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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Unions share blame for poor student performance

Last week, the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test scores were released. American students’ grade? Not so good.

American 15-year-olds ranked 39th internationally in math. Our kids are scoring lower than peers in countries our students couldn’t find on a map. This score marks a drop from our 2012 performance, which in turn was a drop from the test in 2009. (The test is administered every three years.) U.S. performance in reading and science also declined since 2009. “We’re losing ground,” said Education Secretary John B. King Jr. “A troubling prospect when, in today’s knowledge-based economy, the best jobs can go anywhere in the world.” Clearly, a new approach is needed.

Teacher unions are the largest influence in the running of too many American schools. Predictably, those unions have tried to pass the buck by attributing poor grades to a lack of government funding. American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten and her team are ground zero for these failures and lame excuses. She claims the low scores “were predictable given the impact of the last 15 years of U.S. education policies combined with continuing state disinvestment .” Translation: We need more money.

But this whining from Ms. Weingarten doesn’t pass the smell test. According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data, the United States spends roughly one-third more per student ($11,700) than the 35-nation OECD average.


Former UK Ambassador: 'I Met The DNC Leaker And He Isn't Russian'

Craig Murray calls "bullsh*t" on CIA claims

Former UK ambassador Craig Murray is calling “bullsh*t” on claims that Russia hacked the DNC in an effort to help Donald Trump win the election, asserting that he met the DNC leaker and that he wasn’t Russian.

Despite the Washington Post admitting that there was no conclusive evidence the Kremlin directed the hacker who leaked the DNC emails and the subsequent Podesta emails, the mainstream media is going wild with the baseless conspiracy theory that Putin helped Trump defeat Clinton in a bid to de-legitimize Trump or even force another vote.

“I know who leaked them,” Murray told the Guardian. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider.”

Murray points out that the DNC emails were leaked not hacked, by an insider who was most likely upset at Clinton and the DNC rigging the primary against Bernie Sanders.

Wikileaks has also denied all along that the source behind the DNC leaks was Russia, with Julian Assange alluding to the probability that it was murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich.


ICE spends $100 million ferrying illegal immigrant children around U.S., watchdog says

The federal agency that handles deportations spent more than $100 million of its money over the last few years to ferry illegal immigrant children around the U.S., according to calculations by a watchdog group that says the cash could have been better spent on enforcement.

Government figures obtained by the Immigration Reform Law Institute through an open records request show Immigration and Customs Enforcement spent an average of $665 per juvenile in 2014, with most of that going to the cost of airplane flights to shuttle the children among government agencies, to relatives here in the U.S. or back to their home countries — if they’re deported.

At that rate, ICE will spend about $4.5 million flying just the children nabbed at the border in October, and somewhere north of $100 million since the surge began in earnest in 2014.

“It’s insult to injury on a massive scale,” said Dale Wilcox, executive director of IRLI.


Former Dem Congressman Chaka Fattah Receives 10-Year Sentence on Corruption Charges

Former Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison on federal corruption charges, including fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.

Fattah, who represented several areas of Philadelphia in Congress, was convicted in June on 23 charges of corruption. His prison sentence will begin on Jan. 25, accordingthe Philadelphia Inquirer. Prosecutors had asked that Fattah receive 17 to 22 years in prison, the Inquirer reported earlier.

Prosecutors have asked that the Philadelphia Democrat receive a term of 17 to 22 years, but the defense has requested a much shorter term, calling the government’s recommendation “extreme” and “unnecessarily harsh.” They said such a punishment would be the longest prison term ever meted out to a member of Congress for corruption.


One in six US adults takes psychiatric drugs, study says

(CNN)About one in six American adults took a psychiatric drug -- most often antidepressants, sedatives or antipsychotics -- at least once during 2013, according to a new research letter published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Because the results came from self-reported data, the actual numbers may be higher, say co-authors Thomas J. Moore, a senior scientist, drug safety and policy, at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and lecturer at Milken Institute School of Public Health of The George Washington University, and Dr. Donald R. Mattison, chief medical officer at Risk Sciences International in Ottawa.

Importantly, the study found that older adults, between the ages of 60 and 85, are now the highest users of psychiatric medicines: More than a quarter of people between the ages of 60 and 85 reported use, compared with just 9% of those between the ages of 18 and 39 and nearly 18% of adults between the ages of 40 and 59.


JUST IN: Alan Thicke dies at 69

TV icon Alan Thicke has died ... TMZ has learned.

We're told Alan had a heart attack while he was playing hockey with his 19-year-old son, Carter. He was transported to Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center around noon today, and pronounced dead there.

Law enforcement sources tell us ... a company that recovers organs was contacted, so some of Thicke's organs could be donated.

He's survived by his 3 sons -- Robin, Brennan and Carter ... and his wife, Tanya.


10 Ways the CIA 'Russian Hacking' Story is Left-Wing 'Fake News'

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pledged to support a congressional investigation into whether Russian hacking affected the 2016 election. Republicans have nothing to fear from such an investigation, because they won the election fair and square.

No, Russia is not the friend that President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent several years pretending it was. But the idea that Russian hackers coronated Trump is only the latest left-wing opiate — after white supremacists and “fake news” — designed to dull the pain of electoral defeat, and postpone the reckoning that must occur if Democrats are to pose a significant threat as an opposition party at any time in the near future.

Here are just ten of the reasons the “Russian hacking” story is a sham — a left-wing twist on the red-baiting McCarthyism of the 1950s.

1. There is actually no new information leading the CIA to its conclusion. TheNew York Times reports: “The C.I.A.’s conclusion does not appear to be the product of specific new intelligence obtained since the election, several American officials, including some who had read the agency’s briefing, said on Sunday. Rather, it was an analysis of what many believe is overwhelming circumstantial evidence — evidence that others feel does not support firm judgments — that the Russians put a thumb on the scale for Mr. Trump, and got their desired outcome.” In other words, someone only decided after Trump won that the accusation was worth making.


Anti-censorship group urges Accomack schools to revise challenged book policy

ACCOMAC, Va. (WAVY) — The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is urging Accomack County Public Schools to revise its policy for responding to challenged books.

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” were temporarily suspended on November 29, after a parent complained about the novels’ use of offensive racial slurs. School policy, listed here under “KLB,” dictated the books be temporarily removed from circulation following the complaint.

The school district announced last week that the books would be immediately returned to school library shelves.

The NCAC had sent a letter to school officials, demanding that they reverse their decision about the suspension of the books. After the Accomack County School Board voted to permanently reinstate the two novels, the group praised the decision.

Now, NCAC is recommending the district pursue an “innocent until proven guilty” approach to future book challenges.


Woman Nearly Dies After Taking Routine Dose of Ibuprofen

"It still frightens me to think that I ended up in hospital after taking what I regarded as a safe medicine"

Most of us take ibuprofen for general aches and pains without a second thought.

However, one UK woman almost died from internal bleeding after taking the recommended dose of the common medication to ease symptoms of her cold virus.

45-year-old Christine Smith was rushed to the hospital after taking the recommended 200mg dose of ibuprofen every four hours. Her doctors found that she had severe internal bleeding from the over the counter medication.

Smith, who originally took the pills for a common cold, noted that she was starting to feel worse instead of better. After a couple of days, she began passing black stools, which can be a serious symptom of internal bleeding.

She consulted a health website which assessed her symptoms were serious, so she made an appointment with her doctor the next day. Alarmed at Smith’s condition, the doctor rushed her to the hospital where she was met by a medic due to the severity of her symptoms.


Oklahoma May Require Restroom Signs in Anti-Abortion Effort

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma plans to force hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce abortions in the state.

The State Board of Health will consider regulations for the signs on Tuesday. Businesses and other organizations will have to pay an estimated $2.3 million to put up the signs because the Legislature didn’t approve any money for them.

The provision for the signs was tucked into a law that the Legislature passed this year that requires the state to develop informational material “for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.” The signs must be posted by January 2018.


Morning Joe Host: Hillary Censored Us, Interfered In Election

Colorado internet-tax case could change online shopping

DENVER (AP) — Buying things online could get pricier after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a case Monday that could ultimately lead to states collecting billions of dollars in sales taxes lost to increasingly popular internet retailers.

The court would not hear a challenge to a Colorado law requiring online sellers such as to notify customers and the state how much they owe in taxes. State officials have estimated that Colorado alone has been missing out on as much as $172.7 million a year.

At least three other states — Louisiana, Oklahoma and Vermont — have passed similar laws that could take effect given the resolution of the Colorado case.

Though the court didn’t endorse Colorado’s law and could even weigh in against it if given a different case, other states are likely to see Monday’s move as a green light to step up collection efforts. That comes despite a 1992 Supreme Court decision saying retailers must have a physical presence in a state before officials can make them collect sales tax.


There’s a Psy-OP, All Right, But It Isn’t “The Russians”

Enough with “the Russians” already. This “Russian Disinformation” and “Russian Hacking” stuff is getting more ridiculous by the day.

First, don’t let the irony escape you that most, if not all, of the pundits breathlessly blaming the Russians for “fake news” and “election interference” are the very ones who were saying that Hillary Clinton was a shoe-in for president. They’re the ones who were providing her campaign with questions in advance, and allowing her people to approve/disapprove of articles.

Secondly, many of the entities blamed for spreading “Russian propaganda” were the ones with the audacity to tell the truth about the Clinton crime family and spread knowledge of the information released by Wikileaks. Obviously, I’m not including those Macedonian college kidsin this, but keep in mind that they weren’t doing it for the Russians – they were doing it to make money.

This isn’t about the Russians at all, which anyone with half a brain realizes is absolutely ridiculous.

Here’s what this really is.


Doctors Unable To Save Eye Of Officer Kicked By DUI Suspect

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say doctors were unable to save one of the eyes of a Pima County sheriff’s officer who was injured when an uncooperative drunken-driving suspect intentionally kicked him with her boot.

The sheriff’s office says the officer was injured Saturday as 28-year-old Yesennia Gonzalez resisted officers and started to kick when officers tried to get her into a patrol car.

Gonzalez is accused of kicking Sgt. Mark Bustamante in his left eye.

Bustamante underwent surgery for his injury, but doctors were not able to save his eye.


Homeschoolers tagged as truant in major U.S. city

Lawsuit: 'Needless, intrusive investigations of innocent parents'

Education officials in New York City are submitting what amounts to “false reports” to those who enforce laws protecting the well-being of children of homeschooling families because they simply will not process the paperwork the families file in a timely fashion.

So alleges a lawsuit filed on behalf of homeschool families by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

The problem is that although parents are filling out all the required paperwork to homeschool and submitting it on a timely basis, the city’s education department lets it sit.

That means students who are in legitimately homeschooling are counted truant by the city, which then dispatches Child Protective Services agents to investigate.

“Rather than follow the clear direction of New York’s regulation governing homeschooling, these defendants regularly make demands not included in the regulation and fail to follow the deadlines imposed on them by the regulation,” the complaint says.

“This routine, repeated bureaucratic indifference to the rights of parents to choose homeschooling has led to significant delays and loss of services, and has caused false reports of educational neglect to be made to the New York City Administration of Children’s Services … which have then caused needless, intrusive investigations of innocent parents.”


Secret Santa Pays Off $46K In Layaways At Pennsylvania Store

EVERETT, Pa. (AP) — Wal-Mart says a “Secret Santa” paid off 194 layaway accounts worth more than $46,000 at one of its western Pennsylvania stores.

WJAC-TV says the discount chain announced the gift Friday. It was received Wednesday by employees at a store in Everett, Bedford County. That’s about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

A company spokesman tells the station that a woman walked into the store on behalf of a “Secret Santa” with a check to pay off the accounts.


Trump bashes NBC Nightly News for 'biased, inaccurate and bad' coverage

President-elect Donald Trump has a new target at NBC: Nightly News.

A serial tweeter, Trump routinely trashes the network's Saturday Night Live program from his account and bashed Nightly News on Sunday after it aired a report that took a critical look at his split with the intelligence community.

He's not sitting for daily briefings and rejects the CIA's assessment that Russia engineered hacks on Democratic operatives to help him win the election.

'Just watched @NBCNightlyNews - So biased, inaccurate and bad, point after point. Just can't get much worse, although @CNN is right up there!' Trump said.


Mountaire Selbyville faces a nearly $40,000 fine after OSHA inspection

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations and a $40,000 fine for Mountaire’s Selbyville poultry processing facility for five s violations after a worker lost a finger.

OSHA’s inspection began on June 3 after Mountaire reported that a worker suffered a finger amputation while operating a packaging machine.

Inspectors found serious violations associated with electrical and process safety management hazards, and deficiencies in the procedures meant to prevent accidental machine start-up or movement, known as lockout/tag out, a contributing factor in the amputation.


Married people reveal what changes in relationships after marriage on Reddit

It's been said relationships tend to go downhill after couples say 'I do,' but is marriage really a game changer as they say?

Married couples have taken to Reddit to reveal how much relationships actually change once they've tied the knot.

The forum asked: 'Married people, what's changed from when you were dating to now?'

Men and women opened up with a range of answers from the searingly honest: 'Dated for two years. Been married for four. Sex has changed, he doesn't have sex with me as much anymore. We don't go out much on dates. When we do, it's awkward as hell'.

While others were happy to admit a wedding ring had left them relishing time away from their other halves.


Man Who Wrote 14th Amendment Explains Who It Included...This Is Going to Devastate Liberals

Following the release of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policies, a national debate has been sparked regarding the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and the idea of birthright citizenship.

 Many have argued that the 14th Amendment infers automatic citizenship upon any person born within the United States, even if the person’s parents are in the country illegally.

 This has led to the use of the term “anchor babies” to describe such persons, as the citizenship they are granted upon birth acts as an anchor to keep the family from being deported, despite their lack of legal status.

But that simply isn’t what was intended by the 14th Amendment, as proven by the words of the very man who authored the amendment in 1866, Michigan Sen. Jacob M. Howard.

Howard explained in writing exactly what the scope of the law was when he introduced it, making it quite clear that it was referring to granting citizenship to the recently freed slaves only, not foreigners or even Native Americans.

According to The Federalist Papers Project, Howard wrote, in part, “that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States.”


Maryland Judiciary Expands MDEC and Electronic Filing to Lower Eastern Shore

E-filing Now Mandatory in All Eastern Shore Counties

(ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND) —The Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC) case management system is now operational in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. The launch of MDEC in a county makes e-filing mandatory for attorneys representing clients in civil and criminal cases in the circuit court and the District Court, as well as in appeals filed in the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals. Self-represented litigants may also e-file, but are not required to do so. This latest expansion completes the migration of all Eastern Shore counties. MDEC is now operational in more than 40 percent of Maryland’s state courts.

“The Maryland Judiciary has made great progress in bringing electronic filing and case management to all Maryland state courts,” said Chief Judge Barbera. “Modernizing systems and streamlining processes are key parts of the Judiciary’s strategic plan for improving services for all who enter the courts. I appreciate the dedication and commitment demonstrated by every Judiciary employee throughout the design and implementation of this important project to benefit the people of Maryland.”

MDEC simplifies court processes, making filing court actions and pleadings more convenient for litigants. Maryland attorneys first began filing electronically in October 2014, when MDEC launched as a pilot in Anne Arundel County. The new system eliminates most paper-based filing.

11 reasons not to trust Obama’s CIA

Exclusive: Joseph Farah explains background of agency chief John Brennan

I’m glad someone as distinguished as former U.N Ambassador John Bolton said it first and not me.

On Fox News Sunday, he said he doesn’t trust Barack Obama’s heavily politicized intelligence agencies to make a clear, objective conclusion that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee and released tens of thousands of emails to WikiLeaks to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidency last month.

“It is not at all clear to me, just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC was not a false flag operation,” he said. “We just don’t know. But I believe that intelligence has been politicized in the Obama administration to a very significant degree.”

Exactly – I was thinking the same thought.

Look who runs the CIA – John Brennan. Do I really need to say more?

For those of you who don’t know who I am talking about, let me fill you in on his unofficial, but verified, certified resume:


What's Happening? 12-13-16

Let us know what is happening in the area!  The good the bad and the ugly.

Berlin MSP Press Release 12-13-16

Pennsylvania woman 'collected $130,000 in welfare benefits for children who never existed'

A Pennsylvania woman has been jailed on charges that she collected $130,000 in state welfare benefits for three children who don't exist.

Sabrina Strothers is accused of claiming to give birth to three children in 2008 named Thomas, Tomalyia and Tyreik Wilson, investigators determined.

The Allegheny County district attorney announced the charges Monday against the 23-year-old.

Strothers' cousin reported her to Pittsburgh officials in January.

When investigators checked the children's Social Security numbers against government records, they determined the numbers belonged to people born in 1887, 1945 and 1960.

Strothers is accused of receiving nearly $130,000 in illegal benefits.


Hillary’s done it now

Hillary's post-election speech about fake news was beyond the pale, the height of arrogance and deceit. Her wickedness makes my skin crawl.

Blaming fake news for her loss, this deplorable woman had the chutzpah to say:

... it’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences. Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs. Its a danger that must be addressed.

So we are supposed to believe that Hillary cares about ordinary people. Remember the leaked emails exposing Hillary's team’s disdain for Catholics, Southerners, needy Latinos, and common folks?

Knowing how the Democrats roll, Hillary saying fake news is “a danger that must be addressed” is yet another attack on free speech, justifying government censorship and regulations. Why are leftists called liberals when they are power-obsessed control freaks?

Meanwhile, Hillary and her leftist minions planted, watered, and nurtured fake news that continues to reap them a bountiful harvest of racial hate and division. Hillary and Company's fake news has painted a bright red bulls-eye on the backs of America's police, our brave men and women in blue.

Hillary's long list of lies that have devastated lives and even led to the deaths of Americans is well documented. And yet her fake news speech emitted an air of moral superiority. Clearly, Hillary will continue lying and deceiving the American people for as long as she can get away with it – no remorse, no humility, and no humanity.


Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn to play key role in setting Trump's economic policy

Gary Cohn, president of Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs, will play a key role in shaping President-elect Trump's economic policies, as the announced pick to direct the National Economic Council.

The selection of the 56-year-old Cohn, announced Monday, again elevates the influence of Goldman Sachs' alumni within the incoming Trump administration. Steven Mnuchin, Trump's choice for treasury secretary, and Steve Bannon, his pick for top political strategist, also worked at the bank.

Although Trump promoted anti-establishment and anti-Wall Street rhetoric during the campaign, he has stocked his White House with insiders such as Cohn, who has worked for Goldman Sachs for 25 years.

As is typical for top industry figures, Cohn has supported both major political parties. In the 2016 campaign, he backed Clinton rather than Trump, but over the years he has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to both Democrats and Republicans.


Why It's a Mistake to Push All Students Into STEM Careers

For a number of years, the education industry has been creating initiatives to urge primary and secondary students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This push was initially spurred by cries from employers that were having trouble finding enough technical talent.

STEM career fields, which include the medical sciences, tend to pay well and provide steady work, but they are not for everyone. That last statement seems like it should go without saying because it’s true for most things in life. Unfortunately, the way STEM is being promoted, it seems that parents, educators, and politicians don’t seem to understand that.

I’ve spent my entire adult life in science and technology fields as a student, researcher, supervisor, and educator. My original decision to go to college was a last minute one based mostly on the fact that I was 18, had nothing better to do, and had no discernible skills.

Why I chose to go into science is somewhat of a mystery considering I was never a good student, and even my ninth-grade algebra teacher told me not to consider a career field requiring math. However, after several changes in majors, I finally switched to physics.


Sharp YouTube Videos Demolish Progressive Ideology, And The Left Isn’t Happy

Equipping Americans to defend what makes the U.S. great, Prager University is a highly successful online think tank that has a knack for creating short, sharp, animated videos that distill complex ideas to their essence.

Conservative radio show host Dennis Prager believes these videos can “change the world, five minutes at a time.” Allen Estrin, the executive director of PragerU, says the videos are “like potato chips; you can’t just watch one.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation interviewed Estrin, who has worked with Prager University for five years and has been the executive producer of the Dennis Prager radio show for 12 years. A former Hollywood screenwriter, Estrin’s talent lies in embedding effective storytelling into over 150 videos now online.

Traffic has gone from 1.6 million views four years ago to over 200 million in 2016. Estrin is startled with the “shocking growth” of this online university.


Dear Husbands of Stay-At-Home Moms: There's Something Your Wife Wants This Christmas...

Dear husbands of stay-at-home moms:

Listen very carefully, okay? I know you’re busy and there’s a lot on your plate. And you think you’ve already done your Christmas shopping and you’re really proud of yourself for getting it done early. And you think your wife is going to love the necklace from Tiffany’s you picked out and you can’t wait to see it on her. But I want you to read this. Or skim it. Or whatever. Just, listen.

Your wife will love the necklace from Tiffany’s (or whatever it was that you got her). She’ll smile and tell you that you shouldn’t have spent so much money even though she’s really touched that you did. And she’ll love all the other things you got her too. She really will. But there’s something she wants for Christmas this year that she didn’t ask for. And that’s what I want to tell you about.

She wants time. Time to herself. No, no wait, not a date night. I mean, she’d probably love that too. She loves spending time with you and that would be a really great gift. But I’m sure you thought of that already. No. Time to herself. Without you. Without the kids. Without her friends. Alone.


Microsoft's New Ad Features Only Left-Wing Causes

What would we do without a tech company telling us how to think? Microsoft just released its holiday ad, and instead of featuring anything remotely Christmas related, it chose to highlight a lot of liberal causes. "Talk to a Muslim," Black Lives Matter, and the Human Rights Campaign are among them. What's funny is that the ad's tagline is about coming together... so they alienate half of the nation.


Germany Combats Antisemitism with New 'Rent-a-Jew' Program

Do we have horns? Do we all know each other? Why do we control Hollywood, the media, and the banking industry?

Curious Germans might find answers to these questions through a new program designed to combat antisemitism called "Rent-A-Jew." Many Germans "have never met a Jewish person," writes Deutsche Welle, and the new program wants to change that.

There is a reason many of us "Jews" aren't milling about Germany anymore.

How many of you have met a Jew?" At a technical college in Solingen, Western Germany, 15 out of 20 cautious teenagers answer with just as many variations of no.

"I've most likely crossed paths with one," says one student. "But I wouldn't necessarily know."

We are stereotyped as sneaky, after all.

"You never forget your first," the project's tagline reads. The initiative - with its admittedly provocative name - was launched by the Munich-based European Janusz Korczak Academy.


Mapping The Top States For Resettling Refugees In 2016

The Obama administration admitted nearly 85,000 refugees into the United States in fiscal year 2016, the highest number since 1999. Moreover, as we noted back in September, Obama's administration has laid the groundwork to increase that number even further in fiscal year 2017 to 110,000 (see "Hillbama Administration Plans To Admit At Least 110,000 Refugees In 2017").

Of course, not every state is doing their "fair share" to house the massive influx of immigrants with Pew Research Center recently pointing out that the top ten states are taking in 54% of refugees.


Pugh & Hogan Making Good on Promise to Work Together

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Governor Larry Hogan appear to be making good on their promise to work together for the benefit of the City.

Pugh comes to City Hall as a democrat and consensus builder. Republican Governor Larry Hogan was present at her inauguration and has made several trips to Baltimore in the past seven days.

“Maryland is stronger when our state and local leaders work together. When we agree to put aside our partisanship and put aside our differences in order to do the right thing for the people we represent,” said Hogan at the mayoral inauguration.


Macy's Pulls Financial Support From Planned Parenthood

A department store giant has pro-lifers singing its praises this Christmas. On Wednesday, corporate watchdog 2ndVote revealed that Macy’s no longer gives or matches donations to Planned Parenthood, calling the decision "another Miracle on 34th Street."

Via The Washington Times:

The famous department store group has dropped the role of benefactor to Planned Parenthood, the researchers report — their decision prompted by pro-life customers who complained about the practice. And Macy’s responded. Still, 36 other major retailers and businesses continue donating to the cause, including Ben & Jerry’s, Nike, American Express, Starbucks and Verizon. The complete list is here

“This Christmas, pro-lifers should consider shopping at Macy’s. Because, as it turns out, the giant chain listens to its conservative consumers,” notes Katie Yoder, an analyst with who also monitors corporate advocacy efforts, including this development.

2ndVote's press statement expressed appreciation for the timing of Macy’s announcement.


Taiwan Play: Trump Knows China Needs Us More than We Need Them

Although China, with its huge Treasury bond holdings, was seen during the Obama administration as having a strong hand in trade negotiations, President-elect Trump is aggressively communicating that the need for access to U.S. consumers is China’s weakness.

George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures in a new report concludes that:

China is more economically dependent on the U.S. than the U.S. is on China. This is because the U.S. is not wholly reliant on China for any strategically important commodities or products, the U.S. has significant extra capacity in many of its manufacturing sectors, and the U.S. is resilient to Chinese retaliatory moves.

Despite the U.S. depending on imports of cheap Chinese products and certain commodities, such as rare earth elements, America could quickly find alternatives if necessary. In a trade war between China and the U.S., both would suffer short-term consequences, but China would feel the impact of U.S. protectionist measures much more and for far longer than the U.S. would feel any economic retaliation.


As Trump takes aim at unions, labor's clout has dipped in Maryland

Labor unions have been among the most vocal critics of Donald Trump and his expanding team of economic advisers, sounding warnings over the president-elect's positions on a range of issues and promising to stymie his policy agenda when warranted.

Alas, federal data indicate the influence of labor unions — at least when it comes to membership — is waning. A recent analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that union membership as a percentage of the entire labor force declined in 24 states in 2015, while some 34 states and the District of Columbia were down from where they were a decade earlier. Union membership in Maryland declined 2.9 percent during that time, and ranks 29th in the total percentage of the state's workforce that belongs to a union.'


Fact-challenged Brian Williams whines about fake news

WASHINGTON — Brian Williams — who was bounced from his NBC anchor job for fabricating stories — is furious about the spread of “fake news.”

The talking head, who was forced to take a six-month vacation last year before being permanently relieved of his “Nightly News” duties on NBC, railed about the ­epidemic of “fake news” in his late-night MSNBC cable show this week.

“Fake news played a role in this election and continues to find a wide audience,” he whined Tuesday night on “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams.”

Specifically, Williams singled out President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, and the general’s son, Michael G. Flynn, for spreading falsehoods.


FBI, CIA Can't Get Their Stories Straight About Russian Hacking

It appears that the intelligence community and counter-intelligence community are at odds over discerning motives for the Russians hacking of DNC emails and other efforts at hacking the election.

The CIA offered an assessment that Russia “quite” clearly intended to help Republican Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton and clinch the White House. But the FBI was far more circumspect in its analysis, giving rise to confusion on Capitol Hill.

Washington Post:

During a similar Senate Intelligence Committee briefing held the previous week, the CIA’s statements, as reflected in the letter the lawmakers now held in their hands, were “direct and bald and unqualified” about Russia’s intentions to help Trump, according to one of the officials who attended the House briefing.

The FBI official’s remarks to the lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee were, in comparison, “fuzzy” and “ambiguous,” suggesting to those in the room that the bureau and the agency weren’t on the same page, the official said.


Number of ISIS Left in Mosul Close to Original Levels at Start of Campaign

Defense officials confirmed that the Islamic State has been pumping reinforcements into Mosul during the battle that was launched in mid-October, but said the maintained level of militants there doesn't indicate a stalemate.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter dropped into Iraq on Sunday to thank U.S. forces and visit with regional leaders including Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani, as well as Peshmerga fighters.

Carter toured Qayyarah West Airfield, a staging point and logistics hub for the operation to retake Mosul from ISIS, with Lt. Gen. Steve Townsend, commander of Operation Inherent Resolve.

"This hasn't been an easy fight, won't be an easy fight, but today I discussed it with Prime Minister Abadi. That was an excellent meeting with him. And it -- we agreed it's playing out pretty much according to the plan that he and I have been discussing together for these many months," Carter told reporters.


New York Times Hires Reporter Who Sent Stories To Clinton Staffers For Approval

Politico’s Glenn Thrush, who was exposed in WikiLeaks emails sending stories to Hillary Clinton staffers before publication, will be joining the New York Times to cover the White House, The Huffington Post reported Monday.

“We’re thrilled that Glenn Thrush is joining The Times,” Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times’ Washington bureau chief, told The Huffington Post. “He’s a premier political journalist, a master of breaking news and long-form story telling and a stellar addition to our White House team.”

While Bumiller described Thrush as a “premier political journalist,” in one email to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, Thrush chose to describe himself as a “hack.”

“No worries Because I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u,” Thrush wrote to Podesta in an April 2015 email. “Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this Tell me if I f&%$ed up anything.”


Police report: Liquor board chairman asked officers to make DUI arrest ‘go away’

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the liquor license commission in Prince George’s County, who was arrested for drunken driving last week on the opening night of MGM National Harbor, repeatedly referenced his job and asked officers if there was a way “we can make this go away,” according to a police report from his Dec. 8 arrest.

Charles Caldwell, 72, the chairman of the Board of License Commissioners was involved in a minor traffic accident about 11:40 p.m. Thursday when his 2006 BMW struck another vehicle where traffic was merging near Monument and National avenues. Caldwell then backed up into another vehicle, police said.

The police report, released by Prince George’s County police Monday evening, stated Caldwell smelled heavily of alcohol, mumbled his speech and nearly fell over multiple times while performing a field sobriety test.

Caldwell has been charged with driving under the influence and other traffic-related offenses.


Wisconsin Recount Ends With Trump EXPANDING Lead Over Clinton

Wisconsin’s presidential election recount ended Monday with President-elect Donald Trump expanding his lead over former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The recount was requested by former Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who cited concerns about hacking and voter fraud to justify the recount. Stein raised more than $3.5 million in donations to finance the effort.

But instead of exposing widespread fraud on Trump’s behalf, the recount found no major discrepancies and expanded Trump’s lead. After a week and a half of recounting, the final tally discovered 1,769 more votes than were counted on election night, and Trump’s lead increased by 162 votes.

The increase in Trumps’s lead amounts to one vote for every $21,605 spent by Stein.


Hillary Claims 'Fake News' Is Endangering The Public, Urges Government Action

Twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton turned a retirement party held for Democratic Senator Harry Reid on Tuesday into a lecture about the dangers posed by an “epidemic of malicious fake news and propaganda.”

Clinton offered no specifics but called on both the government and private companies to clamp down on “fake news,” which she said is putting innocent lives at risk.

“Let me just mention briefly one threat in particular that should concern all Americans, Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike and especially those that serve in our Congress: the epidemic of malicious, fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year,” Clinton said.

“It’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real world consequences. This isn’t about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities.”


'I cried all the way home': Boy who asked for last wish dies in Santa's arms

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Eric Schmitt-Matzen looks every bit the Santa Claus.

His 6-foot frame carries 310 pounds, leaving “just enough of a lap for the kids to sit on,” he says with a gentle Kringley chuckle right out of Central Casting.

No fake facial fuzz for this guy. Schmitt-Matzen’s snowy beard is the real thing, albeit regularly bleached to maintain its whiteness. His shag is so spectacular, in fact, it won first place in the “natural full beard, styled moustache” division of a 2016 national contest sponsored by the Just For Men hair products company.

He’s professionally trained. Custom-tailored in red. Was born on Dec. 6 (that’s Saint Nicholas Day — are you surprised?) Works approximately 80 gigs annually. Wife Sharon plays an authentic Mrs. Claus. His cellphone, with a Jingle Bells ringtone, continually counts down the days until Christmas. Even his civilian attire always includes Santa suspenders.


I Just Couldn't Help Re-Posting This

Hillary’s latest lame excuse for losing

Hillary Clinton has emerged from, in her own words, “taking selfies in the woods” to embrace the latest Democratic excuse for her election loss: so-called fake news.

The latest, that is, in a growing list of scapegoats that so far includes FBI Director James Comey, Russian interference, Anthony Weiner’s cellphone, Fox News and the alt-right.

It includes everything, in fact, save the most obvious reason she lost: She was a lousy candidate who ran a lousy campaign.

Now, Clinton didn’t explicitly blame what she denounced as the “epidemic” of fake news for Donald Trump’s victory.

Speaking at a retirement ceremony for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, she seemed to be referring mostly to the now-famous incident in which a man brought a gun to a pizza parlor after reading online that it was the center of a pedophilia ring.


Hillary pleads to dismiss lawsuit against her

But plaintiffs argue she shouldn't get favors because she's among 'political elite'

Lawyers for twice-failed Oval Office aspirant Hillary Clinton have asked a federal court in Washington, D.C., to dismiss a lawsuit over her statements as secretary of state about the Benghazi terror attack that left four Americans dead.

The plaintiffs are arguing the case should to go trial because she doesn’t deserve special treatment as a member of the “political elite.”

Clinton narrowly averted a default judgment in the case earlier when a judge adopted claims that she wasn’t properly served.

Then she argued in court filings that the case should be dismissed, claiming the plaintiffs, Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, and Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, haven’t properly claimed they were injured.


Watchdog: Obama Spent $100 Million to Transport Foreign Migrants to Their U.S. Destinations

The Immigration Reform Law Institute revealed that a border protection agency has spent more than $100 million in taxpayers’ cash transporting young Central American migrants from the Texas border to their final destinations in the United States.

“We fought for nearly two years to get this data,” said executive director Dale Wilcox. “Now we see why the administration has been less than forthcoming and why they’ve repeatedly tried to blame the costly… surge [of migrants] on Central American crime rather than its own amnesty policies.”

The decision to spend $100 million since 2014 to help the migrants adds “insult to injury,” he said.

Under rules set by President Barack Obama, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency must classify most Central American migrants as asylum seekers, and must then transport them to their destinations in the United States. Obama’s rule means the agency assigns agents to work at temporary holding centers, pays for hotel rooms to house migrants, and escorts them to people in the U.S. interior who claim to be the migrants’ relatives, including resident illegal aliens and the employers of illegal immigrants.

Twenty-five percent of ICE’s $100 million spending was on hotel rooms for the illegals, and a 58 percent is spent on plane tickets.

The government is burning through taxpayer cash, according to the Washington Times:


Trump Ed Sec Pick Promises To Stop Common Core At ‘Thank You’ Rally

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education vowed to end Common Core during a Trump “thank you” rally in Michigan.

When Trump’s transition announced billionaire GOP donor Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department, it provoked some skepticism among anti-Common Core activists in the GOP camp. While DeVos has a long history of activism on education, she has primarily focused on promoting charter schools and school vouchers, and has aligned with those who support Common Core for the sake of those causes. She also served on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a non-profit founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a major GOP backer of Common Core.

DeVos tried to stem this backlash by quickly releasing a statement declaring her opposition to Common Core, and she used Trump’s Friday night rally in Grand Rapids to double down on this position.


Democrats latest attempt to contest a fair and free election, blame the Russians

Diets Rich in Saturated Fat May Actually Help Prevent Diabetes and Heart Disease

Natural fats improved the health of those participating in the study

Current dietary advice says foods containing high levels of saturated fats such as cream, butter, red meat, eggs and cheese should be avoided because they increase the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

But a study published in a leading medical journal has found the opposite is true, with a diet full of natural fats improving the health of people taking part.

Professor Sherif Sultan, a heart specialist from the University of Ireland, said: “We urgently need to overturn current dietary guidelines.”

Read More

It’s Official: Donald Trump Selects Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

President-elect Donald Trump has officially selected Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

“Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream. Through hard work, dedication and smart deal making, Rex rose through the ranks to become CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest and most respected companies,” Trump said in a statement. “His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State.”

Tillerson was hailed in the release for guiding a global company and his experience negotiating with world leaders.

“Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department, and his relationships with leaders all over the world are second to none,” Trump said. “I can think of no one more prepared, and no one more dedicated, to serve as Secretary of State at this critical time in our history.”


Senate Quietly Passes The "Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act"

While we wait to see if and when the Senate will pass (and president will sign) Bill "H.R. 6393, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017", which was passed by the House at the end of November with an overwhelming majority and which seeks to crack down on websites suspected of conducting Russian propaganda and calling for the US government to "counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly,” another, perhaps even more dangerous and limiting to civil rights and freedom of speech bill passed on December 8.

Recall that as we reported in early June, "a bill to implement the U.S.’ very own de facto Ministry of Truth has been quietly introduced in Congress. As with any legislation attempting to dodge the public spotlight the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016 marks a further curtailment of press freedom and another avenue to stultify avenues of accurate information. Introduced by Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Ted Lieu, H.R. 5181 seeks a “whole-government approach without the bureaucratic restrictions” to counter “foreign disinformation and manipulation,” which they believe threaten the world’s “security and stability.”


Can You Say, Uber Friendly

20 Dumbest Customers Ever; These Are So Stupid It Hurts…

Family Of 8 Wear Mom's Christmas Sweaters For Hilarious Choreographed Dance

"The Wrong House: Career Criminal Meets His Fate"

FBI Disagrees With CIA On Russian Influence In The Presidential Election

The FBI did not corroborate the CIA’s claim that Russia had a hand in the election of President-elect Donald Trump in a meeting with lawmakers last week.

A senior FBI counterintelligence official met with Republican and Democrat members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in order to give the bureau’s view of a recent CIA report. The official did not concur with the CIA, frustrating Democrats.

The CIA believes Russia “quite” clearly intended to send Trump to the White House. The claim is a bold one, and concerned Democrats and some Republicans who are worried about Trump’s desire to mend relations with an increasingly aggressive Russia. The CIA report was “direct, bald and unqualified,” one of the officials at the meeting told The Washington Post Saturday.

The FBI official was much less convinced of the claims, providing “fuzzy” and “ambiguous” remarks.


Clinton spends twice as much as Trump in losing presidential bid

He may be a billionaire, but President-elect Donald Trump showed during the presidential race that he knows how to stretch a buck.

The Republican candidate and his backers spent only half that of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her supporters on the way to his Nov. 8 victory, according to media reports on campaign spending released Friday.

The Clinton campaign, Democratic Party and pro-Clinton expenditure committees and PACs spent a record $1.2 billion, twice as much as the $600 million laid out by the Trump camp, Republicans and pro-Trump groups, the New York Post reported.

The latest Federal Election Commission figures back Mr. Trump’s assertion six months ago that there was no need for him to amass at least $1 billion to run a successful race against the former Secretary of State, given the former reality television star’s ability to draw free media.

“There’s no reason to raise that,” Mr. Trump told Bloomberg in June. “I just don’t think I need nearly as much money as other people need because I get so much publicity. I get so many invitations to be on television. I get so many interviews, if I want them.”


DNI Clapper: We ‘don’t have good insight’ into alleged Russian hacking

As recently as Nov. 17, James Clapper, the nation’s top intelligence officer, told Congress his agencies “don’t have good insight” into a direct link between Wikileaks and the emails supposedly hacked by a Russian operation from Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

During the campaign, Wikileaks released reams of embarrassing internal emails between campaign chairman John Podesta, other campaign officials and the Democratic National Committee. One emailed showed candidate Clinton was provided the questions ahead of a CNN town hall appearance.

Democrats are now on a campaign implying that the hacking won the election for Donald Trump and have pressed the Obama administration for a far reaching investigation.


Return of the Fourth Estate fainting couches

Just when they thought it was safe to go outside again, the political press is breaking out the smelling salts again.

They’re back to having the vapors and breaking out in warts over the orange-haired vulgarian holding court at his fabulous and opulent New Jersey golf course. Trump National Bedminster has become President-elect Donald Trump’s White House-in-waiting as he hosts countless dignitaries, revolutionaries and even establishment politicians who have come from near and far to kiss the giant ring.

There is Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and retired Gen. Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis. And Republican Mitt Romney, who was never elected president.

The personal, private torture all this public groveling must be for Mr. Romney, who spent the past year and a half doing everything he could to keep the Republican nominee from winning the White House he himself failed to win four years ago.