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Ask Amy: Generous father plans a blues cruise

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Ask Amy: Woman should leave abusive relationship

Dear Amy: I am a father to four adult children and a stepson. All are married or have long-term partners, except for my youngest.

I have been with my current girlfriend and her two teenagers for over five years.

I decided, when the first vaccine for COVID was nearing approval, to invite all my children and their spouses/partners on a seven-day cruise next year, all expenses paid.

Initially, I thought I would have my unattached youngest daughter share a room with her brother and his girlfriend.

In discussing this with her, she instead asked if she could bring her best friend, and as I was paying for everyone else’s partner, it seemed fair that she could also bring someone.

I told her yes and paid for all the reservations and airfares.

When my girlfriend found out about this arrangement, she was livid, insisting that the best friend (whom we had never met) was not a family member and should pay her own way.

My girlfriend is threatening not to go, nor will she allow her two children to accompany us.

My girlfriend has never gotten along with my youngest very well, but she insists that her issue is entirely about family vs. others.

I am at a loss as how to proceed.

I would feel terrible uninviting the best friend. My daughter might refuse to come. Other family members might drop out.

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Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon in COVID-19 protocol

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Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon in COVID-19 protocol

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is in COVID-19 protocol and not practicing on Tuesday, a day before the season opener against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

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House returns to stave off default with debt limit vote

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House returns to stave off default with debt limit vote

By KEVIN FREKING

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of the House are scrambling back to Washington on Tuesday to approve a short-term lift of the nation’s debt limit and ensure the federal government can continue fully paying its bills into December.

The $480 billion increase in the country’s borrowing ceiling cleared the Senate last week on a party-line vote. The House is expected to approve it swiftly so President Joe Biden can sign it into law this week. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned that steps to stave off a default on the country’s debts would be exhausted by Monday, and from that point, the department would soon be unable to fully meet the government’s financial obligations.

A default would have immense fallout on global financial markets built upon the bedrock of U.S. government debt. Routine government payments to Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans and active-duty military personnel would also be called into question.

“It is egregious that our nation has been put in this spot, but we must take immediate action to address the debt limit and ensure the full faith and credit of the United States remains intact,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

But the relief provided by the bill’s passage will only be temporary, forcing Congress to revisit the issue in December — a time when lawmakers will also be laboring to complete federal spending bills and avoid a damaging government shutdown. The yearend backlog raises risks for both parties and threatens a tumultuous close to Biden’s first year in office.

The present standoff over the debt ceiling eased when Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agreed to help pass the short-term increase. But he insists he won’t do so again.

In a letter sent Friday to Biden, McConnell said Democrats will have to handle the next debt-limit increase on their own using the same process they have tried to use to pass Biden’s massive social spending and environment plan. Reconciliation allows legislation to pass the Senate with 51 votes rather than the 60 that’s typically required. In the 50-50 split Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris gives Democrats the majority with her tiebreaking vote.

Lawmakers from both parties have used the debt ceiling votes as leverage for other priorities. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to vote against raising the debt ceiling when President Donald Trump was in office, saying she had no intention of supporting lifting the debt ceiling to enable Republicans to give another tax break to the rich. And Republicans in 2011 managed to coerce President Barack Obama into accepting about $2 trillion in deficit cuts as a condition for increasing the debt limit — though lawmakers later rolled back some of those cuts.

Pelosi told reporters Tuesday that over the years Republicans and Democrats have voted against lifting the debt ceiling, “but never to the extent of jeopardizing it.”

Pelosi said she hoped that Congress would lift the debt ceiling in a bipartisan way this December because of the stakes involved. But she also floated a bill sponsored by Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., that would transfer the duty of raising the debt limit away from Congress and vest it with the Treasury secretary, saying, “I think it has merit.”

In his focus on the debt limit, McConnell has tried to link Biden’s big federal government spending boost with the nation’s rising debt load, even though they are separate and the debt ceiling will have to be increased or suspended regardless of whether Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan makes it into law.

“Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to address the debt ceiling through standalone reconciliation, and all the tools to do it,” McConnell said in the letter. “They cannot invent another crisis and ask for my help.”

McConnell was one of 11 Republicans who sided with Democrats to advance the debt ceiling reprieve to a final vote. Subsequently, McConnell and his GOP colleagues voted against final passage.

Agreement on a short-term fix came abruptly. Some Republican senators said threats from Democrats to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for debt ceiling votes — Biden called it a “real possibility” — had played a role in McConnell’s decision.

“I understand why Republican leadership blinked, but I wish they had not,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

The current debt ceiling is $28.4 trillion. Both parties have contributed to that load with decisions that have left the government rarely operating in the black.

The calamitous ramifications of default are why lawmakers have been able to reach a compromise to lift or suspend the debt cap some 18 times since 2002, often after frequent rounds of brinkmanship.

“Global financial markets and the economy would be upended, and even if resolved quickly, Americans would pay for this default for generations,” warned a recent report from Moody’s Analytics.

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Record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August

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Record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August

A sign in the parking lot of Mariano’s grocery store advertises the availability of jobs Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

WASHINGTON (AP) — One reason America’s employers are having trouble filling jobs was starkly illustrated in a report Tuesday: Americans are quitting in droves.

The Labor Department said that quits jumped to 4.3 million in August, the highest on records dating back to December 2000, and up from 4 million in July. Hiring also slowed in August, the report showed, and the number of jobs available fell to 10.4 million, from a record high of 11.1 million the previous month.

The data strongly suggests that the delta variant wreaked havoc on the job market in August. As COVID-19 cases surged, quits jumped in restaurants and hotels and rose in other public-facing jobs, such as retail and education.

Quits also rose the most in the South and Midwest, the government said, the two regions with the worst COVID outbreaks in August.

When workers quit, it is typically seen as a good sign for the job market, because people typically leave jobs when they already have other positions or are confident they can find one. The large increase in August does include some goods news: It likely reflects the fact that with employers desperate for workers and raising wages, many workers feel they can get better pay elsewhere.

But the fact that the increase in quits was heavily concentrated in sectors that involve close contact with the public is a sign that fear of COVID also played a large role. Many people may have quit even without other jobs to take.

Hiring in September was weak for a second straight month, the government said Friday, with only 194,000 jobs added, though the unemployment rate fell to 4.8% from 5.2%.

Tuesday’s report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, provides a more detailed picture of the job market. The hiring reported on Friday is a net total, after job gains and quits, retirements and layoffs are taken into account. Tuesday’s report includes the raw figures, and showed that total hiring in August fell sharply, to 6.3 million from 6.8 million in July.

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Broncos Week 6 Talking Points: Reeling Raiders will have new play-caller against slumping Denver

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Broncos Week 6 Talking Points: Reeling Raiders will have new play-caller against slumping Denver

The reeling Las Vegas Raiders (two consecutive losses and a departed coach) and slumping Broncos (merely two consecutive losses) meet Sunday at 2:25 p.m. Here are three storylines for Week 6:

1. Raiders’ new play-caller

Coach/offensive play-caller Jon Gruden resigned in disgrace Monday night after more emails revealed a pattern of improper language in emails. Expected to replace him directing the Raiders’ offense is long-time NFL coordinator Greg Olson. The Raiders rank 13th in yards (377.0), fourth in passing (298.4; Derek Carr is second in passing yards), 29th in rushing (78.6) and 19th in scoring (22.6). This will be Olson’s first play-calling game since being fired by Jacksonville midway through the 2016 season. The last meeting between Olson and Broncos coach Vic Fangio was in October ’16 when Olson’s Jaguars rallied from a 13-0 deficit to beat Fangio’s Chicago Bears 17-16.

2. Slow Start Bowl

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NHL great Wayne Gretzky moves back to St. Louis to be closer to family

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NHL great Wayne Gretzky moves back to St. Louis to be closer to family

ST. LOUIS – Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky has moved back to the St. Louis area.

The former Blue lived in the area when he played for the Blues during the 1995-1996 seasn and again beginning in 2012 when he and his St. Louis-native wife Janet bought a home in Frontenac. Janet is from Bridgeton and went to Pattonville High School.

Prior to this new move, the Gretzkys lived in California.

He told The Athletic, the family made the move for a variety of reasons.

“We have five children and our second youngest child is going to NYU in New York City. Our youngest daughter turned 18 and is now attending SMU. I have a 100-year-old mother-in-law that we live with in St. Louis, so (my wife) Janet and I moved as a family to St. Louis to be closer to her and spend as much time as possible with her. It was kind of a tough year with spending 20 days and watching my dad (Walter) pass, so we’re getting an opportunity to spend time in the Midwest with Janet’s family,” Gretzky said.

He also said that he and his wife have two grandsons who live in Florida. St. Louis’ airport makes it easier to go see them and for the 60-year-old to get to his new Turner Sports’ NHL gig. Their headquarters are located in Atlanta. This will be Gretzky’s first crack at broadcasting.

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Add rush defense to the growing list of Broncos’ problems during two-game losing streak

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Add rush defense to the growing list of Broncos’ problems during two-game losing streak

Attempting to generate a spark for the NFL’s worst running game, the Pittsburgh Steelers lined up for their first play Sunday against the Broncos with one intention. To impose their will.

Six blockers against six defenders. … Multiple Broncos players pushed back or neutralized. … And a gain of six yards for rookie Najee Harris.

The Steelers were off and running — literally.

Pittsburgh rushed 35 times for 147 yards in its 27-19 win over the Broncos, its best rushing total since November 2019.

It was the 19th time in coach Vic Fangio’s 37 games the Broncos have allowed at least 100 yards rushing.

“We didn’t play with enough ‘oomph’ up front,” Fangio said Monday. “Give (Pittsburgh) credit. They blocked us and they have a good back (in Harris). … We’re capable of playing it better than we did.”

The Broncos need their starting front to be more capable to avoid a three-game losing streak.

Nose tackle Mike Purcell and defensive end Shelby Harris are in the first season of new contracts and third-year end Dre’Mont Jones entered the year with high expectations.

The rush defense was solid during the Broncos’ 3-0 start, but playing ahead in the second half meant they weren’t regularly tested. The Giants rushed 20 times for 60 yards, Jacksonville 16 times for 75 yards and the New York Jets 13 times for 43 yards. Entering the Baltimore game, the Broncos ranked second against the run (59.3-yard average).

But the Ravens rushed 30 times for 102 yards and after the Steelers game, the Broncos are sixth stopping the run (85.4 per game).

Pittsburgh entered Sunday averaging 55.3 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry, both worst in the league.

But the Steelers had 13 rushes of at least five yards. They averaged only 2.9 yards per first-down carry, but had seven attempts gain at least four yards to keep the offense on schedule for second down.

The Broncos had allowed only two explosive carries (gain of at least 12 yards) in Weeks 1-4, but Pittsburgh had three (13, 18 and 20 yards).

So what are Fangio’s options?

Against Baltimore in Week 4, Fangio deployed multiple snaps of a 4-3 front (four down linemen and three linebackers).

Against the Steelers, Fangio used the Broncos’ “penny” package (three linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs) for the first time in the regular season.

“It’s just a little different front mechanics,” Fangio explained last month after using the ‘penny’ package in the preseason finale against the Los Angeles Rams. “You’re taking out one inside linebacker and putting in one big guy. It’s just different for the offense.”

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St. Louis County man charged with 3-year-old’s murder after children returned to home

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St. Louis County man charged with 3-year-old’s murder after children returned to home

FLORISSANT, Mo. – A 21-year-old man faces murder charges after a 3-year-old died. He has been identified as Eli Taylor. Tevin Branom is also charged with abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death. This is not the first time he has been implicated in child abuse.

Police say that Branom was taking care of four children at a home in the 11400 block of Latonka Trail on October 7. Police and EMS were called to the home at around 5:00 pm and found a 3-year-old who was not breathing. The Taylor had some of his ribs broken and there was bruising on his body.

Taylor was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Police say that Branom was unable to tell them why the child was injured. The cause of death was later determined to be abdominal trauma.

The children just returned to the home a month before Eli Taylor’s death. They were removed for 18 months because Branom was implicated in child abuse. The other three children are now in protective custody.

Branom is being held on $500,000 cash-only bond.

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Limerick: CU regents’ “critical race theory” resolutions are bipartisanly bad

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Limerick: CU regents’ “critical race theory” resolutions are bipartisanly bad

In my 37 years at the University of Colorado, I have liked nearly all of the regents I have met.

This statement calls for three clarifications.

#1: I have gotten acquainted with a lot of regents, but certainly not all of them. After all, there have been lots of them, but only one of me.

#2:  Not every regent has liked me in return. But when regents have forthrightly expressed their contempt for me, I have learned — and relearned — a valuable lesson. When I wrote a report that led to a renaming of a building that honored a leader at the Sand Creek Massacre, one regent told a reporter that “Limerick is prejudiced against white men.” Evidence does not support this claim. And yet, while I was initially rattled by this episode, I am still grateful for it:  taught me that discomfort is an unavoidable — and entirely tolerable — feature of life in a university that welcomes disagreement.

#3: While I have liked nearly every regent I have met, I have also worried about some of them. And I happen to be worried now.

Across the nation, the school of thought called “critical race theory” has set off a campaign by conservative politicians and activists to control the content of courses taught at all levels of the educational system. The agitation and alarm of these advocates have turned an insular and parochial form of academic discussion into a threat and peril that must be curtailed to protect the nation. In the rhetoric of both the attackers and the defenders of critical race theory, emissions of self-righteousness and grandstanding regularly exceed air quality limits.

In a curious variation on bipartisanship, a Republican regent and a Democratic regent have now proposed two opposing resolutions that appear to be aimed at raising the temperature in the struggles over freedom of expression in higher education.

Scoring higher for fervor than for clarity, the stated purpose of Republican Regent Heidi Ganahl’s resolution — “recognition of free exchange of ideas and prohibition of certain mandatory training programs” — confidently scrambles advocacy for “free exchange” with an advocacy for “prohibition.”

The resolution then moves on to identify eight premises of thought that Regent Ganahl claims to be “mandatory” at the University of Colorado. Speaking as a professor who has spent an unfathomable amount of time helping students clarify their arguments, I offer this helpful observation:  providing evidence to support the assertion that these eight premises are now enforced as “mandatory” would add qualities of credibility and persuasiveness that the resolution currently lacks.

Democratic Regent Ilana Spiegel’s resolution, meanwhile, endorses the “recognition of critical race theory as a legitimate field of academic inquiry and discourse.” If the Board of Regents decided to claim the authority to distinguish a “legitimate field of academic inquiry and discourse” from an illegitimate field, a decree of this sort would meet every standard for a very bad precedent. In every discipline in the university, knowledge is always evolving; understanding is always dynamic; if over-arching concepts, models, and assumptions do not remain flexible, they are sure to prove brittle and fragile. If elected officials assume the authority to draw — and police — the line separating legitimate ideas from illegitimate ideas, I am 100% certain that they will later say to themselves, “How did we get ourselves in this mess?”

In an era when public trust in elected officials is in a downward spiral, these two resolutions provide the University of Colorado Regents with a wondrous opportunity to adopt that wise practice summed up in the phrase, “stand down:” withdraw the two proposals.

Regents could instead offer and vote unanimously in support of a resolution that records their determination to unite among themselves and to stand by the University of Colorado as its faculty, students, staff, and administrators pursue the ideal of free expression in a time of social, cultural, and political disorder and turmoil. With this resolution, the regents will make a significant move toward restoring the public’s trust in elected officials.

And with this spirit-lifting change in course, another reward–as congenial as it is inconsequential–awaits the current regents.

In that long list of regents I have liked, there’s still room for late arrivals.

Patty Limerick is the faculty director and chair of the Board of the Center of the American West. To respond to this article, please use old-fashioned technology and call 303-735-0104.

To send a letter to the editor about this article, submit online or check out our guidelines for how to submit by email or mail.

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Pedestrian struck and killed in Fairview Heights, Ill. Monday night

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Pedestrian struck and killed in Fairview Heights, Ill. Monday night

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – A pedestrian was hit and killed Monday night by a car in Fairview Heights, Illinois.

Fairview Heights Police said the crash happened at about 9:30 p.m. on IL Route 161 just north of Old Lincoln Trail.

The driver of the vehicle who hit the pedestrian was the one who called 9-1-1. The pedestrian was found dead at the scene.

Police said the driver was not impaired at the time of the crash. She was also unharmed and “later released after providing her account of what had occurred.”

The identity of the pedestrian is being withheld until their family is notified.

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Car crashes into Hazelwood police vehicle on SB Lindbergh this morning

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Car crashes into Hazelwood police vehicle on SB Lindbergh this morning

ST. LOUIS – Southbound Lindbergh was closed north of McDonnell Tuesday morning due to a crash involving a Hazelwood Police Department patrol car.

Two cars were involved in the crash that happened at about 6:15 a.m. The non-police vehicle overturned. EMS crews rescued a man from the overturned vehicle. He was walking around and appeared to be uninjured.

Hazelwood Police said their patrol car was traveling on North Lindbergh at Chapel Ridge “when a second vehicle failed to yield while crossing southbound S. Lindbergh.” This led to the crash.

Police said their officer was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

FOX 2’s Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX helicopter was flying over the scene.

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