7-year-old boy gives Wii to grieving cops

Most kids struggle when they’re asked to share their toys. Not 7-year-old Brady Duke.

Brady loves reading, throwing around the football and — most of all — playing with his Nintendo Wii.

But after learning that the nearby Everest Metropolitan Police Department in Wisconsin lost one of its own when Detective Jason Weiland was killed last week in the line of duty, Brady donated his most prized possession to the Wausau Police Department. The departments’ headquarters are about 12 miles apart.

“I knew I had to do something because their police brother died,” Brady told CNN affiliate WSAW. In a letter posted by the department to Facebook, Brady thanks the officers for their service and for protecting his family.

Another note that accompanied the gift says Brady wanted to give his Wii to officers “to make them feel better.”

The video games are helping the officers, Wausau Police Deputy Chief Ben Bliven said.

“We’re encouraging our officers to come in, take a break and de-stress,” he told WSAW.

Brady’s big gesture also had its perks. His new friends in blue surprised him with an Xbox 360 so he can keep on gaming.

“Brady’s example is one we can all follow,” Wausau police said in a Facebook post. “Thank you Brady for your love and compassion and thank you for setting the example for others in our community at a young age of 7.”

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Consumer confidence soars under Trump

Consumers are suddenly a lot more confident about the economic future of the United States. That’s a good thing. But it’s also worth noting that consumers don’t always have a great track record when it comes to predicting the financial future.

The Conference Board, an economic research firm, said Tuesday that its latest monthly of consumer sentiment surged in March to the highest level since December 2000.

Note that date. December 2000. At that point in time, the stock market, particularly techs on the Nasdaq, were in the midst of a massive plunge.

The dot-com bubble’s bursting was one factor that led to a recession that started in March 2001 and lasted through November of that year. (That period, of course, included the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.)

And another closely watched measure of consumer confidence, The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index, hit its highest level since 2000 earlier this month as well.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index surged right after last November’s election as well — to the highest level since July 2007. The Great Recession began in December of that year and lasted until June 2009.

All this is not to say that the economy is about to enter another downturn just because the notoriously late to the party consumer is suddenly feeling giddy.

It’s understandable why there is suddenly more hope on Main Street these days.

While the Conference Board didn’t mention President Trump by name, it would appear that average Americans — much like small business owners and CEOs — are excited about the possibility of tax reform and stimulus.

“Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved considerably. Consumers also expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, in a release.

“Consumers feel current economic conditions have improved over the recent period, and their renewed optimism suggests the possibility of some upside to the prospects for economic growth in the coming months,” Franco added.

Some economists argue that the U.S. is due for a recession soon because we haven’t had one in nearly eight years. This has been a relatively long, albeit shallow, recovery.

Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, the economy is also increasingly being viewed through partisan lenses.

The University of Michigan addresses politics more directly in its consumer confidence reports.

And it noted earlier this month that based on its gauge of economic expectations, Democrats “signaled that a deep recession was imminent” while Republicans felt that “a new era of robust economic growth was ahead.”

What’s more, the most recent political infighting over health care appears to have dented confidence in the economy among Republicans and Democrats.

Polling company Gallup said earlier this week that its latest U.S. Economic Confidence Index hit its lowest level since the election — largely due to the stock market’s recent slide and the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Gallup noted that Republicans still have a healthier view of the economy than Democrats, but added that “rank-and-file Republicans became significantly less confident in the economy last week.”

If that trend continues, it will be interesting to see whether or not Republicans and Democrats alike decide to actually pull back on plans to buy more things over the next few months. At the end of the day, confidence doesn’t power the economy. Shopping does.

If Trump is able to rebound from the collapse of his plan to repeal and replace the ACA and still get financial reform, a reduction in corporate and individual taxes and some level of infrastructure spending though Congress, that could boost the economy.

It may be difficult for the economy to grow at the 4% annualized rate that Trump has promised. But several experts think that 3% — which would be an improvement from the sub-2% levels the U.S. has experienced lately, is doable.

That would feel great for consumers and investors. And their confidence would likely be reflected through more spending.

–CNNMoney’s Matt Egan contributed to this story.

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10 charged in alleged New York mafia crime wave

Ten alleged members of the Bonanno mafia family have been charged with racketeering and related crimes, according to a 37-count indictment unsealed Tuesday.

The charges stem from what prosecutors claim was almost 20 years of organized criminal activity in and around Queens — including participation in gun battles, beatings, extortion, and arson.

“The Mafia hasn’t stopped operating and the crimes these members are charged with today prove that,” the FBI’s William Sweeny Jr. said in a statement.

The 10 defendants — Ronald “Ronnie G.” Giallanzo, Michael Padavona, Nicholas “Pudgie” Festa, Michael Palmaccio, Christopher “Bald Chris” Boothby, Evan “The Jew” Greenberg, Richard Heck, Michael Hintze, Robert Pisani and Robert “Chippy” Tanico — were arrested Tuesday and arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors: Vendetta prompted shootouts

Giallanzo, identified by the Department of Justice as an acting captain in the Bonnano family, stands at the center of the alleged crime wave.

A reputed Bonanno soldier for nearly two decades, Giallanzo used the proceeds from fraudulent stock market schemes to fund a loan-sharking business with more than $3 million, court documents state.

In the course of running his loan-sharking operation — and while awaiting trial for securities fraud — prosecutors claim Giallanzo ordered members of his crew, including Palmaccio and Padavona, to kill a suspected rival in the Howard Beach section of Queens.

The man was believed by Giallanzo to have been behind multiple robberies of Festa’s drug-dealing and loan-sharking operation, court papers state. The vendetta resulted in at least four shootouts in Howard Beach over a three-month period, according to prosecutors.

Defendants could face up to 20 years in prison

Giallanzo pleaded guilty to charges of securities fraud and was sentenced in 2007 to more than seven years in prison. Prosecutors allege, however, that he continued to run his loan-sharking operation from behind bars, instructing his associates to beat up borrowers who were in arrears.

When conditionally released in April 2013, Giallanzo took a personal role in the shakedowns, prosecutors contend. He allegedly beat someone who owed $250,000 until the man “soiled himself,” court documents state.

He also met with several ranking members of the Bonanno crime family in violation of the conditions of his release. Those meetings earned him another stretch in prison, from March until December 2016. Elizabeth Macedonio, Giallanzo’s attorney, could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

If found guilty of racketeering or loan sharking, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison.

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DREAMer’s tax post goes viral

As someone who’s often spoken out for the so-called “dreamers,” Belen Sisa is used to the ugly epithets that’s hurled her way. But that still didn’t prepare her for the bile that followed when she posted a photo of her holding up her tax returns and a message for President Trump.

“I was surprised, I didn’t expect to be attacked so hatefully for doing the right thing – paying my taxes,” Sisa told CNN.

The Facebook post begins:

“MYTH BUSTER: I, an undocumented immigrant, just filed my taxes and PAID $300 to the state of Arizona. I cannot receive financial aid from the state or federal government for school, I cannot benefit from unemployment, a reduced healthcare plan, or a retirement fund.”

It goes on to say there are many, many more just like her — people “who pay into a system they will never receive anything from.”

And then came the part that had many up in arms:

“Wanna tell me again how I should be deported, contribute nothing and only leech off this country while the 1% wealthiest people in this country steal from you everyday? How about you show me yours Donald J. Trump? #HereToStay”

Her post was shared thousands of times. Responses came in by the hundreds – the good and the ugly.

“There was a really horrible response from people who are anti-immigrant,” she said. “They called me illegal, they said I was a liar, they commented on my appearance, they said this country doesn’t owe me anything,” she told CNN.

Belen said that others reported her to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) telling her that she should be deported.

“I am legally working in the United States through DACA, and I’m pretty sure the IRS isn’t going to come after someone who PAYS their taxes,” she replied to one such post.

Coming to America

Belen was born in Argentina and came to the United States on a visitor visa with her parents when she was 6. They overstayed their visas and have been living in the US undocumented. In 2012, she qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

DACA allows eligible undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children to come out of the shadows and obtain valid driver’s licenses, enroll in college and legally secure jobs.

“I decided to make the post because I really wanted to bust the myth that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes and don’t contribute to this country,” she said. “We are the subject of scapegoating, especially during the Trump era,” she added.

A 2016 study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that undocumented immigrants pay nearly $12 billion a year in state and local taxes.

Sisa, a political science student at Arizona State University, said this is her fourth year filing tax returns.

She said she encourages other DACA recipients to follow her and post on social media about paying tax.

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Hillary Clinton makes most political remarks since losing election

Hillary Clinton took the stage at a diversity conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, making her most political comments since losing the 2016 presidential election.

“There is no place I’d rather be than here with you,” Clinton said, before adding: “Other than the White House.”

During her keynote address at the annual conference hosted by the Professional BusinessWomen of California, Clinton spoke largely about women’s equality and peppered in criticism of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

“Obviously the outcome of the election wasn’t the one I hoped for, worked for, but I will never stop speaking out for common sense benefits that will allow moms and dads to stay on the job,” Clinton said.

Besides a few comments in public gatherings and tweets from her personal account, Clinton has largely laid low since the election. She was spotted after the election in the woods near her New York home and, along with her husband former President Bill Clinton, she attended Trump’s inauguration.

She called Republicans’ attempted replacement for the Affordable Care Act “a disastrous bill,” adding that the Trump administration has been “met with a wave of resistance” that indicates the protests against Trump’s policies are just getting started.

“People who had never been active in politics told their stories at town hall meetings.” Clinton said. “They were people who had something to say and were determined to be heard.”

During the question and answer portion of her appearance, she grew incredulous at the GOP health care debate.

“Really? Take away maternity care?” Clinton said. “Who do these people talk to?”

Clinton also focused on issues like inclusivity and diversity of women in the workplace and the need for the private sector to make better efforts to bring more women to the table.

“Advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls is the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” she said, while noting that women’s representation in Washington is “the lowest it’s been in a generation.”

The former secretary of state also responded to racially charged incidents directed at two prominent black women today.

In one, White House press Secretary Sean Spicer told April Ryan, a longtime White House correspondent and one of the few black women journalists in the press briefing room, to “stop shaking your head” and accused her of being “hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays.”

In another, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly came under fire for racist comments mocking Rep. Maxine Waters’ hair, saying her hair looked like a “James Brown wig.”

O’Reilly later apologized, but not after a slew of controversy. Tuesday, Clinton said Waters had been “taunted by a racist joke about her hair.”

Women of color, said Clinton, have “a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride.”

On the policy front, Clinton criticized the US for still not having a national paid family leave policy and said those who do benefit from such policies are often among the highest income workers. Clinton called on the private sector to do more to help.

“You’re the people who figured out how to fit computers in the palms of our hands,” she said. “You have the power.”

But overall, Clinton offered an optimistic tone in the face of Trump’s victory.

“Where some see a dark vision of carnage, I see a light shining on creativity and opportunity,” she said, referencing the inaugural address.

She offered the audience her new mantra: “Resist, insist, persist, enlist.”

She encouraged the audience to “resist actions that go against our values as Americans,” insist on “putting people first,” “persist” like Sen. Elizabeth Warren did when she was prevented from reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King about Sen. Jeff Sessions, and “enlist” others by running for office or opening a business.

“I’ll be right there with you every step of the way,” she said.

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