They’re baaaack

Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles:

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the deficit-reduction duo, are trying to rekindle congressional interest in a $2.5 trillion package of spending cuts and tax increases with new details showing how it could work.

The updated plan, to be released today in Washington, includes $740 billion in increased revenue over the next decade that Republicans have deemed unacceptable and a higher eligibility age for Medicare that President Barack Obama has rejected.

The bipartisan pair are seeking to outline the elusive middle ground between the parties’ positions on deficit reduction, and continue to refine an alternative federal budget that few lawmakers have endorsed. Bowles said in an interview that they are trying to demonstrate what’s possible and absorb criticism so they can catalyze a deal.
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‘They do not deserve to live on this earth’

UPDATE: Father describes Tamerlan as an accomplished medical student and an “angel.”

Bombing suspects’ uncle:

BOSTON (CBS) – The uncle of the two men suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings says they had lived together in Cambridge for about a decade.

Tsarni says Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev immigrated to the United States around 2000 or 2001, and have lived at the same Cambridge address since that time.

According to Tsarni, Dzhokar completed high school in Cambridge and was attending college somewhere outside of Boston.

Tsarni, who says he hasn’t been in touch with the brothers since around 2009, tells WBZ-TV he believes that the brothers’ parents may have moved back to Russia.

He described Tamerlan as a “loser.”

Tsarni was shocked when he was informed of the unfolding situation that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead in a shootout.

“He deserved his. He absolutely deserved his,” Tsarni said. “They do not deserve to live on this earth.”

Victim eyewitness

Jeff Bauman (pictured in wheelchair) lost both his legs in the explosion.

A friend and I were just talking about this yesterday – that it was likely some of the victims would be able to identify the bombers. Looks like Jeff Bauman gave detailed information to the authorities:

Minutes before the bombs blew up in Boston, Jeff Bauman looked into the eyes of the man who tried to kill him.

Just before 3 p.m. on April 15, Bauman was waiting among the crowd for his girlfriend to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon. A man wearing a cap, sunglasses and a black jacket over a hooded sweatshirt looked at Jeff, 27, and dropped a bag at his feet, his brother, Chris Bauman, said in an interview.

Two and a half minutes later, the bag exploded, tearing Jeff’s legs apart. A picture of him in a wheelchair, bloodied and ashen, was broadcast around the world as he was rushed to Boston Medical Center. He lost both legs below the knee.

“He woke up under so much drugs, asked for a paper and pen and wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me,’” Chris Bauman said yesterday in an interview.

Those words may help crack the mystery of who perpetrated one of the highest-profile acts of terror in the U.S. since the 2001 assault on New York City and the Washington area, one that killed three people and wounded scores.

While still in intensive care, Jeff Bauman gave the FBI a description of the man he saw, his brother said. Bauman’s information helped investigators narrow down whom to look for in hours of video of the attack, he said.

The bureau released video images of two men yesterday. Both men have on hooded sweatshirts under dark jackets; one is wearing a light-colored baseball cap turned backward on his head, while the other is wearing a dark baseball cap facing forward. Both are carrying large backpacks.

“I’ve had many times alone with him, and yes, he told me every single detail,” Chris Bauman said.

Paul Bresson, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, declined to comment on specific tips in the continuing investigation. Two FBI agents interviewed at the Boston office declined to confirm or deny the account.

Manhunt in Boston, city on lockdown

The bombing suspects have been identified as Tamerlan Tsanaev, 26, and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, whose families are Russian immigrants. After a wild night including holding up a 7-Eleven, killing one M.I.T. police officer and critically wounding another, hijacking an SUV and throwing grenades and IEDs in their path, Tamerlan is dead (with explosive devices strapped to his chest, run over by his brother as he escaped) and Dzokhar is on the loose. The entire city of Boston has been ordered to shelter in place.

“We believe the man is a terrorist,” police said in an early-morning press conference:

A violent crime spree across Greater Boston that took the lives of a campus police officer and one of the suspects in the Marathon bombings morphed into a desperate door-to-door search for a man believed to be the second bomber in Monday’s dual blasts.

After a string of explosions and volleys of gunfire that seriously injured a transit officer, police cordoned off much of Watertown, Mass. Residents were ordered to “shelter in place” and not trust anyone they might see other than uniformed officers.

A Massachusetts State Police public information officer told HuffPost reporter Michael McLaughlin, “We believe this to be a terrorist, we believe he came here to kill people.”

At daybreak, law enforcement planned to launch a house-to house search through much of Watertown as they sought one half of the duo believed to have killed three and wounded more than 170 at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday.

A chaotic Thursday night across Cambridge and Watertown started at 10:30 p.m. with a convenience store holdup that led to the shooting of an MIT campus officer who died later from multiple gunshot wounds.

Police sped away from the campus crime scene amid reports of an armed carjacking of a Mercedes SUV nearby.

The breakneck pursuit of the stolen car led to Watertown, where suspects detonated explosives in the direction of officers before exchanging gunfire.

“I heard three loud bangs,” a witness told HuffPost. “It sounded like a car being dropped on the ground.”

The threat to anyone in the area was so serious that the police planned robocalls to warn residents, CNN reported.

Hundreds of officers drawn from many departments spent hours looking for additional explosives, criminal evidence and, perhaps most importantly, a man deemed to be armed and dangerous.

One suspect died in the exchange of gunfire with police in Watertown. Neither suspects’ identity was released.

Entire town evacuated

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In Illinois:

London Mills, Illinois is being evacuated after flooding turned from bad to worse on Thursday. No, we’re not talking about a few blocks of the town. Police are ordering the entire town out their homes. London Mills is not a big town — it’s actually more of a village with a population of 390 — but the prospect of the entire community being swept away by floodwaters is just another extraordinary disaster in an extraordinarily disastrous week.

The weather situation in Illinois isn’t isolated to London Mills. Heavy rains across the state have been causing problems all day as streams swelled into rivers and rivers grew into lakes in this mostly flat part of the country. The National Weather Service estimates that three to seven inches of rain have fallen on the Chicagoland in the last 24 hours. (April showers?) The storm corresponds with a 98-year-old water main breaking in Chicago. The break in the water main led to a breach in the sewage system which ultimately sucked up all of the surrounding soil. This created a sinkhole that swallowed three cars, injuring one person.

The trouble isn’t yet over. The water in London Mills is expected to continue rising through Friday morning, though hopefully the residents will have moved to higher ground by then. The situation in Chicago is calming down but clean up is bound to be complicated as many tunnels under the city have filled up with water, not to mention countless basements, streets and viaducts. It’s a mess.

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