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latest news Unexpected humor and ‘a bit of gin’: Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Sacramento remembered

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Latest News Unexpected Humor And 'A Bit Of Gin': Queen Elizabeth Ii'S Visit To Sacramento Remembered
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The story of Queen Elizabeth II sipping gin in the California State Capitol needs fleshing out. And here it is:

It was the story of Ronald Reagan’s late aide, Mike Deaver. He told me this shortly after Her Majesty visited storm-ravaged California in the winter of 1983.

The story was then confidential. But now all the main players are dead: The Queen, Prince Philip, Governor George Deukmejian, President Reagan, First Lady Nancy Reagan and Deaver. Nothing is hidden forever.

So I reported Deaver’s story in my previous column about the grace and courage displayed by the Queen on her adventurous 10-day journey.

But two other players from the gin episode who are still with us remember it a little differently than what Deaver silently told me. And one of them called me after my column aired.

For one thing, the queen and prince apparently drank more than a few sips.

Does it really matter? No. It’s a simple anecdote. But since history gives us a quick glimpse into the private side of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, a historical figure for the ages, that might as well be a clear picture.

Deaver was arguably Reagan’s most trusted aide. It definitely belonged to Nancy Reagan. He had been a close adviser throughout Reagan’s two terms as governor of California and served as the White House’s deputy chief of staff. The President entrusted him with the task of arranging the Queen’s trip and escorting her throughout the state.

He booked a day trip to Sacramento and a meeting at the Capitol with the governor and legislative leaders.

A few days after the visit, this is what Deaver told me: He and the queen met in his old office in the Capitol. “I could use a gin stain,” she said. The former assistant to the governor used to keep a small bottle of gin in his office. And, of course, he was still there. He found a glass and poured a glass for the grateful queen.

OK, that apparently wasn’t quite accurate and there was more to it – more gin, for one thing.

After reading the column, former Deukmejian Chief of Staff Steve Merksamer called with the full story. I confirmed this with the second participant, former Deputy Chief of Staff Sal Russo.

“I never told the story. Deaver said it was a state secret. If he came out, it would be embarrassing for the country and for the president,” said Merksamer, who heads one of Sacramento’s most successful political and lobbying law firms.

Russo, a Republican political consultant, also kept his mouth shut.

“Mike said, ‘I don’t want to read this into a story until Ron and Nancy are dead. “”

Merksamer says the queen and her entourage arrived at the governor’s office around 9:30 a.m. Deukmejian and his top aides chatted in the cabinet room with the queen and prince for a few minutes.

“There was a certain protocol,” recalls Merksamer. “Don’t talk until she says hello. You don’t have to curtsy because you’re American. Don’t touch her. She touches you first.

He adds: “I thought she was great. Very kind. Just charming. Very nice to my wife. Not stuck.

And Prince Philip?

“He was funny as hell,” Merksamer says. “Very irreverent. A little color. Not booked at all. There she was, just some kind of queen. Very regal.

“He was always funny,” Russo says.

And, of course, that’s not quite the image we’ve all seen on TV.

After a few minutes, the queen “wanted to relax,” Merksamer says. Thus, they gave him the cabinet room and adjoining governor’s office.

Both Merksamer and Russo say the Queen never entered Deaver’s old office, which Russo occupied at the time. Deukmejian, Merksamer, and Russo retreated there while the queen and prince relaxed in the governor’s digs. Deaver had been in and out.

“Deaver comes running, ‘Oh, Sal, Steve, the queen needs a gin and tonic,’” Merksamer recalled. “Do you have any gin and tonic?” I said, ‘We don’t have alcohol here.’

Unlike governors before and after, Deukmejian prohibited alcohol in the governor’s office suite.

But with the Queen asking for a drink, Russo said, “I finally said, ‘George, if you get off that credenza, I can solve the problem. “”

Russo had stocked a bar there and had gin and tonic. But it was cheap gin with a department store label.

“We can’t give him Gemco gin,” he said.

Deaver replied, “The Brits think all American gin is inferior. She expects an inferior gin. So give him some Gemco gin.

“I stirred the drinks with my finger,” Russo says.

They were sent to the Queen and the Prince – and were clearly acceptable.

“Deaver comes running back a few minutes later and says, ‘I need two more gin and tonics for the queen and the prince,’” Merksamer recalled. “Russo said, ‘Here, take the bottle.’”

After the queen left, Russo returned for the bottle.

“There was only about an inch left in it,” he said.

Her Majesty walked to the west balcony of the Capitol and greeted thousands of people. She was later invited to lunch with the governor and lawmakers in the Capitol Rotunda.

“We all walked with her. She was perfectly fine. Not drunk at all,” Merksamer says.

I did a Google search to find out about the queen’s drinking habits. One website, citing a cousin, said she regularly drank four glasses a day: a gin and Dubonnet cocktail in the morning, wine with lunch, a dry martini before dinner, then a glass of champagne.

And at least two gin and tonics in the provincial capitals.

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The NRA’s highest-rated Republicans are also mostly election deniers

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The Nra'S Highest-Rated Republicans Are Also Mostly Election Deniers
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In the abstract, it makes sense that candidates who are strong supporters of gun rights are also more likely to reject the 2020 election results. The guideline is partisanship. Vigorous adherence to positions like those advocated by the National Rifle Association is expected of Republican candidates in most places, and most Republicans still think the 2020 election was stolen — which, of course, doesn’t. was not.

In practical terms, however, the overlap between gun ownership and voter denial is bewildering. Many of the strongest proponents of freely available firearms center their views on the idea that guns are necessary to fight an oppressive federal government. If this government is seen as also illegitimate, the risk of violence would necessarily seem to increase.

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Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that lobbies for new legislation aimed at combating gun violence, decided to assess the extent of the overlap between the aforementioned viewpoints for one particular group of Republicans: those who seek to get elected. They looked at the letter grades the NRA uses to measure candidates’ support for gun rights and overlapped the findings with FiveThirtyEight’s examination of the prevalence of denial about the loss of Donald Trump in 2020.

A total of 397 candidates for House or state-level office (Senate, governor, executive offices) had both NRA rank and a publicly expressed position on the election. Of those, 138 were both given an A or A+ rating by the NRA and were classified as having “totally denied” the election by FiveThirtyEight. In other words: 52% of all A/A+ grade recipients were complete election deniers and 73% of complete election deniers had an A or A+.

Add to those who were rated A- or Aq (an A qualified by the lack of a voting record) and 186 of the 397 candidates had an A and were complete election deniers.

If we overlap the 2020 vote in the jurisdiction each candidate hopes to represent, an interesting pattern emerges. Those most likely to deny the election results and get the highest NRA ratings are also very likely to represent/seek to represent the places Trump won in 2020. Most others – especially those whose opinions on the FiveThirtyEight election could not determine – hope to represent the places President Biden won. It is safe to assume that some of those who held back from sharing their opinions did so because they recognized that an embrace of voter denial would not play well with their potential voters.

There is also the flip side of this overlapping voting history to consider. The fact that most of these jurisdictions are places where Trump won means that the Republican candidates included in this analysis are also more likely to win. There are 115 Grade A/A+ NRA recipients who have completely denied the election results and hope to represent places that were red in 2020.

More than 100 of them are candidates for the House.

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At least 15 dead after 2 migrant boats sink in Greek waters

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At Least 15 Dead After 2 Migrant Boats Sink In Greek Waters
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ATHENS, Greece — At least 15 people died when two boats carrying migrants sank in Greek waters on Wednesday night, and rescuers were searching for dozens of people still missing, authorities said Thursday.

The Coast Guard said 15 bodies were found near the eastern island of Lesvos after a dinghy carrying around 40 people sank. Five people were rescued and three had been located on a rocky outcrop near the sinking site. A second rescue effort was launched several hundred kilometers to the west, near the island of Kythera, where a sailboat carrying around 100 migrants struck rocks and sank on Wednesday evening.

Officials said 30 people were rescued after the boat hit rocks off the harbor in the village of Diakofti in the east of the island. Winds in the area were up to 45 mph.

“We could see the boat crashing against the rocks and people climbing over those rocks to try to save themselves. It was an amazing sight,” local resident Martha Stathaki told The Associated Press. “All the locals here have come down to the port to try to help.”

Fire rescuers lowered ropes to help migrants scale cliffs on the seafront. Local officials said a school in the area would be open to provide shelter for those rescued. Navy divers were also due to arrive on Thursday.

Most migrants arriving in Greece travel from neighboring Turkey, but smugglers have changed routes in recent months to avoid the heavily patrolled waters around the Greek islands near the Turkish coast.

Kythira is about 250 miles west of Turkey and on a route often used by smugglers to bypass Greece and head straight for Italy.

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Bidenomics pushes US national debt past $31 billion for first time

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The Biden administration’s relentless reliance on borrowing pushed the gross national debt to over $31 trillion for the first time amid record inflation, rising interest rates and fears of a recession imminent.

U.S. government debt closed at $31.1 trillion on Monday, according to Treasury Department data released Tuesday.

The step comes as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to tackle the highest inflation in 40 years, and the government borrows money to fund tax cuts even as it sends billions of overseas taxpayer dollars to Ukraine in aid.

“Many of the concerns we’ve had about the trajectory of our growing debt are starting to play out as we increase both our debt and our interest rates,” said Michael Peterson, chief executive of the Foundation. Peterson, who promotes deficit reduction.

“Too many people were happy with our debt trajectory, in part because rates were so low.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a US federal agency that provides Congress with economic and fiscal analysis, has warned of growing US debt under the Biden administration, warning that investors could lose confidence in the government’s ability to repay what it owes, as Breitbart News reported.

Those worries, the budget office said, could lead to “a sharp rise in interest rates and spiraling inflation.”

The $31 trillion threshold poses a political problem for President Biden, who has pledged to seek a more sustainable fiscal trajectory and reduce federal budget deficits by $1 trillion over a decade.

It also directly contradicts Biden’s assertion in September 2021 that his $3.5 trillion spending program actually costs “zero dollars” due to his safe and capable handling of taxpayers’ money.

“My build back better program costs nothing,” read a post from Biden’s Twitter account.

His message argued that the money was currently being “wasted” on “tax breaks, loopholes and tax evasion” and should be redistributed to working Americans as directed by his office.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that Biden’s debt addiction has added nearly $5 trillion to deficits since he took office.

This projection includes Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill, a variety of new spending initiatives approved by Congress, and a student debt cancellation plan that is expected to cost taxpayers nearly $400. billion dollars over 30 years.

Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University, told AP “it took this nation 200 years to rack up its first trillion dollars in national debt, and since the pandemic we’ve been adding more at the rate of 1 trillion almost every quarter.”

Predicting high inflation for the “foreseeable future,” he said, “when you increase government spending and the money supply, you will pay the price later.”

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or by e-mail to: [email protected]

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Merced family kidnapping update: 4 family members, including baby, found dead, sheriff says

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Merced Family Kidnapping Update: 4 Family Members, Including Baby, Found Dead, Sheriff Says
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MERCED COUNTY, Calif. — The four family members who were abducted from a Merced County business have been found dead, the sheriff announced Wednesday night.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said the bodies were found in an orchard near Indiana and Hutchinson roads.

“Our worst fears have been confirmed,” the sheriff said. “We have found the four people from the abduction and they are in fact deceased.”

“There are no words at this time to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident,” he added. “I said earlier, there’s a special place in Hell for this guy.”

Authorities at a press conference on Wednesday showed surveillance video of a man abducting the baby, Aroohi Dheri; the child’s mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, from their business.

The suspect, Jesus Salgado, is in custody but remains sedated in a hospital after attempting suicide.

DEVELOPMENT: We will add more details to this report as they become available.

California Family Kidnapping: Chilling New Video Shows Suspect Takes 2 Zippered Family Members, Mother and Baby

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Jerry Vainisi, general manager of Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX championship team, dies at 80 – The Denver Post

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Jerry Vainisi, General Manager Of Chicago Bears Super Bowl Xx Championship Team, Dies At 80 - The Denver Post
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Former Chicago Bears manager Jerry Vainisi, general manager when the team won Super Bowl XX in January 1986, died Tuesday at age 80.

Vainisi served as the Bears’ general manager for four seasons, promoted to that position by franchise founder and owner George Halas in the summer of 1983. The team confirmed Vainisi’s death Wednesday night.

Vainisi remained in that role throughout the 1986 season, and during that time, under coach Mike Ditka, the Bears won 47 games and three NFC Central championships and had an iconic season in 1985. They went 15-1 during the regular season. season, then crushed three playoff opponents by a combined score of 91-10 en route to their only Super Bowl title and their first NFL championship since 1963.

“I will always appreciate the few years I spent with Jerry and will be eternally grateful to him for his decision to hire me as Bears controller in 1983, which started my 40-year career with the Bears.” , Bears president Ted Phillips said Wednesday. . “My thoughts and prayers are with him and his entire family.”

Vainisi’s exit from Halas Hall with two years remaining on his contract came after the Bears suffered a 27-13 home loss to the Washington Redskins in their postseason opener after the 1986 season. a 14-2 regular season, the Bears started Doug Flutie at quarterback in the playoff game. This became a burning issue at Halas Hall and was partly behind then-president Michael McCaskey’s efforts to replace Vainisi.

Flutie, who the team traded for just 12 weeks earlier, had started just one game for the Bears before that playoff game and went 11 for 31 for 134 yards with a touchdown pass and two interceptions in the season-ending loss to the Redskins. .

In an emotional statement after the firing, Ditka choked up when he called Vainisi “my best friend”, and when he found out that McCaskey had called for Vainisi’s resignation, Ditka was so upset he cried. He threatened to quit and tried to talk McCaskey out of letting Vainisi go.

“I was completely surprised and was very, very hurt,” Ditka said.

Vainisi joined the Bears as a controller in 1972 after leaving accounting firm Arthur Andersen. He also served as the club’s treasurer and lawyer before being appointed general manager. He replaced Jim Finks, who had resigned.

Finks is widely considered the primary architect of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl team roster.

After leaving the Bears, Vainisi spent three seasons as vice president of player personnel for the Detroit Lions before working in operations for what started as the World League of American Football and was later renamed NFL Europe. . Vainisi was with the Lions in 1989 when they used the No. 3 pick to sign Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders.

Vainisi, a Chicago native, worked as a ball boy in the 1950s at the Green Bay Packers’ summer camp. After earning an accounting degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from Kent College in Chicago, Vainisi was a sportscaster in Monmouth, west-central Illinois.

In 2010, Vainisi was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. In 1999, he became chairman and sole owner of Forest Park Bank and also served as its chairman and chief executive.

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Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell makes his new team debut, and it was just ‘a little bit different’

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Cleveland Cavaliers Star Donovan Mitchell Makes His New Team Debut, And It Was Just 'A Little Bit Different'
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PHILADELPHIA — Less than five weeks after being acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a stunning blockbuster of a trade to cap a frenzied NBA offseason, Donovan Mitchell made his debut for the Cavaliers on Wednesday in the preseason opener. of Cleveland.

And, after finishing with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 19 minutes in a 113-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center, Mitchell admitted that the idea of ​​donning a different jersey than the Utah Jazz he wore the first five years of his career will take some getting used to.

“One hundred percent,” Mitchell said with a smile, when asked if it felt weird wearing a different jersey for the first time. “It just didn’t feel real to me…it still hasn’t hit me yet.”

Mitchell said he spent Monday looking out the window of the Four Seasons above downtown Philadelphia, and it was only then that he really realized that he was about to officially play for another team for the first time.

“Today I just sat there and had one of those moments where you sit there and look outside and see everything and it’s like, ‘Wow. It’s really here,’” a- he declared.

“Then once you’re on the court, basketball is still basketball. But all the little things, it’s definitely weird. A little different. But I’m excited. It’s going the way I thought it would, in the good meaning.”

Mitchell’s arrival in Cleveland to augment a burgeoning young core with All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen and finalist for last season’s Rookie of the Year award in Evan Mobley has the Cavaliers hoping this season will mark a rise in fortune to places the franchise hasn’t seen in decades when LeBron James was out of town.

When was the last time Cleveland made the playoffs without James? The 1997-98 season. When was the last time the Cavaliers won a playoff series without him? Thirty seasons ago, during the 1992-93 campaign, when Cleveland were swept by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in four games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

But to do those things — especially in what is arguably the deepest version of the Eastern Conference the NBA has seen in a generation or more — Cleveland will first need to get its two dominant guards, Mitchell and Garland, on the same page.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s game, Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff laid out the criteria that will show the process taking hold, saying the focus was on avoiding playing basketball “your turn.” , my turn”.

Afterwards, he, Garland and Mitchell were all happy with how things went in their first dry run against another team.

“I thought it was pretty seamless,” Bickerstaff said. “The way they played together, the way the ball moved, everyone got involved… as long as we play in the same style that we want to play, where it’s not just one guy based, but on the team, I think it will go well for us.”

And, for the most part, it did Wednesday night. Mitchell’s first mark as a Cavalier – a 3-pointer from right wing – came with an assist from Garland, who finished with 12 points and four assists on a 4-for-7 shot in 15 minutes, and was sandwiched between setting Mitchell down to Kevin Love for a pair of triples himself.

“I think we did a lot of things right,” Mitchell said. “You walk up the floor and it’s like, ‘He got it.’ But it’s not like, ‘He isolated him.’ It’s like, he made it, made a play, created… I said in the locker room, we didn’t call a lot of plays in the first half. It speaks to our ball movement.

After Cleveland relied almost solely on Garland to create an offense for himself and his teammates last season, he was thrilled with his first look at life playing alongside Mitchell – even within the meaningless confines of the first. half of Cleveland’s preseason opener, largely because of how it’s going to take the pressure off him to do everything offensively.

“I think it was the spacing, for me,” Garland said, when asked what he noticed the most while playing alongside Mitchell. “Just out of the pick and roll, there are so many threats on the other side, and it’s just a lot easier…you can just pick your poison. You have to live with it.

“It was just fun there, to be honest with you.”

As Cleveland waits to get Evan Mobley back on the court after spraining his ankle over the weekend, the Cavaliers also have another decision to make between now and opening night: who will start at small forward alongside Garland, Mitchell, Mobley and Allen.

There are a few possible options, including Caris LeVert, who started Wednesday’s game, Dean Wade, who hit 3 triples off the bench, and Isaac Okoro, the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Bickerstaff said his ultimate decision on who to plug in there will be determined by how well they can help unlock the best attributes of the four stars around them.

“It’s really going to be about fit, and it’s going to be who makes these four guys better,” he said. “Who helps them on the attacking side of the pitch? Who helps them on the defensive side of the pitch? Who can defensively protect the guys in certain situations? How does that help our matchups? Offensively, how does that help us space the floor? Those are all things we take into consideration.”

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