Blog Posts by Holly Bailey, Yahoo News

  • Teachers in Moore, Okla., express hope and anguish as schools resume for the first time since May tornado

    MOORE, Okla. — Amy Simpson works hard to maintain her “happy face,” especially when she is around her students from Plaza Towers Elementary School.

    It's been three months since one of the most destructive tornadoes on record cut a deadly swath through this Oklahoma City suburb, leveling Plaza and killing seven of its students. Simpson, the school’s principal, vows to be smiling and normal when the kids who survived the storm return to class for the first time on Friday.

    "They want to see me happy. They want to see Mrs. Simpson OK,” she said.

    But it’s not always OK.

    Simpson, like many people here, is still haunted by the memories of what happened on May 20. She remembers the vibration of the ground as the EF5 tornado with winds in excess of 200 mph churned its way toward her school, flattening nearly everything in its wake. She remembers the terrified looks on the kids’ faces and fear in the teachers' eyes. And when it was finally over, she remembers climbing out of the tiny bathroom

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  • Bill de Blasio takes the lead in NYC mayoral race: poll

    NEW YORK — In a major shift ahead of next month’s Democratic primary, a new poll indicates Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has taken the lead in the race to replace outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    The Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday found de Blasio, 52, with 30 percent support among likely Democratic voters. That’s a six-point lead over City Council Speaker and onetime front-runner Christine Quinn, who registered 24 percent support in the poll. Former Comptroller Bill Thompson drew 22 percent, while the other mayoral hopefuls trailed far behind — including former Rep. Anthony Weiner (10 percent), Comptroller John Liu (6 percent) and former City Council member Sal Albanese (1 percent).

    The survey of 579 likely Democratic voters was conducted Aug. 7-12 and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

    Weiner, whose campaign has been imperiled by a sexting scandal, has vowed he won’t quit the race, but the poll suggests that New Yorkers are no longer taking

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  • Booker expected to win New Jersey's Senate primary Tuesday

    New Jersey voters head to the polls on Tuesday to choose candidates for the special election to replace Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June. But barring a surprise upset, the only real mystery about the election is how big Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s margin of victory will be in the Democratic primary.

    Booker, 44, a rising star politico who has made no secret of his aspirations for national office, has been the unequivocal front-runner in the race for months, besting three of the state’s well-known Democrats in poll after poll.

    A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found 54 percent of likely Democratic voters backed Booker in the race, a 37-point lead over Rep. Frank Pallone, his closest competitor, who had just 17 percent support. Rep. Rush Holt trailed with 15 percent support, followed by state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, who had just 5 percent.

    Booker has maintained his lead in spite of several unflattering stories in recent weeks questioning his ties to

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  • Weiner trashes the media for its focus on sexting scandal

    NEW YORK--Anthony Weiner criticized the media for being too focused on the sexting scandal that has imperiled his campaign for mayor, insisting that voters care about issues other than his personal drama.

    Speaking at an event sponsored by Buzzfeed, Weiner said the coverage of his campaign has been “brutal” and accused some members of the media of going out of their way to write negative stories about him. The New York Times, he declared, “doesn’t want me to win.”

    “Substance doesn’t get covered in a campaign like this,” Weiner said.

    But asked if he’s been treated more unfairly than other politicians who have personally and publicly erred, like former President Bill Clinton and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, the former congressman demurred.

    Asked if he felt he had been “set up” by former online paramour Sydney Leathers who has cashed in on her connection to Weiner after their sexts were made public, the ex-lawmaker insisted he had no one to blame for his predicament but himself.

    “Nobody did

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  • Oklahoma tornado survivor set to move back to Moore, but progress remains slow in much of the city

    MOORE, Okla. — Barbara Garcia had been living here for 45 years when a deadly two-mile wide tornado, one of the strongest on record, wiped out her home and a large swath of the city last May 20.

    The 74-year-old grandmother quickly became a symbol of the storm’s devastation when, during a CBS News interview after she emerged from the rubble of her flattened house, she was reunited with her beloved schnauzer, Bowsy, whom she feared had been lost.

    “Oh Bowsy,” Garcia cried, as the dog emerged dusty and dazed but alive from under a jagged piece of sheet metal. “Bless your itty bitty heart!”

    Clearly emotional, Garcia told the camera crew, “I thought God just answered one prayer: ‘Let me be okay.’ But he answered both of them because this was my second prayer.”

    Soon, Garcia’s third prayer will be answered.

    Next month, after weeks spent living with different family members around the state, Garcia, an uninsured widow who lost everything, will move back to Moore into a new home built entirely

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  • Anthony Weiner unveils first television ad in NYC mayoral race

    Powerful Voices from Anthony Weiner on Vimeo.

    NEW YORK — Mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner released his first television ad Monday in which he casts himself as the antiestablishment pick for City Hall.

    The former Democratic congressman does not directly address the sexting scandal that has overtaken his mayoral bid over the last month, but he references it, arguing that the political establishment has long wanted him out of the race.

    “Powerful voices have made it clear from the very beginning they didn’t want me to win,” Weiner tells the camera after a montage of footage showing him campaigning around the city. “But this isn’t about what they want. They’ve gotten their way far too long. If you give me the chance, I will fight for you and your family every single day.”

    Weiner’s campaign has not said how much it is spending on the 30-second ad, which comes less than a month before the Sept. 10 Democratic primary. The New York City television market is the most expensive in the country.

    But

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  • Obama speaks out on Snowden, calls for greater transparency on surveillance

    President Barack Obama unveiled new efforts to increase transparency and “build greater confidence” about the government’s controversial surveillance efforts, acknowledging that the public’s trust has been shaken after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked details about the programs.

    “It’s not enough for me as president to have confidence in these programs,” Obama declared at a White House news conference. “The American people have to have confidence as well.”

    Among other things, Obama called for the creation of an outside task force to advise his administration on how to balance civil liberties and security issues. He also said he had directed the intelligence community to make public as much information about the spying programs as possible and directed the NSA to create a website that would be a “hub” for that information.

    “These steps are designed to make sure the American people can trust that our interests are aligned with our values,” Obama said.

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  • Weiner says he is '100 percent not' sexting anyone right now

    NEW YORK — Anthony Weiner said he is “one hundred percent not” having any type of online relationship right now and insisted again that his days of sexting are well behind him.

    The Democratic mayoral hopeful told NBC New York that he has not sent lewd messages or pictures to women he met online for about a year and said he wants to move on and talk about other subjects.

    "I just think at a certain point, OK, I think people know these embarrassing things about me,” Weiner said. “I think at a certain point now we have to have a conversation that goes to, alright, what else should people know?"

    The interview was Weiner's latest as he struggles to regain momentum in his bid succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ahead of the Sept. 10 primary. The former lawmaker’s poll numbers have plummeted in recent days after admitting that he continued to send sexual messages to at least three women he met online after a sexting scandal forced him out of Congress in 2011.

    Weiner said Friday he had kept no

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  • Anthony Weiner tries but fails to escape talk of sexting scandal

    NEW YORK — All Anthony Weiner wanted to do was to make a quick shopping trip to Duane Reade with his young son, but the Democratic mayoral hopeful can no longer even do that without being hounded about the sexting scandal that has derailed his bid for City Hall.

    For the past week, dozens of reporters and photographers have been camped out on the doorstep of Weiner’s apartment on Park Avenue in Manhattan, yet on Thursday morning, most were gone as Weiner emerged wheeling his 18-month-old son, Jordan, in a stroller.

    But just as Weiner probably thought he was getting a brief reprieve from the media circus that has surrounded his campaign in recent days, a man wielding a tiny video camera dashed onto the sidewalk and began filming the candidate and his son.

    Weiner wore a pained expression as he declined to answer questions, and inside the store, he tried to act normally, even as the lone paparazzo filmed him through the store’s front windows. Within minutes, Weiner was out the door

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  • Christine Quinn looks to make history in her bid for NYC mayor

    NEW YORK — The same day the first details of Anthony Weiner's latest sexting escapades turned the city's mayoral race into a circus, another candidate, long considered the front-runner to replace outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was standing almost alone in an outermost section of Queens greeting voters she hopes will support her this fall.

    Even as the race has turned into a tabloid frenzy and tawdry national spectacle involving photos of Weiner's private parts and speculation about his marriage, Christine Quinn has tried to avoid her rival's personal drama and seize the moment to raise awareness of her own campaign. Quinn, the city council speaker and decidedly less flashy campaigner than the attention-grabbing Weiner, is betting that the nuts and bolts of retail campaigning and making her pitch to voters will help her ultimately prevail.

    It was barely 8 a.m. last week when Quinn walked up to the Far Rockaway subway station in Queens, the very last stop on the A subway line. From here,

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