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Student buried by Utah avalanche dies at hospital

Monday, 10 February 2014 03:38 Published in National News
   AMERICAN FORK, Utah (AP) — Authorities say a Brigham Young University student who was buried by an avalanche while snowshoeing in Utah has died.
   The Utah County sheriff's office says in a statement Sunday that Ashleigh Cox of Colorado Springs, Colo., died after being taken off life support Sunday afternoon.
   She had been caught in a slide on Saturday in American Fork Canyon, about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City. Officials say an avalanche fell 50 feet and carried the 21-year-old Cox into a creek, burying her in the water.
   Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon says witnesses couldn't dig her out and she was stuck under the snow for about 40 minutes. She wasn't breathing and had no pulse, but Cannon says medical staffers were able to revive her.
   Cannon says The Utah Avalanche Center says there is high avalanche danger in the mountains of northern and central Utah. It reported 14 slides on Saturday alone.

From immigration to trade, inaction in Congress

Monday, 10 February 2014 03:29 Published in National News
   WASHINGTON (AP) — Little more than a week after Groundhog Day, the evidence is mounting that lawmakers have all but wrapped up their most consequential work of 2014, at least until the results of the fall elections are known.
   "We've got a lot of things on our plate," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said recently when asked what Congress will be busy with this year, but he predicted no breakthrough accomplishments on immigration, taxes or any other area.
   "Why don't we just pack up and go home?" countered House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California after Boehner blamed President Barack Obama for lack of movement on immigration. "What we're supposed to do is legislate and not make up excuses as to why we don't."
   Immigration legislation is hardly the only area where inaction is the likeliest outcome.
   A Senate-passed bill has fallen into the congressional equivalent of a black hole in the House, where conservative critics cite a changing series of reasons for not wanting to take action.
   Initially, they said they didn't want to vote on a bill because they oppose amnesty for immigrants living in the country illegally. Then they observed it would be a political mistake to shift focus away from their own opposition to the health care law, which unites them, and turn it onto an issue that divides them. Most recently, Boehner, who has said repeatedly he wants to pass an immigration bill, has joined others in citing a lack of trust with Obama as a reason for inaction.
   If immigration legislation is moribund in the House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has made it clear he doesn't intend to seek passage of a second Obama priority, this one a bill to facilitate passage of trade deals with Europe and Asia.
   "I'm against fast track," said the man who sets the Senate's agenda, referring to the measure Obama wants. "I think everyone would be well advised just to not push this right now."
   The legislation is opposed by large segments of organized labor, the very unions that Democrats will be counting on to pour money and manpower into their bid to hold control of the Senate in the November election.
   Republicans need to gain six seats to win a majority. They say they increasingly are bullish about their prospects, what with the country generally pessimistic about the future, Obama's favorability ratings well below the levels of his re-election campaign, and controversies afflicting the president's health law.
   While Reid hasn't said so, other lawmakers and aides speculate that trade could top the agenda of any postelection session of Congress.
   And an overhaul of tax laws may not be as far off as it did a year ago. While there was scant evidence of progress in 2013, a transition is occurring at the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the incoming chairman, announced late Friday his first priority in the job will be overhauling the nation's tax system, which he called a "dysfunctional, rotten mess." He will succeed Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who was confirmed on Thursday as ambassador to China.
   Deficit reduction, the driving force of the tea party-heavy House majority, now occupies a back seat, and the projected deficit for the current budget year is the lowest since George W. Bush was in the White House.
   Nor do Republicans appear likely to compromise any time soon on an increase in the minimum wage or other items on Obama's agenda.
   The first bill the Democrats put on the Senate floor this year, to renew benefits for the long-term unemployed, is stalled by Republican opposition. Even an eventual compromise wouldn't be much to brag about. Congress has passed similar bills repeatedly in the wake of past economic downturns.
   Not that much of significance has been done up until now.
   With much fanfare, lawmakers recently completed work on a five-year farm bill — two years late.
   By month's end, lawmakers are virtually certain to raise the nation's debt limit. That, too, is a relatively routine measure, even if in recent years it has passed only after considerable brinkmanship.
   Another potential area for compromise is legislation to overhaul the system for reimbursing doctors who treat Medicare patients.
   The bipartisan supporters of a measure along those lines have yet to agree on how to offset the cost, though.

Mizzou All-American Michael Sam says he's gay

Monday, 10 February 2014 02:49 Published in Sports

   Missouri All-American Michael Sam says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.  Sam told ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports, that he came out to his Mizzou teammates and coaches in August.  

   The 255 pound Sam participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama last month after leading the SEC with 11 1/2 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.  He's projected to be a mid-round NFL draft pick.  

   Sam says: "It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL."

 

Reaction to Michael Sam saying in interviews that he is gay:

 

"It takes an incredible amount of courage to break ground on a social issue on a national stage. Michael Sam is a young man of tremendous fortitude and confidence. It is these traits that make it possible for him to be among the best on the field and now to have an impact on the world of sport in a very important way. I also applaud the wonderful support given to him by his teammates and the University of Missouri." — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive.

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"I think a lot of guys in the NFL are going to say they will accept it, but there are a lot of guys who won't. The reality is Michael Sam is going to open himself up to a lot of criticism and a lot of challenges. Those are challenges most gay people have to go through, but when you are dealing with alpha males and some meatheads in an NFL locker room it's amplified. And there are some guys who have strong religious beliefs too, so he's going to be judged. He's going to face some things that are going to be very difficult to overcome." — Former NFL offensive lineman Frank Garcia, now a sports radio show host with WFNZ-AM in Charlotte.
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"Had multiple convos with @MikeSamFootball this year, amazed at his honesty & courage! Once a tiger, ALWAYS a Tiger." — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and former Missouri star Chase Daniel on Twitter @ChaseDaniel.
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"Very happy for Michael Sam. His courage will inspire millions to live their truth." — MLS player Robbie Rogers, who is gay, on Twitter.
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"I could care less about a man's sexual preference! i care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!" — Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams on Twitter @DeAngeloRB.
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"We are so proud of Michael for what he has accomplished at Mizzou academically, socially and competitively. This is a young man who earned his degree from MU, was a unanimous All-American on the football field and now he's being a leader in his personal life. He continues to display great character, courage and compassion. We are proud of him on every level." — Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden.
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"Best of luck in the draft @MikeSamFootball. #respect #YouCanPlay @YouCanPlayTeam" — Former NFL player Zak DeOssie on Twitter @zdeossie.
___
 
"There will be some interest early on (and missteps), but by week one, it'll be a non story. The way it should be from that point on." — Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy on Twitter @BMcCarthy32.
 

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