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Monday, September 07, 2015

Franklin Graham: Ky. Clerk 'Fighting for Religious Freedom for All of Us'

Evangelist son of famed preacher Billy Graham says jailed Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis is "fighting for religious freedom for all of us."

In a post on his Facebook page Friday, Franklin Graham, the head of a foundation named after his father and head of global charity Samaritan's Purse, says a federal judge's decision to jail Davis after she refused to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples gives further proof of a "criminalization of Christianity."

"This ripple effect is exactly what we feared would result from the Supreme Court's disastrous ruling in June," he writes.

More here

Dershowitz: Obama Is 'Childish, Petty, Vengeful' on Israel

President Barack Obama has become childish, petty and vengeful against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax TV. 

In an appearance Thursday Dershowitz discussed the recent tweet by PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill seemingly taunting Netanyahu after the White House secured enough votes to override a veto of the Iran nuclear deal, which the prime minister opposes. 

    Take that, Bibi. 
    — gwen ifill (@gwenifill) September 2, 2015 

Dershowitz said he isn't surprised at Ifill's tweet, and wouldn't be surprised if such statements also were made in the White House. 

"This has become all too personal," Dershowitz said. "The president of the United States has become childish, petty, vengeful against Netanyahu, because Netanyahu came to America, spoke the truth to members of Congress – and they listened to him." 

More here

Oregon Judge Refuses to Perform Same-Sex Marriages

Judge Vance Day of Marion County, Oregon, is being investigated by a judicial fitness commission in part over his refusal to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds, a spokesman for the judge said.

When a federal court ruling in May 2014 made same-sex marriage legal in Oregon, Day instructed his staff to refer same-sex couples looking to marry to other judges, spokesman Patrick Korten said Friday.

"He made a decision nearly a year ago to stop doing weddings altogether, and the principal factor that he weighed was the pressure that one would face to perform a same-sex wedding, which he had a conflict with his religious beliefs," Korten said.

The issue of same-sex weddings is "the weightiest" of several allegations against Day that are being investigated by the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability, Korten said.

He declined to detail any of the allegations, saying he didn't want to defy the commission, which considers complaints confidential until it is ready to make them public.

The investigation of Day's conduct comes amid heightened national attention to the responsibilities of public officials who oppose same-sex marriage. Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, went to jail Thursday because of her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.


Navy Exonerates Chaplain Accused Of Being Anti-gay

A Navy chaplain accused of failing to show “tolerance and respect” toward gay sailors has been cleared of all wrongdoing and will not be removed from the military.

“I am relieved the Navy sided with me,” Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder told me.

Modder, a highly decorated veteran who once ministered to an elite Navy SEAL unit, had been given a “detachment for cause” letter in February.

Earlier this year, a gay married officer was assigned to be Modder’s assistant. The assistant initiated the complaint against the chaplain because of his views on homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

He was removed from his job after his commander accused him of being intolerant and unable to “function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, S.C.

Navy Personnel Command rejected the commander’s recommendation to fire Modder, Military Times reported.

Instead, the chaplain, who is endorsed by the Assemblies of God, was cleared of all wrongdoing and will be allowed to retire — marking the end of nearly 20 years of military service.

More here
[ Related: More than 40,000 rally for Navy chaplain accused of being anti-gay ]

Senate Democrats Will Filibuster Iran Nuclear Deal

Democrats will try to mount a filibuster to block the Iran nuclear deal from even having to reach President Obama’s desk for a veto, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid signaled Sunday in a statement.

He and his party colleagues already have enough committed supporters that they would be able to sustain an Obama veto and allow the Iran deal to proceed, but a filibuster would be an even bigger coup, halting the issue earlier in the process and heading off a protracted — and potentially politically costly — veto fight.

“I recently informed Senator McConnell that after a period of robust debate, Democrats would be happy to proceed straight to a final passage vote that is consistent with Senator McConnell’s many statements that important matters in the Senate have ‘for quite some time required 60 votes.’ The choice is up to him,” Mr. Reid said, referencing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Prosperity or power: What does Labor Day mean?

Labor Day has become a last hoorah before the end of summer. Very little in the current celebration harkens back to the rocky origins – or the current uncertainty – surrounding labor in America today.

The holiday was conceived in 1887 to honor the American labor movement, including organized labor and the contributions workers have made to the growth and economic strength of the nation.

Industry at the time was undergoing tremendous change. The largely agricultural underpinning of the country was changing as manufacturing jobs became available and coveted. Factories were making improvements by harnessing steam power, allowing the inexpensive and affordable mass-production of goods. As a result, industries became enormously powerful, but often through the abuse of the very people who made the profit possible.

Construction on Israel-Jordan Border Fence Begins Sunday

The building of a border fence intended to bar those attempting to infiltrate into Israel from the east will commence on Sunday between Israel and Jordan.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon will officially announce the beginning of the project later today.

The fence on Israel's eastern border is being designed with the aim of having a similar effect in preventing the entrance of infiltrators as the fence on Israel's southern border with the Sinai Peninsula.

Thanks to the southern fence, the influx of infiltrators into the Jewish state was halted and the smuggling of goods and human beings into the country has been almost completely eradicated.

More here

An Anti-American White House

Column: Barack Obama’s presidency has empowered the adversaries of the United States

This week President Obama won the 34th vote in support of his nuclear deal with Iran. The vote, from Senator Barbara Mikulski, guarantees that the deal will survive a rejection by Congress. The fact that the deal will be made despite such opposition—something a few of us predicted months ago—is, in the words of the AP, a “landmark Obama victory.” It is worth asking how many more of these victories our country can withstand.

The president and his supporters, of course, say their foreign policy has improved the world. “Like George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton,” writes Gideon Rose of Foreign Affairs, “Obama will likely pass on to his successor an overall foreign policy agenda and national power position in better shape than when he entered office, ones that the next administration can build on to improve things further.”

I’m not convinced. Rather than trying to predict how things will look when Obama leaves office, rather than contemplating abstractions such as our “overall foreign policy agenda” and “national power position,” why not examine the actual results of Obama’s policies, as they exist now, in the real world before our eyes?

If we do that, we get an outcome different from Gideon’s. Subjectively, the president may be trying to peacefully integrate rogue regimes into the liberal international order. Objectively, however, the result of Obama’s foreign policy is to empower America’s adversaries. This has been, in its conduct and consequences, an anti-American White House.

More here

Maryland Casinos Generate $96.7 Million in Revenue During August

Maryland Lottery and Gaming today announced August 2015 revenue numbers for the state’s five casinos – Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in Baltimore City, Casino at Ocean Downs in Worcester County, Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County, and Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Allegany County. August 2015’s combined statewide revenue totaled $96,744,459. 

Hollywood Casino Perryville generated $6,558,172 from both slot machines and table games in August. Gross gaming revenue per unit per day was: $211.12 for slot machines, $2,429.70 for banking table games and $292.93 for non-banking table games. Hollywood Casino’s August 2015 revenue decreased by $796,209, or 10.8%, from August 2014. Hollywood Casino Perryville operates 850 slot machines and 22 (12 banking and 10 non-banking) table games. 

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore generated $27,583,023 from both slot machines and table games in August. Gross gaming revenue per unit per day was: $191.84 for slot machines, $2,865.12 for banking table games and $1,141.70 for non-banking table games. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore operates 2,200 slot machines and 178 (153 banking and 25 non-banking) table games. The casino opened on August 26, 2014. 

Maryland Live Casino generated $52,124,828.64 from both slot machines and table games in August. Gross gaming revenue per unit per day was: $278.83 for slot machines, $3,199.41 for banking table games and $1,326.39 for non-banking table games. Maryland Live’s August 2015 revenue decreased by $5,201,508, or 9.1%, from August 2014. Maryland Live Casino operates 4,059 slot machines and 202 (150 banking and 52 non-banking) table games. 

Casino at Ocean Downs generated $6,075,822 from slot machines in August, and its gross gaming revenue per unit per day was $244.88. Casino at Ocean Downs’ August 2015 revenue increased by $138,151, or 2.3%, from August 2014. The Casino at Ocean Downs operates 800 slot machines, and does not have table games.


Westminster Man Arrested After Overnight Stabbing

OCEAN CITY, MD – (September 7, 2015): A Sterling, VA man suffered minor, non-life threatening injuries after an altercation ended with a stabbing. The suspect was arrested shortly after fleeing the scene.

On September 6, 2015, at approximately 10:20 p.m. Ocean City police responded to a hotel in the area of 48th Street in reference to a stabbing. As officers arrived on scene, they began treating a 29-year-old male victim of Sterling, VA that was suffering from a minor stab wound on his chest. Ocean City EMS responded to continue treatment and transported the victim to Peninsula Regional Medical Center with minor, non-life threatening injuries.

Prior to the incident, officers determined that the victim and a group of males were involved in an altercation in the area of 49th Street then when their separate ways. As the victim was walking away, the males pulled into the area in a vehicle, exited the vehicle and began fighting with the victim again. One of the males, later identified as Joseph L. Rodriguez, 23, of Westminster, MD, then stabbed the victim with a knife before fleeing the area in the vehicle.

Officers broadcasted a description of the vehicle and it was stopped a short time later in the area of 3rd Street and Philadelphia Avenue by Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police. Ocean City police responded and arrested Rodriguez without incident.

Rodriguez has been charged with first degree assault, second degree assault, reckless endangerment and possession of a weapon with intent to injure. Rodriguez is currently being held at the Ocean City Public Safety Building pending an initial appearance before a Maryland District Court Commissioner.

Netanyahu: I Won't Allow Israel to Be 'Submerged' by Refugees

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said he would not allow Israel to be "submerged" by refugees after calls for the Jewish state to take in those fleeing Syria's war.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu also announced the start of construction of a fence along Israel's border with Jordan, according to his office.

"We will not allow Israel to be submerged by a wave of illegal migrants and terrorist activists," Netanyahu said.

"Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of Syrian and African refugees... but Israel is a small country — very small — without demographic or geographic depth. That is why we must control our borders."

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Saturday said Israel should take in Syrian refugees, recalling the plight of Jews who sought refuge from past conflicts.


Cost of small business health plans to decrease by 1.8 percent

While some Marylanders are bracing for a 24 percent spike in individual health plan rates, people who buy insurance as part of a small business group will be in for a much smoother ride into 2016.

The Maryland Insurance Administration on Friday approved rate change requests ranging from a 16.9 percent decrease to an 8.9 percent increase for small group plans. Overall, small group rates will decline 1.8 percent in 2016.

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield sought and was granted the largest decrease in small group rates — a decline of 16.9 percent for two of its plans.


Stranger Asks Texas Deputy If He Can Stand Behind Her While She Pumps Gas. Deputy Asks ‘Why?’ Here’s the Answer She Gets.

It was a very early — and very rainy — Thursday morning when Tommi Jones Kelley pulled into a Texas gas station to fill her tank.

A Harris County deputy constable, Kelley was in uniform — and the vehicle she was operating was her patrol car.

Exactly the scenario her fellow officer Darren Goforth was in when he was shot to death late last month.

Soon enough Kelley couldn’t help noticing that a teenager she didn’t know was standing right behind her. Then he asked a question.

“Ma’am, do you mind if I stand here behind you while you get your gas?” Kelly recalled on her
Facebook page.

She wasn’t exactly sure why the young man wanted to do that, so she inquired further: “And why?”

“To make sure you stay safe,” he replied.

Ticket Scalpers Plan To Make Profit From Pope Francis Visit

PHILADELPHIA (WJZ) — When Pope Francis comes to the U.S. later this month, ticket scalpers plan to make a profit from his visit.

Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia on September 26 and 27 as part of his visit to the U.S. and Cuba.

Hundreds of people on eBay and Craigslist are trying to sell train tickets to the pope’s visit for up $40, which is four times their face value.


Green Energy Execs Praised by Clinton Foundation Indicted for $54M Ponzi Scheme

 Executives of a Pennsylvania green energy company singled out for praise by Bill Clinton were arrested on fraud charges on Thursday in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme.

The individuals are facing charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy over their roles in running a green energy company that authorities say was an elaborate $54 million Ponzi scheme, the Associated Press

Prosecutors said the trio lied to investors that their “biochar” technology and “carbon-negative” housing in Tennessee made millions, but they had almost no earnings and used the money to repay earlier investors and for themselves.

The scam allegedly ran from 2005 until 2009, even after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against Wragg and Knorr’s Mantria Corp. They were ordered in 2012 to pay $37 million each. […]

Four good reasons why you should always request a trial for a speed camera citation

Motorists in Maryland who receive a speed camera citation have the option of requesting a trial. Most motorists don't request a trial and simply pay the $40 fine. However, there are several good reasons to ALWAYS request a trial, even if you think that you might decide to just pay the fine before trial.
  • Requesting a trial forces the county (or city) that issued the citation to create an evidence package. As we saw with the Baltimore camera scandal, citation evidence can often be erroneous. During creation of the evidence package, the citation is sometimes "administratively voided" and you never even have to appear in court. Conversely, if you pay the citation without requesting a trial, no further review of the citation is performed. In other words, if you don't request a trial, you lose $40 even if you did nothing wrong.
  • If you go to trial and win, you save $40. The county (or city) gets nothing.  

Navajo president blasts feds after FEMA rejects request for disaster relief from EPA toxic spill

DENVER — Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye unloaded on the federal government Friday after the Federal Emergency Management Agency refused his request for disaster relief resulting from the Environmental Protection Agency’s toxic spill.

The notice came as the EPA began removing emergency water tanks last week provided to Navajo farmers for their livestock.

“We are extremely frustrated with the news that both FEMA and the U.S. EPA have declined our urgent requests to continue assistance to the Navajo Nation,” Mr. Begaye said in a late Friday statement.

Kevin Spacey and Cal Ripken Jr. to Team Up for Fund-Raising Gala

SO far, the closest encounter that Kevin Spacey has had with the Baltimore Orioles was during the second season of the Netflix series “House of Cards,” when his character, Frank Underwood, worried about throwing out the first pitch at an Orioles game. Mr. Underwood, the vice president of the United States, feared embarrassing himself in front of tens of thousands of fans.

From his throwing motion in the episode, his fear was well founded: Frank Underwood can’t throw a baseball much better than an 8-year-old. Mr. Spacey insisted in a recent interview that this was merely acting, not a reflection on his own ability.

“What people don’t understand is I can throw a baseball, but I didn’t want it to look like Frank Underwood could throw a baseball,” Mr. Spacey said. “Politicians can never throw out a baseball.”


Kim Davis No Longer Alone - 30 Judges In North Carolina Refusing Homosexual Marriage

More than 30 magistrates in North Carolina have refused to perform weddings. But thanks to a new state law, they were able to do so legally.

Right after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in June, the state passed a law allowing officials to opt out of performing all marriages.

The law exempts court officials with a “sincerely held religious objection” and is designed for those opposing gay marriage.

Salisbury City Council Work Session Agenda & Packet for TUESDAY 9-8-15


Fewer fires, so why are there far more firefighters?

 If you want to chat with a firefighter or see a fire truck up close, you can go down to the local firehouse at any time of day. The crew will probably be there, lifting weights or washing down the already gleaming red engines. Career firefighters usually live at the firehouse for a day or two, then take as many as three days off. Between eating and sleeping at the station, they mop floors, clean toilets and landscape the yard — with a few hours set aside daily for training and drills. Mid-morning, you’ll find several of them at the local supermarket doing the day’s grocery shopping.

In other words, being a firefighter these days doesn’t involve a lot of fighting fire.

Rapid improvements in fire safety have caused a dramatic drop in the number of blazes,
according to the National Fire Protection Association. Buildings are constructed with fire-resistant materials; clothing and curtains are made of flame-retardant fabrics; and municipal laws mandate sprinkler systems and smoke detectors. The striking results: On highways, vehicle fires declined 64 percent from 1980 to 2013. Building fires fell 54 percent during that time. When they break out, sprinkler systems almost always extinguish the flames before firefighters can turn on a hose.

Price to jump for most popular health plan on Maryland insurance exchange

The price of the most popular health plans sold through Maryland’s insurance exchange will jump, on average, by about one quarter next year, fueling questions about whether coverage under the Affordable Care Act will remain affordable in the state and elsewhere.

The 26 percent average increase in monthly premiums are for CareFirst plans, which cover three-fourths of the state residents who have bought insurance under the federal health-care law. The price jump, scheduled for January, is among rate changes that the state’s insurance regulators have approved for plans sold to individual families and small businesses.

The increases were announced Friday by state Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr.


Hogan outlines across-the-board agency cuts

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan has outlined the specifics in his cost-savings plan to cut 2 percent from state agencies across the board, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press on Friday outlining the specifics.

Hogan included the spending reductions in his January budget proposal to address a deficit he inherited. The Legislature approved them. However, the incoming Republican governor waited to name the specific reductions to give his new administration more time to find savings.

Details of the planned cuts come in the same week the state reported that it ended the last fiscal year with a higher-than-expected budget balance of about $295 million, largely from $214 million in higher state revenues on income taxes. Still, Maryland faces a budget deficit in future years, David Brinkley, Hogan’s budget secretary, wrote in a letter announcing the cuts.


FEC Must Investigate Democratic National Committee for Employing Illegal Alien to Craft 2016 Political Message

Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission requesting that it investigate the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for having “knowingly hired” an illegal alien, Cindy Nava, to help craft the committee’s 2016 political message and communications. Judicial Watch filed its complaint on August 25, 2015.

A June 8, 2015, story in The Washington Post reported that the DNC hired Nava with full knowledge of what DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) termed Nava’s “undocumented status.” The news report details that “Despite not yet attaining legal status, Nava is working for the Democratic National Committee as one of a crop of fellows from around the country helping the party organize ahead of a presidential election that President Obama predicted would feature immigration as a major issue.” The Spanish language newspaper El Nuevo Herald reports that Nava would help coordinate DNC outreach to “women, youth, and Hispanics.”

Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from participating “directly or indirectly in the decision-making process” of federal, state, or local election-related activities.

The Judicial Watch FEC complaint charges:


Comptroller Reminds Marylanders: “Act Now, Pay Now” Tax Amnesty Program Runs Sept.1 – Oct. 30

Enacted by Maryland General Assembly; Applications Accepted Beginning Today

ANNAPOLIS, Md.  Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot reminds delinquent taxpayers that they have from September 1 through October 30, 2015 to take advantage of Maryland’s “Act Now, Pay Now” amnesty period. The Tax Amnesty program, enacted by the General Assembly, gives delinquent taxpayers one final opportunity to pay their Maryland tax liability with only half of the interest owed. Tax Amnesty applications will be accepted beginning September 1, 2015.

“Tax Amnesty is a limited and rare opportunity for tax delinquents to settle any outstanding liabilities,” said Comptroller Franchot. “It’s vital for all Marylanders to do the right thing and pay their taxes which support important public services benefitting everyone in our great state.”

Taxpayers who failed to file a required return or pay a tax imposed on or before December 31, 2014, may file an application with the Comptroller requesting a waiver of all civil penalties (except for previously assessed fraud penalties) and one-half interest due. The waivers will be granted for all taxpayers who file their applications on time and meet the terms of the program. Payments made prior to September 1 are not eligible for the tax amnesty program.

SWAT Team Raids Home, Kills Man Over $2 Worth of Pot

A Florida family seeks justice after their son Jason Westcott, was killed by members of a SWAT team, during a “drug raid” on his house which yielded only $2.00 worth of marijuana.

An ‘internal investigation’ absolved officers of any wrongdoing though police only found .02 grams of marijuana in Westcott’s home.

“They have IA, they have internal investigations but when you police yourself, you have that veil of concern by the outsider,” said attorney T.J. Grimaldi.

On Tuesday, attorney T.J. Grimaldi, representing the family of Westcott, informed the city that family would be filing a lawsuit, after finding numerous “glaring inconsistencies” in police statements in the aftermath of the killing.


Young Child Loses Life in Inlet After Evening Swim

OCEAN CITY, MD – : An evening at the beach became a tragedy for a local family yesterday. At approximately 7 p.m., Ocean City Fire Department and Beach Patrol rescue swimmers responded to the Inlet after Ocean City Communications received a call for a young swimmer in distress.

According to witnesses, the victim, an 8-year-old female, was swimming with friends in shallow water when she was struck by a wave. The young girl was overcome by the wave and pulled in to the inlet waters.

Minutes later, an on-duty Maryland Natural Resources Police patrol vessel responded to the area and located the child nearly a quarter of a mile off shore. The victim, whose name has not been released, was taken to the United States Coast Guard Station, where Ocean City EMS continued life-saving efforts.

The child was immediately taken to Atlantic General Hospital, where she was later pronounced deceased. An autopsy to confirm the cause and manner of death is currently being conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, however; the results were not available at the time of this release.

Worcester County Sheriff's Office Press Release 9-7-15

Date & Time: 08/31/2015 1805 HRS
Case #: 15-0000802
Location Occurred: Berlin Walmart; 11416 Ocean Gateway
Crime or Violation: Theft/CDS Violations
Accused: Michael James Swader II, W/M, DOB 08/31/1994
Charges Theft +1,000/Theft Scheme +1,000, Drug Paraphernalia, Drug Paraphernalia (Hypodermic Needles)
Narrative: On 08/31/15 at approximately 5:48 pm, members of the Worcester County Sheriff's Office responded to the Berlin Walmart in reference to a theft complaint.

Upon arrival, deputies located the suspect who was later identified as Michael James Swader, W/M, age 20, of Pasadena, MD hiding in his vehicle in the parking lot.

Deputies later learned that Swader had stolen a total of 23 Wii game controllers from 08/23/2015-08/31/2015. The total value of the stolen merchandise was $1,233.33

A search later revealed Swader was in possession of drug paraphernalia including hypodermic needles.

Swader was charged with theft $1,000-10,000, theft scheme $1,000-10,000, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of drug paraphernalia (hypodermic needles). Swader was taken before a District Court Commissioner and held on $5,000 bond.

Michelle Obama’s Birthday Tweet to Beyonce Includes Extra Message That Rubs a Few Folks the Wrong Way

You can’t exactly fault first lady Michelle Obama for sending superstar R&B singer Beyonce a happy birthday tweet — the pair do go back a ways.

Since Beyonce performed at both of President Obama’s inaugurations, such a social media greeting is far from surprising.

But Obama’s birthday tweet to Beyonce on Friday included an extra message that thanked her “for being a role model for young girls around the world” —