<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Politics]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sat, 01 Aug 2015 13:18:37 -0700 Sat, 01 Aug 2015 13:18:37 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Jaime Penedo Walks Away From LA Galaxy ]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:06:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/225*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-29+at+9.40.53+PM.png

In a stunning move that may have cast a small shadow over the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Galaxy have waived starting goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.

Penedo was a key piece in the Galaxy's 2014 MLS Cup Championship run last winter that ended in the Galaxy lifting an MLS-record fifth trophy.

Penedo most recently excelled in the Gold Cup tournament, leading the Panamanian team to the bronze medal, after a controversial referee decision destroyed the country's hopes of reaching the final.

It's no secret that Penedo has been upset with his contract situation all season. Penedo did not start in the LA Galaxy's first few games of the season because of it, but then decided to honor his contract after the Galaxy cut off negotiations in February.

"He wanted out," Bruce Arena, the LA Galaxy coach and general manager said. "At some point players need to live by the contracts they sign."

Arena was clearly frustrated with Penedo's attitude and the situation had to have become pretty destructive for it to get to this point.

 

I am writing this to thank all the support the fans have given me, from Panama and also in Los Angeles, during my time with the Galaxy. Everything was very special, and I know that this decision has surprised many of you, it was difficult but it was the decision that I had to make because of principles. *****The Galaxy fans: Don't doubt that I will always keep you in my heart, every chant I used to listen at each game, used to touch me deeply. The only way I could thank you was to play for you and try to do things right. Thank you. *****The Club and staff: I have no complaints, everybody treated me nice, starting with my friends that arrange the plants, the ones who clean and maintain the stadium and administrative staff and coaches and trainers. *****Contract: Your job is reflected in your contract, and it was a thermometer that did not measure myself positively. Let's not talk about money, at the end your performance show that. What made me take this step is mainly that this contract does not guarantee and doesn't meet all the conditions that can give me stability, for my family and as a soccer player. The contract does not have a disposition for things to change, so it's better to leave now, with my head up. These two years were wonderful, thanks so much for everything, thank you to my teammates and to everybody who belongs to this great Club, LA Galaxy. ⚽️Jaime Penedo

A photo posted by Jaime Penedo (@jaimepenedo) on

From Penedo's tweet and Instagram post we can decipher that this was the keeper's decision and that he asked the club to release him. Penedo specifically pointed to his contract as the reason for leaving, saying that it was not "guaranteed" and that it did not provide "stability."

Penedo was set to make $178,125 this season, an increase of $40,000 over last season according to the MLS Players union.

"He's a good person. We wish him the best," Arena continued. "I think it's fair to say that Jaime feels this move is good for his family."

Penedo's departure places a major hole in net for the Galaxy. Brian Rowe has started in goal for the month of July while Penedo was away in the Gold Cup, but is just 3-3-1 in those seven starts. He has just 14 games of experience in the MLS something that could press Arena to bring in a veteran.

That veteran could be a familiar face. Former LA Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is rumored to be headed back to Los Angeles in a potential trade with Orlando City.

The Jamaican goalkeeper played with the Galaxy from 2009-2011, winning the MLS Cup in his final year and goalkeeper of the year in 2010.

Rickett's has played with the Montreal Impact and Portland Timbers, and has played a backup role with Orlando City. His contract is small at $260,000 keeping the Galaxy under the annual MLS salary cap.

It helps that Orlando City needs to create room on the roster after acquiring Adrian Winter and David Mateos from Europe.

Nobody knows where Penedo will land, but if the LA Galaxy can bring back Ricketts in return, it could work out in the Galaxy's favor.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Protest Held in LA Against Iran Nuclear Deal]]> Sun, 26 Jul 2015 20:46:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150726-westwood-protest-iran.jpg

Hundreds of protesters gathered to oppose the nuclear deal with Iran on Sunday afternoon outside a federal building in Los Angeles.

"Iran is the world sponsor of terrorism...their aim is to go nuclear," said Roz Rothstein, the CEO of StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization. "We really have to look at their behavior...we really have to take a look at what they're saying and what they're doing."

Rothstein added that the deal, which was reached on July 14 but is awaiting the approval of Congress, made "no sense."

The deal restricts Iran from making a nuclear bomb for the next 10 years in exchange for lifted sanctions and about $150 billion. But it allows Iran to keep its nuclear program for peaceful purposes, such as medical treatments and electricity, and Iran has also agreed to reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

"This deal will legitimize and empower a regime that not only pressures and imprisons its own people, cracks down on its own people, but has the intention to have hegemony in the region," protester George Haroonian said. "Its actions have caused wars and strifes and obviously this is not to the interest of the United States, far from it."

United Nations Security Council sanctions are also to be lifted with the deal, along with some international sanctions that have caused Iran's economy to be reduced by 20 percent, according to the U.S. government.

If Iran breaks the agreement, sanctions can be reinstated. With the deal, the time the country would need to develop materials for nuclear weapons would be at least one year. 



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Lindsey Graham Destroy His Phone After Trump's Comments]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:37:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/graham+screen+shot.JPG

Lindsey Graham won't be receiving any unwanted phone calls for the time being.

A day after Donald Trump implored a campaign crowd to call a phone number belonging to the GOP presidential candidate and South Carolina senator, Graham responded with a tongue-in-cheek video showing him destroying his flip phone.

Graham teamed up with conservative news website Independent Journal Review for the aptly named video "How to Destroy Your Cell Phone With Sen. Lindsey Graham."

The video shows Graham wrecking his phone in a multitude of ways, including with a blender, a sledge hammer, and a toaster oven.

After throwing his phone off a building, Graham faces the camera and says, "Or if all else fails, you can always give your number to The Donald."

"This is for all the veterans," Graham says before a final toss of the phone.  

Trump had given out Graham's phone number during a televised campaign stop in South Carolina Tuesday where the real estate mogul brushed off criticism over comments he made about Sen. John McCain.

"He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured," Trump had said about the former Naval pilot held prisoner for nearly six years during the Vietnam War. 

Graham had called Trump a "jackass" over the McCain remarks. 

McCain, meanwhile, promoted Graham's new video with a tweet that read, "This is why Lindsey Graham hasn't been answering my calls!"

Trump has yet to respond to the video. 



Photo Credit: IJ Review
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Part of Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's Sentence Vacated]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 06:53:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rod+blagojevich+1+year.jpg

Former governor Rod Blagojevich got bad news Tuesday from the court which has been considering his appeal for the last 18 months. The three judges on the federal appeals court threw out only five of the Blagojevich’s convictions, and ordered that he stay in prison.

The former governor will be resentenced, but his outlook is uncertain.

“I’ve had an opportunity to look over the opinion, and it’s not justice in my view,” said Blagojevich attorney Leonard Goodman. “He never put a penny in his pocket.”

Belying the notoriety of the case, the majority of the court’s opinion was rendered in strict legalese.

"The convictions on Counts 5, 6, 21, 22 and 23 are vacated; the remaining convictions are affirmed," the opinion stated. "The sentence is vacated and remanded for retrial on the vacated counts."

Those five counts related to Blagojevich’s negotiations for a cabinet job which he hoped to snag in exchange for appointing Presidential-choice Valerie Jarrett to a vacant U.S. Senate seat. But in other areas, the court made clear the former governor’s convictions should remain intact.

“Blagojevich viewed the opportunity to appoint a new senator as a bonanza,” Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote in the 23-page opinion. “Blagojevich asks us to hold that the evidence is insufficient to convict him on any count. The argument is frivolous. The evidence, much of it from Blagojevich’s own mouth, is overwhelming.”

“We’ve waited a long time for this decision and we are very disappointed,” said the former governor’s wife Patti. “If there’s any silver lining for us, is that possibly this is a step in the right direction, to getting him home with us.”

That could be a long road. While the court ordered that Blagojevich be resentenced, they went out of their way to say they did not believe his existing 14-year sentence was unreasonable.

“It is not possible to call 168 months unlawfully high for Blagojevich’s crimes,” Easterbrook wrote. “But the district judge should consider on remand, whether it is the most appropriate sentence.”

Former Blagojevich lawyer Sam Adam, said he had to believe trial judge James Zagel would render a lower sentence.

“You have to reduce his sentence,” Adam said. “How could you say the 14-year sentence was right for all of them. Now you take five out and it’s still the same?”

“There’s just something about that that’s fundamentally unfair.”

The appellate court also took issue with Blagojevich’s argument that he should have been allowed to explain that his real plan was to offer the senate seat to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, in exchange for political cooperation from her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan. Easterbrook suggested that one apparent legal gambit did not negate possible shenanigans which were being plotted at the same time.

“A bank robber cannot show that on many other occasions he entered a bank without pulling a gun on a teller,” he wrote. “Nor can a teller charged with embezzlement show how often he made correct entries in the books.”

In 2009, Blagojevich was impeached from the governor's office after being charged with racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and attempted extortion, including the "sale" of Obama's Senate seat.

He was sentenced to prison and given a $20,000 fine in 2011 when he was convicted of 17 counts of corruption, including trying to sell now-President Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder. He had previously been convicted, in an earlier trial, of lying to the FBI.

Reached at his home in Nashville, Blagojevich’s brother Robert, said he was not hopeful Zagel would extend much mercy.

“I’m very cynical with regard to the whole system,” Blagojevich said. “I’m also jaundiced when it comes to the key players in this drama, especially Judge Zagel. So I’m not hopeful for Rod to get any measure of fairness from him.”

The elder Blagojevich was especially angry about comments the appellate judges made, blasting the former governor for involvement in a scheme to appoint Jesse Jackson Jr. to the senate seat in exchange for $1.5 million in campaign contributions.

“That is just flat out not true,” Blagojevich said, noting that as his brother’s chief campaign fundraiser, it was he who had been approached by Jackson’s emissaries with the $1.5 million offer.

“That is an altered reality to what I know and what I experienced,” he said. “That is just flat out wrong!”

Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg, who worked on the Blagojevich appeal and represented him at both trials, said she had to remain hopeful.

“Knowing him as a person, I’m sure he also sees some hope and is optimistic that he’ll be with his family again,” Kaeseberg said. “You know it pains him greatly to be missing out each day with his daughters.”

Her co-counsel Goodman, suggested that the decision defied common sense.

“I think most people agree the sentence is incredibly harsh for a case that’s all about politics,” Goodman said. “Never put a penny in his pocket. It’s all politics!”

]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Field Grows to 16 as Ohio Gov. Kasich Announces 2016 Run]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 09:33:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/kasich-GettyImages-471835132.jpg

Saying "big ideas change the world," Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination Tuesday and set about trying to distinguish himself in a bustling contest with other high achievers.

The outspoken swing-state governor declared his candidacy Tuesday before a crowd of 2,000 at Ohio State University, saying "the sun is going to rise to the zenith in America again." The 63-year-old is the 16th notable Republican to enter the race. 

"I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support, for your efforts because I have decided to run for president," Kasich, a strong-willed and sometimes abrasive governor, said in a scattered speech packed with family anecdotes, historical references and a pitch for his well-rounded resume.

A veteran congressman as well as governor, Kasich is telling voters he is the only GOP candidate with experience in three broad areas of political leadership — the federal budget, national security and state government. As well, he spent nearly a decade at Lehman Brothers.

"I have the experience and the testing," he said, "the testing which shapes you and prepares you for the most important job in the world and I believe I know how to work and help restore this great United States."

As budget chairman in the House, he became an architect of a deal in 1997 that balanced the federal budget.

Now in his second term in swing-state Ohio, he's helped erase a budget deficit projected at nearly $8 billion when he entered office, boost Ohio's rainy-day fund to a historic high and seen private-sector employment rebound to its post-recession level.

This, through budget cutting, privatization of parts of Ohio's government and other, often business-style innovations.

Unions that turned back an effort by Kasich and fellow Republicans to limit public workers' collective bargaining rights say Kasich's successes have come at a cost to local governments and schools, and that new Ohio jobs lack the pay and benefits of the ones they replaced. They plan a protest outside Tuesday's launch.

Kasich embraces conservative ideals but bucks his party on occasion and disdains the Republican sport of bashing Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

His entry nearly rounds out an unusually diverse Republican lineup with two Hispanics, an African-American, one woman and several younger candidates alongside older white men. So many are running that it's unclear Kasich will qualify for the GOP's first debate in his home state in just two weeks.

In recent months, he's made trips to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa, New York and Michigan, and will be returning to early voting states. His allies at the political organization New Day for America reported raising $11.5 million on Kasich's behalf before his entry into the race. 



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McCain Calls Trump's Comments 'Totally Inappropriate]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 07:21:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_trumpmccain_1500x845.jpg Senator John McCain says Donald Trump owes an apology to all the prisoners of war he served with. Trump recently stated that McCain is not a war hero, is only considered a war hero "because he was captured" and "I like people that weren't captured." McCain was reluctant to call himself a hero, but added that Trump's recent comments criticizing P.O.W.'s were "totally inappropriate."]]> <![CDATA[Walker: Trump 'Needs to Apologize' for McCain Comments]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 04:19:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-473663490+%281%29_scott_walker.jpg

Wisconsin Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said Donald Trump "needs to apologize" for his comments questioning whether Sen. John McCain is a war hero. 

Walker, who tried to ignore Trump's inflammatory rhetoric by leaning on the old "Reagan commandment" that discourages attacks against fellow Republicans, also had a message for the real-estate mogul's supporters.

"At a minimum, he needs to apologize," Walker said in an interview with NBC News. "I think more people need to push him. Not just candidates or elected officials, I think more people across America including some of those who, maybe up until now, have been supporters of him."

Trump said Saturday McCain is "not a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured." Under fire, Trump later acknowledged that McCain's sacrifice was heroic.

Walker was careful not to mention Trump by name but said his insulting rant against McCain went too far, "when it came to personal attack like this against the military, an American hero, I'm gonna call it like I see it."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boston Mayor Says Trump Should Apologize or Stay Out of Boston]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:17:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/walshtrump.jpg

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has a message for Donald Trump: Apologize for your comments about Mexico or stay out of Boston. 

"I think his comments are inappropriate," Walsh told the Boston Herald on Monday. "And if he wanted to build a hotel here (in Boston), he'd have to make some apologies to people in this country."

Trump, a Republican candidate for president, has come under fire in recent weeks for criticizing Mexico and immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally. He said they bring drugs and crime with them and are "rapists."

NBC, which owns this website, cited Trump's comments when it cut business ties with him as the former partner in the Miss USA pageant and dropped its pageant telecast. Macy's, which carried a Trump menswear line, also ended its relationship with him. 



Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Doubles Down on Immigration Comments]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 09:26:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Donald+Trump2.jpg

Presidential candidate Donald Trump decried the American media's supposed unwillingness to cover undocumented immigration in his press appearance at a Los Angeles hotel Friday, doubling down on controversial remarks even as protesters gathered outside.

Trump said Mexico's leaders are "smarter" than those in the United States, and that Mexican leaders send people "that they don't want" across the U.S. border. Similar remarks over the past week have provoked two celebrity chefs to pull out of deals with Trump hotels.

"They're sending criminals to us and we're sending those criminals to jail, oftentimes after they've killed somebody or hurt somebody," Trump said at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The families of several people killed by undocumented immigrants joined Trump at the news conference and said they stood behind the outspoken mogul's comments on illegal immigration, which have also inspired multiple businesses — including NBC Universal and Univision — to cut ties with Trump's business.

"No one really listened to us, our story really wasn't heard," said Sabine Durden, whose 30-year-old son was killed by a driver who was an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala three years ago. "When I heard Mr. Trump, I started screaming," she said. "Finally, someone who had the guts to say what millions are thinking."

Meanwhile, protesters rallied outside the hotel in response to Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants. The protest was organized by the CHIRLA Action Fund, the political arm of a California-based immigrant rights organization.

Some protesters carried Donald Trump piñatas filled with trash to "represent the type of language the candidate has been spewing," according to a CHIRLA statement.

"There is no way a candidate for the highest elected office in the land can utter the type of hateful language that Trump is known for and expect to win the Latino/immigrant vote," Diana Colin, CHIRLA Action Funds program director, said in a statement. "And everyone knows the road to the White House is paved with Latino/immigrant votes. Mr. Trump should do the math."

Trump also met with the father of a high school football standout killed by a gang member who was in the country illegally. Trump told syndicated talk show host Dana Loesch he was meeting with Jamiel Shaw — the father of Jamiel Shaw II -- "and pay my respects to him."

The elder Shaw praised Trump in interviews this week on the Fox News Channel and with Loesch for his criticism of illegal immigration. Shaw told Loesch that Trump's criticism of illegal immigration is "resonating in the black community because we see all the carnage that's happened and all the memorials. We see all the jobs that are gone. We see the whole community changing."

Jamiel Shaw II was a Los Angeles High School football standout who was shot and killed in 2008 near his Arlington Heights home by a gang member who prosecutors said mistakenly perceived him as a gang rival because he was carrying a red Spider-Man backpack. Pedro Espinoza, convicted of first-degree murder in 2012 and sentenced to death, was living in the United States without legal permission at the time of the killing. He had been freed from jail two days before the shooting without immigration authorities placing a hold on him.

Trump's arrival in Los Angeles follows a week of fallout from his comments about immigrants. Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said Thursday that the PGA of America's decision this week to move a golf tournament from a Trump-owned course was a step in the right direction.

The PGA and other major golf organizations should agree to keep tournaments off Trump properties in response to his comments about Mexican immigrants, Nogales said. The PGA said it relocated its Grand Slam of Golf, in mutual agreement with Trump.

NBC ended its partnership with Trump on the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants after the celebrity billionaire, in announcing his presidential campaign, said some Mexican immigrants to the U.S. bring drugs and crime, and some are rapists.

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said. "They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with (them). They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Trump vowed to file paperwork next week ensuring he would qualify for next month's Republican presidential debate, where his immigration policies could emerge as a focus on national television. Trump said Thursday that his Republican competitor Jeb Bush is "a joke" for suggesting that Mexican immigrants cross the border illegally as "an act of love."

"This has nothing to do with love," Trump said in an interview airing Thursday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." "They are taking people that should be in Mexican prisons, Mexican jails and they are pushing them over to the United States. These are dangerous people."

]]>
<![CDATA[NewsConference: C.L. Nikias' Vision for USC ]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 07:48:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NewsConference_seg_1_Nikias_070515_1200x675_476179523685.jpg A conversation with USC President C.L. Max Nikias--one of the most intriguing university chiefs around. Dr. Nikias rose from the ranks as a professor, dean, provost and now 11th president of the University of Southern California. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, a number of patents that the US Dept of Defense uses and still holds seminars in the Greek classics. He's an innovator, a visionary and a money maker. His goal at USC: To raise $6-billion by 2018. He talks with NBC4’s Conan Nolan Sunday July 5, 2015 about the state of the university.]]> <![CDATA[Politics, Trade and SCOTUS]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 07:41:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NEWSCONFERENCE_EXTRA_DREIER_070515_1200x675_476121667863.jpg For 32 years, former House Rules Committee Chair David Dreier was a member of the US House of Representatives. He is now actively involved in a number of think tank organizations. He talks with NBC4's Conan Nolan about the 2016 Presidential race and the very important Trans Pacific Partnership. Video broadcast Sunday July 5, 2015 on NBC4. ]]> <![CDATA[Trump Blames Border for SF Shooting]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 13:44:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/DonaldTrump_Getty_07032015.jpg

Donald Trump on Friday blamed the United States' vulnerable southern border for this week's fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately," the Republican presidential hopeful said in a statement.

Steinle, 32, of Pleasanton, was gunned down Wednesday evening near the Embarcadero and Mission Street in the city's South Beach neighborhood. Police arrested Francisco Sanchez following what they believe is a random incident.

New details emerged about the suspect Friday when the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reported that Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant with nearly a dozen aliases and a long criminal history. He has previously been deported to Mexico five times, according to authorities.

San Francisco County Sheriff's Legal Counsel Freya Horne told NBC Bay Area Friday that the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don't have active warrants out for them – simply because immigration officials want them to.

For his part, Trump deemed the situation “absolutely disgraceful” and blasted his fellow candidates for lacking the “guts to even talk about it.”

“The American people deserve a wall to protect our jobs, economy and our safety,” he added. “I am the only candidate who would build it. I will make America great again!”

Trump’s candidacy announcement June 16 had a similar flavor.

"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," he said. "And these aren't the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...they're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

But several business organizations — including NBC, Univision, Macy’s and NASCAR — have disassociated themselves from Trump after his incendiary comments came to light.

Hispanic leaders have also pressed the rest of the GOP presidential candidates to condemn Trump. So far, most of the candidates have either stayed mum or quietly sidestepped his statements. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has even defended him, saying that "I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration."

Only Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is Hispanic, denounced Trump's statements as "not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Hopefuls Flood NH for July 4 Weekend]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:33:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP136093298170.jpg

Presidential hopefuls are going on parade throughout the Granite State this July 4. 

At least seven 2016 candidates will spend Independence Day courting residents who will vote in the nation's first presidential primary contest next year, according to scheduled logged in necn's 2016 New Hampshire Primary Candidate Tracker, making a combined 14 stops.

While parades are by far the most popular stops during the holiday tour — at least 11 such appearances are expected — candidates' Saturday calendars also include breakfasts, cookouts and grassroots events. Revelers along the routes in Amherst and Merrimack will watch no fewer than three candidates strut by. The resort town of Wolfeboro, where 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney owns a home, will be greeted by at least two GOP hopefuls.

For some candidates, one parade just isn't enough. Republicans Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry, as well as Democrat Lincoln Chafee, are marching in two apiece. Perry, the former Texas governor, appears to have the busiest public schedule on Saturday so far, stopping by parades in Amherst and Merrimack before greeting crowds at the Windham GOP July Fourth Cookout later in the day.

The holiday hand-shaking isn't limited to July 4 itself. Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, has been barnstorming the state since making his official entry into the race on Tuesday, including several events on Friday. Perry and Democrat Hillary Clinton are also getting their patriotic partying started early with Friday events, while former New York Gov. George Pataki and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both candidates for the GOP nomination, will join New Hampshire residents wishing America a belated birthday with Sunday celebrations.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Peas in Guacamole? Obama Weighs in on Twitter Debate ]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:15:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/guacamole-GettyImages-456804252.gif

President Barack Obama has a message for The New York Times: please don't pass the peas.

Into the guacamole, at least. 

The president joined the online masses piling on the newspaper on Wednesday afternoon following a much-retweeted story suggesting "adding fresh English peas" to the popular avocado dip.

The tweet sparked cries of culinary foul from users, gaining hundreds of retweets in the process. The Times' public editor even suggested that the backlash could rival the "Minnesota Grape Salad outcry" that hit after the paper listed the obscure recipe as a state favorite. 

When asked about the suggestion during an #ASKPotus Twitter chat Wednesday, the president suggested he'll stick to a more traditional recipe. 

First lady Michelle Obama, a vocal advocate of incorporating more green veggies into daily diets, has yet to weigh in. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-California Sen. Leland Yee Pleads Guilty]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:58:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_senado_california_suspende_leland_yee.jpg

Leland Yee, a former California state senator,  pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a felony racketeering charge in an organized crime and public corruption case that brought down the once-popular legislator known for good government and gun control, ending his political career.

Yee, who previously has pleaded not guilty to bribery, money laundering and other felony charges, was scheduled to go on trial in late July in the sweeping case that was centered in San Francisco's Chinatown.

But he changed his plea Wednesday in San Francisco federal court and will likely serve some time in prison, legal analysts say. He could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to federal sentencing guidelines and the plea agreement obtained by NBC Bay Area. He admitted to a long list of crimes, including wire fraud and quid pro quo favors in return for campaign contributions, from 2011 to March 2014, in a spree called the "campaign," the plea deal shows. In many of the cases, Yee was interacting with undercover FBI agents.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer is scheduled to sentence Yee on Oct. 21.

Before the hearing, reporters tweeted that he was smiling and chatting with them as he was forced to sit in the media section as there wasn't enough room. Afterward, neither he nor his attorney had any comment.

Right after Yee, Keith Jackson, a former San Francisco school board member who acted as Yee's consultant and fundraiser, pleaded guilty to the same charge.

In a statement, Jackson's attorney at Morrison and Foerster said: " Keith Jackson has entered an honest plea to what he actually did when the FBI embroiled him in their activities. The FBI started by hiring Mr. Jackson and paying him money to do perfectly lawful things. They also promised him great wealth. After they had done that, they began to embroil him in the matter that brings him to his plea today. Mr. Jackson has contributed a great deal to this community over the years. He is attempting, by this plea, to put his life back together in hopes that he will be allowed to contribute more in the future. ”

Jackson's son, Brandon Jackson, and former sports agent Marlon Sullivan, also pleaded guilty to racketeering charges on Wednesday, under separate plea deals.

The FBI arrested Yee and 19 others last year during a series of raids throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. NBC Bay Area first broke the news of his arrest in March 2014.

Yee was accused of soliciting and accepting bribes from an alleged Chinatown gang leader in exchange for providing help from Sacramento. The FBI also alleged that the San Francisco Democrat, who was running for secretary of state at the time, conspired to connect an undercover agent with an international arms dealer in exchange for campaign contributions.

The arrests were the culmination of the FBI's eight-year investigation of Raymond "Shrimp Boy'' Chow, the elected "dragonhead'' of a Chinese-American association called Ghee Kung Tong. The FBI alleges the association was a racketeering enterprise and that undercover agents laundered $2.6 million in cash from illegal bookmaking through the organization.

Chow has pleaded not guilty to money laundering and other charges.

Sudhin Thanawala from the Associated Press and NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews and Stephanie Chuang contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>