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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The wall is a distraction from the fentanyl crisis

In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public-health emergency. Now his fight over the border wall, which he has in part justified on stopping drugs, is a harmful distraction from that very real problem facing the country.

According to statistics released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were 72,306 overdose deaths in the United States in 2017. Of those, the majority, 49,068, involved opioids. Synthetic opioids, “predominately Fentanyl,” as cited in the report, made up 29,406 of those deaths, the vast majority.

Fentanyl comes almost exclusively from China. Most of it, according to the DEA arrives in the U.S. through conventional mail services. Of the fentanyl, and other opioids, that do enter the country across the southern border, almost all of it comes through legal points of entry. Even then, the fentanyl is sourced from China or produced in Mexico with chemicals imported from China.


Rep. Steve King Defends Himself After Reportedly Asking How Phrases ‘White Supremacist’ And ‘White Nationalist’ Became ‘Offensive’

On Thursday, The New York Times published a piece titled, "Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics," featuring an interview with Rep. King (R-IA).

During the interview, King reportedly stated: "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" He later added, "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"

After the piece went live, numerous politicians and political commentators condemned King’s alleged statement.

The following are merely a sampling of the condemnations:


The Cost of Southern Cultural Genocide

The destruction of Confederate monuments and the slandering of all things Confederate is in vogue in contemporary mainline media, academia, and the political establishment. The destruction of Confederate monuments by radical mobs is similar to the radical Taliban’s destruction of Buddhist monuments and the Soviet Union’s denial of public expressions of native culture in the Baltic states—all are examples of cultural genocide.[1] Standard American history as written by the victors in the so-called “Civil War” supports and encourages Southern cultural genocide. As noted by Southern historian Grady McWhiney, “What passes as standard American history is really Yankee history written by New Englanders or their puppets to glorify Yankee heroes and ideals.”

The current campaign to stigmatize Southern heritage as detestable has its genesis in the decades before the War for Southern Independence. In 1787, Patrick Henry warned Virginia and the South about the danger of forming a union with the people of New England. Patrick Henry predicted that the North, being the numerical majority, would control the Federal Government and use the Federal Government to extract tribute (taxes in the form of tariffs) from the South. Patrick Henry was joined by other Southerners, such as George Mason and Rawlins Lowndes who warned of the danger of a union with the North.[2] From its very beginning, the United States has been a nation divided. The division was not one of slave states vs. non-slave states but a division between a commercial society vs. an agrarian society. As explained by Southern scholar Grady McWhiney, the war was a conflict of, “culture against culture.”[3] Southern scholar Francis B. Simkins observed that had slavery not existed the North would have “conjured” another moral rationale for invading the South.[4]

In 1828, Missouri Senator Thomas H. Benton declared that the Federal Government’s tariff policy was forcing Southerners to pay 75% of the Federal revenue used to support the government. He lamented, “This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North. Federal legislation does all this.” [5] In an 1828 letter to Daniel Webster, Abbott Lawrence of Massachusetts advocated a proposed tariff bill because “This bill if adopted as amended will keep the South and West in debt to New England the next hundred years.”[6] As Patrick Henry had warned and Senator Benton noted, the agrarian South was being exploited by the commercial North—a Northern commercial and financial crony capitalist society that could not exist without the steady inflow of revenue gained from protective tariffs. Massachusetts historian Charles Bancroft admitted this harsh fact ten years after the North’s conquest of the South, “While so gigantic a war was an immense evil; to allow the right of peaceable secession would have been ruin to the enterprise and thrift of the industrious laborer, and keen-eyed businessman of the North. It would have been the greatest calamity of the age. War was less to be feared.”[7] Follow the money, and you will discover the real reason for war.


The Fed Dilemma

For the most part in 2017 and 2018, only academics and easy-money cranks scolded the Federal Reserve for raising rates. After all, the stock market was bubbling up and the economy was strong.

The economy is still strong, but the stock market has ended its record 10-year bull-market run with a bang. The 20-percent drop in the S&P 500 during one of the worst quarters in market history classifies as a bear market, although prices rebounded at the end of 2018 and in early 2019.

Now everybody from traders to retirees as well as President Donald Trump is scolding Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for his relentless path to higher interest rates and a reduction in the Fed’s balance sheet.

To make a long story short, yes, the Fed is chiefly responsible for this and other stock-market routs, which often precede recessions. There are other contributing factors, such as worries about the Chinese economy and trade, as well as the government shutdown, which will reduce the $1 trillion yearly spending spree of the federal government. But the Fed is at the center of the storm.

And the problem didn’t begin with the Fed’s actions over the past two years. The roots of the issues we now face have their immediate origins in the last financial crisis, but ultimately can be traced back to the founding of the Federal Reserve itself.

The Current Crash

The problem on the surface right now is that the Fed is taking away easy money from market participants and economic agents through its raising of the federal funds rate as well as the $50 billion per month reduction of its balance sheet.

The Fed balance sheet, as well as the federal funds rate, is the foundation of the entire global financial system. For every dollar by which the Fed expands its balance sheet, banks and shadow banks around the world can create many dollars’ worth of debt on top of it.

Terms like balance-sheet expansion and contraction, or quantitative easing (QE) and quantitative tightening (QT), are fancy words for printing money or removing money from circulation.

Since its creation in 1913, the Fed has had the power to print money and fuel booms, and contract money and create busts. So it has to take responsibility for the vicious business cycles since its creation, such as the Great Depression or the 2008 financial crisis.

You can trace this game back to the Fed’s origins, but here, let’s confine it to recent history.


Ex-Trump Lawyer Dowd: Trump Is Facing DOJ 'Coup'

President Donald Trump is facing an organized "coup" at the Department of Justice, his former attorney John Dowd said Monday. "I mean [Rod] Rosenstein, [James] Comey, [Robert] Mueller, [Andrew] McCabe, the whole crowd – and they were out to get this president no matter what," Dowd said. 

Because of Opioid Crisis, Cities Risk Becoming Blocks of 'Skid Rows'

Lots of big American cities have a “skid row,” an impoverished part of town where the homeless and drug addicted often gather. San Francisco’s Tenderloin and the original Skid Row in Los Angeles are two of the best-known examples, but Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood is just as bad -- and it’s getting worse.

Kensington, which is just north along the El train from the gentrified Fishtown neighborhood, has long been a rough part of town. It began, writes Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Alfred Lubrano, as an industrial neighborhood full of factories making Stetson hats and Disston saws. Since the 1960s, when the factories shut down and the jobs left, the area has become known as a place to score heroin.

Things have gotten worse there as the opioid epidemic has morphed into a broader crisis. In the past year, Kensington’s homeless population, which has been linked to the epidemic, has more than doubled, from 271 to 700 people. In 2017, the area saw a 23 percent spike in homicides -- a trend that appeared to continue last year.


Regulators To Ease Restrictions On Drones, Clearing The Way For More Commercial Uses

Package delivery by drone is one small step closer to reality today.

Federal regulators announced plans Monday to change rules to allow drone operators to fly their unmanned aerial vehicles over populated areas and at night, without having to get special permits.

Many drone operators and enthusiasts complain that federal regulations haven't kept pace with the technology, arguing that prohibitions on flying drones over people and at night are out of date.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao agrees and announced that the government is, at long last, ready to lift those bans as long as operators are properly trained and the drones are equipped with anti-collision lighting.

"This will help communities reap the considerable economic benefits of this growing industry and help our country remain a global technology leader," said Chao in a speech at a major transportation conference in Washington, D.C., Monday.

The changes could allow for drones to to be used to survey construction sites and to deliver critical medical supplies to first responders, among other uses.

The use of drones by both hobbyists and for commercial purposes has been, well, soaring over the last couple of years. Chao says that by mid-December, the FAA had registered nearly 1.3 million drones nationwide and had registered more than 116,000 drone operators.


Subject: Racist comments directed at a classics scholar at a disciplinary meeting floor classicists in the room, at the conference and online

Racist comments directed at a scholar at a disciplinary meeting floor classicists in the room. Some see it as a major setback for a historically exclusionary field that is trying hard to change.

Classicists engage in frequent debate about whether the field is “too white,” whether Western civilization is a manufactured idea and what new lines of inquiry will ensure classics’ continued relevance -- or even its survival.

But at an annual gathering of classicists this weekend in San Diego, that debate crossed the line from professional to personal, from real inquiry to racism.

The incident involved an attack on Dan-el Padilla Peralta, an assistant professor of classics at Princeton University, by an independent scholar named Mary Frances Williams. It happened during a question-and-answer period at a panel on the future of classics Saturday at a Society for Classical Studies conference.

Panelists included Peralta, who spoke about an alleged incident of racial profiling at the conference site, in which two classicists of color were stopped and asked for identification. He also cited classics journal publication data showing that authors are largely white, and pushed for diversification of the field. Another speaker was Sarah Bond, an associate professor of classics at the University of Iowa whose research and public outreach often focuses on the idea that our notions of race in the classical world are much more informed by Eurocentric Renaissance views than historical reality.


Trump Wants $5.7 Billion For The Wall. One Month Ago, Chuck Schumer Wanted Much More Than That For Green Energy Subsidies

The government is shut down over border wall funding, but only a month ago Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked President Donald Trump to support billions in green energy subsidies.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, in early December asked Trump to support “permanent tax incentives for domestic production of clean electricity and storage, energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, electric vehicles, and modernizing the electric grid.”

“If left unchecked, the damage caused by climate change will cause untold human suffering and significant damage to the U.S. economy,” Schumer wrote to Trump on Dec. 6.

Extending tax subsidy provisions primarily benefiting wind and solar power would cost nearly $32 billion over the next four years, according to Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates. Permanently extending these tax subsidies could add billions more to the tab. JCT estimates solar and wind tax subsidies will cost more than $7 billion in 2019.


Swedish Journalist: Teachers Have 'Surrendered' to School Violence

Swedish journalist Joakim Lamotte has spent time lecturing in schools across Sweden and claims that violence is on the rise because many teachers have simply given up on attempting to deal with the problem.

Mr Lamotte made his comments in a post on Facebook following a series of articles from Swedish broadcaster SVT that highlighted the problem of violence in schools.

“I saw a lot of schools in crisis in the years I went around and lectured. I often met teachers who surrendered, while pupils did exactly what they wanted,” Lamotte said, and gave an example of a school where he had lectured saying that pupils felt free to shout at him while at least eight teachers were present and did not act.


California's Largest Utility Plans To File For Bankruptcy Over Possible Liability In Wildfires

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the parent company of California's largest utility, plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid what could be billions of dollars in liability costs over the massive wildfires that have torn through California in recent years.

The company made the announcement Monday. Just hours earlier, PG&E said that its CEO, Geisha Williams, would be stepping down.

The state's fire agency, Cal Fire, determined in June that PG&E equipment had sparked 17 wildfires across Northern California in 2017. In 12 of those fires, the agency's findings were referred to the appropriate county District Attorney's offices for potential violations of state law.

And regulators are now investigating the utility's potential culpability in November's Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history.

If PG&E is found legally responsible for some or all of the costs connected to the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires, its liability could exceed $30 billion, according to the company's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. And that figure does not include potential punitive damages, fines and penalties or damages related to future claims.


How Wokescolds Are Ruining Everything

Nursing Home Launches New Investigation After Woman In Vegetative State Gives Birth

The owner of a long-term care facility in Arizona where a patient in a vegetative state was impregnated and gave birth last month has hired a former Maricopa County Attorney to lead an internal investigation into the "facts and circumstances" leading up to the sexual assault.

On Sunday, Phoenix-based Hacienda Healthcare confirmed in a statement that it had recruited Rick Romley "to ensure a comprehensive, objective and transparent review of the facts of this deeply disturbing matter."

"Mr. Romley will have unfettered access to every facet of Hacienda's business —including all the records related to this matter and all the operational procedures related to the [facility]," the board of directors said.

"We will do everything we can to aid this review and, once it is complete, to make sure this unprecedented situation never, ever happens again," they added.


Rural Recycling Hit Hard by Shifting Scrap Market

Big cities have shielded their residents from the impact of China’s decision last year to curtail the solid waste it will accept from other countries. But rural and small-town residents are starting to get squeezed by a change that is wreaking havoc on the global recycling market.

Hannibal, Missouri, population 18,000, has stopped accepting recyclable plastics labeled with the numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7, such as yogurt containers and shampoo bottles. Villages near Erie, Pennsylvania, no longer take glass. And in Columbia County, New York, nestled in the Hudson Valley, residents soon will have to pay $50 a year to dump their materials at one of the county’s recycling centers.

China, for decades the world’s largest importer of waste paper, used plastic and scrap metal, last year stopped accepting certain kinds of recyclables and tightened its standards for impurities in scrap bales. In making the changes, China’s Ministry of Environment Protection cited environmental damage caused by “dirty wastes or even hazardous wastes” mixed in with solid waste that can be recycled into raw materials.

Many Americans now have access to single-stream recycling, which spares them the trouble of sorting and separating plastics, paper, glass and metal. But single-stream recycling has created headaches for Chinese processors. Even after sorting at a U.S. recycling facility, a plastic container might make it into a shipment of tin cans. Glass breaks, and shards are mixed in with pieces of paper.

The industry standard for contamination typically ranges between 1 and 5 percent. Under the new policy, China’s standard is 0.5 percent.

“They didn’t just change the policies, they radically changed the entire world market in one fell swoop,” said Joe Greer, director of sales for Buffalo Recycling Enterprises, which accepts recyclables from a number of small towns along Lake Erie.


Berlin Man Charged With Supplying Heroin In Fatal Overdose

BERLIN — A Berlin man is being held without bond this week for allegedly supplying the heroin that resulted in the fatal overdose of another local man last week.

On Jan. 8, members of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Enforcement Team responded to a residence in Berlin in reference to an apparent fatal drug overdose of a 20-year-old male. During the course of the investigation, detectives were able to identify Eric R. Bouaphakeo, 21, of Berlin, as the victim’s alleged supplier using various investigative techniques.


Doggie Divorce: Who Gets the Pet When Couples Split?

The divorce court judge was frustrated. The husband, in tears. The wife, adamant. The couple’s love for each other had ended, but each professed to love and want the dog. How would the judge decide?

The husband offered thousands of dollars to his soon-to-be-ex for the pit bull terrier mix named Sweet Pea. The wife wouldn’t accept the compensation, and insisted the dog was hers — a gift, in fact, from her husband.

“This was a mutt they got at the pound, and it wasn’t worth money,” said family attorney Erin Levine of Oakland, California, who represented the husband and said the judge gave her grief for not settling the dispute out of court in the 2015 case. “There was no way we weren’t going to litigate this; they were so attached to the dog.”

The woman produced a greeting card from her husband saying “This [dog] is your gift for Christmas. I love you.” Finally, the judge gave her custody of Sweet Pea. Her husband, Levine remembered in an interview, was inconsolable.

It’s that kind of messy pet custody case that a new California law is supposed to help solve. Former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, owner of two “first dogs,” corgi mix Lucy and bordoodle Cali, signed the bill, which took effect Jan. 1. It outlines criteria judges can use to determine what’s best for the dog.

The law allows people to petition for custody of a pet. It empowers judges to take into consideration the care of the pet when determining sole or joint ownership. Questions like “who walked the dog?” and “who took the cat to vet appointments?” are now permissible criteria for determining custody.


Wyoming Rep. push to eliminate Gun Free Zones in Public Places

Wyoming State Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne) is pushing to eliminate gun-free zones on college and K-12 campuses as well other public areas that currently ban concealed carry.

KOTA reports that Bouchard’s bill, Senate File 75, would not impact the ability of private property owners to set their own policies, but it would prevent publicly funded entities from restricting the exercise of Second Amendment rights.

Part of the motivation for the bill came from the University of Wyoming’s continued ban against concealed carry for self-defense.


Volkswagen to invest $800M build new Electric Vehicle in US

DETROIT (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) said on Monday it was investing $800 million to build a new electric vehicle at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and scheduled a briefing with Ford Motor Co (F.N) for Tuesday on their efforts to forge a global alliance.

The German automaker said in an announcement at the Detroit Auto Show that it was adding 1,000 jobs at the Chattanooga plant and that electric vehicle production there would begin in 2022.

Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess said the company was considering building luxury Audi vehicles in the United States but that no decisions had been made.

German automakers have been under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to increase their investments in the United States. Diess and counterparts from German automakers BMW AG (BMWG.DE) and Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) met with Trump at the White House in December to urge the administration not to go through with a threat to slap tariffs on European cars.

The Tennessee investment "is a signal to the government that we are really committed to the United States," Diess told reporters at the auto show.


Mark Penn: Voters want RESULTS not resistance from new Democratic majority

Results not resistance. That’s what I think the American public was expecting when they broughtDemocrats back into power in the House.

But instead, echoing Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated 2016 strategy, the Democratic leaders so far have fully planted a flag in simply opposing legislation, funding and appointments under the theory that putting lead boots on President Trump is the best way to get him out of office, even if the country is put on pause for another two years.

This is a fundamental mistake, and just as going overboard with Spartacus moments opposing the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh backfired and strengthened the Republicans in the Senate, this strategy too is likely to throw away the best opportunity Democrats had to build a lasting majority coalition by producing the results the Republicans failed to achieve.

The public ultimately was fed up with Paul Ryan, and under him Congress had about a 20 percent rating. He couldn’t get anything done, leading a fractured caucus to nowhere. He ultimately quit, along with 40 other Republicans. They literally abandoned the House, and suburban swing voters – voters who for a long time voted Republican – switched over to the Democratic Party. These voters were turned off by Trump, and frustrated by Ryan, because they fundamentally support progress and compromise. They are moderate, not liberal voters. They are not dancing in the hallway with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


Court Axes Obama’s Pro-Union ‘Joint Employer’ Rule

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that an Obama-era labor law that made businesses responsible for labor violations committed by contractors was too broad, Reuters reports.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in 2015 that companies and franchisers with “indirect and direct control” of employees could be held liable for labor violations committed by contractors or franchisees. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the board did not sufficiently define “indirect” control and sent the 2015 decision back to the board for a more restricted explanation.

The 2015 NLRB ruling overturned more than two decades of precedent while placing businesses at increased risk of violating labor laws. The ruling also empowered unions to negotiate directly with a franchise’s corporate headquarters if franchise employees sought to unionize.

Franchisers, companies and pro-business groups have sought to have the ruling overturned. An attempt by President Donald Trump’s NLRB fell flat after Republican board member William Emanuel was forced to retroactively recuse himself from ruling in a case that would affect the 2015 decision.


1,400 Years of Jihad and Islamic Terror, Well Told by Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer is the man, the best prepared person to write a comprehensive history of the horrors of Islam.

And he has.

Spencer's The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS is an amazing book, extraordinary in its detail and riveting in its narratives and analysis.

This book documents the history of horrors, violence, brutality, oppression, conquests by the sword, beheadings of hundreds of thousands (probably millions), destruction of civilizations and cultures, corruption, deception, and lies that are part of the Islamist culture, and every other evil that you can imagine that one group of humans could impose on others in the name of an ideology or, in this case, a pseudo-religion. The book is a comprehensive history of the role of war and terror in the spread of Islam, and the book details 1,400 years of sheer evil with no relief, imposed on the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, India, and Asia. The only let-up in these killings that ever came was when some of the cultures and civilizations successfully repulsed the monsters, or else were conquered and then violently and rapidly subdued.

Spencer briskly traces the 1,400-year war of Islamic jihadis against the rest of the world, detailing the jihad against Europe, including the 700-year struggle to conquer Constantinople; the jihad in Spain, where non-Muslims fought for another 700 years to get the jihadi invaders out of the country; and the jihad against India, where Muslim warriors and conquerors wrought unparalleled and unfathomable devastation in the name of their religion.


CAIR Calling Shots on Who Gets Banned from Facebook and Twitter

Fresh evidence that the social media giants are eagerly Sharia-compliant now.

Now it is becoming clear why Facebook and Twitter have for so long been harassing, shadowbanning, and blocking foes of jihad terror and Sharia oppression. Journalist Jordan Schachtel revealed in Conservative Review Tuesday that “the Hamas-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is best known as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing case in U.S. history, appears to have access to high-ranking Facebook and Twitter executives and has communicated with these individuals about who should be allowed to stay on their platforms.”

This doesn’t come as any surprise given the eagerness of both Facebook and Twitter to be Sharia-compliant. Facebook’s Vice President Joel Kaplan traveled to Pakistan in July 2017 to assure the Pakistani government that it would remove “anti-Islam” material. And Facebook has done so assiduously, banning numerous foes of jihad terror and twice now blocking the Jihad Watch Facebook page on spurious technical grounds.


DNA pioneer James Watson stripped of honours after 'reckless' race remarks

The laboratory Dr Watson once headed says his views on intelligence and race are "reprehensible" and "unsupported by science".

Nobel Prize-winning DNA scientist James Watson has been stripped of several honorary titles by the laboratory he once headed over his views about intelligence and race.

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory said it was acting in response to remarks he made in a television documentary which aired earlier this month.

The 90-year-old geneticist - one of three who discovered the DNA double helix - had lost his job at the New York laboratory in 2007 for expressing racist views.


Maryland man who attacked police station in 2016 gets 195 years

A Maryland man who opened fire on a police station in 2016, leading to the friendly-fire death of anarcotics detective, was sentenced Thursday to 195 years in prison.

Michael Ford, 25, was convicted in November of second-degree murder, first-degree assault and weapons charges in the killing of Prince George's County Police Detective Jacai Colson. Ford said he was trying to get himself killed by police when he fired his handgun nearly two dozen times outside the station, but didn't intend for anyone else to be harmed.

Prosecutor Joseph Ruddy argued that Ford caused Colson's death by creating a "combat zone." No one was hit by the 23 shots Ford fired, but bullets did strike two passing vehicles and an ambulance, according to Ruddy.

"That was no suicide mission. That was a mission to kill cops," the prosecutor said during the trial's closing arguments.


Furloughed Federal Employees Are Still Paid More Than You

Whether its CNBC, or The New York Times, or NPR, the mainstream media is clearly committed to using the current partial government shutdown to portray federal workers as beleaguered victims of the American political system.

But, in all cases I've encountered, these reports neglect to mention that on average, civilian federal workers make 17 percent more than similar workers in the private sector, according to a 2017-2018 report by the Congressional Budget Office. That's total compensation, so we're including both wages and benefits.

Considering that a year is 52 weeks long, an average federal worker would need to be completely without any income for nearly 9 weeks in order to just be reduced to equal standing with a similar private-sector worker. (17 percent of 52 weeks is 8.84 weeks.)

As of this writing, the current shutdown has only lasted three weeks, which means all those furloughed workers profiled in national news stories are likely still coming out ahead of their private-sector colleagues. Moreover, given that both Trump and Congress have committed to pay furloughed workers back pay, it's a safe bet that federal workers will continue to enjoy a healthy advantage over private-sector workers when it comes to compensation.

Health benefits for most federal workers will also continue without interruption through the shutdown, as noted by NPR.
The Federal-Pay Advantage Is Larger for Lower-Income Employees

The disparity between private-sector work and federal jobs is largest at the lower end of the education scale.

According to the CBO's report:

Federal civilian workers with no more than a high school education earned 34 percent more, on average, than similar workers in the private sector.

That's just wages. They get far more in terms of benefits like healthcare and vacation time:

Average benefits were 93 percent higher for federal employees with no more than a high school education than for their private-sector counterparts.


Judge orders Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes to answer written Benghazi questions

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that former national security adviser Susan Rice and former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes must answer written questions about the State Department's response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, as part of an ongoing legal battle over whether Hillary Clinton sought to deliberately evade public record laws by using a private email server while secretary of state.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth denied a request by the conservative group Judicial Watch to make Rice and Rhodes sit for depositions, but agreed to have them answer written questions. He also agreed to Judicial Watch's request to depose the State Department about the preparation of talking points for Rice, then President Barack Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, ahead of appearances on political talk shows the Sunday following the attack. That deposition is part of Judicial Watch's inquiry into whether the State Department acted in bad faith by not telling a court for months that they had asked in mid-2014 for missing emails to be returned.


The most powerful thing you can do for your kids

When praying for my kids, I have always used the words, “my boys” or “my sons.” There is, of course, nothing wrong with praying this way. God entrusted four boys to my husband and me to raise to His glory. But on one particular and unforgettable night, while crying out to God about a painful hardship one of my boys was facing and feeling completely incompetent to help him navigate it, I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that these boys are first and foremost sons of God. That as much as I love them and long for them, they were “perfectly and wonderfully” made by God (Psalm 139), they belong to God, and God’s love and desire for them is infinitely more profound and pure than even mine.

In light of this truth, I began to pray “Your sons,” rather than “my sons” to be reminded that God is their all-knowing, all-powerful Father, and because God is sovereign and full of grace, He can be trusted with the children He has entrusted to me.

This is the truth we have to remember when our children are bullied or rejected by their peers, when they are battling sin and temptation, when their feelings get hurt or their hearts get broken, when they struggle with substance abuse or eating disorders, when they make wrong choices, or when they simply don’t feel lovable or valuable. When our hearts break for our kids and we long to right every wrong in their lives, we have to remember they have a sovereign and good heavenly Father. Then we are free to pray, “Lord, they are yours. They belong to you.”


Trump says Biden was on 'trash heap' before Obama picked him and calls him a failing one-percenter

President Donald Trump mocked Joe Biden as a '1-percenter' who was 'taken off the trash heap by Obama' as speculation heats up over whether the former Vice President will run against him in 2020.

Trump called in to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro's show on Saturday night and dismissed Biden's chances of unseating him in the next election.

'You know, a lot of people say Biden's doing okay, but he was always a 1-percenter,' the President told Pirro.

'He ran two or three times, he never got above 1 per cent.


Republican uncovered secret FBI debate over Trump motivation for Comey firing during House questioning

A House Republican's line of questioning uncovered revelations that in May 2017 senior FBI leadership debated whether President Trump was directed by the Russian government to fire FBI Director James Comey, Fox News has learned.

Contacted by Fox, U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, confirmed his questions to former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker uncovered the claims, some of which were first reported Friday by the New York Times.

Ratcliffe called the Baker transcript leak "selective," adding that the full transcript of the Oct. 18 interview, which is undergoing a classification review by the FBI and the Justice Department, reveals "that in May 2017, political bias infected senior FBI leadership, and emotion -- not evidence -- drove their decision making."


Fake News? How About No News?

Trump gets flak for characterizing the mainstream press as purveyors of Fake News. But what about no news at all?

Isn’t lack of coverage even worse than biased coverage?

CNN hasn’t got anything on its main page today (Jan. 9). Neither did NBC or CBS. Lots of the usual – endless – carpet-chewing coverage of Trump, though. And also of such important stories as “Want to Pay off Your Mortgage? Try Frugal Minimalism.”

You might think France, a major western European country, coming unglued – and on the verge of its government outright banning “unauthorized” criticism of its actions – might at least be . . . well, news.

Instead, nothing.

Which is very interesting, given what the yellow vests are protesting. This being chiefly the purposely punitive taxes on fuel – diesel especially – imposed by the French President, Emmanuel Macron. In the name of “climate change” – but really in the name of squeezing average Frenchmen (and women) out of their cars. These taxes – already extortionate and brutally regressive – were on track to increase the cost of a gallon of fuel to more than $7.

This brought the French not to their knees – but to the streets. The yellow vests – which are reflective jackets every French motorist is required by law to keep in their vehicle, to be worn in the event of an emergency – were donned for a different kind of emergency.

And Macron buckled. The tax hike has been rescinded. But did you read about it?


Sarah Sanders Slams Dems: Busy ‘Partying on Beach Instead of Negotiating Compromise’

Democrat lawmakers whining about furloughed workers while enjoying Caribbean sun

Democrats would be in Washington DC negotiating a compromise instead of partying in Puerto Rico if they cared about federal workers not receiving pay due to the government shutdown, said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

“Democrats in Congress are so alarmed about federal workers not getting paid they’re partying on the beach instead of negotiating a compromise to reopen the government and secure the border,” Sanders tweeted Sunday.


Teachers, Media Admit: L.A. School Strike Is About Politics, Not Pay

The first teachers’ strike in 30 years continues in Los Angeles Tuesday, keeping roughly two-thirds of children out of school and creating hardship for tens of thousands of families, many of them poor, working-class, or minority households.

The Los Angeles Times reported about the first day of the strike:

The walkout of 31,000 teachers union members proved to be the massive disruption hundreds of thousands of students and their families had feared. The vast majority of the district’s parents and guardians are low income, and many had to choose between missing work to watch their children or sending them into an unknown situation at school. While campuses remained open, the few adults present struggled to keep students engaged.


Byron York: In border fight, Democrats want 'technological wall' that won't keep anybody out

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California says a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border would be "immoral." Instead, she favors something she calls a "technological wall." Another top House Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, calls it a "smart wall."

Instead of building an actual physical barrier of steel, concrete, or some other material, Pelosi, Clyburn, and other Democrats advocate employing an array of high-tech devices — drones, infrared sensors, surveillance cameras, and more — to keep track of activity at the border without physical impediments to discourage illegal crossings.

"We cannot protect the border with concrete," Clyburn said recently. "We can protect the border using the technology that is available to us to wall off intrusions."


4.7 magnitude earthquake reported off shore near Ocean City, Maryland

No tsunami warnings have been issued at this time.

An earthquake was reported off the shore of Ocean City, Md. on Tuesday night, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Reported around 6:30 p.m., the earthquake was recorded as 4.7 magnitude, 6.2 miles in depth and approximately 136 miles from Ocean City. If earthquakes are strong enough, they can trigger tsunami warnings, but none have been issued in this case.


As FBI Ramped Up "Witch Hunt" When Trump Fired Comey, Strzok Admitted Collusion Investigation A Joke

A Friday report in the New York Times revealing that the FBI supercharged its Trump-Russia collusion investigation after President Trump fired FBI director James Comey appears to have backfired - especially when one reviews internal FBI communications from the time period in question.

The Daily Caller's Chuck Ross has made a brilliant observation, noting Peter Strzok - then the FBI's deputy chief of counterintelligence, admitted to his FBI lawyer mistress, Lisa Page, that there was no merit to the investigation.

Nine days after Comey was fired and the DOJ "sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia," Strzok texted Page on May 18, 2017: "You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there."

It is unclear from The Times report what information was used as a predicate to open the investigation. The article suggests that the FBI had long considered the move and that Comey’s firing and Trump’s subsequent comments marked a tipping point.
A source close to Strzok told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Jan. 26, 2018, shortly after the text was released, that the message reflected Strzok’s concern that the FBI would not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. -Daily Caller


This is how ridiculous the liberal media is. That is NOT a picture of a noose. It's a foot swing!

CROFTON, Md. (WJZ) — Symbols of hate may soon come with a price.

The Maryland General Assembly is considering new penalties for hanging nooses and racial graffiti.

There have been a number of racially-charged incidents around the state recently, including swastika graffiti on cars in Lochearn, racist flyers on lawns in Glen Burnie and a noose hung in Patterson Park- but it was a noose at Crofton Middle School that prompted the bill introduced Tuesday.

That incident caused a judge to rule the culprit could not be sentenced for a hate crime because there was no state law to support it.

“He asked the legislature, called the legislature to task to address specifically adding a nose and other hate symbols to hate crimes,” said Anne Arundel County Del. Mark Chang, (D).

That includes hate symbols and graffiti found in Chesapeake High and Middle Schools last year.


Laura Mitchell Today: Mock Teen Bedroom Helps Parents Recognize Signs Their Teen is at Risk

Walk-through tours at MCCPTA/MCPS’s 2nd Annual Mental Health & Wellness Forum

Rockville, MD —
January 12, 2019, 1:00-5:00 pm —Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations and Montgomery County Public Schools will hold their 2nd annual Mental Health and Wellness Forum at Earle B. Wood Middle School, located at 14615 Bauer Dr. in Rockville. The forum is free and open to all MCPS parents, teachers, students and administrators. Please note, the mock teen bedroom is open to adults only.

“I watched my son fall into addiction after he injured his back at 15 and was given an opioid pain medication. We thought we were being cautious. Looking back, I saw signs of trouble, but I had no idea what I was seeing at the time,” said Laura Mitchell, Chair of the MCCPTA Substance Use Prevention Committee. The goal of the exercise is to make sure parents and teachers know the signs that a student is at risk of self-harm and/or substance use. “When you see these tell-tale things in your house, it’s your clue to start asking questions, but you have to know what to look for. The sooner you know, the sooner you can intervene and that can make all the difference in the world. It can easily be the difference between life and death. I’ve seen far too much of the latter,” Mitchell said. The interactive tour is provided courtesy of the Howard County Department of Emergency Management.

The Key Note Speaker, Jill Ortman-Fouse, former Montgomery County Board of Education, will open the forum with an impressive array of very informative sessions to follow, including:

• Mental Health First Aid Training *Sold Out!

• BTheOne Campaign for Peer Support & Suicide Prevention

• The LGBTQ Experience


Donald Trump Mocks Democrats for Puerto Rico Trip: 'Maybe They're Celebrating the Shutdown'

President Donald Trump ridiculed Congressional Democrats on Monday for traveling to Puerto Rico amidst the partial government shutdown.

“I’ve been here all weekend,” Trump said. “A lot of the Democrats were in Puerto Rico celebrating something. I don’t know, maybe they’re celebrating the shutdown.”

Dozens of Democrats escaped the cold snowy weather in Washington, D.C., to attend events hosted by the Latino Victory Fund and the San Juan by Bold PAC.


Trump Admin Works Around Congress To Raise Work Requirements On Food Stamps

The Trump administration is proposing to limit states’ ability to exempt welfare recipients of abiding by the work requirements in the U.S. food stamp program, the Department of Agriculture announced Thursday.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is pushing the reform to cut down on abuse within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). With the U.S. unemployment rate at a near five-decade low, some exemptions and waivers are not longer needed.

“Long-term reliance on government assistance has never been part of the American dream,” Perdue said in a statement. “As we make benefits available to those who truly need them, we must also encourage participants to take proactive steps toward self-sufficiency. Moving people to work is common-sense policy, particularly at a time when the unemployment rate is at a generational low.”


Democrats boycott White House border security meeting

Congressional Democrats on Tuesday rejected President Trump's invitation to a lunch meeting at the White House to discuss border security, in the latest sign that both sides of the government shutdown standoff remain entrenched in their positions with no compromise in sight.

A senior administration official told Fox News that the president had invited Democrats to join his lunch with members of Congress in the Roosevelt Room shortly after noon. But moments before the session, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that nobody took them up on the offer.

"The President has a proposal on the table that includes additional technology at ports of entry, allows minors from Central America to seek asylum in their home country, and physical barriers between ports of entry made of steel instead of concrete," she said. "Today, the President offered both Democrats and Republicans the chance to meet for lunch at the White House. Unfortunately, no Democrats will attend."


Do We Look As Old As We Are?








City of Salisbury District 5 Council member Vacancy

Due to the resignation of District 5 Council member R. Hardy Rudasill, there will be a vacant seat on Salisbury City Council. Below is information on candidate requirements and how to be considered for appointment.

Requirements: Shall have resided in the City of Salisbury for at least one year immediately preceding the date of vacancy; reside within the boundaries of District 5 on the date of application and will continue to reside therein during the term to which appointed (term expires November 5, 2019); must be at least 21 years of age; and shall be a qualified registered voter of the City of Salisbury. (Salisbury Charter §SC2-2).

To be considered for appointment: Submit a letter of interest and resume to: Office of the City Clerk, City of Salisbury, 125 N. Division St., Room 305, Salisbury MD 21801. Must be postmarked on or before January 31, 2019 and received by the City Clerk (410-548-3140) no later than noon on February 4, 2019 whether mailed, emailed at, faxed (410-548-3781) or hand delivered. EOE



Mergatroyd!..Do you remember that word? Would you believe the email spell checker did not recognize the word Mergatroyd? Heavens to Mergatroyd!

The other day a not so elderly (65) (I say 75) lady said something to her son about driving a Jalopy and he looked at her quizzically and said "What the heck is a Jalopy?"

OMG (new phrase)! He never heard of the word jalopy!! She knew she was old..... but not that old. Well, I hope you are Hunky Dory after you read this and chuckle.

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included "Don't touch that dial," "Carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "Hung out to dry."

Back in the olden days we had a lot of “moxie” We'd put on our best “bib and tucker” to “straighten up and fly right.”

Heavens to Betsy! Gee Whillikers ! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley!

We were “in like Flynn” and “living the life of Riley” Even a regular guy couldn't accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China !

Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when's the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.; of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers....

AND DON'T FORGET.... Saddle Stitched Pants.

"Oh, my aching back!" "Kilroy was here," but he isn't anymore.

We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, Well, I'll be “a monkey's uncle!” Or, This is a “fine kettle of fish!” We discover that words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.

Poof go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind. We blink and they're gone.

Where have all those great phrases gone?

Long gone: Pshaw, The milkman did it. Hey! It's your nickel Don'tforget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Well, Fiddlesticks! Going like sixty. I'll see you in the funny papers. Don't take any wooden nickels. Wake up and smell the roses.

It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter has liver pills. This can be disturbing stuff! ("Carter's Little Liver Pills" are gone too!)

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeable times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It's one of the greatest advantages of aging.

Leaves us to wonder where Superman will find a phone booth...

See ya later, alligator!


Definition of "OLD"

I very quietly confided to my best friend that I was having an affair.
She turned to me and asked, "Are you having it catered?"
And that, my friend, is the sad definition of "OLD".

Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman:
"And what do you think is the best thing
About being 104?" the reporter asked.
She simply replied, "No peer pressure."

I've sure gotten old! I have outlived my feet and my teeth
I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement,
New knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes
I'm half blind,
Can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine,
Take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.
Have bouts with dementia.
Have poor circulation;
Hardly feel my hands and feet anymore.
Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92.
Have lost all my friends. But, thank God,
I still have my driver's license.

I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape,
So I got my doctor's permission to
Join a fitness club and start exercising.
I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.
I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But,
By the time I got my leotards on,
The class was over.

An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests.
First, she wanted to be cremated, and second,
She wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart.
"Wal-Mart?" the preacher exclaimed.
"Why Wal-Mart?"
"Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week"

My memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

Know how to prevent sagging?
Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.

It's scary when you start making the same noises
As your coffee maker.

These days about half the stuff
In my shopping cart says,
'For fast relief.'


Grant me the senility to forget the people
I never liked anyway,
The good fortune to run into the ones I do, and
The eyesight to tell the difference.

Which Kills More People: Extreme Heat or Extreme Cold? by Dr. Jeff Masters

Extreme heat and extreme cold both kill hundreds of people each year in the U.S., but determining a death toll for each is a process subject to large errors. In fact, two major U.S. government agencies that track heat and cold deaths--NOAA and the CDC--differ sharply in their answer to the question of which is the bigger killer. One reasonable take on the literature is that extreme heat and extreme cold are both likely responsible for at least 1300 deaths per year in the U.S. In cities containing 1/3 of the U.S. population, a warming climate is expected to increase the number of extreme temperature deaths by 3900 – 9300 per year by 2090, at a cost of $60 - $140 billion per year. However, acclimatization or other adaptation efforts, such as increased use of air conditioning, may cut these numbers by more than one-half.

NOAA’s take: heat is the bigger killer

NOAA’s official source of weather-related deaths, a monthly publication called Storm Data, is heavily skewed toward heat-related deaths. Over the 30-year period 1988 – 2017, NOAA classified an average of 134 deaths per year as being heat-related, and just 30 per year as cold-related—a more than a factor of four difference. According to a 2005 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Heat Mortality Versus Cold Mortality: A Study of Conflicting Databases in the United States, Storm Data is often based on media reports, and tends to be biased towards media/public awareness of an event.

CDC’s take: cold is the bigger killer

In contrast, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics Compressed Mortality Database, which is based on death certificates, indicates the reverse—about twice as many people die of “excessive cold” conditions in a given year than of “excessive heat.” According to a 2014 study by the CDC, approximately 1,300 deaths per year from 2006 to 2010 were coded as resulting from extreme cold exposure, and 670 deaths per year from extreme heat. However, both of these numbers are likely to be underestimated. According to the 2016 study, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States, “It is generally accepted that direct attribution underestimates the number of people who die from temperature extremes.” For example, during the 1995 Chicago heat wave, only 465 death certificates had heat as a contributing cause, while excess mortality figures showed that close to 700 people died as a result of the heat (Figure 2).


Global Warming Crop Apocalypse Is Just Media Fear-Mongering

Global warming alarmists and their media allies launched a new scare last week, claiming that global warming is causing crop failures and food shortages around the globe. In one of their biggest whoppers ever, the media are claiming that global warming has displaced "millions" of farmers in India and is causing – or will soon cause – similar devastation to farmers and crops in Bangladesh, Syria, and Honduras. Objective evidence, however, decimates the assertion and shows that crop yields continue to set annual records as growing seasons lengthen, frost events become less frequent, soil moisture improves, and more atmospheric carbon dioxide fertilizes crops and plant life.

A January 10 Google News search for "global warming" listed near the top of its search results an article titled "How soon will climate change force you to move?" by an outlet called Fast Company. Among other sensationalist climate claims, the article makes the claims listed above about global warming, crop failures, and resulting forced migration. Fast Company, as it turns out, is trying to pull a fast one on you.

It is true that waxing and waning food production has been one of the most powerful components in the rise and fall of civilizations. At Katowice, Poland, during the United Nations COP24 climate meetings in November 2018, Heartland Institute senior fellow Dennis Avery powerfully showed that throughout history, periods of increased crop yields have led to rising civilizations and expanding human populations. Conversely, periods of declining crop yields triggered the fall of civilizations and led to famine, death, and contracting human populations.

Importantly, Avery showed that periods of global warmth stimulated the increased crop yields that led to expanding human populations. Periods of global cooling repressed crop yields and led to misery, death, and contracting human populations. The question is, has anything changed such that our modest present warming is causing declining crop production and resulting catastrophes?