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Democrats cheer Rep. Cori Bush’s eviction moratorium win, even if short-lived

WASHINGTON — Rep. Cori Bush spent three nights and three days on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, scoring a victory that may prove to be short-lived but that fellow progressives are hoping to turn into future wins.

In a Washington that has struggled to function, split not just along partisan lines but across a spectrum that has divided politicians into ever-shrinking silos, getting anything accomplished can often feel impossible.

But Bush, a Democrat from Missouri, tasted momentary victory this week when the White House relented and re-established the eviction moratorium. And progressives are using their newfound victory to push other issues, including the canceling of student debt. (On Friday, the administration announced another payment hiatus extension.)

Democrats heaped praise on Bush.

“I used to ask myself, ‘Does it matter that I’m here instead of somebody else?’ And you’ve now answered that question. It matters that you’re here, and not somebody else,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said.

Rich Luchette, a Democratic consultant and former congressional aide, said that Bush’s tactic was effective. He compared it to the sit-in on the House floor led by Rep. John Lewis over gun control after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

“She found an innovative way to draw attention to an issue that has not been tried before,” Luchette said, noting that a sit-in had never been conducted in a chamber of Congress before Lewis did it in 2016. “I think it’s clear that protests can be an effective tactic.”

But it might not work forever. The eviction moratorium could last only days. And it’s a tactic that may not be successful again. But even those whom she was working against offered congratulations.

“Thank you for your mobilizing. For making the issue better known so that’s, that’s part of our system so I thank her,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

An attempt at legislating

Bush had been homeless before she entered politics, and she knew firsthand what millions of Americans were facing. But she had been in Washington for just eight months, and like most freshman lawmakers, has little political capital.

She had immediately bonded with the original members of the “Squad” — six high-profile progressive women members — but her influence inside the corridors of power was limited. Like most people new to the job, she lacked understanding of the complex personal, political and strategic intricacies of passing legislation.

During her short time in Congress, Bush has tangled with fellow Democrats on multiple issues.

She supports defunding the police, a position her party’s leaders have rejected. She rankled fellow Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who say she didn’t warn them about an amendment on the George Floyd police reform bill that would have given prisoners the right to vote.

Bush’s legislative knowledge was tested on July 30, when the House adjourned for its scheduled seven-week recess without extending the eviction moratorium.

Pelosi, House Whip Jim Clyburn and Financial Services Chairman Maxine Waters and been working all day to round up the votes to pass an extension until October 18. It was a Hail Mary that was unlikely to work given the dynamics in the Senate.

As the day dragged on, it became clear that sufficient Democratic support would not materialize.

Some Democrats didn’t want to vote so quickly on a bill they didn’t fully understand. Others said they were being lobbied by landlord constituents to oppose an extension. Some didn’t want to vote on a measure that would most likely be blocked in the Senate without the support of 10 Republicans.

Democratic leadership had a backup plan. They called for a unanimous consent vote — a way to say Democrats are in favor of something without having to take a roll call and expose internal divisions. Republicans would have blocked it. And then Democrats could have tried to point the blame across the aisle.

But Bush was furious about the lack of a roll call vote. She met Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., in the Women’s Caucus Reading Room off the House floor to strategize.

Bush tried to ask House floor staff to force a vote — a process she had never attempted — but it was too late, the House had already adjourned.

So instead, she turned to her activist roots.

Bush and Ocasio-Cortez broadcast an Instagram live to the New York Democrat’s 8.7 million followers. It launched a five-day marathon of sleeping on the Capitol steps, television interviews, planning with her colleagues, and attempting to influence decision-makers.

A switch to lobbying

By the third day, Bush was exhausted and physically sore from sleeping in a camp chair. But she was determined to stick it out.

She got word that Vice President Kamala Harris had a meeting in the Senate, and Bush went, uninvited, to see her.

At that moment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called her. It was the first time they had spoken since the House adjourned Friday night without passing an extension. Pelosi told Bush that she was doing a great job, but she wouldn’t reconvene the House to vote on a moratorium.

Pelosi, who confirmed talking with Bush by phone, says she told the congresswoman to stay hydrated but also that she wouldn’t call House members back. “We’re not calling members back,” she told her, adding that Bush needed to be focused on the White House. “I don’t go the floor and lose.”

Then Harris walked out of her office.

Bush walked up to her, looked her in the eyes, and asked, “How can you help me?” The vice president was noncommittal but thanked Bush for all the work she was doing drawing attention to evictions.

After the interaction, Bush was distraught, people close to her said.

The 30 minutes was pivotal for Bush, who had been using her activist instincts to try to bring change in a town that is rigid and often unresponsive to such tactics.

She left the Senate, feeling dejected. She had also been unable to meet with Schumer, and had had an unsatisfactory call with the speaker. She walked back to the Capitol steps.

Her staff told Pelosi’s staff they would like a unity message, and Bush was prepared to focus on pressuring the White House and CDC.

But then the tide began to turn.

Bush got word that Schumer was on his way outside to meet her on the Capitol steps. Then Pelosi’s office agreed to the unity message and the result was back-to-back messages urging the CDC to extend the moratorium.

“It was a perfect storm,” a senior Democratic aide said.

It took another night and day on the steps before the White House announced its new targeted guidelines for areas with high community transmission. The announcement came on the one-year anniversary of Bush’s defeat of 10-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay in the primary.

Waters said at the end of the day, the effort was about finding alternatives.

“And the alternative was, let’s put the pressure on the president and the CDC, which gave us an opportunity to say, “It is possible. We can get this done,” Waters said.

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Pop mogul Simon Cowell was a racing flop with ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec – that didn’t win a penny

SIMON COWELL conquered the music world – but his foray into racing ended in disaster with an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec.

The music mogul, 62, has done it all with bands like One Direction, Little Mix and solo acts Olly Murs and James Arthur, to name but a few.

Cowell owned an 'awful' £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec - but the runner didn't win a single penny in six races

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Cowell owned an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec – but the runner didn’t win a single penny in six racesCredit: PA:Press Association
Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

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Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

His Syco label – plus shows such as Britain’s Got Talent – have dominated the entertainment industry and brought him an estimated net worth of £385m.

A lover of Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, he looked perfectly poised to strike a knockout blow in the world of thoroughbreds.

But it turns out his runner was far from No1 in the charts – and never even finished better than fifth during a doomed six-race career.

Things looked promising at the start.

Named It’s A Yes From Me, the runner was trained with the respected James Fanshawe and sent off at 8-1 for his first race in June 2014.

But coming last of five by 13-and-a-half lengths was unfortunately about as good as it got for the gelding.

A month’s rest followed before he was sent off at 40-1 in a six-furlong sprint at Doncaster.

But there he could only manage fifth again, and it was same at Redcar the next month.

‘Dreadfully slow’

By October that year – with further finishes of sixth and tenth – It’s A Yes From Me came second-last in a one-mile race at Kempton.

One analysis of the race warned punters the horse was ‘one to tread carefully’ with.

Well, Cowell and Ant and Dec took that advice to heart as they never raced him again.

The horse was penniless from six races, never finishing high enough to recoup some of that £35,000 investment.

It’s doubtful Cowell, with hundreds of millions in the bank, lost any sleep over that.

But Ant and Dec revealed just how bad things has got with the horse during an interview last year.

Dec said of It’s A Yes From Me: “It was awful, it was a dreadfully slow horse.

“It wasn’t a racehorse it was just a horse, because it didn’t race.

“Every time we got to the BGT studio Simon would say, ‘I keep paying stable fees on this horse, but I’ve never seen it run’.”

Cowell originally wanted to name the nag after himself, but they settled on It’s A Yes From Me when they bought it in 2013.

‘It was awful’

Dec revealed its eventual fate: “I think it got rehomed.”

Of course it’s not all been bad for Cowell at the races.

He was one of the exclusive few at the Epsom Derby in June, having a great time with partner Lauren Silverman and Piers Morgan.

And two weeks later he was at Royal Ascot – where he first discovered his love of racing.

Cowell told SunSport’s Matt Chapman during a chat at Epsom: “I’ve got my son Eric with me today.

“My mum and dad years ago used to take me to Ascot and I was probably about his age – seven or eight.

Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this year

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Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this yearCredit: Getty
It's A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races

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It’s A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races
The music supremo tweeted about his horse's bad start... which never got much better

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The music supremo tweeted about his horse’s bad start… which never got much better

Most read in Horse Racing

“So the fact I can now bring him to the races as well is brilliant. It brings back a lot of good memories.

“Making TV shows is my passion. But racing is actually my second passion.”

He hasn’t made that passion the money-maker his music label is, but don’t rule out Cowell staging his own comeback at the track in the near future.

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Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org

Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
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Minnesota wildfire doubles in size, creates its own weather

A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota more than doubled in size Tuesday, growing to more than 19,000 acres, after it produced pyrocumulous clouds that generated lightning and even raindrops, fire officials said.

The Greenwood Fire’s growth, most of which happened Monday afternoon, prompted firefighters to leave McDougal Lake, about 80 miles south-southwest of Duluth, officials said. Authorities fear that structures might have been destroyed or damaged.

“We had crews embedded, and as this fire took off, it was quite an effort to communicate with forces on the ground so they could get out,” said federal fire incident spokesman Clark McCreedy.

The pullout was a success, and no injuries were reported. However, downed trees and necessary cleanup mean crews have been unable to assess damage around the lake, McCreedy said.

In addition to the firefighter pullout, 159 dwellings were evacuated Monday, according to an update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Cabins, homes and recreational sites remain under threat, the group said.

Patrick Prochaska, a Minneapolis resident who built a cabin near McDougal Lake in 2012, told NBC affiliate KARE that he watched via security camera as flames mostly bypassed his property Monday, causing minor damage.

“I was feeling very scared,” he said. “At the same time, I could see that it was not doing anything to the house, and it was kind of reassuring.”

The fire in and north of Superior National Forest has mostly performed according to the weather, fire officials said. On Monday, with dry fuel on the ground and temperatures in the high 80s, it was an expanding inferno punctuated by strobes of lightning.

“The winds were drawn into the fire from all directions,” the incident’s fire behavior analyst, Michael Locke, said in a video update Tuesday. “It created what we call pyrocumulous clouds. And really high in the atmosphere … you’d see a thunderstorm, and in fact they went high enough to produce a few sprinkles of rain and even some lightning.”

Temperatures dipped into the mid-70s Tuesday, and the blaze mellowed. “The real story was cloud cover and cooler temperatures,” McCreedy said.

More of the same, and possibly rain, was in the forecast, giving officials hope that they might be able to close the book on an unusually active and dry fire season in Minnesota.

Experts have said climate change has set the stage for extreme weather, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere.

Firefighters — 426 were assigned to the Greenwood event — have been confronted with “prolonged, severe drought,” making parts of Minnesota look like the fire-prone West this summer, McCreedy said.

The Greenwood Fire, which was detected Aug. 15, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.

So far, firefighters have scored no containment, and areas including McDougal Lake, Sand Lake and the Highway 2 corridor have been under mandatory evacuation orders. The federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed Saturday “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources,” the National Forest Service said in a notice.

Officials set a goal of Sept. 1 for full containment.

“We’re probably going to get more of that moderating weather for the rest of the week,” McCreedy said. “That opens the door for fire crews to make progress on the ground.”

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Hiker survives grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park

A tourist from Indiana was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Monday night, park officials said.

The 55-year-old tourist, whose name was not released, was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a mother bear and multiple cubs charged him from nearby bushes, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.

He had puncture wounds to a calf, his left ribs and his left shoulder, the agency said.

The victim used bear spray that might have cut the attack short, the park service indicated. He walked 1.5 miles to a visitor’s center where “medical personnel” vacationing at Denali treated him as a park bus driver called 911, it said.

The hiker was taken to a medical center near the park before he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 120 miles away, park officials said. He was stabilized at the Fairbanks hospital, they said.

“Due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack, there are no plans to locate the bear involved,” the park service said. “Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised. There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, fewer than 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48, but they thrive, comparatively, in Alaska, where they have a population of about 31,000.

The backcountry area of the attack is closed for one week as a precaution, the park service said.

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