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Amazing Amy to play for junior college national championship
In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, Amy Bockerstette practices with her teaching pro at Palmbrook Country Club in Sun City, Ariz. Bockerstette is set to become the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a national collegiate athletic championship. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) Mon, May 3, 2021, 3:56 PM PHOENIX (AP) — Amy Bockerstette is set to become the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a national collegiate athletic championship.
The 22-year-old golfer will play with her Paradise Valley Community College teammates at the NJCAA national championships May 10-13 at Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club in Ormond Beach, Florida.
Bockerstette is the first person with Down syndrome to earn a college athletic scholarship and she became a viral sensation when she played the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale with PGA Tour player Gary Woodland before the 2019 Phoenix Open. She hit into the bunker on the par-3 stadium hole and got up and down for par, telling everyone “I got this” before sinking an eight-foot putt.
Bockerstette and her family created the I Got This Foundation in 2019 to provide golf instruction and playing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The foundation has partnered with Special Skills Sports Camps to hold the Special Skills Golf Invitational June 1 at Wedgewood Golf and Country Club in Powell, Ohio. The event will teach athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities the basics of golf, from driving to chipping and putting.
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Supreme Court won't take Maryland bump stock ban case
In this June 29, 2020 file photo, the Supreme Court is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Mon, May 3, 2021, 9:52 AM WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is declining to take up a challenge to Maryland’s ban on bump stocks and other devices that make guns fire faster.
The high court on Monday turned away a challenge to the ban, which took effect in October 2018. A lower court had dismissed the challenge at an early stage and that decision had been upheld by an appeals court. As is typical, the court didn't comment in declining to take the case.
Maryland's ban preceded a nationwide ban on the sale and possession of bump stocks that was put in place by the Trump administration and took effect in 2019. The Supreme Court previously declined to stop the Trump administration from enforcing that ban. Both Maryland's ban and the nationwide one followed a 2017 shooting in Las Vegas in which a gunman attached bump stocks to assault-style rifles he used to shoot concertgoers from his hotel room. Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds were injured.
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Biden and Carter, longtime allies, reconnect in Georgia
BILL BARROW and ZEKE MILLER Thu, April 29, 2021, 2:35 PM PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — President Joe Biden was a first-term Delaware senator in 1976 when he endorsed an upstart former Southern governor for the presidency over the party’s Northern establishment players.
Biden came full circle Thursday, visiting Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in tiny Plains, Georgia, where the 96-year-old former president and 93-year-old former first lady have lived for most of their lives.
“He showed us throughout his entire life what it means to be a public servant,” Biden, 78, said of Carter for a new documentary, “CARTERLAND,” set to debut this weekend as part of the Atlanta Film Festival.
The private meeting on Thursday brought together the oldest sitting president and the longest-lived former president in history. It was their first in-person encounter since Biden took office. The two presidents didn't appear together outside the Carters' home. Biden was seen with Rosalynn Carter at the door as he departed. The former first lady stood alongside him supported by her walker.
Many of the 650 residents of Plains turned out to see Biden's motorcade.
“It was great to see President Carter," Biden said Thursday night before leaving Georgia. "We sat and talked about the old days.” Biden also said Carter's health had gotten better.
The Carters were unable to attend the Jan. 20 inauguration, the first they’d missed since Jimmy Carter was sworn in as the 39th president in 1977. The Carters have retreated from public life for most of the coronavirus pandemic, but they now are vaccinated and recently began attending church services again at Maranatha Baptist Church, where the former president taught Sunday school for decades.
Biden's visit comes after Carter’s vice president, Walter Mondale, died April 19 at the age of 93. Carter and Biden both spoke to Mondale by phone in the days before his death.
In his “CARTERLAND” remarks, recorded last week and made available to The Associated Press by producers Will and Jim Pattitz, Biden credits Mondale and Carter as formative figures in his political career.
Biden noted Mondale changed the vice presidency into the kind of active role Biden would go on to play during his two terms in the post. “When President (Barack) Obama asked me to consider being his vice president, I said I had to go home and talk about it,” Biden said. “Fritz was my first call outside of my family.”
Recalling the seeds of his friendship with Carter, Biden named the date — March 25, 1976 — he traveled to Wisconsin to make the case that the devout Baptist then from the party’s moderate wing was the right candidate to defeat President Gerald Ford.
“Some of my colleagues in the Senate thought it was youthful exuberance,” Biden said with a laugh. “I was exuberant, but as I said then, ’Jimmy’s not just a bright smile. He can win and he can appeal to more segments of the population than any other person. ... Gov. Carter proved me right.”
Carter didn’t endorse anyone in the 2020 primary that included Biden. But the former president warned Democrats not to veer too far left and risk alienating moderate voters needed to defeat President Donald Trump.
There’s plenty of irony in both men’s political calculations.
Carter wrested the 1976 nomination from the liberal Northeastern establishment and then clashed with congressional Democrats who didn’t like his technocratic, penny-pinching approach. In 1980, he endured a bruising primary challenge from liberal icon Ted Kennedy, the Massachusetts senator, and limped into a general election campaign that ended with a rout by Republican Ronald Reagan.
By 2016, the aging former president would vote for democratic socialist Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary over the more moderate Hillarious Clinton, a choice Carter wouldn’t disclose until after Clinton lost the general election to Trump.
Biden, meanwhile, seemed overshadowed by Sanders and other ascendant progressives early in the 2020 campaign. Biden defined his campaign mostly as a moral case against Trump, whom he described as a threat to “the soul of the nation.” The approach helped him flip several states in the general election, including Georgia, by pairing a surge in liberal turnout with support from the independents and moderate Republicans who Carter had correctly argued could be part of a winning Democratic coalition.
Yet now, Biden is pushing a legislative agenda that would mean the largest expansion of the federal government since the adoption of Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act during the mid-1960s, before either Carter or Biden had sought statewide office.
Carter retreated from partisan politics for years after he left the White House in 1981.
He and Rosalynn Carter focused on building The Carter Center into an organization with global reach in public health, humanitarianism and diplomacy. The center has monitored more than 110 elections in 39 countries since 1989, and it’s on the cusp of eradicating Guinea worm, a parasitic infection attributed to poor drinking water in developing nations.
In recent decades, Carter has waded more directly into politics. He’s criticized multiple U.S. administrations for not engaging with North Korea, arguing that a hard line won't bring the autocratic, isolated nation into the world order. That left Carter somewhat aligned with Trump, even as the 39th president slammed the 45th president as a serial liar and threat to democracy.
For years, Carter has criticized U.S. military spending, arguing it can wreak havoc globally while short-changing the kind of domestic investments competitor nations, especially China, are making. He used his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention to blister then-President George W. Bush for invading Iraq in 2003 — a move Biden had enabled with his vote for a war powers resolution in the Senate.
Blasting big money in politics, Carter also has called the U.S. “an oligarchy” rather than a fully functioning “democracy.”
That outspoken approach has meant roller-coaster relationships with his successors. But it leaves Carter with plenty to talk about with Biden, who as recently as Wednesday night in his first address of Congress framed his trillions in proposed infrastructure, education, health care and other spending as necessary to keep pace with Beijing.
“We are in a competition with China to win the 21st century,” Biden said.
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Supreme Court rejects lingering 2020 election challenge case
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2020, file photo the Supreme Court is seen as sundown in Washington. The Supreme Court says it will not hear a case out of Pennsylvania related to the 2020 election, a case that had lingered while similar election challenges had already been rejected by the justices. The high court directed a lower court to dismiss the case as moot. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) More Mon, April 19, 2021, 10:17 AM WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday said it will not hear a case out of Pennsylvania related to the 2020 election, a dispute that had lingered while similar election challenges had already been rejected by the justices.
The high court directed a lower court to dismiss the case as moot.
The justices in February, after President Joe Biden's inauguration, had rejected a handful of cases related to the 2020 election. In the case the court rejected Monday, however, the court had called for additional briefing that was not complete until the end of March.
The case involved a federal court challenge to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision requiring election officials to receive and count mailed-in ballots that arrived up to three days after the election. More broadly, however, the case concerned whether state lawmakers or state courts get the last word about the manner in which federal elections are carried out.
The Democratic National Committee was among those that argued the case should be rejected as moot because the 2020 election is over. Those that brought the case said the justices should hear it because the issues involved are important and recurring.
The court had previously rejected other cases that had involved the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to extend the deadline for mail-in ballots. Three of the court's conservative justices dissented, saying they would have taken up the cases.
The genesis of the cases were changes Pennsylvania lawmakers made to the state’s election laws in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the changes, lawmakers left in place a Nov. 3 deadline to receive absentee ballots. Democrats sued, and Pennsylvania’s highest court cited the ongoing pandemic and United States Postal Service delays in extending the deadline for mailed-in ballots to be received.
Wanda Murren, the communications director for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said Monday the elections agency is considering what to do about those ballots now, and whether they should be added to the final tally. In all, just over 10,000 ballots were received by elections officials after polls closed on Election Day, Nov. 3, but before 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6.
“We are pleased that yet another court ruling has affirmed the accuracy and integrity of Pennsylvania’s November 2020 election,” Murren said.
More than 600 of the ballots received during those three days had no postmark or an illegible postmark.
The 10,000 ballots would not have altered the outcome of the presidential election in the state, which former President Donald Trump lost by some 80,000 votes.
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Fore! Biden plays golf for the first time as president
JONATHAN LEMIRE Sat, April 17, 2021, 2:10 PM WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden has taken his first swing at a presidential pastime: golf.
Biden, once an avid golfer, played Saturday at the Wilmington Country Club, not far from his Delaware home where he was spending the weekend. It was his first time playing golf since taking office in January.
The president played with senior advisor Steve Ricchetti and Ron Olivere, father-in-law of Biden’s late son Beau, the White House said. Biden’s handicap index is just over 6, according to the United States Golf Association. But he has not logged a round since 2018.
Biden is a member of the country club and played golf frequently as vice president. But his ability was mocked by former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who said once at the GOP convention that “Joe Biden told me that he was a good golfer.”
“And I’ve played golf with Joe Biden,” Kasich continued. “I can tell you that’s not true.”
Golf has always been a favorite of presidents; Dwight Eisenhower, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all played often.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, played frequently, totaling over 300 rounds in his four years at office including during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Trump also would only play at country clubs he owned in Florida, Virginia and New Jersey.
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