— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 26, 2015
And women everywhere said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Also, “Um…no.”
On Memorial Day, a day that we remember and honor our fallen heroes, those who gave the “last full measure of devotion” for their country and for the cause of freedom, President Obama took a few minutes out of his busy day (which no doubt will include some time on the golf course) to make sure all Americans know that this whole business we’re caught up in over in Afghanistan is not a real war — because he was the Great War Hero who ended that war.
“Hi, everybody!” Obama breezily begins his solemn tribute to our fallen heroes. “This year, the holiday is especially meaningful. It’s the first Memorial Day since our war ended in Afghanistan.”
The president paid tribute to Specialist Wyatt Martin and Sergeant First Class Ramon Morris, who were “the final two Americans to give their lives during our combat mission in Afghanistan.” He then drew a contrast between the service of those who died before Obama unilaterally ended the war in Afghanistan in December and those who have given their lives since that date, noting that Army combat medic Corporal John Dawson was “the first American to give his life in this new mission.”
We still have 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, some of whom may not make it home to their families. Are those who die in Afghanistan from here on out going to have “this new mission” (or “this new ambiguous and convoluted mission”) engraved on their headstones at Arlington National Cemetery? Because of Obama’s ego and his fear of the left wing of his party, the families of American soldiers who die in combat will be denied the honor of saying their loved one died in a real war. Instead, they’ll have to mumble something about them dying in Obama’s Debacle in Afghanistan.
Because, you know, everything after December doesn’t count as a real war because Obama declared “game over” and turned his attention to global warming. Meanwhile, our soldiers in Afghanistan daily risk their lives so Obama has the luxury of hob-knobbing with his celebrity friends who sit around fretting about global warming and boasting about whose toilet uses the least amount of water.
Cleveland police were taking no chances in the wake of the acquittal of police officer Michael Brelo, going to great lengths to ensure that Saturday afternoon’s peaceful protests didn’t evolve into violent riots like Baltimore and Ferguson have experienced in recent months.
In addition to having the National Guard on standby, police followed protesters through the streets and arrested anyone who acted violently or refused to obey police orders to disperse. A total of 71 people were arrested, including one journalist who left his press pass at home.
“We only moved into make arrests when things got violent and protesters refused to disperse,” [Police Chief Calvin] Williams said. “We wanted to make sure people understand we are going to help you in this process, but if things turn violent, we will take action to preserve safety.”
While most of the protests were peaceful throughout the day, Williams said, “things got more aggressive” in the early afternoon hours.
The first incident happened on Huron Avenue outside Quicken Loans Arena. Three people were arrested there.
Williams said that one of the protesters picked up a restaurant sign and threw it at a bar patron walking into the building. The sign hit that person in the head. Williams said two others tried to fight with police while that person who threw the sign was being arrested.
Another fight broke out between protesters and patrons of Greenhouse Tavern after demonstrators went to the East 4th Street restaurant strip. Four others were arrested there.
Two more were arrested about a half-hour later on Euclid Avenue near East 8th Street. Williams said some protesters there used pepper spray on bar patrons who were standing outside.
The final clash came after protesters ended up blocked into Johnson Court between West 6th Street and West 9th Street.
Williams said police reported seeing “random acts of violence” between protesters and patrons of the popular nightlife area. Williams said police made dozens of commands for the protesters to disperse.
He said they then decided the situation became dangerous for the bystanders, protesters and police officers. Dozens were arrested there, including Northeast Ohio Media Group crime editor Kris Wernowsky, who was later released.
“When people are given a command to disperse from what started off as a lawful protest and degenerated into random acts of violence against people just standing on the street, we have to move in and enforce our laws,” Williams said. “And that’s what we did.”
Williams said that police will not be in riot gear “unless i’ts appropriate” but added that officers will continue to escort protesters throughout the city.
The Cavaliers will play Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night. LeBron James has called for peace. ”For the city of Cleveland, let’s use our excitement or whatever passion that we have for our sport tomorrow, for the game tomorrow night, bring it tomorrow night … our team we’ll try to do our best to give it back to them,” James said following the Cavaliers’ light workout on Saturday.
The approach the city of Cleveland is taking seems to be working. No businesses were looted or destroyed on Saturday and there were no reports of injuries. The streets have thus far been calm on Sunday as well.
Word came down there'd be a protest around here on Cleveland's far east side. Media here, police here. No protesters. pic.twitter.com/LovQSrxSsS
— Nick Castele (@NickCastele) May 24, 2015
Heard from folks around here amused and puzzled at the media & police presence. One woman asks, Is this about that thing yesterday?
— Nick Castele (@NickCastele) May 24, 2015
"Ain't no story here," one man says as he passes reporters and activist on CLE east side. Adds: Nobody's going to tear up my neighborhood.
— Nick Castele (@NickCastele) May 24, 2015
Small protest walking east on St. Clair in Cleveland. Police clearing traffic for them. Neighbors watch as they pass. pic.twitter.com/IIL2NaWfPI
— Nick Castele (@NickCastele) May 24, 2015
Indians attendance 27,000 plus. Protesters 150 most from out of town and paid. Nobody cares. No major news coverage at all. #BreloVerdict
— Truth Hurts (@bbterps03) May 24, 2015
— Mark Froelich – C-N (@cnmarkfroelich) May 24, 2015
Also, this is insane. Someone needs to get these babies out of traffic and explain to this father that putting your children in danger in order to make them props for your cause is not cool:
— Alyssa Raymond (@AlyssaRaymond) May 24, 2015
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) May 23, 2015
A man protesting the verdict in the Michael Brelo case in Cleveland walked the streets on Saturday in slave garb. His hands were shackled with chains, he wore torn clothing, and he had a hand-written sign taped to his back that read “NEW SLAVES.”
State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) had a strong reaction when she saw video of the protester during her appearance on local station WEWS. “That visual disturbs me a bit,” Turner said. “And I hope that the understanding of the history…that African Americans were shackled and chained and brought over to this country for 400 years…. I want to make sure they’re not minimizing the struggle of the ancestors.”
“Okay, we are enduring our own type of struggle, but my God!” said Turner, who teaches African American history at the local community college.
“While I respect our young people and their bringing this out in a very powerful way, let’s understand that for 400 years this country was built on the blood, sweat and tears of African Americans who were brought here on ships and chained and shackled and sold on auction blocks,” Turner continued. “Now we’ve gotta understand this. And I want to make sure we’re not minimizing what happened to our ancestors in our frustration to get our story out today. So as a historian …. I’m troubled by this visual.”
Oddly enough, Turner didn’t shy away from using Jim Crow imagery in 2012 when she used it to describe our voting laws. Appearing on CNN’s Newsroom Turner, who unsuccessfully ran for secretary of state last year, said that “Jim Crow has been resurrected” Ohio, referring to what she called voter suppression happening in “Democratic areas and also areas that are predominantly African-American.”
“It’s tragic that in the 21st century, 2012, we have voter suppression going on,” Turner said. ”You know, Jim Crow has been resurrected, making repeat performances in the South and has packed his bags and moved north, in Ohio in particular.”
Pot, meet kettle.
Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell ruled on Saturday that white Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo is not guilty of two charges of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of two black individuals after a police chase in November of 2012. O’Donnell, a Democrat who lost his election for a spot on the Ohio Supreme Court last year, ruled that although Brelo did fire lethal shots at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams other officers also fired fatal shots, so he could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Brelo’s bullets — and no others — killed Williams and Russell. Police officers fired 137 rounds at the car, including 49 by Officer Brelo. O’Donnell, who spent nearly an hour methodically explaining his 35-page opinion, also found Brelo not guilty of the charge of felonious assault, ruling that Brelo’s decision to use force was “constitutionally reasonable,” despite the fact that there was no gun found in the vehicle. His “perceptions were objectively reasonable,” said O’Donnell, who found Brelo not guilty on all charges. The police chase that ended in the fatal shootings involved 62 police cruisers and 100 officers. More than 70 officers and supervisors were disciplined for their roles in the chase. Brelo was charged with voluntary manslaughter because prosecutors said his actions went beyond the use of reasonable force when he jumped onto the hood of Russell’s car and shot straight down at Russell and Williams, violating police protocols. The defense argued that Brelo feared for his life, believing that Russell and Williams had a gun and had fired shots. There has been much discussion in the Cleveland media in recent weeks about when the verdict would be released, anticipating that a not guilty verdict could spark potentially violent protests in the area. The city is also awaiting the results of the investigation into the shooting death of teenager Tamir Rice, who was shot by police after he was seen waving a pellet gun at a public park. Unlike the city of Ferguson, which released the results of the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting on a Monday night, just before dark, Cleveland chose a Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. on a holiday weekend when downtown is relatively empty to make this announcement. The Cavaliers, who are in the midst of a playoff run, have a home game tomorrow night and the Indians have afternoon games Saturday and Sunday, which the city certainly took into consideration when making this decision. The 4:10 p.m. Indians game is scheduled to go on as planned. The city seems to be preparing for the worst with the National Guard on standby. My husband works for a major employer in downtown Cleveland and we just received a call from the emergency response center informing us about the outcome of the trial and saying that for now, all offices remain open, but employees should be prepared for changes. In the 15 years my husband has been employed there, the only time I recall receiving a call through this system was when the company closed for extreme weather. One high school that had its prom planned at the Cleveland Convention Center has moved the event to another location. There are scattered protests around the city, and police have closed some roads near the Justice Center. The protests have thus far been peaceful, though larger crowds are beginning to gather and block roads in the area. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who is black, said in a press conference this afternoon, ”My expectation… was that it would be a very difficult, uphill battle to get a conviction.” Asked if he was disappointed in the verdict Jackson said, “I’m the mayor, so I will maintain mayoral posture regarding whether I’m disappointed or not.” Police Chief Calvin Williams, also black, announced that ”Officer Brelo will remain on unpaid suspension from Cleveland police,” pending internal review. Jackson said, “We fully expect that people will express their dissatisfaction with the verdict.” Former state representative Nina Turner responded on Twitter, expressing her disappointment and calling for protests:
Ohio State Representative Andy Thompson noticed something ironic about the new Thomas Edison statue that was unveiled in Columbus on Wednesday:
Surrounded by school children wearing orange “We Are Edison” t-shirts, the 6-feet, 10-inch tall bronze statue of Thomas Alva Edison was put on display in the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse, where it will remain until October. After that it will be shipped to Washington, D.C., to replace the statue of Gov. William Allen that currently represents the state in National Statuary Hall. Ohio lawmakers have been trying to replace the statute of the former Democratic governor, congressman, and U.S. senator because of his support for slavery and opposition to the Civil War.
The Edison statue has its right arm raised and in his hand Edison clutches the (now-practically illegal) incandescent light bulb he helped to perfect.
Dairy Queen has announced it will remove sodas from its kids’ menu effective September 1 of this year. The company made the announcement earlier this week in a letter addressed to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“Under our recommendation, drinks such as milk and bottled water would solely be listed as menu options at DQ locations. I am pleased to inform you that during our most recent meeting, the FAC (Franchise Advisory Council) voted unanimously to remove soft drinks from our kids’ menu,” William Barrier, executive vice president of product development and quality, wrote in the letter.
Instead of soda, children will be offered water or milk. The restaurant joins McDonald’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Wendy’s, and Panera in removing soda from their children’s menus.
Dairy Queen i as subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, which happens to be Coca Cola’s largest shareholder and the largest beverage supplier to U.S. restaurants. Restaurants have been feeling pressure from public interest groups focused on reducing childhood obesity, including First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Drink Up’’ campaign, which encourages Americans to drink more water. As a result, soda sales have been tanking in recent years.
But soda will have a tougher time winning over the next generation if it can’t reach it easily, with some data suggesting U.S. consumption is falling faster among youth than adults.
Some 63.7% of Americans younger than 18 had a carbonated soft drink at least once in two weeks in early 2014, down from 77.3% a decade earlier, according to market researcher NPD Group. Over the same period consumption dropped to 74.3% from 81.7% among adult men and to 70.2% from 78.6% among adult women.
Outside the home, annual per capita soda servings for children between six and 12 years dropped to 33.5 in 2014 from 44.8 in 2009. For children younger than six, servings fell to 19.9 from 27.7 over the same period, according to NPD. It estimates children consume about 40% of their soda away from home.
According to Food World News, soda manufacturers are complicit in this movement to keep their products out of the hands of children:
Back in 2006, the three major soda companies in the world (Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper) agreed to take soft drinks off schools, and now they claim they don’t target children in marketing their products – they’ve also agreed to lower the sugar amounts in the drinks.
What we’re seeing here is the soda industry voluntarily participating in its own demise. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Dr. Pepper — and even shareholders like Berkshire Hathaway — are cheerfully going along with the systematic, selective removal of their products from key markets. Will they allow this to continue until sugary soft drinks are banned altogether? These companies are so frightened of the backlash from these health-conscious, anti-sugar bullies that they are willing to stand by as their profitable sugary sodas are deleted from restaurant menus and banned from vending machines. I’ve never heard of a business model like this working, but maybe that 280,000% markup they get on bottled water will make up the difference. That, or they’re planning on a government bailout when their industry goes belly up in a few years. (That’s where I’d put my money.)
Actor and comedian Ed Helms spoke at the University of Virginia’s commencement this weekend and didn’t hold back in his criticism of Rolling Stone’s coverage of the now-debunked rape scandal.
“Now, I know that the UVA community has some experience being defined by outsiders,” Helms told students. “It has been said that a rolling stone gathers no moss. I would add that sometimes a Rolling Stone gathers no verifiable facts or even the tiniest morsels of journalistic integrity.”
“Rolling Stone tried to define you this year,” he added. “As a result, not only was this community thrown deep into turmoil, but the incredibly important struggle to address sexual violence on campuses nationwide is suddenly more confusing than ever and needlessly set back.”
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges went ballistic this week after state treasurer Josh Mandel went off script and publicly endorsed Marco Rubio for president.
Mandel, a Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq, wrote this week at the Daily Caller:
I originally got to know Marco through hours of windshield time criss-crossing Ohio, discussing family, football and foreign policy. I was impressed by his strategic and decisive approach to the complicated foreign policy challenges we face as well as his sound judgment and clear vision on how to protect America and advance American values. As a United States Senator serving on the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Marco has been a strong and thoughtful leader on the foreign policy and national security challenges facing our nation.
Plain Dealer reporter Henry Gomez, who generally treats Kasich with the
deference pandering due someone to whom one wants access on the presidential campaign trail, wrote this week:
Matt Borges was steaming…Borges, a top Kasich booster, couldn’t help himself. He texted one reporter airborne for Phoenix for the RNC meetings and called another back home to vent.
“The smart political move would be to wait and see if [Kasich] decides to get in,” Borges said. He added, in a sharp elbow at Mandel: “I don’t think that not having the support of a bit player is going to impact that decision one way or the other.”
Currently Ohio’s state treasurer, Mandel unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. senate against Democrat incumbent Sherrod Brown in 2012 and is popular with conservatives in the state. Though he endorsed Borges for chairman and Kasich for governor (and campaigned for him), this isn’t the first time Mandel has veered from the party line. He opposed Governor Kasich’s Medicaid expansion and has been a vocal opponent of Common Core, a policy that Kasich enthusiastically supports. Mandel, who may try again to run for senate, has also held the state’s feet to the fire by placing the state’s checkbook online with his Transparency Project. In retaliation for Mandel’s disloyalty, Kasich line-item vetoed technology funding for Mandel’s office. One doesn’t disagree with Ohio’s thin-skinned governor with impunity.
Though he’s still the chairman of the Ohio GOP, Matt Borges has been wearing a lot of different hats lately. In addition to his duties as chairman, Borges is a member of the RNC Debate Committee. He’s also a top cheerleader for Kasich’s presidential aspirations. ”I hope he runs. He would make a great candidate; he would make a great president,” Borges said during an Ohio Newspaper Association conference event in Columbus earlier this year.
Borges’s reaction to Mandel’s endorsement of Rubio this week not only demonstrated how easy it is to ruffle Team Kasich’s feathers, but it also served as a shot across the bow to other Ohio Republicans. The Ohio Republican Party represents Kasich now, not the rest of the state’s Republican elected leaders. They’ve been warned that if they don’t endorse Kasich’s impending presidential campaign, they will be attacked publicly. This governor demands allegiance.
Borges recently told a group of Republican women that the Fox News debate in Cleveland in August would be the first opportunity to start to pare down the field. He said candidates like Donald Trump and John Bolton would be easy cuts, but others, like Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson would be more difficult. “Is it good for our party to cut out the one woman and the one minority candidate and then have ten white guys standing up on stage? I don’t think so,” Borges said at a recent Ohio Federation of Republican Women meeting. (Hispanic = white according to the debate committee? Interesting.)
Borges and others on the debate committee are going to have a difficult time justifying the Ohio governor’s inclusion in the debate, should he decide to run, but you can bet they are going to try. The argument will be that Ohio is the most important swing state in the nation and the party would be committing political suicide by excluding the only candidate who can win Ohio. Or something. But according to the RCP average, Kasich is currently polling at 2%, far behind “the one minority candidate” Ben Carson, who is at 7.8% (Fiorna is trailing both at 1.3%).
In the end, the decision about whom to include in the debates will not be made based on mathematical calculations, but on RNC machinations — or so it seems. Kasich has a powerful ally on the debate committee in Borges. And in the meantime, woe to any Ohio Republicans who don’t fall in line and kiss the ring of King John.
Britain is too “passively tolerant” and should not leave people to live their lives as they please just because they obey the law, David Cameron has said.
At the National Security Council today Mr Cameron unveiled a series of measures that he said would crack down on people holding minority “extremist” views that differed from Britain’s consensus.
“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’,” he said.
“It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.”
Britain is trying to figure out how to to deal with the ongoing threat of Muslim extremism and fears about what exactly is going on in those segregated Muslim communities that practice Sharia law and reject Western values. David Cameron thinks the best way to calm the fears of Brits and alleviate the threat is to crack down on free speech. The measures Cameron is proposing would attempt to track down individuals thought to be “extremists.” Courts would be allowed to force them to send their tweets and Facebook posts to the police for approval and they would be banned from telling their friends that their communications are being monitored. They would also be banned from the airwaves.
FLASHBACK: Obama’s federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database to track hate speech and “misinformation” on Twitter. In addition, the National Science Foundation has received nearly $1 million in funding to create the “Truthy” database to rack “political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution,” the Washington Times reported last year.
ANOTHER FLASHBACK: Daily Mail headline: “Brotherly love: Obama gives his ‘bro’ Cameron an extraordinary pre-election endorsement as his ‘outstanding partner.’”
Two peas in a pod. Birds of a feather. Soviet soulmates.
Megyn Kelly interviewed former Governor Jeb Bush on Monday and took the opportunity to ask him about his support for the Common Core education standards. Unfortunately, she asked the wrong questions and didn’t follow up when Bush gave a glib and weaselly little speech about how he’s a firm believer that the federal government shouldn’t be involved in education standards.
Kelly noted that Common Core is wildly unpopular with Republican voters. According to the latest Gallup poll, 58% of Republican parents have a negative view of it and only 19% favor it. “They say it makes no sense. It forces teaching to the test. They say kids are in tears over it. Are they wrong?” Kelly asked.
Common Core means a lot of things to different people, so they could be right based on what’s in front of them. I respect people having a view, but the simple fact is we need higher standards. They need to be state driven. The federal government should play no role in this, either in the creation of standards, content or curriculum. That’s what I believe. And if we don’t have high standards and assess to them faithfully, we get what we have today which is about a third of our kids being college and/or career ready. And by the way, we spend more per student than any other country in the world other than two or three countries.
But the federal government does play a role — a huge role — in the Common Core standards and Bush knows it.
The next logical questions should have been, “You say you don’t believe the federal government should have a role in education standards, but it’s been well-documented that the federal government has been an integral driver of the adoption of the Common Common standards and we know they are playing a significant role in driving the testing which has caused considerable consternation to parents and teachers across the country. Some say your position on this doesn’t square with the facts about Common Core. How do you respond?”
But Kelly didn’t press Bush on his inconsistency. She didn’t ask him how the federal coercion that resulted in near-national standards aligns with his view that the feds shouldn’t be involved in standards. Instead, she asked him about those confusing math lessons.
“It sounds good. Like higher standards sound good. But what they seem to be complaining about is that in practice, it’s irritating,” Kelly said. “The kids don’t like it, the parents don’t like it, the teachers don’t like it.”
Bush responded, “I hear legitimate complaints about it changing, which is a dramatic change as it relates to math, where you’re not just memorizing a multiplication table or an addition table, but you’re also…in the classroom, you’re challenging kids to explain why you got to — “
“You’ve got to understand it now,” Kelly interrupted.
Bush went on to explain that the standards would enable kids to eventually take “higher order math.”
Kelly asked him how he expected to get the GOP base to support him when they disagree with him on this issue. Bush said that he would stand on his record of success as governor of Florida — ending social promotion, expanding school choice, and increasing graduation rates.
But that was all before Common Core. Everything changed in 2009 when 46 states agreed to implement common standards in exchange for a chance to compete for federal Race to the Top funding.
Ultimately, the buck stops at the tests. Testing drives everything from publishing, to local hiring decisions, to the way math is taught in kindergarten. Advocates of the Common Core standards claim there will be no erosion of local control and deny there will be any federal influence on state and local decision-making. But it won’t be local teachers and school board members — or even states — deciding what will be on the high-stakes tests, and within a few years those tests will be the primary driver of what is taught in most of the classrooms across the country.
The Common Core standards will eventually lead to a one-size-fits all, top-down education with little opportunity for individual choice or state innovation because all children will have to pass the same tests. As Common Core takes root in local districts and classrooms nationwide, local control and state innovation will be abandoned as schools move increasingly toward a nationally directed approach to education with decisions overseen by officials at the Department of Education.
It’s a shame Kelly didn’t ask Bush about that. In fact, after the interview aired, she discussed the subject with Mark Theisen and seemed to defend Bush’s positions.
“It’s seen as a federal takeover of the education system,” Theisen said.
Sigh. I hope the next time Bush sits down for an interview someone thinks to ask him about something more substantive than those irritating math lessons, because the most serious charges Common Core opponents levy against the standards are not about individual math problems, but about the federal takeover of our education system.
Presidential candidate Ted Cruz introduced his mother to the world in a touching video tribute timed to coincide with the Mother’s Day holiday. We’ve heard a lot about — and from — Cruz’s father, Raphael Cruz, but until now, his mother has remained out of the spotlight.
“I always knew I was loved,” Cruz says in the video. “Whatever I did, there was nothing I could do to change that.” He clutched his mother’s hand and added, “My mom’s always been a best friend to me.”
“This is just overwhelming,” Eleanor Darragh confesses. “I look at him and think, ‘This is my son! I can’t believe it!’” She said that Ted was always an overachiever, “but this is somewhat beyond that.”
Darragh said that she has a prayer partner and teared up when she explained, “We pray for his safety continually.”
Ted’s wife, Heidi, also makes an appearance in the video, receiving high praise from her husband.
Asked what life was like with Heidi as the mother of his children, Heidi interrupted and said, “Dramatic!”
The Cruz’s laughed and Sen. Cruz said, “Heidi is an incredible mom. There is no one on the planet that our daughters adore more than their mom.”
The video was a very sweet way for Cruz to honor the two most important women in his life on Mother’s Day.
Former New York Governor George Pataki told the crowd at the South Carolina Freedom Summit on Saturday that he would reduce the federal workforce by “at least 15%.” Sounding very much like a presidential candidate (or like someone who is vying for the VP spot), Pataki said that the federal government is too big with too many bureaucrats and federal workers and it needs to be scaled back. But unlike other presidential candidates (Ted Cruz and Rand Paul for example) who have said we need to get rid of entire departments like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, Pataki just thinks they need to be scaled back a bit.
And by the way, when we repeal ObamaCare, we won’t need as many bureaucrats in the health department; when we get rid of Common Core, we won’t need as many workers in the education department; when we stop the EPA trying to shut down American energy, we won’t need as many bureaucrats in the EPA; and when we end the political use of government bureaucrats, we can have a much smaller IRS and get rid of every one of them involved in those political scandals.
Pataki added, “We can reduce the size of the federal workforce by at least 15 percent.”
Woo hoo. Now that’s what you aspirational leadership!
Pardon me if I look elsewhere for some glimmer of hope that we can save this country.
From a recent report by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP):
Three-quarters of emergency physicians report that emergency visits are going up, according to a new poll. This represents a significant increase from just one year ago when less than half reported increases…
…Most of the respondents to the poll report little or no reductions in the volume of emergency visits due to the availability of urgent care centers, retail clinics and telephone triage lines. About 90 percent of more than 2,000 respondents also say the severity of illness or injury among emergency patients has either increased (44 percent) or remained the same (42 percent).
Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to solve the problem of people going to the ER for routine medical problems? We were told that if everyone had “healthcare” — either through the ACA exchanges or through Medicaid expansion — people would be able to go to their family doctors for routine care and emergency rooms would no longer be overrun by individuals who aren’t actually experiencing emergencies.
As it turns out, Medicaid patients can’t get appointments with physicians.
“America has severe primary care physician shortages, and many physicians will not accept Medicaid patients because Medicaid pays so inadequately,” said Michael Gerardi, MD, FAAP, FACEP, president of the ACEP.
The report — commissioned by the Emergency Medicine Action Fund — found that the median wait time to see a physician in the Medicaid managed care plan is two weeks but over one-quarter of the providers had a wait time of more than a month for an appointment.
As predicted, adding millions of able-bodied, working adults (most of whom who don’t have children) to the already overburdened Medicaid rolls is putting the most vulnerable in our society at risk — and it hasn’t even fixed most of the problems it promised to solve.
“Just because people have health insurance does not mean they have access to timely medical care,” Gerardi said.
That’s what we’ve been saying. Obamacare ≠ health care. It simply gave the nanny state do-gooders a reason to pat themselves on the backs for doing something to “fix health care,” when in reality all they did was generate thousands of pages of regulations that are decimating our nation’s health care system from the ground up.
The city that regulates and taxes basically everything — and bans what isn’t taxed and regulated — is upset because the Obama administration has told them to remove billboards in iconic Times Square or face a $90 million loss in federal funding.
According to CBS New York:
The feds say many of Times Square’s huge and neon-lit billboards must come down or the city will lose about $90 million in federal highway money. The edict comes from a 2012 law that makes Times Square an arterial route to the national highway system. And that puts it under the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, which limits signs to 1,200 square feet. It took the feds until now to realize that Times Square was included, Kramer reported.
Flushing resident Kevin Watson was upset to hear that signs might disappear: ”We’re going to let outsiders who sit in a cramped room that have nothing to do with our city as far as partaking in it on an everyday basis change something that means something to the entire world?” said Watson. “That makes total sense, just like everything else the federal government does,” he said sarcastically.
City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told CBS New York that the signs will stay.
“We’re not going to be taking down the billboards in Times Square. We’re going to work with the federal government and the state and find a solution,” Trottenberg said.
“The signs in Times Square are wonderful. They’re iconic. They’re not only a global tourist attraction, they’re important to the economy,” Trottenberg said.
The outrage is adorable, considering all the things New York City banned just during Michael Bloomberg’s 12-year tenure as mayor. From Gizmodo:
- Smoking in commercial establishments like bars and restaurants (2003)
- Smoking in public spaces (2011)
- Cigarette sales to those under 21 (2013)
- Sales of “flavored” tobacco products (2009)
- Smoking e-cigarettes in public spaces (2013) ***
- Cigarette in-store displays (2013)
- Cars in Times Square (2009)
- Cars from driving in newly created bike lanes (2007-2013)
- Cars causing congestion below 60th Street in Manhattan (2007) *
- Speeding on residential “slow zones” (2013)
- Illegal guns (2006-2013) **
- Sodium levels in processed foods (2010) **
- Trans-fats in restaurants (2006)
- Loud headphones (2013) **
- Styrofoam packaging in single-service food items (2013)
- Sodas larger than 16 ounces (2012) *
- Collection of yard waste and grass clippings during certain times of year (2003-2013)
- Organic food waste from landfills (2013) **
- Commercial music over 45 decibels (2013)
- Chain restaurant menus without calorie counts (2008)
- The posting of signs in “city-owned grassy areas” (2013)
- Non-fuel-efficient cabs (2007)
- New cabs that aren’t Nissan NV200s (2013) *
- Greenhouse gas emissions (2007)
- Government buildings that aren’t LEED-certified (2005)
- Non-hurricane-proof buildings in coastal areas (2013)
- Black roofs (2009) **
- Construction cranes over 25 years old (2013)
- No. 6 and No. 4 “heavy” heating oils (2011)
- Less than a 2-1 ratio of female and male restrooms in new public buildings (2005)
- Cell phones in schools (2006)
- Two-term limits for city elected officials (2008) *
This fight with the Obama administration is some sort of bureaucratic karma, if you ask me. I say any city that oozes government control out of every pore and sidewalk crack — and that voted in overwhelming numbers for President Obama (twice) — ought to quit whining and welcome its federal overlords with open arms.
* Overruled/appealed ban
** Suggested/voluntary ban
*** Proposed/pending ban
Samaria Rice, the mother of a Cleveland teenager who was shot and killed by police last November, has “been forced to move to a homeless shelter because she could no longer live next door to the killing field of her son,” according to a court motion filed on Monday. The estate of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by police in a Cleveland park after he was seen branding a realistic-looking pellet gun, has filed a civil suit against the city of Cleveland and the two officers involved in the shooting. Attorneys for the estate are asking the court to deny a motion to hold off the civil suit while the criminal investigation continues.
Citing delays in the investigation, lawyers for Rice say the court must allow the case to proceed before the investigation is complete because of the important symbolic nature of the case. “The shooting of unarmed African-American males (in this case child) by police officers has become the leading social justice issue of international concern.” They add that “peaceful protestations” have developed in major cities across the county and therefore “there is paramount public concern about this proceedings as opposed to any other excessive force type case.”
Asked by NPR for his response to reports that Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley of South Carolina had accused him of “hiding behind Jesus” for why he expanded Medicaid through Obamacare, Kasich fired back.
“I’m really not hiding behind anybody,” Kasich said, adding, “The last Republican I can think of who expanded Medicaid was Ronald Reagan. OK? People tend to forget that. … If other people don’t want to take the money, that’s up to them, but I got money I can bring home to Ohio. It’s my money. There’s no money in Washington. It’s my money. It’s the money of the people who live in my state.”
Anytime Gov. Kasich opens his mouth to talk about Medicaid expansions, you can be sure either an absurd canard or an outright falsehood will spew forth. Ohio’s governor, who is positioning himself to run for president, brags incessantly about his history as a budget hawk during his time in Congress in the ’90s, but apparently sees no contradiction between claiming to be a fiscal conservative and expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of able-bodied working, childless adults. Nevermind that he did so by circumventing the state legislature, adding to the federal debt and imperiling the benefits of the most vulnerable Ohioans — because it’s his money.
Jason Hart at Watchdog.org recently reported:
Americans’ tax burden is already $3 billion heavier because of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare…
…After Kasich expanded Medicaid unilaterally, a state panel approved $2.56 billion in Obamacare spending for the expansion’s first 18 months. The money was meant to last until July, but it ran out in February.
Kasich’s Obamacare expansion cost $323 million in March — 84 percent greater than estimates revised just six months earlier.
In media appearances Kasich has repeated — over and over again — that Medicaid expansion brings “Ohio money” back to Ohio, as if there’s a special pot of unclaimed “Ohio money” just sitting in Washington waiting for a savvy governor to claim it. Now he’s taken that false claim to a new level by arrogantly boasting, “It’s my money.” The truth? Medicaid expansion is paid for with new federal spending from a government that is $18 trillion in debt. If those Kasich apologists at Fox News (who seem to be giving him more air time than Karl Rove these days) could stop swooning over the Republican moderate for just a few minutes, perhaps they’d ask Mr. “I-was-in-the-Tea-party-before-there-was-a-Tea-party” about these contradictions in his narrative. I’m not holding my breath.
And while we’re on the subject of falsehoods, let’s just dispel with this notion that Kasich is “just like Ronald Reagan” because they both expanded Medicaid. Hogwash. Reagan gave states the option of expanding Medicaid to include pregnant women and children and didn’t coerce states into signing up with the perverse economic incentives included with Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Reagan’s former chief of staff Edwin Meese III wrote at National Review that the expansion was about a lot more than just adding people to the welfare rolls:
In an era when there were perpetual fights over using public funds for abortion, the expansion assured that pregnant women would not be financially worse off carrying their children to term than they would be if they chose to have an abortion.
In contrast, Kasich’s new budget re-prioritizes Medicaid spending, removing pregnant women at the top end of the federal poverty level (FPL) from the rolls. Programs now available to women at 200 percent of the FPL will only be offered to women at or below 138 percent of the FPL. Those in the gap will be told to sign up for Obamacare.
I don’t know if Kasich knew President Reagan, but it seems a fitting time to say, “Governor, you’re no Ronald Reagan.”
A group of Republican lawmakers in Ohio will introduce a bill in the Ohio House next week that will require a driver’s license, state ID card, passport, or military ID in order to cast a ballot in person in the state.
“This is a bill which I believe is very important for the state of Ohio for the sanctity of our election system, for the sanctity of making sure that it is one person, one vote and they are in fact residents and citizens of the United States,” said Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), the primary sponsor of the bill, in a press conference this week.
The bill is similar to one that was introduced last year that died in committee. Under current law Ohioans can show a variety of forms of ID when voting that do not include a photo including utility bills, bank statements, or government checks.
Under the proposed legislation, the state would provide, at no charge, a state ID to anyone who cannot afford one. Rep. Brenner told PJ Media that even though there could be 40,000 people a year who qualify for free ID cards, “The most it would cost the state is $150,000, according to the [Legislative Service Commission] analysis. That’s really a drop in the bucket to secure our elections.”
Brenner said they’re also considering adding a provision that would pay for birth certificates for those who cannot afford them. “If someone needs a birth certificate and they’re indigent, we may also have the state pay for that so there will be absolutely no excuse for anybody not getting a photo ID,” he said.
He disputed claims by critics who say voter fraud is non-existent in the state and pointed to a report released earlier this year by Secretary of State Jon Husted that identified more than 400 non-citizens who were registered to vote in Ohio, 44 of whom had cast ballots. In addition, several instances of voter fraud have led to indictments in Hamilton County, while nearly 100 cases of double voting were discovered in the Columbus area in recent years.
Brenner also said that the photo ID law will help to address the problem of non-resident college students voting in Ohio. “They’re impacting some local governments and local decision making on either levies or other issues and yet they’re not going to live there permanently,” said Brenner. “And we don’t know if these college students are voting in both locations because there’s no way to track them. They could theoretically be voting absentee in their home state and living here in Ohio and voting here as well.”
Gov. Kasich recently used his line-item veto to eliminate an item in the highway budget that would have made it harder for out-of-state students to vote in Ohio. Kasich, who is contemplating a presidential run, suggested in 2011 that he might sign a photo ID bill, but has since rebranded himself as a centrist who avoids contentious fights with Democrats, so it would be difficult to imagine him wading into a battle over voter ID with the distraction of a presidential campaign on his mind (even though he would stand to benefit from greater integrity in Ohio’s elections). Secretary of State Husted opposed a photo ID requirement in previous legislative sessions, but since that time has been an outspoken advocate of identifying illegal voters.
Brenner said the bill currently has 23 co-sponsors and he expects a few more to sign on before the bill is filed next week.
During oral arguments made in the same-sex marriage case heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday (Obergefell v. Hodges), Justices Roberts and Alito questioned Solicitor General Donald Verrilli about the rights of religious schools if the Court decides to impose same-sex marriage on the states.
Justice Roberts asked if religious schools that provide housing to married students would be required to offer such housing to same-sex couples. Verrilli demurred, saying there is currently no federal law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. “Those issues are going to have to be worked out,” he said.
Not satisfied with that answer, Justice Alito brought up the Bob Jones case, where the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax-exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. He asked if the same would apply to a college or university that opposed same-sex marriage.
“You know, I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue,” Verrilli said. “I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It’s going to be an issue.”
Suddenly we have a clear, unambiguous answer for those who have been bleating, “Yeah, but how would gay marriage affect you personally?” It’s not that proponents of traditional marriage haven’t been saying this all along, but now we have it on the record — from the lips of Obama’s lawyer to the ears of the masses: We’re coming for your Christian schools.
Update: the board member in the video is Michael Jones, not John Martin as stated originally. The post has been updated to reflect the correct information.
At a recent hearing conducted by the Missouri State Board of Education, board member Michael Jones defended Common Core by telling a parent that the “war of northern aggression” resulted in a national government that ended state sovereignty.
Jones: The presumption of this question is that this is a single country made up of a whole lot of different people. The question is if there ought to be some objective to education, whatever that is, I am not stipulating what it is for the purpose of this question. How do you establish for a country, what all children need to know? What is the vehicle for teaching them that?
Parent: Your question seems to be set around the premise of us being a democratic society instead of being a Republic. I think that is where education may have went wrong. Maybe even in yours. Education should be handled right here at the state level without federal involvement.
Jones: Well, I would, you know, when I went to school I did take that part of history.
Parent: Sure, but the premise of the question was nationally.
Jones: I would argue that the war of northern aggression settled the issue about whether you are 50 different states or one national government. The fact that we have got a federalized system of government is totally different than the issue of 50 sovereign states. So, that got resolved in 1864. So, my question is, given the fact (inaudible) how do you create in an inclusive way, generally speaking, how do you create an educational system that assures that all children, no matter where they come from, have the ability to know what they need to know to be productive human beings for the 21st Century.
Parent: That is where you and I would completely disagree. Sounds like you are more of a globalist and I am more of a localist. I think education should come from the local level.
Jones: Okay, we disagree.
According to Duane Lester at the Missouri Torch, the video was shot in an overflow room “where opponents of Common Core were funneled into, despite the fact they were there first and were testifying.”
Parents in the audience were clearly shocked by what they were hearing, responding with “Seriously?” and “What?”
Jones, whose biography says he has “more than 30 years of experience specializing in public policy development and implementation” has no problem with a federal takeover of his state’s education policies because he truly believes they have the right to do so — and he probably thinks the feds should do a lot more — seemingly ignorant of the past abuses of powerful centralized governments of the past.
And the worst part? He’s been using his revisionist history views to influence public policy in St. Louis for decades.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, appearing at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Spring Kickoff on Saturday, made it clear that he will not allow religious liberty bullies to run rampant in his state.
Referring to the recent events surrounding Indiana’s Religious Liberty Restoration Act, Jindal said corporate America teamed up with the radical left “to come after our religious liberty rights.” Jindal warned, “Corporate America needs to be careful because the same radical left that doesn’t want us to have religious liberty rights does not want us to have economic liberty rights. The same radical left that doesn’t want us to have religious liberty rights wants to tax and regulate these companies out of existence. They think profit is a dirty word.”
An impassioned Jindal acknowledged that activists and corporate interests were successful in bullying Indiana leaders, “But I’ve got news for them,” he said. “We’ve got legislation in Louisiana. We’ve already got a Religious Freedom Act. We’ve got legislation this session to protect people of faith and of conscience who hold the traditional view of marriage and they might as well save their breath because corporate America is not going to bully the governor of Louisiana when it comes to religious liberty.” The crowd at the conservative event erupted in applause.
“They need to understand there is no freedom of speech or freedom of association without religious liberty,” Jindal continued.” He said he believes it is possible to both have religious liberty and end discrimination but it’s important to understand that “religious liberty means being able to live our lives, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week according to our faith, according to our conscience, according to our beliefs.”
Here’s what CNN was reporting while angry mobs were rampaging in the streets of Baltimore Saturday night:
Meanwhile, at least a dozen protesters were arrested in Baltimore as violence erputed and thousands took to the streets protesting the death of Freddie Gray, who died a week after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody earlier this month.
But the so-called Nerd Prom was calling and celebrity-obsessed CNN came running, sounding like a bunch of squealing teeny boppers reporting on a One Direction concert as they tweeted out “breaking news” about the event:
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 25, 2015
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 25, 2015
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 25, 2015
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 26, 2015
CNN correspondent Errol Louis admitted that the star-studded media schmooze-fest had taken priority over the actual news, advising viewers to head over to Twitter to search for a live feed if they wanted to know what was happening in Baltimore. “If people want to know…yes, twelve people were arrested…the Baltimore police have tweeted that. You can find that now. You can find the live feed if you actually wanna watch what’s going on — it sounds like complete chaos,” Louis said during CNN’s coverage of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. But he defended the network’s decision saying, “The most powerful man in the world is going to tell some jokes.”
Journalism may be in its death throes at CNN, but at least it looks like Dana Bash, Wolf Blitzer, and senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta had a great time, so it wasn’t a complete loss.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) April 26, 2015
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) April 25, 2015
From the Washington Times:
A crowdfunding campaign that had raised more than $109,000 for the Christian-owned bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon was removed Saturday after complaints from gay-rights advocates.
The website GoFundMe said in a statement Saturday that it took down the page because the campaign violated the policy against raising money “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”
On Friday the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries fined the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa $135,000 for violating the state’s anti-discrimination law. In 2013, Aaron and Melissa Klein declined to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding.
These totalitarians are not satisfied with publicly shaming their enemies or forcing conscientious objectors out of business — or with the crippling fines that private business owners have no way of paying. It’s not even enough that the Christian faith has been criminalized in Oregon. Instead, drunk with power, the jackbooted fascists roam the streets, celebrating their conquests as they search for new victims and invent new ways to take them out. Everyone who refuses to sing from the erotic liberty choirbook must be purged from public life and forcibly relocated to the margins of society because the radical left can’t even tolerate breathing the same air as those with whom they disagree.
UPDATE: A reader pointed out that Samaritan’s Purse is now collecting donations to help the Kleins pay their fines and and meet other expenses. Click here to contribute.
On Friday, Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul signed Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge that if they’re elected president they will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.
“My record supporting tax cuts is clear,” Cruz said in a statement. “I am pleased to be able to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge again as a candidate for president so taxpayers can be assured that I will do what I say I will do.”
“Senator Ted Cruz is a strong and consistent advocate for taxpayers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “He signed the pledge as a candidate for the Senate in 2012. He has kept that commitment to the people of Texas and in the Senate has fought to reduce federal spending and the nation’s tax burden.”
Paul was the first 2016 presidential candidate to sign the pledge. “Senator Rand Paul has been a taxpayer leader for more than 20 years,” Norquist said. “He has led taxpayer activists at the state and local level long before he became a U.S. Senator. As Senator he signed and kept the pledge to the people of Kentucky that he would oppose and vote against higher taxes. Today, Paul continues that leadership and commitment.”
Senator Marco Rubio and Governors Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry have all signed ATF’s pledge in the past, but have not yet indicated whether they will do so as presidential candidates. Jeb Bush, who refused to sign the pledge as governor, vowed earlier this year that he will not sign any pledges if he decides to run for president.
It seems the New York Times has gotten itself all worked up because Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz attended an event in his honor at the Manhattan apartment of — gasp! — “two prominent gay hoteliers.” (Apparently one cannot simply be a ‘hotelier’ these days — a sexual identifier is required.)
It’s obvious that Times reporter Maggie Haberman thought she had found the smoking gun that would tarnish Cruz’s conservative credentials forever when she reported that he’s not a hateful bigot or something. ”Mr. Cruz said he would not love his daughters any differently if one of them was gay,” she wrote, adding that “he did not mention his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying only that marriage is an issue that should be left to the states.”
CNN gave that statement the pretzel treatment and interpreted it to mean, ”His remarks seemed to signal a softening of his beliefs on same-sex marriage.” A spokeswoman for Cruz said in a statement later that the senator had “stated directly and unambiguously what everyone in the room already knew, that he opposes same-sex marriage and supports traditional marriage.”
“[T]he juxtaposition of Mr. Cruz being the guest of honor at a home owned by two of the most visible gay businessmen in New York City was striking,” a seemingly shaken Haberman wrote.
If you’re a left-leaning reporter who believes that the only reason half of Americans oppose same sex marriage is because they’re hateful bigots who are acting out of raw animus, events and statements like this cause you all kinds of cognitive dissonance and consternation. All good leftist reporters believe in the deepest recesses of their hearts that mean-spirited Republicans who disagree with the push for same-sex marriage never, ever associate with gay people — unless they’re snooping around in their bedrooms.
But Haberman persisted, asking Ian Reisner, one of the hosts of the event, about the possible “dissonance” between his gay activism and being at an event for Cruz. “Reisner said that while he does not agree with Cruz on social issues, the two men do agree on national security and Israel. “Ted Cruz was on point on every issue that has to do with national security,” he said.
Though this may be difficult for some reporters to grasp, there are a lot of people for whom gay marriage is not the Great Litmus Test of the Ages (especially considering that it’s likely a done deal but for Justice Kennedy signing on the dotted line in June).
This may come as a surprise to reporters at the Times, but Senator Cruz — like most Republicans — has gay friends (and supporters) and he’s willing to engaging in dialogue with people with whom he disagrees. And guess what? This is not newsworthy.
Mati Weiderpass, one of the event’s hosts, expressed a similar sentiment on his Facebook page after apparently receiving some backlash:
It’s Actually Legal to Deny Anesthesia to Unborn Babies in Pain, But Some People Are Trying to Change That
If a Montana bill becomes law, doctors will be required to administer anesthesia to unborn children during surgical procedures — including abortions — to prevent pain and suffering. HB 479 states that “except in the case of a medical emergency or the refusal of a woman to provide informed consent, a person may not perform fetal surgery on an unborn child whose gestational age is 20 or more weeks without administering an amount of anesthesia to the unborn child that provides adequate relief from physical pain and suffering.”
It’s difficult to imagine how much medication would be required to provide relief to a tiny child who is being dismembered and killed during an abortion, because, as the bill notes, “substantial scientific evidence recognizes that an unborn child is capable of experiencing physical pain and suffering” at 20 weeks gestation. Montana lawmakers say the state has a compelling interest in preventing or minimizing the pain and suffering of an unborn child during an abortion but they say that the requirement does not impose any additional burden on the woman seeking an abortion, nor does it stand in the way of her decision. Note that the mother, after being informed of her baby’s ability to feel pain, can still deny her anesthesia under the Montana law. (That’s a truly horrifying thought, isn’t it?)
The bill was sent to Governor Bullock — a pro-abortion Democrat — on Monday and is awaiting his signature. All of Montana’s House Democrats oppose the bill, which would be the first of its kind in the nation.
“I’m sorry if women’s bodies get in the way of some people’s political beliefs,” said Rep. Jenny Eck (D) during floor discussion last week. “I’m sorry that women have autonomy, self-determination and constitutional rights. But that’s the way it is. And until men can carry babies or artificial incubators can build babies, you’re stuck with that reality: that women have our own rights, our own lives, our own wills.”
In other words, suffer away, precious little babies. Democrats — who weep over the plights of Shamu, puppies in puppy mills, and cows on antibiotics – have not one ounce of compassion for you as your little arms and legs are torn from your body. In their haste to extinguish your life, they are willing to deny you even a tiny measure of comfort in your final minutes of life.
A former aide to Jeb Bush who was fired after posting offensive tweets has created Clear, an app that will clean up social media posts that could result in negative consequences at work, with potential employers, or with your new romantic interest.
Ethan Czahor, Bush’s former chief technology officer, was fired in February after some offensive tweets he posted were uncovered. In one tweet Czahor called female students “sluts.” In another he said, “When I burp in the gym I feel like it’s my way of saying, ‘sorry guys, but I’m not gay.’” Czahor said he launched “Clear“ to ensure what happened to him won’t happen to others.
“Clear” searches for keywords like “gay,” “black,” or swear words in your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram updates that might indicate offensive content. Posts that include those words are flagged and you’re given the option to keep or delete them.
Czahor told Time magazine: “Why wasn’t I smart enough to take care of this before it happens?”
In a video created in honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency features “Dunk,” a creepy ’70s-era mascot that encourages kids to recycle. In the eight-minute version, Dunk — a recycle bin — brags that “diverting items away from landfills has become a primary goal for NSA employees.” Seems like their “primary goal” should be protecting Americans, but perhaps I’m misinformed.
Dunk also reveals that the nation’s top spy agency “has operated recycling programs for decades” and that the agency recycles 13-14 million pounds of garbage every year. That’s a staggering amount of trash for a federal agency. With an estimated 30,000 employees, that’s around 325 pounds of trash per person.
I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation, but all I can picture in my mind is NSA employees spending hours each day shredding government files related to cell-phone snooping and demolishing hard drives and backup tapes containing information that would be damaging to elected officials. I’m sure it’s mostly soda cans and outdated government manuals. But really, why so much trash?
— Mr T 2 (@GovtsTheProblem) April 19, 2015
Presidential candidate Ted Cruz and his wife Heidi stopped by the Londonderry Fish & Game Club in New Hampshire on Saturday to talk about the Second Amendment and to shoot a few rounds. The Texas senator is no slouch with a Thompson submachine gun (nicknamed the Tommy Gun). He confidently picked up and fired two guns at the range and didn’t appear to flinch at the powerful recoil. His aim must have been pretty good because someone at the range shouted, “He’s got my vote!” after his first rounds and another cried, “Woah!” after Cruz’s second round.
Heidi Cruz, who was sporting a baseball hat that said, “Armed and Dangerous,” also got in on the shooting action after her husband gave her some basic instructions.
Intelligent, beautiful, and not afraid of a powerful firearm. Senator Cruz is indeed a blessed man!
Heidi Cruz is wearing an "Armed & Fabulous" ball cap at NH gun rally. pic.twitter.com/28aOsXqVMi
— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) April 19, 2015
In the wake of the tragic murders of two Michigan children whose mother tortured them before stuffing them into the family’s freezer, lawmakers are calling for more stringent regulation of homeschooling in the state.
The proposed legislation from state Rep. Stephanie Chang, a Detroit Democrat, would require homeschooled children to be inspected twice per year by a licensed social worker or law enforcement officer. The bill would also require homeschooling parents to register their children — like dogs or sex offenders — with the superintendent of the school district in which they reside. Michigan is one of eleven states that do not require homeschooling parents to report to state or local authorities.
Chang cited the case of Stoni Ann Blair and Stephen Gage Berry as a reason for planning the legislation. Investigators believe Stephen was 9 when he died in August 2012 and that Stoni was 13 when she died the following May. Their mother, who is accused of torturing and killing them and then stuffing their bodies in the freezer, had said she homeschooled them.
“We all failed Stoni and Stephen because Michigan does not maintain a list of homeschooled children and so we have no way to identify and then protect any child who could be at risk for abuse,” Chang said. “Most homeschool parents have their child’s best interest in mind, and many do a fine job homeschooling, but with Stephen and Stoni, that wasn’t the case.”
Every few years legislation like this pops up as a knee-jerk reaction to some terrible tragedy that was inflicted upon children who were allegedly homeschooled. The most recent was in Ohio in 2013, when Democratic state Senator Capri Cafaro introduced Teddy’s Law in reaction to the very tragic death of Teddy Foltz-Tedesco in January 2013. The law (which was quickly withdrawn after an outpouring of state and national opposition) would have required homeschoolers to pass background checks and have their children inspected by authorities before being allowed to educate them at home. Teddy was killed by his mother’s boyfriend after he was withdrawn from school because officials there suspected abuse. Relatives and neighbors say they reported the abuse to the children services board on repeated occasions but were rebuffed.
That’s a common thread in most of these tragic stories. In nearly every case — almost without exception — the family had a history of contact with child welfare officials because of allegations of abuse. And in almost every case — almost without exception — the authorities dropped the ball. In the case of the children in Detroit, the state had investigated allegations of abuse in 2002 and 2005 and the mother was referred for counseling. In the Ohio case, family members called authorities multiple times but nothing was done. They said they were accused of lying.
It’s absurd to think that a mother who tortured her children with scalding hot water and a searing hot curling iron before murdering them and stuffing them into the freezer — all while committing welfare fraud — is going to file a pile of paperwork that would trigger an inspection of her children — the children she has stored in the freezer. People who commit diabolical crimes against children will just go further underground if such a law is enacted — they’ll move to a different school district and pretend they don’t have any children, they’ll ignore the regulations, or worse, they’ll go off the grid completely, compounding the danger to the children.
It’s not the sick, twisted individuals like Stoni and Stephen’s mother who will be caught up in the state’s dragnet. Instead, it’s law-abiding parents who are exercising their constitutional right to home educate their children — and doing an admirable job of it — who will be harmed by these intrusive regulations. In addition to the creepy registry, they’ll be forced to live under a presumption of guilt and will be required to “prove” twice per year to some (allegedly qualified) government official that they are not abusing their children.
I wrote this in response to the proposed Ohio law in 2013:
The logic — if you can call it that — behind this law seems to be that parents cannot be trusted with their own children. Unless they are under the watchful eye of state officials, children face great peril and so there must be new laws enacted in order to mitigate the risk. This ignores the fact, of course, that children from birth to age six are the most likely to die from child abuse — they account for 76% of fatalities. Will the next step be to subject all parents to interrogations by social workers from birth until the time they enroll their children in the safe bubble of the public school? And why stop there? After all, many children are abused at home and become experts at hiding and excusing the bumps and bruises. Shouldn’t we hire armies of government agents to keep an eye on what’s going on in the home after school? Not only that, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, violent victimization rates at school were 34 per 1,000 students ages 12–14 and 14 per 1,000 students ages 15–18. Shouldn’t the government just require semi-annual interrogations of all students to solve the school violence problem? You can see the absurdity of this logic.
Not only that, but if the proposed legislation in Michigan becomes law, an estimated 50,000 children will be added to the caseloads of already overburdened social workers, law enforcement officers, and truant officers who will be tasked with tracking these newly “registered” children in much the same way they monitor parolees and sex offenders, requiring them to periodically report their whereabouts and show up for meetings and inspections. Instead of spending scarce resources on known cases of child abuse and neglect, they’ll be forced to cast a wide net over thousands of law-abiding families without probable cause — or any cause — to suspect there’s abuse in those homes.
The courts have ruled that parents have the right to direct the upbringing and education of their children. In any system where citizens are allowed to exercise their liberties and their rights are protected there will always be those who abuse those freedoms, occasionally with tragic consequences. We don’t solve the murder problem by putting body cameras on all gun owners — just to keep some from murdering. We don’t solve the problem of thievery by frisking everyone who exits a store — just in case someone has pocketed an eyeliner or a package of batteries. In the same way, we don’t surveil all homeschooling families — treating them like de facto criminals and subjecting their children to intrusive “registries” and inspections — just so we can net a handful of bad actors.
According to police, an Akron, Ohio, man faked his own kidnapping, claiming he was abducted and tied to a tree for three days. Clarence Taylor, 44, has been charged with falsification, a first-degree misdemeanor. Police say they believe he tied himself to the tree.
According to Cleveland.com:
Taylor’s 45-year-old girlfriend reported to police on Nov. 1 that Taylor had been missing for five days.
A friend of Taylor’s called the girlfriend as she spoke with investigators and said that Taylor had been located bound to a tree with zip ties in a wooded area near Stoner Street and Pickford Avenue.
The friend led police to where Taylor was tied. He had duct tape on his mouth and was still tied to the tree, according to police reports. Police cut him down and took him to Akron General Medical Center.
Taylor told police that he was walking on Beechwood Drive when three men with shotguns abducted him and forced him into a van. He said they stole $2,500 from him and tied him to the tree, where they left him for several days.
Police say that Taylor had no visible injuries, despite his claims of being in the cold and rain for several days, and he was not dehydrated. When investigators subpoenaed his medical records from his hospital stay, they found that his condition was not consistent with his story about being abducted and tied to a tree.
Some parts of this story just don’t add up. First, is it even possible for someone to tie himself to a tree with zip ties? Second, why didn’t the friend who called Taylor’s girlfriend to report his whereabouts untie him? Why wait for police to arrive?
Was Taylor hoping for a GoFundMe campaign to replace the money he said was “stolen” from him? Or was there another motive? Police say they don’t know — and he’s still at large with a warrant for his arrest.
Get out your Encyclopedia Brown spyglasses and tell me what you think happened.
[Begins at 5:33]
During a campaign event at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton was finally asked to say something about Common Core — which promises to be a prominent issue in the 2016 campaign. Of course, it wasn’t a reporter who asked Clinton about the wildly unpopular educational standards, it was a teacher and Common Core supporter who said it is “painful” for her to see the standards attacked.
Clinton agreed wholeheartedly. “You know when I think about the really unfortunate argument that’s been going on around Common Core, it’s very painful,” she said.
[Not to be confused with the Benghazi attack, which she said was "very, very painful."]
She defended the standards, saying they were the result of a “bipartisan effort … actually, nonpartisan project.”
“It wasn’t politicized. It was about coming up with a core of learning that we might expect students to achieve across our country, no matter what kind of school district they were in, no matter how poor their family was. That there wouldn’t be two tiers of education,” Clinton said.
She speculated that Iowans were more supportive of Common Core because “Iowa has had a testing system based on a core curriculum for a really long time. And you see the value of it. You understand why that helps you organize your whole education system. A lot of states, unfortunately, haven’t had that. So [they] don’t understand the value of a core, in this sense a common core.”
[Perhaps what they don't understand is why every state needs the same standards with the same tests and why the federal government needs to be involved.]
“I was a senator and voted for Leave No Child Behind (sic) because I thought every child should matter,” Clinton said. “And [it] shouldn’t be ‘you’re poor or you’ve got disabilities so we’re going to sweep you to the back, don’t show up on test day because we don’t want to mess up our scores.’” Instead, Clinton said every child should have the same opportunities.
[Has she not heard of the Atlanta testing scandal where teachers were sent to prison for leaving poor and disabled children behind by falsifying their test scores?]
So in summary, Clinton supports a federally mandated one-size-fits all set of standards for every school in the country. It’s good that we got this cleared up early on in the campaign. Common Core promises to be a tremendous populist and crossover issue for Republicans — as long as they don’t choose a pro-Common Core candidate like Jeb Bush or John Kasich.
What is it going to take for voters to turn on Hillary? I suspect it’s not going to be Benghazi, Filegate, Travelgate, Whitewater, or her husband nailing the interns in the Oval Office. Sadly a large percentage of the electorate is shallow and celebrity obsessed — they rarely wander into the deep weeds of political intrigue. But fear not, all is not lost. I do think there is one thing that would be guaranteed to sink Clinton in our shallow, cult-of-celebrity culture: Pictures of Hillary doing those “yoga routines” she said were in the emails she deleted from her servers.
Imagine a picture of a sweaty, haggard-looking 67-year-old Clinton in yoga pants appearing on every Facebook feed, mobile device, and news outlet in the country. It would be a devastating blow to her campaign. (Think I’m exaggerating? See: Dukakis in the tank, Nixon in the first televised debate, and Howard Dean’s Rebel Yell for other examples of campaign-ending memes.)
But this raises some questions. If you were in sole possession of the hypothetical picture of Hillary in yoga pants, would you leak it to the press and/or her opponent’s campaign? Is all fair in love and war — and campaigns? Would it be unfair to leak it because Hillary is a woman and she will be judged more harshly on her appearance? Could you throw a middle-aged woman under the bus (or Scooby van) if it meant saving the country? Do the ends justify the means?
I’m not sure I could do it. I know campaigns are dirty and almost nothing is off-limits these days, but I still think we ought to keep personal attacks out of these contests.
How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.
(HT: Washington Free Beacon)
Check out the real journalists chasing after Hillary’s van (dubbed ‘Scooby’) during her first event in Iowa today. I wonder if they teach these mad phys ed skills in J-school?
Hillary Clinton’s presidential announcement video featured a lineup of ordinary Americans talking about things they’re getting ready for, including a mother and daughter who were packing up their belongings and preparing to move.
“My daughter is about to start kindergarten next year,” the mother says, “so we’re moving, just so she can belong to a better school.”
Someone — actually everyone — on Team Hillary apparently missed the irony of a family being forced to move to a different school district to find a better school when it’s well known that Hillary is vehemently (and irrationally) opposed to school vouchers.
In the video above Clinton says that if school vouchers were allowed, parents would be lining up to get government money to pay for (imaginary) white supremacist schools and the “School of the Jihad.” That hasn’t happened anywhere in the country where vouchers are allowed, but it’s a scary bogeyman opponents like to use to counter those who say poor children in failing schools ought to be allowed to take their funding dollars to the school of their choice.
If Hillary really wanted to be the “champion” for that little girl in her video — and for families across the nation — she’d stop supporting policies that force families to move in order to escape failing, sclerotic school systems. She would support school choice in all forms, including school vouchers, instead of standing in the way of progress.