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Thursday
Jan262012

Grandchildren of 10th President John Tyler Still Alive

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- John Tyler, born in 1790, became America’s tenth commander-in-chief in 1841. After doing the math, it seems incredible that the former president could still have two living grandchildren.

Tyler had 15 children during his lifetime, making him one of the most prolific presidents in American history. Today, he has two living grandchildren, Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr., who is 87 and lives in Tennessee, and Harrison Ruffin Tyler, 84, who lives on Sherwood Forest Plantation, a national historic landmark in Virginia.

In the past two decades, one or two presidential kids have been the norm. But the 2012 GOP baby boom could change that.

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum has seven children, while former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has five boys. Ron Paul also has five children, as well as two grandchildren.

The large brood of the GOP candidates are throwbacks to the past -- the 1800s, specifically, when the typical American family had five to seven children.  Today, the average American family has two children.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct262011

J. Crew President Reportedly in Midst of Messy Divorce

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for ACE Awards(NEW YORK) -- As the president and creative director of J. Crew, Jenna Lyons has influenced the looks of consumers from the average mall-goer to Michelle Obama. She also painted her 5-year-old son’s toenails pink earlier this year and upset a lot of conservative commentators.

Now her critics have something else to crow about: The New York Post reports that Lyons, 43, is in the midst of a messy divorce from her husband of nine years, artist Vincent Mazeau. And according to the Post, since their summer split, Lyons has gotten romantically involved with another woman who works in the fashion industry.

A representative from J. Crew declined to comment on Lyons’ personal life.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun082011

'Doomsday Plane' Can Survive Nuclear Attack

U.S. Air Force(OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb.) -- In the event of nuclear war, a powerful meteor strike or even a zombie apocalypse, the thoroughly protected doomsday plane is ready to keep the president, secretary of defense, joint chiefs of staff and other key personnel in the air and out of danger.

It may not deflect a Twitter photo scandal, but it can outrun a nuclear explosion and stay in the air for days without refueling.

The flight team for the E-4B, its military codename, sleeps nearby and is ready to scramble in five minutes.  It was mobilized in the tumultuous hours after planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and southern Pennsylvania on 9/11/2001.

"If the command centers that are on the ground in the United States have a failure of some sort, or attack, we immediately get airborne.  We're on alert 24/7, 365," Captain W. Scott "Easy" Ryder, Commander, NAOC, told ABC News' Diane Sawyer as she traveled to Afghanistan with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the apocalypse-proof plane.  "Constantly there's at least one alert airplane waiting to get airborne."

All E-4B aircraft are assigned to the 55th Wing, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.  The modified 747s can travel at speeds up to 620 miles per hour, 40 miles per hour faster than their commercial counterparts.

The $223 million aircraft is outfitted with an electromagnetic pulse shield to protect its 165,000 pounds of advanced electronics.  Thermo-radiation shields also protect the plane in the event of a nuclear strike.

A highly-trained security team travels with the plane.

"The first people off of the airplane are these guys, they'll position themselves appropriately around the airplane," Ryder said to ABC News.  "The secretary also has his own small security staff that does similar things.  So these guys are predominately designed to protect our airplane, and the secretary's staff protects him, as an individual."

Even though it carries VIPs, their staff and security personnel, the plane is highly fuel efficient. It can stay in-flight for days without refueling, a necessity if circumstances demanded the plane's use by the nation's top officials.

A precision tech team mans the sensitive onboard electronic technology -- so much of it that a specially upgraded air-conditioning system is necessary to keep it cool and functional.

It can even communicate with submerged submarines by dropping a five-mile-long cable out the back of the plane.  "[We] drop it down and [it] transmits coded message traffic to U.S. submarines," Ryder told ABC News.

Although the extreme amount of survival technology on the plane more than makes up for it, the plane lacks the amenities found in bases on the ground.  The secretary of defense, for example, only gets a tiny bathroom with a sink, but no shower.  A small trade-off for being able to board this plane as the rest of us dive for cover in a worst-case scenario.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec142010

Poll: Persistent Economic Discontent Casts Continuing Political Pall

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A month after voters chucked the Democrats out of control of the House of Representatives, a boost in political optimism is nowhere to be found. While a plurality of Americans -- 41 percent -- see the House switch as a good thing, that's fewer than the number of Americans who said so the last two times it's happened, in 2006 and 1994. And 67 percent say the country's seriously off on the wrong track.

The reason is plain: A record 71 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say they've been hurt by the recession, with nearly four in 10 hurt "a great deal." Fifty-seven percent say the economy has not yet begun to recover -- up eight points from a year ago. One in three reports a job loss in their own household within the past year; equally remarkably, 72 percent say a close friend or relative has lost a job or been laid off. Both are new highs since the recession began.

The economy aside, the federal budget deficit doesn't help the public's mood, and in that regard this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds some potential room to move: In order to address the deficit, nearly half of Americans, 48 percent, say they'd support gradually increasing the age at which people can receive full Social Security benefits.

On average this year, 38 percent of adults have called themselves independents, matching the average in 2009 as the most on record. That compares to 32 percent who call themselves Democrats and 24 percent who call themselves Republicans -- among the worst years in historical terms for both parties. Only in one previous period, 1994-95, did independents top the political chart.

The impacts of economic discontent appear in other ways. Barack Obama has a 72 percent job approval rating among people who say an economic recovery has begun, vs. 33 percent among those who say it has not -- a dramatic 39-point gap. His approval overall has slipped under 50 percent for just the second time in ABC/Post polls; it's 49 percent now.

And Obama's gone from a 35-point advantage over the Republicans in trust to handle the economy when he took office to +11 points last spring to -1 now, its first foray into negative territory. The GOP also runs essentially evenly with the president in trust to handle the issues of taxes and terrorism, and it leads, by the widest margin of his presidency, in trust to handle the deficit.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐







ABC News Radio