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National and international headlines
Bill O’Reilly has long been an imposing presence in cable news and the so-called culture wars.
The 6-foot, 4-inch former high school history teacher from Long Island demonstrated that a strong opinion could translate into a powerful platform and big profits long before social media was a thing. O’Reilly helped boost Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel into a $1 billion-plus-a-year business.
But in the wake of his dismissal Wednesday over allegations of sexual harassment, it remains to be seen whether the scandal would mortally wound his reputation or dent his business prospects, Meg James and David Ng of the Los Angeles Times write.
It is a harsh fall from grace for one of television’s most bankable stars. “The O’Reilly Factor” long has been one of the most popular programs on cable TV, this year averaging 4 million viewers an episode, according to ratings company Nielsen.
“This [scandal] has definitely hurt his brand in the broad sense, but he will undoubtedly bounce back,” said Marlene Morris Towns, an adjunct marketing professor at Georgetown University in Washington.
In a letter to a campus Republican group that invited Coulter to speak, university officials said that they made the decision to cancel Coulter’s appearance after assessing the violence that flared on campus in February, when the same college Republican group invited right-wing provocateur and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos to speak, The Washington Post reports.
Coulter said in an email to The Washington Post on Wednesday that the university had been trying to force her to cancel her speech by “imposing ridiculous demands” on her, but that she still agreed “to all of their silly requirements.” She said that she believes her speech “has been unconstitutionally banned” by the “public, taxpayer-supported UC-Berkeley.”
A university spokesman said the school has not been in direct contact with Coulter, but conveyed its concerns with the student group that invited her. He said the university was especially concerned that holding the event in the late afternoon would risk protests and potential violence stretching into the evening when the area would get crowded with commuters and students.
“Everything we’re doing is so the speaker and students can actually exercise their rights without disruption,” Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said. “It’s unfortunate that there are people who think the university’s efforts to keep students and the speaker herself safe are ‘silly.’”
Earlier this week, before heading downstairs to speak to nearly three thousand Kentuckians, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, reminisced about his 2016 presidential campaign. After he had gained steam, and his rallies had become arena-size events, he was struck by the difference between his crowds and those at Democratic Party fundraisers.
“We’d have a rally with five or ten thousand young people out, a great deal of energy,” Sanders told The Washington Post between bites of a steak sandwich. “Then I’d walk into a room and there’d be a thousand people from the Democratic Party. You were in two different worlds — one full of energy, one full of idealism. And the other, full of good people — I don’t mean to put them down — who are the bedrock of the Democratic Party.”
Since Clinton’s general election loss, there was little resistance inside the party to Sanders’s politics. As the plane flew to Louisville, a Harvard-Harris poll was being released that found Sanders polling at 57 percent favorability with all voters. No politician in America was better-liked.
“Sanders is an asset to the Democrats,” Mark Penn, a former Clinton pollster and strategist, said in a statement about the poll.
The U.S. Secret Service said it would end public access to a sidewalk along the south fence of the White House beginning Wednesday night, according to Reuters.
The closure will “lessen the possibility of individuals illegally accessing the White House grounds,” Secret Service Communications Director Cathy Milhoan said.
In March, a man scaled a fence east of the White House at night, and he was on the property’s grounds for 16 minutes before being detained. He never entered the White House, the Secret Service said.
The same restrictions are in place on the north fence of the White House grounds, according to the Secret Service.
The fastest-growing occupation in the United States — by a long shot, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — might surprise you: wind turbine technician, according to The Washington Post.
The number of workers maintaining wind turbines, a job with a median pay of about $51,000 a year, is set to more than double between 2014 and 2024, the agency estimates. That’s a more rapid growth rate than that of physical therapists, financial advisers, home health aides and genetic counselors.
In 2016, for the first time, more than 100,000 people in the United States were employed in some manner by the wind industry, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the American Wind Energy Association.
“Getting over 100,000 jobs in wind is an important milestone,” said Tom Kiernan, American Wind Energy Association’s chief executive. “Sometimes people think of wind or renewables as a niche industry. But the proven reality is the industry is at a scale where we are reliably and affordably contributing to the grid.”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah announced Wednesday he will not run for re-election to his House seat in 2018, The Washington Post reports.
Chaffetz, who has also considered running for the Senate, said Wednesday he will return to the private sector, though he did not provide more detail.
“For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives,” Chaffetz, R-Utah, wrote on his Facebook page.
“I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector,” he said.
Police charged a Madawaska couple Tuesday with operating a methamphetamine lab inside their home, Fiddlehead Focus writer Don Eno reports.
This is “one of the largest meth labs MDEA has encountered,” Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said Wednesday afternoon.
Seized from inside the home was a “considerable amount of materials” used to make the drug, including a quantity of meth and more than 80 containers that had allegedly been used to make the highly addictive drug.
The Louisiana man gunned down on Easter in the city’s first homicide of the year had argued with his alleged killer moments before being shot twice, the victim’s estranged wife told the BDN’s Nick Sambidies Jr.
Shooting victim Terrence Durel Sr., 36, of New Orleans had sent several threatening texts to 43-year-old Danielle Durel of Bangor before the argument with her boyfriend, Antoinne J. “Prince” Bethea, outside Bethea’s Ohio Street home on Sunday, Danielle Durel said Wednesday.
Terrence Durel was at the house to get their son’s “Easter outfit” when the argument began, Danielle Durel said. She was inside helping the 8-year-old boy change clothes when she heard three gunshots, she said.
“I still didn’t see any gun,” Danielle Durel said.
That’s when she noticed that her husband was bleeding from his stomach and leg, she said. She drove him to the Eastern Maine Medical Center, where he died later that day.
Democrat Adam Cote has made his long-contemplated 2018 run for governor official, becoming the first well-known Democrat to enter the race to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the BDN’s Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd report.
Cote, a 44-year-old Sanford attorney and Army veteran, has been out of politics since he finished second in the 2008 primary in Maine’s 1st U.S. House District. The seat was won by Chellie Pingree, who still holds it.
A woman who was the long time office manager for a law enforcement motorcycle club has been charged with stealing more than $200,000 from the organization, the BDN’s Judy Harrison reports.
Bessie Small, 46, of Carmel was charged last month with theft by unauthorized taking, a Class B crime, Stephen Burlock, Penobscot County assistant district attorney, said Tuesday.
Small, who began working for the club in 1998, came to the attention of the district attorney’s office after officers of the Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club had an audit conducted last summer, Burlock said. The auditor estimated that the suspected fraud totaled $228,000.
“She was the office manager and, until 2013, authorized to write her own paycheck,” the prosecutor said. “The president, D.J. Alvarez, became suspicious and asked for copies of all the cleared checks. When she kept putting him off, he went to the bank to get them.”
Living and events
“Down to Earth Climate Justice Stories: Changing Hearts, Inspiring Action,” 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, 96 Harlow St., Suite 100, in Bangor. Free and open to public. Filmmaker Andy Burt to facilitate discussion. Visit downtoearthstories.org for more information.
Community meet and greet with Starr Kelly, the Abbe Museum’s new curator of education, and Angela Raup, new manager of guest experience, noon-2 p.m. Thursday, April 20, at the museum, 26 Mount Desert St. Participate in white glove artifact experience, learn about upcoming events and explore a special exhibit. Light refreshments. Free.
Auditions for Ten Bucks Theatre’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” 2-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, Community of Christ Church, 128 Pierce Road. Rehearsals begin June 5 and will be held generally 6-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays. Performance dates July 20-23 and 27-30, at Indian Trail Park in Brewer; and Aug. 3-6 at Fort Knox in Prospect. For another audition time, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 884-1030.
Spring book sale, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Edythe Dyer Library, 269 Main Road North in Hampden. For information, call 862-3550.
Two new Maine Historical Society exhibitions exploring Maine’s wartime experience: “World War I & the Maine Experience,” and “The War to End All Wars,” Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress St. in Portland.