Kentucky Senator Rand Paul continued to hammer away at Sen. Marco Rubio, who told Megyn Kelly on Fox News earlier this week that Paul “has no idea what he’s talking about” when he supports ending the Cuban embargo and normalizing diplomatic relations. Paul defended his Facebook post directed at Rubio in which he said, “Senator Rubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat.” Paul also followed up by trolling Rubio on Twitter on Friday.
Hey @marcorubio if the embargo doesn't hurt Cuba, why do you want to keep it?
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 19, 2014
Senator @marcorubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism.
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 19, 2014
The United States trades and engages with other communist nations, such as China and Vietnam. So @marcorubio why not Cuba?
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 19, 2014
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 19, 2014
Shannon Bream, filling in for Megyn Kelly on Friday, asked Paul if he was picking a fight with Rubio.
“Oh, you know, I never start a fight but I’m happy to finish a fight. I think the remarks were a little bit rude and intemperate. … I didn’t start this, Shannon, you know. But what I would say is that the remarks were intemperate and rude, and so we responded to them,” Paul said, sounding perhaps a bit too much like a 9-year-old girl tattling on her little sister.
“It is about an issue and it is about a fellow Republican who used rude and inappropriate language with regard to a fellow Republican and I think that I won’t stand for it, frankly,” he said. “And if someone’s going to cast aspersions on me and not talk about policy, then there will be an altercation and I won’t shy away from a battle and I think I’ve shown that.”
Jon Stewart reacted to Geraldo Rivera’s criticism of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who wore a a t-shirt emblazoned with “I Can’t Breathe” to a recent game. Stewart said on Wednesday, “This should be a perfectly acceptable way to express one’s feelings about political issues.”
“Last time I checked, t-shirts don’t block traffic. They don’t prevent you from shopping at Macy’s,” Stewart said.
Geraldo Rivera said he wondered if LeBron should instead wear a shirt that said, “Be a better father to your son. Raise your children.”
Stewart said that LeBron (the father of three) actually lives that message. But added, “If he wants advice on shirts, I’m sure he’ll ask someone who wears one.”
Pre-Christmas pro-tip: Don’t forget to talk to your kids — and parents — about responsible social media usage.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz answered some of his critics, including Charles Krauthammer and George Will, who say he does not understanding how the game is played in Washington. Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Cruz on Tuesday to respond to charges that he doesn’t “get it.” Cruz, who said that he likes and respects both Will and Krauthammer, said, “You know, on some level I’ll agree with what they said. I am not trying to play the rules of Washington because I think Washington’s broken. I think it’s profoundly broken. And I think the only answer is to change Washington.”
Cruz described disruptive apps in the tech world that come in and disrupt the means of distributing goods or services. “Let’s take, for example, Uber coming in or Lyft coming into a city. Whenever that happens, the existing providers fight like cats and dogs. The taxi commissions have done everything they can to kill Uber and Lyft,” he said.
“What we’re trying to do in the political world is very much the same thing, which is change the means of decision-making, take it out of the smoke-filled rooms, where decision-making is done in Washington between career politicians and lobbyists — and instead empower the people,” Cruz said. “In my view, the only way we can turn this country around is if the American people rise up and hold every one of us accountable. So I’m not trying to play the Washington rules. I’m trying to change the rules and make elected officials, myself included, accountable to the people who elected them.”
On Monday Cruz told Mark Levin that a lot of his colleagues in Washington “buy into this collective herd mentality that you can’t stand up and do anything meaningful. That you have to give in.” He said, “The way you get bipartisan agreement in this town is you get everyone to sit around a table and you say, ‘I’ll spend for your project, your project, your project … another trillion dollars … we’re done.’ And that’s how we bankrupt our kids and grandkids. That’s how we get $18 trillion in debt because everyone scratches everyone else’s backs and nobody actually stands for the working men and women back home.”
Asked about his critics, Cruz told Levin, “If they want to come after me, fine. Knock yourself out. That is not my concern. My concern is honoring the oath of office.”
The TSA is on Instagram and they’re sharing pictures of some of the items they’ve confiscated from passengers trying to board planes in the U.S. These are banned items that were discovered in November and December and after seeing the pictures, you may be a little less likely to complain about that long wait in the airport security line this holiday season.
First up are the guns, many of them loaded.
#TSACatch – This loaded firearm was discovered in a carry-on bag last week at the #Seattle – #Tacoma (#SEA) International Airport. While firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags, they may be transported in checked baggage as long as the proper guidelines are met. Read more about traveling with firearms at: bit.ly/TravelingWithFirearms
#TSACatch – This loaded firearm was discovered in a carry-on bag last week at the #Cincinnati #NorthernKentucky (#CVG) International Airport. It fires a combination of .45 caliber rounds and .410 shotgun shells. While firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags, they can be packed in checked baggage as long as they are declared and packed properly. Read more about properly traveling with firearms at TSA.gov.
These are just nine of the over 200 firearms that were discovered in carry-on bags in October; 174 of the 200 were loaded. Unless you’re a law enforcement officer with special permission, firearms are never permitted in carry-on bags. Read more at TSA.gov on how to properly travel with firearms in your checked baggage.
In his first televised interview since a non-disclosure agreement was loosened, Dr. James Mitchell, an Air Force psychologist who was an integral part of the controversial CIA enhanced interrogation program, lashed out at the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Monday’s Kelly File. Mitchell, who gave very specific details about the interrogations of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah, who was at the time a suspect in the attacks, told Kelly that he’s angry about the report and feels that the disclosure of his identity has put him in danger. Mitchell said, “They had a foregone conclusion.” He believes the CIA put his life and the lives of other CIA officials and their families in danger. “For some sort of moral high ground?” he asked.
He said the CIA report has accused him and fellow interrogators of “some horrible things” but they can’t be prosecuted because what they did was legal at the time. “They didn’t give us the chance to explain anything. They didn’t bother talking to the people at the CIA or the people who were no longer at the CIA who were involved, like the past directors.” He said the report has stirred up “all of the crazies and all the jihadists and so now we’re getting death threats and we’re getting all kinds of things. ”
“I do not mind giving my life for my country, but I do mind giving my life for a food fight for political reasons between two groups of people who should be able to work it out like adults,” Mitchell told Kelly when asked if his life was in danger.
”No one from the Senate committee has ever asked me a single thing. If they think I’ve abused somebody they should ask me about it. They should point at the piece of the paper, let me review the documents, and let me at least try to explain my…ourselves. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has the opportunity to address the charges against him but I don’t,” Mitchell complained.
Mitchell said he is proud of the work the interrogators did. “We saved lives. I don’t care what the Senate said. The presidents, the past three CIA directors — I got an award for the work that we did. They told us we did a good job. They told us we saved lives. And I believe that we did.”
But then the Senate report was released and Mitchell said he had no opportunity to defend himself. “And I feel horrible for the nation. I feel horrible, in part, because this puts everyone at risk, and worse yet, it shows al Qaeda and the al Qaeda 2.0 folks — ISIL — that we’re divided and that we’re easy targets. That we don’t have the will to defeat them. Because that’s what they know.”
“Well I don’t feel that I’ve been abandoned by the CIA,” Mitchell said. ”They didn’t throw me under the bus.” He said the majority of people he talks to support what was done and thank him for it.
“It’s just for me — you can probably tell that I’m a little agitated about this,” Mitchell told Kelly, “I don’t want to die because the Democrats in the Senate don’t have the courtesy to ask the CIA to explain what they view as abuses that occurred when there’s other evidence — 6 million documents — and they cherry-picked what makes their point out of it and it puts us in danger.
Watch more of the interview on the next page:
A New South Wales (NSW) police spokeswoman said officers were called to the Lindt chocolate cafe in Sydney, Australia at 9:44 a.m. on Monday to respond to a hostage situation in progress.
Witnesses say a middle-aged man wearing a black bandana with Arabic writing walked into the cafe with a bag containing a gun and took control of the cafe. Hostages were reportedly told to close their eyes, hold their hands up, and face the window. Lindt employees were seen holding a black flag in the front window with the words “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
7 News in Sydney, which has a studio across the street from the cafe, originally reported that there were 13 hostages and “at least one gunman.” They are now saying there may be as many as 50 people inside the building. They are reporting that a gunman is using a woman as a human shield.
A witness who owns a kiosk near the cafe told the Sydney Morning Herald, “It was about 10 past 10. They [police] came out running like a madman and said close the shop! Get out!”
Buildings in the area have been evacuated and NSW police are directing people in the vicinity of the hostage situation to remain indoors and to stay away from windows.
The Lindt cafe is located at Martin Place, the scene of a foiled terror plot by Omarjan Azari. In September, Azari was arrested after it was discovered that he was plotting to behead a random victim and then cover the body with an Islamic flag.
In addition to the September terror plot, many financial institutions are housed in Martin Place buildings adjacent to the Lindt cafe.
The Sydney Morning Herald pointed out that it is not an Islamic State flag, “but is an Islamic flag that has been co-opted by jihadist groups.”
“The flag appears to be a Shahada flag, which represents a general expression of faith in Islam, but has been co-opted by various jihadist groups,” the newspaper reported. “That means it doesn’t help confirm or rule out that the hostage-takers’ affiliation is with Islamic State or any other group.”
The government has convened a meeting of the National Security Committee. It has been warning about the possibility of a terrorist attack for months.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned after a series of September terror raids that all that is needed for an Islamic State terror attack is a “knife, iPhone and a victim.”
The prime minister gave a brief statement early Monday afternoon saying, “We don’t yet know the motivations” of the perpetrator (singular) and “this is an unfolding situation.”
“This is a very disturbing incident,” Abbott said, “our thoughts and prayers must above all go out to the individuals that are caught up in this.”
He said police have made contact with the attacker and said the NSW police will begin providing operational updates shortly.
Abbott assured the public that the ordinary business of the Australian government will go on and encouraged people to go about their normal business.
“The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people out of being themselves,” Abbott said.
It’s not the higher premiums. Not the fact that Americans are losing their doctors or that they’re being forced onto plans they don’t like — including Medicaid. It’s not even that the website launch made users think they’d time-traveled back to the land of CompuServe, circa 1991.
No, says former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the real problem with the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — is the name.
In an interview with POLITICO Wednesday Sebelius said that “Obamacare, no question, has a very bad brand that has been driven intentionally by a lot of misinformation and a lot of paid advertising.”
Insisting that Obamacare is working, Sebelius said, “I think we may need to call it something … in the future … different.”
Just a simple branding problem, right? Like that time Kentucky Fried Chicken removed “fried” from their name at a time when consumers were shifting to more health-conscious food choices.
Jeff Dunetz at Yid With Lid asked the Twitterverse to help the former HHS secretary with new names for their beloved government healthcare. Here are a few gems:
— Gomes (@GomesBolt) December 11, 2014
— A Raised Eyebrow (@ARaised_Eyebrow) December 11, 2014
The Unaffordable Lies Act #hdnr
— Egbert Sousé (@Criblecobble) December 11, 2014
— Maquisard (@Browncoat_Atty) December 11, 2014
— Gary Crant (@Beefsteak101) December 11, 2014
— Les Rankins (@LesRankins) December 11, 2014
— Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) December 11, 2014
— Habib Jones (@habib2001) December 11, 2014
“This administration does not take any prisoners, they prefer to kill them from afar, using drones,” Rodriguez said. “And somehow, they feel that because they kill from a distance, somehow, it’s more ethical … more ethical than the difficult and messy and unpleasant task and mission of actually interrogating prisoners. I think it’s a distortion of what our values are.”
Hannity said if given a choice between being waterboarded or killed by a drone strike, he would choose waterboarding.
“I think I’ll take the waterboarding, too,” Rodriguez said.
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James appeared during warm-ups before Monday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets wearing a shirt that said “I CAN’T BREATHE,” in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died in New York after a confrontation with police. Several players on both teams joined LeBron in wearing the shirts including Kevin Garnett, Kyrie Irving, and Deron Williams. They followed the lead of Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who wore the same shirt before a game on Saturday night.
After the game, James explained to reporters why he wore the shirt.
“It was a message to the family that I’m sorry for their loss. Sorry to his wife. And that’s what it’s about. I think everybody else get caught up in everything else besides who’s really feelin’ it, and that’s the family. That’s what it’s about,” he said.
“Obviously we know our society needs to do better, but like I said before, violence is not the answer and retaliation isn’t the solution. As a society we know we have to get better but it’s not going to be done in one day. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we know that, but we all have to do better,” James continued.
While a lot of fans agreed with LeBron’s message in principle, many were disturbed by — of all things — the font choice.
We are now at a point in the culture where civil discourse has blown past anything resembling meaningful debate, past memes and soundbites, even past short t-shirt slogans. Now it’s devolved into whether or not the message carries the right font:
— Sports Mogul, Inc. (@sportsmogul) December 9, 2014
Design Matters. Details Matter. For example, comic sans probably not the appropriate typeface. pic.twitter.com/bqSVJWWMUy
— Eric S. Kuhn (@eskuhn) December 9, 2014
— Eric S. Kuhn (@eskuhn) December 9, 2014
C'mon Lebron, Comic Sans? Did Dan Gilbert design this too? pic.twitter.com/VlW4YD59JI
— Andrew Santoro (@andrew_santoro_) December 9, 2014
the 'I can't breathe' shirt lebron was wearing has zero credibility because it's in Comic Sans #cmonman
— victoria (@vDelGato) December 10, 2014
Comic sans was definitely the worst choice for LeBron's "I Can't Breathe" shirt. Nothing funny about that.
— Bailey Aldrich (@baileyaldrich) December 10, 2014
I love that LeBron is using his stature in this way to protest Eric Garner's murder. But Comic Sans? WTF?… http://t.co/dXyOi9Tr21
— Rick Dickinson (@coyotebum) December 10, 2014
Is that comic sans on Lebron's 'I can't breathe' T-shirt? Do you want to be taken seriously or what?
— Josh Hastings (@Josh_Hastings) December 10, 2014
Proud of Lebron using his fame this way. However, friends don’t let friends use Comic Sans. pic.twitter.com/GYHTLRwUL4
— Jamie Golden (@JamiesRabbits) December 10, 2014
MIT professor Jonathan Gruber was in the hot seat at Tuesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing, answering questions regarding his offensive comments about the stupidity of the American people and his assertions that the Affordable Care Act was passed based on a mischaracterization of the facts.
At the hearing Gruber was asked by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) about a paper he co-authored in 1998, “Abortion Legalization and Child Living Circumstances: Who is the ‘Marginalized Child’,” in which Gruber suggested that children who die as a result of abortion are better off because the majority of them would have ended up in single-parent households and living in poverty.
“So, this gets me to another instance where you committed candor,” Massie said in the hearing. “You conclude legal abortion — and birth outcomes among a birth cohort … and on page 26, you state that your research indicates that the legalization of abortion saved the government $14 billion in welfare payments through 1994,” he continued. “Is providing more access to abortion, is that a worthy social outcome to achieve cost savings for the government?”
“That is not what my paper was about,” Gruber answered. “It wasn’t a philosophical paper. It was about empirical facts.”
Massie quoted the paper: “‘By 1993 all cohorts under the age 19 were born under legalized abortion and we estimate steady state savings of $1.6 billion per year from positive selection.’”
“What did you mean by positive selection?” Massie asked. “Because in this paper you’re talking about providing more access to abortions to a socioeconomic strata of our constituents.”
Gruber answered, “In that paper we were studying the characteristics of children who were born before and after abortion was legalized. You can infer the characteristics — ”
Gruber wrote in the 1998 paper that “the government saved $480 million in 1980 because of abortion legalization. Had all children in 1980 been born at a time when abortion was legal, our estimates imply that positive selection would have reduced the welfare caseload in 1980 by 173,500 families for a total savings of $1.1 billion in 1980.”
Massie said he finds it chilling that Gruber is implying that by reducing the number of poor children born, the quality of life can be improved for other Americans. He said his constituents fear that this same philosophy will be used on the Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson appeared on MSNBC Thursday to talk about the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case in New York.
“So, professor Dyson,” host Alex Wagner asked, “how do we retrain America?” She said that the problem seems insurmountable because it is something African Americans “have lived with since the founding of the country.”
“You have people constantly trying to argue back and forth about the future of this country while being governed by principles of justice,” Dyson said. “But you’ve got to focus on the small stuff, too, which is interactions between police departments and its citizens and in changing America, retraining it, it happens at the level of school. It happens with parents. It happens with the will and desire to want to see this change,” he said.
Dyson added that he’s afraid it will not become a problem significant enough for Americans to take seriously “until something happens in the broader white America.”
“And what I mean here is that when this pain begins to be shared in the broader community, when young people say, for instance, who have meth labs on college campuses that are granted implicit immunity end up being shot by the police, you can darn bet right then that this is going to be a problem,” said Dyson.
[You know, like that time all those white kids were killed in Sandy Hook and we were going to have that big national dialogue on mental illness because all lives matter or something.]
“We have to speak out and to have the masses of American people to imagine themselves as black people as much as they can to generate empathy to say they must speak up and they must demand changes in their own communities to go along with what’s happening,” Dyson said.
Apparently, the majority-white country that elected the first black president — twice — is still overwhelmingly racist and incapable of valuing the lives of people of color. To Dyson that means the “masses” need to be retrained in order for them to understand that black lives matter:
“And I thought [New York Mayor] de Blasio yesterday, by saying black lives and brown lives matter, makes a big difference because when that language gets repeated by white tongues, white brains can follow suit and white souls can at least be trained in a different way,” Dyson concluded.
All the “white souls” need this training, I guess, because it’s the color of your skin, not the content of your character, that matters here. One wonders if Dyson thinks this “retraining”should take place in segregated classrooms.
Brian Williams celebrated his 10th anniversary as anchor of NBC Nightly News by joining Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show to “slow jam” the news.
You can watch the video if you want to see the sexuallythemed segment that includes a double entendre about the president masturbating — I’ll warn you that it’s pretty raunchy.
But let’s talk about the lines Brian Williams crossed as a “real” journalist, celebrating his big anniversary by defending the president’s executive action on amnesty and mocking Republicans for trying to stop him.
“President Obama has been firm in his position: ‘If you want me to stop taking executive action, you’ve gotta pass a bill,’” jammed Fallon.
Brian Williams shouted into the microphone: “My prez Obama don’t want none until you pass a bill, hon!”
“We’re going to need more compromise on Capitol Hill,” Williams said.
Fallon added, “The time has come! Together we’ll pass this bill!”
“The system is broken. The president’s spoken. There’s still no solution. Man, you must be jokin’. The American Dream ain’t just for the few,” Roots band member Black Thought rapped to end the segment.
Aside from the 8th grade locker room humor that will appeal to snickering teenagers, is there anything remotely funny or entertaining about this? Do people really tune into the Tonight Show for a sanctimonious lecture about immigration reform? Besides, I thought these entertainrants were Jon Stewart’s turf.
Sure makes you miss Jay Leno, doesn’t it?
A while back I read a lengthy report about how Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have managed to create a fusion of entertainment and news so seamless that most Russians cannot distinguish between the two. It’s been a very effective propaganda tool for the Russian government — unprecedented because of the way they’ve been able to harness both reality TV and the power of new media to promote approved government messages.
Though I won’t go as far as to say the government is behind messages like Fallon’s immigration reform entertainrant, it’s fair to say that Americans are becoming increasingly comfortable with the lines being blurred between entertainment and news, between truth and make-believe.
And it’s a very dangerous trajectory.
Watch the video on the next page:
A caller to Mark Levin’s show on Monday had a fabulous idea about those body cameras that are becoming increasingly en vogue for law enforcement officials. The caller said the country’s chief law enforcement officer — The Great and Terrible Attorney General Eric Holder — should be required to wear a camera and have his activities monitored. Yes, he’s announced his resignation and all, but who knows what additional damage Holder can do to the Republic in the remaining 30 days of 2014 (or between now and the time the Senate confirms his replacement). J. Christian Adams wrote this about Holder when he announced his resignation:
Holder’s tenure represents the beginnings of a post-Constitutional era, where the chief law enforcement officer of the United States serves to dismantle legal traditions. Holder is the first attorney general to whom law seemed to be an option, a suggestion on the way to a progressive future. Most folks, and most lawyers, who didn’t devote daily attention to him might not have noticed the ground shifting during his tenure. But shift it did, and very deliberately.
Law, like liberty, is a tenuous thing. Failing to understand the sources of domestic tranquility, the sources of your relatively good life, usually also means failing to recognize the threats to that pleasant tranquility. Holder used his time at Justice to do things that corrode the rule of law. Law and liberty are precious things, and Holder did enormous damage to both.
In the wake of the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson and the aftermath, President Obama today called for $263 million to fund body cameras and other community policing initiatives across the nation, including $75 million specifically to purchase up to 50,000 of the cameras, which record police actions. Surely lawmakers can spring for one more camera to monitor the activities of Holder at the Department of Justice. If not, the cost of a single camera runs between $299-$899. I bet a creative GoFundMe campaign could raise that in an hour. Perhaps the campaign could even raise enough to buy a camera to monitor Valerie Jarrett’s activities, too. Don’t Americans deserve to know what that Dynamic Duo is up to behind closed doors?
New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson, whose Facebook post on the Ferguson riots went viral last week, appeared on CNN to discuss his feelings about the rioting and the Michael Brown shooting.
Watson spoke with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Friday and read parts of his emotional Facebook post during the interview. “Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I feel like I’m just as prejudiced as the people I point fingers at and that’s not right,” he read. “How can I look at white skin and make assumptions and not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.”
Watson moved on to the last paragraph of his Facebook post, which struck a cord with many of his Facebook fans. Brown told Baldwin he wanted to close the piece on a positive note because after working through his emotions he is encouraged and wanted to share that with others. Watson wrote:
I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope. [emphasis original]
“For whatever reason,” Watson said, “God kind of gave me the words to put on paper and it resonated with a lot of people but I think it’s really important that we take a step back sometimes and think about the other side before we make accusations and assumptions.”
If you watched the interview on the CNN website you would assume that it ended there, because that’s where CNN cut the online version of the interview. But there was more.
On Monday Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) called the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown a “miscarriage of justice.”
In a statement released through the Congressional Black Caucus, which she chairs, Fudge said the decision not to indict Wilson “is a slap in the face to Americans nationwide who continue to hope and believe that justice will prevail.”
“This decision seems to underscore an unwritten rule that Black lives hold no value; that you may kill Black men in this country without consequences or repercussions,” Fudge said. “This is a frightening narrative for every parent and guardian of Black and brown children, and another setback for race relations in America.”
“My heart goes out to Michael Brown’s loved ones, and to the loved ones of all the Michael Browns we have buried in this country,” Fudge said.
Last week, G.K. Butterfield, the incoming chair of the Congressional Black Caucus — and former Superior Court judge — said that a crime “probably was committed” in the shooting and he warned that “if [grand jurors] turn their backs on justice …there will be pushback from those who are concerned about it — and I’m one of those who’s concerned about it. There will be pushback. We will be asking questions.”
Cleveland police reported that an officer shot a 12-year-old male at a recreation center on the city’s West side on Saturday. Tamir E. Rice, of Cleveland, died at MetroHealth Medical Center early Sunday morning. According to a press release from the Cleveland police department:
Officers responded to a radio assignment outside of the recreation center for a male with a gun. The Preliminary information reveals that witnesses reported that a male was in the playground area of the center, waiving [sic] a gun and pointing it at people. Upon arrival on scene, officers located the suspect and advised him to raise his hands. The suspect did not comply with the officers’ orders and reached to his waistband for the gun. Shots were fired and the suspect was struck in the torso. EMS was contacted and the suspect was transported to MetroHealth Medical Center for treatment.
A 9-1-1 caller told dispatchers “a guy with a gun was pointing it at people” at the recreation center. He said (twice) that the gun was “probably fake,” but said the person was scaring people.
Police dispatchers radioed officers that there was “a male with a gun threatening people” outside the rec center.
Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeffrey Follmer said dispatchers did not relay that the gun was “probably fake.”
“Besides, we have to assume every gun is real,” he said. “When we don’t, that’s the day we don’t go home.”
Police said that the weapon the suspect was waving was an “airsoft” type replica gun resembling a semi-automatic pistol, with the orange safety indicator removed.
Deputy Chief of Field Operations Ed Tomba told reporters the incident was “very, very tragic” as a handful of community activists shouted obscenities from behind the reporters.
“We don’t come to work everyday and want to use force on anybody,” Tomba said. “That’s not what our job is. We’re part of this community.”
Follmer said a rookie officer and a 10-15 year veteran responded to the call at the playground of the recreation center. The rookie officer saw a black gun sitting on the table and saw the suspect pick up the gun and put it in his waistband.
According to Tomba, Rice did not threaten the officer verbally or physically; however, when told by the officer to put his hands up, Rice allegedly reached into his waistband, pulled out the gun and the rookie officer fired two shots.
Saturday on C-SPAN’s Book TV, CIA Benghazi annex security team members Kris Paronto and Mark Geist answered questions about a report released Friday by the House Intelligence Committee on the 9/11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012. The two former CIA contractors pushed back forcefully against parts of the the committee’s conclusions about the night that Ambassador Chris Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed in Benghazi.
The report by the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, concluded that “the CIA ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi” and that “appropriate U.S. personnel made reasonable tactical decisions that night.” The committee “found no evidence that there was either a stand down order or a denial of available air support.” The report, according to the House Intelligence Committee, is meant to serve as the “definitive House statement on the Intelligence Community’s activities before, during, and after the tragic events that caused the deaths of four brave Americans” so that the American public can separate “facts from the swirl of rumors and unsubstantiated allegations.”
Kris “Tanto” Paronto, co-author of the book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, reacted to the report on Twitter Friday night and Saturday morning, prior to the C-SPAN interview:
So this BS report came out…..i don't think these weak congressman understand our resolve..i promise i will bring them all down!!! #13hours
— Kris Paronto (@KrisParonto) November 22, 2014
— Kris Paronto (@KrisParonto) November 22, 2014
During the Book TV interview, Paronto and Mark “Oz” Geist, who also co-wrote the book (along with Mark Teigen, who attended the interview but did not appear on camera), explained that it took them over an hour to get to the consulate from the time they heard about the attack. Asked why it took so long for them to reach the scene Paronto said, “That’s the million dollar question.”
Paronto stood by the claim made in the book that they were ordered to stand down, a claim that was disputed in this week’s House Intelligence Committee report. “We were told to stand down. We were delayed for approximately 27 minutes on our compound,” he said. “We do not know, as far as outside of our chain of command outside Libya, where that came from. We know that the stand down orders and the waits and the delays came from Libya. Came from chief of station, chief of base. Whether it came from anybody higher, we don’t answer that. We don’t know. And we’d like to know, but we have no idea.”
North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who was elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) this week, told WUNC on Wednesday that the CBC is “laser-focused on what’s happening in Ferguson.” He added, ”We are very, very concerned about it.”
Butterfield, a former Superior Court judge and civil rights attorney, said in an interview with WUNC, the North Carolina Public Radio affiliate, that he expects a report from the grand jury in the Michael Brown shooting case next week.
“I was a judge, as you probably know, for fifteen years in North Carolina and I presided over many grand juries,” the congressman said. “So I would certainly hope that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, will find that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that a crime probably was committed, to lay out that crime, and to let a jury of twelve in Missouri decide the guilt or innocence of the police officer. ”
Butterfield didn’t say whether he had seen any evidence indicating that a crime “probably was committed.” Nevertheless, he had a stern warning for the grand jury: “If they turn their backs on justice there will be…there will be pushback from those who are concerned about it — and I’m one of those who’s concerned about it. There will be pushback. We will be asking questions.”
The North Carolina congressmen, who has represented his district since 2004, said he hopes that any demonstrations in Ferguson will be peaceful and non-violent. “And I would hope that law enforcement would not inflame citizens who want to express their First Amendment rights.”
In a 2009 paper, “Choice Inconsistencies Among the Elderly: Evidence from Plan Choice in the Medicare Part D Program,” Obamacare advisor Jonathan Gruber argued that there were too many Medicare Part D plans for seniors to choose from, which led them to make bad decisions when enrolling in a plan.
In the paper, written for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Gruber wrote with Jason T. Abaluck that the privatization of the public Medicare program had resulted in dozens of private insurers offering a wide variety of insurance products for seniors to choose from. The result of so many choices, Gruber wrote, is that seniors are not making decisions that are in their best interest. ”First, elders place much more weight on plan premiums than they do on the expected out of pocket costs that they will incur under the plan. Second, they substantially under-value variance reducing aspects of alternative plans. Finally, consumers appear to value plan financial characteristics far beyond any impacts on their own financial expenses or risk.”
The paper noted that while standard economic theory would suggest that expanded choice is a beneficial plan feature, “There are reasons to believe that the standard model is insufficient, particularly for a population of elders. There is growing interest in behavioral economics in models where agents are better off with a more restricted choice set.”
In what seems to be an escalation of his previous public comments, tenured Kent State University professor Julio Pino is using his personal Facebook page not only to post anti-Semitic epithets and threats, but also to declare his solidarity with the terrorist group ISIS.
In August, we saw the incendiary, anti-Semitic Facebook posts by Pino, the Cuban-born associate history professor who converted to Islam in 2000. Dr. Pino’s posts supported Hamas, made vile, racist comments about Jews and Israelis, and even seemed to support ISIS. Pino, who has a long history of anti-Semitic behavior, also vowed that he wouldn’t work with fellow staff members who supported Israel:“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.” Pino remains employed by the taxpayer-supported university and it seems he has been emboldened by the cover Kent State is providing for him.
In a post this week, he declared, “We will wage jihad from al-Quds to Canada!” Pino posted this comment along with a video from Russia Today (the state-funded news outlet) showing allegedly “uncut” footage of the “bloody caliphate” in Iraq.
In another post with a link to a YouTube video warning of a possible Islamic State attack in New York City, Pino calls a Canadian jihadist his brother: “Canadian Brother from ISIS ‘We love being attacked! We seek martyrdom!’”
On Friday, Pino posted a link to a BBC article warning that the Islamic State is setting its sights on Saudi Arabia, where the Muslim holy site of Mecca is located. “No Sleep Till Mecca!” Pino vowed.
Back in October, Pino scoffed at reports that ISIS is a great military threat. “From the bourgeois media: ‘ISIS is the greatest military threat the U.S. has faced since 1945.’ You mean that whole Cold War, nuclear arms race, Korea, Viet Nam thing was for kids?” he asked.
Last week Pino applauded the Ayatollah Khamenei, calling him his “favorite tweeter.”
Here’s the tweet that got Pino so excited:
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 8, 2014
About a dozen members of a Turkish left-wing nationalist revolutionary youth organization attacked several American soldiers in the Eminonu district in Istanbul, a popular tourist hub. The Turkiye Genclik Birligi (Turkish Youth Union/TGB) approached the sailors from the USS Ross at what appears to be some sort of ticket booth, speaking to them in English.
“Excuse me. You declare that you are member of U.S. Army. And now, because we find you as murderers — as killers — we want to … we want you to get out of our land. And we are using the right to protest you,” the leader of the group announced.
In the video, posted on what appears to be the TGB’s Facebook page, the men being addressed as Americans at first tried to ignore the protesters. When the mob began to throw dye at them, the soldiers attempted to leave the scene. Members of the TGB grabbed them and shouted, “Go home, Yankee!” and then forced a white bag over one man’s head. The soldiers eventually escaped and the protesters pursued them down the street.
The “hooding” was apparently in retaliation for an incident during the Iraq war when U.S. forces arrested a group of Turkish soldiers, placed hoods over their heads, and then held them for three days, outraging many in Turkey.
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara condemned the attack in a statement released via its Twitter account.
“The video showing an assault on three visiting American sailors is appalling. While we respect the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression, we condemn today’s attack in Istanbul, and have no doubt the vast majority of Turks would join us in rejecting an action that so disrespects Turkey’s reputation for hospitality,” said the Twitter statement.
The USS Ross is docked off the coast of Eminönü for four days after returning from a NATO exercise in the Black Sea. Leave for the crew has been cancelled for the remainder of the vessel’s stay in Turkey.
An African American lawmaker — a Democrat — is charging the Ohio Democratic Party and chairman Chris Redfern with racism and defamation in a lawsuit filed this week, telling reporters there is a “plantation mentality” in the party that treats black lawmakers as a monolithic voting bloc.
Last week, Chris Redfern, head of the Ohio Democratic Party, resigned in disgrace after presiding over sweeping losses of every statewide office, a record-breaking majority of Republicans elected to the Ohio legislature, and the utter collapse of the Democrats’ candidate for governor. Redfern also lost his own seat in the Ohio House on Tuesday. As it turns out, all of that may have only been the tip of the iceberg of the Ohio Democratic Party’s problems. The Dispatch reported on Monday:
State Rep. John E. Barnes, a Cleveland Democrat, has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Ohio Democratic Party and its chairman, Chris Redfern, alleging white lawmakers get better treatment and he was punished for raising the issue of racism in the party.
Barnes said he faced discrimination and retaliation from his own party when he refused to join the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus in the Ohio House. Barnes said he feared it would harm his reputation to “associate with an organization whose moral compass he found to be troubling.” The lawsuit mentions members of the caucus who have been convicted of felony and misdemeanor offenses in the last three years. According to the complaint, Barnes ”saw little value to himself or to his district” in joining OLBC and “wanted to be treated as an individual rather than as a member of a presumed monolithic block of votes based upon his skin color.”
Barnes alleges in the lawsuit that his his failure to join the OLBC and his cooperation with Gov. Kasich on issues like Medicaid expansion angered Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern and key leaders of the Democratic caucus in the House. As a result, he says he was passed over for committee leadership positions in retaliation. He claims the party also punished him by endorsing his opponent, Jill Miller Zimon, in the May primary and made false statements about him during the campaign. The party distributed pro-Zimon campaign fliers claiming Barnes voted with Kasich more than 75% of the time, cut funding for schools, blocked Medicaid for the poor and disenfranchised voters. In a press conference on Monday, Barnes said he has fought his entire career for programs like Medicaid and was offended by the accusation, which he believes harmed his reputation in his community. Barnes beat Zimon in the primary and went on to win re-election last week.
“I’m proud to be a 94% voting Democrat in a historic district,” Barnes said in the press conference, seated next to his lawyer. “As a lifelong Democrat I’m extremely disappointed for the outright lies that Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, circulated in the 12th House district during the primary election.”
On Monday night, Fox News host Megyn Kelly accidentally introduced fellow Fox personality Mike Huckabee for a segment by saying he was the “host of F**kabee.” Without missing a beat, Kelly corrected herself. “Huckabee,” she continued, as Mike Huckabee, who is considering a presidential run, appeared to be trying to suppress a smile.
Both professionals, Kelly and Huckabee went on with the segment, ignoring the little slip-of-the-tongue.
Kelly joked about the flub during a later segment when she was talking about Valerie Jarrett’s s*** list. ”I’ve already sworn once on the program and it was worse than that one,” she said.
Later in the show Kelly read a tweet from a viewer who called her stoic for soldiering on through the blunder. “I thought I was stoic too. At heart I’m a 12-year-old boy,” she explained.
Though it was probably just an honest mistake on Kelly’s part, it does make one wonder if she’s ever heard Huckabee called that name before. Are there some folks around the Fox News studio who refer to him in that derogatory manner?
On Thursday, the Sixth Circuit upheld the marriage bans in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Michigan, the first major loss post-Windsor for gay marriage supporters after a string of victories in the federal courts. The 2-1 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reversed district court rulings that had struck down the gay marriage bans in those states, setting up a probable Supreme Court review now that the circuit courts have split on the issue.
Senior Circuit Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, the lone dissenter, huffed that the opinion was “an introductory lecture in political philosophy,” complaining that it failed “to grapple with the relevant constitutional issue in this appeal.”
A lesson in judicial political philosophy seemed to be one of the main points of the 64-page majority opinion, which was authored by Judge Jeffrey Sutton and joined by Judge Deborah Cook (both appointed by George W. Bush). Sutton said that a handful of judges had no business making such a decision in the first place.
“Process and structure matter greatly in American government,” Sutton wrote. He said the most “reliable liberty-assuring guarantees” of our system of government require careful attention to the route the United States Constitution outlines for “making such a fundamental change to such a fundamental social institute.”
Of all the ways to resolve this question, one option is not available: a poll of the three judges on this panel, or for that matter all federal judges, about whether gay marriage is a good idea. Our judicial commissions did not come with such a sweeping grant of authority, one that would allow just three of us—just two of us in truth—to make such a vital policy call for the thirty-two million citizens who live within the four States of the Sixth Circuit: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Sutton posed the rhetorical question, “Who decides? Is this a matter that the National Constitution commits to resolution by the federal courts or leaves to the less expedient, but usually reliable, work of the state democratic processes?”
There were plenty of contenders for Biggest Loser, Election Night Edition, on Tuesday, but no one had a worse night than Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, who has led the state party since 2005. Redfern presided over not only a sweeping loss of every statewide office, but also the epic failure of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald’s campaign, which made Politico’s list of the Worst Campaigns of 2014. This was the second statewide election in a row that Republicans cleaned Redfern’s clock. To make matters worse for Democrats, Republicans picked up an additional five Ohio House seats, giving them the largest majority held by either party since the number of districts was reduced in 1967.
Late Tuesday night Redfern resigned as chairman of the state Democratic party, saying it had been an honor and a privilege to build “the strongest state party in the country.” He really said that.
But that wasn’t the end of Redfern’s humiliating night. His seat in the Ohio House was one of those seats Republicans picked up, with challenger Steven Kraus winning by just under 1000 votes. Redfern served in the legislature from 1999 until he was term-limited out in 2008. He was elected to a newly-drawn district in 2012, but failed in his re-election bid on Tuesday.
And it doesn’t even end there. Redfern’s wife, Kim Redfern, also was defeated in her election against Republican incumbent Kathleen McGervey for a seat on the State Board of Education.
But the news isn’t all bad. Cedar Point amusement park is practically in the Catawba Island Democrat’s backyard. They’ll be hiring for next season not long after Redfern finishes out his term in the legislature. A clean-cut lad like Redfern should have no trouble scoring a job frightening small children dressed in a costume with a giant head.
Bloomberg reported this week that Republican party operatives are worried about messages that alienate moderates. Citing the Republican post-2012 election “autopsy” report, Bloomberg said the Republican National Committee was urging candidates to win elections by reaching out to a broader cross-section of voters.
GOP operative Henry Barbour, who helped fund the race-baiting ads against Chris McDaniel in the Mississippi primary through a pro-Thad Cochran Super PAC, told Bloomberg he was hopeful about the GOP’s chances in the 2014 election. “We’re in a strong position to win back the Senate, but there are still lessons to be learned,” said Barbour, who co-authored the the GOP 2012 post-election report.
However, Barbour warned, “Some of the messaging that’s been effective in 2014 may not be what delivers the White House, and people need to be smart about that.”
Barbour didn’t say whether he thought the vicious, race-baiting ads (warning black voters that McDaniel wanted to keep them from the polls and take away their benefits) were the kind of “smart” messaging that would be needed to deliver the White House.
In August, Barbour told The Hill that he stood by the ads the portrayed Republican Chris McDaniel and the Tea Party as racist. “We did make a contribution to [the] group for efforts to engage in the African-American community, and they made a decision to run some ads,” he said. “And certainly I didn’t approve the ads, but I don’t have a problem with a word that’s in ‘em, and I think their message reflects what was going on on the ground in Mississippi in the primary and the runoff,” Barbour said.
On Wednesday, the City of Cleveland and ArcelorMittal melted down more than than 270 guns that were surrendered at the 2014 City of Cleveland Gun buyback last September.
“This gun melt will take guns surrendered by their owners, recycle them into steel, and prevent them from ever being used in an act of violence,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “I’d like to thank ArcelorMittal for being a good partner in the City’s efforts to improve safety and reduce gun violence.”
ArcelorMittal Cleveland Vice President and General Manager Eric Hauge said the company was proud to partner with the city, the Cleveland Police Foundation, and others to support the gun buyback program.
“We are pleased to melt down the collected weapons and recycle them into consumer goods that improve the quality of all our lives,” Hauge said. “The guns we melt will be transformed from weapons into washing machines, car parts, refrigerators and other steel products.”
According to the Cleveland City Hall blog, “The guns were placed into the No. 1 Basic Oxygen Furnace iron ladle and will be melted by approximately 200 tons of molten iron, at temperatures of about 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. The molten iron, along with scrap, is then charged in the basic oxygen furnace to make steel, which will eventually be used to manufacture cars, household appliances, and other goods.”
ArcelorMittal destroys the guns as a “free community service,” the City of Cleveland said.
At the time of the September buyback, Ohioans for Concealed Carry said that such programs are a way to appear to be doing something while disarming people who might otherwise be able to defend themselves. “Criminals don’t turn in their guns. At least, not working firearms, anyway,” the group wrote in a blog post.” The group scoffed at the notion of a “so called gun buy-back … as if they ever owned the guns [and] were in a position to buy them back.”
In exchange for a working handgun or semi-automatic rifle, individuals received either a $100 or $200 Target gift card or a gift card for gas or food, as well as two tickets to a local sporting event. Gun rights advocates stood on a street corner a block away from the buy-back and offered cash for anyone who wanted to consider a better offer for their gun.
The three female Marine officers who made it through the grueling first exercise of Infantry Officer Course at the start of October were asked to leave after falling out of two hikes, Marine Corps officials said this week.
The second lieutenant and two captains were dropped from the 13-week course held aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, about two weeks after it began. The Marines got further in the course than any other women since IOC opened to female volunteers on an experimental basis in late 2012. Only one other female officer has gotten past the notoriously difficult combat endurance test that kicks off the course; she was forced to drop out about a week later due to stress fractures in her foot.
Capt. Maureen Krebs, a spokeswoman for Headquarters Marine Corps, said the three officers were dropped from the course after failing to keep up on two long hikes while carrying a load of up to 120 pounds. The load represents a day’s meals, clothing, supplies and assault gear for a 20-mile march into combat, according to Krebs.
Infantry officers are required to maintain a pace of 24.8 miles in eight hours, or approximately three miles per hour, carrying their approach-march loads. Marines who fall more than 100 meters behind the unit and are unable to catch up are taken the remainder of the distance in a vehicle.
“The big thing in this is, they’re expected to lead that tactical movement as an infantry officer,” Krebs said.
During the training, units took two marches, one seven-mile march at Quantico followed by a nine-mile march the following week.
“Three men and three women failed to complete those two tactical movements,” Krebs said. They were all asked to leave the Infantry Officer Course (IOC).
This course was the first since the Marines began to allow female officers to volunteer for the IOC. The change came as a result of the Department of Defense ordering the Marine Corp to collect data on women in combat fields ahead of a 2016 deadline to make a decision on opening these fields to women. The goal is to find ways to integrate women into combat roles without lowering standards.
According to a report out this month from the Center for Military Readiness, “Researchers are finding this difficult (actually, impossible) to do, owing to naturally-occurring physical differences that make men significantly stronger. Androgenic hormones that are not going to change account for greater muscle power and aerobic capacity for endurance.”
Some of the findings of the Center for Military Readiness interim report show significant gender-related differences in physical strength. In 2013, the USMC Training and Education Command (TECOM) studied data from 409 male and 379 female volunteers, finding significant gender-related disparities on the Physical and Combat Fitness Tests (PFT and CFT) in events measuring upper-body strength and endurance, things that are essential for survival and mission success in direct ground combat, according to the report. The study found:
“Aaron Lewis Screws Up National Anthem At World Series Game,” the Huffington Post headline read.
Mediaite said that Lewis “bollocksed up the National Anthem before Sunday evening’s World Series game. Lewis has DON’T TREAD ON ME tattooed on his neck, in case you were in the market for a handy political metaphor.”
Twitter was also abuzz with criticism of the lead singer of the rock group, Staind.
aaron Lewis pleaseeee for your own good take a seat.
— Grace Gronberg (@Gee_Race_Gee) October 26, 2014
Eric Burke, a reporter at Fox 4 in Kansas City tweeted:
— Eric Burke (@Fox4eb) October 26, 2014
MLB Yahoo! sports columnist Jeff Passan also brought up the prominent tattoo on Lewis’ neck.
For someone who has DON'T TREAD ON ME tattooed on his neck, Aaron Lewis might want to learn his national anthem before he tries it again.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 27, 2014
Deadspin was a little less tactful: “World Series National Anthem Botched By That A**hole From Staind, said their headline. ”This is Aaron Lewis of the shi**y noise band Staind, and don’t ask us why he’s singing in San Francisco tonight because Staind is from Massachusetts,” Deadspin complained. “Huey Lewis is still available, jerks, and he knows the words.”
— Rachael Starke (@rachaelstarke) October 27, 2014
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:
— Carol Costello (@CarolCNN) October 22, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.