For the first time, Twitter is explaining why President Trump's tweets don't get pulled when they seem to continually violate the same rules the rest of us have to follow. It basically comes down to this: Because he's the president! In a blog post and series of tweets, the company said that it considers "a number of factors" in deciding whether a tweet violates the rules, including "'newsworthiness and whether a Tweet is of public interest." Given that Trump is in fact president, everything he tweets could thus be considered newsworthy so it seems he gets blanket protection for all his tweets. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said the company had gotten a lot of questions in particular about Trump's weekend tweet in which he warned that North Korea's leader might not "be around much longer." North Korea considered it a declaration of war and Trump's critics thought it at least violated Twitter's rules prohibiting tweets that include "threats of violence or (that) promote violence." The company did not elaborate on whether the tweet would have been out of bounds had it come from someone who isn't the president, but it promised to clarify its public rules soon. (Mashable)
No Games in My Restaurant Until...
Reaction to the national anthem brouhaha between President Trump and the NFL continues to resonate. Among those generating attention is Tom Brady, who voiced his disagreement with President Trump on a Boston radio show. Brady said, "Yeah, I certainly disagree with what (Trump) said. I thought it was just divisive." NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. made clear where his sympathies lie in a tweet quoting John F. Kennedy. "All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests," he wrote. "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK." Meanwhile, a restaurant owner in Greenville, South Carolina, announced that he'd no longer show NFL games until "all players show respect to our flag and our country." David McCraw, owner of Palmetto Restaurant and Ale House, announced his decision after NFL players across the league kneeled during "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Sunday in response to President Donald Trump's criticism of players opting to protest during the national anthem. (Washington Post)
The Reason for Railroad Gates
There's a really good reason those striped bars come down at railroad tracks to stop cars - BECAUSE A TRAIN IS COMING. It seems 63-year-old Sarah Weagba Doe of Charlotte, NC either didn't understand this basic warning or didn't care. She actually lifted a railroad crossing safety gate as warning lights were flashing - and as a result was struck and killed by an Amtrak train. Police Doe got out of an SUV that was stopped at the gate, which was lowered with red lights flashing. She then lifted the arms of the gate to allow the Chevy Equinox to cross the tracks and was hit by southbound Amtrak No. 79 as she walked back to the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene. DOH! (Charlotte Observer)
Longhorn Steakhouse: Snakes are Free
Rachel Myrick experienced possibly one of the last things you'd expect upon entering a LongHorn Steakhouse: She was bitten by a copperhead snake. In fact, the venomous 8-inch snake was still attached to her foot (she was wearing sandals) after she first felt a sharp pain and she had to shake it loose. She told reporters: "My fingers wrapped around the bottom of my foot; that's when I felt what turned out to be a snake wiggling in my fingers. I freaked out." The copperhead actually bit her twice on her toes and once on the side of her foot during the incident at the Virginia restaurant. Her boyfriend and her 13-year-old son stomped on the snake to kill it, then called for an ambulance as Myrick's foot started to swell. Eventually the swelling spread past her knee - some even reached her hip and thigh - so she was administered antivenin, which combats the snake's venom but can come with serious side effects, the following day. She was ultimately released from the hospital, but she's still using crutches to avoid putting weight on her injured foot and could take three months to fully recover. She says, "It's painful just to ride in the car. There's very little that I can do. I can't work. I can't take my kids anywhere. Even phone calls are very difficult because I'm medicated." A LongHorn spokesperson calls the incident "highly unusual" and says the chain is "taking steps to prevent it from happening again." But here's the best part: the rest of Myrick's party continued their meal as Myrick went to the hospital, as the manager comped the entire table. (Free Lance-Star)
Target Steps Up
Good news if you're low man on the pole at Target. Starting next month, the retail giant will be raising its minimum wage from $10 to $11 per hour; eventually, all US stores will have an $11 minimum wage. Target also committed to raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020. CNBC notes that Target and Walmart have been in a years-long "wage war," and that this latest move puts Target's pace ahead of Walmart's when it comes to raising wages. Walmart has made no changes to its minimum wage since raising it to $10 last year. The federal minimum wage is $7.25; only two states - Massachusetts and Washington - have a minimum wage of $11 per hour. (CNBC)
How One Guy Changed the World - the Prison World
As if prison life isn't bad enough, do you really want to make half the inmate population hate you? Missouri prisons have been ordered to go totally smoke free because of one man - an asthmatic inmate serving a life sentence for two murders who, after a ten-year battle, won a court judgment. In his lawsuit, Ecclesiastical Denzel Washington - he changed it to that - showed that inmates are commonly written up for smoking in their cells. Missouri already bans smoking inside prison buildings, but it allowed it in designated areas outside. Washington, 53, sued the state because he said he kept getting paired in a cell with a heavy smoker despite doctor's orders that he be held in a smoke-free area. Attorney Phillip Zeeck, who helped represent Washington, says the ruling may save Missouri taxpayers money because of the cost of treating smoking-related illnesses for the state's more than 30,000 inmates. The case has been working its way through the federal courts for a decade. Washington, who used to be known as Willie Simmons, was sentenced to death in 1989 for the murders of two St. Louis women. His sentence was later reduced to life in prison. (Kansas City Star)
What the What?
In Huntsville, Alabama, US Army reservist Steven McDowell was wrongfully accused by police of two burglaries. Prosecutors dropped the charges against McDowell back in July - but it took a TV reporter's investigation, showing clear differences between McDowell and the suspect shown on surveillance footage, to get them to do it. Nevertheless, McDowell was saddled with thousands of dollars of legal-fee debt. On top of that, he must still pay $300 each to expunge the two bogus felony burglary charges on his record. McDowell says, "How can you have faith in the system, if that system has proven you innocent, but you still have to go through the same means as everyone else?" He still owes around $3,500 total for this misidentification case. That includes the $600 for expungement, and thousands of dollars to pay off the bond that got McDowell out of jail initially. Thankfully, the Alabama Non-Violent Offender Organization (ANVOO) is helping out with some of the expenses. McDowell is doing the best he can financially in regard to this situation. He has a job and still serves in the United States Army Reserves. But, it is causing him hardship. Plus, McDowell is worried about his future if the expungement process falls through. There is a fund set up for McDowell at Redstone Federal Credit Union. If anyone would feel inclined to help McDowell over this hurdle, people may donate to the McDowell Donation Fund. (WHNT)