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The PJ Tatler

Paula Bolyard

In addition to writing for PJ Tatler and PJ Lifestyle, Paula also writes for Ohio Conservative Review, and RedState. She is co-author of a new Ebook called, Homeschooling: Fighting for My Children’s Future. She is a member of the Wayne County Executive Committee. Paula describes herself as a Christian first, conservative second, and Republican third.
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CNN Anchor Apologizes to Someone About Something Related to Bristol Palin

Friday, October 24th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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After she was widely criticized for her gleeful enjoyment of Bristol Palin’s tearful statement to police after a man she did not know came out of nowhere, pushed her down, and dragged her by her feet across the lawn, CNN’s Carol Costello apologized for her joking about the attack.

Earlier in the week Costellos told CNN viewers, “Okay. I’m just going to come right out and say it. This is quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we’ve ever come across – well, come across in a long time anyway.” She went on to describe a “massive brawl in Anchorage, Alaska reportedly involving Sarah Palin’s kids and her husband.” Costello said, “So sit back and enjoy!”

Costello also teased the clip of Bristol Palin’s post-assault report to police the same way on her Twitter feed:

 

 

On the police tape, Bristol described what happened to police. “Some guy gets in my face. Pushes me down on the grass. Drags me across the grass. You (expletive), you (expletive), you (expletive) you (expletive). I get back up. He pushes me down on the grass again and pulls me by my (expletive) feet.”

Costello said after playing the clip, “I think that long beep was my favorite part.”

Only in liberal-feminist-double-standard world is there a “best part” of an account of a woman describing her assault to police.

After the backlash over Costello’s grossly, inappropriate comments and slobbering joy over a young woman’s assault, she issued a token apology to Palin for joking about the attack.

But actually, Costello didn’t apologize “to” Palin and she didn’t actually say she was sorry for joking about the “attack.” Instead, she took the opportunity to throw another punch at Bristol and the Palins with her perfunctory apology via Politico:

Over the past few days I have been roundly criticized for joking about a brawl involving the Palin family. In retrospect, I deserve such criticism and would like to apologize.

To whom is she apologizing? Not Bristol, or the Palins, it seems. Once more, Costello casts aspersions on the family by characterizing the attack as a “brawl involving the Palin family,” not acknowledging that Bristol was assaulted. And the majority of CNN’s viewers don’t read Dylan Byers in POLITICO, so they’ll never even see the so-called apology. They’re left with the cackling image of Costello (and by extension, CNN) salivating over a young woman’s assault because Costello has refused to apologize on the air. True soldiers in the War on Women, all of them.

Bristol Palin, like her mother, is no shrinking violet. She called out the media hypocrisy in an article at Patheos.

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Missouri Democrat: My Biggest Enemy Is the President of the United States

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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The Missouri Torch reports that Democrat state Representative Ed Schieffer, a candidate for the Missouri state Senate, met with the Lincoln County Tea Party this week to ease any fears they might have that he would be taking orders from President Obama:

My biggest enemy in my election is not Jeanie Riddle. My biggest enemy is the President of the United States. My great, educated father knew that. He said, “Eddie, you don’t have to worry too much about the lady running against you. You need to worry about the liberal, overly liberal, President and Congress we have. That’s what you have to worry about.”

Almost sounds like you’re not talking to a Democrat, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, the president gave away the game when he explained to Al Sharpton’s radio listeners how this whole election season conversion switcheroo works:

The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress. So this isn’t about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me…I tell them…you do what you need to do to win.  I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn out.

Though Mr. Schieffer won’t get a vote in Congress in the upcoming term, only time will tell if he goes back to sounding — and voting — like an Obama Democrat if he’s elected to the Missouri state senate.

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Why Is President Obama Running Around the Country Kissing Women?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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CNN reported on Tuesday:

The woman who voted next to President Barack Obama on Monday says she was “embarrassed and just shocked,” after her fiancé jokingly told him “Mr. President, don’t touch my girlfriend.”

Casting his ballot in Chicago on Monday, Obama stood at a voting booth next to Aia Cooper, whose fiancé, Mike Jones, decided to crack wise with the president, which prompted Obama to reply with “I really wasn’t planning on it,” before adding that Jones was “an example of a brother just embarrassing you for no reason.”

In an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin Tuesday afternoon, Cooper said she was “embarrassed and just shocked” after hearing her fiancé comments. “I was just shaking,” she said.

CNN reported that Obama “got back at Jones” when he finished voting, “with a hug and a kiss for his fiancée.”

“On the cheek, just the cheek — please, Michelle, don’t come after me — just the cheek!” Cooper told CNN affiliate WLS-TV after voting.

“Now, he’s really jealous,” Obama told Cooper.

All these years we thought ogling the women was supposed to be Joe Biden’s gig.

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If this was just a one-off, we might be tempted to ignore it because ISIS is advancing, midterm elections are right around the corner, and everyone is stockpiling hand sanitizer and hazmat suits in the event of an Ebola outbreak in their area. But this wasn’t a one-off.

Which brings us to the second presidential kissing incident.

Last week when talking about the potential of an Ebola epidemic in the United States, President Obama tried to reassure the folks by saying that he had visited the hospital in Atlanta where Ebola patient Amber Vinson was being treated.

“I shook hands with, hugged, and kissed, not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory because of the valiant work that they did,” Obama said. “In treating one of the patients, they followed the protocols, they knew what they were doing, and I felt perfectly safe doing so.”

Before we move on to the kissing part, it’s worth mentioning that Obama was not actually at Emory when Amber Vincent was being treated there. In fact, he visited on September 16, a full 26 days after the second American missionary being treated for Ebola had been discharged from the hospital and nearly a week after any medical personnel who had treated her would have been at risk of contracting the deadly disease.

Besides the fact that Obama went out of his way to say that he kissed only the nurses and not the doctors (is that sexist or homophobic or both?), the whole notion of the president bragging about kissing people while talking about a deadly infectious virus seems not only ill-advised, but very strange.

Have you been to a hospital lately? Nobody should be kissing anybody there. Everywhere you look there are vats of hand sanitizer and warnings about washing hands and disinfection protocols. The places are crawling with germs — staph infections, MRSA, C. diff and, especially this time of year, the flu.

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Ohio Orders Travel Restrictions to Ensure Ebola Monitoring Compliance

Sunday, October 19th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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On Saturday the Ohio Department of Health ordered travel restrictions for those who are being monitored for the Ebola virus.

The new Ebola protocols include the following:

  • Ohioans required to have a public health official monitor their health condition daily would be prohibited from leaving their health department’s jurisdiction unless the health department jurisdiction to which they are travelling agrees to assume that daily monitoring responsibility. If that agreement is not reached, the individual cannot travel and must keep their daily monitoring appointments in their home health department jurisdiction.
  • Ohioans under self-monitoring and reporting requirements cannot leave the United States due to the inability to track them down in the event they fail to meet their daily reporting requirements.

The state issued the new protocols for local health jurisdictions to implement after learning that some residents being monitored had travel plans, said Scott Milburn, a spokesman for Ohio Governor John Kasich. Counties that include Cleveland and Akron have begun notifying affected residents of the restrictions, Milburn said.

“Ohio is in the situation it is in because of travel,” Milburn said. “It would have been beneficial if Texas had taken similar steps to these two weeks ago.” If individuals don’t voluntarily comply with the recommended restrictions, the state could consider quarantining them, Milburn said.

“As we’ve seen, travel is a potential problem. It’s why the people of Ohio are dealing with the situation we have right now. We don’t want to take the slightest chance for this disease to potentially spread, we don’t want people in other places to have to deal with what we’re dealing with and we don’t want potentially sick Ohioans to go beyond the reach of the good care we know we have here at home in the unlikely event that they get sick,” said Dr. Mary DiOrio, state epidemiologist and interim chief of the ODH Bureau of Prevention and Health Promotion. “We’re taking an aggressive approach, no doubt about it, but it’s just common sense. Some might criticize us for being too aggressive, but we’re comfortable taking that criticism.”

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Expanding Threat: CDC Says Infected Nurse May Have Had Symptoms on Flight From Dallas to Cleveland

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Officials at the Centers for Disease Control now say that Amber Vinson, the nurse who contracted the Ebola virus in a Dallas hospital, may have exhibited symptoms earlier than originally reported.

During a press conference in Summit County on Thursday, Dr. Chris Braden with the CDC said, “We can’t rule out that she might have had the start of her illness on Friday.” He said the CDC received new information today that gives them reason to include Vinson’s flight from Dallas to Cleveland on Friday, October 10, in their investigation.

“This new information now is saying that we need to go back now to the flight that she took on Friday the 10th and include them in our investigation,” Braden told reporters on Thursday afternoon. “We’re talking with many people who may have been around her and talking with her when we can,” he said, adding that Vinson is “not very well” at this time so investigators need to be judicious in questioning her.

Braden said it is difficult to identify exactly when her symptoms began because they were not typical for the Ebola virus. “She didn’t have a fever — even when she presented for evaluation and was diagnosed — that reaches the cut-off,” he said. “That makes it a little bit hard to go back and say, ‘Well, if she had some comments that she was feeling funny, does that count?’” He said it is difficult to make such judgements when gathering information about public health decisions. CDC Director Thomas Frieden told Congress on Thursday that his agency gave Vinson permission to fly because her temperature did not reach the cut-off.

“We’re always getting more information and learning, which is why you may see a change in the context that we’ve identified,” Braden said.

He also said that passengers on the flight from Dallas to Cleveland will now be “included in the investigation.”

During press conferences in Cleveland and Akron on Wednesday, officials gave conflicting dates for when Vinson arrived in Cleveland. The Cleveland Department of Public Health said she flew on Wednesday, the 8th. Other officials said she flew into Cleveland on Friday, the 10th. Dr. Margo Erme from the Summit County Public Health Department said they were not sure about the timeline. “We have gotten conflicting dates too, so we are actually looking at getting the manifest from the airline to actually confirm that because we have actually heard both.”

In addition to the quarantine of Vinson’s stepfather’s home, the Ebola “scare” has caused a variety of  closings and disruptions in the area. Several Cleveland-area school were closed this week for cleaning after a teacher and a student reported they were on the flight with Vinson from Cleveland to Dallas. Two village halls also closed for the same reason. Several area hospitals put nurses who were on the Frontier Airline flight on paid leave as a precaution and Sherwin-Williams announced that three employees who work at the headquarters in Cleveland will be working from home until it can be determined that they are not infected with the Ebola virus.

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Conflicting Timelines and Details For New Ebola Case

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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UPDATE: Kent State has just released an updated statement saying that Amber Vinson ”is related to three Kent State employees.” The statement does not say whether Vinson had contact with the family members or whether they were on campus after having contact with her (though it is worth noting what they didn’t say). “It’s important to note that the patient was not on the Kent State campus,” said Kent State President Beverly Warren. “She stayed with her family at their home in Summit County and did not step foot on our campus.”

 

During a press conference in Cleveland to discuss the Ebola-infected nurse who traveled on Frontier Airlines to Cleveland, Toinette Parrilla, director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health, said her office initially received incorrect information about when exactly the nurse was in the area. Parrilla said Amber Joy Vinson “arrived in Cleveland on the 8th. She departed from Cleveland on the 13th.” It was originally reported that Vinson, who has since tested positive for the Ebola virus, arrived on Friday the 10th.

However, Dr. Margo Erme from the Summit County Public Health said in an Akron press conference later in the afternoon that they’re not sure about the timeline. “We have gotten conflicting dates too, so we are actually looking at getting the manifest from the airline to actually confirm that because we have actually heard both.” She said her department is in the process of interviewing family members in Tallmadge, where they believe Vinson spent time. According to Erme, Vinson was “quite ill” when she went to the hospital and may be having trouble remembering details about her movements before she began to exhibit symptoms.

“The health care worker is still in Dallas,” Erme said, “we cannot speak to her.”  She added, “We look at family that has gone down to Dallas as well.” She did not elaborate about movements of family members who may have had contact with Vinson except to say that “We have one person that self-quarantined yesterday when the family had gotten information that their family member had developed symptoms.” Erme said the quarantine is voluntary and added, “Right now there is no risk to the public.”

“We’re still working to be sure we understand the whole timeline,” said Mary Diorio from the Ohio Department of Health.

Dr. Erme also noted that Summit County did not learn about the new infection until 10 a.m. — four hours after Cleveland authorities were notified.

Mary Diorio from the Ohio Department of Health said she was notified by the CDC earlier today and then contacted Summit County.

Vinson was visiting her mother and her mother’s fiance in the Akron area in anticipation of her mother’s wedding. Rumors were circulating on social media about whether Vinson, A Kent State graduate, visited the university campus. Dr. Erme said Vinson had not been on campus but could not confirm that other families had not. Asked if Vinson had family members who worked at Kent State, Erme said, “We do not have any information that she visited Kent State, however we are waiting for information from Texas” about family members she had been in contact with. As a result, the university is taking precautions. “Out of an abundance of caution, we’re asking the patient’s family members to remain off campus for the next 21 days and self-monitor per CDC protocol,” said Dr. Angela DeJulius, director of University Health Services at Kent State.

At the Cleveland press conference Toinette Parrilla encouraged the public to remain calm. “If you do not have direct contact [with blood or bodily fluids] you are not at risk. Bodily fluids could include saliva, sweat, and semen, she said. In addition to the plane, the jetway, the hold area, and the restrooms in Concourse A are being cleaned. “We don’t know what she touched,” Parrilla said.

Cleveland Assistant Director of Public Safety, Ed Eckart, said the city is using a “surveillance traffic tool” that will be attached to every 9/11 call. Dispatchers will ask about potential Ebola symptoms and whether callers may have been exposed to the Ebola virus so that first responders can be notified. Eckart said this process would not slow down response times.

Ricky Smith, Director of Port Control said the airport is not introducing new workplace emergency response efforts at this time. “At this point we have no reason to believe those facilities are infected,” he said. ”Our custodial service workers are equipped with gloves and a uniform” to protect themselves from infectious diseases.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said, “We’re on top of it and moving in a systematic way.”

Newsnet5 is reporting that some employees and passengers at Cleveland Airport are wearing surgical masks today as a precaution and gate agents at Frontier Airlines are wearing protective gloves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anatomy of an Occupy-Style Protest in St. Louis

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Within hours of a fatal police shooting of an 18-year-old man, who police say fired three shots at an officer Wednesday night, angry and distraught protesters were in the streets of St. Louis demanding justice for Vonderrit Myers.

At least that’s how most of the news reports on Thursday will explain it.

But was it really an organic, take-to-the streets protest, the result of genuine grief and anger? Or was it the result of professional agitators who take advantage of these opportunities to promote their agendas? As it turns out, it was some of both.

There were several livestream feeds that popped up almost immediately after the shooting was reported, and they documented the anatomy of these modern protests. If you happened to tune in during the night, you saw a bizarre mix of south St. Louis residents, trained Occupy protesters (some of whom claimed to be veterans of Occupy Oakland), masked anarchists, and people who seemed like they just saw a line and thought the only sensible thing to do was to get in it.

At times the atmosphere was festive. People were singing, mugging for the camera, dancing. Those folks didn’t seem especially upset about the death of Vonderrit Myers, but looked like they were making the most of the gathering and they were having fun socializing. Others were professional protesters. They talked about the uprising in Hong Kong and complained about Monsanto, Ferguson, the greedy corporations, and a whole list of other grievances they thought people should really, really care about. A few pitched their own upcoming protests for their very important causes. Many of them came prepared with gas masks.

There were green-hatted legal observers on hand with clipboards to make sure the police didn’t make any mistakes, a couple of guys in Spider-Man masks, and a few young men wearing ISIS-style head coverings. There were also some (obviously high) blonde kids with black hoodies who were sexually harassing female police officers and there was a group of hipsters in skinny jeans that didn’t seem to belong, except that they were well-versed in direct action protest protocol.

One man, who said he is with the African American Defense League (associated with the Black Panthers), said the time for peaceful protests is over. “They kill us, we gotta kill them back. F**k the march sh**!” he said. He also wanted everyone to know that if you have any melanin in your skin, there is no cure for ebola (because only black people have melanin or something). “Ebola’s got a cure for only white people,” he said, “You type it into google and you’ll see.”

Occasionally a group of what seemed to be genuine, local protesters would chant slogans about the evil cops and how they’re hunting black kids in the streets. Every time they’d see  a cop they’d chant “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” or “Give us our sh** or we gonna shut this sh** down!”

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Cleveland VA Still Mired in Huge Backlogs

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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One veteran has been waiting 23 years to have his claim adjudicated by the VA Cleveland Regional Office and the average appeals claim at that office has been pending for more than 400 days according to Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH), who met with Director Anthony Milons Sr. and several Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) to discuss the appeals process and the backlog of appeals.

“Several veterans living in Ohio’s 16th District have expressed concerns about the appeals backlog that continues to grow in Cleveland,” said Renacci. ”According to the VA Cleveland Regional Office, the average appeals claim has been pending for more than 400 days. This is unacceptable.”

Currently, there are only five decision review officers at the VA Cleveland Regional Office who are tasked with wading through nearly 12,000 backlogged appeal claims. Despite the fact that there are more appeals pending in Cleveland than new claims, the decision was made to transfer 13 decision review officers to initial claims processing, compounding the problem of backlogged appeals.

“It is critical that Director Milons takes the appropriate steps to develop and implement an efficient and effective process to eliminate the backlog. Veterans have given up so much to serve our country, it is our responsibility to ensure that they receive the benefits they have earned once they return home,” said Renacci.

Renacci said that while he was proud to work with Congress on the bipartisan Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act that was designed to bring reform and accountability to the VA, he said there is much more that needs to be done.

 

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Cleveland School Dumps FLOTUS Lunches for Chipotle-Style Burritos and Clam Chowder

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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St. Ignatius High School, a private Jesuit school for young men in Cleveland, withdrew from the National School Lunch Program this year in order to go “above and beyond” the federal standards.

Chris Rini writes in the St. Ignatius school newspaper:

In a typical school cafeteria, the norm is to meet all governmental requirements and restrictions while still providing some decent food. However, Campus Dining, led by [John] Pietravoia, has decided to go above and beyond that standard. In fact, this year, for the first time, Saint Ignatius has gone off of the federally funded National School Lunch Program, which means that campus dining is able to serve what they wish in our cafeteria without having to purchase frozen and processed products. In other words, campus dining is spending more time and money to give students better-tasting, higher quality, and healthier eats.

The $14,300 per year private school, which serves around 1500 students (some of whom attend through the Cleveland school voucher program), is known for high academic standards — 99% of the school’s students attend a 4-year college after graduation. Students at the school in Cleveland’s historic Ohio City neighborhood complained last year about federally mandated price increases on school lunches. “This mandate, contrary to what one might expect as gas prices are rising, is the only reason for the price hike midway through the year,” the school paper reported last year. Pietravoia said it was the first time in his seventeen years at the school that there has been a mandatory price increase.

Pietravoia said that leaving the federal school lunch program will give students — the customers — more choices. “I believe the customer has a right to make a choice,” he said.

Now students can look forward to a menu that includes a Chipotle-style burrito bar featuring healthy burritos made with all natural, local ingredients. The burrito bar will serve subs once a week and students can enjoy a caffeine-free, vitamin-enriched Monster with their burritos or subs. The cafeteria will also serve pizza on traditional white crust and a “Riche burger,” made from antibiotic- and hormone-free hamburger produced locally. Pesticide-free salad ingredients will also come from local farms and the school’s “famous” clam chowder will be served every Friday.

“We’re keeping our standards very high for local sustainability; pesticide-, hormone-, antibiotic-free products, healthy choices, and good food,” said Pietravoia.

Schools participating in the National School Lunch program are subsidized by the federal government for lunches provided to students at participating schools. They receive $2.93 and $2.53 for free and reduced lunches respectively and $0.28 for each lunch sold at full price. First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled new standards for school meals last year as part of her Let’s Move! campaign. The mandates were signed into law by President Obama and include reducing the calorie counts in school lunches as well as trans fats, saturated fats, and sodium, while increasing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in the meals. Schools that have menus in compliance with the updated program meal requirements receive an additional six cents of federal cash reimbursement for each meal served.

 

 

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Obama Booed During PSA at Michigan State Football Game

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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According to reports on Twitter and from several individuals who called into the Rush Limbaugh Show on Monday, President Obama was enthusiastically booed when he appeared in a public service announcement shown on the scoreboard video screen at Michigan State University during Saturday’s football game against Nebraska.

The “It’s On Us” PSA, which features a parade of celebrities in addition to the president and Vice President Biden, was designed “to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it,” according to a White House press release. The campaign was launched in partnership with the Center for American Progress’ Generation Progress and students from nearly 200 colleges and universities across the country. The NCAA has agreed to assist the White House through ”resources on NCAA.org; coverage of the campaign in its award-winning quarterly magazine, Champion; activities during the National Week of Action in November; and a half-day session on sexual assault and violence prevention at the Association’s annual convention in January.” The NCAA also agreed to show the PSAs at NCAA championship events and on social media.

The student section started the booing when President Obama’s face appeared on the screen at the end of the video. They were joined by others in the stadium.

See the video Michigan State fans booed on the next page:

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Hilarious! Rep. Steve King Reads Mean Tweets in New Campaign Ad

Sunday, October 5th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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“You are one BAD person…shame on you…triple exclamation point,” Rep. Steve King reads from a tweet in a new campaign ad. “That’s love,” the Iowa congressman snickers.

Your the problem we have to fix,” says another tweet. “Your the problem … Y-O-U-R…Your the problem. Your illiterate. Your rhymes with Common Core, which is where your education must have come from,” quips King, zinging the increasingly unpopular nationalized education standards and warming the hearts of grammar cops everywhere.

King’s wife, Marilyn, joined him in reading several tweets. “You are a sad excuse for a human being.” Mrs. King looked at her husband and said, “I’ve been saying that for years!” The couple, parents of three children, burst into laughter.

The ad shows a warm, fuzzy side of the congressman who is known for his brash style and blunt rhetoric.

King, a six-term incumbent, faces Democrat Jim Mowrer in a race for Iowa’s 4th congressional district seat in November. A September Loras College poll showed King leading his Democratic challenger 47.3 percent to 36 percent with nearly 20 percent of voters undecided.

 

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Medicaid Expansion Covers More Prisoners While Harming the Most Vulnerable

Friday, September 26th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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The good news is that Ohio saw a reduction in medical costs for prison inmates in FY 2014. The bad news is that the cost reduction was a result of cost-shifting smoke and mirrors as inmates in Ohio prisons were moved onto the federal dole after Republican Governor John Kasich signed the state up for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion program. The worse news is that the most vulnerable in Ohio and other states that have expanded Medicaid — including at least six states that have included prison populations in their expansion — will bear the brunt of burgeoning Medicaid rolls during a time of shrinking state budgets.

The Ohio Legislative Services Commission (LSC) reports that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) saw a reduction of $10.3 million in medical service expenditures “as a result of implementing Medicaid coverage for inmate hospitalizations.” According to the LSC, the bulk of the reduction comes in the form of a net savings to the state “since the federal government reimburses the state for the majority of Medicaid expenditures.” Beginning March 17, 2014, Medicaid coverage was extended to nearly all Ohio inmates. Prior to that Medicaid covered only inmates who were either under the age of 21, over 65, or pregnant and who were hospitalized for more than 24 hours.

For inmates and others who became eligible for Medicaid through the ACA (including those with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or nearly $32,000 for a family of four), the federal government will pay 100% of the costs through calendar years 2016. For inmates and others in Ohio who were eligible for Medicaid pre-expansion, the federal government only pays around 64%, leaving the state to pick up the balance.

Policy experts say this creates a perverse incentive for the state to add inmates, able-bodied adults, and those who refuse to work to the Medicaid rolls at the expense of the most vulnerable populations. According to a report from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA),

Able-bodied, working-age adults; almost all of whom (82 percent) have no children to support, nearly half of whom  (45 percent) do not work, many of whom (35 percent) with a record of run-ins with the criminal justice system. ObamaCare has picked this population as the winner of its Medicaid expansion. The losers? Low-income children, poor moms, the elderly, the blind, the disabled. The very people Medicaid was created to protect. And what do these ObamaCare losers have in store for them? States that previously expanded Medicaid had to eliminate coverage for life-saving organ transplants, overload waitlists for services, cap enrollment and raise patient costs, all because promises were broken and costs exceeded projections.

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Michigan Governor Urges Employers to Use High School Test Scores When Hiring

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

 

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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is urging employers to consider the results of tests given to students during their junior year of high school when making hiring decisions. The Michigan Work Ready Community Initiative encourages employers to use the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and ACT “WorkKeys” tests to evalutate potential employees for career suitability.

“The Michigan Work Ready Communities Initiative is another step in improving the quality of the workforce in Michigan,” said Snyder in a presentation with Michigan employers and business leaders.

The program’s supporters say that thousands of high-tech jobs are going unfilled in Michigan. Snyder thinks employers can use the test data to identify which employees are best suited for advancement and said the program can solve the “talent disconnect” that has developed in the state. “This is the No. 1 item we need to work on,” the Republican governor said.

“This program is the right move for our state,” Snyder said. “It provides a universal system of assessing workers’ skills and abilities for employers, as well as promoting workers’ development and improvement.”

ACT, the college admission testing company that developed WorkKeys, describes them this way:

ACT WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. This series of tests measures foundational and soft skills and offers specialized assessments to target institutional needs.

Students who successfully complete the ACT WorkKeys assessments in Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information can earn ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate (ACT NCRC), a portable credential that employers can use to assess potential employees.

ACT played a leading role in the development of the Common Core State Standards, which emphasize “college and career readiness.” Now, they will report the data they collect on every Michigan public school junior to potential employers in order to fill a pipeline for “high-tech” workers.

Questions remain about whether schools will modify their curriculum to reflect the business community’s need for “high-tech” jobs. Some parents are concerned that schools will be transformed into state-sponsored job training programs, since very specific skills will still be needed to solve the problem of unfilled high-tech jobs.

Other parents are concerned about students who don’t test well or that a poor score on a single, high-stakes test could disqualify an individual from future employment. There are also complaints about data collection and privacy related to the mandatory tests.

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Meghan McCain Has…Like…a Brilliant Plan to Help Republican Climate Deniers

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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On Monday, Take Part Live host Meghan McCain shared her brilliant plan for tricking Republican voters into jumping on the climate change bandwagon. “Republicans are the demographic…that primarily don’t believe in climate change,” McCain began.

She didn’t define what it means to “believe in climate change” and didn’t acknowledge that most Republicans don’t actually deny that the climate changes, they mostly only disagree with how much of the change humans are responsible for and whether government intervention can influence the weather.

Nevertheless, McCain continued down the road that Republicans are climate deniers. “I do watch Fox News at night on occasion — and a lot of the time you see people throwing around climate change…like… ‘Of course climate change isn’t real! This is just a liberal issue!’”

She then shared her ingenious solution for dragging the Republican Neanderthals over to the right side of science. “I think this is a cultural issue,” McCain said. “It’s … like … two cultures in America clashing against each other and it’s not even about climate change anymore. It’s about … this is a Republican issue and this is a Democrat issue.”

“I just think if we make this more accessible to people and turn this into a cultural issue,” she continued, “Meaning, Republicans, you’re not going to be able to hunt and fish as much — which I love doing — if there is no f***ing fish to get, you know?”

“We need to educate them on facts and why this is important to them and literally, the survivial of our grandchildren. Calling people idiots isn’t productive,” McCain concluded.

Co-host Jacob Soboroff agreed with Meghan’s plan for educating the ignorant Republican masses: “Put this sh*t on a beta tape or on a DVD and send it to all the Republicans without Internet!”

McCain (who had just finished saying that calling people idiots isn’t productive) chuckled at Soboroff’s dig at Republican knuckle-draggers.

Watch the video on the next page.

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Homeschooling Family Ordered to Follow Common Core Curriculum

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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A New Jersey family was stunned to receive a notice from local school officials ordering them to follow the Common Core standards after they withdrew their son from public school.

According to Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA),

After withdrawing their son from Westfield Public Schools, a homeschool family was surprised when the assistant superintendent sent them a copy of the school’s homeschool policy and asked them to call him.

Their surprise turned to shock when they saw that the policy required them to submit a letter of intent and an outline of their curriculum which (per the policy) must follow New Jersey Common Core content standards, and then wait for the superintendent to approve their curriculum and give them permission to homeschool.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff wrote the assistant superintendent on behalf of the family, pointing out that the policy conflicted with current New Jersey Department of Education home education policy. Local boards of education are not authorized to review or approve the curriculum or education programs of children educated at home in New Jersey or to monitor the educational outcomes. In fact, unless a parent is withdrawing a child from public school, New Jersey parents are not even required to notify state or local officials of their decision to homeschool.

In this case, however, the parents withdrew their child from school, which triggered a response from the school district. The assistant superintendent demanded a letter of intent to homeschool from the parents, an outline of the curriculum they planned to use, and ordered them to comply with the Common Core standards. After being contacted by HSLDA the superintendent backed off on demands that the family follow the district policy. Instead, the superintendent told them their curriculum merely “should be guided by the New Jersey Common Core State Standards.” HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff wrote back and explained that “homeschool families have no obligation to follow or be guided by common core standards.”

While nothing in New Jersey law requires parents to have their curriculum approved by school officials, compliance with Common Core is a murky area of the law.

New Jersey Law N.J.S.A. 18A:38-25 requires that “every parent, guardian or other person having custody and control of a child between six and 16 to ensure that such child regularly attends the public schools of the district or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments or to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school.” [emphasis added]

The legislature gives no specific definition of “equivalent instruction.” But there is nothing specifically in the law that would exempt homeschooling parents from having to provide an education the state considers to be”equivalent” to the Common Core standards.

New Jersey is not the only state that requires equivalent instruction. Connecticut, Indiana, Nevada, and New York homeschooling laws all have language that requires some form of equivalent instruction or equivalent education that states could use to require parents to align their curriculum with Common Core standards. In some states, homeschools must register as private schools and may also be subject to Common Core mandates.

Other states, like Ohio, provide protections from Common Core and other mandates because authorities are specifically prohibited from interfering with the curriculum decisions of parents. Nevertheless, as tests like the SAT and Advanced Placement exams are aligned to the Common Core, even homeschools may not be able to avoid teaching to the new standards as they become more and more embedded in the nation’s educational system.

 

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Ohio Teachers Threaten to Strike Over Being Forced into Obamacare Exchanges

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Teachers in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, have issued notice they will strike beginning Friday, September 19, after they were unable to agree on terms of a new contract with the Reynoldsburg Board of Education. Teachers objected to provisions in the school board’s offer relating to merit pay, class size, and being forced to trade in their Cadillac health care plans for Obamacare. According to the Reynoldsburg Education Association:

This was a fight that was picked intentionally and with a purpose. The board’s first proposal, which they posted publicly on their website, was an appalling list of concessions and corporate reforms; the end of a traditional salary schedule to be replaced by merit pay without defined criteria for obtaining it, the end of traditional employer health insurance by shifting all employees to the Affordable Care Act, no language on class size, planning time to be spent in meetings rather than teacher self-directed planning time… [emphasis added]

The school board says it wants to give cash payments to teachers to buy their own health insurance on the “new state insurance market.” Ohio did not set up a state exchange which means teachers would need to purchase their insurance through the federal exchange under this plan.

The school board explained on their website, “The administration believes teachers individually will do a better job of acquiring coverage that suits their specific needs than the District does with its one-size-fits-all approach.” Under the current contract, teachers pay $75.00 per month for an individual plan ($155/family) with a $1400 out-of-pocket maximum per year ($2800/family).

The board went on to explain that this new scheme is more fair to single teachers, whose “personal lifestyle decisions” mean their health insurance premiums cost less than married teachers. Because all teachers would receive the same payment, single teachers would no longer have to subsidize families, according to the board’s reasoning.

Reynoldsburg Education Association spokesman Gina Daniels said the district’s proposal to eliminate group health insurance and pay teachers a cash stipend so they could buy their own health insurance through the exchanges is a sticking point in the negotiations.”We are concerned by the loss of group health insurance,” Daniels said. “REA wants Reynoldsburg to be able to attract and retain high-quality teachers and keep morale high. Eliminating group health insurance will not bring in or keep quality teachers in Reynoldsburg.”

Both sides are meeting with a federal mediator today in advance of the midnight strike deadline. Teachers have removed their belongings from classrooms and the school board has begun hiring replacement teachers in anticipation of the impending strike.

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More Outrage at Kent State About a Sweatshirt Than a Terrorist Sympathizing Professor

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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A few weeks ago I wrote about Julio Pino, a tenured Kent State professor who openly supports Hamas on his Facebook page and calls for the destruction of Israel.  The convert to Islam also wrote, “MESSAGE MY WAY FROM ZION: While we were educating the world your parents and their ancestors were giving BLOW JOBS to apes!! THAT’S A FACT jack!!” and vowed that he would not work with his fellow professors who support Israel saying, “Collaborate with no one who collaborates with Israel, and let her or him know why. I have started with the head of our ‘Religious Studies’ program, who sends student-dupes to Israel every year.”

Kent State did not respond to my request for a comment about the Facebook posts and Adam Hirsh, Assistant Director of Hillel at Kent State declined to comment on the posts, instead referring me to a statement the group made earlier in the month about Dr. Pino’s “repeated hate rhetoric.”

Basically, the incendiary Facebook posts were met with a yawn. Just more bigoted rantings from Kent State’s resident anti-Semitic scholar.

But, oh, the outrage at Kent State this week when Urban Outfitters tried to sell a vintage Kent State sweatshirt that appeared to be blood-spattered! Many students were upset, saying it reminded them of the May 4, 1970 shootings of four students by members of the National Guard. In fact, the Plain Dealer reported that Kent State students were “collectively disgusted” by the shirt.

“I was just appalled,” said Marvin Logan, president of Undergraduate Student Government. “As a member who represents the entire student population, I felt for our community. May 4 is a sensitive topic. It’s a part of our legacy and should not be taken lightly.”

“How could somebody be so insensitive?” asked Jerry Lewis, a professor emeritus of sociology at Kent State who witnessed the Kent State shootings. “Even if you don’t know the parents like I do or you don’t know the wounded students, 13 people were shot protesting, legally protesting. (That) should be enough to make you outraged by the sweatshirt.”

Congressman Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents Kent, even felt the need to weigh in on the controversial sweatshirts. ”It is deplorable for Urban Outfitters to exploit the pain and suffering of this national tragedy for their gain,” Ryan said in a press release. “May 4th was a seminal and transformational moment in American history and we should never lose sight of its immense impact. Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,” said Ryan (or was it Santayana?)

Likewise, the university was outraged at the insensitivity of Urban Outfitters. ”We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit,” the university said in a statement Monday. “This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”

Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield said he has been contacted by media from around the world about the shirts. Urban Outfitters also called to let him know the company was posting an apology on Twitter. “Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused,” the company posted on Twitter. “It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such.”

Mindy Farmer, who was leading freshman students through the May 4 Visitor Center as part of their First Year Experience class this week said, ”There was nothing but outrage,” about the sweatshirts. “May 4 was a sad event and we are seeing nothing but support (for the university). They have a sense of history and for that we are grateful.”

Farmer told the Plain Dealer that the Urban Outfitter sweatshirt incident is a teachable moment for students.

“We are the right place to combat ignorance,” she said.

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Another ‘Smidgen of Corruption’ in the IRS Scandal

Friday, September 5th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder this week demanding that he hand over contact information for a former IRS attorney with ties to Lois Lerner.

Jordan, chairman of the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs, said in the letter he is requesting the contact information for former Department of Justice attorney Andrew Strelka. “The department’s efforts to prevent the committee from learning Mr. Strelka’s whereabouts suggest the department has cause for keeping him from speaking with the committee.”

Prior to joining DOJ, Strelka worked for former IRS executive Lois Lerner. He was the recipient of an email that directed him to “[b]e on the look out for a tea party case.” The email went on to say, “If you have received or do receive any case in the future involving an exemption for an organization having to do with tea party, let me know.”

While working at DOJ, Strelka represented the IRS in Z Street v. Koskinen, a civil suit related to the IRS targeting of conservative groups. He was suddenly removed from the case in July after reports surfaced about his time spent working for Lerner. Jordan says it was a “startling conflict of interest” for Strelka to represent the IRS in the case. Strelka maintained a relationship with Lerner following his departure from the IRS and, according to Jordan, “completed a detail in the White House before being mysteriously removed” from the Z Street case.

Strelka’s LinkedIn profile says that he is currently employed at Miller and Chevalier Chartered, a Washington, D.C., law firm. A spokesman for Congressman Jordan told the Columbus Dispatch that the committee tried to contact Strelka through information they found online, but “Mr. Strelka did not respond.”

According to Jordan’s letter, the Justice Department “interjected itself” into the committee’s efforts to contact Strelka and “even chided the Committee for attempting to contact Mr. Strelka directly.”

The Ohio Republican reminded Holder that obstructing a congressional investigation is a crime and “denying or interfering with a federal employee’s rights to furnish information to Congress is against the law.” However, Jordan said he is not surprised, given the Department of Justice’s history of obstruction and obfuscations.

Brian Fallon, a Justice Department spokesman, said in response to Jordan’s request, “As the Chairman’s staff is already aware, the committee’s request to speak with Mr. Strelka is being fielded by the department. The department will be responding to the committee’s request promptly.”

Rep. Jordan is demanding that Holder provide contact information by noon on Friday so the committee can schedule a transcribed interview “directly outside the prejudicial influence of the Justice Department.”

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Former Muslim Tells Obama How It Really Is With Islam and ISIL

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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You can’t say it much more clearly than this.

A former Muslim, the son of a Moroccan imam, posted a video this week called “A Message to President Obama From a Former Muslim,” in which he outlines both the dangers and motivations behind radical Islam.

“Brother Rachid,” as he calls himself, says sarcastically that he does not disclose his full name because Islam is “the religion of peace.”  He begins, “Dear Mr. President, with all due respect, sir, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL.” Rachid explains that his father is an Imam and he spent more than twenty years studying Islam. He said the president was wrong when he said that ISIL speaks for no religion. “I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam,” he said. “Allow me to correct you, Mr. President. ISIL is a Muslim organization.” He noted that even the name suggests ISIL is an Islamic movement.

Brother Rachid, who has said that he converted to Christianity after listening to Trans World Radio broadcasts into Morocco, now preaches Christianity via an Arabic satellite TV program, which is broadcast throughout the Middle East. He explained to President Obama in his video that ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, holds a PhD in Islamic studies.”I doubt you know Islam better than he does. He was a preacher and an Islamic leader in one of the local mosques in Baghdad. ISIL’s 10,000 members are all Muslims. None of them are from any other religion. They come from different countries and have one common denominator — Islam.”

He said ISIL members are following the prophet Muhammad’s teaching in every detail, imitating him by growing their beards, shaving their moustaches, and in the way they dress. “They implement Sharia in every piece of land they conquer. They pray five times a day. They have called for a Caliphate, which is a central doctrine in Sunni Islam and they are willing to die for their religion,” said Brother Rachid.

In his message to President Obama, Brother Rachid said, “You think ISIL does not speak for Islam because they beheaded an American and they kill those whom they consider infidels.” But he said, “In the same way, Islam’s prophet Muhammad beheaded — in one day — between 600 and 900 adult males in a Jewish tribe called  Bani QuraizaIn fact, beheading is commanded in the Koran, in Sura 47, 4th verse it says, ‘When you meet the unbelievers and fight, smite their necks.’” Killing prisoners is also an order from Allah to Muhammad and all Muslims, Brother Rachid said.

“Mr. President,” Brother Rachid continued, “I grew up in Morocco, supposedly a moderate country. Yet I still learned at a young age to hate the enemies of Allah, especially Jews and Christians. These are represented today by Israel and the West, especially the Great Satan, America.” He said, “We have been brainwashed to hate all of you in our sacred texts, in our prayers, in our Friday sermons, in our educational systems. We were ready to join any group that one day would fight you and destroy you and make Islam the religion of the whole world, as the Koran says.”

If Islam is not the problem, Brother Rachid asks, why aren’t Christians in the Middle East — many of whom live in terrible political and economic circumstances — blowing themselves up?  Why are Muslims in the West and new converts to Islam joining ISIL, he asks.

Brother Rachid said, “I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being politically correct — to call things by their names. ISIL, al Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab in Somalia, the Taliban and their sister brand names are all made in Islam.” He said that unless the Muslim world separates religion from state, the cycle will continue. He told Obama, “Until you deal with the root of the problem, you will be just dealing with the symptoms. ISIL is just one symptom. If it disappears, other ISILs will be born under different names.”

In a video talking about his faith earlier this year, Brother Rachid said that he loves Muslims, including his parents, who don’t share his faith. But, “Islam is an ideology. It’s a set of doctrines. So criticizing those doctrines doesn’t mean I hate them. So we are preaching, actually, the love of Christ for human beings, including Muslims because they need Jesus Christ and they are victims of an evil ideology — Islam.”

Brother Rachid told the president that terrorism must be cut off at the root. “How many Saudi sheiks are preaching hatred? How many Islamic channels are indoctrinating people and teaching them violence from the Koran and the Hadith? How many Friday sermons are made against the West and freedom and Democracy? How many Islamic schools are producing generations of teachers and students who believe in jihad and martyrdom and fighting the infidels? And finally, how many websites are funded by governments — your allies — that have sheiks that issue fatwas against basic human rights? If you want to fight terrorism, start from there,” he said.

Watch Brother Rachid tell President Obama the truth about Islam on the next page.

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Web Gem: Ronald Reagan’s 1980 Labor Day Speech

Monday, September 1st, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

Ronald Reagan kicked off his general election campaign on September 1, 1980, at Liberty State Park in New Jersey with Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as his backdrop. The crowd was strategically filled with flag-waving Eastern Europeans who were there to raise Reagan’s profile with blue-collar, ethnic Catholic voters. Though Reagan arrived at the venue wearing a sports jacket and tie, Mrs. Reagan convinced him to discard both because of the extreme heat that day. The result was a tanned, handsome Reagan in a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and top buttons undone, his hair blowing in the breeze.

Reagan told the crowd he was the first Republican to visit the Democrat stronghold of Hudson County since 1968. “I’m here because it is the home of Democrats, because I believe today that in this country there are millions of Democrats who are just as unhappy with the way things are as all the rest of us are.” The newly minted Reagan Democrats cheered wildly.

Referring to the families who had passed through Ellis Island on their way to freedom Reagan said, “They came to make America work. They didn’t ask what this country could do for them but what they could do to make this refuge the greatest home of freedom in history. They brought with them courage, ambition and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace, and freedom. ” All came from different lands but shared the same values and the same dream, Reagan said.  He added, “Today a president of the United States would have us believe that dream is over or at least in need of change. Jimmy Carter’s administration tells us that the descendants of those who sacrificed to start again in this land of freedom may have to abandon the dream that drew their ancestors to a new life in a new land.”

Reminding the crowd of Carter’s terrible economic record, Reagan vowed he would bring a ”renewed dedication to the dream of an America, an administration that will give that dream new life and make America great again!”

Reagan also promised to care about the needs of workers. “Beginning in January of 1981, American workers will once again be heeded,” Reagan said. “Their needs and values will be acted upon in Washington. I will consult with representatives of organized labor on those matters concerning the welfare of working people of this nation.”

He explained his vision for rebuilding the American economy. “When we talk about tax reduction, when we talk about ending inflation by stopping it where it starts, in Washington, we’re talking about a way to bring labor and management together for America. We’re talking about jobs and productivity and wages. We’re talking about doing away with Jimmy Carter’s view of a no-growth policy, and ever-shrinking economic pie which means smaller slices for everyone of us,” Reagan said. “That’s no answer. We can have a bigger pie and that’ll mean bigger slices for every one of us. And I believe that together — together you and I can bake that bigger pie. We can make that dream that brought so many of us or our parents and grandparents to this land, we can make that dream live once more.”

In contrast, President Obama demanded a higher minimum wage and more “rights” for workers in his Labor Day address this year. Evoking Jimmy Carter’s ever-shrinking economic pie model, Obama lauded the president of Kentucky State University for chopping up his piece of the pie (cutting his salary by $90,000) so it could be redistributed it to lower wage workers at the university.

Watch Reagan’s speech on the next page.

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Ted Cruz Hints at What His Presidential Campaign Might Look Like

Saturday, August 30th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

In a wide-ranging press conference immediately following his enthusiastically received speech at Americans for Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream” conference in Dallas on Saturday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz hinted at what his path to victory might look like should he decide to run for president. Cruz, who has thus far evaded questions about his intentions to seek the Republican nomination, has recently made non-committal statements like “time will tell,” but on Saturday he offered his vision of a Republican path to victory.

Cruz was asked by a reporter at the press conference whether he had any plans to travel to Scranton, since “every successful candidate who’s run for president since FDR has gone through Scranton, Pennsylvania.”

Cruz said that he has never been to Scranton, but took the opportunity to explain how he won his Senate race in Texas and what he thinks Republicans need to do to win the presidency in 2016.

Cruz said that he is a big believer in examining data and metrics. “For those of y’all from Texas, you’ll remember the Senate race we had here.” He said, “It was a $50 million primary where we were outspent 3-1. We had $35 million in attack ads run against us. When you’re being outspent 3-1 you have to run a very data-driven, metric-driven campaign because every dollar you spend, you’ve got to get 3x bang for the buck. You can’t afford to waste a penny.” Sean Theriault, a University of Texas at Austin political scientist, called Cruz “the Barack Obama of 2012,” for his extraordinary success using data and social media in his underdog win over David Dewhurst in the Republican primary. “It is a great case study of using these tools in politics,” Theriault said.

Cruz conceded that the demographic difference between Republicans and Democrats is significant and said Republicans need to do much better in the minority community. “I was proud here in Texas to do much, much better in the Hispanic community than Mitt Romney did.” But he said the biggest difference is not the demographic shift. “The biggest difference is the millions of conservatives who showed up and voted in 2004 that stayed home in 2008 and 2012. And they fall largely into two categories,” said Cruz. “Number one, evangelical Christians — millions of believers who showed up in ‘04 who didn’t show up in ‘08 and ‘12. And number two, going back to your question [about Scranton], the so-called Reagan Democrats.”

Cruz said the Reagan Democrats up and down the Rust Belt (many of them ethnic Catholics) “tend to be blue collar, union members, gun owners, strong national defense.” According to Cruz, Pennsylvania is right in the heart of Reagan Democrat territory and they showed up to vote in 2004 but stayed home in the next two elections. “If you look in the last 50 years, there is only one Republican who has a group of Democrats named after him: Reagan Democrats. If the Washington consultants were right — that the way you bring people out is moving to the mushy middle, standing for nothing, blurring your distinction with the Democrats — then you’d see all sorts of Democrats named after some of the losing Republican nominees,” Cruz said in an obvious reference to Mitt Romney and John McCain.

In outlining a Republican strategy for victory in the 2016 presidential race, Cruz draws a sharp contrast to Rand Paul, who is courting minorities and young people as he travels the country, testing the waters for a presidential run. Potential contenders Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan have also focused on growing the party by attracting minorities. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could potentially attract Reagan Democrats but has a frigid relationship with the most conservative wing of the party. Texas Governor Rick Perry would likely appeal to a voting bloc similar to Cruz’s. Perry has strong connections to the evangelical community and his success as a job creator in Texas could potentially resonate with the Reagan Democrats Cruz says Republicans need to recapture.

Cruz went on to explain Reagan’s appeal to Democrats. “President Reagan drew a line in the sand. He didn’t say, ‘I’m just like Jimmy Carter,’ he said, ‘This race is about a fundamental choice and president Carter and I have fundamentally different visions for this country.’”

Watch the video on the next page.

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Former High School Basketball Player Sues in Federal Court After Being Cut From Team

Friday, August 29th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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A former Ohio high school basketball player is suing his high school, the athletic director, the school’s principal, and his former basketball coach, alleging they violated his First Amendment right of free speech and his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, resulting in a “loss of liberty” when he was cut from the team.

The suit was originally filed in Medina County Common Pleas Court  [read the complaint here] by Chase Johanson, who graduated from the school  in 2013 and is currently on the track team at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The case was transferred to the U.S. District Court Aug. 27 at the request of the defendants, who said the lawsuit belongs in federal court because the claims involve constitutional issues.

Johanson, who says in an online profile that he was a 6′ 7″ power forward for Medina High School and “my father played basketball at the University of Tennessee,” claims the problems at the school began in December of 2010 during his sophomore year when there was a conflict between a school-sponsored musical performance (in which Johanson participated) and a basketball game. “Following the code of conduct for the school, when such a conflict arises, there was an agreement that he could participate in the musical performance with no clarification of penalty,” the complaint explains.

But Johanson claims that he was forced to sit on the bench for half of the next basketball game as a result of his choosing to attend the musical performance, which ultimately led to two years of conflicts and meetings between Johanson, his mother, the athletic staff, and school administrators. Coaches claim that Johanson’s lackluster athletic performance and bad attitude didn’t warrant being rewarded with much playing time, while Johanson and his mother say that he was being unfairly targeted and punished by a coach who didn’t like him.

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Reporter Thinks Posters Warning Women About Date Rape Drugs Are ‘Victim Blaming’

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Put-in-Bay, a popular Lake Erie island resort in Ohio, is well-known for its party scene and this summer, has earned the unfortunate nickname, “Roofie Island,” after more than a dozen women reported being drugged and at least three were raped. On weekend nights, island police regularly transport young women who suspect they’ve been slipped date rape drugs to the hospital — some tourists, others island employees.

To combat the problem, the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS)  has posted signs around the island warning women, ”Do You Know Where Your Drink Is? Don’t Turn Your Back — ACT!” The poster shows a woman seated at the bar next to a man who is slipping something into her drink behind her back.

“We want friends to look out for their friends, fellow bar-goers to look out for fellow bar-goers and bar staff
to look out for their patrons,” said Agent-in-Charge Eric Wolf from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. “We want everyone to be safe. If you see someone tampering with another person’s drink – don’t turn your back on them, don’t be afraid to step up and act.”

An August 15th ODPS advisory said that bystanders and bar staff should let the person know their drink may have been compromised, get the individual out of the situation and call 9-1-1 immediately, and contain the evidence if possible. “According to the Ohio Incident Based Reporting System (OIBERS), nine forcible rapes with
drugs as a weapon were reported in 2013.”

But Alissa Widman Neese, a reporter for the Sandusky Register thinks something is missing. “Where is the poster telling men — or whoever is allegedly drugging individuals in Put-in-Bay — to stop distributing drugs?” Neese asks.

“If officials are going to advocate individuals protecting themselves from a potential problem, perhaps they should also acknowledge the source of the problem is at fault,” Neese added.  ”The victim or careless bystander is not to blame.” She added via Twitter:

Is warning a woman that her drink could be tampered with any more “victim blaming” than warning someone to look both ways before she crosses the street? Anyone who walks out into traffic without looking both ways is taking unnecessary risks. A woman in a bar who is falling-down drunk has to know that it’s risky to leave her drink unattended when there are men on the prowl with roofies at the ready. Warning someone of a very real danger is not blaming someone for a crime that has yet to be committed.

Neese thinks that the perpetrators need to be warned.

Does anyone seriously think that a violent pervert who is willing to drug a girl, drag her to an alley or a hotel room, and force her to have sex without her knowledge or consent is going to be swayed by a poster or a public service campaign?

Ladies, heed the posters and protect yourselves (and your girlfriends) from these sex offenders. Better yet, steer clear of situations where you could have your drink compromised and never put yourself in a position where you are not in control of your mental faculties.  This is not “victim blaming,” this is common sense advice that could save your life. There are some guys that are creeps — violent losers who are bigger and stronger than you and who will take advantage of you and hurt you if given the opportunity.

A poster warning the perpetrator to leave you alone is not going to help you if you encounter this guy. Being and alert — and sober — and having a friend watch your back will. So will a gun, if you’re planning to stay sober.

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Ohio Lawmakers Hold Common Core Repeal Hearings

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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In the midst of three weeks of hearings on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Ohio lawmakers introduced H.B. 597, a bill that would repeal the controversial standards and require the state to develop new standards that would go into effect in the 2017-2018 school year. In the interim, Ohio would use standards the state of Massachusetts used before they adopted the CCSS.

But according to former State Representative Diana Fessler, H.B. 597 (and Sub. H.B. 597, which replaced the original placeholder bill) is nothing more than “a tool for political gain” designed to protect Republicans in upcoming elections. Fessler explained the political maneuvering in an article at Ohio Conservative Review:

In August of 2013, Rep. Thompson (R-Marietta) introduced House Bill 237 to repeal Common Core (CC) in Ohio. The bill never budged. In an attempt to give the bill some traction, Rep. John Adams (R-Sidney) introduced a discharge petition. The bill still didn’t budge.

Anytime during the past year, Rep. Huffman, Speaker Pro Tempore of the House (the second highest position in the House) could have used his high rank to advocate for a good bill, HB 237. Instead, Rep. Huffman co-sponsored a new bill, HB 597. The new bill functionally rendered both HB 237 and the discharge petition moot.

The new bill, HB 597, an education bill, was not assigned to the House Education Committee. Instead, in a bizarre move, it was assigned to the House Rules and Reference Committee — a committee chaired by none other than Rep. Huffman. HB 597 sets Rep. Huffman up to tout advocacy for anti-CC legislation when he runs for Senator Faber’s open Senate seat in 2016.

The House Rules Committee is run by top House GOP leaders and rarely hears bills. Chairman Huffman replaced several members of the Committee prior to the hearings, including John Adams (R-Sidney) a leading proponent of the repeal effort. Adams and Huffman are expected to face off in 2016 for Faber’s open Senate seat.

Fessler says that the tight timeline makes it virtually impossible for Sub. H.B. 597 to pass before the end of the House legislative calendar. Chairman Huffman has said the full House will not vote on the bill until after the November election, which would leave less than two weeks for a bill to be introduced in the Senate and make it through the conference committee process before the legislative session ends.

According to Fessler:

If either chamber rejects the Committee’s new version of the bill, the bill dies (but the record of how members voted will stand and those votes will be touted during the 2016 elections). Accordingly, the greatest political advantage would come from both Chambers passing an anti-CC bill that later gets “hung up” in the Conference Committee or fails to gain ratification in both chambers.

The second greatest political advantage, and the one most likely in play, would come from just the House passing the bill and then letting the clock run out.

Passage of Substitute HB 597 by the House meets an important political objective: it ensures that specific Republicans in contested 2016 primaries will be able to portray themselves as being against Common Core. Ultimately, some candidates, including a certain chairman, will proclaim that they fought to repeal CC but, sadly, forces beyond their control prevailed. [emphasis added]

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Matt Damon Does Ice Bucket Challenge with Toilet Water to Raise Awareness for His Own Charity

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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Actor Matt Damon accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge from his friends Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon this week, but admitted he was conflicted about wasting water. ”It posed kind of a problem for me, not only because there’s a drought here in California,” Damon explained in a YouTube video, “but because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water — and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t — and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy.”

Damon, who said he plans to pay the “fine” since it took him more than 24 hours to respond to the challenge, decided that using toilet water would be a good way to assuage his conscience about wasting water and, at the same time, raise awareness about his own charity.

Damon then co-opted the ALS challenge and asked viewers to support his clean water initiative. “I thought a good thing to do to try to tie those things together would be to take some toilet water,” Damon said. “And now, for those of you like my wife, who think this is really disgusting, keep in mind that the water in our toilets in the West is actually cleaner than the water that most people in the developing world have access to. So, as disgusting as this may seem, hopefully it will highlight the fact that this is a big problem and together we can do something about it.”

Damon, sounding like Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMA awards (I’m really happy for you. Imma let you finish”), gave a quick shout out to the ALS cause, but then went right back to promoting his own charity before dumping the bucket of toilet water on himself. “So, I’m happy to take the challenge and knock out ALS — I’m all for that. For more information about the clean water crisis and sanitation crisis please visit us at Water.org,” he said. Damon then nominated George Clooney, Bono and NFL quarterback Tom Brady to take the challenge.

 

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Legendary NFL Superstar Jim Brown Says He is Not Emphasizing Violence — or Nonviolence

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown was asked by ESPN Cleveland’s “The Really Big Show” last Friday about the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Though he admitted he didn’t know anything about the circumstances of the shooting, Brown said, “A young man had to die that wasn’t a weapons threat to anyone. That’s the most unfortunate thing. ” While Brown said that looting was wrong as a form of protest and “it’s an excuse to do something that’s incorrect,” he said there there was an upside to the shooting. “Now, the good thing is that it calls attention to law enforcement and it tells law enforcement you need better training so that your officers can be heroes of the community and not enemies of the community. If your pattern is always that it’s a young black male being killed, that’s not right,” Brown said.

 

Asked about Dr. Martin Luther King’s nonviolent protest tactics, the legendary former Cleveland Browns player said, “Dr. King was a fine man with a flawed philosophy. He said ‘nonviolence.’ What is a non? That’s inactive. So if you’re inactive, what are you going to change?” Nonviolence won’t bring about anything, Brown said. “Gandhi — it didn’t really work. It only got the good people killed.”

 

Brown said the solution for the problems plaguing communities like Ferguson is education, self-determination, and personal responsibility. “Understanding how to protect your community rather than being a predator in your community,” is key said Brown.  But then he added, “I mean, when you say non-violence or violence, obviously you don’t want violence. But obviously I’m not emphasizing non-violence because what does that do?”

 

Obviously.

 

Listen to the full interview here.

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Terrorist-Supporting Kent State Professor’s Incendiary, Anti-Semitic Facebook Posts

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Kent State University associate professor of history Julio Pino is well known for his anti-Semitic, jihad-supporting views. In 2002 the Cuban-born convert to Islam wrote a poem published in the Kent Stater that praised a female suicide bomber in Israel, saying her actions should be “pronounced ‘justice’ and spelled C-O-U-R-A-G-E.” In 2007, at the same time he was on the payroll of Ohio taxpayers as a tenured professor, he was also writing for Global War, a now defunct blog that supported violent global jihad. In 2011, Pino made news after he shouted ”Death to Israel” when an Israeli diplomat spoke at a campus event sponsored by the Jewish Hillel organization.

In early August of this year, Pina wrote an open letter to his fellow academics who support Israel, holding them “directly responsible for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children, women and elderly civilians over the past month.” Pino said, “Your names are scrawled on every bullet fired, bomb dropped, body buried and burnt forehead in Gaza. May your names become a curse word on the lips of every justice-loving person on earth, along with ‘Obama’ and ‘Netanyahu.’” He accused his fellow academics of being fascist collaborators and ended with a veiled threat saying, “We both know the fate of collaborators.” Pino signed the letter with a Che Guevara slogan: “Hasta la victoria siempre!” (“Until Victory, Always!”), and added, “Jihad until victory!”

While Kent State has, over the years, condemned Pino’s actions and violent rhetoric, it has not announced any official disciplinary actions against Pino for his incendiary rhetoric and attacks on Jewish and pro-Israel members of the campus community. The university called his most recent statements “reprehensible” and irresponsible” and said that “at Kent State, we value collegiality and mutual respect. Assailing the public with broad statements of culpability violates these principles.”

The toothless condemnations from the university have done little to quell Pino’s zeal for terrorist causes and the destruction of Israel, if his recent Facebook posts are any indication.

Pino’s profile picture shows protesters draped in Hamas flags.

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Capt. Johnson Delivers a Stern Lecture to the Media in Ferguson

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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In a tense, middle-of-the night press conference early Tuesday morning, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson lectured members of the media about safety and implored them to assist law enforcement in calming tensions in the city.

After reporting that two individuals had been shot and several police officers injured during another night of protests in response to last week’s shooting of Michael Brown, Johnson showed members of the media items that law enforcement officials had confiscated during the previous night’s protests including a Molotov cocktail, fireworks that had been thrown into a crowd, and two guns. Johnson said the guns were confiscated from individuals who shot at an apartment complex from their vehicle, which was then stopped near the media staging area. He said journalists were swarming the car to snap pictures as officers were trying to secure the weapons, making the confrontation even more dangerous.

Johnson said that when the media is asked to relocate, it is for their own safety or to facilitate law enforcement operations.

“I’d ask you not to glamourize their activities,” Johnson said of the protesters who were bent on illegal activities and provoking confrontations with police.  There were 31 arrests on Monday night along with several fires set by protesters around the city.

Johnson described the volatile situation on the ground. “You were out there. You saw the chaos. You saw the shootings. We had officers in the midst of gunfire. In the midst of gunfire! And I guarantee you that the officers’ wives and husbands and parents are calling them now,” an emotional Johnson said. “I stood there and heard on the radio the screams of the officers who were under gunfire. I got back to our SWAT vehicle and saw the gentleman laying in the back who had been shot. I saw a car pull up and drop a gentleman off who had been shot in the hand that was dazed walking down the street.” Capt. Johnson added, “We can’t have this. We do not want any citizen hurt. We do not want any officers hurt. But when you’re shooting at apartment complexes and children are laying in the bed in apartment complexes and bullets are flying through the air, the saying on the street is, ‘a bullet has no name.’ We do not want to lose another life in this community.”

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Capt. Ron Johnson Gives a Rousing, Heartfelt Speech at Michael Brown Rally in Ferguson

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson gave a rousing and heartfelt speech at a rally today at a Ferguson church for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old man who was shot by police a week ago. In a rally attended by the parents of Brown and a lineup of nationally known civil rights leaders, Johnson, who has become the face of the law enforcement effort in Ferguson, was greeted with a standing ovation by the crowd of approximately 1500 people.

Capt. Johnson began by speaking to Michael Brown’s family. “I want you to know my heart goes out to you and I say that I’m sorry. I wear this uniform and I should stand up here and say that I’m sorry,” Johnson said. The crowd cheered and again gave Johnson a standing ovation.

“This is my neighborhood,” Johnson continued. “You are my family, you are my friends, and I am you.” He vowed to protect the community’s right to protest.

He said his heart was full seeing a church full of people clapping and cheering. “This is what the media needs to put on TV.”

Johnson admitted that the last 24 hours had been tough for him, saying that he had met some members of Michael Brown’s family. “They brought tears to my eyes,” Johnson said. “And shame to my heart,” he added.

He said, however, that his daughter had encouraged him with the story of Peter and Jesus in the New Testament. “When Peter failed, Jesus picked him back up,” his daughter told him.

He promised to stay with the community of Ferguson “as long as it takes.” Capt. Johnson said, “Because when this is over I’m going to go into my son’s room — my black son, who wears his pants sagging, wears his hat cocked to the side, got tattoos on his arms, but that’s my baby.” Johnson paused for another standing ovation.

“And we all ought to be thanking the Browns for Michael,” he continued. “Because Michael’s gonna make it better for all of our sons so they can be better black men. It will be better for our daughters so they can be better black women. Better for me so I can be a better black father. And we know they’re going to make our mamas even better than they are today.”

Johnson encouraged the community to pray and allow the death of Mike Brown to make them better. “I love you, I stand tall with you, and I’ll see you out there,” Johnson concluded.

Watch video on the next page.

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Missouri Governor Announces Ferguson Curfew at Raucous Press Conference

Saturday, August 16th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson and ordered a curfew beginning Sunday at midnight until 5 a.m. in an attempt to curb the ongoing looting and protests in response to the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer last week.

Nixon, surrounded by community leaders at a Ferguson church, announced the curfew during a “press conference” that was more like a gathering of community activists. Nixon was shouted down at several points during his remarks and during the Q & A as members of the community demanded the immediate indictment of the police officer involved in the shooting and demanded that the police stand down and cease their strong-arm tactics against the protesters.

Nixon would not say how long the curfew would last and would not say whether journalists would be arrested for curfew violations. He did say there would be a “staging area” available for the media to ensure “transparency.”

Many in the crowd made it clear that the protests would continue until “justice” was meted out for the shooting. “This poor child…this 18-year-old young man was killed in cold blood. That’s why people have been in the streets,” shouted one woman from the back of the room. 

A fragile peace was shattered early Saturday morning as looters again robbed businesses while police in riot gear watched, mostly without intervening. Some protesters tried to stop the looters on their own, guarding stores and businesses to protect them from theft and property damage. Police have been under fire for the use of excessive force in opposing the protesters in Ferguson, utilizing armored vehicles, tear gas, and rubber bullets to control the crowds.

While Gov. Nixon praised the “courage and resolve” of protesters who tried to stop the looting, New Black Panther leader Malik Shabazz asked for “rules of engagement” between police and protesters and said the police wouldn’t be able to enforce the curfew. “We gotta do it ourselves. They go out there, it’s over,” Shabazz said.

Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO) said at the meeting that he has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to take over the investigation into the shooting, asking him to investigate it as a civil rights violation. “Let the Feds prosecute. You’re not going to get a fair trial in St. Louis County,” Clay said.

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Palestinians in Gaza Tweet Their Solidarity with Ferguson Protesters

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

After disregarding pleas from the police in Ferguson, Missouri, to restrict their protests to daylight hours, angry demonstrators took to the streets for a fourth night in a row in response to the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday.

The Ferguson Police Department expressed sympathy over the unarmed teen’s death, saying “police are working to restore confidence in the safety of our community and our neighborhoods so that we may begin the healing process.”

The city and the police department pledged to cooperate fully with local and federal investigations into the shooting.

“We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner,” the statement said. “We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble to disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of our community.”

But early Wednesday evening a crowd gathered around a burned down gas station for another night of protesting. Officers set up barricades in an attempt to control the area, but when protesters refused to disperse and blocked a busy street, police moved in with tear gas and rubber bullets sending protesters running.

In the middle of the melee, Twitter started lighting up with messages of solidarity from Palestinians in Gaza, some of them sending advice for how to resist police or deal with the effects of tear gas.

Inas Safidi, whose Twitter profile says she lives in “Palestine,” began with a message of support for the protesters:

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Religious Leaders Call For the Destruction of ISIS/ISIL to Halt Genocide in Iraq

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Saying that the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS/ISIL) is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq in it’s efforts to establish a caliphate, a group of religious leaders has signed a petition calling on the United States to destroy the terrorist group.

ISIS/ISIL has engaged in crimes against humanity by deliberately causing mass starvation and dehydration, and by committing unconscionable acts of barbarism against noncombatants, including defenseless women, children, and elderly persons.

It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities. This goal cannot be achieved apart from the use of military force to degrade and disable ISIS/ISIL forces.

Signatories of the petition include Robert P. George, professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ben Carson, author and retired neurosurgeon, author and speaker Eric Metaxas, and Edward Whelan, head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The group approved of President Obama’s use of airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL in key cities and the humanitarian aid the U.S. has provided but said much more needs to be done and, “There is no time to waste.”

Saying they always favor non-military means of resolving disputes and protecting human rights, unfortunately, they believe the evidence is overwhelming that such means will not be able to halt the genocide unfolding in Iraq.

Therefore we call upon the United States and the international community to do everything necessary to empower local forces fighting ISIS/ISIL in Iraq to protect their people. No options that are consistent with the principles of just war doctrine should be off the table.  We further believe that the United States’ goal must be more comprehensive than simply clamping a short-term lid on the boiling violence that is threatening so many innocents in ISIS/ISIL’s path.  Nothing short of the destruction of ISIS/ISIL as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.

They called upon President Obama and Congress to expand airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL and to provide full air support for Kurdish and others opposing ISIS/ISIL.  They also said the United States should provide arms, ammunition, equipment, and intelligence to Kurdish forces, Sunni tribesmen, and others fighting ISIS/ISIL.

In addition to military aid, the signatories said the humanitarian crisis is urgent. “Local churches and aid agencies are overwhelmed, and we have grave concerns about how these victims of violent religious persecution will be cared for this winter. The U.S. can and should take the lead in providing food, water, medicine, and other essential supplies.”

The group said it was important to note that the U.S. “is not without responsibility for the plight of victims of ISIS/ISIL genocide.”  They said the crisis in Iraq would not be happening “but for errors and failures of our nation’s own in Iraq.” Though they were not all in agreement on precisely what the errors and failures were and who was to blame for the problems,  they did agree that, “The point is not to point fingers or apportion blame, but to recognize that justice as well as compassion demands that we take the steps necessary to end the ISIL/ISIS campaign of genocide and protect those who are its victims.”

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Obama Makes Surprise Appearance to Kick Off Gay Games

Saturday, August 9th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

President Obama made a surprise video appearance at the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland on Saturday. Joining Greg Louganis, Lance Bass, the Pointer Sisters, and Broadway’s Andrea McArdle and Alex Newell in celebrating the event, Obama said, “Since 1982 the Gay Games have given lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender athletes and supporters around the world a chance to come together to compete, celebrate, and inspire others.”

President Obama, who is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, noted how the country has changed since the games began in 1982. “We’ve also seen America change in that time, even since 2006, when the games were last held in the United States in my hometown of Chicago. We’ve come a long way in our commitment to the equal rights of LGBT people here and around the world,” he said.

As international crises continue to dominate the world stage, the president took a break from his vacation and busy golf schedule to record the message for the Gay Games, boasting about his accomplishments on behalf of the LGBT movement since becoming president.  ”I’m proud of my administration’s record and of the citizens who’ve helped push for justice.”

The president had a special message for those living in countries that persecute LGBT individuals, explaining what he believes to be the “very idea” of America. “You should know that the United States stands with you and for your human rights, just as our athletes stand with you on the field at these games,” he said. “After all, the very idea of America is that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, or who you love, you can make it if you try. That’s who we are. That’s who we should continually strive to be. ”

Obama wished the athletes well. “We’re also a country that loves competition, so let’s get these games underway. Good luck to the athletes, have a great time in Cleveland and Akron, and go, Team U.S. A.!”

“The Gay Games is thrilled to have President Obama take his time to show his commitment to the Games’ mission of inclusion, participation and personal best,” said Hollie Ksiezyk, co-chair of the 2014 Gay Games.

Fellow co-chair Steve Sokany agreed. ”It was a special moment that no one in the arena will forget and a great way to kick off the exciting Games week,” he said.

Journalist Connie Schultz, wife of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, tweeted about how deeply moved she and Sen. Brown were by the opening ceremony:

 

 

 

Approximately 8,000 athletes are expected to participate in 36 events over the next week.

Watch the video of Obama on the next page.

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Doctor Infected With Ebola Releases Statement From Hospital Room

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

Dr. Kent Brantly, the doctor who was flown home to the U.S. from Liberia after being infected with the deadly Ebola virus, released a statement from his isolation room at Emory University Hospital today.  ”I am growing stronger every day, and I thank God for his mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease,” Brantly said.  He thanked those who had been praying for his recovery as well as for the recovery of Nancy Writebol, the nurse who was also infected and flown home, and for the people of Liberia and West Africa.

He said that he and his wife and children did not move to Liberia specifically to fight Ebola. “We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.” Nevertheless, he said that God often leads people to unexpected places. “When Ebola spread into Liberia, my usual hospital work turned more and more toward treating the increasing number of Ebola patients. I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them. I witnessed the horror first-hand, and I can still remember every face and name.”

When Brantley started feeling ill, he immediately isolated himself until the test confirmed his diagnosis three days later. Upon hearing that the result was positive, “I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him,” Brantly said in the statement released by Samaritan’s Purse, the missionary organization that assisted in bringing Dr. Brantly home for treatment.

Now that he is back in the United States, Brantly said his focus remains the same, “to follow God.” Brantly asked that as people continue to pray for his recovery, “More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.”

Samaritan’s Purse reported that Dr. Kent Brantly’s condition is improving. His wife, Amber, has been able to visit him in the isolation unit at Emory University Hospital and said he was in good spirits.

“I have been able to see Kent every day, and he continues to improve,” she said. “I am thankful for the professionalism and kindness of Dr. (Bruce) Ribner and his team at Emory University Hospital. I know that Kent is receiving the very best medical treatment available.”

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Why Did Rand Paul Run Away From a Confrontation with a DREAMer?

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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At a Monday fundraiser in Iowa, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) bolted when “DREAMer” Erika Andiola interrupted his lunch with Congressman Steve King (R-IA). Andiola, the co-director of DREAM Action Coalition, approached the table where Paul and King were seated and introduced herself.

“My name is Erika,” she said. “I’m actually a DREAMer myself.” Immediately upon hearing the word “DREAMer,” Sergio Gor, Paul’s communications director, nodded to the senator, who had just taken a bite of his burger, and the two stood up and left before Paul could even finish chewing the chunk of burger in his mouth.

Rep. King hung around to have a lengthy and rather animated discussion with the young woman, who had been brought to the U.S. illegally by her mother when she was 11 years old.

It was clearly an ambush designed to provoke responses from King and Paul.  After Paul departed, Andiola invited King to tear up her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) card and she followed that up with a recitation of the typical talking points of the pro-amnesty crowd, all designed for maximum YouTube exposure.

King listened to Andiola’s concerns and then passionately (and mostly patiently) tried to explain to the young woman that the president didn’t have the constitutional authority to issue DACA cards, attempting to sell Andiola on the benefits of a country that is governed by rule of law. The exchange went on for more than seven minutes.

In an email to National Review, Sergio Gor said Paul had to leave to meet with the media. “Senator Paul had a media avail after the event and that’s where we had to be. CNN, Buzzfeed, Wall Street Journal and several local outlets attended the media avail.”

Appearing later on MSNBC, Andiola said that Rand Paul should think twice about being seen with Steve King if he’s considering running for president in 2016. “Steve King has been one of the most extreme anti-immigrant folks in Congress and I don’t know if Rand Paul actually learned a lesson from Mitt Romney, but Mitt Romney lost the election with the Latino vote because he didn’t support the DREAM Act and he believed in self-deportation.”

Andiola also said that Paul would need to face the issue of DREAMers if he wanted to run for president. “It’s a tough issue, but the reality is that if you have someone that is actually affected by it that’s trying to talk to you, you don’t run away. You actually sit there and you try to talk,” she said, “At least King … he talked to us. And Rand Paul, who is trying to run for office in 2016 didn’t even finish his burger and, you know, bailed out.”

So, was Rand Paul’s departure from what was clearly an ambush by the pro-amnesty activist a canny demonstration of political acumen or an act of cowardice?

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