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ACC experiencing highs, lows of high-profile transfers

The Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division could serve as a case study for the extremes of college football’s transfer spectrum.

At one end is Miami, where the NCAA allowed quarterback Tate Martell to play immediately after coming in from Ohio State. At the other is Virginia Tech, where an outpouring of outrage came after Coastal Carolina transfer Brock Hoffman was denied in his request to play this year.

“In my estimation, he went about this thing the right way,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said, “and was punished because of it.”

Transfers — whether they actually play this year or not — have emerged as a dominant off-field storyline around the ACC and beyond.

The opening-week depth charts for the ACC’s 14 schools listed 21 players who came from other Division I programs. And according to the transfer tracker at 247sports.com, league schools had a combined 108 players transfer out before this season while 51 came in.

The vast majority of those on the two-deeps were graduate transfers who came through the NCAA’s transfer portal without much issue. A few underclassmen received waivers from the NCAA to play right away. Others must spend a season on the sideline after the governing body denied their requests.

Boston College coach Steve Addazio says the number of transfers wanting to play immediately has “gotten out of whack” and says he supports the American Football Coaches Association’s proposal for undergraduate transfers to sit out a year, then regain that year of eligibility if they graduate from their new school.

“You can’t have free agency in college football,” Addazio said. “You have an elite player and one of these schools comes in and poaches them,” he added. “You can’t do that. That’s just ridiculous.”

It’s become common practice in recent years for schools to mine the pool of graduate transfers to plug specific holes on their rosters. First-year Louisville coach Scott Satterfield added six of them to help with the massive attrition during the coaching change.

“We’re looking for the best players that fit what we need,” Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi said.

The hotter topic has been undergraduates seeking waivers to play right away for their new schools.

The governing body issued a directive last year that helped clear the way for immediate eligibility for all approved requests. In June, it approved a series of adjustments to the guidelines used to determine when those waivers can be granted, requiring schools requesting a waiver to provide more documentation to support their argument and more detailed verification of athletes’ claims about why they are leaving.

Brandy Hataway, NCAA director of academic and membership affairs, said the changes weren’t designed to make it easier or harder to obtain a waiver, but to “streamline the process a little bit better” and better educate and inform schools, players and parents.

“The changes weren’t really as dramatic as I think folks may have thought they were, or some people alluded to in some of their reporting,” Hataway said. “It was really a part of the normal process of reviewing them.”

Among the highest-profile of this year’s instant transfers was Martell, who left Ohio State after the Buckeyes picked up Georgia transfer Justin Fields. He received his waiver to play right away in March.

A flurry of other decisions from the NCAA came on a single day last week. North Carolina defensive back Cam’Ron Kelly, who enrolled at Auburn in January only to transfer out two months later, was cleared.

“It was hard last week, because if you give him a bunch of reps and then he’s not able to go, you feel like you kind of cheated your defense a little bit,” defensive coordinator Jay Bateman said. “I think now he’ll be ready to go.”

Georgia Tech received the OK for Michigan transfer Myles Sims to play this season, but the request for Florida transfer Antonneous Clayton was rejected. New coach Geoff Collins simultaneously praised the decision on Sims but “vehemently” disagrees with the ruling on Clayton, adding that it “does not have the best interests of the student-athlete in mind.”

And then there was the final rejection for Hoffman.

He transferred to Virginia Tech in the offseason, saying the move was made to be closer to his mother, who two years ago had surgery to remove a non-cancerous brain tumor. His hometown of Statesville, North Carolina, is roughly a 2-hour drive from Blacksburg — about 1½ hours by car closer than Coastal Carolina’s campus in Conway, South Carolina.

That decision sparked widespread outcry, with Hoffman’s father posting a letter to the NCAA’s waiver committee and President Mark Emmert blasting the decision. He called it “truly a hardship and a disservice to the athletes and institutions you claim to support” and threatened to seek legal counsel.

“When you look at the decision that’s one thing, and when you look at the process of the decision, that is another thing,” Fuente said. “The process, to say it is disappointing, is an understatement.”

The NCAA does not comment on individual cases, Hataway said.

“I think this kind of falls into maybe a misperception that we get frequently that there’s inconsistency in cases,” Hataway said, speaking in general terms. “Some cases are being approved, some cases are being denied. . A lot of the cases that are getting a lot of attention publicly and maybe in the media fall into different (classifications).”

Westlake Legal Group CFB-Tate-Martell ACC experiencing highs, lows of high-profile transfers fox-news/sports/ncaa/miami-hurricanes fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 16081097-2f7c-507c-88d5-7b33f3e70394   Westlake Legal Group CFB-Tate-Martell ACC experiencing highs, lows of high-profile transfers fox-news/sports/ncaa/miami-hurricanes fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 16081097-2f7c-507c-88d5-7b33f3e70394

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Turkey’s Erdogan threatens to ‘open the gates,’ allow Syrian refugees to leave for Western countries

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f2a664ddf1e84465b4402194637a2b0e Turkey's Erdogan threatens to 'open the gates,' allow Syrian refugees to leave for Western countries fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 3e709258-c545-5be7-af59-76c5aaa62e75

The president of Turkey said Thursday he would be forced to “open the gates” and allow a route for Syrian refugees to travel into WesternEurope unless a deal is reached with the U.S. by the end of the month to help resettle migrants in a so-called “safe zone” within its borders, according to reports.


President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech to his ruling party officials in the country’s capital city of Ankara that he was determined to create a “safe zone” in northeast Syria in partnership with the United States by the end of September, but was prepared to act alone if necessary.

“We will be forced to open the gates,” Erdogan said. “We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone.”

Erdogan said Turkey aims to resettle about 1 million out of the 3.65 million Syrian refugees in the safe zone. He added that his nation “did not receive the support needed from the world” to help it cope with Syrian refugees.

The Syria War is an ongoing armed conflict between the Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad and multiple opposing factions, including the Islamic State, according to Statista, a German online portal for statistics

More than half of the Syrian population fled the country as a result of the conflict, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported. About 6.6 million refugees left Syria since 2011—about half of which settled in Turkey which borders Syria from the north.


About 207,000 civilians have died in the conflict since it first began about eight years ago, Statista reported. European nations and the United States have largely remained separated from the conflict until the U.S. and Allied forces conducted airstirkes in 2014 against Islamic extremists. Russia began to back the Syrian government in 2015, according to the site.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f2a664ddf1e84465b4402194637a2b0e Turkey's Erdogan threatens to 'open the gates,' allow Syrian refugees to leave for Western countries fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 3e709258-c545-5be7-af59-76c5aaa62e75   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f2a664ddf1e84465b4402194637a2b0e Turkey's Erdogan threatens to 'open the gates,' allow Syrian refugees to leave for Western countries fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 3e709258-c545-5be7-af59-76c5aaa62e75

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Republicans Think Democrats Want A Recession. Polling Shows They Don’t.

Westlake Legal Group 5d7019ad3b00009605cd8468 Republicans Think Democrats Want A Recession. Polling Shows They Don’t.

It didn’t take long after the U.S. economy showed signs of a potential economic downturn for conservative media figures to start arguing that Democrats were hoping for a recession in order to tank President Donald Trump’s chances at reelection. “Recession is at the top of Trump haters’ wish list,” a New York Post columnist wrote. Stephen Moore, a Trump adviser, cited his experience with a lone woman in San Francisco for a Washington Times column titled “Democrats Rooting for Recession.” 

To be fair, columnists did have one data point to back up their contention. Bill Maher, the HBO host and provocateur, had openly declared: “We have survived many recessions. We can’t survive another Donald Trump term.”

It turns out the multimillionaire comedian isn’t representative of the typical Democrat.

A new HuffPost/YouGov poll found just 9% of Democrats were hoping for a recession, while 72% were not. Among all Americans, 6% were hoping for a recession, and 70% were not. The group most likely to root for a recession? People ages 18 to 29, 13% of whom were hoping for a recession. A slight majority of the under-30 crowd, 53%, did not want an economic downturn.

Nonetheless, 71% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believed most Democrats were rooting for a recession, while just 13% said they were not. 

A recession, which economists typically define as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, would likely harm Trump’s reelection chances. In polling, voters are more likely to approve of Trump’s handling of the economy than they are to approve of his job performance more broadly. 

The HuffPost/YouGov poll also found a plurality of Americans now expect a recession in the next year: 49% said a recession was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” in the next 12 months, while 32% said it was “not very likely” or “not at all likely.” Among registered voters, a majority (56%) say a recession is very or somewhat likely in the next year. 

There was a significant partisan split on the question, with Democrats seeing a recession as likely by a 74%-to-13% margin. Just 30% of Republicans think a recession is likely, while 60% say the opposite. A number of Democratic-leaning subgroups also thought a recession was coming. A majority of women, 18-to-29-year-olds and African Americans all thought an economic downturn was likely. 

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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Hurricane Dorian Updates: Storm Creeps Near the Carolina Coast

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group 05dorian-updates01-articleLarge Hurricane Dorian Updates: Storm Creeps Near the Carolina Coast

Waves crashed against a pier in Folly Beach, S.C., on Wednesday. The Carolinas are bracing for storm surge as Hurricane Dorian approaches.CreditEric Thayer for The New York Times

The Carolinas braced for dangerous rain, wind and storm surge on Thursday morning as Hurricane Dorian continued to creep on its parallel path north along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, guaranteeing trouble for coastal residents even if it stays offshore.

The storm had strengthened to Category 3 late Wednesday night, when it was in the Atlantic Ocean about 105 miles south of Charleston, S.C., according to the National Hurricane Center. Its hurricane-force winds were extending as far as 60 miles from the center, with tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 195 miles. Forecasters said storm surge waters could flood up to eight feet in some areas.

With a hurricane warning in effect from the Savannah River north to the North Carolina-Virginia border — and thousands of residents cleared out of coastal areas after mandatory evacuations — there was little to do but wait for those rescue personnel and stragglers who remained in the coastal communities in Georgia and North and South Carolina.

In Charleston on Wednesday night, there was evidence that warnings were met with both seriousness and insouciance.

At about 7:30 p.m., an emergency alert went out to area cellphones: “EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY. HURRICANE DORIAN BEGINNING TO AFFECT AREA.” But many tourists and residents were already gone, and the streets of the historic downtown were mostly empty as the first heavy rain bands began soaking the city.

Still, on trendy King Street, sushi and gourmet burgers could be found in a handful of open restaurants. A Tex-Mex place called Juanita Greenberg’s Nacho Royale was completely boarded up. But next door, the bartenders at Proof were slinging cocktails for those seeking other means of escape.

Westlake Legal Group hurricane-dorian-map-promo-1566933204147-articleLarge-v366 Hurricane Dorian Updates: Storm Creeps Near the Carolina Coast

Maps: Track Hurricane Dorian’s Path

Maps tracking the hurricane’s path as it makes its way toward Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

A first-person account from Chris Dixon, an author and journalist.

I engaged in a grim ritual with my neighbors on Wednesday, sweating and cursing under a broiling Charleston sun while draping sheets of plywood across the windows on my house. For the fourth time since 2016, I was preparing for a hurricane: Matthew, Irma, Florence and now Dorian.

Depending on your point of view, I am lucky or unlucky enough to live on a tidal creek near Folly Beach, S.C. When hurricanes and tropical storms strafe our coast, their winds roar across the several miles of harbor and normally placid marsh that separate our neighborhood from the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse. As the tides rise, these winds pile seawater into wave-driven surge and batter the homes in my neighborhood.

Yanking a splinter from my thumb, I asked myself, Why do I live here?

I should know better. When I was young, my great-aunt Ethel told frightful tales of Hurricane Hazel’s 1954 destruction of the Carolina coast. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo upended my life by destroying my home in Surfside Beach, north of Charleston. Two years ago, I gasped as the tides from Hurricane Irma casually carried a foot of marsh into my house while sweeping tons of my yard out to sea. And last year, while covering Hurricane Florence for The New York Times, I spent many tense hours among people who were in the process of losing everything.

So why do I choose to live in this slowly drowning port city? Why endure the annual stress of possibly losing everything? Why constantly check computer models before frantically hauling everything inside, boarding up, driving for safety and then waiting for interminable hours while glued to The Weather Channel?

Because the ocean is my family’s life and my livelihood. My wife grew up in Dana Point, Calif., with the Pacific in her backyard and saltwater in her veins. I grew up in Atlanta but had the great fortune of spending my summers along this Carolina coast — sailing, fishing and, eventually, having my life taken over by surfing.

It sounds cliché, but when your entire life comes to revolve around the ocean, it becomes almost impossible to imagine living any other way. You come to define life not by the hours on the clock, but by the ebb and flow of the tides and the rhythm of the winds and swells. You become deeply enmeshed in a culture of shrimpers, crabbers, divers and surfers. You watch your kids come to revere the ocean and respect its moods and its power. You manage to make a living writing about the ocean. You catch a perfect wave from a hurricane-spawned groundswell at your local break.


Westlake Legal Group 04dorian-updates01sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 Hurricane Dorian Updates: Storm Creeps Near the Carolina Coast

Now a Category 2 storm, Hurricane Dorian is slowly moving northwest, threatening the U.S. southeast coast, after leaving behind major damage in the Bahamas.CreditCreditScott McIntyre for The New York Times

The pilot was anxious to help: He had gathered generators, diapers, tuna fish and other supplies. The people living on the islands in the Bahamas devastated by Hurricane Dorian needed them, immediately.

But he wasn’t sure if there was anywhere to land.

Flying over the hardest-hit areas — the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama — the pilot saw homes turned to matchsticks and boats piled in heaps.

Harbors, supermarkets, a public hospital, airport landing strips — all had been damaged or blown to smithereens, frustrating rescue efforts.

[The Bahamas was stunned when the hurricane’s water receded.]

Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall on Sunday as a Category 5 storm and then lingered for days, not only left many residents in the most damaged islands without jobs or a place to live. It also stripped away the services required to meet their most immediate needs — like fresh water, food and medical care.

“It’s like a bomb went off, honestly,” said Julie Sands, who lives in Cherokee Sound, in the Abaco Islands.

In the Bahamas, with floodwaters receding, the trail of devastation was slowly becoming clear as residents began tallying their losses. As of Wednesday, according to Dr. Duane Sands, the minister of health, at least 20 people had been confirmed dead and the toll was expected to rise.

[Bahamian descendants in Miami are helping the battered nation.]

Westlake Legal Group bahamas-damage-hurricane-dorian-1567618513584-articleLarge Hurricane Dorian Updates: Storm Creeps Near the Carolina Coast

The Bahamas, Before and After Hurricane Dorian

Aerial images of flattened neighborhoods and a flooded airport give a first look at the large-scale damage there.

Reporting was contributed by Kirk Semple, Frances Robles, Rachel Knowles and Elisabeth Malkin.

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Felicity Huffman to kick off sentencing of parents in college admissions scandal: Will judge 'send a message?'

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Felicity Huffman to kick off sentencing of parents in college admissions scandal: Will judge 'send a message?'

BOSTON — The Justice Department suffered a setback in June when the first defendant sentenced in the nation’s college admissions scandal, a former Stanford University sailing coach, avoided any prison time

Now, the prosecution has an opportunity to rebound as the historic “Varsity Blues” case enters a critical new phase. 

Parents who have pleaded guilty to paying Rick Singer, the mastermind of a nationwide college admissions cheating and bribery scheme, are set to be sentenced beginning next week. Fifteen parents, three college coaches and two other co-conspirator of Singer are expected to be sentenced this fall.

First up is one of the two celebrities charged in the sweeping case: actress Felicity Huffman, whose sentencing is set for Sept. 13. In a deal with prosecutors, Huffman pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for paying Singer $15,000 to have someone correct her daughter’s SAT answers. 

At the time of her plea, prosecutors recommended four months in prison for the “Desperate Housewives” actress, substantially lower than the maximum 20 years the charges could carry. They also recommended 12 months of supervised release, a $20,000 fine and other undetermined amounts of restitution and forfeiture.

A ‘unique opportunity’ to hold the wealthy accountable for cheating

A stiff sentence that includes prison time — particularly for one of the highest-profile defendants in the case — could send the message prosecutors had hoped for with the sentencing of former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer.

Looking to “set the tone” out of the gate, prosecutors sought 13 months in prison for Vandemoer. He admitted taking $610,000 in payments from Singer in exchange for designating applicants as sailing recruits to get them into the prestigious university.

If Huffman and the parents who follow her in court also avoid prison time, some criminal justice advocates say it would signal to the public that the rich and connected can get away with cheating the system. 

“The criminal scheme carried out in this case shocks the conscience and underscores the way in which wealthy people can exploit their privileged status to their benefit and to the detriment of others,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “These federal crimes must not be treated lightly in order to send a strong message that no one is above the law and that wealthy people will be held accountable.”

Clarke said the crimes committed by parents in the case “undermine public confidence” in the college admissions process and show universities must “redouble their efforts” to ensure diversity on campuses. She noted most of the wealthy parents who participated in the scheme are white.

She called the case a “unique opportunity” to hold accountable individuals “who feel that money, race and privilege can allow them to evade the justice system.”

Of the 51 people charged in the college admissions scandal, 34 are parents accused of making significant payments to Singer’s sham nonprofit, the Key Worldwide Foundation. Prosecutors say they paid to have someone secretly take ACT or SAT tests for their children, change poor results or get them falsely tagged as an athletic recruit to get them into college. 

More: Tearful Felicity Huffman pleads guilty in college scam; prosecutors recommend four months in prison

Huffman was originally scheduled to be the third parent sentenced in the case. But the sentencing hearings of two other parents who have pleaded guilty, Devin Sloane and Stephen Semprevivo, were pushed back to later this month.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, who is leading prosecution of the case, declined through a spokeswoman to comment on the upcoming round of sentencing. Huffman’s attorney Martin Murphy also declined to comment. He referred questions to a public relations spokesperson who did not respond to questions from USA TODAY.

More: Felicity Huffman is just the beginning: Who’s pleaded guilty in the college admissions scandal — and who’s still fighting

Both sides are expected to file sentencing memos to the court that will make final arguments to U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani ahead of next week’s hearings. They will include their final sentencing recommendations. 

“If there isn’t at least a request for a strong sentence, even if it isn’t granted, then I think it would seem like there’s sort of different justice for different people,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who specializes in federal courts. “There’s that concern.”

“I do think they will continue to press,” he said of the prosecution, “and part of it is to make an example that everybody ought to be equal before law and this is not appropriate behavior.”

Because no parents have been sentenced to date in the admissions scandal, Tobias said it’s tricky to predict what’s in store for Huffman and those sentenced after her.

“We’ll see what arguments are made and how her defense attorney frames it. That could be important,” he said. “And, if Huffman has more to say that may account for something, too.”

The other parents on deck for sentences

Huffman, 56, has apologized to the “students who work hard every day to get into college.” She fought back tears when she pleaded guilty in court. 

One fact that may play in her favor is the substantially lower amount of money she paid compared to other parent defendants. Singer typically charged parents $15,000 to carry out the test-cheating and higher amounts to pay off college coaches to get their children admitted as athletic recruits. The latter cost more because it guaranteed a child’s entry into college.

Sloane, CEO of Los Angeles-based waterTALENT, which builds water systems, pleaded guilty to paying $250,000 in bribes to Singer’s organization to falsely designate his son as a water polo player so he could gain acceptance to the University of Southern California. Prosecutors have recommended he serve 15 to 21 months in prison.

Semprevivo, an executive at Cydcor, a privately held provider of outsourced sales teams, pleaded guilty to paying $400,000 to Singer to get his son admitted into Georgetown University as a fake tennis recruit. Prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of 18 months for him.

More: Third parent pleads guilty in college admissions scandal: This one paid $400K to get son into Georgetown

Through Singer’s scheme, Huffman’s daughter received a 1420 on her ACT after Mark Riddell, a counselor at a private high school in Florida, secretly corrected answers on her exam at a testing center in Los Angles. It marked a 400-point improvement from the last time the girl took the SAT one year earlier without Riddell.

Prior to the December 2017 exam, Huffman’s daughter was granted extended time to take the test — a common practice among Singer’s clients to help carry out the cheating.

Why no prison for Stanford coach could be the exception

The sentence for Vandemoer, the ex-Stanford sailing coach, was decided by U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel. She is presiding over Singer’s case but is not assigned to any of the cases involving parents or other coaches. Singer has pleaded guilty to four felonies and is cooperating with prosecutors.   

Although prosecutors didn’t get the sentence they wanted for Vandemoer, the case is widely seen as an outlier that doesn’t necessarily foreshadow how the next round of sentences will go. As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Vandemoer pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. 

More: Former Stanford sailing coach avoids prison in first sentence of college admissions scandal

The case also had unique circumstances. None of the students tied to the payments were admitted into Stanford as a direct result of the coach’s actions, leading Zobel to question whether the university suffered an losses. Vandemoer also funneled payments directly to the school’s sailing program and did not pocket any of the bribe money he took from Singer.

Zobel called Vandemoer “probably the least culpable of all the defendants.”

More: Analysis: Those in college scandal could still go to prison, despite first defendant skating

Twenty-three defendants in the college admissions case, including Huffman, have pleaded guilty to felonies; 28 others have pleaded not guilty, including actress Lori Loughlin.

How the first group of parents is sentenced could affect whether other parents decide to plead guilty or dig in for trial, according to Adam Citron, a former state prosecutor in New York, who now practices at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP.

That’s the biggest concern for prosecutors, he said.

“It could go two ways. If (the parents) are getting jail time even on pleas, a defendant may think to themselves I better plea out because I don’t want more jail time,” Citron said. “By the same token, that defendant might say to themselves, I’m going to get jail anyways, so I might as well fight it.”

Although difficult to predict, Citron said the judge in Huffman’s case may be less lenient with parents like her than was the case with the Stanford coach, who did not benefit personally by accepting payments from Singer.

“They can make examples out of these people. Obviously, there’s not much sympathy with the 1 percent-ers right now,” Citron said. “A judge may be less sympathetic to a big-time star who needed to get her child into college knowing what they were doing was wrong.”

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter at @joeygarrison.

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When Teens Are Treated Like Child Pornographers For Sexting

Westlake Legal Group 5d712acf2500001c130511d1 When Teens Are Treated Like Child Pornographers For Sexting

Like many high school dramas, it all began when a close friendship soured. 

They were a band of three: Two girls and a boy, all students at the same Maryland high school. If they weren’t hanging out in real life, they were texting each other silly photos and videos, trying to one-up each other with jokes. One day, at the beginning of the 2016 school year, one of the girls, a 16-year-old identified only as SK in court documents, sent her friends AT, also a 16-year-old girl, and KS, a 17-year-old male, a short video of her giving oral sex to a boy. It was just the latest, shocking entry into their ongoing “one-up competition,” according to court documents. 

But soon after, the trio had an ugly falling out. KS started calling SK a slut, according to court testimony, and boasted that he could get her in serious trouble if he reported the video to authorities. The clip began to make the rounds at school, even though SK had only sent it to her two friends. The rumor was that KS shared it, though he denied it. Then, in December, her two friends brought the video to the school resource officer, who worked for the local sheriff’s office. It was ultimate tattle tale, but with terrible, real world consequences. Once it was in the hands of the police, the video became a criminal matter. 

SK was charged under Maryland’s child pornography statute for sending a video of herself ― a minor ― engaging in a sexual act. A juvenile court agreed that she had distributed child pornography and displayed obscene material to minors. SK appealed, but last week, Maryland’s top court affirmed the ruling, saying that their hands were essentially tied. 

Under a plain language reading of the criminal statute, SK was a child pornographer. 

It didn’t matter that the minor allegedly victimized was her. Or that the sex act depicted was legal and consensual. In the eyes of the law, she was a criminal.  

Protecting the most vulnerable

Child pornography statutes were originally designed to protect children from exploitation, not prosecute them. But with the advent of sexting, minors like SK who trade sexually explicit images are technically producing, distributing and possessing child pornography. States are now struggling to keep up with the changing realities of teenage behavior.

“These antiquated laws were written for predatory adults who were transmitting or possessing child pornography,” said Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University. “They were not for youth who are using technology to sexually experiment.” 

More than two dozen states have tried to fix this issue by creating new laws that specifically address sexting by minors, generally by making it a lesser offense. But in many cases, the existing child pornography law is left unaltered, which means that aggressive prosecutors have discretion to bring charges under either statute if they desire, explained W. Jesse Weins, a lecturer at Arizona State University. 

“It gives prosecutors a lot of plea bargaining power,” he said. “They can use the child pornography charge as a threat: ’Hey, I could be charging you with this, so you need to work with me and do everything I say.’” 

He said he was not surprised that the court in Maryland, which does not have a sexting law, upheld SK’s conviction. 

“The court’s job is to fairly interpret the language of the statute,” he said. “They are not willing to reinterpret child pornography laws to simply exclude all sexting.” 

Still, in its ruling, the court urged Maryland to consider changing the law, and pointed to a 2019 bill that would have decriminalized the distribution or manufacturing of child pornography by a person younger than eighteen. The legislation, inspired by SK’s case, failed to pass. 

Appropriate response

Sexting experts interviewed by HuffPost said they thought consensual teen sexting should be handled by parents and schools, not the criminal justice system. 

For one, the behavior is common, said Hinduja, the Cyberbullying Research Center co-director. His research has found that 14 percent of teens say they’ve sent a sext and 23 percent say they’ve received one. 

“It is part of sexual exploration in this day and age,” he said, suggesting that parents talk to their children about the potential negative consequences of sexting. Explicit images and videos can easily end up in the wrong hands, and have a long life on the internet. 

But when teens are singled out and prosecuted for ill-advised behavior, it can be devastating. 

“It becomes a formal label on their lives,” Hinduja said. “They internalize it. Other people judge them according to that, and their opportunities for the future are reduced.”

Teens who end up in the juvenile or criminal justice system because of sexting are at risk of future legal repercussions, Weins added. In rare cases, they may have to register as a sex offender. More often, they will have to abide by strict probation requirements, which if left unmet can result in further charges and punishment.  

SK, for example, had to comply with weekly drug tests and home visits from a probation officer. She had to attend and complete anger management class, and undergo a substance abuse assessment.

“If you have a trip-up in the wrong jurisdiction, you can get into more trouble,” Weins said.  

There’s also the question of who prosecutors choose to punish in cases like these. Most teens who engage in sexting don’t end up with criminal charges. The ones who do are the ones who come to the attention of law enforcement and prosecutors, which can be racially skewed. 

“There is a lot of strong anecdotal evidence that these laws work the same way all of our other laws do, which is they’re disproportionately applied to people of color,” said Amy Hasinoff, an associate professor of communications at the University of Colorado at Denver. “They’re disproportionately applied to kids in foster care, because they’re under more scrutiny. They’re disproportionately applied, as with any laws around sexual activity, to kids who are gay or trans.” 

It is unclear if SK would have been prosecuted if her school did not have a cop. There’s research to suggest that school resource officers play a role in the school-to-prison pipeline, a phenomenon in which students are pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system.

Hasinoff, author of “Sexting Panic: Rethinking Criminalization, Privacy, and Consent,” said she was concerned that in SK’s case, she was the one charged, despite the fact that other students spread the video around school without her consent. That is technically revenge porn, which is a form of sexual violence, Hasinoff added.

She also worried about the psychological impact of dragging SK through an adversarial and potentially traumatizing court process after she had been a victim of a sexual violation. 

“Instead of the school and the prosecutor and all the supposedly responsible adults in her life saying, ‘Oh, this horrible thing happened to you, how can we help?’ they said, ‘looks like you committed a crime. Let’s pursue that,’” she said. “It’s very disappointing and very predictable.”

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In a Tight Labor Market, a Disability May Not Be a Barrier

ROUND ROCK, Tex. — When Kate Cosway completed her master’s degree in 2014, her résumé drew plenty of interest, but she rarely advanced far in the hiring process. She was pretty sure she knew why: She is on the autism spectrum and struggles in traditional interviews.

Her luck finally turned this summer when she landed a 12-week internship at Dell Technologies, which this month will turn into a full-time job working on automation in the company’s audit department.

A year ago, Ms. Cosway probably wouldn’t have been hired at Dell, either. But last year, the Texas company started a program aimed at hiring people with autism.

For Dell, the effort is partly a response to a growing challenge: With the unemployment rate under 3 percent in the company’s Austin area — and with talent in technical roles especially scarce — Dell needs to tap into new pools of potential workers. It is also trying to hire more veterans and people looking to re-enter the work force, often after raising children.

“This is really one of our business imperatives, because we know that there is a talent crisis,” said Nitcelle B. Emanuels, director of diversity and inclusion at Dell. “We need to get more creative.”

With the national unemployment rate now flirting with a 50-year low, companies are increasingly looking outside the traditional labor force for workers. They are offering flexible hours and work-from-home options to attract stay-at-home parents, full-time students and recent retirees. They are making new accommodations to open up jobs to people with disabilities. They are dropping educational requirements, waiving criminal background checks and offering training to prospective workers who lack necessary skills.

Those policies are having an effect. In recent months, nearly three-quarters of people who have become newly employed have come from outside the labor force — meaning they hadn’t even been looking for jobs. The share of adults who are working is now the highest in more than a decade, after adjustments are made for the aging population.

Policymakers are taking notice. Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, opened a closely watched speech in Jackson, Wyo., last month with a discussion of how the “historically strong job market” is reaching people who missed out on earlier stages of the recovery.

“We increasingly hear reports that employers are training workers who lack required skills, adapting jobs to the needs of employees with family responsibilities, and offering second chances to people who need one,” Mr. Powell said.

Now that progress could be in jeopardy. Evidence is growing that trade tensions and slowing global growth are taking a toll on the American economy; this week, data showed that the manufacturing sector was contracting. The job market has escaped significant damage so far, but it is unclear how long that can last.

Dell’s executives say that their recruitment efforts are part of a long-term strategy to diversify its work force, and that the company won’t abandon them just because the unemployment rate ticks back up.

Economists, however, said they doubt most companies will keep such programs in place when the next recession hits. Similar policies adopted during the late 1990s and early 2000s largely disappeared after the dot-com bubble burst, and didn’t make a comeback even during the relatively healthy job market of the mid-2000s.

That, many economists say, is why it is so important to keep the current expansion — already the longest on record — going for as long as possible.

“I think all these gains are incredibly fragile, and they need to be fostered and protected,” said Julia Pollak, a labor economist for the employment site ZipRecruiter.

Even now, there is evidence that the job market has room for further improvement. Companies are raising pay, but only gradually, and the inflow of workers into the labor force has slowed in recent months.

For workers hired during the good times, the benefits can be enduring. Economic research has found that once people are drawn into the labor force, they tend to stay in it. That may be especially true for workers with disabilities or other barriers to employment who thrive once given a job — but who struggle to get that chance in all but the strongest job markets.

Ms. Cosway, 31, remembers that struggle well. After she earned her master’s degree, in chemistry and chemical engineering, her classmates quickly found jobs. Yet she spent years going through the dutiful routine of filling out job applications, carefully tailoring cover letters and setting up interviews. And then, more often than not, there was silence — followed, weeks or months later, by polite emails from employers who said they had “gone in a different direction.”

“After a while, that is quite frustrating,” Ms. Cosway said. “For these roles, I am qualified, but I need a bit more support.”

Dell’s program offered that aid. The company worked with a local nonprofit, the Arc of the Capital Area, to identify nine job candidates, all on the autism spectrum, for what amounted to a two-week job interview. Candidates spent a week learning how to navigate the corporate world — how to draft emails, follow up with colleagues and ask managers for help or feedback.

In the second week, the candidates worked on a project that gave them a chance to show off their technical skills and their ability to work as a group. Ultimately, six were chosen for 12-week internships with managers who had received their own training in how to work with adults with autism.

Ms. Cosway won an internship, helping to automate Dell’s audit systems, then made the most of the opportunity. When she completed a project that was meant to take all summer within weeks, her managers gave her more ambitious work. She was offered a permanent position before her internship ended.

Ms. Cosway said she appreciated that Dell treated her as an asset — “I didn’t want to be thought of as they were doing me a favor hiring the special-needs girl,” she said.

Brian Reaves, Dell’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, said the company needed people like Ms. Cosway, and needed to find ways to help them succeed.

“This isn’t just a ‘Hey, let’s make some nice news because these are feel-good stories,’” Mr. Reaves said. “This is a strategic program.”

Corporate leaders have spoken for years about the need to tap into new pools of talent. But they are increasingly backing up those words with action, recruiting candidates from outside the labor force and adapting corporate policies and job requirements to accommodate their needs.

Programs like Dell’s are still mostly limited to white-collar positions. But educated workers aren’t the only ones benefiting from the strong job market. Data from ZipRecruiter shows that more companies across industries are offering on-the-job training or tuition reimbursement to help open up jobs to candidates who might not have the necessary skills. A rising share of companies are advertising that their jobs are open to people with no experience.

In places like Austin, competition for workers is particularly intense. Jennifer Ogas, who oversees the Austin area for the staffing firm Adecco, said call centers — typically the bottom rung of the career ladder — were offering as much as $17 an hour.

Some call centers she works with are letting people work from home, and they are increasingly open to other ideas they once resisted, such as flexible schedules.

“I think everything’s on the table at this point,” Ms. Ogas said.

More about the job market
A Hot Job Market Is Causing Labor Pains for State Governments

Aug. 30, 2019

Is Immigration at Its Limit? Not for Employers

Aug. 22, 2019

Job Growth Slows in July but Remains Solid

Aug. 2, 2019

Disability Applications Plunge as the Economy Strengthens

June 19, 2018

Still, there are still some steps companies are reluctant to take. Relatively few, for example, have begun offering child care, even though parents routinely say that benefit would make it easier for them to work. Martha Gimbel, an economist who studied the labor market for the job search site Indeed, said companies’ caution suggested that they didn’t want to be saddled with expensive benefits that they might have to take away in tougher times.

Ms. Gimbel said she feared that many of the policies that companies had adopted in the past few years would be short-lived when the economy cooled.

“There are these things that employers have ‘learned’ over the past year,” she said. “They have learned that people with criminal records can be good employees. They have learned that women coming back from raising children can be good employees. They have learned that letting employers leave 30 minutes early to pick their child up from soccer practice will not destroy workplace productivity.

“The eternal question,” Ms. Gimbel continued, “is just are they going to remember this when the next recession hits, or is all of this progress going to be lost?”

For now, though, some workers are taking the strong job market as an opportunity not just to get back to work, but to find a more stable career.

Selerina Rodriguez used to work three low-paying jobs to cover living expenses, pay college tuition and set aside money for emergencies. Then last year, she stopped working entirely to help care for her brother, who was ill, and his children.

Now Ms. Rodriguez, 23, is looking to get back into the labor force, but this time on her own terms. She enrolled in a program at Austin Community College that teaches students how to install, maintain and repair heating and cooling units. Within three months, she should have her certification as a technician — a job that pays around $45,000 a year in the area, according to government statistics.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160172769_d9a0dd72-5e70-425c-878d-9279830c023d-articleLarge In a Tight Labor Market, a Disability May Not Be a Barrier Wages and Salaries United States Economy Unemployment Labor and Jobs Hiring and Promotion Dell Inc Careers and Professions Austin (Tex)

Selerina Rodriguez hopes a community college program that trains heating and cooling technicians will help her land a job that pays around $45,000.CreditIlana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

“I didn’t want to work three jobs again,” she said.

On a recent evening, Ms. Rodriguez sat attentively as Roland Arrisola, vice president of operations at Stan’s Heating & Cooling, explained the opportunities available at his company.

Ms. Rodriguez had questions: Would the company pay for training so that she could move up in the ranks? Would it work around her class schedule if she wanted to complete her bachelor’s degree? Mr. Arrisola said the company was happy to be flexible.

“If I can find someone who’s smiling, who’s a people person, I’ll teach them the rest,” he said.

During an hourlong presentation, students quizzed Mr. Arrisola about benefits, opportunities for promotions and his company’s willingness to hire older workers (the oldest student in the class is 76) and people with a criminal record.

Mr. Arrisola left little doubt who had the advantage.

“We’ve got a less than 3 percent unemployment rate,” he told the students. “Right now, we’re looking at things a little different.”

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Irish Media Dumps On Pence: He Came As A Guest And ‘Sh*t On The New Carpet’

Westlake Legal Group 5a7c031a2000004d00eae34e Irish Media Dumps On Pence: He Came As A Guest And ‘Sh*t On The New Carpet’

He has supported LGBT discrimination under the banner of “religious freedom.”

In March 2015, Pence&nbsp;<a href=”https://www.huffpost.com/entry/indiana-governor-mike-pence-anti-gay-bill_n_6947472″>signed Indiana’s&nbsp;Religious Freedom Restoration Act</a>&nbsp;(or RFRA) into law, effectively legalizing discrimination against LGBT people across the state. The bill, which Vox called “<a href=”http://www.vox.com/2016/7/14/12189750/mike-pence-trump-vp-lgbtq”>one of the biggest political crises</a>” of Pence’s career, allowed business owners to&nbsp;<a href=”https://www.huffpost.com/entry/indiana-pizza-gay-couples_n_6985208″>cite their religious beliefs</a>&nbsp;as justification for turning away LGBT customers.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br> <br>The bill’s passage sparked&nbsp;<a href=”http://theslot.jezebel.com/get-to-know-mike-pence-and-all-of-the-very-bad-legislat-1783733309″>national controversy</a>, and in the end, was reported to have set the state back&nbsp;<a href=”https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2015/03/31/110232/indianas-religious-freedom-restoration-act-is-bad-for-business/”>$250 million</a>.&nbsp;In April 2015, Pence signed <a href=”https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mike-pence-religious-freedom_n_6996144″>a revised version of the bill </a>into law that&nbsp;included language that&nbsp;<a href=”http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/31/gov-mike-pence-hold-news-conference-clarify-religious-freedom-law/70712968/” target=”_blank”>explicitly barred businesses</a> from denying services to customers on the basis of categories that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Many LGBT rights advocates <a href=”https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mike-pence-things-to-know_n_5787c2b1e4b0867123e02df7″>remained critical&nbsp;</a>of the revisions, saying that Indiana should have repealed the measure altogether.


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Cincinnati Bengals 2019 NFL outlook: Schedule, players to watch & more

The Cincinnati Bengals finished last in the AFC North in 2018 for the first time since 2010 and that was enough for the team to dump Marvin Lewis in favor of new head coach Zac Taylor.

While there’s a new face calling plays, some of the same storylines remain.

A.J. Green is not expected to be ready for Week 1, leaving undrafted rookie Damion Willis to step into his place. Andy Dalton is also coming back after a season-ending injury in 2018. The expectations for him will be very high in a pivotal season for him career-wise.

The Bengals also have to hope that John Ross and T.J. Boyd stay healthy long enough for Green to get back to full health.

Cincinnati has a ton of returnees on the defensive side, but the team allowed most yards per game and third-most points per game last season. They will have to be far better defensively to have a chance at a decent season.

Read below for more about the Bengals heading into the 2019 season.



Westlake Legal Group NFL-Zac-Taylor Cincinnati Bengals 2019 NFL outlook: Schedule, players to watch & more Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/nfl-season-outlook fox-news/sports/nfl/cincinnati-bengals fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/andy-dalton fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3af81054-b8d5-565b-ac65-16b1dd73e261

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor, left, meets with quarterback Jake Dolegala (7) during the second half of the team’s NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)



Time (ET)




Sept. 8

4:05 pm


@ Seattle Seahawks


Sept. 15

1:00 pm


San Francisco 49ers


Sept. 22

1:00 pm


@ Buffalo Bills


Sept. 30

8:15 pm


@ Pittsburgh Steelers


Oct. 6

1:00 pm


Arizona Cardinals


Oct. 13

1:00 pm


@ Baltimore Ravens


Oct. 20

1:00 pm


Jacksonville Jaguars


Oct. 27

1:00 pm


@ Los Angeles Rams




Nov. 10

1:00 pm


Baltimore Ravens


Nov. 17

4:25 pm


@ Oakland Raiders


Nov. 24

1:00 pm


Pittsburgh Steelers


Dec. 1

1:00 pm


New York Jets


Dec. 8

1:00 pm


@ Cleveland Browns


Dec. 15

1:00 pm


New England Patriots


Dec. 22

1:00 pm


@ Miami Dolphins


Dec. 29

1:00 pm


Cleveland Browns


Westlake Legal Group NFL-Andy-Dalton Cincinnati Bengals 2019 NFL outlook: Schedule, players to watch & more Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/nfl-season-outlook fox-news/sports/nfl/cincinnati-bengals fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/andy-dalton fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3af81054-b8d5-565b-ac65-16b1dd73e261

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton throws a pass during the first half of the team’s NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

  • QB: Andy Dalton
  • RB: Joe Mixon
  • WR: A.J. Green
  • DE: Carlos Dunlap
  • DT: Geno Atkins


Westlake Legal Group NFL-Ryan-Finley Cincinnati Bengals 2019 NFL outlook: Schedule, players to watch & more Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/nfl-season-outlook fox-news/sports/nfl/cincinnati-bengals fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/andy-dalton fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3af81054-b8d5-565b-ac65-16b1dd73e261

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley (5) runs with the ball during the first half of the team’s NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

  • Round 1, Pick 11: Jonah Williams, OT
  • Round 2, Pick 20: Drew Sample, TE
  • Round 3, Pick 72: Germaine Pratt, LB
  • Round 4, Pick 104: Ryan Finley, QB
  • Round 4, Pick 125: Renell Wren, DT
  • Round 4, Pick 136, Michael Jordan, OL
  • Round 6, Pick 182: Trayveon Williams, RB
  • Round 6, Pick 210: Deshaun Davis, LB
  • Round 6, Pick 211: Rodney Anderson, RB
  • Round 7, Pick 223: Jordan Brown, CB


Westlake Legal Group NFL-Zac-Taylor Cincinnati Bengals 2019 NFL outlook: Schedule, players to watch & more Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/nfl-season-outlook fox-news/sports/nfl/cincinnati-bengals fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/andy-dalton fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3af81054-b8d5-565b-ac65-16b1dd73e261   Westlake Legal Group NFL-Zac-Taylor Cincinnati Bengals 2019 NFL outlook: Schedule, players to watch & more Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/nfl-season-outlook fox-news/sports/nfl/cincinnati-bengals fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/andy-dalton fox news fnc/sports fnc article 3af81054-b8d5-565b-ac65-16b1dd73e261

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#Sharpiegate Trends as People Mock Trump For Showing Hurricane Dorian Path Map Altered With Pen

Westlake Legal Group dojMrPiSsZPzjmJZhdD-digJR-Qn4UOnpSj0APt8ZEs #Sharpiegate Trends as People Mock Trump For Showing Hurricane Dorian Path Map Altered With Pen r/politics

Saw someone actually trying to revise history in real-time on this one, and man it’s embarrassing.

People keep trying to paint this type of reporting as “not news” but if a politician from the opposing party did something half as stupid they’d never let it go.

It’s really getting pathetic watching Trump supporters smear the shit on their own faces and call it a mud mask all to make it seem like having shit on your face is the cool, rebellious, antiestablishment thing to do these days.

Also I see a lot of “you’re all obsessed with Trump, get a life.” As they literally defend the indefensible in threads.

It’s surreal, these people are just cultists. This isn’t politics anymore, this is just cult behavior disguised as politics. It’s a religion of pure stupidity as virtue.

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