Downtown Nashville Explosion Knocks Communications Offline

Downtown Nashville Explosion Knocks Communications Offline Downtown Nashville Explosion Knocks Communications Offline (AP)

KIMBERLEE KRUESI and THALIA BEATY Friday, 25 December 2020 05:39 PM

A recreational vehicle parked in the deserted streets of downtown Nashville exploded early Christmas morning, causing widespread communications outages that took down police emergency systems and grounded holiday travel at the city's airport. Authorities said they believe the blast was intentional.

Police were responding to a report of shots fired Friday when they encountered the RV blaring a recorded warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes, Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said. Police evacuated nearby buildings and called in the bomb squad. The RV exploded shortly afterward, Drake said at a midday news conference. Police did not immediately indicate a possible motive or the target.

“It looks like a bomb went off on Second Avenue,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said after touring the site. Cooper issued a state of emergency and a curfew for the area.

Police did not immediately indicate a possible motive or the target.

Surveillance video published on a Twitter account Friday that appeared to be across the street from the blast captured the warning issuing from the RV, “… if you can hear this message, evacuate now,” seconds before the explosion.

The blast sent black smoke and flames billowing from the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene, an area packed with honky-tonks, restaurants and shops. Buildings shook and windows shattered streets away from the explosion near a building owned by AT&T that lies one block from the company's office tower, a landmark in downtown.

“We do not know if that was a coincidence, or if that was the intention,” police spokesman Don Aaron said. Aaron said earlier that some people were taken to the department’s central precinct for questioning but declined to give details.

AT&T said the affected building is the central office of a telephone exchange, with network equipment in it. The blast interrupted service, but the company declined to say how widespread outages were.

“Service for some customers in Nashville and the surrounding areas may be affected by damage to our facilities from the explosion this morning. We are in contact with law enforcement and working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service,” AT&T spokesman Jim Greer said in an emailed statement.

The AT&T outages site showed service issues in middle Tennessee and Kentucky, including Bowling Green about 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Nashville. Several police agencies reported that their 911 systems were down because of the outage, including Murfreesboro and Knox County, home to Knoxville about 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of Nashville.

The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily halted flights out of Nashville International Airport because of telecommunications issues associated with the explosion.

Three people were taken to area hospitals for treatment after the blast, although none were in critical condition, Aaron said. Cooper said the city was lucky that the number of injuries was limited. Authorities don’t know whether anyone was in the vehicle when it exploded.

Human remains were found in the vicinity, two law enforcement officials told the The Associated Press. It was unclear how the remains were related to the explosion or whether they might belong to the person believed to be responsible or a victim. The officials could not discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The FBI will be taking the lead in the investigation, agency spokesman Joel Siskovic said. Federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on the scene. The FBI is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating federal crimes, such as explosives violations and acts of terrorism.

A Philadelphia man staying in a nearby hotel said that when he heard the blast, he was knew it wasn’t harmless.

“We tried to rationalize it that it was an earthquake or something, but it was obvious it wasn’t an earthquake," Joseph Fafara said. He said he traveled to Tennessee with his family on Christmas because the state has looser COVID-19 restrictions than Philadelphia.

When he went to look at the damage, police barricades had already been put in place. At noon, police dogs continued to search cars and buildings in the nearby area.

Buck McCoy, who lives near the area, posted videos on Facebook that show water pouring down the ceiling of his home. Alarms blare in the background along with cries of people in distress. A fire is visible in the street outside.

McCoy said he heard gunfire 15 minutes before the explosion rocked his building, set cars in the street on fire and blew trees apart.

“All my windows, every single one of them got blown into the next room. If I had been standing there it would have been horrible,” he said.

“It felt like a bomb. It was that big,” he told The Associated Press.

President Donald Trump has been briefed, according to White House spokesperson Judd Deere. The U.S. Justice Department said Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen was also briefed and directed all department resources be made available to help with the investigation.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said on Twitter that the state would provide the resources necessary “to determine what happened and who was responsible.”

The American Red Cross of Tennessee announced that it was working with officials to open a shelter for victims.

Housing Boom Sparks Fears Over Lack of Land for New Homes

Housing Boom Sparks Fears Over Lack of Land for New Homes sign pointing to new homes for sale A sign is posted in front of new homes for sale at Hamilton Cottages on September 24, 2020, in Novato, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 25 December 2020 02:20 PM

Builders are growing worried they are running out of land to meet the surging demand for new homes.

The Wall Street Journal reported record low interest rates and a new premium on space during the pandemic have generated the biggest housing boom in years.

And a shortage of previously owned homes on the market is leading to an increase in buyers wanting new construction.

Builders, with much of their land inventory still in the development process, face the prospect of a shortage of finished lots or land that can be built on, said Jody Kahn, senior vice president at John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC.

And Phillippe Lord, chief operating officer at Scottsdale, Arizona-based builder Meritage Homes Corp. said: ''The competition for land is extremely high as the homebuying demand grows.''

New home sales soared 20.8% on a year-on-year basis. The government reported last week that single-family homebuilding, the largest share of the housing market, increased in November to the highest level since April 2007.

But persistent shortages of land, materials and skilled labor are increasing construction costs for builders.

Luke Pickerill, owner of MonteVista Homes in Bend, Oregon, said: ''In Central Oregon, I will literally be out of lots and I’ll have nothing to sell'' by next month. ''All of the inventory that we expected to be selling in quarter one and quarter two of next year, we’ve now sold through it already this year.''

Fauci Acknowledges He Increased His Estimates on Herd Immunity

Fauci Acknowledges He Increased His Estimates on Herd Immunity anthony fauci speaks at press conference Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 25 December 2020 01:26 PM

Dr. Anthony Fauci admits he has been slowly increasing his estimates on what the U.S. would need to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.

According to The New York Times, many epidemiologists have been estimating since the start of the pandemic that it would take 60% to 70% of the population to acquire resistance to the coronavirus in order for the disease to fade away.

And the Times noted Fauci, the most prominent U.S. infectious disease expert, tended to agree during the pandemic’s early days. But about a month ago he raised the estimate to ''70, 75%.'' In a Dec. 16 interview with CNBC he said: ''75, 80, 85%'' and ''75 to 80-plus percent.''

Fauci concedes he has been deliberately moving the goal posts, partly based on new science and his gut feeling the U.S. is finally ready to hear what he really believes.

He said it may take close to 90% immunity to stop the virus.

Now that some polls show that many more Americans are ready for vaccines, Fauci said he felt he could deliver the message that a return to normal might take longer than first believed, the Times noted.

''When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,'' Dr. Fauci said. ''Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, 'I can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85.''

A Gallup poll last month showed that 58% of Americans are now willing to get the vaccine. The number is up from a low of 50% in September.

McRaven: Iran ‘Will Have To Retaliate’ For Killing of Nuke Program Scientist

McRaven: Iran 'Will Have To Retaliate' For Killing of Nuke Program Scientist McRaven: Iran 'Will Have To Retaliate' For Killing of Nuke Program Scientist William McRaven addresses the Texas Board of Regents, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Sunday, 29 November 2020 11:15 AM

Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, who directed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, said Sunday that Iran “will have to retaliate” for the slaying of a top scientist linked to its nuclear program.

In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” McRaven said “the biggest issue is, who is going to misstep?"

“The Iranians are going to be in a position where they have to retaliate,” he said. “I don’t see any way around it. They’re going to have to save face. And so, now, the issue becomes, what is that retaliation look like? Does that then begin to escalate the problems in the region? And that’s not going to be good for anybody.

“The Iranians don’t want to go to war with us,” he continued. “We don’t want to go to war with Iran. So, everybody needs to do the best they can to kind of lower the temperature and try not to get this into an escalation mode.”

According to McRaven, Iran will be skeptical of the United States in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the multinational Iran nuclear deal.

“I think they are going to be very, very reluctant to get into any agreements with the United States at this point,” he said. “So, a president [Joe] Biden will have a difficult challenge on his hands.”

Original Article

Trump: Fox News ‘Virtually Unwatchable’

Trump: Fox News 'Virtually Unwatchable' Trump: Fox News 'Virtually Unwatchable'

Sunday, 29 November 2020 11:38 AM

President Donald Trump ramped up criticism of Fox News over the weekend, calling it "virtually unwatchable.”

In a tweet, Trump directed conservatives to tune to other outlets, including Newsmax.

“@Fox News daytime is virtually unwatchable, especially during the weekends,” he wrote Saturday. “Watch @OANN, @Newsmax or almost anything else. You won't have to suffer through endless interviews with Democrats, and even worse!"

Trump's latest tweet highlights a progressively rocky relationship between the president and his formerly favorite news outlet.

For several months Trump has tweeted criticisms of the conservative network, at times calling them "Fake News" and "anti-Trump."

"@FoxNews is no longer the same. We miss the great Roger Ailes. You have more anti-Trump people, by far, than ever before. Looking for a new outlet!," he tweeted in May.

According to Axios, Trump advisers think Fox News made a mistake with an early call of Joe Biden's win in Arizona. That enraged Trump, and gave him something tangible to use in his attacks on the network.

“He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it," Axios quoted one source saying.

Important: See Newsmax TV now carried in 70 million cable homes, on DirecTV Ch. 349, Dish Network Ch. 216, Xfinity Ch. 1115, Spectrum, U-verse Ch. 1220, FiOS Ch. 615, Optimum Ch. 102, Cox cable, Suddenlink Ch. 102, CenturyLink 1209, Mediacom Ch. 277, Frontier 615 or Find More Cable Systems – Click Here.

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Would Trump Kick Off 2024 Campaign During a Biden Inauguration?

Would Trump Kick Off 2024 Campaign During a Biden Inauguration? Would Trump Kick Off 2024 Campaign During a Biden Inauguration?

Sunday, 29 November 2020 09:59 AM

President Donald Trump is reportedly considering kicking off his 2024 campaign during Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The Daily Beast, citing three unnamed sources, reported Trump has not only talked to close advisers and confidants about a potential 2024 run to reclaim the White House, but about the specifics of a campaign launch.

He’s floated the idea of a 2024-related event during Biden’s inauguration week, possibly on Inauguration Day, the news outlet reported.

Bloomberg has reported Trump said he planned to run in 2024 if his lawyers are unable to make the case to overturn the results of the 2020 election — and the idea has some support from GOP voters, the Daily Beast reported.

A survey by Seven Letter Insight found that 66% of Republican voters would support the president running in 2024.

And a Morning Consult poll for Politico found that 54% would vote for the president in a 2024 primary.

Trump has refused to concede the election, but has allowed the General Services Administration to give the transition team for Joe Biden to get access to government resources and personnel.

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Sharyl Attkisson to Newsmax TV: 2016 Accelerated Media Bias

Sharyl Attkisson to Newsmax TV: 2016 Accelerated Media Bias (Newsmax TV's "Saturday Report')

By Eric Mack | Saturday, 28 November 2020 11:06 AM

Special interest forces saw the 2016 information cycle as too free online, so they bolstered efforts to control the dissemination of dissent online, according to author Sharyl Attkisson on Newsmax TV.

"They pretty successfully figured out how to do that the past four years," Attkisson told "Saturday Report."

Attkisson's latest book "Slanted: How the News Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism" was released this week and details the control big tech and the internet has managed to take over our society and the free market of ideas.

"A lot of people think big tech is pulling the strings because they're ideologically on the left, but I will tell you there are also corporate interests," she told host Carl Higbie. "This just doesn't split left-right sometimes. There are corporate interests that are convincing big tech to do these things, and there are political interests calling them and lobbying them to do these things."

The problem on social media information control is it attempts to stifle any kind of legal speech with liberal-biased "fact-checkers," she added.

"I think they should be out of the business [of fact-checking]," she said. "First, they are not experts. They are not qualified. They have conflicted political and corporate interests getting them to make their decision.

"We shouldn't be saying, 'Hey, be fair in how you censor and fact-check,' because they're not qualified to do it. We should be saying 'Hands off of our information' in my view, except that which is illegal."

As for Section 230 for social media companies, they are becoming "publishers" when they "take an advocacy people that sometimes isn't even true," Attkisson said.

Also, administrations tend to hold sway in major media by giving or blocking access to major interviews. For example, Attkisson said, if they do not like what you report, you will be banished from gaining access to information and sources in the future.

Important: See Newsmax TV now carried in 70 million cable homes, on DirecTV Ch. 349, Dish Network Ch. 216, Xfinity Ch. 1115, Spectrum, U-verse Ch. 1220, FiOS Ch. 615, Optimum Ch. 102, Cox cable, Suddenlink Ch. 102, CenturyLink 1209, Mediacom Ch. 277, Frontier 615 or Find More Cable Systems – Click Here.

Sharyl Attkisson to Newsmax TV: 2016 Accelerated Media Bias

Sharyl Attkisson to Newsmax TV: 2016 Accelerated Media Bias (Newsmax TV's "Saturday Report')

By Eric Mack | Saturday, 28 November 2020 11:06 AM

Special interest forces saw the 2016 information cycle as too free online, so they bolstered efforts to control the dissemination of dissent online, according to author Sharyl Attkisson on Newsmax TV.

"They pretty successfully figured out how to do that the past four years," Attkisson told "Saturday Report."

Attkisson's latest book "Slanted: How the News Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism" was released this week and details the control big tech and the internet has managed to take over our society and the free market of ideas.

"A lot of people think big tech is pulling the strings because they're ideologically on the left, but I will tell you there are also corporate interests," she told host Carl Higbie. "This just doesn't split left-right sometimes. There are corporate interests that are convincing big tech to do these things, and there are political interests calling them and lobbying them to do these things."

The problem on social media information control is it attempts to stifle any kind of legal speech with liberal-biased "fact-checkers," she added.

"I think they should be out of the business [of fact-checking]," she said. "First, they are not experts. They are not qualified. They have conflicted political and corporate interests getting them to make their decision.

"We shouldn't be saying, 'Hey, be fair in how you censor and fact-check,' because they're not qualified to do it. We should be saying 'Hands off of our information' in my view, except that which is illegal."

As for Section 230 for social media companies, they are becoming "publishers" when they "take an advocacy people that sometimes isn't even true," Attkisson said.

Also, administrations tend to hold sway in major media by giving or blocking access to major interviews. For example, Attkisson said, if they do not like what you report, you will be banished from gaining access to information and sources in the future.

Important: See Newsmax TV now carried in 70 million cable homes, on DirecTV Ch. 349, Dish Network Ch. 216, Xfinity Ch. 1115, Spectrum, U-verse Ch. 1220, FiOS Ch. 615, Optimum Ch. 102, Cox cable, Suddenlink Ch. 102, CenturyLink 1209, Mediacom Ch. 277, Frontier 615 or Find More Cable Systems – Click Here.

Original Article