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Rick Dees

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WASHINGTON — When Nancy Pelosi raised a glass to Liz Cheney, it was the most unlikely of toasts.Democratic lawmakers and the Republican congresswoman were gathered in the House speaker’s office as the group prepared for the first session of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.Pelosi spoke of the “solemn responsibility” before them and raised her water glass to Cheney, a daughter of the former vice president and the sole Republican in the room.“Let us salute Liz for her courage,” she said, according to a person familiar with the gathering who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.Politics often creates unlikely alliances, the odd-couple arrangements between would-be foes who drop their differences to engage on a common cause.But the emerging partnership between Pelosi and Cheney is remarkable, if not astonishing, as the longtime political adversaries join forces to investigate what happened the day former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol.Rarely has there been a meeting of the minds like this — two of the strongest women on Capitol Hill, partisans at opposite ends of the political divide — bonding over a shared belief that the truth about the insurrection should come out and those responsible held accountable. They believe no less than the functioning of America’s democracy is on the line.“Nothing draws politicians together like a shared enemy,” said John Pitney, a former Republican staffer and professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College.The committee will hold its first hearing next week, and the stakes of the Pelosi-Cheney alliance have never been higher. The panel will hear testimony from police officers who battled the Trump supporters that day at the Capitol. The officers have portrayed the hours-long siege as hardly a gathering of peaceful demonstrators, as some Republicans claim, but rather a violent mob trying to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election.As their new partnership unfolds, the risks and rewards have an uneven flow. Pelosi benefits more politically from drawing Cheney to her side, giving the committee’s investigation the big-name bipartisan stamp it needs to avoid being viewed as a strictly political exercise.For Cheney, who has already been booted from GOP leadership over her criticism of Trump, the political dangers are far greater. She was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the insurrection, and her willingness to speak out against his top ally, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, now leaves her isolated on Capitol Hill. She is facing blowback from the ranks and serious primary challenges for her reelection back home.“I’m horrified,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a fellow Wyoming Republican, about Cheney’s actions.Cheney, though, shows no signs of backing down on what she views as an existential fight not only for the party she and her family helped build, but also for the soul of the nation itself.”The American people deserve to know what happened,” she said this week.Standing on the steps of the Capitol, Cheney lambasted the rhetoric coming from McCarthy as “disgraceful” and supported Pelosi’s decision to block two of his appointees to the panel because of their alliance with Trump.McCarthy has suggested Cheney might be closer now to Pelosi than her own party, and he withdrew all Republican participation in the committee.Pelosi and Cheney are hardly fast friends.Despite their long resumes in American politics, they never really talked to each other before this moment.Pelosi won her first term as speaker during the George W. Bush administration, largely attacking the White House over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the hawkish defense posture of then-Vice President Dick Cheney.Liz Cheney took office in 2017 defending her father’s legacy, speaking boldly at one of her first news conferences in support of the enhanced interrogation technique of waterboarding that was decried as torture under his watch. During Trump’s first impeachment, she lacerated Pelosi’s intentions in speeches.While both are political royalty, Pelosi and Cheney have operated in parallel political universes for much of their careers. A generation apart, they bring different styles to the job — Pelosi, the San Francisco liberal, Cheney, the Wyoming conservative. About the only thing they have in common is that both are mothers of five.Yet when Pelosi called Cheney the morning after the vote to establish the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol, both seemed to instantly grasp the historical gravity of the moment.Pelosi thanked Cheney for her patriotism and invited her to join the panel — a stunning moment, the Democratic speaker appointing a Republican to a spot.Cheney quickly accepted, responding that she was honored to serve, according to another person familiar with the conversation who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private talks.Behind closed doors, those involved in the committee’s work see in Cheney a serious and constructive member, hardly a Republican figurehead but a determined partner to what she has said must be a “sober” investigation. It was Cheney who elevated the idea of having former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman of Virginia serve as an adviser to the committee, which is under consideration, one of the people said.Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chair of the Jan. 6 panel, said while he and others didn’t know Cheney well, he found her to be “just like every other member that I have a relationship with. And I think that’s good. I just wish we had more of that kind of relationship in this institution. We’d be better off.”For Cheney and Pelosi, the commission and its findings are likely to be defining aspects of their careers.Pelosi led the House to twice impeach Trump and is determined to hold him accountable for his actions on Jan. 6 as she wraps what could be her final years as speaker.Seven people died in the siege and its aftermath, including Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by police as she climbed through a broken window trying to access the House chamber. Three other Trump supporters in the mob died of natural causes. Police officer Brian Sicknick, who had battled the rioters, died the next day. Two other officers took their own lives.Cheney, who warned her party in an op-ed that “history is watching” in this moment, vows to seek a fourth term but has an uncertain political future.According to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 60% of Americans say it’s very or extremely important that investigations continue to examine what happened during the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.The poll, conducted July 15-19, showed 51% of Americans say they have an unfavorable opinion of Pelosi, though among Democrats it’s more favorable. For Cheney, the results show her more positively rated by Democrats than Republicans. Among Democrats, 47% say they have a favorable view of Cheney and 20% an unfavorable view, while among Republicans, 21% have a favorable view and 46% have an unfavorable one.Pitney, the professor who worked for the elder Cheney decades ago in House leadership but left the Republican Party during the Trump era, said the Pelosi and Cheney bond will be one for history.“It’s like one of those 1950s science-fiction movies where everyone unites over the alien invader,” he said. Pelosi and Cheney have “a legitimate shared interest in getting to the bottom of the insurrection.”———Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Alan Fram, Emily Swanson and Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.

The first medal events took place Saturday.July 24, 2021, 2:27 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleThe first gold medal of the 2020 Olympics was officially won Saturday in Japan.China’s Qian Yang earned gold in the women’s 10-meter air rifle to take home the long-awaited first medal. The 21-year-old is a rising star in the sport.She defeated Russian Anastasiia Galashina — competing under the Russian Olympic Committee moniker — in the final.The first medal events took place Saturday in Tokyo, with opportunities to win in archery, men’s cycling, fencing, judo, shooting, taekwondo and women’s weightlifting.Although the opening ceremony just took place Friday, competition has been underway for several days, including in soccer, softball, baseball and shooting. Competition will continue through Aug. 8, when the closing ceremony will be held.The United States won the most medals during the last Summer Olympics in 2016, coming home with 121, 46 of which were gold. China and Great Britain followed shortly after the U.S., taking home 70 and 67 medals, respectively.Shooting takes place in several disciplines, based on different distances from targets. In the 10-meter air rifle, athletes have 75 minutes to fire 60 shots at a target. Ginny Thrasher of the U.S. won gold in 2016. Thrasher did not qualify for the 2020 Games, though American Mary Tucker finished in sixth.The men’s 10-meter air pistol competition will be taking place later in the day.While this is the first gold medal of the Tokyo Games, there are other notable first medals coming up. The first medals ever will be awarded over the next two weeks in skateboarding, karate, surfboarding and sport climbing, four sports that are making their Olympic debut this year.Meanwhile, American greats like gymnast Simone Biles and sprinter Allyson Felix are competing to make medal history as individuals in their sports, and Serbian tennis icon Novak Djokovic is going for gold on his hunt for an elusive Golden Slam.

TOKYO — Although the name Marty McFly won’t be on the start list for the first Olympic skateboarding competition, the “Back to the Future” character who inspired the immortal lines “What’s that thing he’s on? It’s a board, with wheels!” was a landmark personality for the sport in its groundbreaking journey to the Tokyo Games.The Olympic debut in Tokyo of BMX freestyle also owes a debt to Hollywood, because it was Steven Spielberg’s movie “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” that showcased the acrobatic sport’s wow factor to mainstream audiences.So Tinseltown, take an Olympic bow. Skateboarding starts Sunday with the men’s street competition. The men and women’s medal events in BMX freestyle are on the second Sunday, Aug. 1. Back when the movie blockbusters hit screens in the 1980s, McFly would have needed a time-traveling DeLorean to foresee that these counterculture activities would be welcomed into the Olympic extravaganza unfolding in Tokyo.“The skateboard associations and the BMX associations should be giving Bob Zemeckis, myself and Steven Spielberg lifetime achievement awards,” joked “Back to the Future” screenwriter Bob Gale in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of the competitions.Gale co-created and cowrote the hit series with director Robert Zemeckis. They imagined McFly as a skateboarder to help make the character — played by actor Michael J. Fox — stand out.“Marty McFly was always supposed to be kind of this rebellious kid,” Gale recollected. “We thought it was appropriate that he might still be using the skateboard or may have decided to use a skateboard because everybody told him not to.”In one of the movie’s signature scenes, McFly uses a makeshift skateboard to outrun and outfox the villainous Biff Tannen. McFly soars on his board over a hedge and races around a town square, sparks flying. Biff and his gang of bullies are humiliated, ending up neck-deep in dung after crashing into a manure truck.Skateboarding pioneer Tony Hawk was 17 and already a pro when the time-travel movie was released in July 1985. He credits “Back to the Future” for luring a whole generation of kids to skating.“There are plenty of legendary pros that I know of that started skating because they saw that,” Hawk said in an AP interview.Skateboarding featured again as an outcast activity two years later in “Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol.” Hawk was part of the stunt crew that skated around downtown Toronto performing jumps and tricks for that movie.“Back to the Future” was also pivotal for Josh Friedberg, the CEO of USA Skateboarding, who is leading the U.S. team of 12 skaters in Tokyo. The movie and a friend’s return to their Kansas hometown from Florida with a skating video and a board all combined to hook Friedberg for life.“My head exploded,” he said in an AP interview. “I fell in love with skateboarding that summer and there are billions of kids my age (for whom) the same exact thing happened.“That movie was fascinating to me as a 13-year-old, with Michael J. Fox skating on his tail and making sparks and escaping the bad guys,” Friedberg added. “There is an entire generation of skateboarders that are the ‘Back to the Future’ generation.”For the movie’s makers, long before skateboarding was Tokyo-bound and plastered all over the internet and social media, one of the challenges was finding skaters good enough to carry the scenes.“The stunt guys didn’t know how to skateboard,” Gale recalled.The hunt took him on a Sunday morning to Los Angeles’ Venice Beach, a cradle for the skating culture that Olympic organizers now hope will entice young audiences to tune in to Tokyo.”Sure enough, there were these two guys that were just doing these outstanding skateboard tricks,” Gale said. “So I went up to them and I said, ‘I know you are going to think that I am full of it, but I am actually producing a movie and I need a couple of guys.’”Freestyle BMX pioneer Bob Haro had a similar experience: An out-of-the-blue phone call offering him work as a stuntman on “E.T.,” released in 1982.Among those inspired by Spielberg’s blockbuster about a stranded alien was future Olympic track cycling champion Chris Hoy. Then only 7, Hoy was instantly smitten by its thrilling chases and took up BMX racing before later switching to track, where his six gold medals made him Britain’s most decorated Olympian.In the movie’s climactic chase scene, Haro jumped his BMX bike onto the roof and hood of a police vehicle, knocking off its flashing red light.“It turned, again, millions of kids onto BMX,” Haro said in an AP interview. “Really great timing, too, because the sport of BMX was blowing up at that time and they capitalized on it in a good way.“For the younger generation, a lot of them, that’s a long time ago,” he acknowledged. “They are having their moment, which is great.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Pandemic restrictions on Florida-based cruise ships are no longer in place under the latest ruling by a federal appeals court, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention try to fight a Florida lawsuit challenging the regulationsByThe Associated PressJuly 24, 2021, 12:03 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleMIAMI — Pandemic restrictions on Florida-based cruise ships are no longer in place under a ruling Friday by a federal appeals court, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seek to fight a Florida lawsuit challenging the regulations.A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had temporarily blocked a previous ruling last Saturday that sided with Florida officials, but the court reversed that decision on Friday, explaining that the CDC failed to demonstrate an entitlement to a stay pending appeal.Last weekend’s temporary stay had kept the CDC regulations regarding Florida-based cruise ships in place while the CDC appeals the June decision by U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday. Those regulations can no longer be enforced but can still be used as guidelines.The lawsuit, championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, claims that the CDC’s multiple-step process to allow cruising from Florida is overly burdensome, harming both a multibillion-dollar industry that provides some 159,000 jobs and revenue collected by the state.In court filings, attorneys for Florida had urged the 11th Circuit to reject the CDC request to keep its rules intact.“The equities overwhelmingly favor allowing the cruise industry to enjoy its first summer season in two years while this Court sorts out the CDC’s contentions on appeal,” Florida’s lawyers argued.The CDC, however, said keeping the rules in place would prevent future COVID-19 outbreaks on ships that are vulnerable to the spread of the virus because of their close quarters and frequent stops at foreign ports.“The undisputed evidence shows that unregulated cruise ship operations would exacerbate the spread of COVID-19, and that the harm to the public that would result from such operations cannot be undone,” the CDC said in a court filing.The CDC first flatly halted cruise ships from sailing in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which had affected passengers and crew on numerous ships.Then the CDC on Oct. 30 of last year imposed a four-phase conditional framework it said would allow the industry to gradually resume operations if certain thresholds were met. Those included virus mitigation procedures and a simulated cruise to test them before embarking regular passengers.Merryday’s decision concluded that the CDC can’t enforce those rules for Florida-based ships and that they should merely be considered nonbinding recommendations or guidelines. Several cruise lines have begun preliminary cruises under those guidelines, which the Tampa judge agreed with Florida are too onerous.“Florida persuasively claims that the conditional sailing order will shut down most cruises through the summer and perhaps much longer,” the judge wrote in June, adding that Florida “faces an increasingly threatening and imminent prospect that the cruise industry will depart the state.”Disney Cruise Lines held its first simulated sailing under CDC rules last Saturday when the Disney Dream departed from Port Canaveral, Florida. The passengers were volunteer Disney employees.

It was one of the most lopsided losses in Olympic basketball history: Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Team USA thrashed the Nigerian men’s basketball team by 83 points in London in 2012, with a final score of 156-73.“I remember that game,” said 21-year-old Precious Achiuwa, who was born in Nigeria and immigrated to the United States in eighth grade. “It wasn’t good.”Fast forward nine years, and Achiuwa, now a forward for the Miami Heat and Nigeria’s national team, helped pull off a surprising upset against Team USA, 90-87, in an Olympic exhibition game two weeks ago — playing highlight-reel defense against American superstar Kevin Durant.Stream ABC News Live Prime weeknights at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. ET at abcnewslive.comIt was the first time an African team has ever defeated Team USA. It was a coming-out party of sorts for the Nigerian team, called D’Tigers, who are hunting for Africa’s first basketball medal in the upcoming Olympics.“Hopefully it brings a lot of attention to us from younger athletes that are Nigerian, that may be interested in being a part of Nigerian basketball now,” said Gabe Nnamdi Vincent, a Nigerian American guard who, like Achiuwa, plays for the NBA’s Heat and the Nigerian national team.Ike Nwamu #34 of Nigeria drives against Kevin Durant #7 of the United States during an exhibition game at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, July 10, 2021, in Las Vegas.Stephen Bardo, a former NBA player and college basketball analyst who has run basketball clinics across Africa, told ABC News he wasn’t surprised by Nigeria’s victory.“Over half that team has NCAA or NBA experience,” he said. Eight players on the team’s 12-man Olympic roster are currently playing in the NBA.The team also has a top-flight coach in Mike Brown — a former NBA coach of the year who helmed teams with some of the world’s top stars, including LeBron James and Bryant.Ike Iroegbu #1 of Nigeria drives to the basket against Nicolas Laprovittola #8 of Argentina during an exhibition game at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 12, 2021 in Las Vegas.“I’ve been a head coach in the NBA Finals. I’ve been an assistant coach in multiple finals with multiple different teams. And I’ve won a couple,” he told ABC News. “Being a coach in the Olympics, I’ve never done that. So why not experience that now?”While he doesn’t have any personal ties to Nigeria, Brown sees the role as an opportunity to build something bigger than a strong national team — and is working for the Nigerian Basketball Federation without pay.“I got 10 toes in. I got both arms in. I got my big ole head in, every part of my body is in — to uplift Nigeria as a country through the game of basketball,” he said.With a team of stars, the USA men’s team is still the favorite for the gold medal in Japan. But after dropping consecutive exhibition games to Nigeria and a powerhouse Australian team, the Americans are entering their first game in their shakiest position since 2004, when a team of NBA stars struggled to play together and wound up with the bronze medal at the Athens Olympics.Brown said “the rest of the world is catching up” to Team USA.The Nigeria bench reacts after Ike Iroegbu #1 of Nigeria hit a 3-pointer against the United States in the fourth quarter of an exhibition game at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, July 10, 2021, in Las Vegas.That shrinking skills gap has been on full display this summer, as Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks superstar born in Greece to Nigerian parents, led his team to victory in the NBA Finals, through the playoffs filled with teams anchored by stars from Cameroon, Slovenia, Serbia, France and the Bahamas.“We all fought so hard to make sure that we opened the door for the next generation to come and compete in this game,” said Dikembe Mutombo, the Congolese American Hall of Fame basketball player-turned-philanthropist.He was one of three African-born players in the NBA when he was drafted in 1991. Last year, the NBA season began with 107 international players from 41 countries — including 14 from Africa.Michael Gbinije #12 of Nigeria knocks the ball away from Jayson Tatum #10 of the United States during an exhibition game at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, July 10, 2021, in Las Vegas.Now, he’s excited to watch the Nigerian team perform in Tokyo, and said they have a good shot at ending up on that medal stand.“This will be a great celebration for everyone on the continent of Africa. We can say that we did it — not just Nigeria,” he said. “They are representing a big flag, not just the green flag of Nigeria.”Ekpe Udoh, a veteran on Team Nigeria who played in the NBA for eight years, expressed optimism for the future of the national team.“The core of our team [is] pretty young,” he told ABC News. “So if we can start now and continue to build a culture, I know we’ll be successful for years to come.”“I don’t think there’s any one or two countries that would dominate something like the Olympics forever,” Vincent told ABC News. “I think it’s only a matter of time that Africa itself will step up.”

COVID-19 vaccinations rose 14% over the past week, White House officials said Friday, as the more contagious delta variant is quickly spreading in under-vaccinated areas.”In the past 7 days 2.15M reported newly vaccinated, vs. 1.88M the 7 days prior (+14%),” Cyrus Shahpar, the White House COVID-19 data director, said on Twitter Friday.”The delta variant is highly contagious and circulating across the US,” he added. “Get vaccinated!”The delta variant now makes up over 80% of cases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday, up from 50% at the beginning of July.It’s unclear at the moment whether the increase in vaccinations is a blip or a trend. An ABC News analysis of CDC data shows that, as of Thursday, the number of COVID-19 vaccinations had plateaued at about 530,000 total shots administered per day. Over the last week, on average, 297,202 people initiated vaccination per day — 9.6% higher than the previous seven days.On average, 236,791 adults initiated vaccination each day in the last seven days — 7.4% higher than the previous seven days, the analysis found. Among 12- to 17-year-olds, that number rose nearly 20%.The five states that currently have the highest COVID-19 case rates are seeing their vaccination numbers increase, according to the White House. Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada are seeing a higher rate of people getting their first shots compared to the national average, Jeff Zients, the White House coordinator on COVID-19, told reporters Thursday.”This is a very positive trend,” he added.Anna Mendez, LPN, administers a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic set up by Healthcare Network on May 20, 2021 in Immokalee, Fla. The Healthcare Network set up the vaccination site for particularly hard-to-reach populations, including seasonal farmworkers and people with limited proficiency in English.Visits to the website vaccines.gov from users in Alabama — the least-vaccinated state — have gone up three times in the last two weeks, according to epidemiologist and ABC News contributor Dr. John Brownstein. Meanwhile, people in Louisiana and Missouri have doubled visits to the site, he found, suggesting people there are seeking information on where to get a shot.On Friday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey called on people to get vaccinated, as the daily average of new COVID-19 cases has tripled over the last two weeks in the state.”Let’s get it done, and we know what it takes to get it done — get a shot in your arm,” she said during a press briefing. “I’ve done it, it’s safe, it’s effective, data proves that it works, it doesn’t cost anything, it saves lives.”Just under 34% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.”Folks are supposed to have common sense,” Ivey said. “But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that let us down.”Louisiana’s health department issued new COVID-19 guidance Friday, recommending mask-wearing indoors regardless of vaccination status “in light of Louisiana’s troubling COVID-19 trends in cases and hospitalizations,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Twitter.”Louisiana is undeniably in a fourth surge of COVID,” the governor said during a press briefing Friday afternoon, as the state reported 3,127 new cases. The state’s average daily cases per 100,000 residents has increased 208% over the past 14 days.”Louisiana now has the highest growth rate in cases per capita in the United States of America. I want to let that sink in,” Bel Edwards said, attributing that to widespread transmission of the delta variant and the “very low percentage of people who have been vaccinated.”About 48% of residents ages 12 and up have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the governor.”That number is far below where we need to be to have the protection that we need in order to slow the spread and move toward ending the pandemic,” he said.One encouraging sign, and one the governor noted he hopes continues, is that vaccinations have been on the rise over the past two weeks, state officials said, going from an average of 2,000 vaccine initiations per day to about 5,000 per day.”This surge is on us,” Bel Edwards said. “How bad it gets, how long it stays bad, how many people ultimately die — on us.”ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett, Sasha Pezenik and Jason Volack contributed to this report.

Capitol Hill — A U.S. Senate committee has approved legislation that would, if enacted, require young women to register for Selective Service alongside men, and in the rare event of a war or other national emergency, be drafted for the first time in the nation’s history.During the Vietnam War — between 1964 and 1973 — nearly 2 million men were drafted in the U.S., according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Just afterward, in 1973, facing a tide of opposition to the controversial draft, President Richard Nixon officially ended military conscription, and the U.S. established an all-volunteer force.But even though the draft is no more, most young men, including immigrants, are required to register with the Military Selective Service in case conscription becomes necessary once again. Federal law requires registration when a man turns 18 years of age, and immigrants are required to register within 30 days of arriving in the country.The new legislation, authored by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., would remove any reference to “male” in current law, leaving women on an equal playing field.But not everyone is on board.Committee member Josh Hawley, R-Mo., announced his opposition to the measure, tweeting Friday, “American women have heroically served in and alongside our fighting forces since our nation’s founding – It’s one thing to allow American women to choose this service, but it’s quite another to force it upon our daughters, sisters, and wives. Missourians feel strongly that compelling women to fight our wars is wrong and so do I.”Women have been serving at all levels of the military since 2013 when the Pentagon opened up front-line, ground combat positions to them, and supporters of the Reed legislation say it’s high time that women sign up, particularly since the service has changed dramatically since the Vietnam era.Sen. Jack Reed speaks during a hearing in Washington, D.C., June 24, 2021.”This isn’t our grandfather’s military,” a Senate aide close to the matter told ABC News in an interview, noting that should a draft be instituted, the greater need nowadays would be for more educated conscripts in the specialty branches, like those with an expertise in cyber, technology and STEM, as well as doctors and lawyers.”So, while a draft is highly unlikely in many of our lifetimes, none of that raises the same arguments about physicality — all of the things that were used to argue for a male-only draft,” the aide said. “It’s a different world.”When asked if President Joe Biden supports the change, a White House aide pointed to a September 2020 Military Officers Association of America candidate forum in which then-candidate Biden said, “The United States does not need a larger military, and we don’t need a draft at this time…I would, however, ensure that women are also eligible to register for the Selective Service System so that men and women are treated equally in the event of future conflicts.”In a Supreme Court case earlier this year, the ACLU challenged the constitutionality of an all-male draft legislation, but the acting solicitor general pointed to likely action from Congress in arguing that the high court hold off making a judgement, which it eventually acceded to.United States Marine Corps (USMC) recruits from Lima Company, the first gender integrated training class in San Diego, march while covered in mud following an obstacle course during The Crucible, the final part of phase three of recruit training before officially becoming US Marines, April 21, 2021, at Camp Pendleton.The Reed legislation is part of a massive defense policy measure known as the National Defense Authorization Act, a highly popular piece of legislation giving raises to U.S. troops, funding many new military systems, weapons upgrades and more. It is considered must-pass legislation, and it is expected that the new selective service requirement for women will remain in place, according to the aide.The Senate nearly passed the legislation back in 2017, but instead a national commission was created to study the issue, along with a wider mandate to look at national public service in general.That National Commission on Military, National, & Public Service last year came out in favor of the Reed position, and the senator took his current legislation directly from the commission findings.”In reviewing the question of whether Selective Service registration should include women, the Commission seriously considered a wide range of deeply felt moral, legal, and practical arguments and explored the available empirical evidence,” the panel’s report read.”The Commission concluded that the time is right to extend Selective Service System registration to include men and women, between the ages of 18 and 26. This is a necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified Nation in a time of national emergency,” the report concluded.Taken together, the Senate aide said, the sentiment was, “If we’re going to have a draft – a selective service system – then women have to be involved.””The recognition is that we’re probably not going to have a military draft, but if we do, then we recognize that you can’t fight with one hand tied behind your back,” the aide added.Plus, the aide noted, back in 2016 when the initial idea was being seriously considered, all four service chiefs testified in favor of adding women.Congress for years has shot down the idea of mandatory registration for women, but times are changing. The NDAA — with the requirement in it — passed the Senate Armed Services Committee 23-2 this week.If the legislation survives, the measure would go into effect one year after enactment of the new law.ABC New’ Justin Gomez contributed to this report.

Nearly everyone older than 12 at the camp had been vaccinated, officials said.July 23, 2021, 5:16 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleDozens of children tested positive for COVID-19 at an upstate New York summer camp, health officials confirmed to ABC News on Thursday.The site of the outbreak was Camp Pontiac, a 550-person sleep-away camp located in Columbia County, about 2 1/2 hours north of New York City. Thirty-one children ages of 7 to 11 contracted the virus, according to Jack Mabb, the county health director.The sickened children, younger than 12, weren’t eligible to be vaccinated. About half of campers are 12 or older, according to Mabb, and all but four of them had been vaccinated.The town clock and traffic circle are pictured in Copake, N.Y. in an undated photo. Camp Pontiac is located in Columbia County, near Copake, N.Y.The 275-person staff at the camp had a similarly high vaccination rate, with only three unvaccinated staffers. The sick campers were sent home to isolate, as were 130 other campers who were considered close contacts of those who tested positive.”None were seriously ill when they left, but we can’t know if they become more ill at home,” Mabb told ABC News.Community spread is currently low in Columbia County, according to Mabb. While staffers from the camp are permitted to go into Columbia County and have done so, there’s no evidence so far that the outbreak is affecting the wider community.”This morning, we have only one positive and she was not associated with the camp,” Mabb said.Camp Pontiac didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.New York’s vaccination rate is slightly higher than the national average. As of Thursday, 62% of residents had received at least one dose, and 56% were fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By comparison, 56% of Americans have gotten at least one shot, and 49% are fully vaccinated.ABC News’ Will McDuffie and Esther Castillejo contributed to this report.Editor’s Picks

The number of NFL players who are in the COVID-19 vaccination process has reached 80%, with nine teams having 90% or more of their players in that categoryBy BARRY WILNER AP Pro Football WriterJuly 23, 2021, 5:34 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleThe number of NFL players in the COVID-19 vaccination process has reached 80%, with nine teams having 90% or more of their players in that category.Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s medical director, said Friday that nearly all Tier 1 and Tier 2 team employees — those who deal directly with players — have been vaccinated. Five teams are at less than 70% of players who have either received one vaccination shot or both. He is optimistic the number of vaccinated players will continue to rise as training camps open.“I think we are off to an excellent start,” Sills said. “Those numbers are much higher than what we’re seeing in society as a whole. There has been a lot of movement in that area. As you see players coming to training camp, you will see more players beginning that process (of vaccination).”Sills cited teams having strong advocates for vaccination among players and coaches, as well as the educational materials available.“I think that has influenced a lot of players,” he said.”What matters is that individuals have the most accurate information. Let’s not get information from Instagram or Facebook posts. Let’s try to hear from the most reputable professionals. You don’t shout anyone into belief here — there have to be thoughtful conversations. What we can do is provide the facts and make sure the entirety of the medical facts are presented.”———More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP—NFL