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The PJ Tatler

‘We Didn’t Endorse It’: Baltimore Mayor Defends ‘Destroy Space’ Comment as Riots Rage

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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The mayor of Baltimore took umbrage at the suggestion that her “space to destroy” comment left the door open for the riots that broke out in her city today.

After the first signs of violence with smashed windows and a looted convenience store Saturday night, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she “made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech.”

“It’s a very delicate balancing act,” she continued. “Because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.”

Five hours after the riots began Monday, Rawlings-Blake emerged at a press conference to call the latest developments “very disturbing.”

But she seemed equally disturbed at the media.

Rawlings-Blake criticized the “blatant mischaracterization” of her Saturday quotes by reporters, charging that it “was not helpful today.”

“I was asked a question about the property damage that was done, and in answering that question I made it very clear that we balance a very line between giving protesters — peaceful protesters — space to protest. What I said is, in doing so, people can hijack that and use that space for bad. I did not say that we were accepting of it, I did not say that we were passive to it, I was just explaining how property damage can happen during a peaceful protest. It is very unfortunate that members of your industry decided to mischaracterize my words and try to use it in a way to say we were inciting violence. There’s no such thing,” she said.

“What we did was manage a peaceful protest in the best way possible and when it got violent and destructive we responded to that. We have an obligation to protect people’s First Amendment rights. We also understand through the best training and best practices that we have to do everything we can to de-escalate, and those were the tactics that were deployed yesterday. Did people exploit those tactics or that space that we gave, that we facilitated to have people protest for bad? Yes, they did. But we didn’t endorse it.”

Asked if the “de-escalation strategy” was a mistake, the mayor paused and replied, “Any other questions?”

Rawlings-Blake said there is a “very clear difference” between “what we saw over last week with peaceful protest, those who seek justice, those who want to be heard and seek answers … and the thugs who only want to incite violence and destroy our city.”

“We’re deploying every resource possible to gain control of the situation and to ensure peace moving forward.”

She said she contacted Gov. Larry Hogan to request the National Guard. “As soon as they are available they will be immediately deployed,” she added.

At his own press conference later, Hogan noted, “When the mayor called me, which quite frankly we were glad that she finally did, instantly we signed the executive order.”

Maryland is now in a state of emergency. A 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will be in effect starting tomorrow in Baltimore for at least one week, with exceptions for people going to work and medical emergencies.

Several police officers and journalists have been injured in the riots. Looters burned down a CVS drugstore and torched a 60-unit senior living complex and activity center that was under construction at a Southern Baptist church.

“These malicious attacks against law enforcement and local communities only betray the cause of peaceful citizens seeking answers and justice following the death of Freddie Gray,” Hogan said.

The Gray family had asked for no protests of any kind today as the 25-year-old, whose spine was severed while in police custody, was remembered at a memorial service.

Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. Young, at the mayor’s press conference, said he was “saddened” that media have been “focusing on the negativity of this city and not looking at the great things that are going on in this city.”

“We have young people who are out there protesting peacefully, but you’re not focusing on them. You’re focusing on those that are burning down buildings and rioting throughout the streets of Baltimore,” Young said, accusing “people not even connected to the community” of committing the rioting.

Councilman Brandon Scott stepped to the microphone and declared, “I’m not gonna be as nice as everyone else. I am simply pissed off. This is the city that I love, this is the city that I chose to dedicate my life to. And we cannot stand idly as thugs, whatever you want call them… we’ll just call them cowards, burn our city.”

“If you are an adult, and you are out there participating in this, you are ruining the future for these young people. And I’m calling on every able man and woman who wants to stand up, get out there and get in between these folks… Get out there and stand tall and stand up for your neighborhood,” Scott said.

“Adults have to step up and take control of our children and take control of our future.”

The White House said President Obama spoke with Rawlings-Blake on Monday. “The Mayor updated the President on efforts to address the demonstrations and maintain peace throughout the city,” the administration said in a readout of the phone call. “The President highlighted the Administration’s commitment to provide assistance as needed and will continue to receive updates on the situation from Attorney General Lynch and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett also spoke with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan today.”

Lynch “assured the President that she would continue to monitor events in Baltimore and that the Department of Justice stands ready to provide any assistance that might be helpful there.”

“Violence is unacceptable no matter who does it. Vandalism is unacceptable no matter who does it,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said. “…It’s time for calm. It’s time for the kids to go home. It’s time to remember the vast majority of Baltimore’s citizens are law abiding.”

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How Long Does America Have?

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Robert Wargas

As Baltimore burned, the rest of us tweeted.

The riots followed a weekend in which GoFundMe shut down a fundraising page for a Christian-owned bakery that was hit with a huge fine for refusing to serve a gay wedding. GoFundMe has said its policy precludes raising money “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.” The key word here is “hateful”: if you can expand or contract that word at will—which many people in this country can and do—you can accomplish anything.

Every week this country is consumed in a new distended orgy of polarized, mutual hatred, set against the backdrop of outrage mobs, race riots, shuttered businesses, scandals, Twitter-induced career ruination, gleeful smear parties, and partisan hackery.

Admit it: You’ve asked yourself where America is going, and how long it can survive the trip. Admit it.

Usually people think you’re crazy for asking this. But the New Normal has prompted Ace of Spades to ask: “Is it time to formally separate America into two or more sovereign nations?”

“No one actually seems happy in this national marriage,” writes Ace. That is sadly true.

I’m not advocating a national schism. I don’t want it. I want a union. I want a flag with 50 stars.

But what I want doesn’t matter. Larger forces are at work here, and it seems to me that a dispassionate assessment of the United States in 2015 must include the possibility of a major rupture in our social and political order within ten years. Probably less.

Now, some people will say, “You 30-year-old know-nothing, you weren’t around for Vietnam. Everyone thought the country would come apart then, but it didn’t. Then we got Reagan!”

To which I say: You’re right, I wasn’t around for Vietnam. Maybe I don’t know anything. But I think the country is quite different from the one that existed in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. We are different politically, economically, ideologically, demographically…pretty much in every way that matters. I think that conservatives who are waiting for a new Reagan are deluded, and dangerously so. They have been lulled into thinking that things will just get better as a matter of cyclical routine. Everything stays the same…until everything is different.

I’m not so sure “getting better” is possible anymore, or at least not possible before some major rupture once again makes it possible. I hope I’m wrong. I hope I look back at this post in 2020 and laugh at myself. But who honestly thinks they’ll be laughing in 2020?

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Breaking: Rioting, Burning, Massive Looting in Baltimore (Updated: National Guard Called Out)

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Following the funeral of a young black man, Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, several hundred rioters confronted police and began to tear up West Baltimore.

I’ve been watching the WJLA live coverage of the rioting, and the scenes being shown are incredible. “Like a war zone” said the reporter of a business section of one neighborhood, as businesses are burning because firefighters refuse to respond until police can assure them they can be kept safe.

Looters are targeting pharmacies, grocery stores, liquor stores, cell phone stores — apparently any business selling anything that rioters want. Police have virtually disappeared in some neighborhoods, giving the rioters a free pass.

The Washington Post is giving regular updates:

Protesters are looting a check-cashing business and other stores in Baltimore, busting through the windows and climbing inside to take items.

Cars have been lit on fire and a large group of youths threw rocks, bricks and other items at police. As people arrived home from work, some yelled at the youths to stop causing trouble.

“I never thought I’d see something like this happen in my neighborhood,” said Ted Bushrod, 32, who’s lived in the area all his life.

Bushrod, who said his father died in an officer-involved shooting involving the Baltimore Police Department, criticized the violence.

“It’s disappointing. I understand the kids’ frustration. We go through this every day,” he added, referring to black people being targeted for their race in Baltimore.

Freddie Gray, who is black, died after he suffered injuries while in police custody.

___

5:35 p.m.

Police are urging parents to locate their children and bring them home after youths clashed violently with police in Baltimore.

Baltimore police made the announcement on its Twitter feed. A group of youths threw bricks, rocks and other items at police during a violent clash hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray. At least seven police officers were injured.

A lot of the youths clashing with police had backpacks and were wearing khaki pants, which are a part of many Baltimore public school uniforms.

The activity broke out just as high school let out, and at a key city bus depot for student commuters.

Gray died April 19. He suffered injuries in police custody. Authorities are investigating.

___

5:15 p.m.

Groups of youths are looting a convenience store near downtown Baltimore.

They busted out the window of the closed businesses, and piled in. Police in riot gear began forming a line nearby.

A helicopter circled overhead as groups of roving youths moved through the city. Television footage showed one group of demonstrators pile on top of and ride a car as it drove in the street.

We will update this post when necessary.

Update:

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has issued a state of emergency and called out the National Guard to deal with the growing violence and mayhem in Baltimore.

More than 2,000 police from several different jurisdictions, including state police, Prince George’s County police, and county sheriffs, have been pouring into the city for the last several hours. But as the violence has grown, police have been unable to keep up with the rolling gangs of youths torching businesses and cars, looting, and threatening bystanders. That’s why Governor Hogan has called out the National Guard to restore order.

Update II

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the rioting was a planned event,  urged by social media and flyers at area high schools.

The incident stemmed from a flier that circulated widely among city school students via social media about a “purge” to take place at 3 p.m., starting at Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. Such memes have been known to circulate regularly among city school students, based on the film “The Purge,” about what would happen if all laws were suspended.

The flier included an image of protesters smashing the windshield of a police car Saturday during a march spurred by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who suffered a spinal cord injury earlier this month after being arrested by city police.

The paper is also reporting that many of the rioters are wearing the uniform of  the Baltimore public high schools.

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Obama Forgets to Mention Second American Held Hostage by Iran

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Before the president went into his stand-up routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, making unfunny jokes about himself and his opponents, he urged the release of Jason Rezaian, a journalist being held by Iran on charges of espionage. Obama said “we will not rest” until Rezaian is released from prison and returned to the U.S.

But the family of Marine Corps veteran Amir Hekmati, who is under a death sentence in Iran, says that Iranian guards taunted him over the weekend, telling him that the American government has forgotten him because President Obama mentioned Rezaian and not Hekmati.

ABC News:

The prisoner, Marine Corps veteran Amir Hekmati, called his mother over the weekend from the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, terrified that gaining his release is not a priority for the U.S. government, his family said. Now, in an emotional letter to the White House, Amir’s sister is demanding to know why the president has never said her brother’s name in public. He has been imprisoned for nearly four years.

“He has already been mistreated, abused, and tortured,” writes Sarah Hekmati, Amir’s sister, in a letter to White House counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco. “Now the mental torture continues as he is made to feel that the country he put his life on the line for, the one he defended, and the president he voted for has left him behind and are not actively trying to secure his freedom.”

American Detained in Iran Urges US to Impose Consequences
Of the three Americans known to be imprisoned in Iran, Hekmati has been held the longest. He was arrested in 2011 when, according to his family, he was visiting his ailing grandmother in Iran. He was sentenced to death in January 2012 for “espionage, waging war against god and corrupting the earth.”

President Obama spoke out for the release of American journalist Jason Rezaian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and earlier this year he spoke out for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini at the National Prayer Breakfast. The Hekmati family said they have repeatedly asked the White House to push for Amir Hekmati’s release.

“Why has President Obama yet to utter the name Amir Hekmati?” his sister wrote. “Why on days significant for Amir — Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, the anniversary of his death sentence, the anniversary of his imprisonment — President Obama cannot say the name Amir Hekmati out loud, but he can say it for Jason Rezaian and he can say it for Pastor Abedini? Why when we make a request is it ignored? Why am I forced to write this email to you AGAIN, the same subject AGAIN, the same plea AGAIN?”

Incredible. While the president was yucking it up with the lapdog press at the so-called “Nerd Prom,” Iranian guards were putting an American Marine veteran through hell by taunting him with his own government’s inaction in trying to secure his release.

When asked about Hemkati, White House spokesman Josh Earnest gave a halting, lame answer:

“Certainly when considering how best to secure the release of these individuals, a calculation is made about the wisdom of the publicity that surrounds the efforts to secure their release,” Earnest said.

That’s not good enough for the family:

“Please spare us this dignity and give us a straightforward answer as to why in nearly 4 years President Obama has [not] raised Amir’s plight individually outside of the context of the others imprisoned. Not even once. Not even when he was sentenced to death. The only question at this point is why,” Sarah Hekmati wrote.

This is an old game being played by Iran. They are holding the three Americans on trumped-up charges in order to get something valuable in exchange for them. All thug nations do this, knowing that America will move heaven and earth to get our people home.

Usually.

In Obama’s case, there’s always something more important, like enabling Iran’s nuclear program or buddying up to the Iranian leadership. Iran will continue to pluck Americans off the street or drag them out of their homes until the cost of keeping them becomes too high.

Don’t expect that cost to rise while President Obama is in office.

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Not the Onion: Texas A&M Prof Cracks, Flunks Entire ‘Disgraceful’ Class

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Give the man a medal:

A Texas A&M Galveston professor says he hit a “breaking point” as he failed an entire class of students in his management course that he said required “security guards” for him to feel safe teaching.

In a scathing email sent to students in his Strategic Management class, Texas A&M Galveston professor Irwin Horwitz called his class a disgrace to the school and said “it became apparent they couldn’t do some of the most simple and basic things they should have been able to do,” KPRC-TV reports. Horwitz said a semester of backstabbing, lying, cheating and disrespect has caused him to fail everyone in the class and that he will no longer be teaching the course. “Enough was enough,” Horwitz wrote in the email obtained by KPRC. “Yesterday I reached the breaking point.”

“I was dealing with cheating, dealing with individuals swearing at me both in and out of class, it got to the point that the school had to put security guards at that class and another class,” said Horwitz. He said students’ complete lack of maturity and general incompetence proved they weren’t fit to enter the workforce… Horwitz said in two decades of teaching he has never dealt with a class as disgraceful as his current Strategic Management course.

Naturally, the university promptly stabbed him in the back:

But the university’s vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Patrick Louchouarn, said that while administrators respect Horwitz, his failing grades won’t be upheld. “None of them have failed until the end of the class, meaning the only reason a student would fail is because he or she has not performed the expectations for that particular class,” Louchouran told KPRC. School officials say the department head will temporarily replace Horwitz as the course’s instructor until the end of the semester.

America in Wonderland: where everybody has won and all must have prizes.

 

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(At Least) Three Reasons Why Government Being in the Broadband Business is a Terrible Idea

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Seton Motley

Likely the least regulated private economic sector going into the Age of the Barack Obama Administration – at least at the federal level – was the Internet.  Which is largely why the Web has become an ever-evolving, free speech-free market Xanadu.

This Administration views this is a tremendous failing – that they are rushing to rectify.

Just after this last election, the President’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – at the interloping behest of the President his own self – imposed two huge Internet power grabs.

There has been much examination of the ridiculous Network Neutrality grab – where the Feds will now slam down onto the Net the ridiculous tax and regulatory superstructure that is 1930s landline telephone laws.

Let’s look at the other.

FCC Overturns State Laws Limiting Government Broadband

How’s that for federalism?  Where in the Constitution is the federal government empowered to do that?

Why are there twenty states with laws limiting their local governments from getting into the broadband business?

Reason 1: Government stinks at doing…well, just about everything.

Government couldn’t make money selling sex.  So it probably shouldn’t be in the business of trying to be a business.  ObamaCare, anyoneVeterans AdministrationPostal serviceTrains?

The federal government is over $18 trillion in debt.  It clearly stinks at doing…well, just about everything.

Twenty states watched local governments throughout the nation fail spectacularly over and over again at being Internet providers.  Often residents of entire states end up on the hook to bailout the failed local government attempts.  So these twenty decided to pass laws to limit the damage.

The only question is – what are the other thirty states thinking?

The Administration, of course, steamrolled the states showing eminently good sense.

Government getting into the Internet business is an egregiously bad idea in at least two other ways.

Reason 2: Government is the referee – and playing for the opposing team.

Far and away the biggest impediments to private Internet providers being Internet providers – are local governments.

Local governments and their public utilities charge (Internet Service Providers) ISPs far more (for building rights) than these things actually cost. For example, rights of way and pole attachments fees can double the cost of network construction….

These (government) incumbents – the real monopolists – also have the final say on whether an ISP can build a network. They determine what hoops an ISP must jump through to get approval.

This reduces the number of potential competitors who can profitably deploy service.… The lack of competition makes it easier for local governments and utilities to charge more for rights of way and pole attachments.

It’s a vicious circle…(A) system of forced kickbacks….(also) includ(ing) ISPs…building out service where it isn’t demanded, donating equipment, and delivering free broadband to government buildings.

Think about these local governments – which hold the fate of every private Internet provider in their greedy, giant hands – also competing with them as Internet providers.

Think the government shakedowns are bad now?  Think its hard to get the government to grant you permission to do business now?  Wait until the government is trying to sell what you’re trying to sell.

And government can ultimately do this:

The Postal Service (USPS) has a legal government monopoly on delivering first-class mail…. (Prospective competitors) are required by law to charge a high minimum price and cannot undercut USPS rates.

Reason 3: Government is taxing private providers – and using that money to fund competitors to these private providers.

Imagine if Office Depot could tax Office Max – and use that money to fund Office Depot.

Nearly every local government taxes Internet providers (I’d bet it’s every – I’m playing a safety).  Which means Internet providers that pays taxes to local governments that are in the Internet provider business – are funding competitors to their businesses.

All of this is a lot of things.  It certainly ain’t fair – and it certainly ain’t additionally competitive.

For these reasons – and many, MANY more – governments should as always rigorously adhere to the Yellow Pages Rule:

If you can find it in the Yellow Pages, the government shouldn’t be doing it.

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Conservatives, on Obamacare Repeal — You’ve Been Had

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Remember November 2014? Neither do I. You didn’t think they were serious about repealing Obamacare, did you?

Many House conservatives backed the budget last month and spared GOP leaders another showdown with their right flank for one big reason: They were under the impression the spending blueprint would help them — finally — get an Obamacare repeal to the president’s desk. Now they’re concerned that Speaker John Boehner and company have other plans.

Conservatives are adamant that reconciliation — the rarely used fast-track procedure that allows the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority rather than 60 votes — be used to pass a repeal of the health care law. They believed GOP leaders were on board.

But as House and Senate lawmakers have met to hash out a compromise budget over the past few weeks, conservatives noted that House Republican leaders have been talking about leaving their options open. An Obamacare repeal is a possibility, but so is a health care “fix” should the Supreme Court knock down some Obamacare tax credits in a case to be decided within a few months.

Yeah, bail the Democrats out of a massive hole of their own device, because that’s “getting things done for the American people.” Was there ever a man less up to the task than the current speaker of the House?

The ambiguity is causing consternation within the House Freedom Caucus, the few dozen conservatives who’ve repeatedly given Boehner grief over big-ticket items that have split the GOP. Some conservatives are pushing Republican leaders to clarify their intentions — with a public announcement, a provision in the budget or a private assurance.

“It’s imperative that [Obamacare repeal] be the focus for our reconciliation instructions,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) at a Heritage Foundation event last week, referring to the guidance the budget has to include in order to employ the procedure.

House Republicans have already voted more than 50 times to try to defund, alter or overturn the health care law that conservatives despise. The latest effort, if it happens, would no doubt fail, too — and there are some indications that GOP leaders are ready to move on. But getting a bill to President Barack Obama’s desk and forcing him to veto it would send a powerful symbolic message to the Republican base that House conservatives haven’t given up on scuttling the law.

To paraphrase Bismarck on the Balkans, the Republican Party isn’t worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. The sooner it’s scuttled, the better. Whether that happens from the inside or the outside doesn’t matter.

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You Need to Hear What Gov. Bobby Jindal Told Corporate America About Bullying People of Faith

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, appearing at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Spring Kickoff on Saturday, made it clear that he will not allow religious liberty bullies to run rampant in his state.

Referring to the recent events surrounding Indiana’s Religious Liberty Restoration Act, Jindal said corporate America teamed up with the radical left “to come after our religious liberty rights.” Jindal warned, “Corporate America needs to be careful because the same radical left that doesn’t want us to have religious liberty rights does not want us to have economic liberty rights. The same radical left that doesn’t want us to have religious liberty rights wants to tax and regulate these companies out of existence. They think profit is a dirty word.”

An impassioned Jindal acknowledged that activists and corporate interests were successful in bullying Indiana leaders, “But I’ve got news for them,” he said. “We’ve got legislation in Louisiana. We’ve already got a Religious Freedom Act. We’ve got legislation this session to protect people of faith and of conscience who hold the traditional view of marriage and they might as well save their breath because corporate America is not going to bully the governor of Louisiana when it comes to religious liberty.” The crowd at the conservative event erupted in applause.

“They need to understand there is no freedom of speech or freedom of association without religious liberty,” Jindal continued.” He said he believes it is possible to both have religious liberty and end discrimination but it’s important to understand that “religious liberty means being able to live our lives, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week according to our faith, according to our conscience, according to our beliefs.”

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Baltimore Police Say Bloods, Crips Agree to Put Turf Wars Aside to Target Cops

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Baltimore Police Department has warned that gangs in the city — and potentially across the country — have put aside their turf wars to kill cops in the wake of the in-custody death of a young man.

Freddie Gray, 25, died April 19, a week after his arrest, from a severed spinal cord. He reportedly fled on foot after making eye contact with officers who were patrolling the high-crime neighborhood, and was taken to a police van after being apprehended by officers. That part of the arrest was captured on video, but officials say no video was rolling inside the police wagon. An hour later, Gray was in a coma.

Gray’s memorial service was today, and unrest in Baltimore resulted in nearly three dozen arrests over the weekend. Six police officers were reportedly injured.

Photos began to surface on social media of Bloods and Crips united in protest, with red and blue bandanas mingling in the midst of other protesters.

Baltimore police said today that its Criminal Intelligence Unit “has received credible information that members of various gangs including the Black Guerrilla Family, Bloods, and Crips have entered into a partnership to ‘take out’ law enforcement officers.”

“This is a credible threat,” the release stressed in boldface. “Law enforcement agencies should take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of their officers. Notification will be sent via NLETS [National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System]. Further information will be sent through appropriate channels. Media is requested to distribute this information to the public and law enforcement nationwide.”

Gray’s family has appealed for calm. “My family wants to say, ‘Can y’all please, please stop the violence? Freddie Gray would not want this.’ Freddie’s father and mother do not want any violence. Violence does not get justice,” his twin sister, Fredericka Gray, said in a statement.

Fans weren’t allowed to leave the Orioles game at Camden Yards for a time on Saturday night until the street protests calmed down. In addition to the arrests, a convenience store was looted and police car windows were smashed.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) was at the protests instead of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He lived for many years in the neighborhood where Gray was arrested.

“I think the thing that upset so many people was the fact that he was a young man, we still don’t know exactly why he was arrested; we do know that he was hollering out for aid, he was not given aid after being arrested,” Cummings told CBS on Sunday.

“And we also know that he was not seat belted. And the next thing we knew, a week later, he was dead. And a lot of people are very, very frustrated as to trying to figure out what happened here and it’s very upsetting.”

Cummings said he was at the protests all day Saturday, “and it was very peaceful all day, thousands of people. And then at the end there were a few people who said, we are going to turn this city down, we’re going to close it down.”

“And the next thing you know we had few people, mainly from out of town, come and to start beating up on police cars, and throwing all kinds of projectiles. But the fact is that, for the most part, it was — it could have been worse,” the congressman added.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told people to go home. “I went on the air and asked people to go home and tell people to email and text their relatives that were down there. And a lot of them left,” Cummings said.

“We had the rain that came along, and that helped. But pretty much — and then we had lot of people in our community, and I got to give credit to the people of Baltimore, a lot of community leaders were in the crowd, saying, this is our house, we will protect our house and asking people not to be violent, because, like I said, it could have been worse.”

He called “this whole police community relations situation… the civil rights cause for this generation, no doubt about it.”

“This thing here, the cell phone with the camera, this has caused a whole new situation, where a lot of the police interaction with citizens is being recorded.”

Cummings said he’s satisfied that the Justice Department is investigating potential civil rights violations. “We’ve got to take this department apart and try to figure out what is wrong and what is right,” he said.

About 100 people marched in a pro-police rally in Annapolis on Sunday.

The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police canceled its monthly meeting scheduled for tonight. “This decision was not made lightly; however, in light of the current situation and the threat information received today, we felt it prudent to cancel.”

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Gay Businessmen Say They Made ‘Terrible Mistake’ Hosting Cruz Event

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A gay hotelier who hosted a dinner for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at his New York penthouse says he made a “terrible mistake” by not reviewing Cruz’s record first.

Ian Reisner co-owns the Out NYC hotel and co-hosted the event last week with his business partner, Mati Weiderpass, who is also gay.

“I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake,” Reisner said Sunday in a Facebook post. “I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights. I’ve spent the past 24 hours reviewing videos of Cruz’ statements on gay marriage and I am shocked and angry.”

“I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees,” Reisner continued. “I will try my best to make up for my poor judgement. Again, I am deeply sorry.”

Weiderpass followed a few hours later with his own Facebook post. “I share in Ian’s remorse. I, too, lay humbled with what has happened in the last week. I made a terrible mistake. Unfortunately, I cannot undo this. You taught me a painful but important lesson,” he wrote.

“The people that know me know the work that I have done over the last 20 years for the advancement of gay rights,” Weiderpass added. “Today, I came to realize that I might have nullified my past efforts and accomplishments in just one week. On the eve of this momentous legal occasion at the Supreme Court, I dedicate myself to work even harder to advance our cause that I share with the LGBT community; our community. Again, to all that I have hurt, please accept my sincerest apologies.”

Cruz introduced a constitutional amendment Thursday that says “each State, territory, and possession thereof shall have the power to define marriage as limited to the union of one man and one woman.”

“The union of a man and a woman has been the building block of society since the dawn of history, and the people in numerous states have repeatedly affirmed that truth in their laws,” Cruz said. “Nothing in the Constitution prohibits that.”

After Cruz’s event was reported by the New York Times, along with his statement that he would “love our daughters unconditionally” if one came out as gay, his presidential campaign issued a statement saying his attendance at the event “is what it means to truly be a ‘big tent Republican’ instead of a panderer.”

“The purpose of the meeting and the primary topics of conversation were national security, foreign policy, and America’s commitment to standing with Israel,” Cruz said. “On the subject of marriage, when asked, I stated directly and unambiguously what everyone in the room already knew, that I oppose gay marriage and I support traditional marriage.”

The Human Rights Campaign noted Cruz’s attendance at “a bizarre gay Manhattan reception,” but focused most of their anger on his amendment.

“By introducing this heinously anti-LGBT constitutional amendment, Ted Cruz has forced other presidential candidates to take a position,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC vice president for policy and political affairs. “Trying to garner support in a field of candidates from the far right, Cruz has no problem using LGBT equality as a wedge issue against fellow Republicans, even as the far majority of Americans strongly support marriage equality. While Cruz is clearly a radical anti-LGBT candidate, the question here is where do his fellow senators stand on these anti-LGBT bills…looking at you Senators Rubio and Paul.”

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Obama’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner Jokes in a Nutshell

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Did President Obama score a home run or hideously fall flat in his slate of White House Correspondents’ Dinner jokes Saturday night? You be the judge:

“Fact is, I feel more loose and relaxed than ever. Those Joe Biden shoulder massages, they’re like magic.”

“And my new attitude is paying off. Look at my Cuba policy. The Castro brothers are here tonight. Welcome to America, amigos. Que pasa? What? It’s the Castros from Texas? Oh. Hi, Joaquin. Hi, Julian.”

“Being president is never easy. I still have to fix a broken immigration system, issue veto threats, negotiate with Iran, all while finding time to pray five times a day.”

“I look so old, John Boehner’s already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.”

“Today, thanks to Obamacare, you no longer have to worry about losing your insurance, if you lose your job. You’re welcome, Senate Democrats.”

“Six years into my presidency, some people still say I’m arrogant and aloof, condescending. Some people are so dumb.”

“A few weeks ago, Dick Cheney says he thinks I’m the worst president of his lifetime, which is interesting because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime.”

“I’ve got to stay focused on my job, because for many Americans, this is still a time of deep uncertainty. For example, I have one friend, just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year and she’s now living out of a van in Iowa.”

“I tease Joe sometimes, but he’s been at my side for seven years. I love that man. He’s not just a great vice president, he’s a great friend. We’ve gotten so close in some places in Indiana, they won’t serve us pizza anymore.”

“ABC is here with some of the stars from their big new comedy Blackish. It’s a great show, but I have to give ABC fair warning. Being blackish only makes you popular for so long. Trust me. There’s a shelf life to that thing.”

“It turns out Jeb Bush identified himself as Hispanic back in 2009, which, you know what, I — look, I understand. It’s an innocent mistake. It reminds me of when I identified myself as American back in 1961.”

“Ted Cruz said that denying the existence of climate change made him like Galileo. Now that’s not really an apt comparison. Galileo believed the Earth revolves around the sun. Ted Cruz believes the Earth revolves around Ted Cruz. And just as an aside, I want to point out, when a guy who has his face on a Hope poster calls you self-centered, you know you’ve got a problem. The narcissism index is creeping up a little too high.”

“Soon, the first presidential contest will take place, and I for one cannot wait to see who the Koch brothers pick… I know I’ve raised a lot of money too, but in all fairness, my middle name is Hussein. What’s their excuse?”

“Hillary kicked things off by going completely unrecognized at a Chipotle. Not to be outdone, Martin O’Malley went completely unrecognized at a Martin O’Malley campaign event.”

For part of his routine, Obama brought up Key and Peele star Keegan-Michael Key, who plays “Luther the anger translator” on the Comedy Central show, to interpret his mellow words.

Such as: “Because despite our differences, we count on the press to shed light on the most important issues of the day,” Obama said. “And we can count on FOX News to terrify old white people with some nonsense!” Key “translated.”

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Ayatollah Jumps in on #BlackLivesMatter, Slams U.S. ‘Power with Cruelty’

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted about police brutality back during the Ferguson, Mo., protests, then hit on the U.S. for being racist on Columbus Day, and went on a tear again Sunday while speaking to police commanders:

 

 

 

 

Never mind the torture currently being suffered by U.S. hostages in Iran, who have been detained and held without due process not knowing the charges against them for sometimes months, not having access to attorneys and being convicted in quickie closed-door “trials.” Never mind the Basij militia that “police” the streets for the mullahs and unleash their fury on Iranian citizens, including the murder of Neda Agha-Soltan during 2009 election protests. Never mind an Iranian penal code that will publicly hang people for apostasy, blasphemy, consensual sex, drinking and more.

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Safe Spaces Without White People: Here’s Why Conservatives Should Defend Them

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

You may bristle at the notion that black people need spaces without white people in order to feel “safe.” Certainly, that claim has generated a fair amount of debate after an organization called the Racialized Students’ Collective turned away two white journalism students earlier this month from an event at Ryerson University in Toronto. However, the incident provides conservatives with a unique opportunity to demonstrate consistency on the freedom of association.

Many of the ongoing debates in the political discourse, from issues of religious freedom to claims of white privilege, hinge on the freedom of association. Onlookers may disagree with the rationale behind excluding whites from an event. Yet, in the final analysis, the rationale proves irrelevant. People properly may choose with whom to associate and on what terms, regardless of their rationale.

By acknowledging how the freedom of association applies in the Ryerson University case, conservatives gain leverage in arguments over other applications of that right, such as the recent debate over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. People may be offended by a Christian business turning away gay customers. People may be offended by black radicals turning away white journalism students. In either case, being offended creates no claim against those wielding their rights.

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CNN FAIL: Real News Must Wait While Most Powerful Man in the World Is Telling Jokes

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

Barack Obama, Cecily Strong, Michelle Obama

 

Here’s what CNN was reporting while angry mobs were rampaging in the streets of Baltimore Saturday night:

 

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Meanwhile, at least a dozen protesters were arrested in Baltimore as violence erputed and thousands took to the streets protesting the death of Freddie Gray, who died a week after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody earlier this month.

But the so-called Nerd Prom was calling and celebrity-obsessed CNN came running, sounding like a bunch of squealing teeny boppers reporting on a One Direction concert as they tweeted out “breaking news” about the event:

 

 

CNN correspondent Errol Louis admitted that the star-studded media schmooze-fest had taken priority over the actual news, advising viewers to head over to Twitter to search for a live feed if they wanted to know what was happening in Baltimore. “If people want to know…yes, twelve people were arrested…the Baltimore police have tweeted that. You can find that now. You can find the live feed if you actually wanna watch what’s going on — it sounds like complete chaos,” Louis said during CNN’s coverage of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. But he defended the network’s decision saying, “The most powerful man in the world is going to tell some jokes.”

 

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Journalism may be in its death throes at CNN, but at least it looks like Dana Bash, Wolf Blitzer, and senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta had a great time, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

 

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Brian Williams: Death by a Thousand Leaks

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Late last week, a slew of anonymous leaks, presumably from NBC news sources, plunged a few daggers into the decomposing carcass of former anchorman Brian Williams. The leaks were designed, says another source, to lessen Williams’ negotiating power as the network readies the ax to fire him.

Politico’s Mike Allen reports:

Longtime broadcast executives say a triple crown of leaks about Brian Williams late last week appear to be an effort by NBC News to shame him into resigning, to avoid the messiness and possible additional expense of the firing. The brutal leaks were designed to send the message to Brian Williams and his superlawyer, Robert Barnett: “You’re dead. Now negotiate.”

This is the effect of the leaks, if not the intention. NBC insiders say his return is still possible. Look for a resolution over the next several weeks.

Williams was reported to be under a contract of as much as $50 million (five years, at up to $10 million each). Speculation is that he’ll get $20 million to $30 million to leave. The $20 million camp says that he’s so weak, he’ll get less than 50 cents on the dollar. The $30 million camp says Brian has plenty of ways to embarrass the bosses and colleagues who threw him under the bus, and NBC should stop the bleeding/leaking. “He knows things, too,” a wise man pointed out.

–A FEW PROBLEMS with this theory: Some of the leaks are arguably inaccurate. The Williams camp believes that it can disprove them, and that only a small number of incidents will prove to be problematic. And even those are explainable.

THE LEAKS:

–WashPost’s Paul Farhi reported on the front of Friday’s Style section, “NBC’s D.C. news bureau opposed Brian Williams’s return as anchor” (online: … D.C. bureau strongly opposed … Williams’s return in February”)http://wapo.st/1QwlBdy

–NYT’s Ravi Somaiya reported above fold of Saturday’s Business front (with A1 tease), “NBC Inquiry Into Anchor Is Said to Get New Grist”: “[Discrepancies are evident in accounts given by Mr. Williams in February 2011 [about his reporting from Egypt’s Tahrir Square] … In an appearance that month with Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show,’ Mr. Williams described his reporting from the square. …

“Subsequent reports said that Mr. Williams was reporting ‘from a balcony overlooking Tahrir Square,’ rather than from inside the square itself … [E]mployees in the news division provided examples for the investigating team to look into, flagging instances in which they thought Mr. Williams had exaggerated.” http://nyti.ms/1z8EE8B

–Farhi reported online Saturday: “NBC News finds Brian Williams embellished at least 11 times.” http://wapo.st/1JHj4bo

“He knows things too” is an interesting threat. Remember the car NBC’s Dateline deliberately set on fire? How about the edited recording of George Zimmerman? And those are the lies we know about. Might Williams be sitting on some blockbuster stories NBC deliberately skewed or created?

That may be one reason Williams is likely to get a huge settlement despite his tall tales. NBC News is going to be absolutely sure that Williams keeps his mouth shut once he’s gone. In fact, there may be some kind of non-disclosure agreement attached to his lump sum payment.

The writing is on the wall for Williams. The leaks serve only to further soil his tattered reputation.

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Video: College Students Can’t Identify Reagan

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

Idiocracy was a pretty dumb movie, but it had its moments. The opening narration offers a cautionary tale for the future:

As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species.

The Wikipedia entry for the film describes the level to which humanity has sunk 500 years into the future:

The human population has become morbidly stupid, speak only low registers of English competently, and are profoundly anti-intellectual.

Why wait 500 years when you can go to the University of Maryland and show students a picture of Ronald Reagan, asking them to identify the photo?

President Ronald Reagan is one of the most famous Americans of the 20th century. Between his acting career and his eight years as president, you would think that his face would be instantly recognizable to anyone with even a basic knowledge of recent American history.

You would think.

As it turns out, a lot of college students at the University of Maryland had absolutely no clue who Reagan was when they were shown a picture of America’s 40th president.

A few historically-literate students recognized Reagan right away. But, the majority of those I showed the picture to were completely flummoxed or provided me with wild guesses. Some of those guesses included: John Wayne, Kenny Rogers, George Bush and some guy named Fred Moore. (I have no idea who Fred Moore is, but he sounds like a pretty cool dude.)

Some got close – including one young lady who asked if he was “…some kind of president.”

At a certain point, I decided that informing the students that they were totally ignorant of recent American history would just be too embarrassing. So, when they gave me a wrong answer, I just told them they were right and let them go about their day, having no idea that they know less about American history than a 4th grader who sits in the back of the classroom and eats paste.

 

Two or three times a year, a similar experiment is carried out at other campuses and we are shocked, shocked,  I say, that young people attending college can be so profoundly stupid.

Surveys going back to the 1950s show alarming numbers of college students being unaware of when the Civil War was fought, who Thomas Jefferson was, or what the Declaration of Independence is (many confuse it with the Constitution).

I will bet that some of those kids in the video who don’t have a clue who Reagan was are going to make a gazillion dollars inventing something that would never occur to you or me. They will be captains of industry, or tech moguls. They will be lawyers, doctors, or even engineers.

The point being, they are probably plenty smart in the field they have chosen to study. That’s why even though school has been dumbed down, these and other students retain knowledge that is essential to them, rather than information that we think should be essential. It makes them stupid voters and stupid citizens, but we’ve always had low-information voters and probably always will.

It’s sad, but most Americans care little for their past. And while this has allowed us to look to the future unencumbered by ghosts of past failures, it also blinds us to some realities that end up causing us to repeat historical mistakes.

 

 

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Hubble Telescope at 25: Revolutionizing Our View of the Universe

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

00.00It was 25 years ago this week that NASA was finally able to launch its most ambitious robot explorer: the Hubble Telescope. Delays caused by software glitches and the Challenger disaster had pushed the launch date back from 1986 to 1990.

The original price tag of $400 million eventually ballooned to $2.5 billion — a massive cost overrun even for NASA. The agency was betting that once the telescope experienced “First Light,” it would be seen as worth the investment.

It wasn’t.

The company in charge of manufacturing, shaping, and polishing the 2.5 meter mirror assembled a measuring device incorrectly, leading to an error in polishing of about 1.3 millimeters. There were several opportunities to catch the error before launch, but the company — PerkinElmer — failed to do so. When the telescope took its first photos a month later, scientists realized to their horror that the Hubble was nearsighted.

The project became the butt of jokes and Congress was outraged. But NASA came up with a fix for the mirror — complex “spectacles” that would clear up about 98% of the image problem. In December 1993, after training for two years for the complex and dangerous mission, legendary astronaut Story Musgrave and six others rendezvoused with Hubble in space and installed the correctives.

The result was awe-inspiring. Here are a few examples:

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The Horsehead Nebula is a dense cloud of gas and dust embedded in a much larger structure

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Taken with the Hubble Deep Field lens, this is a tiny portion of the sky showing thousands of galaxies billions of light years away.

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The Butterfly Nebula. What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

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DEM L 90: Resembling the puffs of smoke and sparks from a summer fireworks display, these delicate filaments are actually sheets of debris from a stellar explosion in a neighboring galaxy.

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Mystic Mountain: A stellar nursery with thousands of new suns forming.

* * * * * * * * *

The telescope doesn’t only take pictures in visible light. It  is also capable of looking at distant objects in the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum, giving scientists an incredible look at the inner workings of the universe.

There is no doubt that the Hubble has performed spectacularly. But has it been worth it?

The Hubble has revolutionized our view of the universe. 

“Even the most optimistic person to whom you could have spoken back in 1990 couldn’t have predicted the degree to which Hubble would rewrite our astrophysics and planetary science textbooks,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said at the image-unveiling event. “A quarter-century later, Hubble has fundamentally changed our understanding of our universe, and our place in it.”

At its current pace, the Hubble telescope produces 10TB of new data per year — enough to fill the entire collection of the Library of Congress, Bolden said. At that same event, Kathy Flanagan, interim director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which operates Hubble’s science program, said scientists using data from the telescope have produced “nearly 13,000″ science papers.

This week, NASA hosted a Hubble symposium to discuss major science results from the telescope. The space agency also has hosted Hubble-themed events for the press and the general public, as well as a Friday night (April 24) gala to honor many of the people who made Hubble what it is today. Few, if any other, NASA projects have garnered such an ovation.

If you make the argument that $2.5 billion spent on a science project is too much, it would be hard to argue against the point. But can you put a price tag on the human need to explore and understand our universe?  The money was spent over a decade, meaning that it cost about a dollar a year per American to build the telescope. Given the huge return on this investment, this is a small price to pay to immeasurably add to the storehouse of human knowledge.

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Bush?

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Dan Balz of the Washington Post poses the question:

 Jeb Bush jolted his prospective rivals for the Republican presidential nomination last winter when he dived with unexpected aggressiveness into the 2016 campaign. Few of them seem to be quaking now. The former Florida governor is still the biggest name in the GOP field, with a fundraising network unmatched by any of the others. But Bush’s considerable assets so far have done little to reshape the early polls or keep others out of the race. If anything, it’s the opposite.

Bush acknowledged all this when he was in New Hampshire a week ago. Noting his strong establishment support, one voter, concerned about whether he was a true conservative, said she and others don’t want to see a coronation for the GOP nomination in the way Democrats seem to be moving to anoint Hillary Rodham Clinton as their nominee.

An incredulous Bush responded with laughter. “I don’t see any coronation coming my way, trust me,” he said. “Come on. What do you see that I’m not seeing? We’ve got 95 people possibly running for president. I’m really intimidating a whole bunch of folks, aren’t I?”

Nope, you’re not, Jeb. America’s “love affair” with the Bush family is over, if it ever really started. So pack up your things and go home.

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The Left Won’t Be Happy Until All the Christians Are in Ghettos

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

From the Washington Times:

A crowdfunding campaign that had raised more than $109,000 for the Christian-owned bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon was removed Saturday after complaints from gay-rights advocates.

The website GoFundMe said in a statement Saturday that it took down the page because the campaign violated the policy against raising money “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”

On Friday the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries fined the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa $135,000 for violating the state’s anti-discrimination law. In 2013, Aaron and Melissa Klein declined to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding.

These totalitarians are not satisfied with publicly shaming their enemies or forcing conscientious objectors out of business — or with the crippling fines that private business owners have no way of paying. It’s not even enough that the Christian faith has been criminalized in Oregon. Instead, drunk with power, the jackbooted fascists roam the streets, celebrating their conquests as they search for new victims and invent new ways to take them out. Everyone who refuses to sing from the erotic liberty choirbook must be purged from public life and forcibly relocated to the margins of society because the radical left can’t even tolerate breathing the same air as those with whom they disagree.

UPDATE: A reader pointed out that Samaritan’s Purse is now collecting donations to help the Kleins pay their fines and and meet other expenses. Click here to contribute.

 

 

 

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Tsarnaev Family Flown to U.S., Housed in Boston at Taxpayer Expense

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

The family of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been flown to the U.S. from their home in Chechnya, are being housed at a Hampton Inn outside of Boston, and are being guarded 24 hours a day by at least three federal agencies.

The taxpayer-funded junket to the U.S. for the family of a Muslim terrorist is costing well over $100,000, according to a former U.S. attorney.

Survivors and their families are outraged:

“I think you’re probably talking about $100,000 plus in that neighborhood in terms of security and out of pocket costs associated with travel,” former US attorney Michael Sullivan said.

And that’s just for this trip.

Lawyer fees or even what all witnesses during the trial cost is still unclear. One defense witness, Mark Spencer of Arsenal Consulting, charged $375 per hour and billing taxpayers for $150,000.

Governor Charlie Baker said, “It’s a federal trial, it’s a federal case, the feds ultimately need to make the decisions about this.”

Baker was non-committal about how resources are being used, even state ones.

Sullivan told Sacchetti that while he understands taxpayer outrage, the whole point is to make sure it’s done right.

“The court wants to make sure that at the end of the day, the defendant gets a fair trial and would not want to add any potential issues on appeal in the penalty phase, prosecutors finished making their case yesterday,” he said.

Marathon survivor Marc Fucarile reached out to us Friday night, reacting to this news, saying that he’s outraged that Tsarnaev’s family’s expenses are being paid for when “myself and some of the other survivors and our families have to pay for our own parking at court, lunch, and we were told that if the trial was moved out of state, we’d have to pay for our own travel and lodging, there.”

The statement went on to say: “Why should our country pay for them when that family committed a violent act against our country? Not to mention, all of the free government services this family previously enjoyed on the backs of the taxpayers including government assistance and a free ride to UMass Dartmouth. In contrast, I was denied housing assistance I sought after the bombings, even though I needed a handicapped accessible apartment, and my wife lost her job as a result of the events.”

He ended by saying he feels badly for the taxpayers that have to pay for this after they were so generous to all the survivors and the One Fund.

Once this news got out, it wasn’t only the victims and their families who were upset. The Hampton Inn where the Tsarnev family is staying is being hit with complaints and cancellations.

Hosting the relatives of convicted terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is proving to be very bad for business, the manager of the Hampton Inn in Revere is finding out as complaints and cancellations pour in.

When asked how many people had called to drop their reservations since news broke that six of Tsarnaev’s relatives are staying at the Route 1A hotel while they wait to testify in his blockbuster death penalty trial, general manager Cathy Cucchiello simply said, “Enough.”

A half-dozen TV news satellite trucks lined the sidewalk outside the hotel and reporters and cameramen were bunched in a group near the exit, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Tsarnaev clan. The Boston Marathon bomber’s family members were whisked to the hotel in vans Thursday from nearby Logan International Airport.

Cucchiello banned the media from the hotel and its grounds and repeatedly asked the press to stay off the grass and on the sidewalk.

Your tax dollars are paying for the trip to the U.S. for Tsarnev’s mother’s–a woman who has constantly threatened the U.S. with Islamic-backed violence:

The outraged mother of the terrorist Tsarnaev brothers charged the Boston Marathon jury got the verdict wrong — and the U.S. will suffer for its mistake.

“They will pay for my sons and the sons of Islam, permanently!!!” threatened Zubeidat Tsarnaeva in a bitter rant sent to the media/technology website Vocativ.

“The tears of their mothers will be fuel for them in hell,” continued the lengthy missive penned after Wednesday’s conviction of her younger son, 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The excuse given by prosecutors is that they don’t want to give the defense an opening in any likely appeal. Defendants with family overseas have gotten by fine in previous trials without the government flying them to the U.S. It’s silly to think an appeals judge would overturn a murder conviction because some killer’s mommy wasn’t there to testify for him.

Whatever happens to Tsarnaev, his entire family should be billed for this little excursion. There’s no good reason why taxpayers should be asked to countenance a trip to the U.S. by these anti-American, pro-terrorist people.

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‘Covered California,’ Obamacare Boondoggle, About to Go Belly Up

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

This is where the reality rubber meets the “progressive” fantasy road:

After two previous extensions, the open enrollment period for Covered California ends April 30. That deadline just might prove to be the tipping point for the state’s two-year-old health insurance exchange. That’s because this is the year Covered California is supposed to become completely self-sustaining.

Indeed, there’s no more money coming from Washington after the state exhausts the $1.1 billion it received from the federal government to get the Obamacare exchange up and running. And state law prohibits Sacramento from spending any money to keep the exchange afloat.

That presents an existential crisis for Covered California, which is facing a nearly $80 budget deficit for its 2015-16 fiscal year. Although the exchange is setting aside $200 million to cover its near-term deficit, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee acknowledged in December that there are questions about the “long-term sustainability of the organization.”

Covered California’s enrollment growth for 2015 was a mere 1 percent, according to a study this month by Avalere Health. That was worst than all but two other state exchanges. Meanwhile, California’s Obamacare exchange managed to retain only 65 percent of previous enrollees, the nation’s fourth-lowest re-enrollment rate.

No kidding! But in the Leftist mindset, an “entitlement” is still an entitlement, even if there’s no money to pay for it. Because entitlements are forever, even if California is not.

 

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MSNBC Guest: ‘You Don’t Have to Have a White Person Around to Have White Supremacy Play Out’

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

What makes the academic study of “white supremacy” and “white privilege” so perfect for racialists is that it requires absolutely no parameters of study. There are no standards of proof. There is no way any claims can be vetted in peer-reviewed journals because the “evidence” can be explained by other factors. Anything and everything can be pointed to as being a result of white supremacy or white privilege because of one’s personal worldview — looking at the entire world through a prism of race.

And apparently, you don’t even need a white person around for white supremacy to rear its ugly head.

On Melissa Harris-Perry’s MSNBC show, Cherrell Brown, identified as a “community organizer,” was referencing the tragedy in Baltimore where a young black man died in transport on the way to the police precinct. When it was pointed out that Baltimore’s entire power structure is black — the mayor, the chief of police, etc. — Ms. Brown proceeded to spew inane nonsense about white supremacy that shocks a rational mind.

HARRIS-PERRY: “It feels to me like part of what’s happening here is — when I say biking while black, we talked about walking while black, in the case in the Freddie gray watching the video and seeing and hearing his agony I keep wondering is there no benefit of a doubt given to a black person in public space. If that is true, if riding an expensive bike in black body inherently generates suspicion then that is the new Jim crow. That’s what Jim crow was is that black bodies in public space are inherently suspicion.”
BROWN: “Yes. I want to mention two things — I think it’s so ingrained that you don’t have to have a white person around to have white supremacy play out.”
HARRIS-PERRY: “Just pause for a second. What you just said there is going to be difficult for some folks to hear because the discourse of white supremacy can often mean academic discourse. But for ordinary people sitting at home may say did she call all white people racist. So tease that out a little bit.”
BROWN: “I will do my best.”
HARRIS-PERRY: “I recognize that it’s hard on a TV show.”
BROWN: “With an institution like American policing that I believe is founded on anti-blackness, on slave patrols there are things so institutionally ingrained in terms of how we police communities that are anti-black. They may not say in the language that they’ll stop and target black people but when you do this type of proactive policing much akined to stop and risk this effects black and brown and poor communities. This would be almost comical this story in Tampa if it wasn’t so scary. You have 11 year olds, boys as young as 11 being stopped on their bikes in Tampa. This is introducing children to the criminal justice system at an early age.”


(Video courtesy of Grabien)

I really should watch MSNBC more often. It’s very educational. Did you know that “American policing is founded on…slave patrols”?  Who’d have guessed it? Sounds like a fit subject for a paper in my White Privilege class. No doubt the prof will give me an “A.”

In addition to desperately casting about for a scapegoat in the Freddy Gray tragedy because there is no “white power structure” in Baltimore, Brown has to totally invent an invisible racist to blame. It’s perfectly in keeping with the academic notion that all white people subconsciously throw around white privilege and practice white supremacy without even knowing it. We can’t help it — we are inherently anti-black — and we should thank the racialists for pointing out the error of our ways.

Note also Harris-Perry moving the goalposts on Jim Crow. “If riding an expensive bike in black body inherently generates suspicion then that is the new Jim Crow” matches no description of Jim Crow of which I am aware. She just totally made it up out of thin air in order to make the point that things are as bad today for blacks as they were in the 1950s. Jim Crow gone? No problem. We’ll resurrect it in a completely different context and change the definition.

I don’t know that if I were a black man, I wouldn’t view my entire existence through the lens of race, where every glance, every act by a stranger is seen as hate. And certainly not all blacks have this problem.

But racialists like Harris-Perry know better. They give aid, comfort, and rationalization to the victimhood cult in the black community that does more to hold back the social and educational progress of blacks than all the real racists in the U.S. combined.

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O’Malley Pummels Hillary!’s Glass Jaw, Gets Noticed on the Left

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

She’s turning into a punching bag:

At the dawn of her presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton finds herself outflanked on the left by a former Maryland governor with little national reputation but many of the populist political talents she lacks.

Martin O’Malley is using Clinton’s closely watched and long-anticipated 2016 launch to raise his profile ahead of his own likely entry into the race next month. He has seized on specific economic and social policy issues, including same-sex marriage and an international trade deal, in a bid to raise questions about Clinton’s liberal bona fides.

The attacks — some more thinly veiled than others — have forced Clinton to explain herself on a number of difficult topics, which was not part of her plan for a gradual roll-out with an emphasis on middle-class economic issues. It is a remarkable feat for an undeclared candidate who still lingers at the bottom of polls in a thin Democratic field.

It’s deja vu all over again! Some nobody named Obama came out of left field last time and beat her to a pulp. This time, it’s a white guy named O’Malley. And Clinton’ll have just as little game against him as she did the last time against Barry.

For Clinton — whose lack of significant opposition is off-putting to many progressives — O’Malley can be a useful foil, and her campaign is mindful not to be too heavyhanded with him. But if he continues to confront her, aides and advisers say, Clinton could be forced into open conflict with her party’s left flank far earlier in the race than she had hoped.

Sure, O’Malley’s nowhere in the polls at the moment. But then, so was the Emperor Hussein once upon a time.

Clinton holds a lead over any potential primary challenger that is unprecedented in the modern political era. But her advisers know she is most exposed for the moment on her left, and, after her 2008 loss to upstart Obama, they say she is leaving little to chance.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whose broadsides against Wall Street gluttony have made her the darling of progressives, has said she is not running. She has so far declined to endorse Clinton, saying she wants to know what Clinton will run on. And Clinton appears to be courting the Warren faction by running to the left on a number of issues. O’Malley’s hard charge is an effort to give those same activists an alternative.

Tick-tock, tick-tock…

 

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Got Hate? Tanya Cohen’s Back and Wants to ‘Put an End to Anti-Choice Speech’

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Tanya Cohen. You remember her, don’t you? (Turns out she’s Australian.) Well, everybody’s favorite speech-banning, intolerant fascist now wants to move beyond banning “hate speech” (roughly defined as anything she or her fellow “progressives” don’t like) to banning “anti-choice” speech, because real freedom of speech consists of no freedom of speech, or something like that:

Before moving to the United States to work with human rights organisations there (because, let’s face it: the US needs human rights activism far more than Australia does), I worked for many of the most prominent human rights and civil liberties groups in Australia… and, in one particularly memorable case, the Human Rights Law Centre campaigned successfully to have anti-abortion protests banned in Australia.

This brings up a question worth asking: should Australia go beyond banning anti-abortion protests and ban all anti-abortion speech? First off, let’s consider the nature of freedom of speech. Not only do people have freedom of speech, but people also have freedom from certain kinds of speech (for example, racism). Freedom of speech is not absolute, and nobody believes that it is. We all learned in school that freedom of speech does not protect hate speech, and this is not something that’s even up for debate. Even the most hardcore and dedicated ultra-libertarians and free speech fundamentalists still universally agree that things like racial vilification, incitement to hatred, and Holocaust denial should be subject to legal sanctions. Nobody believes that racial vilification should be legal, or that it should be legal to deny the Holocaust. Freedom of speech does have limits, and freedom of speech does not – under any circumstances – permit expressions of hatred.

“Freedom from speech” — there’s the “progressive” mindset in the tiny nutshell into which the average progressive brain like Tanya’s fits snugly.

If freedom of speech does not protect racism – which everyone agrees that it doesn’t – then why should freedom of speech protect anyone trying to argue against a woman’s human right to make decisions about her own body? Freedom of speech should never be a license to oppose human rights, to spread lies and ignorance, or to argue against the common good. To quote the prominent theology professor Neil Ormerod: “Free speech for racist bigots, free speech for climate denialists. Where will it end? Free speech for the tobacco industry to deny smoking causes cancer? There is a value in free speech to promote reasoned discussion and deliberation. And then there is obdurate and at times willful ignorance…”

There are certain things that, in a free and democratic society, are simply not up for debate. Racial equality is one of those things, hence why we crack down hard on anyone attempting to spread racial hatred. Vaccines are another one of those things, hence why we’re now passing laws to ban anyone from spreading anti-vaccine lies. A woman’s uterus is also not up for debate. By opposing a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, one is essentially saying that women are not equal to men and thus do not have human rights. How is this any different than racism? Why is this something that should be legally permissible?

Read the whole thing, if you have the stomach for it. Many thought Cohen’s first piece was simply a parody of Leftist hate-babble, but it seems that she really does exist. Sure, it’s easy to dismiss her as a garden-variety kook, an intolerant radical scribbling on an obscure, amateurish web site. But no idea — no idea — is too stupid for the Left to entertain, and what seems crazy today bears the force of law tomorrow. Or haven’t you noticed?

I speak for all Australians when I say that, in Australia, it is just common sense that freedom of speech doesn’t give anyone the right to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, vilify, incite hatred or violence, be impolite or uncivil, disrespect, oppose human rights, spread lies or misinformation, argue against the common good, or promote ideas which have no place in society.

If that’s true, then I certainly never want to visit Australia. And Ms. Cohen is one Australian import we don’t need.

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Oregon Board Recommends Bakers Pay $135,000 For Not Baking Gay Wedding Cake

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

What’s the cost of refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding celebration? An Oregon commission wants to slap a very uncivil $135,000 fine on the owners of a bakery that refused to supply a cake to a gay wedding reception because of their religious beliefs. The fine would be for “emotional damages” suffered by the gay couple denied service.

Washington Times:

Aaron and Melissa Klein, who are struggling to make ends meet after closing Sweet Cakes by Melissa in September 2013, received the 110-page proposed order Friday from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which ruled against the couple in February.

Mr. Klein said Friday the figure was “shocking” but not entirely unexpected. The commission has the authority to mete out awards for damages of up to $150,000.

“It’s very discouraging. This is not money coming from a business, this is not money coming from an insurance fund, this is money coming straight from our bank account,” Mr. Klein told the Family Research Council’s Craig James in a radio interview Friday.

“This is money that should be used to pay my mortgage, money that should be used to feed our kids, not something that should be given to others,” Mr. Klein said. “This is a decision I made because of my faith, and now the government is now saying it doesn’t matter, your kids can suffer for it as well.”

He noted that the monetary ruling is for emotional damages suffered by the same-sex couple, who filed a complaint against the Gresham bakery with the state in 2013.

“You have unsubstantiated emotional damages — that’s what this came down to,” Mr. Klein said. “There was never any physical or financial harm done to the plaintiffs. This was specifically to emotional damages. It takes a lot to explain where $135,000 comes from.”

In a press release, the bureau said that an administrative law judge had awarded $60,000 in damages to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for “emotional suffering stemming directly from unlawful discrimination.”

“The amounts are damages related to the harm suffered by the Complainants, not fines or civil penalties which are punitive in nature,” said the release, adding that the proposed fines are “less than what was sought by administrative prosecutors,” who had sought the full $150,000.

“Emotional Damages”? Judging by the amount, both women must be unable to get out of bed in the morning and have developed a pathological fear of cupcakes.

Gay activists are thrilled, of course. People who don’t believe as they do must be punished severely — financially ruined and pauperized. The evil Christians are only getting what they deserve and the fine sends a strong message to others who disagree with gays to sit down, shut up, and do as they’re told, regardless of their personal religious beliefs.

Leaders of Basic Rights Oregon, a gay-rights advocacy group, applauded the proposed order, saying it sends a message that religious beliefs cannot be used to justify discrimination against same-sex couples.

“This case struck a chord with many Oregonians because allowing businesses to deny goods and services to people because of who they are and whom they love is hurtful and wrong,” said Jeana Frazzini, Basic Rights Oregon’s co-director, in a statement.

The couple who owned the closed bakery regularly served gay customers — that is, they baked birthday cakes, graduation cakes, and other treats for gays — so it’s impossible for anyone to argue they refused to bake a cake out of hate. The award for “emotional damages” is beyond punitive — it is reckless and not based on any facts that would require the impoverishment of the defendants.

Gay activists should be proud of themselves. They are celebrating the reduction of a pious couple to penury over a political disagreement. No doubt, the suggestion for re-education camps to force us all to become “tolerant” is just around the corner.

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NBC Preparing to Hit the Beach v. Brian Williams

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

More trouble for the embattled, soon-to-be-totally-former face of NBC News. Brian Williams survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Chosin Reservoir, but he may finally have met his Waterloo:

An NBC News internal investigation into Brian Williams has examined a half-dozen instances in which he is thought to have fabricated, misrepresented or embellished his accounts, two people with inside knowledge of the investigation said. The investigation includes at least one episode that was previously unreported, these people said, involving statements by Mr. Williams about events from Tahrir Square in Cairo during the Arab Spring.

The investigation, conducted by at least five NBC journalists, was commissioned early this year after Mr. Williams was forced to apologize for embellishing an account of a helicopter episode in Iraq in 2003. He was subsequently suspended for six months from his anchor position on the “NBC Nightly News.” The inquiry is being led by Richard Esposito, the senior executive producer for investigations, for the news division.

The review of Mr. Williams’s reporting is not finished and no final conclusions have been reached. When completed, it is expected to form the basis for a decision on whether to bring him back. It is not clear when that decision will be made.

No one on the Right should get smirky about this. Williams did what his employers paid him to do: be a handsome talking head. It was when he went off-message, and exposed the lie that anchor men are supposed to be Men of Action, that he broke his compact with the suits and the viewers, and stood exposed claiming to be what he was not.

Mr. Williams fell from beloved news anchor to a cautionary tale in a matter of days in February, after the military newspaper Stars and Stripes raised questions about his account of an incident in the early days of the most recent Iraq war. He had been on a helicopter, he said on his own show and on “Late Show With David Letterman,” which had been shot down by rocket-propelled grenade fire. The soldiers aboard the helicopter disagreed. In the subsequent days and weeks, additional accusations emerged that he had embellished his reports.

Network news is dying anyway, but as it fades, how would it hurt to have a real reporter with news judgment as “managing editor” of a 20-minute newscast five nights a week? How hard could that possibly be?

 

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How Do the Clinton Scandals End? With the End of the Clintons

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Ed Rogers asks, I answer:

In a compelling read, The Post’s Chris Cillizza just declared that Hillary Clinton “had the worst week in Washington.” Fortunately for Clinton, we all know that things in Washington can turn on a dime. Bad news recedes from the headlines, momentum shifts and today’s scandals and gaffes fade into distant memories. But given the long list of unanswered questions about the multitude of Clinton scandals, how will they come to an end? How can Clinton put a period at the end of the sentence and move on? It’s actually hard to see how that will be possible, simply because there is not one source of trouble. There are questions about her e-mails, Clinton Foundation donations, tax records, foreign influence — and that’s just this month. And given what we know about the Clintons, there is more to come and more shoes that will be dropping. Plus, all the new problems prompt fresh looks at all the old problems. Anyway, every week I have to tell someone that in Washington being innocent is only an advantage. Likewise, being guilty is only a disadvantage. Neither is determinative. But it’s safe to say Clinton is operating at a distinct disadvantage.

For decades the Clintons have relied on scandal fatigue, the protectiveness of the media and the sheer number of malfeasances this pair has subjected the nation to. Things that would humiliate decent people roll right off their back; they literally do not care what you think of them as long as you vote for them. They are literally shameless.

So what are Team Clinton’s options on how to manage the campaign politics? Some problems are solved and others are managed. The scandals currently in the public view won’t be solved, so the Clinton brain trust will have to find a way to manage them. Doesn’t the constant drip, drip, drip of damaging revelations deflate her supporters? Maybe the Clinton managers’ hope is that voters will just become numb to all of the questionable dealings that swirl around her universe. But I don’t see how Clinton’s supporters can be both numb and enthusiastic at the same time. Enthusiasm drives turnout. Numbness has got to suppress it. The way I see it, Clinton has three realistic strategies to manage the reality of her circumstances.

There follows Rogers’ suggestions, which you can read at the link. The third — a complete scorched-earth policy against their enemies — is the most likely to occur to Bubba and Lady Macbeth.

A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that Clinton is viewed as untrustworthy by 54 percent of the population, which makes her strategy simple. She will just need to make sure her opponent — whoever it is — is viewed as untrustworthy by 60 percent of the electorate. So the Clinton campaign has to start now by attacking the Republican brand. They will need to load the kitchen sink and get ready to launch it at their Republican opponent as soon as that person emerges. This means the 2016 campaign will get down in the gutter faster than in most previous campaigns.

I don’t think it will work this time. More important, I don’t think the Democrats are willing to go down with the Clintons should it fail.  I think they’re as heartily sick of these self-aggrandizing grifters as the electorate is. And I think that, just as they left Hillary! at the altar when they eloped with Obama in 2008, they’re going to kick her to the curb and pledge their troth to Granny Warren.

 

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Eric Holder Says Farewell, Predicts This DOJ Era Will Go Down as ‘Golden Age’

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Attorney General Eric Holder said farewell to the Justice Department today, predicting to staffers that as Robert F. Kennedy’s era was viewed as a “golden age” for the DOJ “50 years from now, and maybe even sooner than that, people are gonna look back at the work that you all did and say that this was another golden age.”

“I think we can officially say now that Eric Holder is free,” Holder quipped in reference to the long period between Loretta Lynch’s nomination and confirmation Thursday as the next attorney general.

“But it is not necessarily something that I want; I don’t ever want to be free of — of this great institution. I don’t want to ever be free of the relationships that I have forged with — with so many of you. I don’t want to ever be free of the notion that I am a member of the United States Department of Justice.”

Holder talked about several issues he considers to be the greatest accomplishments of the DOJ under his tenure, including civil rights.

“The LGBT community is something that I have tried to focus on. I think that is the civil rights issue of our time,” he said. “This whole question of same-sex marriage which will be resolved by the court over the next I guess couple of months or so, hopefully that decision will go in a way that I think is consistent with who we say we are as a people.”

“But I also think that that is really just a sign, it’s an indication, it’s one part of the fight for overall LGBT equality. And I think the work that you all have done in that regard is gonna be an integral part of the legacy of this — of this department.”

Holder said “the thing that I think in some ways animates me, angers me, is this whole notion about protecting the right to vote.”

“We celebrated this year the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act. We went — I went to Selma to commemorate Bloody Sunday. John Lewis was here earlier,” he said. “This nation fought a civil war, endured slavery by another name, dealt with legalized segregation. A civil rights movement in the mid- , early-, mid- and early-’60s transformed this nation.”

“And the notion that we would somehow go back and put in place things that make it difficult — more difficult for our fellow citizens to vote is simply inconsistent with all that’s good about this country, and something that I was bound and determined to fight,” Holder continued. “And our Civil Rights Division has done a superb job in crafting lawsuits based on a Voting Rights Act that was wrongfully gutted by the Supreme Court. And I suspect that we will see successes from those efforts that have — those cases that have been filed.”

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Kerry New Chairman of Arctic Council, Warns of ‘New Kind of Desert’

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Assuming his chairmanship of the Arctic Council at the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut Iqalit, Canada, today, Secretary of State John Kerry warned of economic development turning parts of the Arctic into a desert.

In addition to the U.S. and Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden sit on the Arctic Council, established in 1996. The chairmanship rotates every two years.

“We’re very well aware that the retreat of sea ice in the region brings with it a lot of opportunities, though not everybody sees them in the same context as opportunities,” Kerry said as he acquired the gavel today. “Shipping lanes are already beginning to open, providing jobs and new possibilities for commercial enterprise. But like many of you have stated here, it’s imperative that the development that we pursue is sensitive to the lifestyle and the history that people want to hold onto and also that it’s sustainable, that it doesn’t exacerbate other challenges in the Arctic and around the world, and that we also look way downstream to make sure that when something is extracted and people are finished, they’re not leaving a place as a new kind of desert even in the Arctic.”

“And I think you know what I mean,” he added.

“We believe the private sector has a huge role to play in ensuring that we find the right balance, and we have an enormous role to play with the private sector in making sure that they adopt that role and live it out.”

Naturally, Kerry is placing a heavy focus on climate change in his new role.

“I am particularly pleased by the work that’s gone into the Framework for Action on the Enhanced Black Carbon and Methane Emissions. I’ll discuss this a little bit more in our – as we assume the chair. But I think everybody here has talked about the profound impact that climate change is having on this region,” Kerry said. “The framework we’ve worked together to develop expresses our shared commitment to significantly reduce black carbon and methane emissions, which are two of the most potent greenhouse gasses, and it sets the stage to adopt an ambitious collective goal on black carbon by the next ministerial meeting in 2017. So I very much look forward to implementing this framework over the course of the U.S. chairmanship.”

He added that he’s “grateful for the council’s continued work on longstanding Arctic priorities, including enhancing our preparedness for oil spills and similar disasters.”

“But as we all know, preparing for an oil spill is not enough; preventing an oil spill from occurring in the first place is the first step in any kind of stewardship of the Arctic. And the cooperation that we will pursue through the Arctic Council and other bodies such as the Arctic Offshore Regulators Forum are real steps in the right direction.”

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Hillary Clinton’s Marketing People Display an Epic Abandonment of Self-Awareness

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Umm….
stick

This was apparently part of a fundraising email gif. Had it been released on social media first I would have said it was brilliant trolling. Like all things Hillary, however, it’s merely unfortunate.

By the way, this same gif had a pic of a Hillary sticker on a cat.

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ISIS Executioners Hug Two Gay Men, Then Stone Them to Death

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

A lurid account in The Daily Mail about how Islamic State handles their “gay problem.”

Depraved militants fighting for the Islamic State in Syria have brutally stoned two gay men to death only seconds after they were photographed embracing and ‘forgiving’ them.

The shocking images were taken in ISIS-held territory in the province of Homs and show the two accused men being savagely executed by up to four jihadis.

Huge, bloodthirsty crowds are seen in the desert clearing where the group of executioners made a display of hugging the blindfolded couple and telling them they were forgiven of their ‘sins’, before pummeling them to death with hundreds of fist-sized rocks.

How touching.

000

000.1

Incredibly, ISIS supporters are saying that the hugs show how “compassionate” the fanatics are.

Wearing traditional Arab clothing, the bloodthirsty audience stand in a semi-circle only feet away from the spot where the men will be barbarically murdered.

A number of motorbikes are seen in the background, suggesting that’s how many of the onlookers arrived at the execution site.
The final image shows the two victims’ battered bodies on the ground as a group of at least four ISIS executioners stand over them, raining down rocks.

000.000

 

Just when you think Islamic State can’t top their last outrage, they find a way to do so.

 

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ACLU Sues to Force Catholic Charities to Provide Abortions to Illegal Alien Minors

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

I can’t think of anything that the ACLU has done in its long history that’s quite this outrageous.

Apparently, the ACLU is upset that the Catholic charities taking care of the nearly 60,000 illegal immigrant children who crossed the border last year without an adult refuse to supply contraceptives or abort their babies. Under the auspices of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which signed a contract with the federal government to take care of the children, the charities were tasked with supplying health care services to the illegals.

The ACLU claims that by not giving out contraceptives or performing abortions, the charities are in breach of contract for not giving “reproductive care” to the minors, and they want the federal government to force the Catholic charities to provide those services.

Washington Times:

The suit has sparked outrage among religious, anti-abortion, and civil rights groups who argue the ACLU is more concerned with bullying the Catholic church than helping vulnerable immigrants.

“Lawsuits like the one the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) just filed demanding all of the records on a faith-based provider of care and services to vulnerable children are destructive and divisive,” said Brian Walsh, president of the Civil Rights Research Center in a statement. “When it comes to religious freedom, some organizations that have had a laudable history of defending Americans’ religious civil rights and liberties are looking less and less like their former selves.”

Legal experts say that despite the contract agreement, federal law protects USCCB’s religious rights and say ACLU’s case aims to strip religion from the public sphere.

“The larger issue — religious liberty — is the constitutional issue of our time,” said Jerad Najvar, founder of Najvar law firm in Houston, Texas. “We are coming to a tipping point in this country. Right now it’s an attempt to sanitize religious principles from religious charities and schools that receive government assistance. Next it will be denying religious freedom to even privately-funded charities that are open to the public. It’s time for Catholics to recognize the trajectory here, and stand up before it’s too late.”

But Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney at ACLU told The Times that group is concerned that by accepting federal money to care for immigrants and then denying them reproductive healthcare the USCCB may be in violation of the Constitutional separation of Church and state.

According to Ms. Amiri the government’s contract with USCCB requires the group to abide by a number of federal laws including a settlement agreement that requires children in the government’s custody to receive access to routine medical services, including family planning services.

ACLU has received complaints that USCCB has been denying reproductive healthcare services, such as abortions, for female immigrants, many of whom suffer sexual assault or rape during their journey to the U.S., Ms. Amiri said.

Almost 60,000 unaccompanied minors illegally crossed the U.S./Mexico borer last year. Nearly a third were young girls and up to 80 percent of those girls were victims of sexual assault. USCCB was awarded a $73 million overall contract and received $10 million in 2013 alone to care for those unaccompanied minors.

No good deed goes unpunished, I suppose. But really, does the ACLU have any kind of a case? Abortion is an elective procedure. Why isn’t the ACLU suing to force Catholic charities to offer plastic surgery, or any other elective procedure, for that matter?

Abortion is not a “routine medical service” — except in the eyes of the ACLU and other pro-choice fanatics. And family planning services can include many things besides abortion and contraception.

The bishops issued a statement:

“We ensure children and youth have access to ongoing medical and social services. This extensive health care would include, in the case of pregnancy, prenatal, labor/delivery and well-baby care. For decades, we have provided exemplary services to this vulnerable population without facilitating abortions, and despite ACLU’s extreme assertions to the contrary, the law not only permits our doing so, but protects it,” the statement reads.

No doubt the ACLU will go shopping for a judge who they think will accept their radical arguments. But in truth, it’s hard to see how any judge would countenance this attack on the Catholic Church. The law and religious freedom are on the side of the church in this matter, and the ACLU is blowing smoke if they think otherwise.

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‘Are You Afraid of Turkey?’: Harf Gets Owned on Armenian Genocide Questions

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Reporters tried to get the G-word out of the administration today on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, but both the White House and State Department went through every verbal dance possible to not anger Turkey.

President Obama edited the word Ankara hates out of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, issuing a lengthy statement marking “Armenian Remembrance Day.” He promised as a presidential candidate in 2008 to recognize the Armenian Genocide once in the Oval Office, but has never done so.

“This centennial is a solemn moment. It calls on us to reflect on the importance of historical remembrance, and the difficult but necessary work of reckoning with the past. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all our interests,” Obama said.

“Peoples and nations grow stronger, and build a foundation for a more just and tolerant future, by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past. We welcome the expression of views by Pope Francis, Turkish and Armenian historians, and the many others who have sought to shed light on this dark chapter of history.”

Asked today what is preventing Obama from keeping his promise, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president “has spoken very clearly and directly in the context of this specific statement so I’d refer you to those comments.”

“I’d also point out that United States Treasury Secretary Jack Lew led a U.S. delegation to the Armenian remembrance services and activities in Armenia,” Earnest said. “And again, I think that’s an indication of the president’s commitment to ensuring that we not allow even these very tragic incidents from going unnoticed. And that acknowledging what had happened in history is important.”

At the State Department today, Marie Harf got exasperated with questions about the Armenian Genocide.

“You’ve asked the same question everyday this week, and I gave the same answer,” she snapped at Matt Lee of the Associated Press.

“The president put out a very powerful statement speaking to the historical events that happened. It was a very lengthy statement. I know you’ve all read it,” Harf told reporters. “We understand that some people want to hear different language used. We believe this is the right course. But all you have to do is read the president’s statement to see how seriously he feels about these historical issues.”

She told Lee that he’s “certainly happy to have your own opinion about whether you like my answer or not.”

“Compared to what he usually does — it’s five paragraphs. Most presidential statements are not this long, OK? Speaking very forcefully to this issue and how he sees these historical events,” Harf said.

“Are you afraid of Turkey?” Lee asked.

“I’m not even sure how to answer that question,” Harf replied.

“What can Turkey do to a country as big and powerful as the United States?” he continued.

“As I said, we believe this is the right course to take, and I’m not going to have much more for you on this issue than that,” she answered.

Harf was presented with Obama’s statement that “amid horrific violence that so suffering on all sides, 1.5 million Armenians perished,” and asked if the administration would speak of “suffering on all sides” on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“We’re just not going to compare any two historical events,” she said.

“Do you understand why people are making — why people are asking these questions?” Lee asked.

“We understand that some people would like to hear different language,” Harf replied.

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Earnest: Al-Qaeda’s Been ‘Decimated,’ But Some Dangerous Ones Still ‘Hiding’

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

White House press secretary Josh Earnest stressed today what the Obama administration has maintained for years — that it “decimated” al-Qaeda — but admitted that, then again, they’re still around.

“This Afghanistan-Pakistan region is — had previously been home to a large number of core al-Qaeda leaders,” Earnest told reporters during the daily briefing. “They have been decimated, but there are still a number of dangerous core al-Qaeda leaders that are hiding, frankly, in this region of the world.”

“By hiding there and by plotting and planning against the United States from that location, they pose a unique threat to American military personnel that are currently stationed in Afghanistan,” he said. “As you know, there are about 10,000 U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan right now.”

Earnest also didn’t want to call the unintentional killing of two Americans who joined al-Qaeda — Adam Gadahn and Ahmed Farouq — an accident.

“The word ‘accident’ leaves one with the connotation that the consequences of the action were negative. And as I mentioned yesterday, these two individuals, both Mr. Farouk and Mr. Gadahn, were al-Qaeda leaders. They were playing an influential role in an organization that is actively planning against the United States and our interests,” he said.

“They were frequenting a compound that had been identified based on extensive intelligence as an al-Qaeda compound, and strikes were taken that — operations were conducted that took them off the battlefield. And that is a result that has improved the safety and security of the American people.”

So neither “accidental” nor “unintentional” apply, Earnest reasoned.

“The operation against the al-Qaeda compound was carried out with the intent to take off the battlefield al-Qaeda leaders that frequented the compound. That was the intent of the operation. And in that respect, the operation fulfilled its mission,” he said.

“Now, in one respect, there was a tragic, unintended consequence which is that the operation also resulted in the death of an innocent American hostage. That clearly was unintentional and that clearly was an accident — the death of this innocent American hostage.”

A reason they’re likely watching their wording so much about Gadahn and Farouq: Earnest admitted “there is a specific legal process for a policy decision being made to specifically target a U.S. citizen.”

“That was not done in the case of Mr. Gadahn and Mr. Farouk because they were not identified as high-value targets,” he added. “However, they — there is ample evidence to indicate that they were al-Qaeda leaders. The fact that they were frequenting what had identified as — had been identified as an al-Qaeda compound is the reason that they were claimed in this operation.”

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New York Times to Hillary!: ‘This Problem Is Not Going Away’

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

They’re still trying to give Lady Macbeth a graceful way out:

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s determination to reconnect with voters in localized, informative settings is commendable, but is in danger of being overshadowed by questions about the interplay of politics and wealthy foreign donors who support the Clinton Foundation.

Nothing illegal has been alleged about the foundation, the global philanthropic initiative founded by former President Bill Clinton. But no one knows better than Mrs. Clinton that this is the tooth-and-claw political season where accusations are going to fly for the next 19 months. And no one should know better than the former senator and first lady that they will fester if straightforward answers are not offered to the public.

Gotta love that “nothing illegal” bit; as one wit (I forget who) wrote back during the Bubba administration, the Clintons’ motto should be “You can’t prove it!”

The increasing scrutiny of the foundation has raised several points that need to be addressed by Mrs. Clinton and the former president. These relate most importantly to the flow of multimillions in donations from foreigners and others to the foundation, how Mrs. Clinton dealt with potential conflicts as secretary of state and how she intends to guard against such conflicts should she win the White House. The only plausible answer is full and complete disclosure of all sources of money going to the foundation…

That’ll be the day.

It’s an axiom in politics that money always creates important friendships, influence and special consideration. Wise politicians recognize this danger and work to keep it at bay. When she announced her candidacy, Mrs. Clinton resigned from the foundation board (Bill Clinton remains on the board). This was followed by the announcement of tighter foundation restrictions on donations from foreign countries, which had resumed after she left the State Department.

These half steps show that candidate Clinton is aware of the complications she and Bill Clinton have created for themselves. She needs to do a lot more, because this problem is not going away.

Tick-tock, tick-tock…

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