Posts tagged with "USA Today"

Minnesota Supreme Court allows Trump on ballot for primary, delays decision on general election

November 10, 2023

Minnesota’s highest court ruled on Wednesday, November 8, that former President Donald Trump should be allowed to appear on the state’s presidential primary ballot next year—waving off for now an argument raised in an early test case that he had disqualified himself for a second term by attempting to overturn the 2020 election, reports USA Today.

The decision represents a partial victory for Trump—allowing him to stay on the ballot for the GOP primary. Minnesota may revisit the issue for the general election.

The court, in a four-page order, said the state’s primary election was an “internal party election” and that winning that contest doesn’t necessarily place the nominee on the state’s general election ballot. There is no state law that bars a political party from nominating a candidate who may be ineligible to hold office, the court wrote.

The court left open the possibility of revisiting the issue for the November general election.

The lawsuit, filed by a liberal group called Free Speech for People, is one of dozens pending across the nation that rely on a post-Civil War-era clause of the 14th Amendment to bar anyone who “engaged in insurrection” after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution from holding higher office again.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, described the court’s order as “further validation” that the legal efforts to knock the former president off the ballot are “nothing more than strategic, un-constitutional attempts to interfere with the election by desperate Democrats who see the writing on the wall.”

The Minnesota suit has been seen as a test case for the issue more broadly. Given the number of similar challenges across the country, the issue may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, said the group was disappointed by the decision.

“However, the Minnesota Supreme Court explicitly recognized that the question of Donald Trump’s disqualification for engaging in insurrection against the U.S. Constitution may be resolved at a later stage,” Fein said. “The decision isn’t binding on any court outside Minnesota and we continue our current and planned legal actions in other states to enforce Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment against Donald Trump.”

The plaintiffs argued that Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, leading to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, mean he’s disqualified from the presidency in the same way he wouldn’t qualify if he was not a natural-born citizen, another constitutional prerequisite for the office.

The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on November 2.

The clause at issue has only been used a handful of times since immediately after the Civil War. Trump’s lawyers had argued it was never meant to apply to the office of the president, which is not mentioned in the text. They also framed the legal effort as an attempt to take away from voters the right to choose a president.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Six Flags, Cedar Fair merge to form $8 billion company

November 7, 2023

Amusement park companies Cedar Fair and Six Flags Entertainment Corporation announced on Thursday, October 2, that they will merge into a combined company worth around $8 billion, reports USA Today.

The merger will make the new company a “leading amusement park operator in the highly competitive leisure space,” according to a release from Cedar Fair.

Indeed, the new combined company will be one of the largest in the theme park businesses in North America. Together, Cedar Fair and Six Flags currently control 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks, and nine resort properties in 17 states spread across the United States, and in Canada and Mexico.

In addition to Cedar Point, the Sandusky, Ohio-based Cedar Fair also operates other theme parks, including Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, and King’s Island in Mason, Ohio.

Six Flags operates its flagship theme parks across the United States—including in Arlington, Texas; Valencia, California; and Jackson, New Jersey.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Cedar Fair shareholders will own around 51.2% of the company and Six Flags shareholders will own around 48.8%. The combined company will also have various entertainment partnerships and the intellectual property rights to Looney Tunes, DC Comics, and Peanuts, to name a few.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Why do people grieve celebs? Experts weigh in after Matthew Perry’s demise: ‘A little part of us dies’

November 1, 2023

The passing of a celebrity can lead to a lot of complicated emotions. Millions are mourning the death of actor Matthew Perry, who was found lifeless in the Jacuzzi of his Los Angeles home on Saturday, October 28, reports USA Today.

Almost immediately, Friends fans posted tributes on social media and even flocked to the West Village apartment the characters on the show called home to express their sadness for his passing.

“It’s completely normal to grieve a celebrity’s death and most of us have been affected by the loss of a celebrity at one time or another,” therapist Nicholette Leanza, LPCC-S, from LifeStance Health says.

While most fans never met Perry, therapist Aniesa Hanson, Ph.D., explains that fans often latch onto an “idea” of a star rather than the A-lister themselves.

Although our favorite celebrities may not know we exist, our connection to them can still run deep and emotional as we identify with their lives or art in a real way.

“Our relationships with celebrities are different than our everyday relationships,” Hanson recently told Psychology Today.

“Our emotional bond with an influential person is based on our projection of what we need that person to be for us during influential moments of our lives. It’s the idea of that person we bond to, not necessarily the person themselves—since we didn’t come to know them in real life.”

Hanson also noted that certain celebrities may be “embedded into your youth.”

“Not only are celebrities infused into our developmental milestones, they oftentimes fill roles of a mentor or support person we [are] lacking,” Hanson noted. “We turn to them for support and they become part of our lives. When they die, a little part of us dies too.”

Whether it be growing up watching Sir Michael Gambon inspire us with Dumbledore’s iconic lines in the Harry Potter series of films, or bonding with family while listening to Tony Bennett’s classic hits, celebrities and their work often leave a strong lasting impression on us when we connect with them at pivotal moments in our life.

“An actor’s death can bring back memories of a movie he or she did—triggering memories from that time in your own life,” psychotherapist Tom Kersting explained to Reader’s Digest. “So, the key is to be grateful for the positive memories and fixate on that rather than on the sadness.”

Their death can also be especially confusing as we often put them on a pedestal and have a disconnection with their humanity.

“Because we bond to celebrities at a distance, we have a tendency to immortalize them through nostalgic life experiences,” Hanson explained, adding that this makes it “difficult for us to see them as the mortals they are.”

While the experts both encourage fans to acknowledge that their feelings are valid, even if they only admired the celebrity from afar, they noted that they should consider seeking professional help if their grief becomes overwhelming.

Although our favorite celebrities may not know we exist, our connection to them can still run deep and emotional as we identify with their lives or art in a real way.

“The important first thing to do in mourning the celebrity’s death in a healthy way is to acknowledge your feelings about the loss and not judge yourself for it,” Leanza advised.

“Mourning the death of a celebrity we’ve admired is just as important as any other death,” Hanson justified. “Grief is grief. Ignoring your feelings of grief won’t make you grieve faster; it can actually do the opposite.”

Research contact: @USATODAY

‘Weaklings:’ Donald Trump targets Mark Meadows over report that he will flip

October 26, 2023

Donald Trump targeted his former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, on Wednesday, October 25—insinuating that Meadows would be a weakling and a coward if he testifies against the former president, reports USA Today.

In a pair of Truth Social posts, Trump said he does not believe Meadows would turn on him—but noted that his former chief of staff has been threatened with prosecution and might be tempted by an immunity agreement.

“Some people would make that deal, but they are weaklings and cowards, and so bad for the future our Failing Nation,” Trump said. “I don’t think that Mark Meadows is one of them, but who really knows?”

Trump is facing pressure to be careful with what he says about Meadows, or any other potential witness in the 2020 election case against him.

The reason? U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan hit the former president with a partial gag order that prohibits him from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, and court personnel.

Trump sought to undermine Meadows a day after a news report that he is talking to Special Counsel Jack Smith‘s office in the federal case charging the former president with trying to steal the 2020 election.

ABC News said Meadows has told Smith and his prosecutors that “he repeatedly told Trump in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election that the allegations of significant voting fraud coming to them were baseless, a striking break from Trump’s prolific rhetoric regarding the election.”

Smith’s office is responsible for the federal indictment that  essentially charges Trump with trying to steal the 2020 election from President Joe Biden, including with claims of voter fraud that he knew to be false.

In his Truth Social posts, Trump denied Meadows’ reported assertions, and pointed out that Meadows defended Trump’s election complaints in his book.

“Mark Meadows NEVER told me that allegations of significant fraud (about the RIGGED Election!) were baseless,” Trump claimed. “He certainly didn’t say that in his book!”

Research contact: @USATODAY

Travis Kelce could earn up to $10M thanks to the ‘Taylor Swift effect’

September 29, 2023

Travis Kelce is in his Taylor Swift era—and it could make the Kansas City Chiefs tight end as much as $10 million in off-the-field earnings, a sports marketing expert recently told Insider.

It’s estimated Kelce currently makes around $5 million a year in off-the-field earnings, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doubles that number,” says Bob Dorfman, the Creative Director at marketing agency Pinnacle Advertising, according to the outlet.

“Kelce was already one of football’s most successful endorsers before his hot romance, but now he’s sizzling hot—swiftly grabbing the attention and buying power of a whole new fan base and demographic.”

The 33-year-old “Blank Space” singer has a notoriously loyal —and large—fan base, the “Swifties,” who have been anxiously awaiting the hard launch of Swift’s rumored relationship with Kelce and were overjoyed when the pop icon took sports headlines by storm over the weekend.

Since Swift appeared at the Chiefs-versus-Chicago Bears game on Sunday, September 24, Kelce saw a 400% increase in merchandise sales in the 24 hours after the Chiefs’ 41-10 victory, skyrocketing his No. 87 jersey into the NFL’s top-five best sellers — a result of the so-called “Taylor Swift effect.”

Since Swift appeared at her rumored beau’s game on Sunday, Kelce’s jersey has been among the NFL’s top-five best sellers, and he gained over 300,000 followers on social media.

Thanks to the NFL Players Association, players receive a percentage of the revenue from their jersey sales and any other merchandise that bears their name, image, and likeness.

Although the terms of Kelce’s royalty agreement with the league are unclear, revenue-sharing agreements could earn popular players millions.

Take Tom Brady, for example, who earned a record-breaking $9.5 million in group licensing and marketing income in the 12 months ending February 28, 2022, according to an NFLPA filing with the US Labor Department.

For reference, the player who earned the second-highest amount of royalties was Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who earned $3.3 million during the same one-year period.

Meanwhile, Kelce has also seen his social media reach grow by over 300,000 since Sunday.

“New Heights”—the podcast Kelce co-hosts with his older brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce —has jumped to No. 1 on Apple Podcasts and No. 2 on Spotify.

The two-time Super Bowl champ’s recent swell in online success could translate into to big bucks, as brands looking for endorsers pay up according to follower count and engagement.

Kelce’s Instagram, where he goes by @killatrav, boasts over 3.5 million followers as of Thursday, September 28—a figure that could have brands dishing out as much as $500,000 for a single post on Kelce’s feed, according to USA Today.

In addition, “New Heights” jumped to No. 1 on Apple Podcasts and No. 2 on Spotify.

Research contact: @InsiderNews

Tesla’s new Model X and S standard range electric cars are cheaper—but with one big caveat

August 17, 2023

Tesla‘s new “standard range” versions of its popular Model X and Model S electric vehicles (EVs) offer consumers a lower price tag, but with one major caveat: They can’t travel as far on one charge, reports USA Today.

This week, Tesla quietly rolled out versions of the vehicles—which are $10,000 cheaper than the regular models. Electrek, a news outlet focused on electric transportation, was the first to report on the new models.

The lower price of the new models—$88,490 for the new Model X SUV, and $78,490 for the new Model S sedan—comes at the expense of the distance they can travel before needing to be recharged.

The Model X’s standard vehicle has an estimated range of 269 miles, or 79 miles less than its more expensive version. The estimated 320-mile range of the standard Model S has been reduced by 85 miles.

The regular models of both vehicles also have a slightly faster acceleration speed. 

The new options comes as the carmaker run by billionaire Elon Musk is facing more competition in the electric vehicle industry.

In late July, seven major automakers— General Motors, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, and Stellantisannounced intentions to join forces to build a North American electric vehicle charging network that would rival Tesla’s.

The multibillion-dollar investment would see nearly double the number of fast-charging plugs in the United States and Canada by next summer; as more and more consumers switch from gas-powered vehicles to those that run on electricity.

The move would be a direct challenge to Tesla’s long reign. The company’s network currently has the largest number of fast chargers in North America, with 2,050 stations and more than 22,000 plugs, according to the Department of Energy.

The network formed by the seven automakers would be open to all electric vehicle owners, including Teslas.

Research contact: @USATODAY

70 million people cheer on young Texas boy who rang a doorbell asking for help finding friends

July 28, 2023

Get ready to fall in love with the sincerity of an 11-year-old Texan boy who went to a neighbor’s house asking if they knew any kids in the area because he really needed some new friends, reports the Good News Network.

The heartbreaking-then-heartwarming interaction between Shayden Walker and his neighbor Brennan Ray was caught via a doorbell security camera—and trigged a viral storm of offers for friendship on social media.

“Um, I just wanted to see if you knew any kids around like 11 or 12, maybe,” the boy can be heard saying in the video. “I need some friends, like really bad.”

Ray suggests some kids in their area of Amarillo Texas, but Shayden replies that he doesn’t see them anymore “because they’re bullies.”

Ray then says that if Shayden wanted to he could play with his daughter, but she was only 2 years old, to which the young man replies “Oh great! I love 2-year-olds, to be honest, they’re like the most cutest things I’ve ever known.”

Ray was struck by Shayden’s honesty and demeanor and took to TikTok to try and solve his conundrum.

“You never know what people are going through until you get a chance to talk to them. This young man is well-mannered, kind, and brave. So, TikTok, can we help Shayden make some friends?” Ray captioned the video, which garnered an absolutely staggering 69 million views.

“I figured I could post it and some local people would see it and help me connect to them,” he told USA Today.

Shayden has been diagnosed with several mental disorders and his mom said he’s always had trouble maintaining friends—but after the TikTok video he now has friends in China, the UK, Hawaii, and Australia.

At first, admits mom Kimberly, she thought the video would lead to more ridicule.

“When that didn’t happen, the relief that washed over me and the pure joy that people actually were showing compassion, that was huge,” she said.

Shayden also told USA Today and said he felt drawn to visit the Rays because their dog ran into his yard one day, and when the Rays come over to get him they seemed like nice people.

Ray and his wife thought they could use all the publicity to help Shayden, so they started a GoFundMe which raised $37,000 for whatever he wants—a clause stipulated in the fundraiser.

The families are extremely close after the ordeal, and Shayden does in fact play with the Rays’ daughter, despite all his new friends.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

‘My night watchman, my postman and guardian’: How a ‘hearing cat’ takes care of his owner

July 24, 2023

A pet from the United Kingdom received an award on Tuesday, July 18, after becoming a “hearing cat” for his owner all on his own. The cat, named Zebby, beat thousands of others and took home the award for National Cat of the Year, reports USA Today.

The award was given by Cats Protection, a charity that rescues and re-homes cats. The event was held at the Wilton’s Music Hall in London, Cats Protection said in a news release.

To win the award, Zebby first won the Family Fur-ever category, which honors cats that “make a family complete.” The victor of this bracket is selected by public vote. The cat was then selected as overall National Cat of the Year by a panel.

Zebby’s owner, 66-year-old Genevieve Moss, lives alone, aside from her furry friend, of course. Living solo can be isolating, she said in a recent video.

Her problems were further exacerbated by the fact that she can’t hear anything without her hearing aid—meaning Moss can’t hear anything at night. Once, she was robbed in the middle of the night.

But now, Zebby alerts her to different sounds in their home. He also fetches the mail for Moss and drops it into the bedroom. He even takes her slippers to her.

“He has become my night watchman, my postman and guardian,” she said. “He seems to know that when the phone rings, he needs to alert me. At nighttime, if my security light goes on, he seems to know to wake me up and he does so by tapping my face.”

Sometimes when Moss tries to leave the house, Zebby takes his position at the front door to tell her it’s not happening. She then has to sneak out the back door, she said.

When she returns, he runs up and gives her lots of cuddles, she said. For her, it’s nice to come home to Zebby. He’s her “best friend” and her “savior.”

“I am so proud of Zebby for showing the world how intuitive and caring cats can be, and what a positive effect they can have on people’s lives,” she told Cats Protection. “I can’t imagine life without Zebby and I’m over the moon that he’s been honored in the National Cat Awards.”

In honor of his win, Zebby took home a trophy and a pet store voucher.

Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards organizer Ashley Fryer said the feline’s entry form spoke volumes about his devotion to his owner. “Their story highlights the powerful bond that exists between people and their cats,” Fryer said. “He’s a shining example of the joy and comfort a cat can bring.”

Research contact: @USATODAY

Trump has no immunity from second E. Jean Carroll lawsuit, Justice Department says

July13, 2023

On Tuesday, July 11, the Justice Department reversed a holding first made by the agency during Donald Trump’s term in office—saying that the ex-president is not immune from a second defamation suit by writer E. Jean Carroll, reports USA Today.

Carroll, who in May won a $5 million judgment against Trump for sexual abuse and defamation, has another defamation suit pending against him for comments he made about her after the case was closed.

The letter clears the way for another defamation trial against Trump, currently scheduled to begin in January.

Carroll wrote about Trump’s alleged sexual assault in a 2019 memoiraccusing him of attacking her in a New York department store more than 20 years ago. The case has been mired down in appeals, many of them involving the question of Trump’s legal standing as president.

In its letter and a court filing, the Justice Department also said new evidence against Trump has surfaced since he left office—citing the recent civil trial and harsh comments that Trump made about Carroll after the verdict.

The new evidence “supports an inference that … Trump was motivated by a ‘personal grievance’ stemming from events that occurred many years prior to … Trump’s presidency,” the Justice Department said. 

The reversal also means the Justice Department will not help defend Trump at the upcoming defamation trial, although few have predicted such a move.

Trump has alleged he did not know Carroll and accused her of making up a story to hurt him politically. The former president protested Carroll’s legal action in a Truth Social post early Wednesday, alleging “The Carroll civil case against me is a Miscarriage of Justice and a total Scam.”

After a civil trial in New York that focused on the 1996 incident itself, a jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation, assessing damages adding up to $5 million. Trump has appealed that verdict.

Carroll has since requested more damages over comments Trump made since the trial. Trump, meanwhile, has countersued Carroll and is seeking to dismiss the second defamation case.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Marjorie Taylor Greene is ousted from conservative House Freedom Caucus

July 10, 2023

The House Freedom Caucus voted to remove Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) from the conservative group just before the current Congressional recess on Friday June 23, according to Representative Andy Harris (R-Maryland), another member of the caucus, reports USA Today.

“A vote was taken to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House Freedom Caucus for some of the things she’s done,” Harris said on Thursday, July 6, according to multiple reports. The lawmaker added that Greene may no longer be able to attend the group’s meetings.

It marks the first time a member has been ousted from the group. It wasn’t immediately clear whether additional hurdles needed to be cleared for Greene to officially be removed, CNN said.

Former congressman Justin Amash resigned from the House Freedom Caucus in 2019.

As to whether Greene’s support for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California), or her support for a debt limit deal this year were factors in the move, Harris said, “I think all of that mattered,” Politico reported.

Harris also appeared to call a confrontation between Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) in which Greene used an expletive, “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

USA Today has reached out to Harris’s and Greene’s offices for additional information.

Research contact: @USATODAY