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Friday, February 15, 2019

US charges former Air Force officer with spying for Iran

The Department of Justice has charged a former Air Force intelligence specialist with spying on behalf of Iran, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, who served in the Air Force until 2008, when she became a contractor for the Department of Defense, is accused of giving the Iranians code names and the mission of a secret Pentagon program involving U.S. intelligence operations, as well as revealing the identity of a U.S. intelligence officer. She defected to Iran in 2013 after being recruited by the country.

“We believe that Witt still resides in Iran,” a Justice Department official told reporters Wednesday.


Preseason Trout Stocking: Feb. 14, 2019

Caroline County
Tuckahoe Creek: 1,350 golden and rainbow trout

Garrett County
North Branch Potomac River (Barnum): 900 rainbow trout
North Branch Potomac River (Kitzmiller): 450 golden and rainbow trout
North Branch Potomac River (Westernport): 900 golden and rainbow trout

Queen Anne's County
Unicorn Branch: 100 golden and rainbow trout (two per-day)

Wicomico County
Beaverdam Creek: 450 golden and rainbow trout

Worcester County:
Shad Landing Pond: 450 golden and rainbow trout

Dem Who Grilled Whitaker on Gambling Backed by Lobbyists Tied to Internet Gambling

Democratic representative Jamie Raskin (Md.), who last week suggested political impropriety was behind the Justice Department's opinion that internet gambling is illegal, has taken thousands of dollars from lobbyists representing online gaming interests.

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday, Raskin grilled acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker over his involvement in the DOJ's decision to reverse an Obama administration policy regarding the legality of online gambling. In his line of questioning, Raskin accused the Trump administration of giving into "the demands" of Sheldon Adelson, a GOP donor who has long opposed the expansion of online gaming.

"When Donald Trump won and Mr. Sessions became AG and you became chief of staff … the Office of Legal Counsel found some subtle and invisible points of law that apparently escaped the Department of Justice back in 2011, and it reversed the plain reading of the interpretation which talked specifically about sports betting," Raskin said. "Were you involved in that decision?"

Whitaker told the committee that he and then-attorney general Jeff Sessions were not involved, as they had opted to recuse themselves from the matter because of their relationship with Charles Cooper, a former lobbyist for the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.

"Your inference that somehow that process was corrupted or corrupt is absolutely wrong and the premise of your question I reject," Whitaker said.

More here

US Retail Sales Collapse In December: Biggest Drop In A Decade

While Bank of America had warned investors to brace for a dismal retail spending print in January, expectations remained positive (albeit just a 0.1% MoM move) for December's (delayed due to shutdown) official spending data today. As a reminder, on Tuesday we reported that retail sales ex-autos, as measured by the aggregated BAC credit and debit card data, tumbled 0.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted in January - the biggest drop in three years. This followed a flat reading in retail sales ex-autos in December.

Turning to the January BAC internal data, in January, spending for 4 out of 14 sectors increased in the month, showing broad-based weakening.

As a reminder, Retail Sales for the Control Group soared in November (+0.9% MoM) so some slowdown was expected; but, the government's official retail spending data for December confirmed BofA's concerns and plunged...
Headline Retail Sales -1.2% MoM (+0.1% MoM exp)
Control Group Retail Sales -1.7% MoM (+0.4% MoM exp)

That is the biggest MoM drop in retail sales since 2009 for the headline and the biggest drop in the control group since the 9/11 attacks in 2001!...

Democrats Express Openness To Federal Gun Registry

WASHINGTON — Democratic House Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries defended his party’s push for a universal background check bill Wednesday, claiming that any enforcement of the legislation — including federal firearm registration — will be left to the Department of Justice to decide.

Efforts to expand federal firearm background checks to all private sales could eventually lead to federal firearms registration, a potential that worries some Second Amendment advocates and sympathetic Republicans.

“The Department of Justice and the FBI will have primary responsibility for enforcing the requirements that we hope will be enacted into law consistent with the values of the overwhelming majority of the American people,” Jeffries said.


Two-Thirds Of All US Bankruptcies Are Primarily Caused By Medical Bills, New Study Finds

Our health insurance system is theoretically supposed to prevent Americans from going bankrupt when they are hit by huge medical bills.
But in case after case, that is simply not happening.

Even though more Americans are “covered by health insurance” than ever before, a new study has found that “about 530,000 families each year are financially ruined by medical bills and sicknesses”, and most of those families actually had health insurance.

These days, most health insurance policies closely resemble Swiss cheese because they are so full of loopholes, and health insurance companies have become masters at finding ways to wiggle off the hook. So every year hundreds of thousands of American families find themselves facing huge medical bills that they did not expect to be paying, and as a result medical expenses are the primary factor in 66.5 percent of all personal bankruptcy filings in the United States…

For many Americans, putting one’s health first can mean putting one’s financial status at risk. A study of bankruptcy filings in the United States showed that 66.5% were due, at least in part, to medical expenses.

The study, led by Dr. David Himmelstein, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, indicates that about 530,000 fa
But wasn’t Obamacare supposed to make things better?

Yes, that was what we were promised, but the authors of the study discovered that the percentage of bankruptcies caused by medical bills actually went up by 2 percent after Obamacare went into effect…

The current study found no evidence that the ACA reduced the proportion of bankruptcies driven by medical problems: 65.5% of debtors cited a medical contributor to their bankruptcy in the period prior to the ACA’s implementation as compared to 67.5% in the three years after the law came into effect. The responses also did not differ depending on whether the respondent resided in a state that had accepted ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The researchers noted that bankruptcy is most common among middle-class Americans, who have faced increasing copayments and deductibles in recent years despite the ACA. The poor, who were most helped by the ACA, less frequently seek formal bankruptcy relief because they have few assets (such as a home) to protect and face particular difficulty in securing the legal help needed to navigate formal bankruptcy proceedings.


The Wrap Up Smear

Hard-Core Reality

'TREASON': Rep. Chris Stewart Lambastes Andrew McCabe For Push To Oust Trump

It was revealed on Thursday that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe reportedly told "60 Minutes" interviewer Scott Pelley that there were talks about removing President Donald Trump from office via the 25th Amendment among him and other Justice Department officials. The talks came soon after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, who was widely ridiculed by partisans on both the Left and Right.


Border Patrol Council President: Congress Ignored Experts on the Wall

National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd told Breitbart News Tonight on Wednesday that Congress had ignored the advice of experts when reaching a deal to provide less than $1.4 billion for border fencing.

The Council, the union representing “approximately 18,000 Border Patrol Agents and support personnel assigned to the U.S. Border Patrol,” has consistently supported President Donald Trump’s proposals for physical barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.


Kamala Harris is a longtime ally of government unions – Here's why that should worry voters

As the long 2020 presidential campaign begins, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has emerged as an early frontrunner for a restless Democratic Party.

Harris’ political smarts, California base, and commonsense style make her a serious contender. Even the man she seeks to replace, President Trump, conceded her recent rollout was the “best opening.”

But Harris’ rapid ascent wasn’t without help. She enjoyed the hefty backing from a range of financiers, raising questions about who and what she owes to those who bankrolled her political career.

In true progressive fashion, Harris can rattle off talking points about politicians beholden to corporations, but her record reveals a special interest of her own: labor unions.

Harris’ relationship with big donors came to a head in an uncomfortable exchange at a California town last year when an activist asked Harris if she would accept corporate political action committee (PAC) donations.

Harris stumbled. “Well, that depends,” she said.

“Wrong answer,” the man shot back in an exchange that went viral.


"No Light At The End Of The Tunnel" As New Wave Of Retail Stores Close

Another economic red flag has appeared and its the closure of retail stores. According to a new report detailing the precarious situation of the current economy, there is “no light at the end of the tunnel” as the closure of brick and mortar stores will continue.
Coresight Research released an outlook of 2019 store closures Wednesday, saying, there’s “no light at the end of the tunnel,”according to several reports, including one from Yahoo News. According to the global market research firm’s report, a mere six weeks into 2019, United States retailers have announced 2,187 closings of physical stores. That’s up 23 percent compared to last year. Those closings include 749 Gymboree stores, 251 Shopko store, and 94 Charlotte Russe locations.

This may not seem like such a big deal especially if you don’t often shop, but it’s a red flag for the overall economy. Either customers/consumers now have less money and aren’t willing to borrow (use credit cards) to spend at stores anymore, or they are already maxed out and cannot spend. Another issue could be the overbearing regulations and burdensome theft (taxation) levied on business. It could be a combination of all of those as well, making the cost of keeping a brick and mortar store open no longer worth it.

But reports and the media blame the growth of online sales, rising interest rates, and declining sales. Bankruptcies also are continuing at a rapid pace “with the number of filings in the first six weeks of 2019 already at one-third of last year’s total,” the report states. That means companies have taken on more debt than they can handle, and much like individuals, when that happens, it is likely the beginning of some very rough times ahead. And debt is a major concern right now for most economists. Consumer debt, student loan debt, auto debt, and the national debt has all reached historic records – and that isn’t a positive sign for the economy.


Ohio judge admits to driving drunk after crashing SUV into snowy ditch in arrest caught on bodycam

An Ohio judge accused of drunk driving was caught on camera admitting to police that she was 'absolutely out of her mind' after her SUV drove off an icy ramp and crashed into a ditch.

Authorities say Portage County Common Pleas Judge Becky Doherty was arrested on Sunday around 9.15pm following the crash in Brimfield.

The 55-year-old refused to take a Breathalyzer or field sobriety test, according to theRecord-Courier, but she could be heard in body camera footage admitting to police officers that she had been drinking.

As she was placed in the backseat of the police cruiser, Doherty says: 'I am absolutely out of my mind. I am so intoxicated.'

Video from inside the Brimfield Police Station shows Doherty becoming belligerent with officers booking her on a first-degree misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.

She can be heard asking: 'Do you know who I am?'

The judge was locked into a jail cell after getting increasingly loud and refusing to sit down.


Florida rapper YNW Melly shoots, kills his 2 rising rap star 'best friends,' cops say

Florida rapper YNW Melly, best known for his song "Murder On My Mind," shot and killed two rising rap artists he called his “best friends” in October and attempted to cover up the slayings by making them appear to be the result of a drive-by shooting, police said Wednesday.

The 19-year-old rap star, whose legal name is Jamell Demons, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Christopher Thomas Jr., 19, and Anthony Williams, 21, Miramar police said. Melly’s friend, Cortlen Henry, 20, was also arrested in Houston, Texas, last month in connection with the deadly shooting. He faces charges of murder and accessory after the fact to the first-degree felony charges.


Students Demand George Washington University Change 'Colonials' Mascot

Students at George Washington University are demanding the school change its mascot, the “Colonials,” arguing the nickname may “discourage” students, due to not being “inclusive.” Students suggest changing the mascot to a “hippo” or “riverhorse” instead.

The initial call to change the George Washington University (GW) mascot, currently the Colonials, began in 2018, but resulted in no change. Now, student senator Hayley Margolis, is seeking to restart the push to remove the Colonial, according to The GW Hatchet.

Margolis hosted a panel last week — sponsored by the GW Student Association — to discuss whether or not the GW mascot is “inclusive,” by engaging in “critical conversation about GW school spirit and what the GW Colonial connotes.”


GOP/Dem Spending Deal Provides Amnesty Pipeline for MS-13 Gang

A Republican-Democrat spending bill being offered to President Trump provides a de facto amnesty pipeline for all illegal alien household members of MS-13 gang members who arrive in the United States as “Unaccompanied Alien Children” (UACs).

As part of a bipartisan “compromise” spending package, lawmakers included provisions that prevent federal immigration officials from deporting anyone who has close contact with UACs who are readily resettled throughout the U.S. with so-called “sponsors” after being trafficked across the southern border.

These sponsors are often times illegal alien relatives, in many cases parents, of UACs. Federal officials have repeatedly noted how the UAC program has been widely used by the MS-13 gang to import more gang members into the country.


Fact Check: Barack Obama Installed Golf Simulator in White House

Barack Obama was the first U.S. president to install a golf simulator in the White House, according to a bombshell report in the far-left Washington Post.

In other news, what we have here is yet another example of just how determined the Washington Post and the rest of the media are to live in their own heads; because they don’t even realize what a dazzling self-own this report is.

Seriously, think about it: the Washington Post “bombshell” on President Trump updating Obama’s golf simulator, and doing so with his own money, just proves once again how useless and corrupt the establishment media are.

Gee, what a crack team of inspiring investigative journalists America is blessed with. At long last, even though he has been out of office for two years, we have finally been told Barry had a golf simulator installed in the White House.

And this is real news, because it is a first.

Before Barry, there had never been a golf simulator in the White House. So it was Bill Ayers’ Friend who set a national precedent, and thanks to a dogged and persistent Washington Post, we now know this truth, we finally have all the facts, because democracy dies in darkness n’ stuff.

But with its stupid bombshell about Trump’s golf simulator, all the far-left Post is doing is admitting it did not report on Obama’s golf simulator, is admitting that were it not for the Post’s obsessive hatred of Trump, the public never would have learned about Obama’s golf simulator.


Applebee's no more, welcome to the new Dough Roller in West Ocean City

Trump Demands Gavin Newsom Return $3.5 Billion for Canceled Bullet Train

President Donald Trump demanded Wednesday evening that the State of California return $3.5 billion in federal funds after Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled most of the state’s high-speed rail project, saying it was too expensive.

“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” the president tweeted. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a “green” disaster!”

Newsom responded that it was “California’s money”:

Here's a list of the 31 national emergencies that have been in effect for years

Here's a list of the presidents who declared still ongoing national emergencies.

According to the Federal Register, 58 national emergencies have been declared since the National Emergency Act of 1976 was signed into law by President Gerald Ford.

And 31 have been annually renewed and are currently still in effect, as listed in the Federal Register.

Here's a list of the presidents who declared still ongoing national emergencies.
President Jimmy Carter

Nov 14, 1979: The National Emergency With Respect to Iran, in response to the Iran hostage crisis.
President Bill Clinton

Nov 14, 1994: The National Emergency With Respect to the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, that combined two previous national emergencies focused on weapons of mass destruction.

Jan. 2, 1995: The National Emergency With Respect to Prohibiting Transactions with Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process placed economic sanctions in response to the Jerusalem bombing.

March 15, 1995: The National Emergency With Respect to Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources was an effort to prevent potential deals between oil companies.

October 21, 1995: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Assets and Prohibiting Transactions with Significant Narcotics Traffickers Centered in Colombia was declared after increased reports of drug cartels laundering money through American companies.


Meeting Materials - 2-19-19 - Special Meeting (including Public Notice) and 2-19-19-WS

Attached is the Public Notice for Tuesday’s Special Meeting immediately preceding the Work Session, and Agenda Packets for both sessions.

The Public Notice is posted on the City website at the link below:

The Agenda Packets are posted on the City website at the link below:


Salisbury, MD ... Wicomico County Government Offices will be closed Monday, February 18, 2019 for the President's Day Holiday.


Salisbury, MD ... On Monday, February 18, 2019, the Landfill, Newland Park Convenience Center, Whitehaven and Upper Ferries will be open. The Brush Pile will be opened but unmanned. All other Convenience Centers will be closed.

For more information, please contact the Newland Park Landfill at 410-548-4935. Ferry information is available by calling 410-543-2765.

Trump Will Declare State Of National Emergency To Fund Border Wall; Pelosi Threatens Legal Challenge

Update 2: Confirming that CNN was yet again fake news, moments ago the White House reported that, as McConnell said, President Trump will support the bipartisan spending bill that would avert another partial federal government shutdown, and will declare a national emergency to get more funding for his border wall.

“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action - including a national emergency - to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,”White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says in a statement.

“The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”
Meanwhile, as expected, the Democrats were up to arms, with House majority leader Nancy Pelosi immediately warning that she will review "legal options" if Trump declares an emergency, and Trump's decision should be met with unease.

After some modest jitters earlier, the market now appears to be ignoring this particular narrative.

* * *

Update 1: barely moments after CNN reported that Trump aides are 'growing concerned" the president may not sign the spending bill, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said that Trump will in fact sign the bill, but he added that Trump will also declare an emergency. From Reuters:

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that President Donald Trump told him he would sign a bipartisan border security bill and at the same time declare a national emergency to make available additional funds for a wall along the southern border.

And while the news that Trump will sign the bill was initially seen as good news by algos, which sent the S&P to session highs, the realization that Trump would also proceed with an emergency declaration, widely seen as negative, has spooked some traders, and the market is now generally unchanged compared to where it was before the CNN report.


Tony Perkins: Hillary Clinton: A Clear and One Percent Danger

It’s been two and a half years since Hillary Clinton lost the election. And based on her latest talking points, she still doesn’t have a single clue why. The same extremism that turned off voters in 2016 is back, reminding Americans what kind of country they’d have if the woman who made late-term abortion her closing argument for president had won.

This time, they aren’t squaring off on the debate stage — but Hillary Clinton is still managing to make one of the best cases for Donald Trump’s reelection. In a bitter response to his State of the Union address, the former first lady tweeted Monday that the president was lying about the severity of third-trimester abortions. “Only about 1% of abortions happen later in pregnancy,” she tweeted, “almost always because a woman’s health or life is at risk, or the pregnancy is no longer viable. Lying about this is dangerous, and a slap in the face to families who face heartbreaking situations.”

First things first. The number of children it affects has nothing to do with the morality of late-term abortion. If there were only two kids on a burning bus, people wouldn’t shrug and say, “Oh, the bus isn’t full. Don’t bother.” Right is right. It doesn’t have quotas, check the polls, or change with the times. If it’s your son or daughter in harm’s way, I guarantee you’d say that one life is worth saving.


Virginia’s Blackface Democrats Get Away Scot-Free

Special report exposes liberal hypocrisy at its finest

In the State of Virginia, we have the Governor, Lt. Governor, & Attorney General all accused of things the left is constantly accusing the right of without any evidence.

The establishment wants Americans to believe everything the right is accused of without evidence.

Remember the Kavanaugh hearing?

Brighteon Version:


Crisfield Police Visits Tawes Nursing Home for Valentine's Day 19

Image may contain: plant and flower

Senate Confirms William Barr to Become Attorney General

The Senate confirmed William Barr on Thursday to serve as President Donald Trump’s next attorney general.

William Barr’s confirmation to become the next attorney general came with a 54-45 vote and featured broad Republican support and little Democrat support.

Barr served as attorney general during the George H.W. Bush administration.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in a tweet on Thursday, “Today is a great day for the Department of Justice with the confirmation of William Barr to be the next Attorney General”.


Want To Connect With Trendy Millennials? Try Discussing Older Music, Study Finds

On the whole, millennials are regarded as forward-thinking — but you wouldn’t know by looking at their playlists. New research reveals that millennials’ listening habits are quite diverse. So diverse that many 20-somethings are almost as familiar with oldies as with today’s top hits.

We learn this by way of a recent song recognition experiment at New York University, in which nearly 650 millennials took part. Participants, mostly 18 to 25, were shown seven short snippets of one-time Billboard No. 1 hits, released sometime between the 1940s and 2015. After each audio sample, participants were asked to identify the song played.

Senior author Pascal Wallisch and his research team then tallied each identified track by year of release, letting them pinpoint the present-day popularity of songs from earlier eras.

Overall, songs released in the 21st century — 2000 to 2015 — were the best identified, but tracks released from 1960 to 1999 didn’t lag far behind. In fact, all songs from this latter 40-year period enjoyed roughly the same degree of popularity.


DHILLON: Microsoft Wants To Pick The News You Read

Controlling what news voters do and do not receive has become a big focus in the digital age. Mainstream media giants and establishment political operatives alike have long fought to stigmatize, discredit, and censor any news that doesn’t fit their agendas.

Now a familiar player is getting into the censorship game: Microsoft just announced that the tech giant’s Edge web browser will feature a “NewsGuard” plugin that will display a big red exclamation mark and a scolding warning when users view news outlets its censors dislike. Media outlets hand-selected by NewsGuard and Microsoft, on the other hand, will get a big friendly green check mark and flattering praise of their journalistic merit.

Who are the approved “green check mark” news sources? The left-leaning, establishment media outlets you would expect: CNN, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and so on. These are the same sites that rushed to publish dozens of demonstrably false stories about Catholic high schoolers harassing a Vietnam veteran — and wound up putting those teenagers and their families in the crosshairs of a vicious internet hate mob — and then, largely refused to apologize for getting the story completely wrong.

Other members of the “good news” club include Rolling Stone, responsible for making a cover story out of the most destructive rape hoax since the Scottsboro Boys, and BuzzFeed News, responsible for the report accusing President Trump of committing a felony by allegedly telling Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. The story was so outrageously false that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office issued a rare public statement to disavow it.

Which media sources are arrayed on the other side of this equation, the “bad news” bears designated on NewsGuard with red exclamation points?

[Harmeet Dhillon is a nationally recognized lawyer focusing in commercial litigation, employment law, First Amendment rights, and election law matters.]

Blue 'Mexican Oxy' Pills Devastating US Southwest

Aaron Francisco Chavez swallowed at least one of the sky blue pills at a Halloween party before falling asleep forever. He became yet another victim killed by a flood of illicit fentanyl smuggled from Mexico into the Southwest — a profitable new business for drug gangs that has pushed the synthetic opioid to the top spot for fatal U.S. overdoses.

Three others at the party in Tucson also took the pills nicknamed "Mexican oxy" and police flagged down by partygoers saved them by administering naloxone overdose reversal medication. But the treatment came too late for Chavez, who died at age 19.

The four thought they were taking oxycodone, a much less powerful opioid, investigators believe. The death of Chavez and many others, officials said, illustrate how Arizona and other southwestern states bordering Mexico have become a hot spot in the nation's fentanyl crisis. Fentanyl deaths tripled in Arizona alone from 2015 through 2017.

"It's the worst I've seen in 30 years, this toll that it's taken on families," said Doug Coleman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge of Arizona. "The crack (cocaine) crisis was not as bad."


Congressman Andy Harris’ Statement on President Trump’s Declaration of a National Emergency to Protect Border Security

WASHINGTON, DC: Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) made the following statement on President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to protect border security and facilitate funding of the border wall:

“I support the president’s efforts to fully fund comprehensive border security by re-allocating unused funds from other programs, such as counter-narcotics programs directly related to the flow of illegal drugs across our southern border. Just last month, CBP had its largest fentanyl drug bust at the southern border, capturing enough fentanyl to kill 57 million people – that’s enough drugs to kill the population of Maryland nine times over. The sex trafficking industry, a horrific and demoralizing crime, is also thriving from a lack of border security. The exploitation and rape of these women and children occurs both en route to the United States and after their arrival. MS-13 gang violence is rampant in the United States, and is a serious threat to our communities in Maryland. The president has worked hard to secure our border, and I support his decision to declare a state of emergency to protect our national security.”

Alternative to Spine Surgery: A Single Shot of Human Cells

What if a single-dose injection could cure degenerative disk disease, without going under the knife and through the recovery process of spine surgery? Though it sounds too good to be true, pioneering medical company SpinalCyte says not only is it possible, but it’s already being done.

In a recently concluded clinical trial, the company reported that a single injection of fibroblast cells — modified human cells similar to stem cells — resulted in significant improvements in disk height and pain reduction 12 months after the initial shot.

While Houston-based SpinalCyte is not the only company studying the effects of fibroblasts on degenerative disk disease, it’s the only one that has studied their effects on humans. (Scientists at Istanbul University’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation have found success in tests on rabbits.)

Spinal disks are the soft tissue between the vertebrae that act as cushions along the spinal column. When the disks wear out, from injury or age, they cause friction along the spine and often debilitating back pain.

More here

Trump declares emergency on border, eyes $8B for wall as he plans to sign spending package

President Trump said Friday he is declaring a national emergency on the southern border, tapping into executive powers in a bid to divert billions toward construction of a wall even as he plans to sign a funding package that includes just $1.4 billion for border security.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border … one way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.

The move is expected to face a swift and forceful legal challenge that could stall the attempt in the courts for the near future. But the declaration and other money-moving plans allow Trump to continue to fight for border wall construction while also averting another partial government shutdown -- which would have been triggered at midnight absent the new funding package.

Trump, in the Rose Garden, declared once again that "walls work" as he confirmed he'll sign the emergency declaration.

"We’re talking about an invasion of our country," Trump said.

And in an almost-casual tone, the president predicted a legal fight that will wind up before the Supreme Court.

"We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued," Trump said, adding that the federal appeals courts could well rule against his administration. "Then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake, and we’ll win at the Supreme Court -- just like the [travel] ban.”


Report: Persons of Interest in Jussie Smollett Case Were Extras on ‘Empire,’ of Nigerian Descent

New details have emerged from the investigation into an alleged assault of a gay, African-American actor in Chicago last month.

At least one of the persons of interest Chicago Police Department questioned Thursday in connection to the alleged assault of Empire actor Jussie Smollett are linked to the Fox program and both are African-American, according to WGN Investigates.

Additionally, reporter Charlie De Mar is reporting that the two men are of Nigerian descent and appeared as extras on the FOX drama Empire, a show on which Jussie Smollett is a starring actor.


Tebow brothers produce faith-based film 'Run the Race'

Thank God Its Friday 2-15-19

What will you be doing this weekend?

Congressman Andy Harris’ Statement on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019

WASHINGTON, DC: Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) made the following statement about the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019:

“This bill is a quickly spun-up piece of legislation of over 1,000 pages which none of us had enough time to read and fully digest. It fails to provide enough funding to secure our border with new wall construction. I support the president’s efforts to fully fund comprehensive border security by potentially re-allocating unused funds from other programs, such as counter-narcotics programs directly related to the flow of illegal drugs across our southern border. The bill also failed to address the urgent H-2B temporary worker visa shortage problem that affects so many small businesses in the First Congressional District of Maryland and nationwide.”

Bob Ehrlich: Here’s Why Leftists, Not Conservatives, Act Out When They Don’t Get Their Way

Republicans lost 37 House seats on Nov. 7, including control of the House of Representatives. An old nemesis, Nancy Pelosi, is now (again) the Hosue speaker. A myriad of subpoenas, investigations, hearings and (possibly) a vote on impeachment constitute the Democratic agenda for the 115th Congress.

Apart from all the political shenanigans surrounding a hotly-contested midterm election, post-election civil disturbances did not occur. There were no reports of demonstrations at the National Mall; roaming bands of protestors stopping traffic in downtown Manhattan; cathartic cookie-baking therapy sessions or cuddles with therapy dogs on college campuses; ugly mini-mobs showing up at restaurants frequented by progressive elites; or calls for nationwide boycotts against Ben & Jerry’s or Jim Carrey movies. No colleges reported violent sit-ins at their deans’ offices, either.

Of course, none of this inaction is a surprise. It’s more “dog bites man” — the definition of status quo. Republicans may be unhappy with the midterm results, but unlike many progressives, they are more likely to cry in their beer than turn to civil disobedience in order to manifest their anger at a political result.

Alas, there is little analysis devoted to this muted reaction. After all, the status quo is not sexy. Nobody earns a Ph.D. by analyzing the expected, the known. But it is worth our time to delve further into the recurring behaviors of the new left, also known as the “resistance.” In more contemporary terms, why not examine how some of the same people who shout “fascist!” at the drop of a hat (or Trump campaign rally) behave like fascists whenever elections do not go their way. Some pundits see this behavior as the natural fallout from the “everybody gets a trophy” generation. But there has to be more to it.

Accordingly, herein are three theories for this anything but civil behavior:


Fairfax Accuser to Meet With Boston Prosecutors

Dr. Vanessa Tyson accuses VA official of sexual assault

Dr. Vanessa Tyson, Stanford fellow and professor at Scripps College, is scheduling a meeting with Boston prosecutors with regard to her allegation of sexual assault against Virginia Democrat lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Fairfax was serving as the “body man” for John Edwards on the John Kerry campaign at the time.


Trump To Declare National Emergency As Well As Sign Spending Bill, White House Says

President Trump will support a border security funding compromise, averting a partial government shutdown early Saturday — but he also will declare a national emergency in order to build the wall he has pushed for along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country."

By Thursday evening, Congress had easily passed the bipartisan spending deal, which had been crafted by lawmakers from both the chambers. The vote was 83-16 in the Senate and 300-128 in the House, constituting veto-proof majorities.


Kobach: At Least '3 Poison Pills' in Compromise Bill

There are at least "three poison pills" contained in the government funding compromise bill that would justify President Donald Trump vetoing it, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach claimed Thursday.

"The biggest one is when it says $1.375 billion" for border security, Kobach told Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "If it says no more than, or only $1.375 billion, that would take away the president's authority that exists in other laws to spend defense department money."

Another "poison pill" could occur when it's known that Democrats have been saying they want to redefine asylum with immigrants, said Kobach, as Democrats want the rules to say that people who suffer from domestic or gang violence, that "qualifies you for asylum."


Biden almost certain to run for president in 2020, source says

Former Vice President Joe Biden is almost certain to run for president in 2020, a source with direct knowledge told Fox News on Thursday.

The source said the timing of an announcement is still up in the air. With such a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls, Biden wants to keep big donors and potential staffers with him, and has been conducting outreach to former colleagues, grassroots activists and contributors, the source said.

Fox News also confirmed through two sources that California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein met privately Thursday morning with Biden. The sources said Feinstein expects Biden to run.

A “Friends of Joe” group, which has been inactive since 2016, has been busy with a flurry of emails, conversations and activities, the source said. The group comprises longtime aides, donors, supporters and friends.

The 76-year-old former vice president’s decision comes as a slew of younger and more liberal Democrats have already jumped into the fray, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.


Back in Omar's district, police deal with gangs, relations with Somali community

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - In the dead of the cold, late night on Tuesday, a young Somali man was shot in the hip. Someone took him to the local trauma center, left him there, and drove off.

The man told police at his bedside that he didn’t know who shot him, who took him to the hospital, or why he was targeted. “I’m intoxicated,” he told cops, while doctors tended his wound, before insisting he didn't know anything else about what happened.

For the attending police officers, it was a frustrating, albeit familiar, response from a member of the Somali community, whose support in November sent one of their own, Rep. Ilhan Omar, to Congress. While Omar has spoken out frequently and forcefully on a range of issues - some that seem little connected to her district - most members of the Somali community she represents remain far more insular.

The national epidemic of shootings involving young African-American men in America's cities certainly isn't unique to Minneapolis. But some officers here believe issues of cultural assimilation involving the Somali immigrant community, and a struggle on both sides to better communicate law enforcement's mandate to protect and serve, makes it a particularly imposing challenge. One that politicians like Omar, they say, could do much more to effectively address.

Minnesota is now home to one the largest Somali communities in the global diaspora, with an estimated 100,000 living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood is the center of the Somali community – and is fondly nicknamed “Little Mogadishu” – for its array of Somali-centered organizations, businesses, and mosques.


Klukowski: President Trump Must Ensure Spending Bill Does Not Cancel Emergency Powers

The White House should be extremely cautious in studying every single word in Congress’s spending bill, because even a single phrase could negate every authority President Donald Trump currently has under federal law to build and fund the border wall, even canceling his authority to declare a national border emergency.

Insiders around D.C. are talking about how the president can sign the spending bill that was unveiled this week, take the money that it authorizes for building a wall, then use executive authority to fund the rest of it. The president must proceed with extreme caution, because the opponents of the wall are the ones writing this 1,169-page monster legislation, and a single unnoticed sentence could lead to a court ruling that the president has signed away all of this legal authority to secure the border – including emergency authority.

More here

Police investigating whether Jussie Smollett staged attack with help of others

Chicago police confirmed Thursday that detectives are talking to two persons of interest in connection with the alleged attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett.

Multiple sources have told ABC7 Eyewitness News that police are investigating whether Smollett and the two men staged the attack allegedly because Smollett was being written off of "Empire."

A source familiar with the investigation told the ABC7 I-Team that Smollett failed to appear for an interview with detectives earlier Thursday.


'Unplanned' Trailer #1 In The Nation On iTunes

The trailer for "Unplanned" — the upcoming pro-life film about famed Planned Parenthood defector Abby Johnson — has reached the number one spot on iTunes, according to the film's marketing team.

Unveiled in late January following the March for Life, the trailer now hovers above such recognizable brand names as "Aladdin," "Child's Play," and "Avengers: Endgame."

Actress Ashley Bratcher, who plays Abby Johnson in the upcoming film, said she "can hardly find the words" to describe her feelings in light of the public's response to the film.

"I am blown away by the response to 'Unplanned.' I can hardly find the words to describe how I feel," she said in a statement provided to The Daily Wire. "Seeing our trailer hit the #1 spot is incredible. Our cast and crew poured their hearts and souls into making this film and I can’t wait to share this story of hope with the world on March 29th."

'My Pillow' CEO Mike Lindell, an investor on the film, said he is not surprised to see the film performing so well prior to release.

"I am pleased but not surprised to hear that our trailer has hit #1 at iTunes," Lindell said in a statement also provided to The Daily Wire. "This powerful and true story will uncover the truth and reminds us all that all children, born and unborn, deserve our love."


The Left Attacks 'Homophobia' In Christian Churches, Ignores Mosques. It's Insane.

A few days ago, actress Ellen Page publicly blasted actor Chris Pratt for his membership in an "infamously anti lgbtq" church. The comment sparked a week's worth of backlash against Pratt, who eventually issued a statement denying the charges of homophobia. In reality, Hillsong, the church Pratt attends along with Justin Bieber and some of the Kardashian clan, is far from doctrinally traditionalist. If it's "infamous" for anything, it's certainly not social conservatism. When Page attacks Pratt for attending an "infamously anti lgbtq" church, she's really just attacking him for attending any church at all.

The same can be said about the recent criticisms of Karen Pence, who experienced significant blowback for getting a job at a Christian school. It was claimed that her school is "homophobic" and "anti-gay" simply because it professes Biblical views on sexuality.

The anti-Christian attacks have little to do with gay rights. How else do you explain the fact that the Left never subjects Muslims to this sort of scrutiny? The orthodox forms of all three Abrahamic religions all share the same fundamental view on human sexuality.

More here

$1.50 Soft Taco Friday

Come to Caribbean Joe's any time today from 11 am to 10 pm and get soft beef tacos for $1.50 each, minimum order of three tacos at a time. Its "Soft Taco Friday" at Caribbean Joe's.

Guatemala Intel Minister: Migrant Caravans Are ‘Well-Planned,’ Not Spontaneous

Guatemalan head of intelligence Mario Duarte said during a visit to Washington Tuesday that the migrant caravans heading to the U.S. southern border are “well-planned” and “well-organized” by those wanting to “weaponize those in need.”

“This was not a spontaneous event. It was well-planned. It was well-organized,” Duarte, head of the Secretariat of Strategic Intelligence of Guatemala, said at an event hosted by the Center for a Free Secure Society at the National Press Club.

He said different intelligence, law enforcement, and military agencies found evidence that the October caravan from Honduras to the U.S. — which at one point contained about 40,000 migrants — was organized in advance.

There was a call on October 5 in Honduras for citizens to join a “massive migration walk to the United States,” he said. “We detected logistical preparation throughout Guatemala and Mexico, to be able to bring all these people to the U.S. southern border.”

He said the main organization behind the caravans was a non-governmental organization based out of Chicago, called Pueblos Sin Fronteras, led by organizer and pastor Emma Lozano.

More here

[Related: George Soros Funds The Caravan’s Parent Group And Caravan Spokeswoman’s Employer]

The N-Word. Let's Talk About It. Is That Allowed?

HYPOCRISY: Anti-Semite Ilhan Omar, Who Decried Lobbyists, Took Thousands From PACS And Lobbyists

There’s an interesting fact about anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who triggered a firestorm after making comments accusing GOP representatives of supporting the state of Israel because they were given money by the American Public Affairs Committee: Omar herself was the beneficiary of tens of thousands of dollars from lobbying groups.

As Lori Lowenthal Marcus reports, "According to the records of the Federal Election Commission, last summer Omar received nearly $60,000 from PACs."

Marcus notes that one PAC giving money to Omar was the Council on American Islamic Relations, which was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the 2009 Holy Land Foundation trial. Marcus also points out, “And CAIR not only has a PAC, it is a lobbying organization. On Jan.10, CAIR hosted the Community Congressional Reception at which Omar spoke.”

More here

Accurate Depiction of Our Public Schools

Public Education’s Dirty Secret

Bad teaching is a common explanation given for the disastrously inadequate public education received by America’s most vulnerable populations. This is a myth. Aside from a few lemons who were notable for their rarity, the majority of teachers I worked with for nine years in New York City’s public school system were dedicated, talented professionals. Before joining the system I was mystified by the schools’ abysmal results. I too assumed there must be something wrong with the teaching. This could not have been farther from the truth.

Teaching French and Italian in NYC high schools I finally figured out why this was, although it took some time, because the real reason was so antithetical to the prevailing mindset. I worked at three very different high schools over the years, spanning a fairly representative sample. That was a while ago now, but the system has not improved since, as the fundamental problem has not been acknowledged, let alone addressed. It would not be hard, or expensive, to fix.

Washington Irving High School, 2001–2004


Accident On Hobbs Road

An Aim cargo van rear ended a 2 door coupe. Use caution.

Amazon will pay $0 in federal income taxes for the second year in a row

Amazon, which doubled its profits and made more than $11 billion in 2018, won't pay ANY federal income taxes for the second year in a row, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reported on Wednesday.

The company will not be required to pay the standard 21 percent income tax rate on its 2018 profits, and is claiming a tax rebate of $129 million, which ITEP describes as a "a tax rate of negative 1 percent."

Amazon drew ire in 2018 for not paying federal taxes on its $5.6 billion in profits the year before, which was made possible due to tax credits and stock-based compensation, reports Politifact.


IT'S ABOUT TIME! Top NASA Global Warming Scientist WALKS BACK Global Warming Claims! "I'm Not Sure that Climate Change Is An Immediate Threat To Human Existence"!

Did one of NASA’s top climate scientists just walk back global warming hysteria? Sure sounds like it!

NASA climatologist, Dr. Kate Marvel, dropped this little bomb while making an appearance on Alec Baldwin’s podcast.

The No Agenda Show has the clip which you can listen to here. (transcribed below)

MARVEL: I mean like the Earth’s a rock right? It’s it’s a really special rock but the earth doesn’t care about climate change. It’s still going to be here. And I actually I’m not sure that climate change is an immediate threat to human existence, but I know that it is an immediate threat to human happiness & human civilization and so a lot of times…

BALDWIN: It’s an immediate threat to the way we live now

MARVEL: For sure. 100%. And a lot of humans gonna be extinct are we doomed? And I kind of feel likeI mean we’re probably not doomedbut like I have higher standards you know what I mean? Like if that’s the best thing you can say after a day you’re like I I didn’t go extinct today then it wasn’t a good day.

“I’m not sure that climate change is an immediate threat to human existence??”

“I mean we’re probably not doomed???”

Is this a joke???


Amazon Hikes Prices At Whole Foods As Consumers Brace For Inflationary Tidal Wave

Feb. 12, 2019 is a day that will live on in the annals of American industry. Because it's the day we finally learned - thanks to a repoert in the Wall Street Journal - that Jeff Bezos (and, presumably, his investors) tolerance for loss-making businesses does have its limits.

According to emails obtained by the paper, Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market raised prices this month on dozens of items ranging from Dr. Bronner’s soaps to Häagen-Dazs ice cream. These prices hikes followed increases on another 55 items, including crackers, olives and cookies, according to an email from December. The reason for the price hikes? As we have previously reported, Clorox, Coca-Cola and Mondelez are just a few of the producers of consumer products, snack foods and beverages who were preparing to raise prices. According to figures cited by WSJ, nearly half of 52 consumer-goods manufacturers surveyed recently by consulting firm Acosta raised prices last year.


BREAKING: Jussie Smollett Staged Attack Because His Character Was Being Written Out of Show 'Empire'!

The Jussie Smollett hoax is blowing up!

The Gateway Pundit was right! The Jussie Smollett MAGA attack was a HOAX!

Multiple sources tell ABC 7 Chicago that Jussie Smollet and the 2 men who are being questioned by police staged the attack – allegedly because his character was being written out of the show Empire.

As previously reported, TMZ said Thursday that Chicago police not only brought Jussie Smollett in for additional questioning, but there are two other men being questioned as “persons of interest.”


Did 'Empire' Star Fake Chicago "MAGA Country" Attack With Two Extras?

Update2: The writers of Empire tweeted that they have "never planned or even discussed" writing Smollett off of the show.

Update: According to Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, media reports about the incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox said in a statement: "The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of EMPIRE is patently ridiculous. He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him."


A Tampa man reported an income of $18,497. The IRS sent him a refund check for $980,000

The IRS has seized a Lexus and $919,251 from a Tampa man who got a $980,000 refund after filing a tax return that falsely showed $1 million in federal income tax withholding.

At a time when millions of Americans are bemoaning their smaller-than-expected tax refunds, consider this:

Ramon Christopher Blanchett of Tampa once got a refund of $980,000. On a reported income of $18,497.

As with most things involving the IRS, this story does not end happily, at least for Blanchett, 29. But it does display a degree of ingenuity, as outlined in a federal forfeiture complaint recently filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa:

In February 2017, Blanchett electronically submitted a self-prepared income tax return listing his occupation as "free-lancer. '' He had W-2 forms from a Tampa nursing home and a Sizzling Platter restaurant in Murray, Utah.One W-2 showed $17,098 in wages and $1 million of federal income tax withholding. In reality, the complaint says, Blanchett was paid just $2,098 and no tax was withheld. The other W-2, which was accurate, showed $1,399 in income and no withholding.