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Posts made in January, 2015

What Did the Patriots Lose When They Lost Aaron Hernandez?

By on Jan 30, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

Coming off their loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 AFC Championship game, the Patriots were still feeling very good about their prospects for the future. They were in the process of building a young defensive core to carry them for several years, starting with then rookies Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones, and soon to be added Jamie Collins. And on offense, with the departure of Wes Welker and the addition of the younger Danny Amendola still to come, the team felt very comfortable about its arsenal of weapons for Tom Brady. After all, they still had Aaron Hernandez, one of the brightest, most prolific young stars in the game, alongside fellow soon-to-be superstar Rob Gronkowski. The Pats were all-in on continuing to build and cultivate the entire offensive operation around the twin tight ends. Even though they technically brought in Amendola to replace Welker, the actual replacement was Hernandez. Throughout his first three years in the league, the former University of Florida product showed an aptitude for producing from a variety of spots throughout the Patriots’ offense. First with Bill O’Brien and then Josh McDaniels calling the plays, Hernandez would line up everywhere, from the slot to the backfield to split out wide to his hand on the ground like a traditional tight end. Hernandez busted out with 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns in the Patriots’ Super Bowl season of 2011. Alongside Gronk’s mind-boggling 90 catches, 1,327 yards and league-leading 17 TDs, it’s clear that Bill Belichick and the rest of the team’s decision makers could foresee the duo dominating for years. Both players dealt with setbacks due to injuries in 2012. Hernandez missed six games and his numbers decreased fairly dramatically due to his absence, coming in at 51 catches for 483 yards and five scores for the year. And we all remember Gronkowski’s twice broken arm. But the Patriots were clearly comfortable with both players, with the mega contract extensions each received prior to the year as evidence. With Welker gone, as long as both Hernandez and Gronkowski were each at full strength, the offense wouldn’t miss a beat. Then came the morning of June 26, 2013. It goes without saying that...

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Romney announces he will not run for president in 2016

By on Jan 30, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

Mitt Romney announced Friday he will not run for president in 2016, after briefly flirting with a third White House run — a decision that only slightly narrows the crowded field of potential Republican candidates.  “After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it’s best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney told donors on a conference call Friday morning.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The announcement comes after the 2012 GOP nominee, who repeatedly denied interest in another campaign, surprised donors earlier this month by telling them he was considering it.  Since then, the former Massachusetts governor spent three weeks calling donors and strategists and giving a handful of addresses, including to a Republican National Committee summit. But while some from his former campaign team were willing to wait for his decision, others were already gravitating toward the budding campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.  The two heavyweights were seen as competing for many of the same donors, supporters and strategists. And some doubted whether Romney, who lost to President Obama in 2012 after a campaign in which Democrats cast him as out-of-touch, would be able to connect on a third run — even as early polls showed him leading the GOP field.  Romney, in a written statement which he also read from on his conference call, said he believes that he could win the nomination, and that he would have enough funding and support.  “The reaction of Republican voters across the country was both surprising and heartening,” he said in the statement. At the same time, Romney said it would have been a “difficult test and a hard fight,” and it’s time for a new voice.  “I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee,” Romney said. “In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”  He said he will not hire a campaign team, will not take donations and will not organize...

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Romney takes aim at Clinton in Mississippi speech

By on Jan 29, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

Mitt Romney used a speech at Mississippi State University on Wednesday to strike at Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy and economic credentials in what could be seen as a sneak preview of the 2016 presidential race. Romney, making his third public appearance since it was revealed he is considering a third run for the White House, addressed students at the university and took pre-selected questions, cracking jokes about himself and making 2016 references. He criticized President Obama’s foreign policy, as well as his handling of the economy. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT He did not, however, say whether he would seek the White House in 2016. “I’m thinking about how I can help the country,” he told hundreds of students. In his comeback bid, Romney has focused particular attention on the poor and middle class as he tries to broaden his appeal after being cast in 2012 as an out-of-touch multimillionaire. “How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn’t know where jobs come from in the first place?” Romney said, squarely attacking the Democrats’ potential 2016 nominee. “We need to restore opportunity, particularly for the middle class,” Romney said. “You deserve a job that can repay all you’ve spent and borrowed to go to college.” In a follow-up question-and-answer sessions, he added: “The rich are fine in America. They’re fine almost regardless of who’s the president.” Before his evening address on campus, Romney stopped at the popular barbecue joint Little Dooey, bounding out of a black SUV to shake hands with employees, townspeople and students. He displayed a good sense of local priorities with his choice of tour guides: MSU head football Coach Dan Mullen and his wife, Megan. Dan Mullen praised Romney’s record in business and as governor of Massachusetts. “I would certainly endorse Governor Romney,” he said. When one well-wisher told Romney he’d been his choice for the White House in 2012, the former Massachusetts governor smiled and replied, “I wish I was there right now.” A few minutes later, Romney and the Mullens chatted over barbecue, comparing their business, political and sports experience. When Mullen — who led his Bulldogs to an Orange Bowl appearance last season — mentioned the difficulty of losing, Romney asked, “So what...

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Malaysia Airlines MH370 Declared an ‘Accident’, Search for Survivors Ends

By on Jan 29, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been officially declared an “accident” and the search for survivors has been called off, authorities said Thursday. A statement released by Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation said that all 239 people aboard the Boeing 777 were now presumed dead. “It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident,” said Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation. “All 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.” The underwater search for wreckage in the Southern Indian Ocean will continue. Rahman acknowledged that the announcement would “be very difficult for the families and loved ones,” but said it would enable victims’ relatives to begin the process of claiming compensation. Malaysia Airlines commercial director Hugh Dunleavy said in November that next of kin would be compensated “once we’ve had an official loss recorded.” Most of the passengers aboard the flight were Chinese and Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called on Malaysian officials to “earnestly fulfill their compensation responsibilities.” Malaysia’s announcement comes more than 10 months after MH370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. The U.S. has been among 25 countries to send aircraft, ships and personnel to attempt to recover the jet, which investigators believe crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean. Rahman described what he said was “a frustrating time for all who have tried their best in the search for MH370.” He said the authorities have “never wavered in our commitment to continue our efforts to find” the airliner. “Its passengers and its crew will always be remembered and honored,” he added. “The governments of Malaysia, China and Australia have spared no expense and resources in the search for MH370,” Rahman said. “This has been done with the paramount aim to find the aircraft and to seek answers. It has been done in hope of bringing some solace to the families of the passengers and crew on board MH370.” The statement highlighted that international aviation law “states that the definition of the term ‘accident’ includes ‘the aircraft...

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Pleas from families of hostages held by ISIS as deadline nears

By on Jan 28, 2015 in Press Release | 0 comments

(CNN)With the fates of their children hanging in the balance, the families of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian fighter pilot held by ISIS are calling on their governments to do everything they can to save the hostages before time runs out. A video file posted online Tuesday linked the fates of the two captives with a demand for the release of a convicted terrorist in Jordan within 24 hours. The post shows an image of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto holding a picture that appears to be of Moaz al-Kassasbeh, the pilot captured by ISIS last month after his jet crashed in Syria. Over the image, a voice purporting to be that of Goto repeats an earlier proposal that he will go free if Jordan releases Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman on death row in Jordan for her role in deadly bombings in 2005. But the latest message says the lives of both Goto and al-Kassasbeh are at stake if the swap doesn’t taken place before the deadline. CNN couldn’t independently verify the authenticity of Tuesday’s message, which was posted to YouTube and distributed on social media by known ISIS supporters. The Japanese government said there was no evidence so far that it wasn’t Goto speaking in the video. Families’ anguish Goto’s mother on Wednesday begged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to secure her son’s release. “Please save the life of Kenji,” Junko Ishido said. “I call on you to work with all your strength in negotiations with the Jordanian government, until the very end.” Al-Kassasbeh’s father has called on Jordanian authorities to act, as well. “I firmly ask whomever has sent Moaz to fight outside the borders of Jordan, on a mission unrelated to us, to make strong efforts to bring back Moaz,” Safi al-Kassasbeh said Tuesday. “Moaz’s blood is precious, its precious and it represents the blood of all Jordanians,” he said. Indirect talks reported It’s unclear exactly what steps Jordanian and Japanese officials are taking to free their citizens. Abe on Wednesday called the latest message about Goto “despicable” and said Japan is requesting Jordan’s cooperation to secure his release. Bassam al-Manaseer, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of the Jordanian parliament,...

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