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‘I Was Gonna Be A Mashed Potato’: Florida Boy Recounts Garbage Truck Horror



A Florida boy’s attempt to hide in a trash can almost turned tragic when it was picked up by a garbage truck and nearly sent into the choppers as the blades turned on.

“I was thinking, ‘This might be the end for me,’” 7-year-old Elias Quezada told WFLA, the NBC station in Tampa. “I almost thought I was gonna be a mashed potato.”

But then a sharp-eyed driver named Waldo Fidele spotted the boy in the truck’s surveillance camera and rushed to turn the choppers off.

“It was a bad day for me,” Fidele told Fox13 in Tampa. “I was scared.”

Luckily, he was able to act in time and call 911 for help.

Elias’s grandmother said it all happened so fast.

“In a minute, he went out and the next thing I hear is the sound of the truck and a guy screaming,” Carmen Salazar told WFLA.

Elias suffered a minor cut ― and perhaps the beginning of a lifelong aversion to a certain household item.

“I don’t like trash cans anymore,” he told WFLA.

Then again, Elias did make an exception when he spoke to Fox 13: “Unless it’s like a tiny trash can that’s inside the house, then it might be fine.”


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A drying lake in Oregon attracts the far right



Members of a far-right fringe group set up a circus tent, decked with U.S. flags, on land adjacent to gates that stop the flow of water from Upper Klamath Lake into canals that irrigate farmland. They’re threatening to open the gates. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Today, in Episode 2 of our Drought Week series, we go to Upper Klamath Lake in southern Oregon. As water shortages become a permanent part of life in the American West, battles are brewing everywhere for what little remains. Even in long-verdant areas like the Beaver State.

We’ll talk to L.A. Times reporter Anita Chabria and Don Gentry, the chairman of the Klamath Tribes. The tribes get first rights to the water of Upper Klamath Lake, which they use to help sustain a fish important to their culture. But farmers are angry because they’re not getting any water this year. Now, members of the far right are coming in to try to exploit the tension.

After that story, stick around to hear Nick Itkin talk about how he got into fencing and came to represent the United States in the Tokyo Olympics.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Northern California reporter Anita Chabria, Klamath Tribes Chairman Don Gentry and fencer Nick Itkin

More reading:

Racism, drought and history: Young Native Americans fight back as water disappears

Water crisis reaches boiling point on Oregon-California line

As drought slams California and Oregon, Klamath farmers grow fish to quell a water war

Listen to more episodes of The Times here

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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Japan playing its own water polo style at Tokyo Olympics



TOKYO (AP) — The men’s water polo tournament at the Tokyo Olympics is filled with big, hulking destroyers playing a similar style.

And then there is Japan.

The host country is zigging while the rest of the world is zagging, playing an aggressive, pressing defense and going without a massive center in the middle. Japan swims and swims and swims, more than any other team in the field, hoping to generate breakout opportunities while wearing down its opponent.

The reason is simple.

“This is the only way,” Japan coach Yoji Omoto said through a translator.

Omoto, who began his second stint as Japan’s head coach in 2012, is working with a smaller group of potential players in the country in two different ways. He doesn’t have access to those hulking behemoths that traditional water polo powers have, and there isn’t much interest in the sport throughout much of Asia.

“Very, very minor sport in Japan,” driver Mitsuaki Shiga said through a translator.

So Omoto is going with what he has.

“So maybe about 10 years ago, Japan was trying to play the same tactic as European teams, but we came to realize that we can never win if we’re just copying the European style,” Omoto said. “So we are confident that our physical and the speed are the best in the world. So therefore capitalize on that characteristic.”

So Japan became the sport’s biggest pest, swarming around its opponents and looking to speed up the tempo whenever possible. The strategy requires an incredible fitness level — Shiga and his teammates just might spend more time swimming laps than actually playing water polo.

“Sometimes we swim like 10,000 meters. But at least (2,000) to 3,000 meters we swim every day,” Shiga said.

Japan is making its ninth appearance in the men’s water polo tournament at the Olympics, qualifying as the host nation. It won the Asian Championship for the first time in 2016, beating Kazakhstan 7-6 in the final, but it went 0-5 at the Rio de Janeiro Games in its first Olympics since 1984.

It got off to a solid start Sunday in its first game of the Tokyo Olympics, but the U.S. rallied for a 15-13 victory. Next up for Japan is a matchup with powerful Hungary on Tuesday night.

“That’s a very talented team, and I’m sure they’re going to do well at this tournament,” U.S. attacker Johnny Hooper said of Japan after the opener.

While Japan’s scheme is mostly about its best chance for success, Omoto is hoping it also helps increase interest in water polo in the country — especially with the added exposure that goes along with the Olympics.

“Speed, agility and fantastic shots and so forth are very important,” he said. “So we are trying to achieve that.”

Before Japan and Hungary jumped into the water, the U.S. earned its second straight win with a 20-3 victory over South Africa. Ben Hallock scored four times, and Jesse Smith played almost 11 minutes in his first appearance in his fifth Olympics.

“It just felt great,” Smith said. “I’ve been doing this a long time. I feel really lucky and grateful that we have the Games going on. It’s been a tough year, for everybody, so it felt really good to get a game in, you know, as an athlete.”

Spain also moved to 2-0, holding off Montenegro for an 8-6 victory. Serbia, which won gold at the 2016 Olympics, pounded Kazakhstan 19-5 for its first win in Tokyo, and Italy rallied for a 6-6 tie against Greece.


Jay Cohen can be reached at


More AP Olympics: and


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Matt Gaetz’s Future Sister-in-Law Says He’s a Gaslighting ‘Creep’



Daily Beast/TikTok

Rep. Matt Gaetz’s future sister-in-law appears to have had more than enough with the Florida congressman, posting three TikTok videos in the last two days slamming him as “weird and creepy” and “a literal pedophile.”

Roxanne Luckey—the sister of Gaetz’s fiancée, Ginger Luckey—was sharply critical of the congressman and his treatment of young women, saying she “unfortunately was not surprised” to have learned Gaetz was under federal investigation for sex crimes.

In one video Monday night, Roxanne Luckey told a story about Gaetz pressuring an older man to court her when she was 19. Roxanne Luckey called the move “weird and creepy”—and she claims Gaetz yelled at her and her mother and went “full lawyer” when she confronted him.

Bombshell Letter: Gaetz Paid for Sex With Minor, Wingman Says

“I saw the character and type of person he is, and when everything came out about him, I honestly, unfortunately, was not surprised,” Luckey said in one video.

“As someone who has personally experienced a ton of creepy old politician men hitting on me when I was underage, and experiencing sexual assault at that age by people of power, it’s very disheartening and I have zero tolerance of people like [Gaetz],” said Roxanne, who in 2020 worked briefly as a White House intern. She added that she is “tired of them getting away with this type of stuff.”

After the videos were posted, Ginger Luckey hit back at her sister, telling The Daily Beast she had a history of “destructive behavior.”

Roxanne, who is 20 now, said she was sharing her experiences in part because of her interactions with powerful men and her belief that it is important to “hold people accountable to whatever extent we can.”

“There is so much more to the story and about what I know about Matt Gaetz,” she added. “It is definitely a serious situation.”

The first of the videos, posted on Sunday, features Luckey dancing and lip-synching to Lana Del Ray’s “Jealous Girl” with a New York Times headline in the background, reading “Matt Gaetz Is Said to Face Justice Dept. Inquiry Over Sex With an Underage Girl.” She added her own text, writing, “When a creepy old man tries to hit on you at the bar but your sisters engaged to a literal pedophile.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Rep. Matt Gaetz and Ginger Luckey at a rally in Cheyenne, Wyoming. </p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Michael Ciaglo/Getty</div>

Rep. Matt Gaetz and Ginger Luckey at a rally in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Michael Ciaglo/Getty

In a follow-up video Monday night, Luckey apologized for using the term “pedophile” and shifted to “ephebophile”—someone primarily attracted to mid- to late-adolescents—which she reasoned felt more appropriate for Gaetz.

While The Daily Beast couldn’t reach Roxanne Luckey, the woman in the TikTok video appears to be the same person seen in a family photo on Ginger Luckey’s Facebook page, and the two women have multiple overlapping social media contacts. Ginger Luckey’s mother also appears to like posts on Roxanne’s Facebook. The TikTok account also shares two videos showing the person working in the White House as an intern. The Daily Beast was able to verify with a former Trump official that Roxanne Luckey did work as an intern during the summer of 2020, as the TikTok account claims.

Reached for comment Monday evening, Ginger Luckey claimed she and Roxanne had been estranged. (A video posted by Roxanne Luckey suggests she was close with her sister and Gaetz as recently as November.)

“Matt and I are enjoying our engagement and are deeply in love. My estranged sister is mentally unwell,” Ginger Luckey said in a text message. “She has been in therapy for years and our family hopes that after receiving in-patient mental health treatment, she will overcome the tendency she has repeatedly shown to engage in destructive behavior.”

How Joel Greenberg’s Plea Deal Spells Trouble for Matt Gaetz

Roxanne Luckey did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. A Gaetz spokesperson said the congressman supports his fiancée and her statement.

Roxanne Luckey, who in one video came out as a victim of sexual assault by “people of power,” recounted an episode last summer when Gaetz, shortly after he began dating her sister, tried to set Roxanne Luckey up with a friend of his. She said she was a 19-year-old intern at the Trump White House at the time, when Gaetz tried to connect her with a peer of his, who was divorced with a child.

According to Luckey’s account, the older man was “creepy” and repeatedly made her feel uncomfortable, even after she rejected his advances and told him she had a boyfriend. She noted that when the man later apologized, he passed the blame for his aggressive overtures onto Gaetz.

“Sorry about what I said, I just wanted to get Matt off my back,” Luckey claimed the unnamed man said.

Luckey said when she confronted Gaetz about the incident at a family gathering that Thanksgiving, the 39-year-old attorney and third-term congressman tried to gaslight her.

“He just immediately got so defensive and started yelling at me and my mom,” Roxanne Luckey said. “He called me a narcissist, just was a thousand percent gaslighting me—went full lawyer, ‘I don’t have to listen to you, I don’t have to answer your questions.’”

“Whatever,” Luckey added.

Gaetz Paid Accused Sex Trafficker, Who Then Venmo’d Teen

She said Gaetz’s anger and quick temper over the matter led her to believe that he knew he bore responsibility. “Someone who is innocent shouldn’t be getting so defensive, and literally being a grown man and yelling at a 20-year-old girl is just beyond me,” she said.

Luckey posted a TIkTok video at the time about the encounter, captioned, “It’s the sisters congressman boyfriend calling me a narcissist for calling him out for me 🤷🏼‍♀️🤪”

Luckey emphasized that the experiences informing her opinion “wasn’t just this encounter with Matt.” When she was interning in D.C. at the White House, she said she heard “through the grapevine” that Gaetz “had a reputation of prowling after college girls when he’s a grown man, and to me that’s just kind of weird.”

She did add the caveat to this claim that, “Everything is hearsay.”

“There’s two sides to every story and I acknowledge that,” she said. “But this is what I experienced.”

Luckey seems to have sided quickly against Gaetz. After news of the investigation broke, she liked numerous tweets blasting him as a “pervert”—even as her older sister joined him for an event at Trump National Doral where he called himself a “champion of women.” She also posted a mash-up TikTok video in early April of young women, possibly friends, alleging the congressman was guilty and should be thrown out of Congress. She added the hashtags “#mattgaetzhumantrafficking” and “#mattgaetzisatool.”

Gaetz and Ginger Luckey got engaged on New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago after dating for less than a year. Ginger and Roxanne are sisters of tech entrepreneur Palmer Luckey, who in 2014 sold his virtual reality company Oculus Rift to Facebook for $2.3 billion. The couple tried to buy a $155,000 yacht in Florida in late May, but the owner pulled the sale, citing as his reason the fact that they painted over the boat’s name before the deal closed, without his permission.

On Monday, Roxanne Luckey replied to a TikTok user who posted a comment to one of the videos imploring her to “get your sister out” of the relationship.

“He’s a narcissist and a master manipulator,” Luckey replied. “She believes everything he tells her.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors have been interviewing a number of Gaetz associates in the wake of his former “wingman” Joel Greenberg’s May 14 guilty plea. Last week, Politico reported that a defense attorney representing a person in the case had seen evidence that Gaetz had sex with an underage girl.

—with additional reporting from William Bredderman

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Arizona Senate audit liaison threatens to quit after being denied access to ballot count



The Arizona Senate liaison for the Maricopa County 2020 election audit is threatening to step down if he is denied access to “critical aspects” of the controversial review.

Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state, said he was on the verge of resigning after being blocked last week from entering a facility at the Phoenix state fairgrounds, where Cyber Ninjas is conducting a ballot recount, but reconsidered, at least for now, after speaking with Arizona Senate President Karen Fann.

“I did come on the show today to step aside or step down, whatever you want to call it, as liaison,” Bennett told The Conservative Circus host James Harris on radio station 550 KFYI on Monday. “But that may not be what needs to happen.”

Bennett said his blockage from entering the audit building happened Friday after he shared sample data from the ballot box counts with election technology analysts Larry Moore and Benny White.


“I had promised that, you know, information would not be leaked to the press, but it indirectly got done so, and that’s how I got barred from the audit,” Bennett said, adding, “I remain fully committed to the audit, it is absolutely critical that, as I said earlier, we answer in the minds of people.”

Fann said on July 13 that the number of Maricopa County ballots counted by Cyber Ninjas, the firm hired to lead the audit, differed from the number tallied by county officials from the 2020 general election. This led to another count of the ballots but not the votes for the contests.

However, the data Bennett provided Moore and White from the third ballot count showed the results from the count closely tracks with the county’s tally, the Arizona Republic reported.

Bennett said Monday that assistant liaison Randy Pullen was tasked to handle the third count, noting he told Pullen the recount must be independent from Cyber Ninjas’s second recount.

“We’ve got to keep the third count independent, and we’ve got to make sure that we aren’t forced balancing where they are,” Bennett added.

Bennett underscored on Monday he cannot be part of the audit if he is denied access to the third recount.

“I cannot be a part of a process that I am kept out of critical aspects along the way that make the audit legitimate and have integrity when we produce the final report,” Bennett said. “And unfortunately, there have been too many of those situations, and the tip of the iceberg came last Friday when I was denied access to the audit itself.”

Stephen Richer, the Republican Maricopa County recorder who has echoed similar criticism about the audit as the other members of the Republican-led Maricopa Board of Supervisors, accused Cyber Ninjas of blocking Bennett from the room on Friday.

“The ONE person in the audit with ANY previous high-level involvement with election administration has now been kicked out. Why? Because the new ballot count matched Maricopa County’s numbers, not the Ninjas’,” Richer tweeted on Friday.

Cyber Ninjas spokesman Rod Thomson told the Arizona Republic on Friday that the order to block Bennett came from Fann’s office.


The Washington Examiner contacted representatives with the Arizona Senate and Thomson but did not immediately receive a response.

Washington Examiner Videos

Tags: News, Arizona, Kelli Ward, Arizona Senate, 2020 Elections

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: Arizona Senate audit liaison threatens to quit after being denied access to ballot count


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How should Charlotte spend COVID relief money? Share your ideas with the Observer.



The Charlotte City Council is weighing options for how to spend $60 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid.

Aside from $2 million earmarked for the arts and culture sector, no other American Rescue Plan Act funding has been committed for Charlotte residents, grassroots organizations or city programs yet.

For now, even the broadest funding categories and possible allocation figures presented to the City Council last week are subject to change. That encompasses:

$20 million for housing and homelessness

$16 million for workforce development and employment

$24 million for “community vitality,” including internet access and public safety

Local governments are allowed to use the funds to help households, small businesses and industries economically devastated by the pandemic, including tourism, travel and hospitality sectors, according Shawn Heath Heath, special assistant to the city manager.

The Charlotte Observer wants to hear from you about what type of investments the City Council should make.

Please take the survey below or click the link here to take it via Google’s site.


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Gunman kills 1, injuries 3 before he’s beaten to death in Fort Worth, news report says



A gunman opened fire on a group of people in west Fort Worth early Monday, killing one and injuring three others before he was stoned to death, according to a news report.

The gunman and the other person were pronounced dead at the scene. Their names have not been released by authorities.

KDFW-TV reported that a shooting erupted after a disturbance between a group of people who knew each other.

Two people were in critical condition and the third suffered serious injuries from gunshots, authorities said.

The crowd defended themselves with gardening stones, killing the gunman, according to KDFW-TV.

The shooting was reported just before 1 a.m. in the 5600 block of Shiloh Drive.

Initially, there was a 911 hangup on the call, according to a police call log.

Then, there was a report of five people shot in the incident, the police call log stated.

Fort Worth police have not released details on the shooting.


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Duterte to deliver final speech to Congress amid crises



MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is set to deliver his final state of the nation speech Monday before Congress, winding down his six-year term amid a raging pandemic, a battered economy and a legacy overshadowed by a bloody anti-drug crackdown that set off complaints of mass murder before the International Criminal Court.

Allies defended the 76-year-old populist leader’s record, with documentaries on state-run TV and speeches highlighting his administration’s efforts to fight criminality, poverty, corruption and decades-long communist and Muslim insurgencies, as well as build infrastructure.

They backed calls by the ruling party for Duterte, who took office in mid-2016, to run for vice president when his term ends in June next year — potentially with his daughter, now a city mayor, running to succeed him in the May 9 elections. Opposition lawyers have threatened to block the move in the Supreme Court, arguing it would breach constitutional term limits. Philippine presidents are limited to a single term.

“Six years is not enough for a very good president,” House of Representatives Speaker Lord Allan Velasco told ABS CBN News. Velasco said he would back Duterte’s possible bid for the vice presidency. The 1987 Constitution prohibits political dynasties, but the House, where powerful political clans have held sway for generations, hasn’t passed a law to enforce the ban.

“The pandemic really hurt us a lot, no one was ready for it, and because of that I can’t give the administration a perfect grade,” Velasco added.

But increasingly vocal opponents have pounded on Duterte’s missteps and handling of key issues, including his refusal to steadfastly confront China’s aggressive behavior in the disputed South China Sea, given his cozy ties with President Xi Jinping. They railed at the government’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, which has faced delays due to supply problems in a country with the second-largest numbers of infections and deaths in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.

On the eve of Duterte’s speech, left-wing activists hung a huge banner that read “Goodbye, Duterte” on a pedestrian bridge across a highway leading to the heavily guarded Congress in suburban Quezon City. More than 300 legislators and top officials, who were required to get full coronavirus vaccinations, were expected to hear the address.

A few thousand left-wing protesters gathered in a nearby university, then marched toward Congress but were blocked by anti-riot police units.

“His years in office will forever be linked with the thousands of lives lost in extrajudicial killings, and the thousands of lives also lost amid his administration’s bungled response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.

The Philippines has reported more than 1.5 million confirmed COVID-19 infections, with 27,224 deaths. Months-long lockdowns and natural disasters caused the economy to plummet by 9.5% last year in the country’s worst post-war recession. Businesses could not fully resume nationwide due to continuing virus surges.

Duterte and police officials have denied condoning extrajudicial killings of suspects, although he has publicly threatened to kill suspects. More than 6,000 mostly petty suspects have been killed under his crackdown, but a large number were also gunned down by motorcycle-riding assassins who human rights groups suspect were linked to law enforcement.

“He has not won this war on drugs, because the problem is still there, but a lot of families have lost their breadwinners,” Randy Delos Santos told The Associated Press. “We’re the biggest loser and we still live in fear.”

Delos Santos’s 17-year-old nephew, Kian, was shot to death in 2017 by officers, who accused the young student of being a drug courier and alleged that he resisted arrest. A court, however, later found the three officers had murdered the student in a rare conviction of drug crackdown enforcers.

An ICC prosecutor said last month a preliminary examination found reason to believe crimes against humanity had been committed under Duterte’s crackdown on drugs and sought permission to open a formal investigation. Duterte said he would never cooperate in the possible investigation.

“Why would I defend or face an accusation before white people? You must be crazy,” Duterte said.


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