Donald Trump lands in Reno for first Nevada visit as president – Las Vegas Review-Journal

RENO — President Donald Trump sidestepped political controversy for the most part in brief remarks to the American Legion on Wednesday, instead focusing on the needs of veterans and the military.

Trump delivered a patriotic 24-minute speech, telling the assembled veterans that Americans are defined not by the color of their skin, but by “our shared humanity.”

“If American patriots could secure our independence, carve out a home in the wilderness, and free millions from oppression around the world, that same sense of patriotism, courage, and love can help us create a better future for our people today,” he said.

Trump, fresh from a politically oriented rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, talked about his new plan to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and efforts to expand and improve a system to shoot down missiles in flight with increased defense spending in his budget.

The president couldn’t resist a few political comments, however, noting that the veterans he spoke to backstage before his public remarks were “much more proud than they were last year at this time.”

He also mentioned the need to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, a comment made after a visit Tuesday to Yuma, Arizona near the border with Mexico.

Trump used the event to sign the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, which passed the Senate unanimously earlier this month. The legislation was co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

The legislation aims to streamline the lengthy process that veterans undergo when appealing their claims for disability benefits with the VA. More than 470,000 veterans are still waiting for decisions regarding their appeals.

Trump’s remarks were well received by the audience of several thousand veterans.

But there was no mention of Charlottesville, the border wall with Mexico or other controversies that have captivated much of the country in recent days.

Navy veteran Ken Lembrich, from Idaho Falls, Idaho, said Trump was on point and delivered a good speech.

Focusing on unity and Americans’ shared values was the right message, he said.

“It is what veterans need, what the military needs, what the country needs,“ Lembrich said. “We need to come together.”

Army veteran Marj Goosey of California also praised Trump’s comments.

“I was impressed,” she said. “I really appreciate what he had to say, particularly about cleaning up the VA system.”

Goosey, who said she voted for neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton, added that she has been impressed with his performance as president so far.

“I think he’s doing a pretty good job,” she said.

Trump was greeted on his arrival at Reno International Airport by Gov. Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Adam Laxalt on his first public appearance in the state since his election as president.

Protesters both in support and opposition to Trump lined the streets around the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, where some roads were closed and a heavy police presence was on hand. The protests did not get out of hand.

His arrival in Nevada came amid continuing controversy over his comments that “there is blame on both sides” regarding violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The American Legion, a 2 million-member veterans group, issued a statement on the eve of Trump’s appearance announcing the organization has reaffirmed a 1923 resolution that condemns racism and hate groups.

“In 1923, The American Legion passed a national resolution at our convention in San Francisco that is as relevant today as it was 94 years ago,” National Commander Charles E. Schmidt said in a statement.

Trump’s comments about the violence that erupted Aug. 12 in Charlottesville continued to shadow him during the first stop on his western trip, an appearance Tuesday at a Phoenix campaign-style rally.

Trump lost Nevada to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November 2016 general election but won Nevada’s Republican caucuses, beating a slew of seasoned GOP politicians.

Contact Sean Whaley at [email protected] or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter. Contact Ben Botkin at [email protected] or 775-461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter. White House correspondent Debra Saunders contributed to this report.

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The day white Virginia stopped admiring Gen. Robert E. Lee and started worshiping him – Washington Post

The Robert E. Lee monument and scaffolding during construction in Richmond in 1890. (Cook Collection, the Valentine)

The canonization of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee began shortly after 5 p.m., May 7, 1890, on the docks of the James River in Richmond. That’s when at least 10,000 citizens clamped 20,000 hands on ropes and hauled three huge crates a mile and a half up to the empty tobacco field above the city now known as Monument Avenue.

Inside the boxes, fresh from the sculptor’s studio in France, was the massive statue that would soon loom over not just the skyline of Richmond but the psyche of Virginia: the noble Lee mounted on his horse. It was a many-handed moment of popular acclaim that lifted Lee to new heights of esteem and helped germinate the growing perception of him as “the Commonwealth’s greatest son,” said historian Edward Ayers, who teaches at the University of Richmond.

“Lee had certainly been celebrated at the time of his death” 20 years earlier, Ayers said. “But in 1890, this was a remarkable public display that really began to put him at the top of the pantheon for white Virginians. People saved pieces of those ropes for the rest of their lives.”

In the 127 years since that day on the docks, Lee memorials have become fixtures across the country, especially in the South. Now they are coming down — often at night. In the wake of violence at a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville — a gathering meant to protest the planned removal of a Lee statue — images of the general have been removed from pedestals from Texas to North Carolina to Baltimore.

A crew covered the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Aug. 23 in black fabric following approval from the Charlottesville City Council. (Twitter/Lauren Berg via Storyful)

But nowhere is the retreat on Lee more fraught than in the Old Dominion, his beloved home state. In Virginia, Lee tributes have included at least five high schools, two elementary schools, an Army base and a university. His name is stamped on both a state holiday and a trans-commonwealth highway that stretches from Rosslyn to Bristol. The Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University in Lexington is a cathedral-worthy shrine that includes a statue of the general in eternal marble repose and his tomb one floor below it. The Lee mansion overlooking Arlington National Cemetery is a Park Service memorial that draws more than a million visitors a year.

That legacy is now under pressure all over the state. In Charlottesville, where officials are awaiting a  federal judge’s ruling on plans to remove it permanently, city workers Wednesday covered the Lee statue with black tarp. Residents of Arlington are pushing the school board there to strip Lee’s name from Washington-Lee High. Arlington County board members are seeking permission to rename the stretch of Lee Highway running through the county. R.E. Lee Memorial Church in Lexington, the historic Episcopal church where Lee once worshiped, is considering a name change.

Some of Lee’s own descendants, including Robert E. Lee V, have called for moving the memorials in the name of reconciliation, a virtue they say was their ancestor’s greatest final wish for the country.

The recumbent Statue of Robert E. Lee at his burial site on the campus of Washington & Lee University. The Confederate flags were removed in 2014. (Library of Congress)

And in Richmond itself, the former capital of the Confederacy, Mayor Levar Stoney (D) said last week that he was asking the city’s Monument Avenue Commission to examine the removal of some or all the confederate statues — including Lee’s. Asked to talk more about those plans, the mayor declined further comment.

[How statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederates got into the U.S. Capitol]

For many white Virginians, Lee ascended to the very ranks of the hallowed founders of the republic: Washington, Jefferson, Madison. When the Virginia legislature got to pick two notable natives to honor in the U.S. Capitol, it was Lee, not Jefferson, they chose to stand forever with Washington in Statuary Hall. Only one of those choices sparked controversy outside of the commonwealth; the appearance of Lee in the Capitol of the nation he went to war with was condemned by many outside the South.

The two Virginia generals first had their names linked just after Lee’s death in 1870, when Lexington’s Washington College renamed itself Washington and Lee in honor of the general who had lived out his retirement as its president. In today’s contretemps, they’ve been conjoined frequently by opponents of removing Lee statues, including President Trump.

“So this week, it’s Robert E. Lee,” Trump said at a combative news conference last week. “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?”

Whatever role Lee plays in the wider controversy engulfing the country, he has a unique role on his home turf that will  influence the debate within the commonwealth.

“Washington and Jefferson belong to the nation,” Ayers said. “Lee belongs to Virginia.”

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is shown on his mount, Traveler. (AP)

The writer Roy Blount Jr., who wrote a 2003 biography of Lee, was on hand to watch a statue of the general being dismantled in New Orleans in May. Blount, noting that the famously upstanding Lee “wasn’t really a New Orleans sort of fellow,” said onlookers made more jokes than objections as the memorial came down. He predicted that wouldn’t be the case in Virginia.  

“I imagine in Richmond there would be less laissez les bon temp rouler,” Blount said. “It would be more like someone trying to take down the statue of Louis Armstrong in New Orleans.”

The 1890 gathering of the Richmond crowd wasn’t spontaneous, and it wasn’t without controversy. The event was planned as both a practical way to haul the massive stone sculpture to its home and as a kickoff to the unveiling and dedication that would come three weeks later. John Mitchell, an African American member of the city council and editor of a black newspaper, condemned the project for celebrating Lee’s “legacy of treason and blood,” according to author Richard Schein in “Landscape and Race in the United States.”

[The truth about Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee: He wasn’t very good at his job]

But for white residents, the time was ripe that Monday to turn out for a mass benediction of Lee and the war effort he led. Twenty years after Lee’s death and 25 years after Appomattox, veterans were beginning to die in growing numbers and Confederate honor societies were springing up to memorialize them. The revisionist “Lost Cause” movement was gaining steam, and Lee — whose reputation for rectitude made him an acceptable icon even to some northern whites — was the perfect “marble man” to change the narrative of the rebellion from slavery to honor, Blount said.

“He enabled people to put a kind of gentlemanly High-Church face on the Confederacy,” said Blount. “It was a time when people were trying to establish the idea of white supremacy. You can bet the 20,000 who showed up were white people.”

Indeed so, according to The Washington Post’s front-page dispatch from the scene, under the headline “Drawn by Fair Hands.” A good number of those jostling to take part in the tug-of-Lee were women, young girls and babes in arms. “Little tots were carried out into the streets in their mothers’ arms, and their small hands placed upon the ropes,” the report said.

The next day’s Chicago Tribune described a festive throng, with aging soldiers in their battle grays and Confederate flags waving over the crowd. The massive crates containing eight tons of Lee and his horse were mounted on three wagons, each with 200 feet of rope attached in twin lengths. One was pulled by citizens, one by veterans and the third by women. Porches along the route were packed with onlookers, and so many people tried to join in the pulling that 700 more feet of rope was added.

“When the procession reached the monument pedestal, the crowd began to cut the rope,” the Tribune reported. “The police at first attempted to stop this, but their efforts were useless and the hemp was soon stored in pockets as souvenirs.”

White nationalists walk toward Virginia State Police at the Lee statue in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. The rally, which led to the death of a counterprotester, was held to protest the removal of the memorial. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Lee himself would have eschewed such relics and rituals, scholars say. He spoke against monuments as irritating “the sores of war,” and his modesty would have made him chafe at hero worship, Blount said. Nor would Lee have appreciated the appearance of white supremacists and neo-Nazis earlier this month to protest the proposed removal of his image from the park in Charlottesville.

“He would have thought of them as rabble,” Blount said. “He would not have liked to be honored by these roughnecks.”

But the seeds were planted for a flowering of Lee worship that is now under intense review. And no memorial may be harder to move than Lee’s towering image in Richmond — the one dragged there by “fair hands” and long ropes a century and a quarter ago.

Correction: An earlier version of this story did not make it clear that Lee’s statue and tomb at Washington and Lee University are on different floors of the Lee Chapel. This version has been updated. 

Read more Retropolis:

Neo-Nazis rallied around Jefferson’s statue. But it was a Jewish family that saved Monticello.

Trump said to study General Pershing. Here’s what the president got wrong.

The day 30,000 white supremacists in KKK robes marched in the nation’s capital

The shadow of an assassinated American Nazi commander hangs over Charlottesville

Death of ‘a devil’: The white supremacist got hit by a car. His victims celebrated.

Removing a slavery defender’s statue: Roger B. Taney wrote one of Supreme Court’s worst rulings

‘Then they came for me’: A Hitler supporter’s haunting warning has a complicated history

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See Inside Europe's Biggest Video Gaming Convention – Fortune

Welcome to The Heart of Gaming, Europe’s biggest video game trade fair. Gamescom, as it is usually known, runs from Aug. 23-27 in Cologne, Germany., and is a magnet for gamers and video game developers to test and show off upcoming games, innovations, and hardware.

One of the biggest gaming companies, Nintendo, announced a new feature for its retro SNES Classic—it rewinds! Basically players will be able to go back in time in certain role-playing games. There are also a number of new game trailers from big companies like EA Microsoft and Activision Blizzard including for the upcoming games Overwatch: Junkertown, Star Wars Battlefront II, and The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs.

Merkel stands next to a screen depicting a Minecraft rendition of her and the Reichstag building during the opening of the world’s largest computer games fair Gamescom in Cologne, Germany on August 22, 2017.  Wolfgang Rattay — Reuters 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel even gave a speech to open the event on Tuesday in front of the press before the official event started. “Computer and video games are of the utmost importance as cultural assets, as a driving force for innovation and as an economic factor,” she said, “which is why I was also very pleased to come to Cologne to provide this developing industry with my recommendation.” Afterwards she was photographed surrounded by cosplayers, with a Minecraft version of herself, and was photographed playing Farming Simulator.

Click through the gallery above for more photos from Gamescom.

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MGM Grand to offer new casino VR experience – Las Vegas Review-Journal

The MGM Grand is bringing to Las Vegas a virtual reality experience that will put participants inside the type of apocalyptical and fantastical video games they can play on their home computer.

MGM Resorts International has teamed up with Australia-based VR game maker Zero Latency to bring three “free-roaming” social gaming experiences to the Level Up lounge starting Sept. 8. The MGM Grand will become the seventh U.S. location to host Zero Latency games.

The Zombie Survival and Singularity games will require teams to kill zombies and robots as the they roam through what appears to be buildings and streets. Engineerum will require a team to solve physics puzzles as they move along a path in space.

The games differ from most VR experiences on the market because they are social, competitive and played over a wide-ranging space, said Andre Lawless, a U.S. marketing representative at Zero Latency.

Players see each other as digital avatars and are able to communicate with one another through the microphones. In Zombie Survival, players see each other as soldiers while in Engineerum they appear as fantasy creatures. Players can also see their individual and group scores in real time.

Many VR experiences on the market are made for individual players, limit their movement and are passive in nature. The Zero Latency games at the MGM Grand will be 30 minutes long, include up to eight players and cost $50 a person.

Alanah Pearce, an Australian YouTube blogger and a self-proclaimed VR fan, last year posted her review of the Zombie Survival game to her 113,000 subscribers.

She described the game as basic and the graphics as grainy, but she said the experience was nonetheless “epic.”

“Having a zombie run up at you when you are not expecting it and having to step back

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Trainer used martial arts gym as gaming house – The Straits Times

A gongfu trainer who used a Chinese martial arts gym as a gaming house was jailed for 10 days and fined $10,000 on Tuesday.

Tan Soh Tin, 74, admitted to allowing the public to enter the premises at Lorong 15 Geylang to play mahjong.

Prosecution officer Kelvin Lee Ming Woei said that acting on information received, police raided the premises on Feb 14 and arrested Tan, two co-accused and four others that day.

Investigations showed that Tan had rented the premises for $2,000 a month to operate a Chinese martial arts gym known as Master Tan’s Gym. But he also set up two mahjong tables for members of the public, who would pay to play.

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The money he got from this went to covering part of his rental cost.

Assistant Superintendent Lee said that to manage the sessions, Tan enlisted the help of Chua Thian Lye, 66, and Sim Kim Huat, 65, who would collect $3 from each player for every round played.

In a round, a total of $12 would be collected from all the players.

Chua and Sim, whose cases will be mentioned next Wednesday, admitted to playing mahjong the day they were caught and said that they had found out about the mahjong sessions through word of mouth.

The stakes involved were about $100 to $200 a game.

The other four players were fined between $1,000 and $2,000 each for gaming.

Tan could have been fined up to $50,000 and jailed for up to three years for the offence.

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