Two-thirds of Americans think that the Democratic Party is out of touch with the country

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Two-thirds of Americans think that the Democratic Party is out of touch with the country

The Democratic Party is viewed as more out of touch than either President Donald Trump or the party’s political opponents. Two-thirds of Americans think the Democrats are out of touch – including nearly half of Democrats themselves, The Washington Post’s Philip Bump writes.

In fact, the Democratic Party is viewed as far more out of touch by Democrats than Trump or the GOP are by Republicans, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the “Come Together and Fight Back” Democratic Party rally at Verizon Center Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Rodger Mallison | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | TNS

It’s clear that the Democratic Party is cognizant, to some extent, of the discontent at the grass roots. When Tom Perez, the newly elected leader of the party, headed out on a listening tour this month, he brought along a special guest: Bernie Sanders.

North Korea detains US citizen, the third held captive there

North Korea has detained another U.S. citizen, a Korean-American professor, taking to three the number of Americans being held in Pyongyang, according to The Washington Post.

The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, which represents U.S. interests there because the United States does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea, confirmed to The Washington Post that an American man has been detained.

Media in South Korea identified the man as Kim Sang-duk, a former professor at the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in the northeastern Chinese city of Yanji, near the border with North Korea.

Kim was arrested at Pyongyang’s international airport Friday as he was waiting to board a flight, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

North Korea has taken a slew of Americans hostage in recent years and used them as bargaining chips in negotiations with the United States.

It is holding two other Americans.

Four nuns form a band, and yes, it’s called Force of Habit

Brother Brad Elliott, dressed in a habit behind his drum kit, was joined by Sister Miriam Holzman on the piano. Sister Peter Grace Weber was off to the side, with a bass guitar. Sister Louis Marie Zogg, on the saxophone, stood next to Sister Mary André Thelen, on the trumpet.

As the session continued, Brother Brad bopped his head, grinning. The sisters kept giggling, as they worked out timing and tempo and little blips. There was joy in the room, and what they played.

Which was not church music. The band played “Unforgettable” and “What a Wonderful World,” because sweet jams are not just for the secular.

France’s Macron, Le Pen advance to presidential run-off

Centrist Emmanuel Macron took a big step toward the French presidency on Sunday by winning the first round of voting and qualifying for a May 7 runoff alongside far-right leader Marine Le Pen, Reuters reports.

Though Macron, 39, is a comparative political novice who has never held elected office, new opinion polls on Sunday had him easily winning the final clash against the 48-year-old Le Pen.

The two politicians left in the race offer radically contrasting economic visions for a country whose economy lags that of its neighbors and where a quarter of young people are unemployed.

Macron’s gradual deregulation measures are likely to be welcomed by global financial markets, as are cuts in state expenditure and the civil service. Le Pen wants to print money to finance expanded welfare payments and tax cuts, ditch the euro currency and possibly pull out of the EU.

Paul Ryan promises to keep government open, and makes no promises on health care

House leaders told GOP lawmakers Saturday that they plan to devote their energy this week to keeping the federal government open, conspicuously avoiding an immediate commitment to take up health care despite pledges to do so by conservatives and the White House, The Washington Post reports.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, speaking on a conference call with GOP members, offered no specific plan on how or when lawmakers might see details of a new proposal to revise the Affordable Care Act, which White House officials promised would receive a vote by Wednesday.

Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, attends a news conference after a meeting with Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas in Tallinn, Estonia, April 22, 2017.

Ryan also made clear that his top priority was to pass a stopgap spending bill to keep government open past April 28, an objective that requires Democratic support. “Wherever we land will be a product the president can and will support.” Ryan said, according to a senior GOP aide on the call.

The call comes as GOP leaders find themselves trapped between proving that they can complete basic tasks of governing such as funding the government, while also meeting the demands of President Donald Trump, who is looking for a legislative win ahead of his 100th day in office next Saturday.

American Airlines apologizes for onboard clash over stroller

American Airlines on Saturday apologized to a female passenger and suspended an employee after a video showing an onboard clash over a baby stroller went viral, in the latest embarrassment for a U.S. carrier over how it treated a customer, Reuters reports.

“We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident,” the airline said in a statement released early Saturday.

Local headlines

Runaway goats reunited with owner after ride-along with Belfast police

A pair of goats found hanging out near the parking lot for the Rail Trail along the Passagassawakeag River Sunday morning have been reunited with their owner, Belfast police said Sunday afternoon on their Facebook page.

“Louis and Mowgli enjoyed their day trip with Sgt. Fitzpatrick but alas, all good things come to an end. Perhaps in the next budget year we can inquire as to getting some patrol goats,” police said in the afternoon post.

Belfast police Sgt. Daniel Fitzpatrick is looking for the owners of two goats found Sunday morning near the parking lot for the Rail Trail along the Passagassawakeag River.
Belfast Police Department

Louis and Mowgli were picked up by Belfast police after they were found wandering without their owners in sight. In an effort to reunite them with their family, police turned to Facebook.

“We had these two little ‘kids’ turn up on High Street near the parking lot for the rail trail,” the police department said in an earlier post.

Lewiston is one of the best places to retire in the US, according to Forbes

Forbes Magazine has tapped Lewiston for a spot on its 2017 list of the top 25 places to retire in the United States, the BDN’s Dawn Gagnon reports.

Downtown Lewiston is pictured on Aug. 30, 2016.
Danielle McLean | BDN

The state’s second largest city is the only Maine location — and the only community in New England — chosen for this year’s ranking. Lewiston is new to Forbes’ annual list.

Portland mayor decries 4/20 marijuana giveaway

The mayor of Portland said he’s disappointed by a free pot giveaway in Monument Square that drew a long line of people and a cloud of smoke, Portland-based CBS affiliate WGME reports.

Under state law and city ordinance, marijuana can’t be used in public, but the crowd enjoyed it anyway, uninterrupted.

“Well, we didn’t have a lot of complaints, but I don’t think we want our police department wasting a lot of resources on this,” Mayor Ethan Strimling said. “The war on drugs has never been successful.”

Strimling said he was disappointed by the event and believes it was irresponsible.

“If someone was out there handing out free shots of alcohol, I think people would have a similar reaction, saying this isn’t what we want to have happening in the middle of the city,” he said.

Maine group rescues dogs from high-kill shelters in the South

Just before 1 a.m. on a Sunday, Christina Nelson is driving to meet Violet, the foster puppy she and her family will take in for the foreseeable future. The puppy, Violet, is one of many dogs rescued from high-kill shelters in the South by Underhound Railroad, Lincoln County News’ Maia Zewert reports.

Casey Nelson holds Violet, the puppy her family will foster. The Nelsons, of Damariscotta, volunteer with Underhound Railroad, a nonprofit orgainzation that provides forster homes for dogs rescued from high-kill shelters.
Maia Zewert | Lincoln County News

A group of friends formed the organization in 2009 with a mission of rescuing dogs from euthanization in Connecticut shelters. Over time, the mission expanded to overcrowded shelters in southern states, including Georgia and North Carolina.

Hope Cruser, the former director of Underhound Railroad, asked Coombs if she would be willing to foster dogs with the organization. Soon thereafter, Coombs fostered her first dog. She is now the director of the organization.

“It never gets old,” Coombs said. “It can be stressful and frustrating, but at the same time, you know that you’re saving their lives.”

Dog pardon again proves LePage is the alpha in Maine’s power structure

A husky’s life is on the line in what may be Maine’s most unusual court case, and one of the only things that can save it is Gov. Paul LePage and a creative interpretation of executive power, the BDN’s Michael Shepherd writes.

The Republican governor found a new way to test his authority in March, when he issued a “ full and free pardon” to a dog named Dakota, who was ordered to die by a judge after killing a neighbor’s dog last year in Winslow, then attacking that same family’s new dog in February.

A judge upheld that order earlier this month, but Dakota’s owner has a new legal team asking the judge to reconsider, using LePage’s power on property forfeiture as a legal backstop. But the district attorney has dismissed the governor’s action.

The way the “pardon” was delivered has led to uncertainty, but LePage’s authority is central to the defense’s case. It’s just another example of the governor testing his power, but this one’s certainly novel.