The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Wednesday! Our newsletter gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Co-creators are Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver (CLICK HERE to subscribe!). On Twitter, find us at @asimendinger and @alweaver22.



Progressive and centrist Democrats sparred Tuesday night over whether ambitious ideas such as “Medicare for All” and free college tuition are “political suicide” when it comes to defeating President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE.

 

The 10 candidates in Detroit on Tuesday, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders over handling of feud with Warren On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders over handling of feud with Warren On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans MORE (D-Mass.), set the stage tonight for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' MORE, who leads in recent polls, to weigh in as a progressive pragmatist who believes voters want experience and electability coupled with real-world proposals that can persuade Republicans and independents to move away from Trump next year.

 

The CNN format on Tuesday, which encouraged fast-moving, sharp exchanges among the candidates, was unlikely to change the makeup of top tier of Democrats currently leading in polls and fundraising. But the questions about health care, immigration, guns and climate change drilled down into whether progressives, including Sanders and Warren, could explain why their calls for big structural changes are doable in an era of divided government and poisonous partisanship. 

 

The Hill: Sanders, Warren battle centrists in testy debate.

 

The Hill: Intraparty rift emerges on Detroit debate stage. 

 

The Hill: 5 takeaways from combative Democratic debate.

 

The Hill: Top moments from Detroit debate.

 

The Hill: Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyElizabeth Warren moves 'bigly' to out-trump Trump DNC goof: Bloomberg should be on debate stage Bloomberg decides to skip Nevada caucuses MORE (D-Md.): “Why do we have to be the party of taking something away from people?”

 

The Hill: Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockBrent Budowsky: Bloomberg should give billion to Democrats Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Kamala Harris dropped out, but let's keep her mental health plan alive MORE to Warren on immigration: “You are playing into Donald Trump’s hands.” 

 

The Hill: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire MORE: “It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say.”

 

The Hill: Warren, Bullock spar over “no first use” nuclear policy.

 

Biden tonight aims to rebound from a sub-par debate performance, giving him a rematch with Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (D-Calif.) after their high-profile battle in late June.

 

While Biden has regained the polling advantage he lost immediately following the June 28 debate, his allies believe the former vice president is poised for a bounce-back performance despite looming attacks and some tense back-and-forth exchanges with Harris and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDNC announces new criteria for New Hampshire debate The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-N.J.). Some see the opportunity ahead of Biden as similar to the situation former President Obama faced in 2012 after he lost decisively to Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment Bring on the brokered convention GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff MORE in the first debate in Denver but was able to rebound in the next go-around. 

 

“He doesn’t have to go in and just like burn the place to the ground and be carried out in adulation,” said Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDemocrats ask if US citizens were detained at border checkpoints due to Iranian national origin Democrats, greens blast Trump rollback of major environmental law EPA employees push 'bill of rights' to protect scientific integrity MORE (D-Del.), who has endorsed the former Delaware senator. “But he’s very much focused on what he did well in the first debate and what he needs to do better in the second debate. He is a pro. You don’t do this stuff for 40 years at very high levels and not be able to do better.”

 

“I think Joe, frankly, did a whole lot better than Barack did in that first debate with Mitt Romney,” Carper said after making the comparison to Obama. “Can he do better? Should he do better? Yeah, he will.” 

 

After health care played a starring role in Tuesday night’s debate, it’s certain to do so again, especially between Biden and Harris over his defense of the Affordable Care Act and support for a public option and her support for a variant of a “Medicare for All” system, which Biden has dubbed a “have-it-every-which-way” plan. 

 

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations Advocates call for ObamaCare open enrollment extension after website glitches The US needs to lead again on disability rights MORE (D-Pa.), a Biden backer, believes that while Democrats battle with the former vice president to pull him to the left, he should make the contrast with Republicans and make that the centerpiece of his health care argument. 

 

“I think too many Democrats are letting them off the hook on sabotaged budget cuts and supporting lawsuits,” Casey said, referring to the Trump-backed lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. “I’ve told him it’s important to make the case on issues where Republicans are, frankly, not getting enough questions about the support for the lawsuit.”

 

The White House contenders on Tuesday agreed on a list of foes beyond the president, including the National Rifle Association, pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, big money influencers and lobbyists, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Senate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Republicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Ky.), and “Republican talking points.”

 

Also appearing on Tuesday were former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire MORE of Minnesota, Ohio Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanOffice of Technology Assessment: It's time for a second coming Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far GM among partners planning .3B battery plant in Ohio MORE, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperHickenlooper raised .8 million for Colorado Senate bid in fourth quarter of 2019 George Conway group releases ad targeting GOP senator: 'You're just another Trump servant' The 5 most vulnerable senators in 2020 MORE and author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson drops out of 2020 race Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy 2020 Democrats: Iran airstrike 'reckless,' 'could cost countless lives' MORE

 

Along with Biden, Harris and Booker, the participants tonight are former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangDNC announces new criteria for New Hampshire debate Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Panel: Obama breaks Andrew Yang's heart MORE, Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardPoll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Gabbard defeats man in push-up contest at New Hampshire town hall Gabbard on personal meeting with Sanders: 'He showed me the greatest respect' MORE (D-Hawaii), Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (D-N.Y.), Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOur government and public institutions must protect us against the unvaccinated Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far 2019's political winners and losers — on both sides of the aisle MORE, Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans Klobuchar on missing campaigning for impeachment: 'I can do two things at once' MORE (D-Colo.) and New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThe Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment trial a week away; debate night Trump mocks Booker over suspended presidential campaign Thousands take to New York streets in solidarity after anti-Semitic attacks MORE. It is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. The next debate will be in September.

 

Dan Balz: Evolution or revolution? Democrats’ ideological divisions broke into the open in their Detroit brawl. 

 

The Associated Press: Should Democrats go big, or get real?

 

The New York Times: What Kamala Harris doesn’t want to be asked at the debate.

 

Jonathan Allen: The Warren-Sanders wing comes up short.

 

 

 



LEADING THE DAY

CONGRESS: A week after Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeTrump's legal team gets set for impeachment trial Five lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate Graham: Not 'wise' for House Republicans to serve on Trump trial team MORE (R-Texas) played a key role in questioning former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE, he is now taking center stage in what is shaping up to be a fierce political battle, throwing his potential nomination to serve as the director of national intelligence into question. 

 

With Democrats breaking with tradition and ready to oppose him, Ratcliffe will likely be forced to rely on only Republican votes to get his confirmation across the finish line. With the 53-47 edge for the GOP, Ratcliffe can lose only three votes. He also is facing a potentially tough vote in the Senate Intelligence Committee, where Republicans hold an 8-7 advantage. That prospect is setting up a high-wire act for the Texas congressman as many senators view him as an unknown and don’t know much about him. 

 

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (R-Alaska), who has voted against other high-profile nominees, told reporters she didn’t know anything about Ratcliffe, while Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsDrug price outrage threatens to be liability for GOP Overnight Defense: Iran takes credit for rocket attack on US base | Trump briefed | Trump puts talk of Iraq withdrawal on hold | Progressives push to block funding for Iran war | Trump backs off threat to hit Iranian cultural sites McConnell to GOP on impeachment rules: I have the votes MORE (R-S.D.) acknowledged that for Senate Republicans, the selection was “not someone we had heard of before.”      

 

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump beefs up impeachment defense with Dershowitz, Starr The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (R-Maine), a member of the Intelligence Committee, said that she had a “special interest” in who succeeds outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsSchiff schedules public hearing with US intel chief  Rod Rosenstein joins law and lobbying firm DHS issues bulletin warning of potential Iranian cyberattack MORE because she helped write the law that created the position.     

 

“So I feel very strongly about this position and the importance of having someone with the integrity and skill and ability to bring all of the members of the intelligence together,” she said (The Hill). 

 

NBC News: Intelligence officials worry Trump's pick for top spy will politicize the job.

 

CNN: Trump may bypass protocol and the deputy intelligence director to name an acting chief while Ratcliffe awaits confirmation.

 

> Distraction: As they continue to deal with the ongoing feud between the president and Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBaltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel MORE (D-Md.), minority lawmakers are sending a warning to Democrats ahead of 2020: Don’t take the bait. 

 

Trump kept up the back-and-forth with Cummings for a fourth day on Tuesday, and some Democrats believe it’s a diversionary tactic by the president to avoid discussing kitchen table issues, such as health care, that helped win them the House in November. 

 

"I hope we don’t take the bait," said Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondCongress struggles on rules for cyber warfare with Iran Election security, ransomware dominate cyber concerns for 2020 Trump nominates DHS senior cyber director MORE (D-La.), the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Cummings is also a powerful member. "The president always plays [the] race card when he is having a bad news cycle. [It's] easier to call people names, when you don’t have anything else to point to."

 

The anger at Cummings came soon after Trump’s bitter throwdown with four progressive minority lawmakers known as “the squad” (The Hill). 

 

 

 

 

> Impeachment: With a rising tide of House members supporting impeachment a week after Mueller testified on Capitol Hill, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it MORE (D-N.Y.) declined to join in, saying on Tuesday that he backs Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment Trump chooses high-profile but controversial legal team Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders MORE’s (D-Calif.) decision to wait for investigations and evidence to support a formal process.

 

“I believe that Speaker Pelosi is handling this appropriately,” Schumer said. 

 

Schumer’s decision to back Pelosi also comes as some Senate Democrats have come out in favor of opening an impeachment inquiry, including Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim Democrats ask if US citizens were detained at border checkpoints due to Iranian national origin Overnight Health Care: Trump knocks 'mini Mike Bloomberg' over health care | Appeals court skeptical of Trump rule on TV drug ads | Oklahoma sues opioid distributors MORE (D-Wash.) and Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial John Lewis to miss Martin Luther King Jr. Day event Bottom Line MORE (D-Mich.) (The Hill).  

 

110 House Democrats currently are in favor of opening an inquiry against the president, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request House panel reinvites Pompeo to deliver Iran testimony Pompeo under pressure over threats to Yovanovitch MORE (D-N.Y.) and Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonVirginia governor seeking to remove Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol Virginia lawmakers ask governor to remove state's Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (D-Va.), a freshman lawmaker, who became the latest to back the push on Tuesday evening.

 

The Hill: Democrats worry diversity furor could spill into 2020 election.



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

WHITE HOUSE: Trump on Tuesday denied that his days of attacks on Cummings, including calling the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman a “racist,” together with his blistering criticisms about Baltimore, are part of a political strategy to please his supporters. Trump said he's "pointing out facts." 

 

"There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy," Trump told reporters (The Hill).

 

 

 

 

> Immigration: The number of migrants reaching the U.S.-Mexico border hit a five-month low in July, according to Mexico's top diplomat. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard told reporters Tuesday that 87,648 migrants reached Mexico's northern border in July, the lowest number since February. Compared with June’s statistics, the July number marks a 16 percent drop in immigrants caught or turned away by U.S. authorities at the border. The decline comes after the Mexican government committed to protect its southern border in a bid to cut down on the number of migrants traveling through Mexico to reach the United States (The Hill).

 

> Migrant family separations: The Trump administration has separated more than 900 migrant children from their families despite a judge ordering the administration to stop separations more than a year ago, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleged in a court filing on Tuesday. The ACLU asked a federal judge to block the administration from continuing separations (The Hill).

 

> Arms control: The United States is poised to officially abandon a 30-year-old arms control treaty credited with helping end the Cold War. The close of a six-month window for the United States to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is fast approaching on Friday. The Trump administration announced it was leaving the pact in February. The focus is on what comes next in U.S.-Russia arms control, including the U.S. preparations to move forward with long-banned weapons (The Hill).

 

> Agriculture: More than half of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s subsidies to farmers tied to the trade war with China flowed to just one-tenth of the recipients in the program, according to a Bloomberg analysis. The president, seeking to ease the domestic pain created by his tariff policies, approved $16 billion in federal agriculture aid for 2019.

 

> World Trade Organization (WTO): Trump’s assault on the global system of rules that guide international businesses may be quietly scoring a major victory. Thanks to a U.S. veto on new appeals judges, the WTO’s dispute arm is expected to start slipping into the institutional equivalent of a coma at the end of this year. That has set off a scramble by the European Union, Canada and other countries to set up a temporary alternative allowing the use of arbitrators rather than three-judge panels to hear appeals (Bloomberg).

 

> Pentagon: Gen. John Hyten, Trump’s nominee to be the second-highest ranking general in the military, denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a subordinate in 2017, speaking for the first time about the controversy during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday (The Hill). Hyten’s accuser, Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, says he lied under oath to Congress (The Hill). 



The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!



OPINION

The real tragedy of the Trump-Cummings feud, by Baltimore Bishop Donté L. Hickman, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2K4NE7V

 

Why I stand with Baltimore city and against Trump’s controversial comments, by former Baltimore prosecutor Deborah Hines, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2ZkQ4EQ



WHERE AND WHEN

Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. ET features The Hill’s Jamal Simmons, live in Detroit at the site of the Democratic presidential debates, and John Iadarola, host of “The Young Turks,” talking about the 2020 candidates. Find Hill.TV programming at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10 a.m.

 

The House is in recess through August and will return to Washington on Sept. 9.

 

The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. resume consideration of the nomination of Mark T. Pittman to be a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.

 

The president will greet Khaltmaagiin Battulga, the president of Mongolia, for a meeting lasting less than an hour this afternoon.

 

Vice President Pence will speak at 11 a.m. to the Young America Foundation’s 41st Annual National Conservative Student Conference held at The Renaissance in Washington, D.C.

 

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSecurity for Trump's Mar-a-Lago visits cost local taxpayers million On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico | Senate Dems launch probe into Trump tax law regulations | Trump announces Fed nominees Senate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations MORE, along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House MORE, concluded trade talks with Vice Premier Liu He of China where they started — with evident differences. The session, which amounted to a working dinner and half a day of discussion, ended with a sharp response from China to Trump’s assertion that Beijing is stalling (Reuters). 

 

The Federal Reserve concludes a two-day meeting with a policy statement and a press conference with Chairman Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m. The central bank has signaled it will cut the federal funds rate this week for the first time since 2008. The Fed’s decision may be consistent with Trump’s public lobbying but is independent of his druthers, Powell has said. Sylvan Lane reports what to watch (The Hill).

 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request House panel reinvites Pompeo to deliver Iran testimony MORE is traveling through Aug. 6 to Bangkok (ASEAN ministerial meetings); Sydney (Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations); and Kolonia, Micronesia, the first visit to the Pacific island nation by a sitting secretary of state.

 

Administrator Seema Verma of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will discuss Democrats’ proposed “Medicare for All” ideas at 10 a.m. at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. The event is live streamed HERE

 

The Senate Appropriations transportation subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing at 9:45 a.m. on aviation safety and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following two Boeing 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people.  The subcommittee will hear testimony from acting FAA Deputy Administrator Carl Burleson, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami, Deputy Associate Administrator for Airports Winsome Lenfert, and Deputy Associate Administrator for Security and Hazardous Materials Safety Angela Stubblefield. ...More: FAA hopes global regulators will approve the Boeing 737 Max to fly again (Reuters). … The origins of Boeings’ 737 Max crisis (The New York Times’s “The Daily” podcast).



ELSEWHERE

Tech: The $26 billion T-Mobile-Sprint mega-merger deal faces one last hurdle in a lawsuit from a group of state attorneys general looking to block it (The Hill).

 

State Watch: The rocky shore of mid-coast Maine has always been home to some of America’s largest lobster catches, but the last few years have been some of the best on record, thanks to warming ocean temperatures. Maine’s lobsters have found themselves in a climate change sweet spot. But the good news may be short lived (The Hill). … In California on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomAnti-vaccine protester charged after allegedly throwing menstrual blood at California lawmakers California could become next no-kill state as governor puts budget funds toward ending euthanizing California governor proposes 2 billion budget MORE (D) signed a state law requiring U.S. presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns before they can appear on the state's ballot, a move aimed squarely at Trump (The Los Angeles Times).

 

Saudi Arabia: How Saudi Arabia makes dissidents disappear (Vanity Fair).  

 

Change your parachute: Carl Allamby, a former car mechanic who built a career telling customers what was wrong with their vehicles, found himself drawn to medicine. This year, at age 47, Allamby became a doctor and is now an emergency room diagnostician. “He’s got people skills most doctors don’t start out with – that customer relations mentality from his years in business,” said Dr. Steven Brooks, chairman of emergency medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Akron General hospital. “We were blown away by him” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

 

 

 



THE CLOSER

And finally …  Explorer Robert Ballard, 77, the man who located the Titanic and John F. Kennedy’s World War II patrol boat, is setting off on Aug. 7 to Nikumaroro, an atoll in the western Pacific Ocean with an expedition to try to locate Amelia Earhart’s plane wreckage, if indeed her famous Lockheed Electra 10E wound up there on July 2, 1937. 

 

The mystery surrounding Earhart’s disappearance has never been solved, despite official and amateur sleuthing for more than 80 years. The working assumption has long been that Earhart’s plane ran out of fuel and landed or crashed in a remote location in the vast ocean. But it’s not the only theory about what happened to the aviator and her navigator Fred Noonan on the second-to-last leg of a daring journey that was to take them around the globe. Ballard’s search will be chronicled by National Geographic for a two-hour documentary airing Oct. 20.

 

The explorer’s technique, honed over more than 150 deep-sea expeditions, uses sonar to map the ocean floor and deploy a variety of remotely operated vehicles. The odds are long of finding conclusive evidence that Earhart was marooned on what’s known as Gardner Island. Where there’s “very high energy encounter of the ocean with a living reef,” Ballard concedes, an airplane would have been quickly pulverized.