a firearm, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said.

'Senseless and cowardly'
The motive in the shooting, which Hickman described as "senseless and cowardly," is still unclear. But Goforth appears to have been targeted "because he wore a uniform," the sheriff said.

"We found no other motive or indication that it was anything other than that," said Hickman, adding that he doesn't believe the suspect and Goforth knew each other.

Hickman said "a big gun ... a handgun" was used in the shooting and ballistic tests on a weapon recovered matched the one used to kill the deputy.

Residents join search for suspect
Residents near the scene of the shooting as well as the tracking of a vehicle used by Miles helped lead investigators to the suspect.

"Our deputies returned to the streets ... to hold a delicate peace that was shattered last evening," Hickman said.

Shannon J. Miles faces capital murder charges in connection with the "execution-style shooting" of Deputy Darren H. Goforth at a Houston-area gas station.
Shannon J. Miles faces capital murder charges in connection with the "execution-style shooting" of Deputy Darren H. Goforth at a Houston-area gas station.
Earlier Saturday, Sgt. William Kennard of the Texas Department of Public Safety said a man "believed to be the alleged gunman" was in custody and being questioned, though he hadn't been charged.

The sheriff said surveillance video shows people drove up to the Chevron station while the shooting was happening. He asked them to come forward.

"This is the kind of thing that drives you right down to your soul," Hickman said. "It strikes at the heart of who we are as peace officers. ...This was just a cold-blooded execution."

Shot multiple times
The suspect shot Goforth, 47, while the deputy was filling up his patrol car at the gas station, Hickman said.

"Deputy Goforth was refueling his vehicle and returning to his car from inside the convenience store when, unprovoked, a man walked up behind him and literally shot him to death," he said.

He was shot multiple times from behind and then fell to the ground, where the suspect fired at him some more, said Deputy Thomas Gilliland, a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

The 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office died at the scene in "an unprovoked, execution-style killing," Hickman said.

"I have been in law enforcement (for) 45 years," the sheriff said. "I don't recall another incident this cold-blooded and cowardly."

'Absolute madness'
Investigators say they believe Goforth was targeted because of his uniform.

The motive appears to be "absolute madness," Hickman said.

At a new conference before the arrest was announced, Hickman and Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson talked about the nationwide debate over the relationship between the police officers and the public, with the sheriff referring to what he called "dangerous national rhetoric."

Anderson said law enforcement officials need the country's support.

"There are a few bad apples in every profession," Anderson said. "That does not mean there should be open warfare declared on law enforcement."

All #LivesMatter
Hickman warned that the tension against officers is getting out of hand.

"When the rhetoric ramps up to the point where calculated, cold-blooded assassination of police officers happen, this rhetoric has gotten out of control," Hickman said. "We've heard 'Black Lives Matter,' 'All lives matter.' Well, cops' lives matter too. So why don't we just drop the qualifier, and just say 'Lives Matter,' and take that to the bank."

After announcing the arrest, Hickman said investigators were still trying to determine a motive.

"The general climate of the that kind of rhetoric can be influential on people that do thing like that," he said.

The sheriff's department posted "#BlueLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter. All #LivesMatter." on its Twitter page Saturday.

The gunman, who was captured on the gas station surveillance footage, drove away after the shooting in a red Ford Ranger.

Authorities said some bystanders called 911 to report the shooting.

About 30 minutes before the shooting, Goforth had investigated an accident, but Hickman said it's unclear whether there was a connection to the attack.

As far as authorities know, Hickman said, the only reason Goforth was a target "was because he was wearing a uniform."

A husband and father
Goforth leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 5 and 12.

"Our hearts go out to them," Hickman said, asking the community to remember his family in prayer.

"In times like these, it's important to ask for the prayers from this community," he said. "It strikes us in the heart to simply be a target because you wear a badge."

A Houston-based nonprofit that supports the children and spouses of officers and firefighters who die on duty, said the group will give $20,000 to Goforth's family.

Leading causes of officer deaths
The attack Friday adds to a grim tally. With that included, 23 law enforcement officers have been shot to death so far this year nationwide, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Traffic incidents are the leading cause of officer fatalities in the U.S., followed by shootings. CNN's Nick Valencia and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

Deflategate decision may come soon in federal court, but that doesn't mean end of it. A federal judge is set to rule on Tom Brady’s case against the NFL, but those weary of Deflategate would be wise to find patience. In all likelihood, litigation between the NFL Players Association and league is far from over.

Barring a last-minute settlement or delay by the court, Judge Richard M. Berman will either confirm or vacate the four-game suspension NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld following Brady’s arbitration. That decision could come even as early as Monday, when all parties will be present in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Berman has said he will try to rule by Sept. 4, a date agreed upon by the union and the league that would allow the Patriots to adjust for Brady’s availability for the Sept. 10 season opener.

An appeal is expected regardless which side prevails.

“The question will be how long the appeal takes,” says Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane and legal analyst for NFL Network, “and the process in front of Judge Berman has been remarkably fast but the wheels of appellate justice turn very slowly.”

Will Brady lose even if judge rules against him?

Likely to be decided quickly, however, is whether Brady will be able to start the season opener.

Following a decision by Berman, the losing party would immediately file a notice of appeal with the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Then either side could seek a stay of Berman’s decision — but it would have to go to him first to ask.

To get a stay, either Brady or the NFL would have to show four things: a strong showing of likelihood of success, irreparable injury in absence of a stay, absence of a substantial injury to the party opposing the stay and the public interest. Those work on a sliding scale, so strength on one argument allows for another to be weaker. If Berman does not grant a stay, the losing party could seek one from the 2nd Circuit.

Feldman questions if the league would seek a stay in the event of a loss at the district court level, saying it would be a legal and business decision. If the league ultimately prevailed upon appeal, Brady could serve the suspension later.

“The biggest problem is they have to find irreparable harm, and there’s really no harm to the NFL of Brady playing while his suspension is being litigated,” says Raffi Melkonian, an appellate lawyer at Wright & Close, LLP in Houston.

In Brady’s case, Berman might still grant a stay for Brady even if he affirms the NFL’s arbitration based on Brady’s argument of irreparable harm were the suspension to go into effect while the case is being appealed.

Daniel Wallach, a sports litigator with Becker & Poliakoff in Fort Lauderdale, points to previous decisions in the Southern District of New York that indicate Brady has a strong chance of receiving a stay should Berman rule in favor of the NFL.

In 2004, Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett won a case against the NFL after the court found its rule requiring players to be at least three years removed from high school to enter the draft violated anti-trust law. Although the NFL ultimately prevailed on appeal, the judge in that case denied the NFL’s request for a stay because setting aside her decision would have essentially forced Clarett to miss that year’s draft while waiting for the appeal, causing “substantial injury to Clarett” but not irreparable harm to the league.

Brady could make a similar argument, Wallach says.

“If he’s forced to miss four games and ultimately prevails on the appeal, well what good will that do him except to get a few game checks back?” says Wallach. “While the power of a federal judge is vast, they have yet to master the art of time travel. No judge can go back in time and give Tom Brady his four games back.”

Wallach also points to Silverman v. MLB Player Relations Committee, which ultimately ended the 1994 Major League Baseball strike. In her decision, Sonia Sotomayor (then a district court judge and now a Supreme Court justice) wrote, “Given the short careers of professional athletes and the deterioration of physical abilities through aging, the irreparable harm requirement has been met.”

While the decision regarding a stay is expected quickly, the appeal before a three-judge panel could take months. Unless the court decides to expedite the case, it would likely not be concluded before the end of the 2015 season. The median time from filing the notice of appeal to the final disposition of the case for a 12-month period ending March 31, 2015 was 10 months for the 2nd Circuit. The appellate court will have to decide whether Berman correctly applied the law in either vacating or confirming the award.

While Berman has raised question of facts underlying Goodell’s decision in proceedings this month — asking, for instance, what evidence implicated Brady in a scheme to deflate footballs — most see that as needling a pressure point to encourage settlement rather than the basis for his decision. A seasoned judge like Berman would be expected to examine the process and apply the law and precedent, which is what the 2nd Circuit would review.

“Did Berman comply with the precedent, the laws that have been created that really bind the parties in this dispute?” says Darren Heitner, of Heitner Legal in Fort Lauderdale. “If there is some sort of justification that Berman relied upon and used just that to make his determination, then it shouldn’t get overturned. But if in fact he went above and beyond his powers to come to his opinion, then perhaps there is an opportunity for it to be overturned.”

As part of his decision, Berman could remand the case back to the NFL for a second arbitration, remand it without another arbitration or say nothing on the matter. If Berman agrees with Brady and the union’s argument that the proceeding was unfair and Goodell was evidently partial, that could mean another hearing before a different arbitrator.

“I think this whole thing has been fairly embarrassing for the NFL,” says Alan Milstein, chairman of the litigation department at Sherman Silverstein in New Jersey. “You wonder why they haven’t somehow settled this case just on the grounds of Brady destroying the phone and that’s it. I would find it hard to believe they would start a new arbitration.”

Regardless of Berman’s order, on a second arbitration hearing, it would not be conducted until the 2nd Circuit issues its decision.

Already, nearly eight months have passed since the Patriots’ rout of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game and with potentially many more to go. With plenty at stake, especially for the league, neither side seems likely to accept Berman’s decision without more litigation.

“If Goodell loses, and the reason he loses is that there’s some fundamental problem with the process that the CBA allows, then I would say they need to completely change how they do player discipline,” says Melkonian. “This will have been a significant court, a respected judge, saying that this whole process doesn’t work.”

Whatever, and whenever, the 2nd Circuit decides is likely the final word on the matter. The losing party could seek a review by the entire 13-member court or appeal to the Supreme Court, but both are rarely granted.

“There is an incentive for each side to push this as far as they can because in a way this is about more than deflated footballs,” said Feldman. “This is about a long-standing battle between the players association and the league over the role of player discipline.”

5 things you missed at the VMAs.

Didn't have a spare three hours on Sunday night to watch the VMAs? We've got you covered. Here are five major moments everyone will be talking about come Monday.
1. Nicki Minaj stole all the headlines
Let's count the many ways Nicki stole the VMAs. First she wore an insane gold dress on the red carpet. Then, just weeks after her feud with Taylor Swift blew up on Twitter, Nicki invited Taylor on stage during her epic opening performance. Swift first jumped on a few bars of Minaj's song The Night Is Still Young, and then the red-clad duo transitioned into a shortened version of Bad Blood.
But the beef lives on! Just this time, it was directed at Miley Cyrus, who slammed Minaj last week in an interview with the New York Times. After giving her acceptance speech for Anaconda, which won best hip-hop video, Minaj announced she was going to turn it "back to this b—- who had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what's good?"
Cue an awkward camera cut to Cyrus. "We all do interviews and we all know how (the press) manipulate (crap)," she retorted. Twitter enjoyed this very much.
2. Miley flashes the audience, drops a new album


But her biggest mike drop was performing new song Dooo It at end of Sunday night's show. The 22-year-old made like Beyonce and announced a surprise album, Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz, now streaming (for free!) on her website, mileycyrus.com.
3. Kanye West gave an 11-minute speech: 'I still don't understand awards shows!"
And what a SPEECH it was. First off, former frenemy Taylor Swift presented his Video Vanguard Award, calling the rapper her "friend." Onstage, he covered a lot, from an admission that he smoked weed that morning ("the answer is YES. I rolled up a little something. I knocked the edge off") to the fact that he's "decided in 2020 to run for president."
Kanye also got serious about his infamous 2009 VMAs altercation when he interrupted Taylor Swift after her video for You Belong with Me won out over Beyonce's Single Ladies.
If I had a daughter at that time, would I have went onstage and grabbed the mic from someone else's… You know, this arena, tomorrow, it's going to be a completely different set up, Some concert or something like that. The stage will be gone. After that night, the stage is gone but the effect it had on people remain... (Pauses) The problem was the contradiction, the contradiction is I do fight for artists, but in that fight I somehow was disrespectful to artists. I didn't know how to say the right thing, the perfect thing.
4. Justin Bieber got pretty emo onstage

Bieber's comeback is in full swing, and that means it was time for a new, moody look. "I like your swoop," called out Cyrus from the stage. Mid-show, after performing his songs Where Are U Now and What Do You Mean, Bieber hunched over, crying as he finished singing.
Justin Bieber is overcome with emotion after performing at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images
5. Taylor Swift got 9 plus ones
Swift brought her entire #GirlSquad to the show, and the hot BFFs pretty much took up the entire carpet while they were there.


And, of course, this:A moment for the pop history books. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/MTV1415, FilmMagic)
Until next year, you kings and queens of top 40!
President Obama will visit Alaska to highlight the impacts of climate change on the region. 

The President recently said, “Alaskans are on the frontlines of one of the greatest challenges we face this century: climate change.” Then just days later, he granted Shell final approval to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. 

Are you confused by that logic? So are we! Write a personal letter to President Obama and tell him you think he should protect the Arctic and our climate.

Activists have taken to the water in kayaks, hung from bridges, and rallied around the world to save the Arctic; more than 7 million people have signed the petition calling for the president to stop Shell. If you haven’t been able to join us in person yet, this is the perfect time to lend your voice. We’ve created a new tool to make it easy for you to speak personally about why you care about the Arctic. 

Send a letter to President Obama telling him why you care about saving the Arctic.

It’s clear that with this trip, President Obama wants to secure his climate legacy. Unfortunately, he is also opening the Alaskan Arctic to what be a destructive oil rush — hardly climate leadership. 

The fact that the President thinks he’s making real progress on climate change while allowing Shell to drill shows that he isn’t in tune with the demands from people around the country (and the world) to keep Arctic oil in the ground. 

Tell President Obama why true climate leadership means stopping Shell from drilling in Alaska. Write your letter today.

We will deliver these letters to President Obama so that he can hear personally from individuals around the nation and the world who oppose Arctic drilling. The President can still revoke Shell’s permission to drill for oil in Alaskan waters. Doing so is essential to avoiding runaway climate change and potential devastation for Alaskan communities and wildlife. 


It’s crucial that we show President Obama this fight’s not over. 

Scientists have made it clear: 100% of Arctic oil must stay in the ground if we want to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.1

Last week, President Obama ignored their warnings and approved Arctic drilling. But now he’s pushing the boundaries of denial even further – by heading to Alaska on Monday to talk about the urgency of climate change.

The tragic irony is so thick, it brings to mind President George W. Bush’s infamous declaration of “Mission Accomplished” just six weeks into his decade-long war in Iraq.

Just as that moment was a wake up call about a president in deep denial, so too is President Obama’s Alaska trip. This is a major opportunity to call out President Obama for his self-defeating strategy of trying to have it both ways.

As he heads to Alaska, the hypocrisy of President Obama's rhetoric on climate and pro-drilling record are so clear we had to show them in a video.


Watch the video and sign the petition now to tell President Obama: Climate leaders don’t drill the Arctic. It’s time to keep it in the ground.

Save the Arctic


And, Wes Craven, Horror Maestro, Dies at 76. He wrote and directed the first 'Nightmare on Elm Street' film, helmed the first four 'Scream' movies and guided Meryl Steep to an Oscar nom for 'Music of the Heart.'

Wes Craven, the famed maestro of horror known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.

Craven, whose iconic Freddy Krueger character horrified viewers for years, died at his home in Los Angeles, his family announced. Survivors include his wife, producer and former Disney Studios vice president Iya Labunka.

Craven was a longtime summer resident of Martha’s Vineyard, where he moved permanently three years ago before returning to L.A. for work and health reasons.

Craven claimed to have gotten the idea for Elm Street from living next to a cemetery on a street of that name in the suburbs of Cleveland. The five Nightmare on Elm Street films were released from 1984-89 and drew big crowds.
Similarly, Craven's Scream series was a box-office sensation. In those scare-'em-ups, he spoofed the teen horror genre and frequently referenced other horror movies. 

Craven’s first feature film was The Last House on the Left, which he wrote, directed and edited in 1972. A rape-revenge movie, it appalled some viewers but generated big box office. Next came another film he wrote and helmed, The Hills Have Eyes (1977). Craven re-invented the youth horror genre in 1984 with the classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, which he wrote and directed.

He conceived and co-wrote Elm Street III as well, and then after not being involved with other sequels, deconstructed the genre a decade after the original, writing and directing Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which was nominated for best feature at the 1995 Spirit Awards.

His own Nightmare players, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon, portrayed themselves in that film.

In 1996, Craven reached a new level of success with the release of Scream. The film grossed more than $100 million domestically, as did Scream 2 (1997).

Between Scream 2 and Scream 3, Craven, offered the opportunity to direct a non-genre film for Miramax, helmed Music of the Heart (1999), earning Meryl Streep an Academy Award nomination for best actress in the inspirational drama about a teacher in Harlem.

“We had a very difficult time getting an audience into a theater on my name,” he said in an interview with writer-director Mick Garris in October. “In fact, we moved toward downplaying my name a lot on Music of the Heart. The more famous you are for making kinds of outrageous scary films, the crossover audience will say, ‘I don't think so.’” 

READ MORE Wes Craven Remembers Christopher Lee: "A Man of Infinite Class and Talent"
Also in 1999, in the midst of directing, he completed his first novel, The Fountain Society, published by Simon & Shuster.

Craven again pushed the genre boundaries with the 2005 psychological thriller Red Eye, starring Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy and Brian Cox. And in 2006, he wrote and directed a romantic comedy homage to Oscar Wilde featuring Emily Mortimer and Rufus Sewell as a segment in the French ensemble production Paris Je T’aime.

Craven then produced remakes of The Hills Have Eyes (2006) and The Last House on the Left (2009).

His most recent written and directed film, My Soul to Take (2010), marked his first collaboration with Labunka, who also produced Scream 4.

Craven directed several other thrillers and horror movies during his career, including Swamp Thing (1982), Deadly Friend (1986) and The People Under the Stairs (1991).

Craven had recently signed an overall television deal with Universal Cable Productions and had a number of projects in development, including The People Under the Stairs with Syfy Networks, Disciples with UCP, We Are All Completely Fine with Syfy/UCP, and Sleepers with Federation Entertainment. 

He also was executive producing the new Scream series for MTV. The season finale of the series will pay tribute to the writer/director, an MTV spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.

Craven had recently written and was to direct the Thou Shalt Not Kill segment for The Weinstein Co.'s Ten Commandments miniseries for WGN America. And he is listed as an executive producer of The Girl in the Photographs, a horror thriller directed by his protege, Nick Simon, which will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month.

Wesley Earl Craven was born Aug. 2, 1939 in Cleveland. His father died when he was 5. Raised in a strict Baptist household, he graduated from Wheaton College with degrees in English and psychology, then earned a master's in philosophy and writing from Johns Hopkins. He briefly taught English at Westminster College and was a humanities professor at Clarkson College, where he served as a disc jockey for the campus radio station.

Craven had an eye for discovering talent. While casting A Nightmare on Elm Street, he discovered Johnny Depp. He cast Sharon Stone in her first starring role, for Deadly Blessing, and he gave Bruce Willis his first featured role in an episode of the 1980s version of The Twilight Zone.

He wed Labunka in 2004, his third marriage. Survivors also include his sister Carol, son Jonathan, daughter Jessica, grandchildren Miles, Max and Myra-Jean and stepdaughter Nina. 

Craven was a nature lover and committed bird conservationist, serving as a longtime member of the Audubon California Board of Directors. He penned a monthly column, “Wes Craven’s The Birds,” for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine.

“I come from a blue-collar family, and I’m just glad for the work,” Craven said in his chat with Garris. “I think it is an extraordinary opportunity and gift to be able to make films in general, and to have done it for almost 40 years now is remarkable. 

“If I have to do the rest of the films in the [horror] genre, no problem. If I’m going to be a caged bird, I’ll sing the best song I can.

“I can see that I give my audience something. I can see it in their eyes, and they say thank you a lot. You realize you are doing something that means something to people. So shut up and get back to work.”

Regardless of it all, please stay in touch!