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Morocco Claims To Have Arrested Two ISIS Jihadists

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Home grown, apparently.

Morocco said on Friday it had arrested two Islamic State jihadists who had been planning to leave for IS training camps in Syria and Iraq to prepare attacks at home.

The two, whose identities were not disclosed, “planned to receive military training” before taking action in Morocco, “under the Islamic State’s plans to expand its field of operations,” an interior ministry statement said.

While the world mostly twiddles its thumbs or completely buries its head in the sand, ISIS proceeds apace with its expansion plans. Thankfully, some officials are still working to thwart them.

Meanwhile, here is an interesting read on why Team Lightbringer insists on using “ISIL” instead of “ISIS”.

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Gov. Perry Will Challenge Indictment Next Week

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Gov. Rick Perry’s attorney, David Botsford, met with special prosecutor Mike McCrum in the chambers of Visiting Judge Bert Richardson today to discuss the August 15 indictment of the governor. Richardson appointed McCrum to investigate Perry’s veto, and McCrum led the grand jury in indicting the governor.

The Texas Tribune reports that Botsford informed the judge that he will file a challenge to the indictment on August 29. Botsford said that the challenge will be based on the First Amendment — Perry’s right to free speech — and his constitutional veto power.

As things stand, Perry has been indicted by a grand jury, which included at least one partisan Democratic Party activist, for telling the people of Texas what he intended to do, and then carrying out the action he described. We live in strange times when transparency and standing by your word, in order to remove a prosecutor who was guilty of drunk driving, have become indictable offenses.

On Thursday, Travis County Judge Julie Kocurek raised the stakes in the case, threatening Perry for — again — speaking, and invited anyone in the county to file another complaint against him which could open up yet another grand jury investigation. Heavily Democrat Travis County has no shortage of people who might file such a complaint just to harass the Republican governor. Texans for Public Justice, the Soros-funded group that filed the original complaint, exists for that very purpose.

The prosecutor says that he doesn’t expect Gov. Perry to go to trial on the August 15 indictment until next year. That would drag the case into the time Perry might be running for the GOP presidential nomination for the 2016 election.

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New York State Fines Farms for Declining to Host Gay Weddings

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Your own private property is no longer safe.

ALBANY—Two farmers in rural Rensselaer County must pay $13,000 in fines and restitution after they rebuffed a lesbian couple who inquired about getting married at their farm, a state agency ruled.

Jennifer McCarthy and her now-wife Melisa (nee Erwin) found Liberty Ridge Farm, which overlooks the Hudson River in Schaghticoke, several miles north of Troy, on the internet and hoped to rent it for their wedding ceremony and reception. Cynthia Gifford, who along with her husband offer a corn maze, market and events at the 100-acre farm, told Melisa McCarthy her same-sex marriage would cause “a little bit of a problem” because the Giffords have a “specific religious belief regarding marriage,” according to court papers.

McCarthy and her wife brought a complaint in conjunction with the New York Civil Liberties Union, saying Liberty Ridge Farm was a public accommodation and the Giffords’ actions were unlawfully discriminatory under state law.

While the McCarthys never entered into a rental contract for the facility, an administrative law judge ruled Gifford “implicitly rescinded the invitation” when she learned Melisa McCarthy’s spouse-to-be was also a woman.

No contract is no protection. The mere inquiry is enough to cost thousands.

“The policy to not allow same-sex marriage ceremonies on Liberty Ridge Farm is a denial of access to a place of public accommodation,” Judge Migdalia Pares wrote. She said the Giffords should pay $3,000 to the women—$1,500 each—for “mental anguish each suffered as a result of respondents’ unlawfully discriminatory conduct.” Citing “the goal of deterrence” as well as the Giffords’ clear stance against same-sex weddings, Pares fined the Giffords an additional $10,000.

So, the judge is proactively punishing thoughtcrime.

My prediction that the current trajectory of this issue will end up with churches declining to support any weddings in their facilities is looking better and better.

The goal here, for some but by no means all same-sex marriage supporters, is to destroy the church or drive it underground. We’re a long way from that, but not as far as most seem to think. They’re making progress.

 

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Teamsters Hurl Misogynistic, Racist and Homophobic Abuse at ‘Top Chef’s’ Padma Lakshmi

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The phrase “union thugs” was invented for people like the Teamsters, who have been threatening TV star Padma Lakshmi and her Top Chef crew.

The Teamsters picketers were already mad. By the time Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s car pulled up to the Steel & Rye restaurant in the picturesque New England town of Milton just outside Boston, one of them ran up to her car and screamed, “We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you fucking whore!”

“She was scared,” said a Top Chef crewmember who witnessed the incident, which occurred in June while filming an episode for the upcoming 12th season of Bravo’s popular skein, which premieres October 15. “He was screaming at her aggressively and violently.”

“As any employee of our show walked on or off set, the picketers verbally attacked us, calling the gays ‘fags,’ the blacks ‘niggers’ and most of the women ‘sluts and whores,’ ” the crewmember said. “It got worse as the day went on. They chased us down the sidewalk when we had to run from one end of the location to the next in the middle of our busy work day. They threatened to kill us, beat us, and said that they would find us and force us out of the city. Needless to say, we were terrified. I’m a strong person, but being called names and yelled at and harassed for 12 hours while working, I started to crumble. I was scared and worried for my safety.”

More at the link.

One obvious solution to all this presents itself. Ms. Lakshmi should move production to a right-to-work state, like, just spitballin’ here, Texas. She and the jobs the show brings would be more than welcome here, and the Teamsters…not so much.

 

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Presidentin’ — Just Something that Barack Obama Does Between Rounds of Golf

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Daily Mail rounds up media reaction to President Obama’s habit of interrupting his golf rounds with the occasional foray into being President of the United States.

It’s not pretty.

President Barack Obama teed off again on Thursday, just 24 hours after pictures of his wide grin on the golf course drew condemnation in the wake of the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley.

‘Admit it,’ a White House pool reporter emailed the press corps. ‘You all made small-dollar bets that POTUS would be playing golf today. And … you would be right!’

‘We are at the Farm Neck Golf Club at 1:13 pm. and POTUS is hitting the links again.’

The president drew fire Wednesday after reacting to Foley’s on-camera slaying for just five minutes, and then gripping his driver.

He had told a global audience minutes earlier that ‘when people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.’

Then he was seen laughing with friends and fist-bumping them during a five-hour round at Farm Neck on Martha’s Vineyard.

ABC News political director Rick Klein told Fox host Greta van Susteren three hours earlier that the White House is ‘well past the point of caring about the so-called “optics” of things like this. And the president himself clearly doesn’t … care about the way it looks.’

‘Golfing today is in bad taste,’ tweeted Vox editor-in-chief Ezra Klein, a long-time Obama backer.

Even little Ezra Klein gets it.

The president has been breaking speed records for getting to the golf course after commenting on some serious issue. He made the trip in just 7 minutes the other day.

It would be one thing is this was a typical August, but August 2014 is anything but. Ferguson MO has been embroiled in race riots, the Middle East is swarming with ISIS, who just beheaded an American, and there’s a shooting war brewing between Ukraine and Russia.

The president is supposed to set the tone. He just doesn’t care about that, or about the country that he’s supposed to lead.

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Wendy Davis is Dodging Big Questions About the Perry Indictment

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Is the political indictment of Gov. Rick Perry already backfiring on Democrat governor hopeful Wendy Davis?

Gov. Perry’s official courthouse portrait immediately became the Mugshot Seen ‘Round the World. Instead of becoming a liability, it became a badge of honor. It will probably be on campaign T-shirts, mugs and shot glasses (the Rick Perry “MugShot” is irresistible) before long.

Perry followed that visit up with a trip for ice cream, sealing the win on what the Democrats hoped would be a terrible day for him and the beginning of the end of the Perry era.

The case itself is already ripping the heart out of what’s left of the Texas Democratic Party. The lead investigator has destroyed, as in burned to the ground and salted the earth, the TDP’s narrative that Perry battled Travis County drunk driving DA Rosemary Lehmberg in order to scuttle an investigation into a Texas anti-cancer agency, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Not true, says Chris Walling, lead investigator on that case. So, that’s done and dusted.

The CPRIT allegations have been swirling for a while. Back in May, Democrat governor hopeful Wendy Davis was trying to tie the CPRIT investigation around the neck of Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republicans’ nominee for governor. The leftwing Texas Observer dutifully transcribed her attack.

On Tuesday, Davis appeared at the Austin Tex-Mex restaurant Juan in a Million to level some of the same criticisms. “Greg Abbott allowed our cancer institute to become a piggy bank and allowed his donors to siphon off millions of tax dollars from cancer patients and from taxpayers,” she told a crowd of supporters. “When Abbott served on the oversight board of our state’s cancer research institute, he wasn’t looking out for cancer patients. He was looking out for his political donors.”

That was an appalling misuse of a fine restaurant and an Austin institution. Juan in a Million has even been featured on Man Vs. Food. Davis is without excuse for using it as a platform for such a scurrilous attack. A reliable witness tells the Tatler that Davis didn’t even eat the restaurant’s world famous fare during the stop. That’s practically a crime by itself.

Abbott, like Perry, was never tied to the CPRIT investigation and was not a target of it. Never. Despite what Davis said.

Now that the indictment has become a fiasco for the Democrats, Wendy Davis is dodging questions about it, reports the Dallas Morning News Trailblazers blog.

Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth and Democratic nominee for governor, even avoided answering a question about Perry’s link to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, an agency embroiled in scandal.

Davis wants some distance now, but it’s too late for that. Perry’s indictment is world news, and even the likes of the New York Times think that it’s bogus. Liberal professor Alan Dershowitz even compared it to show trials in the Soviet Union.

Davis undoubtedly took her cue to launch the CPRIT attack from Matt Angle’s Lone Star Project. He posted a hit piece on CPRIT the day after Davis’ comments at Juan in a Million.

Here’s how this works. Matt Angle is the out-of-state operative who controls the Democrats’ shadow party in Texas. He lives in Washington, operating off of millions of dollars left to him by the late Fred Barron, the Dallas lawyer who helped John Edwards hide his awful behavior.

 

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Lead Investigator: Perry Was Not Under Investigation When He Tried to Get Travis County’s Drunk DA to Resign

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Texas Democratic Party and its operatives have tried to build a defense of their indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

According to that narrative, Perry tried to get Lehmberg removed because the Travis County Public Integrity Unit was circling around the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. There were allegations of crony corruption in CPRIT. According to the Democrat narrative, the suspicion of crony corruption had the PIU looking into Perry and several close associates. So, according to this narrative, Perry wanted to push Lehmberg out as Travis County district attorney, so he could appoint her successor and get that investigation killed off.

The Austin American-Statesman, no friend of Gov. Perry, already shattered that narrative earlier this week. The timeline of the CPRIT investigation does not match the timeline of Perry’s effort to rid Travis County of its drunk-driving, abusive DA.

Now one of the Travis County DA’s investigators has given a sworn statement in the case that ought to kill the Democrats’ narrative with fire.

Chris Walling was a criminal investigator with the Public Integrity Unit. Not only that, he was the primary investigator who was looking into the CPRIT case.

Walling submitted an affidavit on Wednesday, and in that affidavit he says:

“At no time in CPRIT investigation was Governor Rick Perry or anyone from the Governor’s office a target. At no time did I ever obtain evidence that suggested any wrongdoing on behalf of Governor Rick Perry or the Governor’s office. At no time did the evidence that I obtained as investigator ever suggest any wrongdoing on the part of any appointed Board Member of CPRIT. Any suggestion that Governor Rick Perry or anyone associated with him was being investigated is untrue; and, based on my investigation, there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever that suggests wrongdoing on the part of any individual other than the individual ultimately indicted by a grand jury.”

It’s obvious, but probably worth clarifying anyway, that Walling is not referring to the indictment of Perry there. He is referring to the lone indictment of a staffer in the CPRIT case.

Walling’s statement not only destroys the Democrats’ partisan narrative of the case, it destroys the indictment of Perry itself.

Walling’s affidavit addresses what he told the special prosecutor, Michael McCrum, about CPRIT.

“Special prosecutor Michael McCrum contacted me to interview me about the CPRIT investigation. During the interview, Mr. McCrum questioned me about Governor Rick Perry’s potential involvement in the CPRIT situation. I made it clear to him that there was absolutely no evidence even suggesting wrongdoing on the part of Governor Perry and in no uncertain terms that, after a lengthy investigation, no evidence was found to suggest wrong doing on the part of the Governor, the Governor’s office, nor any Board Member of CPRIT.”

Walling also says that he did not have any active investigation during or after the veto of PIU that targeted Gov. Perry or anyone from his office.

Walling’s affidavit raises a huge question: Did McCrum take his testimony to the grand jury? Did the grand jury ever hear this obviously exculpatory testimony?

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Caption Contest Winners: Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned, Obama Dances While the World Burns

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Obama party 2

Credit: Photo from the event tweeted by Elliott Schwartz

Thanks to everyone who entered our latest caption contest.

Contest participants were asked to answer several questions, write an overall photo caption or provide “thought bubbles” from the white circle lights. If you are confused, or are a low information voter, please refer back to the original contest.

We had a problem in that there were too many hilarious and clever entries compared to the space available for this winner’s post. Thus, since most of you provided numerous answers to our many contest questions, the winners below are announced by name rather than by your snappy answers to our contest questions.  Got all that? OK, so now let’s enter the winner’s circle.

Kuce had two winners: 

Song, Dance, and Dance Partner – Well, as a narcissist, it could only be “Dancing with Myself.”

From Barack to the lady on the left –  ”Hey! It’s my favorite song – Iran, (so far away)”

rbj with four winners:

Dance: The Hustle

Laughter: Because there are no peasants on Martha’s Vineyard, except for the ones used for trap shooting.

Dance partner: Himself, as he’s the only one worthy.

A good time was had by all after Obama joked: those voters actually thought I cared about the 99%.

RelayerM31: Song: Bohemian Rhapsody. “Nothing really matters, anyone can see. Nothing really matters to me.”

Zipcode had two winners:

Light globe thought bubble,—We might as well shut down, that guy brought a halo with him.

Name of song,—[ I did it my way]—Frank Sinatra

Chris Henderson with two winners:

Three of the lights partially powered by Solyndra.

The completely unbiased Nobel Committee just added a “Dancing” category.

RockThisTown had two winners:

“Hey, look everybody! I’m doing the pen & phone polka!”

Night of the Living Dead, The Sequel: Trance the Night Away

Allen Crowson had three winners:

Of course an overall photo caption is also needed. Dancing President Leads…From Behind

What is the woman to the left of Obama laughing about? BHO just said, “I am the greatest bridge builder in this neighborhood since Teddy Kennedy.”

Who is Obama’s dance partner? No partner. The One Dances Alone.

MeridianMan had one overall caption winner:

America, Barack’s dance partner, trips and falls over his two left feet.

And guess who had the most winners?  Cfbleachers of course!

Song: If I Ruled The World

Laughing: Working on improving GDP. Golfing, Dancing and Partying!

Lights: Doesn’t matter how many of us they turn on, it’s nothing but darkness here

Woman Laughing: “and I thought his bowling was bad”

Lights: “so this is what they mean when they say that we are on… but nobody’s home”

Laughing: “Even both his feet are leftists!”

Overall: I’m partying with an 80-year-old woman, practicing for a Hillary presidency.

Lights: “They’re indoctrinated leftists, you can’t illuminate them”

Overall: Why’s Everybody Always Picking On Me

Lights: if something goes wrong, we’ll be blamed. We’re white.

Song: Eve of Destruction

Then, the one and only Cfbleachers wrote this clever description of Farm Neck Golf Club in Martha’s Vineyard where our hard working president is STILL vacationing.

You might be in Farm Neck if:

You might be in Farm Neck if you celebrate the Fourth of July by lighting the flag on fire.

You might be in Farm Neck if you flew in on your private jet to complain about carbon footprints.

You might be in Farm Neck if your foursome are all billionaires who give speeches about the evils of the 1%.

You might be in Farm Neck if the women have higher testosterone levels than the men.

You might be in Farm Neck if the New York Times is gospel and the Bible is fantasy.

You might be in Farm Neck if the men incessantly ride pink Barbie bikes and the women incessantly ride men.

You might be in Farm Neck if you believe ISIS and Iran need outreach and Israel needs to be slapped down.

You might be in Farm Neck if you advocate open borders from behind your high security gated community walls.

You might be in Farm Neck if every hand is manicured and the only calluses are from bad golf grips.

See you all next time a photo is worthy of a Tatler photo caption contest and the purveyor of this contest is back from vacation.

 

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Politico Notices That Social Media Really Isn’t Helping the Ferguson Situation

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Duh.

Unrest in Ferguson, Mo., continues to dominate America’s attention more than 10 days after Michael Brown was shot and killed in what was a little-known St. Louis suburb. Unrelenting social media dispatches and shocking images of aggressive police force have only intensified the spotlight as officials seek calm. Attorney General Eric Holder visited the local FBI field office Wednesday to discuss the investigation and meet with community leaders — Washington’s strongest step yet toward de-escalating drama.

But social networks like Twitter highlight tensions in the moment rather than calm them, with tweets and photos detailing the scene as things unfold in real time. Social media has captured public violence and the detainment of two Washington journalists last week, and tweets, Instagram photos and Vine videos broadcast images of looting and police aggression to the world. Mini dispatches from those near skirmishes involving protesters and police have played a critical role in shaping the news: The #Ferguson hashtag has been tweeted almost 8 million times this month, according to figures from Topsy, a Twitter analytics service.

I have started to write about this perhaps ten times in the last week. While I agree that social media isn’t doing much to calm things down, I am not sure it should be looked at as much of an instigator. Cable news is still cranking up the tension more than anything else. Americans are TV people and all of the caterwauling on Twitter and Facebook is usually a response to something that was just seen on CNN, Fox News or MSNBC. Yes, social media helps spread the collective angst quicker but it is television that delivers that angst at Level 10 to the public in the first place. Let’s be honest-Al Sharpton was unnecessarily ratcheting up racial tension decades before Twitter even existed.

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Liberal Goddess Maureen Dowd Dethrones Obama

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

obamagolf

Maureen Dowd has finally cast her trademark dowdful eye on Barack Obama. In her latest New York Times op-ed, Dowd reflects on how the President’s admitted desire to be left alone is now leaving him lonely among political colleagues and voters alike.

First the president couldn’t work with Republicans because they were too obdurate. Then he tried to chase down reporters with subpoenas. Now he finds members of his own party an unnecessary distraction.

His circle keeps getting more inner. He golfs with aides and jocks, and he spent his one evening back in Washington from Martha’s Vineyard at a nearly five-hour dinner at the home of a nutritional adviser and former White House assistant chef, Sam Kass.

The president who was elected because he was a hot commodity is now a wet blanket.

Acknowledging the conservatives in the room, Dowd remarks on America’s political climate, which has “only gotten worse” since Obama took office, noting:

The man whose singular qualification was as a uniter turns out to be singularly unequipped to operate in a polarized environment.

Dowd’s complaints about Obama’s complete failure to address the racial tensions in Ferguson are hardly new observances. What makes her commentary notable, even intriguing, is the fact that she’s willing to use her platform as an unabashed liberal to criticize the President her party crafted into a god. For that reason alone, her commentary is strikingly refreshing, deserving more than a quick file into the “better late than never” column.

With her quick wit, the writer asks, “Why doesn’t he do something bold and thrilling?” Her suggestion is priceless:

  Talk to someone besides Valerie Jarrett?

Tactical strikes are for military battles. This, Dowd acknowledges, is an ideological war in which taking prisoners is no option, leaving the entire Obama pantheon up for grabs. It starts to get ugly when the mob realizes their leader has let them down.

To be sure, there are still, and always will be, die-hard adherents. But apparently even they are no longer immune from the wrath of the disappointed liberal:

His boosters argue that we spurned his gift of healing, so healing is the one thing that must not be expected of him. We ingrates won’t let him be the redeemer he could have been.

Gorgeous. In two brief sentences Dowd manages to destroy the image of the messianic Supreme Leader the Obamaniacs have worked so hard to build. Dowd clearly defined Obama’s political, media, and voter following into a cult group fueled by the blind passion of idol worship. Sobered up, the dyed-in-the-wool liberal declares,  let those still drunk on the Kool Aid be damned. 

If you’re a fastidious pol who deigns to heal and deal only in a holistic, romantic, unified utopia, the Oval Office is the wrong job for you.

The right job? After reading this piece, I’m thinking something involving shoe sales and seminars on Hale-Bopp might be more appropriate. Or, perhaps, a retail job at the local golf shop just might do.

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Report: Michael Brown Beat Officer Wilson ‘Severely’

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Is this Fox report “selective release of sensitive information,” as AG Eric Holder says, or is it a case of the Ferguson PD moving information out to explain more of what happened when Officer Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown?

Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of Michael Brown touched off more than a week of demonstrations, suffered severe facial injuries, including an orbital (eye socket) fracture, and was nearly beaten unconscious by Brown moments before firing his gun, a source close to the department’s top brass told FoxNews.com.

“The Assistant (Police) Chief took him to the hospital, his face all swollen on one side,” said the insider. “He was beaten very severely.”

According to the well-placed source, Wilson was coming off another case in the neighborhood on Aug. 9 when he ordered Michael Brown and his friend Dorain Johnson to stop walking in the middle of the road because they were obstructing traffic. However, the confrontation quickly escalated into physical violence, the source said..

“They ignored him and the officer started to get out of the car to tell them to move,” the source said. “They shoved him right back in, that’s when Michael Brown leans in and starts beating Officer Wilson in the head and the face.

Look, the PD has motivation to defend its officer — especially with MO Gov. Jay Nixon (D) irresponsibly calling for the officer’s “vigorous prosecution” without apparently knowing any more about the case than anyone else does. Nixon, a lawyer, surely knows that the correct word to use there was “investigation,” not “prosecution.” One follows the other, if the evidence warrants it.

But this does line up with the bit about Wilson grabbing Brown’s throat. Brown was too tall for a seated officer in the squad car to grab his throat. But if Brown was outside the car attacking Wilson through the window inside the car, then he would have been bent over at some point, and Wilson may have grabbed his throat in the course of the altercation.

Needless to say, if Officer Wilson sustained these severe injuries, then Brown wasn’t the angel that many portrayed him as in the early days after his death. He had robbed a store — we know that for a fact — and that robbery may have had gang and drug ties.

The source claims that there is “solid proof” that there was a struggle between Brown and Wilson for the policeman’s firearm, resulting in the gun going off – although it still remains unclear at this stage who pulled the trigger. Brown started to walk away according to the account, prompting Wilson to draw his gun and order him to freeze. Brown, the source said, raised his hands in the air, and turned around saying, “What, you’re going to shoot me?”

At that point, the source told FoxNews.com, the 6 foot, 4 inch, 292-pound Brown charged Wilson, prompting the officer to fire at least six shots at him, including the fatal bullet that penetrated the top of Brown’s skull, according to an independent autopsy conducted at the request of Brown’s family.

Wilson suffered a fractured eye socket in the fracas, and was left dazed by the initial confrontation, the source said. He is now “traumatized, scared for his life and his family, injured and terrified” that a grand jury, which began hearing evidence on Wednesday, will “make some kind of example out of him,” the source said.

With Eric Holder in town now and Gov. Nixon circling as well, with the Justice Brothers making their demands and the media in a full tornado frenzy, that is the way to bet.

h/t Right Scoop

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Guess Where Obama Went After Making a Statment on the Beheading of An American…

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

If you guessed “the nearest tee box,” you know your president.

 

Obama did deliver that statement and said that ISIS ought to be destroyed, but he didn’t offer a plan to do that. He didn’t offer to lead.

Perhaps he’s too busy concentrating on his bunker game.

YouTube Preview Image

File this story under politics, news, terrorism, and sports.

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AG Holder has a Chance to do Some Good in Ferguson. But He’ll Probably Make Everything Worse

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Certain patterns have emerged in the ongoing story of unrest in Ferguson, MO.

Most people have few facts and little idea what they’re talking about, yet that seems to be slowing very few of us down in commenting on how the situation between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown Jr. led to the latter’s death. We still don’t have the official police report on the matter.

We do have a lot of eye witness testimony, but as anyone who has spent much time around anyone who has conducted criminal investigations knows, eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable. People tend to see what they want to see. Our brains fill in gaps in what we see to build a coherent picture that may not be true. Two people can see the exact same event and come away with entirely different versions of what they saw.

What we need is squad car video, or police body camera video, but unfortunately the Ferguson PD doesn’t mandate that.

We don’t have a lot of forensic evidence at this point. We can’t trust the best and brightest in the online media who are in Ferguson to even get basic things right. It’s hard to report accurately from a position of total cluelessness.

Those are earplugs. He writes for the Huffington Post.

Reporter — get thyself to a gun range and learn something.

It’s one thing to be clueless, another to be biased, and another thing still to be biased and in a position of great power.

Attorney General Eric Holder rides into Ferguson today to bring the mind behind calling America a “nation of cowards,” and who views his role in government as one to benefit “my people,” to the scene of great racial unrest.

First, it’s highly unusual for a US attorney general to get directly involved in a local police-related shooting in which all the facts have not yet come out. This particular attorney general even claimed, when the Fast and Furious scandal broke, that he doesn’t read his own office mail and learned about the scandal from the news. His behavior as Congress investigated that scandal was so atrocious that he was held in contempt of Congress. President Obama scuttled the whole investigation by asserting executive privilege. We still don’t have many answers in a scandal that resulted in the deaths of two American public servants, and probably hundreds of innocent Mexican citizens.

Obama and Holder have both pressed the Ferguson police to be more “transparent.” That’s rich, to say the least.

While Obama has sought not to comment directly on Ferguson — having learned the hard way from his previous interventions in the “acted stupidly” episode and the Trayvon Martin situation — Holder has not.

AG Holder has criticized the Ferguson police for “selective release of sensitive information” in that case. He has a point, but not much of one since his own Justice Department pressured the Ferguson PD to not release the video of Michael Brown’s robbery just minutes before the shooting.

That video speaks directly to Michael Brown’s state of mind as Officer Wilson approached him. Had Brown merely been “minding his own business” as several eye witnesses initially claimed (those eye witnesses didn’t know about the robbery), then he would have been less likely to respond to the officer with hostility, let alone force. But if he had just robbed a store, he surely believed that the officer was there to arrest him and take him to jail. That video tells us what might have been going on in Brown’s mind and why, as some witnesses claim, he attacked the officer. If he attacked the officer, and especially if he tried to take the officer’s gun, then the officer would have been justified in using lethal force. He had to defend himself. He also had to make sure that Brown, a suspect in a strong-arm robbery, did not get ahold of a police firearm.

Other things tell us about Brown’s possible state of mind — the gang evidence in his rap music, and why he might have chosen to steal Swisher Sweet cigars. Those are some of the worst, cheapest cigars on the market. But they serve a pothead’s purpose, and one of the autopsies found that Brown had marijuana in his system.

None of this evidence is conclusive, of course. But Holder seems to have made up his mind before ever going to Ferguson. So have many in the media. Take a look at how CBS frames Holder’s visit.

Holder’s efforts so far are encouraging to those looking for reforms to the systemic problems that led to Brown’s shooting on Aug. 9 and the subsequent unrest in Ferguson, such as racial inequities in the criminal justice system and mistrust between local police forces and the communities they protect. Still, they’re looking for a commitment to reform from the Justice Department that will last long after the dust settles in Ferguson.

There may have been “systematic problems” in the Brown case, but no one is in a position to declare that yet. Certainly not a media that tends to get everything wrong when it comes to firearms, and that is so deep in the tank for the Democrats that it seldom even comes up for air. At this point, the shooting looks like a tragic case of overreaction — by Brown. Whether the officer overreacted isn’t clear yet. He may have, but he may not have.

CBS does tell us that Holder was not sent to Ferguson by Obama, as many believe. Holder proactively decided to go to Ferguson, and then told the president he was going.

So Holder has an agenda of his own going into Ferguson. What is it?

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Judge Enters Fray Over Jindal’s Move To Get Rid Of Common Core Tests

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Thanks, Jeb Bush!

In a blow to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s move to withdraw his state from Common Core education standards, a state judge on Tuesday blocked Jindal’s plan to scrap a key set of standardized tests due to be introduced in the coming school year.

Jindal’s push to ditch Common Core, announced in June and given teeth by his orders to scrap the multistate tests, came amid a backlash against the English and math standards aimed at boosting critical-thinking skills and unifying state guidelines.

Judge Todd Hernandez, in issuing a preliminary injunction against the governor in a lawsuit filed by Common Core backers that is awaiting trial, said plans to drop the tests, slated to serve as a must-pass benchmark for fourth-graders, had sowed uncertainty.

“The evidence is clear that this state of the unknown has caused anxiety and other harm to the parents, teachers, administrators and students in Louisiana,” he wrote.

My opening line about Jeb Bush may have been snark, but it was probably his high profile backing of Common Core that got Republicans like Jindal to back it in the first place. It would be nice if self-described conservative politicians would proceed from a position of skepticism regarding any federal involvement in a state’s business.

Or anything Jeb Bush thinks is a good idea.

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James Foley, Radical Islamic Terror, and How Quickly We Forget

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
Daniel Pearl by  Bosch Fawstin

Daniel Pearl by Bosch Fawstin

My two-word response to the beheading of James Foley and captivity of Steven Sotloff: Daniel Pearl. Americans still suffer under the delusion that oceans are borders. America is so physically huge that we can watch the riots in Ferguson the way we watch the rockets being fired from Gaza or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: From the comfort of our couch. Neither we, nor our families, nor our homes are physically in danger. In truth, we are disconnected. At best, those of us who do pay attention do so through screen media. We participate by commenting on internet forums or through social media, or perhaps writing a check to a charity to help those in need. But we should not confuse compassion or concern for actual awareness.

As I watch what is happening in my second home, Israel, I marvel at the reactionary comments I’ve seen from well-meaning Americans who are confident that if they lived next door to Hamas, they’d just go after the terrorists with Christianity-fueled faith in their Second Amendment rights. It’s so easy to see yourself as the next John Wayne from the comfort of your living room. It’s far more difficult when your family and your home are on the line. Much has been said about the right of those overseas to tell Israel how to run their military operations. From a writer’s point of view, I can remain at best pragmatic by saying that the surreality in which these armchair soldiers dwell is, at least, far more supportive than the stupor that plagues most Americans. For their sake, and the sake of America, I hope the bravado isn’t masking an army of summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.

I recall watching my friends collapse in horror on 9/11. As profoundly moved as I was by the horrific tragedy of that day, my response was simply: Intifada. The reality of countless suicide bombers trolling city streets, blowing themselves and countless civilians up at nightclubs, hotels, or on city buses had become a way of life for Israelis in the ’90s. Because I am so deeply connected to that land I felt that impact in a way most overseas do not. There was no shock in 9/11 for me, only awe at the sleeping America that responded to their alarm clock by repeatedly hitting snooze.

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Several Perry Grand Jurors Broke the Law to Explain Why They Think Perry Broke the Law

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

By Texas law, grand jurors are not supposed to talk to the media about their cases.

That did not stop several of the Gov. Perry grand jurors from breaking the law, specifically, talking to the Houston Chronicle.

The jury, which met weekly for four months, “really tried to keep an open mind and come to a fair decision given all the testimony that we heard,” said Janna Bessin, one of the 12 Travis County residents appointed to serve on the grand jury.

“It’s too bad,” Bessin said, calling the criticism unfair. “But I guess that his side’s job – to really spin it.”

The grand juror here evidently doesn’t understand that they have only seen the prosecutor’s side of the story. The prosecutor didn’t even have Perry testify to the grand jury. That’s not all that unusual, but the fact remains, they only saw the prosecution’s case, not the defense.

One, who asked not to be named, said he expects the public perception to change once the full scope of the prosecutor’s case becomes public.

“I think if and when the facts come out, that’ll change,” the juror said.

All six jury members reached by the Chronicle said they were told it would be illegal for them to discuss the grand jury proceedings. The willingness of some to discuss their thoughts in general terms may indicate frustration with Perry’s defense.

Rho Chalmers, who name matches that of a grand juror but would only confirm her service on a jury that ended last week, said grand juries involve careful consideration of facts.

“For me, it’s not a political decision,” Chalmers said. “That’s what a grand jury is about – take the emotion out of it and look at the facts and make your best decision based on your life experience.”

How many “Rho Chalmers” are there out there?

Now, as to Texas law. Here’s what it says.

Art. 19.34. [365] [416] [404] OATH OF GRAND JURORS

When the grand jury is completed, the court shall appoint one of the number 
foreman; and the following oath shall be administered by the court, 
or under its direction, to the jurors: “You solemnly swear that you 
will diligently inquire into, and true presentment make, of all 
such matters and things as shall be given you in charge; the 
State’s counsel, your fellows and your own, you shall keep secret, 
unless required to disclose the same in the course of a judicial 
proceeding in which the truth or falsity of evidence given in the 
grand jury room, in a criminal case, shall be under investigation.
You shall present no person from envy, hatred or malice; neither 
shall you leave any person unpresented for love, fear, favor, 
affection or hope of reward; but you shall present things truly as 
they come to your knowledge, according to the best of your 
understanding, so help you God”.

Bold added. For the grand jury misconduct.

The grand jurors in the story know the law, yet they broke it. I’m not sure if that means anything to the forward motion of the case or not. I suspect that it doesn’t, because the grand jury aren’t part of the case going forward. Having indicted their ham sandwich, they’re free to go.

But it does say something about the mindset of Travis County’s jury pool.

Frankly, said mindset sucks. Gov. Perry cannot get a fair trial there.

 

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Iowa Farm Bureau PAC Endorses Joni Ernst

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

More good news.

The Iowa Farm Bureau Political Action Committee (PAC), guided by statewide grassroots input from 99 Iowa counties, has made their ‘Friend of Agriculture’ designations for the 2014 elections. Support of candidates seeking statewide and national offices this fall have been selected based on their support of Farm Bureau policy, voting record and support for Iowa’s rural communities.
“Actions matter,” said Decatur County farmer and IFBF PAC Chair, Lance Bell. “Our PAC takes great care evaluating the candidates’ track records and survey responses to determine who will support issues that directly impact our family farms, businesses and rural communities. We are proud that our process emphasizes Farm Bureau policies, not partisan politics. The fact that 99 counties participated in this process shows our members stand together and believe in supporting the men and women who understand the significance of agriculture in this state.”

Governor Terry Branstad earned the 2014 ‘Friend of Agriculture’ designation for supporting agriculture and rural Iowa. Governor Branstad is running for his sixth term as Governor of Iowa. Bill Northey, running for his third term as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, also earned the designation from the IFBF PAC. In the first open-seat Senate race in Iowa in 40 years, the ‘Friend of Agriculture’ designation goes to Joni Ernst.

Every little bit helps. This is still a very, very close race and it would easily be the biggest pick up for the Republicans on election night. I’ve been saying for weeks that if this race goes to the GOP the whole night could have a landslide feel to it.

On paper, and in reality, this seems like the kind of race Ernst should win in a cakewalk. We do, however, live in an era when Barack Obama was easily elected twice and we’re still not allowed to drug test at the polls.

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Ferguson: ‘Without These Businesses Broken Into, None of Y’All Would Be Out Here’

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

In the above video from Reason.tv, protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, rationalize the looting and property destruction which has taken place in the wake of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police. Asked “Do you see a problem with the destruction of private property…,” one protestor stated unequivocally:

No. I believe that the only reason we have this attention is because of the looting and rioting.

Another expounds with a unique perspective:

I’m a business owner. So I understand both sides. Of course I wouldn’t want my – any of my businesses burned down, broken into. But without these businesses broken into, none of y’all would be out here, because that’s the only reason people tweeted. People Facebooked. People Instagramed. If it was just a peaceful – everybody get together – you know, “Justice for Mike Brown” and everybody leave, we wouldn’t have the national attention we have now, and it would be swept under the rug.

It’s an attitude toward violence which has been more overtly articulated by agitators on the political left. Consider this Salon article covering Occupy protests in Oakland back in 2011. Protest organizer Michael Spencer rationalized rioting in much the same way the above protesters have:

“Property damage is not violence,” said Spencer with a frown. “The reality was, no cops got hurt. It looks like more than it was. They were just burning shit in the street.”

Such is the quality of thought which manifests in riots like those seen in Ferguson. Whether Michael Brown’s killing was justified or not, the question will not be settled by stealing things, breaking stuff, or “burning shit in the street.” Indeed, any legitimate criticism of police conduct losses its impact when coupled with open disregard of justice as such.

So, sure, you might get more attention from looting than you otherwise would. But it does no favors for the cause.

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Rooting For A Meteor Strike: Gore Sues Al Jazeera

Friday, August 15th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Al on Al hate.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore sued Al Jazeera, the satellite network controlled by the Qatari royal family, over a $500 million deal to purchase his network, Current TV, according to filing in state court in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago,” David Boies, a lawyer for Gore, said in a statement today. “We are asking the court to order Al Jazeera America to stop wrongfully withholding the escrow funds that belong to Current’s former shareholders.”

Buying Gore’s channel and rebranding it gave Al Jazeera America access to about 43 million U.S. homes.

It really is difficult to pick a side here. Both are anti-American and have way too much money. The only real difference is that Al Jazeera is more open about the anti-American thing.

Either way, the terrorists will win here.

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Ferguson Police Chief Names Officer Involved in Michael Brown Shooting (Updates)

Friday, August 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Ferguson, MO police Chief Thomas Jackson held a press conference moments ago.

Jackson took no questions, but did identify the officer involved in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown as Darren Wilson.

Jackson said that Wilson has been on the Ferguson police force for six years, and has had no disciplinary actions taken against him during that time. He said that Wilson was treated for injuries sustained Saturday, but did not specify the nature of those injuries.

More: Jackson also released a packet of information, including an incident report for a strong-armed robbery shortly before Brown’s shooting, at about noon Saturday. The suspect was apparently stealing a box of Swisher Sweet cigars, and was identified as Brown. Officer Wilson was investigating that robbery. He stopped Brown. The shooting happened after that.

Update: Police also released security camera photos taken during the robbery. They alledgely show Brown pushing the clerk as he and Dorian Johnson rob the store. Johnson was walking with Brown when the altercation with police occurred. Now we learn that both he and Brown were suspects in a robbery.

brown-robbery

 

Here is the police report from the robbery. A video is also expected to be released today.

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Cochran/McDaniel Divorce Is Heading To Another Court Phase In Mississippi

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

The herpes of political stories.

The Tea Party-backed U.S. Senate candidate defeated in the June Mississippi Republican primary filed a legal challenge contesting his loss on Thursday, days after his own party declined to look into his allegations of electoral misdeeds.

State Senator Chris McDaniel’s judicial petition to take up his complaint marks a new stage in a contest against incumbent Thad Cochran – once viewed nationally as a key test of Tea Party clout in challenging the Republican establishment.

“This challenge is not about the candidates,” McDaniel said in a written statement. “It is about the integrity of Mississippi’s election process.”

Since McDaniel’s loss to the six-term incumbent by roughly 7,700 votes in a June 24 runoff, his camp has insisted that he was done in largely by a cynical campaign to turn out black Democrats to vote against him.

McDaniel is asking a state court judge to review his complaint, which includes allegations of improper voting in the runoff by those who cast ballots in the Democratic primary earlier in June as well as the mishandling of election records by poll workers.

Anyone who has read more than three posts of mine know that I am not a huge fan of the Republican establishment. I wanted McDaniel to win this without going to a runoff because it would just wake up the Barbour/Cochran machine in Mississippi, which it did.

Most of what is going on now, however, seems to be so much flailing. Every time someone in the McDaniel camp says there is going to be a bombshell revelation it turns out to be varying degrees of nothingburger.

Most of the dismantling of the GOP hierarchy that needs to be done has to start at the party officials and money movers end of things, not so much with the elected officials. Neuter the Haley Barbours pulling strings behind the scenes and it becomes much easier to elect higher quality people to Congress.

This fight may end up making a point but I don’t know if anyone is putting money on McDaniel ending up on the ballot. He just seems to be caught up in something that he can’t stop.

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Obama Moves to Defend Hamas

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House in 2010

The Times of Israel reports:

A senior Israeli official confirmed to Israeli media that the US had suspended a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel amid worsening ties over fighting in Gaza.

According to the report, the Israeli official corroborated a story published earlier in the Wall Street JournalWhile the article focuses mainly on the souring relationship between Netanyahu and Obama, it pays a decent amount of attention to the fact that both the White House and the State Department are actively working to block the shipment of arms to Israel.

The decision to evaluate every request by the Israeli military separately came after the White House and State Department discovered last month that the Pentagon was supplying Jerusalem with arms without their knowledge, the newspaper report said.

While one US diplomat described the American reaction to the arms transfer as a feeling of being “blindsided,” another US defense official emphasized that the back channel transfers were legitimate and did not require a sign-off from President Barack Obama or the State Department.

“There was no intent to blindside anyone. The process for this transfer was followed precisely along the lines that it should have,” a US defense official told the paper.

After learning of these transfers, the Obama administration, perturbed that much of the ammunition was used by the IDF in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, revised the review process in a move that is likely to limit or at least delay Israel’s requests for weapons.

Israeli officials are, of course, concerned over the apparent worsening of ties between Israel and the U.S., with Likud Knesset members using the incident to both defend Netanyahu and the America-Israel relationship. However, it has become impossible to deny the fact that Israel and certain political leaders in America have differing perspectives on radical Islamic terrorism:

Numerous US officials say the Gaza violence “has persuaded them that Mr. Netanyahu and his national security team are both reckless and untrustworthy,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

As far as the Israeli view of the Obama Administration, the report cited John Kerry when noting that “…Israeli officials consider the US view of the Middle East ‘weak and naive.’” Despite their lack of faith in Obama,

Netanyahu is confident his supporters in Congress will back Israel, and remains unconcerned that the sparring with Obama will have significant adverse effects.

With the American politics of the situation sure to be addressed in the upcoming mid-terms, the actions on the part of the Obama Administration (and Britain, for that matter) also make a strong case for the timeliness of crowdsourcing for Israel’s military defense.

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Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Wins Primary

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

With his opponent conceding, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is a likely shoo-in for reelection in November. This apparently local race has national repercussions.

Anti-rights billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent $150,000 to beat Clarke, more than the two candidates spent together. During the last presidential election, Bloomberg spent as much as the firearms industry and the NRA combined. He’s committed $50 million—twice as much as before—to support candidates this fall who will work for him to destroy your civil right of self-defense.

Milwaukee taught us that even when he spends more money than the candidates, he still can’t buy an election…if you get involved.

More importantly, David Clarke is an American of African descent. Most blacks support gun control, a fancy way of saying “civilian disarmament.” For example, the National Black Police Association wants to ban civilian ownership of handguns.

This is curious, because the history of American gun control is the history of racist oppression by white European settlers, slave masters, politicians, and black Uncle Toms. Sheriff Clarke gets this, which is why he’s been openly pro-Second Amendment.

It’s also curious how history repeats itself: One of the world’s wealthiest individuals committed a relative fortune to support an agenda which falls hardest on America’s black population: States with the most gun control have the highest black homicide rates and the lowest gun ownership.

As more black Americans look to Sheriff Clarke as an example, this growing diversity among gun owners will help protect the Second Amendment in the future.

On this high note, I’d like to thank you for reading my columns over the years. I almost lost an important business contact over my Second Amendment writing. Due to many business factors, I’m discontinuing my journalistic endeavors. I don’t like the political aspect of this decision, but it’s clear that writing isn’t going to provide the income stream I need to secure our finances, though it risks thwarting that goal. Perhaps somebody else can step in and do research like I did. It’s a fairly straightforward process:

  • Here’s what they said.
  • Here’s what the data says, provided by the same government we’re told will protect us if we disarm.
  • If they continue pushing their agenda despite the overwhelming evidence that they’re…uh, mistaken…can we trust they’re telling the truth that we’ll be safer?

I began over a decade ago because I was one of those well-meaning liberals who believed the propaganda that we’d be safer in a disarmed society. I believed that gun owners were the problem. I believed that the Brady Campaign were the good guys.

Then, at the behest of a law enforcement client, I set out on my own research journey. I learned that gun control is both racist and sexist in its impact on the real people who have to live in disarmed societies. That offended my liberal sensitivities: I was outraged. So I began to write, first for small local sites, and then for progressively large sites. PJ Media was kind enough to hire me to write features in 2010, and it’s been a good run.

Thanks for reading.

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Siri Snitches on Accused Roommate Killer

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

20-year-old Pedro Bravo of Florida is accused of murdering his roommate. The two, according to police, got into a fight after going to Best Buy to buy a Kanye West CD. The victim, Christian Aguilar, had also started dating Bravo’s ex.

Bravo’s iPhone does not enjoy the privilege of not being forced to testify against him, as a spouse can be allowed.

And Siri will sing.

Evidence collected from Bravo’s iPhone includes records of him using the phone’s flashlight function nine times from 11.31pm to 12:01am on the day that Bravo disappeared and asking the phone: “I need to hide my roommate”.

According to evidence reproduced from the trial by local news stations and picked up by Buzzfeed, Siri responded “What kind of place are you looking for?” before offering four options: “Swamps, reservoirs, metal foundries, dumps”.

Police also used data from the flashlight app and the GPS data from the phone to debunk Bravo’s explanation of his whereabouts on the night of the murder.

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‘We rolled lighter than that in an actual war zone’

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Business Insider has some photos of the police presence in Ferguson, MO. Here’s one of them.

Is this who we are now?

ferguson-police

 

Ferguson is already in the throes of riots, maybe because of police brutality after the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Frankly, I haven’t seen enough to form an opinion one way or another.

You can’t trust the media to report accurately, not after so many fails including the Martin-Zimmerman case. They go out of their way to distort.

You can’t trust the race hustlers, who use every controversy to make a buck.

The Justice Department is involved. You can’t trust them to be fair. Eric Holder has politicized the whole department.

And look at the local police. Is that the posture of a force that seeks to inspire trust, or fear?

They have short-barreled 5.56-mm rifles based on the military M4 carbine, with scopes that can accurately hit a target out to 500 meters. On their side they carry pistols. On their front, over their body armour, they carry at least four to six extra magazines, loaded with 30 rounds each.

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Critics Of Florida’s Congressional Map Still Whining After Changes

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

And your point?

Leaders of a voter coalition contesting Florida’s congressional district boundaries are vowing to continue a court battle claiming that a new map approved on Monday fails to meet the state’s anti-gerrymandering rules.

“They’ve done this in a crafty way, to make sure the political result is not changed,” Tom Zehnder, an attorney for Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of Florida and some voters who challenged the current congressional districts, said of boundaries approved by state lawmakers along party lines on Monday.

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, who threw out the existing map last month, has a hearing set for Aug. 20 to consider the new boundaries.

The Republican-run legislature made relatively minor adjustments to the districts of U.S. Representatives Corrine Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat, and Daniel Webster, a Republican from Winter Garden, whose districts Lewis ruled were in violation of the state’s constitutional ban on gerrymandering to protect incumbents or favor either party.

The leadership ignored a much different map submitted by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, which would have reduced minority voter concentration in Brown’s Jacksonville-Orlando district, while adding many more Hispanic and black voters to Webster’s district in the Orlando area.

What they are really unhappy with is that the map wasn’t redrawn exactly to their specifications. This will probably go on until it does get done, which is ridiculous. However, in the age of judicial activism, what say do the people or their representatives really have in anything.

I’ll be in Iceland.

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World Health Organization OKs Experimental Ebola Drug

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Why not?

A panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization has unanimously endorsed the idea of offering unproven vaccines or treatments to help combat the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

This outbreak is unusual not just because it has spread to four countries and involves so many people, says Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General at the World Health Organization. It is also the first Ebola outbreak that could possibly benefit from a range of potential experimental treatments and vaccines.

“If these treatments can save lives, as the animal studies suggest, should we not use them to save lives?” Kieny asked.

Many caution against panicking but this isn’t really a panicky response given the fact that there is an outbreak in the part of the world where this will be offered. There are times when standing on procedure needs to get tossed out of the window. If people are willing to consent to the treatment after thoroughly being briefed about its experimental nature they should be allowed to proceed.

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Chasing Shadows in the Death of Robin Williams

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

I hate writing about this. You have no idea how much I hate writing about this.

Here at the Tatler, I tend to avoid writing anything about celebrity deaths. It’s not a policy, just a preference. Others cover them as news, but I generally avoid them.

We all die. It’s the human condition. Celebrities aren’t worth any more than the rest of us. That’s just a fact. Writing about their deaths feels ghoulish to me, as if I’m going for hits off their demise.

When we write about celebrity deaths, we just tend to get it all wrong. They are not worth any more than the rest of us, just because they happened to have become famous in life. But to some extent, their deaths become milestones in our lives because we enjoyed what they brought to us, or we appreciated something about them at some point in our lives. Their passing takes a little of us with them, because they made us laugh, wrote and sang our favorite songs, made that movie or wrote that book that had such an impact on our lives. Without ever meeting us, they touched us in some way, so we will miss them.

But with Williams’ apparent suicide after battling depression, some things need to be said.

First, I didn’t know him. Never met him. I’m not sure we were ever even in the same state. I had no idea he was battling depression. All I knew is that he was a man with almost alien talent and a mind that must have whirred at a billion RPMs. That had to be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

From Mork and Mindy to Aladdin to his more serious work, as an actor he had an incredible range. The same maniac who spun up on Johnny Carson played the wise, unruly teacher in Dead Poets Society. I identified with his Good Morning, Vietnam character both because that character, Adrian Cronauer, and I went to the same military tech school (DINFOS, then at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana), and because he played something I was for a while — a military broadcaster deployed overseas. I don’t think anyone else on earth could have played that role. It certainly wouldn’t have been the same film with anyone else in that role.

After news of his death broke, the Academy tweeted this.

 

On a first glance it’s touching, and for that reason it has gone viral. But it’s wrong.

Williams is free of his depression now, and as a Christian he is in a better place, but the message it sends is that suicide is a way out, a way to freedom. That is a terrible message to send. Many who may be contemplating suicide right now are not clinically depressed. For them, suicide is still very much a choice. No one should provide any encouragement to make the wrong choice. That isn’t what the Academy intended, of course. They had the best of intentions.

Matt Walsh writes that Williams did not die from suicide, but from choice. He chose suicide, says Walsh.

It’s surely true that some — most? I have no idea — who commit suicide choose it. I once found myself talking a friend out of taking his own life. It was a long time ago, practically a lifetime. I’m hardly even the same person I was then. That friend chose wisely and did not take that final, horrible act. He was not clinically depressed. He suffered from self-importance and angst, was angry with a God he claimed not to believe in, and a whole lot else, but clinical depression wasn’t part of the equation.

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‘Spike’ in Russian Nuclear Bomber Flights Near US Airspace

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There’s a bear in the woods.

YouTube Preview Image

He’s coming out of the woods.

For the second time since June, Russian nuclear bombers escorted by fighter jets have flown near U.S. and Canadian airspace around Alaska in recent days, prompting precautionary intercepts by American warplanes.

The encounters come amid Russian war games along the border with eastern Ukraine, raising Western concerns that Moscow might invade to support pro-Moscow separatists battling the Kiev government since spring.

Russian bombers have regularly flown along thesensitive airspace between Russia, Alaska and Arctic Canada, but Smith called the latest missions “a spike in activity.”

Do we have a hunter in the White House who recognizes the threat?

Stop laughing, it’s a serious question.

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L.A. Can’t Even Hang on to the Porn Industry

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

The only plastic bags they didn’t ban

This is the world capital of adult video production. And the porn industry hasn’t given up on L.A. just yet.

But it has certainly abandoned attempting to film scenes legitimately in the county. Under a law approved by voters and enacted at the end of 2012, film permits for adult video productions require filmmakers to commit to having male performers use condoms.

It’s widely believed that, as a result of the mandatory condom rule in L.A., porn producers have simply stopped pulling permits and moved their shoots to places that don’t have prophylactic police. New data from the regional permit organization known as FilmLA seems to back that theory:

A spokesman for FilmLA says there were an estimated 480 adult permits issued in 2012. Last year there were 40, he said. And so far this year there have been about 20.

Steven Hirsch, founder of what is perhaps the world’s largest porn studio, Vivid Entertainment, says the reason for the reduction is clear: Mandatory condoms.

Television and film production long ago fled Los Angeles, mostly for Canada. That’s right, taxation and regulation became so onerous in L.A. that the industry it was built on fled for a socialist country.

Now they’re driving away the only real backup plan actors and actresses have when they get here.

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Next Time Teachers’ Unions Say Teachers Need More Money, Show Them This

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

There seems to be a lot somewhere.

The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers rank sixth and fourteenth respectively in the Top 50 political donors list. As always, the list is dominated by Big Labor and enviro loon Tom Steyer shows up in the second spot.

We will never hear about any of these BECAUSE EVIL KOCH BROTHERS, who barely cracked the top 40.

If you bump into a teacher crying poor in a state that isn’t right to work, ask him or her to hit up the union for some scratch.

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Contest Winners: Obama’s Wimpy Image Taunted in Photo From Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
test

Photo tweet from Dmitry Rogozin

Thanks to everyone who entered our latest caption contest.  Russian-American relations have never been worse and it’s all your fault.

In case you are joining us late, Dmitry Rogozin whose official title is Deputy Prime Minister of Russia – tweeted the subject of our latest caption contest as reported by Fox News.  Now that everyone is up to speed, here are the winners.

Zipcode won the funniest caption award with:

Obama: The SPCA needs your help to place these three animals in a good home.

Zipcode also won an honorable mention for:

Putin talking to leopard: I’m sorry kitty but were out of Meow Mix, some mean man put a sanction on it.

JRSWINE cracked up the judges with this entry:

On the Left: a Bear with a Leopard.  On the Other Left: a Bore with his pet Media.

Kuce had several winners:

Poodle thought balloon – “Feel that warm tingle down your leg? Well, you’re now just like Chris Matthews”

Obama thought balloon – “This poodle is racist”

Poodle thought balloon – “All things considered, I think I’d rather be on Romney’s station wagon”

Obama – “Get Valerie in here. This was supposed to make me look like the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man!”

RockThisTown scored twice with:

Putin: Has a SuperBowl ring he didn’t earn.
Obama: Has a Nobel Prize he didn’t earn.

Putin transfers a country, Ukraine, to his domain.
Obama transforms a country, America, to down the drain.

Cfbleachers is on a roll lately and here is why:

Putin: I hunt, I ride horses and I practice martial arts. My highest ranking officials are bursting with pride.

Obama: I throw like a girl, bowl like a spaz and my highest ranking subordinate goes skinny dipping. We invented the face palm.

Putin: I never hit the lynx.  Obama: I always hit the links.

Putin: Meet my new pet. I teach it to capture prey. I call him Vlad the Impaler.
Obama: Meet my new pet. I teach it to roll over, fetch and play dead. I call it The Media.

Finally, the grand prize winner goes to cfbleachers OF COURSE for:

Putin: I can tame any feral beast.  Obama: I’m dog sitting for Pajama Boy.

This is truly hilarious because who can forget health care Pajama Boy? Well, in case you have, here is a reminder of the fun our nation had playing with him.

If Obama had a son

If Obama had a son.

See you all next time a photo is worthy of a Tatler photo caption contest OR if Dmitry Rogozin tweets again.

Oh no, he already has! Now he is making fun of that formally macho Vietnam War vet currently serving as our Secretary of State. Dmitry photo shopped John Kerry riding a pink Barbie bike around Nantucket, Mass.

This means war!

Oh wait, cancel the war.

Correction: Dmitry Rogozin did not tweet that photo. Our Secretary of State really does ride a pink Barbie bike around Nantucket. Please, pray for our nation!

Kerry pink bike

Image via Owen Perkins / Instagram

 

 

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Ann Coulter’s Condition Downgraded to ‘Heartless and Cruel’

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Ann Coulter used her national megaphone to trash Dr. Kent Brantly Wednesday. Brantly is the American doctor who traveled to Liberia to use his medical skills and training to serve the poor there. He and Nancy Writebol served patients who have Ebola, and have now come down with the deadly virus themselves.

Coulter can be a genius one day and a fool the next. In this column, she takes the latter route.

coulter-idiotic

 

Coulter’s basic argument is that Dr. Brantly should have stayed home and served in Texas instead of Africa, because it’s safer to serve here.

That’s not necessarily true on the border. But missionary service isn’t always about doing the safe thing. It’s about being obedient to God. Being obedient to God is often the riskiest thing a Christian can possibly do.

Coulter accuses Dr. Brantly of “Christian narcissism.”

Right there in Texas, near where Dr. Brantly left his wife and children to fly to Liberia and get Ebola, is one of the poorest counties in the nation, Zavala County — where he wouldn’t have risked making his wife a widow and his children fatherless.

But serving the needy in some deadbeat town in Texas wouldn’t have been “heroic.” We wouldn’t hear all the superlatives about Dr. Brantly’s “unusual drive to help the less fortunate” or his membership in the “Gold Humanism Honor Society.” Leaving his family behind in Texas to help the poor 6,000 miles away — that’s the ticket.

Today’s Christians are aces at sacrifice, amazing at serving others, but strangely timid for people who have been given eternal life. They need to buck up, serve their own country, and remind themselves every day of Christ’s words: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

There may be no reason for panic about the Ebola doctor, but there is reason for annoyance at Christian narcissism.

Coulter’s column makes me wonder whether she really believes in God or not, or if her God is actually a country and not a supreme being. That would be idolatry, of course.

The Christian missionary call crosses borders, and is as old as Christianity itself. It’s Christianity 101.

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Obama Willing to Stand Strong on…Taxes

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

It’s a stick-up!

President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that Congress should close a tax loophole exploited by firms by locating their tax domiciles overseas but added that he is considering options to address the issue unilaterally because the trend must be ended.

“We can’t solve the entire problem administratively, but what we are doing is, are there elements to existing statutes that are interpreted by rule or by regulation or by tradition or practice that can at least discourage some of the folks who may be trying to take advantage of this loophole,” he said at a news conference, discussing the practice known as “inversion.”

“We don’t want to see this trend grow,” he added. “That kind of herd mentality is something we want to avoid, so we want to move quickly, as quickly as possible.

Oh good, “unilaterally”-we’re just not getting enough of that from this president!

Loopholes are a by product of a tax code run amok. Simplify the code, the loopholes are easy to strip away. Politicians who just talk about loopholes all the time do so because they never want to talk about simplifying anything. They definitely don’t want to talk about reducing taxes. Ever. It’s like severing an artery and addressing it by cleaning the blood on the carpet first.

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Malaria Compounding Ebola Problem In West Africa

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

When hippies kill.

As the death toll rises in West Africa amid the worst Ebola outbreak on record, a separate threat is compounding the problem: the rainy season and the malaria cases that come with it.

In Sierra Leone, with the most Ebola cases in the epidemic, a fearful population is failing to seek medical attention for any diseases, health officials say. If they have malaria, the feeling is they don’t want to go near a hospital with Ebola cases. If it’s Ebola, they don’t believe the hospitals can help them anyway.

Of course, malaria wouldn’t be a problem at all if chemicals like DDT were being used to kill the mosquitoes that spread it. But, hey, Rachel Carson wrote a book, right?

It still mystifies me how the “we believe in science” crowd is still able to get away with this nonsense given the body count (around 100,000 per year) on their hands in Africa since they decided to prioritize the lives of birds over humans.

Finger crossed that their 10th Century nets (SCIENCE!) save at least a few lives…

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