More from the nanny statists at the Food and Drug Administration:
Restaurant menus will now list the calorie count for your booze of choice.
New menu labeling rules from the Food and Drug Administration will require chain restaurants with 20 or more outlets to list the amount of calories in alcoholic drinks, along with other foods, on menus by next November. The idea is that people often don’t know – or even think about – how many calories they are imbibing.
I don’t buy this at all. If people care about calories, they know the calorie count of what they eat and drink. How many apps are there available to download on one’s cell phone that provide calorie counts to those who are interested in such information? A lot.
Fortunately, alcoholic beverages ordered at the bar or drinks that are not listed on the main menu will not be required to list calorie counts. Hint to restaurants: have a separate menu for your alcohol.
Public health advocates, aka “busybodies,” say the required restaurant labeling is a first step.
“Alcoholic beverages are a key contributor to the calories Americans are consuming, and most of the time when people have a drink they have absolutely no idea what its caloric impact is,” says Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Her group petitioned the government more than a decade ago to require that bottles and cans be labeled with robust nutritional information.
Initially, the FDA exempted alcohol-based drinks from listing the calorie count. “The FDA’s proposed menu labeling rules in 2011 exempted alcohol. But FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the agency decided to include it in the final rules this year after those who commented on the rule were largely in favor of such labeling because of its potential impact on public health.”
Of course there was pushback from the liquor industry. They argued the industry was already regulated by the Treasury Department (and of course, where do you think the “A” in “ATF” comes from? The DOJ.) The alcohol industry argued that Treasury’s regulation has “well served the consuming public.”
For those keeping count, the alcohol industry is regulated by no fewer than THREE agencies: Treasury, the DOJ and the FDA.
But take heart, the requirements are meant not to be “burdensome” for the industry or for restaurants. The FDA will allow “estimates” to be used for the countless combinations of fancy mixed drinks. “That means menus will list the average amount of calories in a glass of red or white wine, but won’t list calories by every brand of wine on the wine list. Same with beers and spirits.”
The labeling rules have “more of an indirect effect on our business,” says Wendell Lee of the California-based Wine Institute. Lee says brand-specific menu calorie labels could be especially burdensome on the wine industry, where every vintage and varietal is different.
Yet another regulating agency, the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau told the liquor industry they could put serving sizes and calorie count on their labels. Alcohol labeling laws are “complicated” because of course they are.
Wines containing 14 percent or more alcohol by volume must list alcohol content. Wines that are 7 percent to 14 percent alcohol by volume may list alcohol content or put “light” or “table” wine on the label. “Light” beers must list calorie and carbohydrate content. Liquor must list percent alcohol content by volume and may also list proof, a measure of alcoholic strength.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau said it’s important that the labeling doesn’t “mislead the consumer.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz answered some of his critics, including Charles Krauthammer and George Will, who say he does not understanding how the game is played in Washington. Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Cruz on Tuesday to respond to charges that he doesn’t “get it.” Cruz, who said that he likes and respects both Will and Krauthammer, said, “You know, on some level I’ll agree with what they said. I am not trying to play the rules of Washington because I think Washington’s broken. I think it’s profoundly broken. And I think the only answer is to change Washington.”
Cruz described disruptive apps in the tech world that come in and disrupt the means of distributing goods or services. “Let’s take, for example, Uber coming in or Lyft coming into a city. Whenever that happens, the existing providers fight like cats and dogs. The taxi commissions have done everything they can to kill Uber and Lyft,” he said.
“What we’re trying to do in the political world is very much the same thing, which is change the means of decision-making, take it out of the smoke-filled rooms, where decision-making is done in Washington between career politicians and lobbyists — and instead empower the people,” Cruz said. “In my view, the only way we can turn this country around is if the American people rise up and hold every one of us accountable. So I’m not trying to play the Washington rules. I’m trying to change the rules and make elected officials, myself included, accountable to the people who elected them.”
On Monday Cruz told Mark Levin that a lot of his colleagues in Washington “buy into this collective herd mentality that you can’t stand up and do anything meaningful. That you have to give in.” He said, “The way you get bipartisan agreement in this town is you get everyone to sit around a table and you say, ‘I’ll spend for your project, your project, your project … another trillion dollars … we’re done.’ And that’s how we bankrupt our kids and grandkids. That’s how we get $18 trillion in debt because everyone scratches everyone else’s backs and nobody actually stands for the working men and women back home.”
Asked about his critics, Cruz told Levin, “If they want to come after me, fine. Knock yourself out. That is not my concern. My concern is honoring the oath of office.”
The TSA is on Instagram and they’re sharing pictures of some of the items they’ve confiscated from passengers trying to board planes in the U.S. These are banned items that were discovered in November and December and after seeing the pictures, you may be a little less likely to complain about that long wait in the airport security line this holiday season.
First up are the guns, many of them loaded.
#TSACatch – This loaded firearm was discovered in a carry-on bag last week at the #Seattle – #Tacoma (#SEA) International Airport. While firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags, they may be transported in checked baggage as long as the proper guidelines are met. Read more about traveling with firearms at: bit.ly/TravelingWithFirearms
#TSACatch – This loaded firearm was discovered in a carry-on bag last week at the #Cincinnati #NorthernKentucky (#CVG) International Airport. It fires a combination of .45 caliber rounds and .410 shotgun shells. While firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags, they can be packed in checked baggage as long as they are declared and packed properly. Read more about properly traveling with firearms at TSA.gov.
These are just nine of the over 200 firearms that were discovered in carry-on bags in October; 174 of the 200 were loaded. Unless you’re a law enforcement officer with special permission, firearms are never permitted in carry-on bags. Read more at TSA.gov on how to properly travel with firearms in your checked baggage.
Atlanta police have charged 34-year-old Aeman Presley with a September murder days after charging him in three deaths that rocked the city over Thanksgiving and the week after.
Authorities had already charged Presley in conjunction with the shooting deaths of two homeless men while they slept on the streets of Atlanta, as well as with the murder of a popular hairstylist in Decatur, a suburb just east of the city.
Presley is accused of firing multiple times — “overkill,” police say — while the two homeless men were wrapped in blankets, sleeping on the sidewalk in Atlanta. Dorian Jenkins, 42, was killed Nov. 23, followed by Tommy Mims, 68, on Nov. 26.
Additionally, Presley now faces charges in the September shooting of a mentally ill man who police believe was homeless at the time of his murder.
Presley, 34, shot Calvin Gholston, 53, to death Sept. 27 at a shopping center outside Atlanta, police said. They believe Gholston was homeless and was shot multiple times as he slept — like two of the other victims, though his death came about a month earlier.
The woman who found Gholston’s body told officers he had been living in an alleyway near the shopping center for at least two months, according to a police report.
Police officers for MARTA, Atlanta’s transit system, apprehended Presley when he entered an entry gate without paying the fare. They found a loaded gun with more ammunition on Presley when they searched him, and a weapons expert with MARTA noted that the ammunition matched photos of the bullets police believed the gunman used in the November murders.
By putting out the information on the weapons, “I compromised all of my evidence, knowing that if we could just save one more homeless person” it would be worth it, Atlanta police Detective David Quinn said.
Police declined to give many details from Presley’s interviews with investigators but called him cooperative and forthcoming.
“I wouldn’t even say it was an interrogation. It was a conversation,” Quinn said. He later added: “After the interview, we had enough evidence to charge these four murders, I’ll put it that way.”
Police consider Presley a serial killer.
The term “serial killings” means a series of three or more killings, having common characteristics such as to suggest the reasonable possibility that the crimes were committed by the same actor or actors, according to the FBI.
Image provided by Fulton County Jail.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jet has been carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State since late November on a near-daily basis, a U.S. military official said Tuesday. It marks the first time the use of the pugnacious plane against the militant group has been confirmed, although U.S. military officials disclosed last month that they had deployed the A-10 in support of the mission in Iraq and Syria.
The jet is beloved by U.S. ground troops for its ability to strikes enemy fighters from the air, but it remains in a fierce budget battle in Washington. Air Force officials and some fiscal conservatives have advocated retiring the aircraft to save money and using other planes for close-air support missions. A compromise in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act will keep it flying at least one more year, but it’s future afterward is still uncertain.
The slow-moving jet isn’t designed to get into dogfights with fighter jets, but is well suited for the mission in Iraq and Syria. Nicknamed the Warthog, it has an armored belly to protect pilots from ground fire, and carries a 30mm Gatling gun cannon and a variety of bombs, missiles and rockets. It has been in the Air Force since the 1970s and flown in combat missions since the 1990s.
This plane and its fate remain a perfect reminder of just why we shouldn’t trust the Ruling Class bureaucrats with, well, anything. To them, it’s a budget concern. To the people who have been fighting this psychotic Jihadis to protect us, this plane is a lifesaver, quite literally. Bloated morons playing with the money of the citizens are deciding the fates of American troops from afar based on accountants’ recommendations. It is bad enough that we send young Americans into battle with rules of engagement that are seemingly designed to prevent the feelings of the enemy from getting hurt, but denying them the equipment most proven in the field is unconscionable.
The White House will be officially celebrating the Festival of Lights with late afternoon and evening receptions tomorrow, but President Obama kicked off the holiday with his Hanukkah message today:
Over the eight nights of Hanukkah, Jews across America, Israel, and the world will remember an ancient triumph of freedom over oppression, and renew their faith in the possibility of miracles large and small.
Even in the darkest, shortest days of winter, the Festival of Lights brims with possibility and hope. The courage of the Maccabees reminds us that we too can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. The candles of the Menorah remind us that even the smallest light has the power to shine through the darkness. And the miracle at the heart of Hanukkah – the oil that lasted for eight nights instead of only one – reminds us that even when the future is uncertain, our best days are yet to come.
May this Hanukkah embolden us to do what is right, shine a light on the miracles we enjoy, and kindle in all of us the desire to share those miracles with others. From my family to yours, Chag Sameach.
Tomorrow the Palestinians are expected to bring a resolution before the UN Security Council declaring a state and giving Israel two years to pull out of territory that the Palestinian Authority considers its own. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki left the door open to a U.S. vote in favor of such a resolution, telling reporters today “we have to see what the details are.”
“There is a perception …that we have never supported any UN action related to Israel, and that is not true,” Psaki said. “We have supported a range of actions in the past. What we haven’t supported is steps that are unilateral actions that predetermine the outcome of negotiations.”
The Palestinians need nine votes, or two-thirds of the council, for passage.
Cows were running free in Pocatello, Idaho, Tuesday, following in the hooves of a feisty heifer that escaped from a meat packing plant Friday. The pursuit of that cow made national headlines; five cows have now broken out of the plant in the past four days.
Two cows remain at large, part of a cohort of at least four animals that made a run for it Sunday. Their escape came two days after a 1,000-pound cow broke out by reportedly jumping a 6-foot fence.
As always, I blame Obamacare and progressives in academia for our runaway cow epidemic.
Also, admit it, you thought I was going to trick you and this was going to be a story about Lena Dunham, didn’t you?
True, he did apologize.
Ted Cruz privately apologized to GOP senators Tuesday for interrupting their holiday schedules by his surprise tactics that effectively brought the Senate into session over the weekend.
According to five senators who attended Tuesday’s caucus lunch, Cruz offered the apology in unsolicited remarks, saying that he regretted if any of his colleagues’ schedules were ruined by his maneuvering. He didn’t say whether he would do something similar again, senators said.
He was sorry for any scheduling inconveniences his colleagues may have experienced, fair enough.
In the Reuters telling of the story, the misrepresentation begins with the headline:
Firebrand Senator Ted Cruz apologizes for U.S. spending bill ruckus
Then “a source familiar with the meeting” is quoted as saying Cruz “was contrite and made an effort to explain to people he wished he hadn’t done it.”
The “it” is never explained. Of course, the source could actually be reliable and Cruz could still have been talking about the inconvenience, but this article is definitely crafted to leave people with a different impression.
Cruz Comms Director Amanda Carpenter removed any doubt:
Just so everyone is clear. Cruz is not apologizing for actions to stop amnesty. Apologized for surprising, inconveniencing sens on Fri/Sat
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) December 16, 2014
Despite giving what Senate Republicans said were troubling responses about President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, Sarah Saldaña was confirmed today to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.
The vote was 55-39, with six senators not voting. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) cast the only “yea” votes from the GOP.
Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans complained that not only did Saldaña not meet with the lawmakers, but “didn’t even receive the courtesy of a reply” to their invitation. The committee passed the nomination on to the full Senate on a party-line vote.
Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) noted at the time that when he got the opportunity to ask Saldaña some questions he was met with “vague answers.”
“Many times she answered a question by telling me that she wasn’t familiar with a certain specific topic area and that, if confirmed, she’d look into it,” Grassley said.
Saldaña only received a full committee hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been without a presidentially appointed leader for more than 16 months – that is far too long, particularly considering the challenges we face along our borders,” said committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.). “Sarah Saldaña will provide the leadership our country needs in this critically important and particularly challenging position. Ms. Saldaña is a respected member of the law enforcement community who comes highly recommended, with bipartisan support. Thankfully, Ms. Saldaña has graciously stepped up to the plate to assume this demanding appointment. She undoubtedly has a tough job ahead of her, but I believe that she is up to the task.”
President Obama said Saldaña, most recently U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, “is the right person to lead the dedicated men and women at ICE in securing our borders, keeping American communities safe, and upholding our values.”
“Since I took office, illegal border crossings are down and removal of dangerous criminals is up,” he added in a statement. “I’m confident Sarah will help us build on this progress while protecting our country in a smart, effective, and humane way.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), though, said on the floor today that while Saldaña demonstrated an “admirable independent streak as United States Attorney, she has also demonstrated that her commitment to the rule of law may falter when it comes to faithfully enforcing the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
“In response to a question asked by several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including me, Ms. Saldaña said she agreed with the position of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson that immigrants who entered the country illegally, and have now been targeted for so-called deferred action, have ‘earned the right to be citizens,’” Lee said. “That’s quite a bold claim. No doubt Congress could, and many people think it should, ease the path the citizenship for some aliens here unlawfully. But to assert that citizenship is a matter of right, and that it has been earned by the very act of breaking our immigration laws, is an unacceptable view for a person nominated to be head of immigration enforcement.”
“We have passed through the looking glass. And to see how far we’ve gone inside, observe: Today the president asks the Senate to install, as custodian of our border, a person who evidently believes that crossing our border illegally earns you the right to vote.”
In his first televised interview since a non-disclosure agreement was loosened, Dr. James Mitchell, an Air Force psychologist who was an integral part of the controversial CIA enhanced interrogation program, lashed out at the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Monday’s Kelly File. Mitchell, who gave very specific details about the interrogations of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah, who was at the time a suspect in the attacks, told Kelly that he’s angry about the report and feels that the disclosure of his identity has put him in danger. Mitchell said, “They had a foregone conclusion.” He believes the CIA put his life and the lives of other CIA officials and their families in danger. “For some sort of moral high ground?” he asked.
He said the CIA report has accused him and fellow interrogators of “some horrible things” but they can’t be prosecuted because what they did was legal at the time. “They didn’t give us the chance to explain anything. They didn’t bother talking to the people at the CIA or the people who were no longer at the CIA who were involved, like the past directors.” He said the report has stirred up “all of the crazies and all the jihadists and so now we’re getting death threats and we’re getting all kinds of things. ”
“I do not mind giving my life for my country, but I do mind giving my life for a food fight for political reasons between two groups of people who should be able to work it out like adults,” Mitchell told Kelly when asked if his life was in danger.
”No one from the Senate committee has ever asked me a single thing. If they think I’ve abused somebody they should ask me about it. They should point at the piece of the paper, let me review the documents, and let me at least try to explain my…ourselves. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has the opportunity to address the charges against him but I don’t,” Mitchell complained.
Mitchell said he is proud of the work the interrogators did. “We saved lives. I don’t care what the Senate said. The presidents, the past three CIA directors — I got an award for the work that we did. They told us we did a good job. They told us we saved lives. And I believe that we did.”
But then the Senate report was released and Mitchell said he had no opportunity to defend himself. “And I feel horrible for the nation. I feel horrible, in part, because this puts everyone at risk, and worse yet, it shows al Qaeda and the al Qaeda 2.0 folks — ISIL — that we’re divided and that we’re easy targets. That we don’t have the will to defeat them. Because that’s what they know.”
“Well I don’t feel that I’ve been abandoned by the CIA,” Mitchell said. ”They didn’t throw me under the bus.” He said the majority of people he talks to support what was done and thank him for it.
“It’s just for me — you can probably tell that I’m a little agitated about this,” Mitchell told Kelly, “I don’t want to die because the Democrats in the Senate don’t have the courtesy to ask the CIA to explain what they view as abuses that occurred when there’s other evidence — 6 million documents — and they cherry-picked what makes their point out of it and it puts us in danger.
Watch more of the interview on the next page:
The ongoing collapse of mainstream journalism into a politically correct, agenda-driven sinkhole of literally unbelievable crap continues apace. The most recent sanctioned hoax, about the stock-picking abilities of a high school kid named Mohammed Islam, turned out to be complete codswallop. At least New York magazine has issued an apology:
In the most recent edition of New York, its annual Reasons to Love New York issue, the magazine published a story about a Stuyvesant High School senior named Mohammed Islam, who was rumored to have made $72 million trading stocks. Islam said his net worth was in the “high eight figures.” As part of the research process, the magazine sent a fact-checker to Stuyvesant, where Islam produced a document that appeared to be a Chase bank statement attesting to an eight-figure bank account.
After the story’s publication, people questioned the $72 million figure in the headline, which was written by editors based on the rumored figure. The headline was amended. But in an interview with the New York Observer last night, Islam now says his entire story was made up. A source close to the Islam family told the Washington Post that the statements were falsified. We were duped. Our fact-checking process was obviously inadequate; we take full responsibility and we should have known better. New York apologizes to our readers.
“Who was rumored to have made $72 million…” Maybe that word, “rumor,” should have been a tipoff of some sort. Remember, if it’s too good to check — as this story was, as the Rolling Stone “rape” story obviously was — then it’s also too good to be true. Somewhere, the ghost of Clay Felker is weeping.
Apparently Kim Jong-un isn’t into Seth Rogen’s brand of humor.
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
It has been widely suspected that North Korea is involved in the recent hacker attack on Sony performed by the “Guardians of Peace.” This email seems to confirm that suspicion:
The threat was included alongside the release of another set of emails, this time said to be those of Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Because the hackers post this information anonymously and are contacting reporters through reusable email addresses, it is possible that a separate party is behind this threat. However, that seems unlikely. The communications have been consistent, and it should be clear soon whether the leaked emails are genuine, confirming the authenticity of this note.
While Seth Rogen reportedly doesn’t regret making the film about two American TV boobs sent on a secret mission to assassinate the North Korean dictator, he and his co-star James Franco have cancelled all upcoming press appearances to promote the film. Meanwhile, the New York City police are busy ramping up for the now scaled-back screening.
The Interview is due out in theaters across the country on Christmas day.
A federal court in the western district of Pennsylvania found parts of President Obama’s executive actions to legalize an estimate 4 to 5 million illegal immigrants unconstitutional.
In the case, United States of America v. Elionardo Juarez-Escobar, an illegal immigrant from Honduras argued that he shouldn’t be subject to deportation.
The Volokh Conspiracy sums up:
According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals. As a consequence, Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.
…The procedural background of the case is somewhat unusual. The case involves an individual who was deported and then reentered the country unlawfully. In considering how to sentence the defendant, the court sought supplemental briefing on the applicability of the new policies to the defendant, and whether these policies would provide the defendant with additional avenues for seeking the deferral of his deportation. In this case, however, it’s not entirely clear it was necessary to reach the constitutional question to resolve the issues before the court with regard to the defendant’s sentence.
Here’s the court’s full ruling.
“Although this Court recognizes that the Memorandum providing the basis for the Executive Action on immigration has opined that the Executive branch can create such subcategories of undocumented immigrants, the Court has concerns that some familial bonds are treated differently than others,” the ruling states.
“…The Court holds that the Executive Action is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution.”
“President Obama’s executive action is flat out unconstitutional. He’s clearly going beyond the president’s proper legal, constitutional authority,” Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said in response to the news. “Every president has executive power to provide details where statutes are silent. But that’s fundamentally different from taking action that is directly contrary to statute.”
Last week, [Robby Soave] wrote [at Reason's "Hit & Run" blog] about how “students are so coddled by the feelings-protection regime at university campuses that they now believe disheartening national news developments—such as the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases—entitle them to final exam extensions.”
Columbia Law School delayed final exams for students who felt unable to take them in the wake these developments. Students at Harvard and Georgetown began demanding their universities follow suit.
One might think that Oberlin College, known for it’s ultra-crunchy reputation, would be all about this. At least one professor at Oberlin, however, is having none of it…
What follows is absolutely epic.
Here is the Facebook exchange between a student (who is, sadly, a product of the self esteem and participation era) speaking out for minority groups to which she doesn’t belong and the professor’s response. (click to enlarge):
Look for this guy to be out of a job within the year. Dissent from the progressive orthodoxy is not tolerated.
— David Swindle (@DaveSwindle) December 16, 2014
— David Swindle (@DaveSwindle) December 16, 2014
— David Swindle (@DaveSwindle) December 16, 2014
My picks: I prefer Prager to Limbaugh, regard Levin and Hannity both equally (I like them in some ways, dislike them in others,) and while I tend to disagree with both Medved and Hewitt on many ideas (such as on immigration…) I still like Hewitt and his show a lot… (Is that the equivalent of preferring to pick Ken instead of Ryu?)
Who are your favorites? What other head-to-heads should be considered? Hit me up on Twitter with your ideas.
Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in London today that international alliances are needed to battle the “almost medieval vision” of Islamist terrorists that attacked in Pakistan and Sydney this week.
“As a father, I know exactly how hard it is when you send kids out of house into the world, to school or anywhere, and particularly in today’s world,” Kerry said of the attack at the Army Public School in Peshawar, in which at least 131 were killed.
“The images are absolutely gut-wrenching: young children carried away in ambulances, a teacher burned alive in front of the students, a house of learning turned into a house of unspeakable horror,” he said. “…This act of terror angers and shakes all people of conscience, and we condemn it in the strongest terms possible. The perpetrators must be brought to justice. And we pledge our full support to the people of Pakistan in this difficult hour and we will help them in any way that we possibly can.”
Noting the cafe siege in Sydney by an Iranian cleric that left two hostages dead, Kerry noted the U.S. “has come face to face with horrific violence on our own soil, and we have seen our citizens held hostage and murdered in faraway places for the most nihilistic, devastatingly negative purposes.”
“So we know in a very personal way what our ally Australia is going through at this very moment. And we grieve with Australia and with the families of all those terrorized, injured, and killed,” he said. “The attacks in Peshawar and Sydney underscore that threats locally are also threats globally. In today’s world, next door is everywhere. And that’s why the United States is engaged in more places with more partners on more issues than ever before, and we are committed with all those allies and partners to standing up to extremism and to the extremists themselves.”
Kerry said he’d had “very candid and constructive conversations” over the past few days in Rome with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and others. He sits down with Palestinian representatives in London today.
“Now obviously, a focus of these conversations has been our deep concern about the situation on the ground in Israel and in the West Bank and the mounting calls from the international community to pursue diplomatic measures to try to address it,” he said. “…All of the reasons that we engaged so intensely one year ago, a little more than that, and all the reasons that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas were willing to engage — those reasons are even more compelling today. The status quo is unsustainable for both parties and for the region.”
Kerry condemned an acid attack on an Israeli family last week and “indefensible price tag attacks, so-called price tag attacks” against Palestinians, “including the recent burning of a mosque near Ramallah.”
“The cycle of violence leads to more violence and to nowhere,” he said. “Peace is the only prospect, and people need to fight for it.”
A Palestinian resolution is coming before the UN Security Council on Wednesday to demand Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and declare the formation of a Palestinian state.
“It’s a particularly sensitive moment because we understand the frustrations of Palestinians. We understand the frustrations of the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas and those who are pushing hard, because they don’t see another course at this moment,” Kerry said. “So the key is to try to find out whether or not there are other options, other ways, other courses; could something be done that helps to respect the process that the Israelis are about to undergo, simultaneously respecting the needs of the region to de-escalate the tensions and avoid confrontation?”
“That’s what we hope to achieve, that’s what these discussions are all about, and we will continue to have these discussions this afternoon and on into the next days. But we’ve made no determinations other than that about any — about language, approaches, specific resolutions, any of that. We haven’t made any determinations.”
Pressed further about the fight against extremists staging attacks like those in Pakistan and Australia, Kerry replied “the threat is what the threat is.”
“If somebody decides they want to die, it’s very hard to prevent every situation from occurring,” he said.
“…I know that our friends in Pakistan and in Australia are tough and strong and prepared to stay the course. So it’s very unfortunate when this happens, but it is done precisely for the kind of effect that it gets, which is questions at a press conference and fears that are spread in various parts of the world.”
One way to help solve the problem of the so-called “lone wolf” Islamic terrorist — a misnomer, since these “wolves” are not acting alone, but in the name of Islam, rather than in concert with others — might to ban all immigration and travel to and from the countries where they originate. Fortunately, we know exactly where they are:
A recent terrorism survey (Global Terrorism Index) found that five nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria, in that order) accounted for 80 percent of all terrorism related deaths in 2013 and even more in 2014. Four Islamic terrorist organizations (ISIL, al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban) account for nearly 70 percent of all terrorist deaths. Many of the lesser terror groups are also Islamic.
In fact, of the top ten nations by terrorist activity (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, India, Somalia, Yemen, Philippines and Thailand) only India and the Philippines had a significant minority of terrorist deaths that were not carried out by Moslems. In those two countries the minority terrorists were leftist rebels who had not noticed the collapse of radical socialism in 1989. Meanwhile the rapid growth in Islamic terrorism violence caused the total number of terrorist acts to increase 44 percent in 2013 over 2012.
But no, we’ll probably just bring more of them over as “refugees,” then wonder what happened when they go marching off to war against the infidel.
A Washington state Democrat warned that President Obama could do some “really awful things” next year with legislative naiveté and his small core of advisers.
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Obama “made a mistake” by agreeing to sign the cromnibus without pressuring Republicans to take out Wall Street provisions objected to by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others.
“He did not have to say he would support it. That he wanted us to pass it. We were in the midst of pulling it down in the Democratic caucus when the president suddenly jumped in and said, ‘Oh, well I want this.’ And I’m – what is very hard for me to understand is how he thinks that’s better for the American people,” McDermott said.
The congressman stressed that he “lived through the savings and loan crisis and then through the one that went on later.”
“And you got to say to yourself, when are you going to learn that people are greedy? And that government has to have regulations to control their greed. This is going to happen again as sure as I’m sitting here.”
McDermott said the country needs a president “who will act like Teddy Roosevelt did and break up the banks.”
“We cannot allow that much power to concentrate in so few hands. That’s what Teddy Roosevelt did as the trust buster. And what’s happened in this banking industry, the financial services industry, it’s got more and more powerful between, you know, Citizens United where they can pump all the money they want into the system to buy elections. And at the same time go out and play with the people’s money at the gambling table,” he continued.
“We have given them carte blanche to put us into something really horrendous. And I really think that as Elizabeth Warren suggested that bill should have broken up Citibank when it passed, the Dodd-Frank Bill. We didn’t do it. And we’re going to pay for it down the road.”
With Republicans in control of the House and Senate in the 114th Congress, McDermott stressed that Obama “is going to have to listen to some people other than the little group of people around him now.”
“He is all by himself. He doesn’t have the Senate to save him as they have in the last six years. And he is really in danger of really doing some awful things because he really doesn’t understand,” McDermott said.
“There is a story about Governor Ray of Iowa who was once asked about a bill and he said, ‘Listen, I vote last.’ And that’s what the president should have said when they asked him about this bill. I’m going to make my decision after I see what the House and Senate do. But he got into it way to early and put his cards on the table face up. You could see what he had.”
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who will be on the Judiciary Committee in the 114th Congress, said he’s planning to battle President Obama’s executive orders on immigration by opposing his nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch.
Vitter said he thinks it’s a “shame” that Republicans split on the constitutional point of order strategy on the cromnibus put forward over the weekend by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
“A lot of folks split on sort of a technicality, saying, well, it was a constitutional point of order and the spending bill wasn’t unconstitutional per se. It’s the president’s actions that are unconstitutional. I think that’s splitting hairs too finely,” Vitter told Fox Business.
“I think the reality is, we are far more united against executive amnesty than that vote suggests, and I think we’re going to have a chance to illustrate that early next year. But certainly, I’m very committed to fighting, pushing back any way possible against this unconstitutional action.”
Vitter, who plans on running for Louisiana governor in 2015, stressed he wants to push “strong pro-enforcement legislation” with a GOP majority in Congress.
“And I think we can move forward with that in the House and the Senate, and we should put those things on the president’s desk. So that’s one goal of mine,” he said.
“I think we need to do other things at the same time. One thing I’ve announced is I’m going to oppose this new attorney general nomination, and I’ll be on the Judiciary Committee for hearings to oppose it, because that person would be a key person in the Obama administration helping President Obama implement his illegal, unconstitutional executive action.”
However, he said he doesn’t know if there will be sufficient opposition in the caucus to oppose Lynch. Attorney General Eric Holder has vowed to stay on until a replacement is confirmed.
“There certainly could be if voters help us focus on this travesty of executive amnesty that’s flat-out unconstitutional,” Vitter said. “It would also help if we went back to the 60-vote rule for executive nominations in the new Senate. But both of those things are a bit up in the air.”
He added that no one should have been surprised by his alliance with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) over the removal of the financial regulation rollback under Dodd-Frank.
“I know it surprised a lot of people. It really shouldn’t, if folks have followed my work in terms of ‘too big to fail.’ For instance, I’ve been working with Sherrod Brown for a couple of years now to try to truly end ‘too big to fail,’ including by having much higher capital standards for mega-banks,” the senator said.
“This was a similar, related issue, and I don’t think the taxpayers should be basically subsidizing risky behaviors through FDIC insurance, and that’s what this issue was about… if we had blocked the rollback, as you know, those derivatives could still happen. They just wouldn’t be under the FDIC insurance umbrella, wouldn’t essentially be subsidized by the taxpayer in that way. And so they would have been more properly priced in the market somewhere else.”
Here’s a big bowl of Ouch Flakes for Her Inevitable Madameship’s breakfast this morning. My PJTV colleague John Phillips and I have speculated on several occasions that the press will eventually turn on Hillary, we just didn’t think it would be this soon.
Russia denies Sweden’s claim that one of its military planes nearly hit a commercial jetliner over international airspace on Friday, but one congressman said Washington needs to take the near-collision as a serious threat from the Kremlin.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Air Force pilot, said he doesn’t believe Russia as they try to sweep the incident under the rug.
“Look, especially when it comes to commercial airliners, flying close to each other is not something that you do. This is obviously the Russians’ attempt to show power and show that they have the teeth of a bear, to try to bully their neighbors, and it’s just — it’s ludicrous,” Kinzinger told Fox.
“I mean, any time you come near — the Russians can basically claim that the Ukrainians shot down the airliner out of Ukraine, but we know that they did it. And that’s what’s going to happen,” he continued. “They are going to go harass these airliners and, some day, there’s going to be something that happens where maybe a Russian jet collides with an airliner again and they have to answer to that.”
“But, no, I’m not buying that this is no big deal. It’s a show of force by the Russians and we’ve been seeing this now for the last year.”
Sweden and Denmark summoned their ambassadors from Moscow to protest the incident, according to The Moscow Times. Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said it was “completely unreasonable that civilian lives are put in danger in this way.”
The Russian intelligence plane had turned off its transponder to cloak itself from radar in the region. The Scandinavian Airlines flight involved was headed from Copenhagen to Poland.
“There were no prerequisites for an air accident,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said.
Kinzinger said the first step is calling attention to what Russia is doing.
“The Russians are trying to intimidate folks. We need to show the Russians that not only are we going to be intimidated, we’re going to respond with increased NATO presence and flights along the Russian border and in the sea. This is going to be important to do. I think when you see jets — Russian jets intercepting airliners, let’s shadow with NATO jets, if we can do that,” the congressman said.
“But ultimately, again, it’s bringing shame to the Russians. You’re not showing us that you’re tough. You’re showing us that you’re reckless, doing this with innocent airline passengers, and getting yourself in a position where you may collide. I’m a pilot. I know one mistake can lead to a collision. It’s very dangerous and reckless, and not a good neighbor.”
Kinzinger added that “turning off your IFF, your squawk, your transponder is also showing a hostile intention in some cases.”
“So, look, the Russians are not being good neighbors. They are trying to show off. But it should be very clear that while there won’t be a shooting war between the West and Russia, their military would be dispatched quite quickly if, in fact, it came to that,” he said.
“When I was in Kurdistan with the military — I was there I think in 2006 — I remember the Russian jets flying over our base as a show of force. It was a frog-foot jet. And they’ve been doing this for a while. But they’re really stepping it up. So if they claim it’s a response to sanctions, maybe in their mind, it is, but this is not new. The Russians under Vladimir Putin have decided that they want to try to rebuild the pieces of the Soviet Union. And this is part of that. It’s provocation. It’s show of force. And I think the West needs to respond, not by escalation but showing that we won’t be bullied.”
The media freak-out over the Senate’s CIA torture report is squarely at odds with the opinion of the American public. ABC News has released a new poll this morning that asks about American opinions on torture.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans say “the CIA’s treatment of suspected terrorists was justified” and more than half think “it produced important, unique intelligence.” Only 2 out of 10 Americans reject torture entirely.
Almost half of Americans are aware the treatment is, in fact, torture, while 38% don’t consider the treatment to be torture at all.
One reasons for the support of torturing terrorists is that more than half (53%) say the torture resulted in important information that could not have been obtained any other way.
Gary Langer writes: “It’s a critical point: Among those who think the CIA interrogations produced unique information, 85 percent say its treatment of suspected terrorists was justified. That drops precipitously, to 28 percent, among those who say the approach did not produce important information.”
The survey also reveals “substantial” misgivings about the release of the report.
- Americans by an 11-point margin, 47-36 percent, are more apt to see it as unfair rather than fair in its description of what occurred.
- The public by 52-43 percent feels more that it was wrong to release the report because it may raise the risk of terrorism by stirring anti-American sentiment – as critics say – than right to release the report in order to expose what happened and prevent a recurrence.
- Additionally, Americans by 57-34 percent oppose criminal charges against officials who were responsible for the agency’s interrogation activities.
One point the public does agree with the report about is that the CIA did mislead the public, the White House and Congress about their activities. (Kind of interesting that they still think the torture is justified, eh?) Four out of ten say the CIA was justified in misleading people about the torture.
Basically, the majority doesn’t want to take torture off the table; 58% say it can be sometimes or often justified.
As in most politically sensitive opinions surveys, there are partisan differences on torture. Eighty-two percent of conservative Republicans say the torture was justified while at the other end of the political spectrum, only 38% of liberal Democrats think the same.
Well, it’s semi-official: Jeb Bush is “actively exploring” running for president:
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
Like many of you, our family was blessed with the opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday. Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren. We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.
We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.
In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.
In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.Best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season. I’ll be in touch soon.
Just what America needs: three presidents in one family, and the prospect of another Bush/Clinton election. A total disgrace to the American ideal. Jeb and the rest of the clan should reconsider before he embarrasses himself further.
If it’s Christmas, it must be time for the Vacationer-in-Chief to head out on a largely taxpayer-funded holiday trip “home” to Hawaii. And sure enough:
The first family is returning to Hawaii for their seventh straight Christmas vacation, a 17-day break President Obama is “eagerly looking forward to.” The White House has announced that the president and his family with depart Washington on Friday and is expected to return Jan. 4.
“On Friday, the first family will depart the White House en route to Honolulu, Hawaii — a flight that I know the president himself is eagerly looking forward to,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.
According to Pacific Business News, “Obama has rented a private home in Kailua on past holiday vacations, and typically spends his time working out at the nearby Marine Corps Base Hawaii, playing golf, catching up with Punahou School classmates and dining out at such restaurants as Alan Wong’s Honolulu, [Morimoto] at The Modern Honolulu and Buzz’s Original Steakhouse in Kailua.”
George Washington never had it so good. And neither do you.
Taliban terrorists stormed a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, today, killing at least 131, according to Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
President Obama released a statement condemning the “heinous” attack on the Army Public School, but didn’t mention the Taliban by name.
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and loved ones,” Obama said. “By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity.”
“We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.”
A statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad also didn’t mention those responsible. “The United States strongly condemns senseless and inhumane attacks on innocent students and educators, and stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and all who fight the menace of terrorism,” it said.
“Few have suffered more at the hands of terrorists and extremists than the people of Pakistan,” the statement added, saying “that is why it remains essential for the United States and Pakistan to continue to work together to secure peace and stability in the region.”
According to Dawn, initial reports said eight to 10 Taliban staged the attack and by the end six were killed. At least 100 of the dead are children, both boys and girls and mostly in their early teens, and “scores” are injured. The Pakistani Army said they have responded with airstrikes in Khyber.
DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted that the terrorists planted IEDs in the building, which were delaying the rescue of survivors.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the country would observe a three-day period of mourning. “These were my children. This is my loss. This is the nation’s loss,” he said.
A Pakistan Taliban spokesman told CNN that the latest attack was “revenge for the killing of hundreds of innocent tribesmen during repeated army operations in provinces including South Waziristan, North Waziristan and the Khyber Agency.”
Malala Yousazai, the Nobel laureate who was shot in the head by Taliban in 2012 for lobbying for a girl’s right to education, issued a statement saying she was “heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us.”
“Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this,” the 17-year-old said. ”I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable.”
Over the weekend, the Afghanistan Taliban called for an international investigation into the human rights standards of the United States after the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats released a lengthy report criticizing enhanced interrogation techniques used in the war on terror.
“We call on the international community as well as those international organizations that call themselves champions of human rights, to examine America’s ongoing policy in light of these human rights standards,” the group said.
This harrowing account was relayed by a 16-year-old survivor to an Agence France-Presse reporter:
“Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire.
“Then one of them shouted: ‘There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them’,” Salman told AFP.
“I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.”
Salman said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee. He decided to play dead, adding: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again,” he said.
“My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me. I felt as though it was death that was approaching me,” Salman added further.
…As his father, a shopkeeper, comforted him in his blood-soaked bed, Salman recalled: “The men left after some time and I stayed there for a few minutes. Then I tried to get up but fell to the ground because of my wounds. When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire,” he said.
“She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned,” Salman added.
It was not immediately clear how the female employee’s body caught fire, though her remains were also later seen by an AFP reporter in a hospital mortuary.
Some of the bodies brought to hospital during the Peshawar school attack have been headless: source
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) December 16, 2014
Leave the school as it is – with the blood of the innocents – like a macabre museum – and require all apologists to take a tour of it
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) December 16, 2014
The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler appeared on Morning Joe to discuss some of the top lies of 2014. Kessler writes the Fact Checker column at the Washington Post, where he evaluates the veracity of political claims making the headlines.
Joe Scarborough pushed Kessler to pick the single biggest lie of the year, to which Kessler responded: “I look at the issues that resonate with people and are biggest issues. One of the major things was Barack Obama saying he was not specifically referring to ISIS, when he referred to a J.V. team… I got a hold of the actual transcript, with his interview with the New Yorker and it was pretty clear he was talking about ISIS.”
Over at the Washington Post, Kessler wrote about the lie:
President Obama repeated a claim, crafted by the White House communications team, that he was not “specifically” referring to the Islamic State terror group when he dismissed the militants who had taken over Fallujah as a “JV squad.” But The Fact Checker had obtained the previously unreleased transcript of the president’s interview with The New Yorker, and it’s clear that’s who the president was referencing.
Kessler gave Obama a four Pinocchios rating for trying to spin his ISIS statement.
Another bogus story in what used to be the legitimate media, this one featuring a stock-picking boy wonder named Mohammed Islam at New York’s Stuyvesant High. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. Or, then again, maybe you have to in order to get a story in a newspaper or magazine these days:
It’s been a tough month for factchecking. After the Rolling Stone campus rape story unraveled, readers of all publications can be forgiven for questioning the process by which Americans get our news. And now it turns out that another blockbuster story is —to quote its subject in an exclusive Observer interview—”not true.”
Monday’s edition of New York magazine includes an irresistible story about a Stuyvesant High senior named Mohammed Islam who had made a fortune investing in the stock market. Reporter Jessica Pressler wrote regarding the precise number, “Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the “’high eight figures.’” The New York Post followed up with a story of its own, with the fat figure playing a key role in the headline: “High school student scores $72M playing the stock market.”
And now it turns out, the real number is … zero.
Journalism always gets thing wrong. Lying at the top levels of officialdom too often goes unchallenged. But never in more than forty years in this business have I seen such abject credulity on the part of reporters. Some stories, it seems, really are too good to check. But, hey, it’s all fun and games until somebody loses his reputation or worse.
The saddest quote from the New York Observer piece, debunking the New York Magazine piece:
Mohammed, you’re from Queens and you go to this elite public high school. Is this a hobby of your parents as well or would you be the first person in your family to pursue high finance?
Mohammed Islam: In my immediate family, just me.
So what did your parents think when they’re reading that you’ve got $72 million?
Mohammed Islam: Honestly, my dad wanted to disown me. My mom basically said she’d never talk to me. Their morals are that if I lie about it and don’t own up to it then they can no longer trust me. … They knew it was false and they basically wanted to kill me and I haven’t spoken to them since.
Nice work, New York. The original story is here.
“The highest in two decades.”
Democrats are primed to confirm up to 88 of President Obama’s judicial nominations through the Senate before the year’s close.
Thanks to Reid’s weakening of the Senate filibuster, Republicans have had little power to stop Obama’s nominations.
So far, the Senate has approved 76 federal appeals court and district court nominees. Last year, the Senate only confirmed 43, and in 2012 49 were confirmed. The new confirmations will really expand Obama’s influence over the judiciary.
“He’s changed the face of the judiciary,” said Russell Wheeler, who studies the judiciary for the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution. “Whether or not that will have a long-term impact, I think, is another question.”
It probably will have a long-term impact and we’ll hear about it when one of these jokers makes a ridiculous ruling. The Associated Press writes, “Another measure of Obama’s impact is on federal appeals courts, which have enormous influence on their regions of the country and can be conduits for cases to reach the Supreme Court. When he took office, 10 of the 13 appeals courts had more judges appointed by Republican than Democratic presidents. Now the balance has switched, with Democratic-appointed majorities on nine of the courts.”
If the Senate ends up confirming all 88 of Obama’s picks, it will be the most number of confirmations since Bill Clinton had 99 confirmations in 1994.
Although the establishment talking points blame Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee for Reid’s “opportunity” to get these nominations approved, it was always Reid’s plan to get as many of these folks through the system before control of the Senate is turned over to the Republicans.
Cruz spokesman Phil Novak confirmed that Reid was planning on going on a spree of confirmations: “Everyone knows Harry Reid planned to jam forward as many nominees as he could.”
Millennials are “increasingly more pro-life and supportive of restrictions on abortion” than their Boomer and Gen-X parents.
“There’s a window into the womb with ultrasound. Just having the look into the womb you can see, even in the first trimester, the early development of the child — you can see the humanity of the child,” Rose said. “Now that we have that imagery and it’s more prevalent, people are having that personal encounter with the child, so it’s easier to recognize their human rights.”
…”Years ago, it was the case that advocates for abortion would talk about the ‘thing’ growing in a woman’s womb as a lifeless blob of tissue,” Monahan explained. “And I think our advances in sonography and ultrasounds, and even our understanding of fetal development has dispelled those myths.”
She continued: “We know that, from the moment of conception, a baby has all of its DNA that it needs for the rest of its life. It has everything inherent that it will need for later on. Really, the only difference [between the preborn and adults] is in size and development.”
When most millennials were in the womb, ultrasound technology was still relatively new to pregnancy. Mothers of Gen-X/millennial crossovers most likely only had an ultrasound if there were suspected complications with the pregnancy. Today, however, those crossovers and their fellow millennials will have an ultrasound as early as 8 weeks to confirm pregnancy, including fetal heartbeat. One-dimensional sonograms will continue throughout the pregnancy. Parents will also have the option to have a 3-D or 4-D ultrasound done so that they may see their smiling baby in the womb.
Abortion is at an all-time low in the United States. And while abortion advocates are quick to note that the majority of women who are required to view sonograms before their abortions will choose to proceed with the abortion, the reality is that the majority of abortions in America are being performed before an 8 week ultrasound can be done. The women who abort after the ultrasound are in the minority that is growing smaller by the year.
So the company making all those silly “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts pays its employees $6 an hour.
Liberal hypocrisy is always a bountiful source of unintentional humor.
For intentional humor, you have to turn to the right:
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a real t-shirt design, just a gag.
In the 1800s, London became a haven for tens of thousands of Russian Jews fleeing their czarist homeland. Today, a similar scene takes place in the United Kingdom, but this time the refugees are Muslim converts to Christianity fleeing persecution in England or the Middle East.
Many Muslims who convert to Christianity face threats of death and harm, and friends and family turn them away. One organization in particular, Christian Concern, is helping converts find safe haven in homes, churches, and other places in the UK.
Christian Concern believes thousands of Muslims are anxious to convert and in need of housing so they can get back onto their feet after suffering verbal — and sometimes physical — attacks from families, friends and co-workers.
“We are motivated by a deep sense of love and compassion for those that feel trapped in a situation from which they cannot escape,” said Andrea Williams, the group’s chief executive.
“The penalty for converts at best is to be cut off from their family; at worst they face death,” she added. “This is happening not just in Sudan and Nigeria but in East London. The government has failed to deal with the rise in anti-Christian sentiment.”
Some of these converts are like Shokit Ali Sadiq, whose wife is also a Christian. He and his family received safe haven thanks to members of their church. Sadiq now works to convert others from Islam to Christianity, and he says that many Muslims want to convert but are afraid to do so.
“There are hundreds of people out there who want to leave Islam,” said Sadiq. “But they’re frightened of making their desire known.”
Others are like a woman who went unnamed for her interview. She faced physical attacks from other women after becoming a Christian. She prays that “one day my own family will have me back.”
Twenty-three-year-old Ali, whose former friends stabbed him and left him for dead when he converted in Pakistan at age 17, fled to England, where these same young men from his hometown tracked him down and threatened him again. He now works at a store and lives essentially in hiding,but he is hopeful that he can return to Pakistan one day to do the same work that saved his life.
“My life’s ambition,” he said, “is to return and start a charity that would provide safe houses for Muslims who convert to Christianity.”
This post uses a modified image from Shutterstock.
Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, came to this South Texas outpost on Monday to inaugurate a 50-acre detention center that will hold as many as 2,400 migrants caught crossing the Southwest border illegally, becoming the largest immigration detention facility in the country.
Though President Obama has offered work permits and protection from deportation to millions of unauthorized immigrants, he also ordered new policies to reinforce border security, hoping to prevent a new surge of illegal crossings. Mr. Johnson presided over the opening of the center in Dilley, 85 miles northeast of Laredo, to draw more attention to the border security pieces of the president’s executive actions, in response to the furor those actions caused.
Yay, border security, right?
The center is specially designed to house migrant women and their children, from babies to teenagers, as their deportation cases move through the courts.
Standing on a barren dirt roadway lined with cabins in a fenced-in compound, Mr. Johnson delivered a blunt message to migrants without legal papers considering a trip to the United States. “It will now be more likely that you will be detained and sent back,” he said.
“More likely!” Well, they’re certainly putting their feet down now. Below is a picture of part of this “We mean business!” detention facility (no, really):
‘Despite NRA’s Negative Onslaught,’ Controversial Surgeon General Pick Squeaks Through Confirmation Vote
Dr. Vivek Murthy, a Harvard Medical School instructor who founded Doctors for Obama (which changed its name to Doctors for America), was nominated by President Obama to be surgeon general in November 2013.
The 37-year-old’s nomination stalled amid opposition in the upper chamber, yet was one of the flurry of nominees whose cloture votes were pushed through in the extended weekend Senate session. Today, Murthy was barely confirmed 51-43, with six senators not voting.
The only Republican to vote for Murthy’s confirmation was Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Among the nays were Democrats Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.).
“Our surgeon general serves as America’s leader on public health services and chooses what health policies we should prioritize. For that reason, I don’t believe it’s appropriate for America’s number one doctor to participate in political activism,” Manchin said. “It is essential that the surgeon general gains the public’s trust, so this position must be separated from the political arena.”
“After meeting with Dr. Murthy, I don’t question his medical qualifications; I just question whether the public will believe that he can separate his political beliefs from his public health views,” he added. “I am wary that his past comments and political involvement will have an impact on his leadership capabilities and effectiveness. For these reasons, I am unable to vote for his confirmation as the United States’ next surgeon general.”
The National Rifle Association issued a legislative alert Friday warning that the long-delayed confirmation of Murthy, who has equated gun violence with a “public health epidemic,” was imminent.
“The coordination between the Brady Campaign and those seeking to engineer Dr. Murthy’s confirmation heightens already significant concerns about his willingness to politicize the office of Surgeon General to promote gun control,” the NRA’s Chris Cox wrote to Senate leaders.
Democratic senators who have traditionally supported gun rights but were defeated in midterms — Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) — voted for Murthy. So did Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who ran unsuccessfully on a 2nd Amendment platform.
Obama issued a statement praising the confirmation of the Doctors for Obama leader. “As ‘America’s Doctor,’ Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe,” Obama said. “He’ll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong.”
“Vivek will also help us build on the progress we’ve made combatting Ebola, both in our country and at its source,” the president continued. “Combined with the crucial support for fighting Ebola included in the bill to fund our government next year, Vivek’s confirmation makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who was in Hartford earlier in the day marking the two-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting, said the NRA had “spun a specious smokescreen” on Murthy’s nomination, “working shamefully and tirelessly to block him simply because he stated the obvious fact that gun violence is a public health issue.”
“Despite the NRA’s negative onslaught, today the United States gets a great surgeon general and a superbly qualified public health leader,” Blumenthal said.
But Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of the physicians serving in Congress, said in a floor speech today that while Murthy has “impressive academic credentials and I’m sure he will be a fine doctor,” they’re “simply not sufficient qualifications for this important job.”
“Is Dr. Murthy a renowned expert in treating patients or researching diseases? No, not at all. He’s not. Has he actually built a career teaching medicine or leading public health organizations? No, not yet. In fact, Dr. Murthy only completed his medical training, his residency, in 2006, just eight years ago,” Barrasso said. “Now, I speak as someone who has actually practiced medicine for 25 years, who has been an instructor of surgery at Yale Medical School that Dr. Murthy attended. And I saw that being a doctor is about much more than going to school.”
“The majority of his career has been spent not as a doctor treating patients but as an activist, an activist focused on gun control and political campaigns. Even former Surgeon General Richard Carmona has said that Dr. Murthy doesn’t have the medical experience to serve in such an important position. Let me point out, Dr. Carmona is a Democrat.”
Americans, Barrasso argued, “don’t want a doctor who might let political ideology get in the way of treatment and their best interest.”
“Americans don’t want a Surgeon General who might use this position of trust to promote his own personal campaign against the Second Amendment of the Constitution,” he said. “This is just another example of President Obama giving someone an important job based solely on their support of the president’s political career.”
Though Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he didn’t think Murthy would get confirmed until Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent the Senate into weekend session with their cromnibus objections, Lee told Fox today that wasn’t the case.
“Look, this is an outgoing Democratic Senate majority. It would’ve been political malpractice for [Reid] to adjourn for the year without getting these things through,” Lee said. “I can guarantee you not one person will be confirmed as a result of this that would not otherwise have been confirmed.”
NRA press conference disappointing but predictable – blame everything in the world except guns for the Newtown tragedy. #wakeup
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) December 21, 2012
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) April 20, 2013
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) April 21, 2013
Signs of progress-we got 20 votes in the senate in favor of gun violence legislation that we wouldn’t have had 1 year ago. Have faith #dr4a
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) April 21, 2013
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) April 21, 2013
From The Daily Star in Lebanon:
BEIRUT: Syrian jihadi and rebel militias overran a sprawling government military base in Idlib province Monday, achieving the year’s biggest victory against the regime of President Bashar Assad.
The Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, along with the powerful Ahrar al-Sham militia and other allies, seized the Wadi Deif base after a fierce, two-day push that sent hundreds of regime troops fleeing the area, as regime warplanes pounded the area in a bid to secure their retreat.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-regime monitoring group based in Britain, said 31 government troops were killed in the assault on the base, along with a dozen fighters from the Nusra Front and its allies, although some pro-Nusra social media outlets said nearly 80 rebels had been killed.
A military commander from Ahrar al-Sham claimed in a video statement that around 200 regime troops were killed in the offensive, while several hundred were wounded.
That’s always been the tricky part of dealing with the never-ending turmoil in this part of the world-it’s often a “lesser of two evils but, wow, they’re both really evil” proposition (see: Egypt). One bad actor will just step in and take the place of another, and whatever ill the new bad guys sow will be blamed on the United States for either being too proactive or too inactive.
If there is a solution to what the West can do to “help” in Syria, it has yet to be discovered, probably because almost every foreseeable outcome with the current players is so unpalatable.