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George Klein, friend of Elvis Presley and longtime radio host, dead at 83

George Klein, the deep-voiced radio personality who became friends with Elvis Presley in high school and stayed close to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll throughout his career, has died. He was 83.

Presley’s former wife, Priscilla Presley, told The Associated Press that Klein died Tuesday at hospice in Memphis, Tennessee. Priscilla Presley said Klein had been suffering from illness, including pneumonia, for about two weeks. She said she had been in constant contact with Klein and Presley’s other close friends, including Jerry Schilling and Marian Justice Cocke, while Klein was ill.

Klein met Elvis Presley in 1948 at Humes High School in Memphis and they were close friends until the rock ‘n’ roll icon died in 1977. Klein was part of Presley’s entourage, known as the “Memphis Mafia,” and enjoyed telling stories about the times he and Presley spent together.

THE TRUE STORY BEHIND ELVIS PRESLEY’S 1968 COMEBACK SPECIAL

Priscilla Presley said her former husband liked Klein’s outgoing personality, his loyalty, and his sense of humor. She called their friendship a “guy’s thing,” with their own inside jokes and “their own language.”

Elvis Presley used to affectionately call Klein “GK.”

“Their friendship was golden, truly golden,” she said in a phone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard George say anything bad about anybody.”

Presley served as Klein’s best man, and Klein was a pallbearer at Presley’s funeral. Klein appeared in his friend’s film, “Jailhouse Rock.” When Presley was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Klein made the acceptance speech.

“Personally, Elvis was a great friend to me,” Klein said in the speech. “You know, I never saw Elvis refuse an autograph. I never saw Elvis refuse a handshake. I never saw Elvis refuse to take a picture with anyone.”

REMEMBERING ‘THE KING’: A LOOK BACK AT ELVIS PRESLEY’S LIFE

Klein hosted a radio show featuring Presley’s music on Sirius XM. He had also hosted radio and television shows in Memphis dating to the 1960s. Klein was known throughout the city, speaking at charity events for no pay, Priscilla Presley said.

University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, a former head coach at the University of Memphis, said on Twitter that he would talk basketball with Klein before and after games.

“He has been an unbelievable ambassador for the city, for Graceland, for Elvis Presley and his family,” Calipari wrote.

In recent years, several friends of Elvis Presley — Scotty Moore, Red West, D.J. Fontana — have died. Priscilla Presley said she has thought about that, and calls it “a reality check.”

“It hits home,” she said. “He’s the last of our history, in many ways.”

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Funeral arrangements have not been released.

Hawaiian Airlines attendant who died during flight ID’d as longtime employee

Hawaiian Airlines identified the attendant who died of heart attack during a flight Thursday as a longtime employee.

Emile Griffith, who worked for Hawaiian Airlines for more than 31 years, died on the flight, the company said in a statement.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Emile Griffith, a member of our flight attendant ‘ohana for over 31 years who passed away while working on our flight between Honolulu and New York last night,” the airlines said in a statement. “We are forever grateful for Emile’s colleagues and good Samaritans on board who stayed by his side and provided extensive medical help.”

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES FLIGHT DIVERTED AFTER FLIGHT ATTENDANT DIES

Hawaiian Airlines Flight 50 was traveling from Honolulu to New York City when it was diverted to San Francisco Thursday night after a flight crew member suffered “a suspected heart attack,” Doug Yakel, a San Francisco airport spokesman, said.

Medical personnel attempted CPR during the flight but suspended these efforts prior to landing, Yakel said. Sources told Hawaii News Now that crew members performed CPR for hours. Yakel said the passengers were put on other flights. The flight was carrying 253 passengers and 12 crewmembers.

PILOT RESCUED OFF HONOLULU, HOSPITALIZED AFTER PLANE CRASHES DURING MILITARY EXERCISE

“Emile both loved and treasured his job at Hawaiian and always shared that with our guests. Our hearts are with Emile’s family, friends and those fortunate to have known him,” the statement concluded.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alex Trebek opens up about his longtime marriage: ’29 years is pretty good’

Alex Trebek has one regret in life — not meeting his wife sooner.

“I’m pretty satisfied with my life,” the longtime “Jeopardy!” host told People magazine in this week’s issue. “But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life, about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh… if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together.”

ALEX TREBEK’S BIG NEWS

The 78-year-old joked, “I guess if I’d met her when I was in my 20s she wouldn’t have been born yet. But hey, 29 years is pretty good!”

Trebek and Currivan say they prefer spending quality time together from the comfort of home.

Trebek and Currivan say they prefer spending quality time together from the comfort of home. (Getty)

Trebek has been married to Jean Currivan since 1990 and they have two children, 29-year-old Matthew and 27-year-old Emily.

The couple, who currently reside in Los Angeles, told the publication they couldn’t be prouder parents. Matthew is a restauranteur in New York City and Emily is a real estate agent in Los Angeles.

“They’re really sharp and have done their due diligence in their respective endeavors,” said Trebek.

THE RUNAWAYS’ JACKIE FUCHS WOWS ON ‘JEOPARDY!’

“They’re both very compassionate, sensitive people,” added Currivan, 54. “They’re really the best of Alex and I. You can talk to them. They’re our good friends.”

And how do Trebek and Currivan keep the romance alive as empty nesters? They prefer spending quality time together from the comfort of home. Trebek shared they usually watch movies together in bed after dinner.

“He takes his job very seriously, but won’t take himself too seriously," his wife Jean shared.

“He takes his job very seriously, but won’t take himself too seriously,” his wife Jean shared. (AP)

“I was never into going out to clubs,” said Trebek. “It wasn’t my scene.”

“The other night was a red-letter day,” he joked. “I cooked for my wife and then we went out to a movie.”

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Trebek also admitted he was a homebody who likes to use his free time to tinker around the house or read.

Currivan said the pair were originally friends before a relationship blossomed.

“There was this deep sensitivity about him with a gruffy exterior,” recalled Currivan. “I kept thinking, ‘He’s 24 years older than me.’ But there was something that just kept drawing me to him.”

And while the pair has been happily married for nearly 30 years, they do have their ups and downs just like any other couple.

“We have our challenges,” she said. “And then we have our really beautiful times, where we’re just so blessed to know that we’re in each other’s courtyard.”

But after all this time, Currivan has learned what makes Trebek really click.

“He’s got a great sense of humor,” she said. “He takes his job very seriously, but won’t take himself too seriously. He’s also youthful. He’s just an intelligent human being. Part of Alex’s staying youthful is his staying curious.”

Russell Baker, longtime NY Times columnist and host of ‘Masterpiece Theatre,’ dead at 93

Russell Baker, a longtime columnist and reporter for the New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1979, has died, according to reports. He was 93 years old.

Baker died Monday at his home in Leesburg, Va., the Washington Post reported, adding that his son Allen Baker said the cause was complications from a fall.

FORMER NY TIMES EDITOR RIPS TRUMP COVERAGE AS BIASED

Late in his career, Baker succeeded Alistair Cooke as host of “Masterpiece Theatre” on PBS.

According to the Times, Virginia-born Baker began his career at the Baltimore Sun, starting as a police reporter, rewrite man and London correspondent.

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In 1962, he joined the Times and produced nearly 5,000 columns, most of them humorous commentaries on the news. He retired in 1998.

Baker won a second Pulitzer for his 1982 memoir, “Growing Up,” about his youth during the Depression and into the World War II years, the Post reported.

Why the Women’s March saddens (and outrages) this long-time feminist and women’s rights activist

I have been marching for women’s rights for a long, long time — with my feet, my voice, and my pen. I am still doing so.

Currently, the most high-profile activity of the so-called “women’s movement” in the United States is one that saddens and outrages me. Their leadership seems to have no track record in terms of fighting for women’s rights.

Yes, I want a vibrant and radical feminist movement. But this is not it. Rather, it is a shell game, a performance, a con job.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ OPTS OUT OF WOMEN’S MARCH: ‘I CANNOT STAND ALONGSIDE IT’

The Women’s March leaders are savvy about procuring corporate funding and even savvier about getting Hollywood stars — eager to virtue signal — involved. They stage celebrity events, not revolutions.

The Women’s March addresses “immigration reform” and “police violence against black men;” they are “anti-racists,” not “anti-sexists;” they prioritize “queer and transgender” politics, but never plain old garden variety women’s issues.

Have the leaders “walked the walk” in terms of sexual harassment on the job; rape; incest; domestic violence; economic, social, and legal discrimination; or reproductive rights, including access to birth control, abortion, and prenatal care?

Here are some issues worthy of being addressed by the Women’s March, but are not.

Sex trafficking? Child marriage? FGM? Forced face veiling? Honor Killing? None of these issues are being addressed by the American Women’s March leadership.

Mothers unjustly lose custody of children — often to their abusers — every day in North America, (as well as in Europe and globally). I’ve studied this in depth. We sometimes hear about this when the mother in question is an immigrant trying to cross the border, but almost never when the mother is simply a citizen.

Sex trafficking? Child marriage? FGM? Forced face veiling? Honor Killing? None of these issues are being addressed by the American Women’s March leadership.

What is going on?

The first Women’s March took place on January 21, 2017, the day after President Trump was inaugurated. At that time, the leadership gave lip service to “women’s issues” and “gender justice,” in general but were more specific about “immigration reform,” “freedom of religion,” LGBTQ rights, workers’ rights, racial equality, and environmental issues.

It seems that certain identities matter much more than others and that the identity of “woman” is not their priority.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, has the Women’s March leadership been funding lawsuits for poor women who are being sexually harassed as they work in lettuce fields and on factory floors, whose harassers demand sex as the price to work for below-poverty wages?  Have they funded escapes for prostituted girls trapped in brothels, or for dissidents and women in flight from being honor killed? If so, they’ve kept quiet about it. What about women abused in pornography?

It is very welcome to see such diverse women taking stage center on a full range of issues. But are they doing feminist work?

This week, the Women’s March published a statement explaining that they had expanded their steering committee. If ever there was a naked emperor (or in this case, a naked empress), here she is.

This new steering committee is made up of “32 women from a wide range of backgrounds…made up of visionary women — cis and trans, straight and queer, disabled and non-disabled, white (not capitalized), Asian, and South Asian, Black, Latina, Arab, Indigenous, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Christian (all capitalized), spanning the ages of 24-70.”

Despite what appears to be an attempt to add “Jewish” to the list of identities the Women’s March now claims to represent, the statement does not address the substantive criticisms that have been made about anti-Semitism.

The first person and photo presented as part of the new steering committee is that of Abby Stein, described as follows:

“A Jewish educator, writer, speaker, and activist. She was born and raised in a Hasidic family of rabbinic descent; she is (among) the 10th generation of (descendants of the ) Baal Shem Tov — founder of Hasidic Judaism…in 2012, she left the Hasidic world to explore different worldviews. In 2015, Abby came out as a woman of trans experience. Since coming out, she has been working to raise support and awareness for trans rights and those leaving Ultra-Orthodoxy.”

Thus, the first member of the steering committee is Jewish, but has left Judaism behind. And, she is trans. (In some circles, there is still controversy around whether being trans constitutes a feminist statement.)

Bamby Salcedo, the second trans-identified person mentioned as a new member — focuses on issues like “migration, HIV, youth, LGBT, incarceration and Latin@ communities.”

Neither Stein nor Salcedo seem to be working on equal pay for equal work, reproductive justice, or on custody rights for women.

Despite the March leadership’s obsession with virtue signaling and identity politics, hundreds of corporate and progressive sponsors of the March have quietly dropped out. According to an article in Friday’s National Review, while the March “racked up nearly 550 partners (in 2017), this year, the number of partners has dropped significantly, to just over 200 — and those partners are much smaller in stature.” The NAACP, the National Democratic Committee, the National Organization for Women, and Emily’s List are no longer sponsors.

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Perhaps they finally understand that this leadership is ersatz, treading water, and not the real deal. Perhaps they fear being associated with an event that has become a toxic mess. Perhaps they, too, see that this empress has no clothes.

I yearn for a vibrant and radical women’s movement. But this is not it.

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Longtime Democratic alderman in Chicago charged in federal extortion probe

One of the most powerful Democratic City Council members in Chicago has been charged with extortion, accused of trying to shake down a fast-food restaurant seeking remodeling permits, said a federal complaint unsealed Thursday.

Alderman Ed Burke, 75, is charged with one count of attempted extortion for conveying to company executives in 2017 that they’d get the permits if they signed on as clients at his private property tax law firm, the 37-page complaint said.

A conviction carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

Burke made an initial appearance on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. A preliminary hearing is set for the afternoon of Jan 18.

The Democrat’s law firm, Klafter & Burke, represented the high-rise tower that bears President Trump’s name. There’s no indication the case is at all tied to his firm’s work for Trump.

Klafter & Burke specializes in property tax appeals, and its former clients included Trump’s luxury tower in downtown Chicago.

U.S. Rep.-elect Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and other Burke critics in Chicago’s Hispanic community have drawn attention to that tax work in a bid to hurt Burke politically.

Burke joins a long list of Chicago lawmakers charged criminally, including former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year prison term on multiple federal corruption convictions.

Burke has been on the council in Chicago for 50 years and has chaired its finance committee for the last three decades, FOX 32 CHICAGO reported.

Burke’s wife, Anne, is an Illinois Supreme Court justice. His father was also influential in Democratic circles in Chicago until his death in the 1960s. Other Burke relatives also have been involved in Illinois politics.

Since the 1970s, nearly three dozen aldermen have been convicted. A common joke in Chicago is that so many aldermen had gone to prison that when they saw each other behind bars they’d holler, “Quorum call!”

Burke is associated by Chicagoans with insider benefits long accorded alderman. A city inspectors report in 2016 found snow removal crews plowed the street where he lived far more often than other streets after a 2015 storm. They worked his street 46 times in five days, the report said.

Burke said after FBI raids on his offices at City Hall and in his Southwest Side ward in November that he was sure agents wouldn’t find anything “amiss.”

The complaint, which does not identify the fast-food company or the executives allegedly squeezed, includes excerpts from wiretaps of Burke’s phone and emails seized in the raids.

When the executives didn’t give Burke’s law firm the business he wanted, Burke spoke with one of his ward employees about how they would “play hard” ball with the company, the complaint said.

Fox News’ Jim Murphy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump hosts third major rally in Montana to unseat longtime bitter rival Jon Tester

With just weeks until November’s pivotal midterm elections, President Trump was headlining a major rally in Missoula, Montana on Thursday evening, his first stop in a three-date tour of western states that will include Arizona and Nevada.
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