The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Quote of the Day

"This is a president who acts boldly. This is a president who carried out a strike that was so precise, so strategic, nothing else was hurt except the car in which that terrorist was riding." --- US Representative Michael Kelly (R-PA)

Protester Interrupts Elizabeth Warren: ‘Why Are You Siding with Terrorists?’

A protester interrupted Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) town hall in Dover, New Hampshire, on Friday and accused her of “siding with terrorists.”

An angry protester interrupted Warren on Friday, accusing her of siding with Iran over her position on President Trump’s elimination of Iranian terror chief Qasem Soleimani.

“You’re siding with racists; you’re siding with Iran. What are you siding with terrorists for?” the man yelled. “My grandfather died in World War II. You’re a fraud! Disgusting!”

“This is a man who is deeply upset,” Warren said.


Joe Biden 'confuses Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden' during rally in Iowa - as Bernie Sanders surges ahead in new poll after stinging attacks on the former VP's foreign policy record

Joe Biden reportedly confused Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden while defending his foreign policy record during a rally in Iowa.

The former Vice President, 77, made the gaffe while responding to a voter who asked whether he could be trusted on foreign policy, given that he voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq in 2002 and cautioned President Obama against conducting the successful raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in 2011.

According to Politico, Biden at one point scrambled the two separate incidents in his 'lengthy response' by mixing up the former Iraqi president with the one-time leader of al-Qaeda.

The incident occurred last Saturday at a rally in Des Moines - three days before he mixed up Iran and Iraq while speaking at an event in New York.


Florida Man Gets 90 Days In Prison For Spitting On 67-Year-Old Man Wearing MAGA Hat

A Florida resident was sentenced to 90 days in prison Thursday after he spit on a 67-year-old man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat in October.

Matthias Ajple, 43, was charged with battery after spitting on Robert Youngblood, The Palm Beach Post reported. Video footage shows Ajple putting what looks like a paper towel on top of Youngblood, who was wearing a MAGA hat.

“I was just trying to protect you guys because I support law enforcement,” Ajple told the deputy according to the report. “Trump supporters are communist and racist. I don’t even care that I’m going to jail. This is actually exciting.”


'Go to Walter Reed!': House Republican Goes Off On Pelosi For Labelling Soleimani Strike as Disproportionate

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) ripped into Speaker of the House Nancy Pelsoi (D-CA) on Thursday for labelling the airstrike president authorized that killed Iranian general and terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, as a "disproportionate" reaction to the attack on America's embassy in Iraq.

Kataib Hezbollah leader Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes was also killed in the same airstrike. The two were in a car at Baghdad's international airport. The airstrike was in response to Iranian proxy militias launching rockets that resulted in the death of a U.S. Defense Department contractor.

"I raise in total support of the decision to remove Qassem Soleimani. I've heard the use of the word 'disproportionate' from the Speaker," Zeldin said. "I've heard it today on the House floor and it's just a shocking word to use to describe what took place and it makes me ask the question: At what point is it proportionate to take out a designated terrorist who kills 600 U.S. troops, wounds thousands of others, kills and wounds troops recently, his proxies attack a U.S. embassy."


Sanders Leads Dems in Iowa, Poll Says; Biden 4th

During a Town Hall event in Dover, New Hampshire on Friday, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren was confronted by an irate Trump supporter who called her out for “siding with ISIS” and “siding with Iran.”

“My grandfather was in World War 2. You’re siding with ISIS. You’re siding with Iran. Why are you siding with terrorists?” the man shouted from the floor of the small crowd gathered to hear Warren speak.

“You’re a fraud! Disgusting! Green New Deal, you’re a liar!” exclaimed the man who was greeted with boos from Warren supporters.

Attempting to calm down the crowd, Warren said, “This is a man who’s deeply upset,” and told him, “It’s time for you to leave.”


Fears, Rhetoric Rise Ahead of Va. Gun Rally on MLK Day

Virginia Democrats’ pledge to pass new state gun laws has sparked a grassroots pro-gun movement expected to draw thousands of activists to a rally this month amid fears the escalating rhetoric could spark violence.

The concern comes in the wake of Democrats taking control of Virginia’s state government last November — and pledging to pass the gun control laws.

That in turn has triggered a grassroots pro-gun movement, with supporters demanding lawmakers pass “second amendment sanctuary” resolutions that promise local governments won’t enforce state gun laws they see as unconstitutional.

None of the laws under consideration have been found unconstitutional, The Guardian reported.

“I really do think we may be on the brink of another war,” one speaker told a crowd of at least 800 people in Pulaski county, the Roanoke Times reported last month.


The Hummer is back... as an ELECTRIC pick-up

General Motors Co will revive the Hummer name to sell a new family of electric pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, and will tout the return with a Super Bowl ad featuring NBA star Lebron James.

The vehicles will also be sold under the GMC nameplate, two people briefed on the matter said on Friday.

Reuters reported in October that GM planned to build a new family of premium electric pickup trucks at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant beginning in late 2021 and was considering reviving the Hummer name, citing several people familiar with the plans.

The Wall Street Journal reported GM's decision to move forward earlier on Friday. GM declined to comment.


High Temperature Records Set or Tied

Saturday was an incredibly warm day for January across the Eastern US. Many areas broke or tied their record high temperature for January 11th - a total of 61 locations.

Trump: 4 Embassies Were Targeted in Imminent Threat From Iran Before Airstrike

President Donald Trump said Iran had targeted four American embassies before the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani a week ago—the clearest details yet on the intelligence U.S. officials had gathered ahead of the airstrike in Baghdad.

“We will tell you, probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Friday, adding, “I can reveal that I think it would’ve been four embassies.” On Thursday, he told reporters Iran was “looking to blow up” the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also told reporters on Friday at the White House that “attacks on U.S. embassies” would have likely been targeted by Iranian assets. “We don’t know exactly which day it would have been executed, but it was very clear: Qassem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large-scale attack against American interests, and those attacks were imminent,” Pompeo later told CBS News.


Female Army Sergeant Repels Ambush, Kills 3, Becomes First Woman to Earn Silver Star Since WWII

Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, of Nashville, Tennessee, went from shoe salesperson to national hero, and today, she has the award to prove it.

Hester first enlisted in the United States Army just before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and was assigned to the National Guard’s Kentucky-based 617th Military Police Company in Baghdad in 2004. She was not afraid of the potential for combat.

“It was that one job where you can get out there and get dirty and be in an infantry-type environment,” she explained of her enlistment, speaking to The Tennesseean. “I guess it was one of the more exciting jobs in the military for women when I enlisted, and it still is now.”


Processed Foods Are Making Americans Fat

The convenience and lower cost of processed foods is hard to resist. But ready-to-eat meals and snacks are making Americans obese and unhealthy, a new study suggests.

As more people eat cheaper processed foods, they are getting fatter, said researcher Leigh Frame, from George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in Washington, D.C.

Frame and a colleague analyzed food trends in the United States, looking beyond calories to the impact of processing.


EVERYTHING That Goes into the Final 24 Hours of Stadium Preparation for an NFL Game Day

Rush drummer Neil Peart dead at 67: 'Rest in peace brother'

Neil Peart, the legendary drummer for the popular Canadian rock trio Rush, has died at age 67, the band announced Friday.

Peart died on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif., after battling brain cancer, family spokesperson Elliot Mintz said in a statement obtained by Fox News.

A statement posted on the band's official Twitter page said: "It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and bandmate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three and a half year battle with brain cancer ..."

Revealed: Identity of top FBI official who leaked secret information to media

The name of a former top FBI official who leaked sensitive information over the course of hundreds of communications with at least six reporters can be revealed by the Washington Examiner.

His identity is contained in a 21-page report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The report reveals that investigators for Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz determined that Bryan Paarmann, 53, the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s international operations division from 2016 to 2017, “improperly disclosed court-sealed and law enforcement sensitive information to the media” in violation of FBI rules.

The incident is one Horowitz included as part of what his June 2018 report called the FBI’s “culture of unauthorized media contacts.” A one-page summary of the investigation was released last May.


Blue States Will Lose Power in 2020

“Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during a press conference earlier this year. “We did that. God forbid the rich leave,” he mocked.

Well, Guv, they’re leaving. In fact, over the past 10 years, New York has lost 1.4 million residents.

Those fleeing the Empire State are not only likely to shrink the size of New York’s congressional delegation; they’re also taking their money with them. And while losing a seat or two in Congress may not be too alarming to the ruling class in states like New York, the loss of revenue is another matter.


Sanctuary Cities: A Battle Over The Second Amendment Is Unfolding Across America

As Virginia’s new Democratic legislature promises gun control measures, the wives of National Guardsman are warning that impending gun legislation threatens to turn neighbor against neighbor.

As the 2020 Virginia legislative session began, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam and fellow Democrats continued their push for new gun control bills. In the months since a May 2019 shooting left 12 people dead and four others injured at a Virginia Beach municipal building, Democratic politicians have repeatedly expressed their desire to implement new restrictions such as universal background checks, a ban on certain weapons, and controversial red flag laws.

However, the calls for gun restrictions have not been welcomed by all Virginians. Instead, the push for more gun control has sparked a movement that has expanded across Virginia and continues to grow in other states including California, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, and Florida.

The so-called Second Amendment “sanctuary city” movement takes it’s name from previous resolutions introduced by opponents of hard line immigration policies. These sanctuary cities are defined as a city (or a county, or a state) that limits its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents in order to protect low-priority immigrants from deportation, while still turning over those who have committed serious crimes.

In a similar fashion, supporters of Second Amendment sanctuary cities are now asking local law enforcement to refuse to comply with orders from the state regarding gun control.


Trump's average unemployment rate is the lowest in recorded history

President Trump starts off 2020 having presided over a lower average unemployment rate than any president at a comparable point in office in recorded history.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate held steady at a historically low 3.5% in December. Since February 2017, Trump's first full month in office, the monthly unemployment rate has averaged 3.9%. No prior president has averaged less than 4% over the first 35 months of his presidency. The closest was Dwight Eisenhower, when the rate averaged 4.3% between February 1953 and December 1955.

Modern unemployment statistics did not start being kept until 1948, after Harry Truman's first 35 months in office, so this analysis only starts with Eisenhower. Nonetheless, it does point to the unprecedented nature of this consistently low level of unemployment.


$2.50 Drafts During Ravens Game Tonight At Caribbean Joe's

Come out to Caribbean Joe's tonight for ALL of the NFL games and enjoy draft beers for only $2.50. We'll have all 20 TV's going tonight including the outdoor TV's. To top it off we'll have the bonfires going and guess what, I'll personally be serving as your outdoor bartender. So come on out and let's all have a blast while supporting our Baltimore Ravens!

International Olympic Committee bans political protests by athletes at 2020 games

No taking a knee, no political hand gestures and no disrespect during medal ceremonies. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) posted a three-page guideline on Thursday that reiterates Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter. It clearly states how and when athletes can protest during the 2020 Tokyo games.

The IOC said athletes are banned from protesting while on the field of play, in the Olympic Village and during medal and other official ceremonies. However, they are allowed to express political opinions during press interviews outside the Village, in meetings and on traditional and social media.

"We believe that the example we set by competing with the world's best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world," the IOC said in a statement. "This is why it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations."


Chicago minister is charged with four counts of fraud for cheating a federal program to feed poor children and then spending $142,000 on a Bentley

A minister from Chicago is accused of cheating a federal program to feed impoverished children out of money and using $142,000 to buy a Bentley for himself.

Rev Clarence Smith Jr, 45, of the New Life Impact Church, pleaded not guilty to four counts of fraud in US District Court, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Smith allegedly over-reported to the state how many children his church had fed through the program, asking for a bill of $1million.

He then purchased the luxury sedan and wrote personal checks to himself covering other expenses.


Expelled students sue Seminary for sex discrimination

An evangelical seminary in California is accused in a lawsuit of violating a federal anti-discrimination law for kicking out two seminarians who each married someone of the same sex.

Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, expelled graduate students Nathan Brittsan and Joanna Maxon after administrators learned of their same-sex marriages, the lawsuit says.

The multi-denominational seminary holds same-sex marriage to be one of many “unbiblical sexual practices,” along with pre- and extramarital affairs.


Today's lesson: 'Equality' (Socialism)

'Equality' is undoubtedly the defining goal of socialism. Socialists favor a more equal distribution of wealth and income within society.

The rallying cry of equality has been heard from many a socialist throughout the ages. However, we must be clear on the meaning of equality. Socialists favor a more equal distribution of wealth and income within society. This is in sharp contrast to liberals and to some extent conservatives who favor equality of opportunity (albeit for slightly different reasons).

With regards to equality, it is once again important to identify the distinctions between the various strands of socialism.

Social democrats such as Anthony Crosland assert that all of us have an equal worth regardless of social background. A more even distribution of wealth via progressive taxation, a welfare state based upon universal benefits and a system of comprehensive education all help to achieve a more equal society. This moderate form of socialism seeks to empower the individual from the shackles of the capitalist system.

Those further to the left believe that the state should play a more prominent role within the management of the economy. Only by a significant level of state involvement can we truly achieve an egalitarian society. Democratic socialists reject the social democratic argument that the forces of capitalism can be tamed and therefore humanised. Capitalism is simply incompatible with the socialist goal of equality.

Learn more about it here

VIRGINIA ALERT: Guns Banned Ahead of Lobby Day at State Capitol

Pelosi to Transmit Impeachment Articles to Senate Next Week

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats Friday that she was prepared to send the articles of impeachment passed by the House to the Senate for trial, despite a month-long delay to the process.

The Speaker revealed her intentions in a letter to her Democrat colleagues and obtained by reporters.

“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Pelosi wrote in the letter. “I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting.”


Ravens 2020 Playoff Hype Video

John Kerry: Obama administration gave Iran 'a little bit of money'

Former Secretary of State John Kerry denied that money from a $1.7 billion payment the United States made to Iran in 2016 went toward funding Iran’s recent attack on U.S. bases in Iraq.

Kerry described the payment as a "little bit of money" and accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of lying about what Iran used the 2016 cash payment for. Kerry asserted that most of the money was used to pay off Iranian debts and fund economic programs.

"We gave them a little bit of money that was released at that period of time," Kerry said. "But the fact is the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] had all the money it wanted."


The Power of the 2-Parent Home Is Not a Myth

Among several disturbing elements of Christina Cross’ New York Times op-ed “The Myth of the Two-Parent Home” is the author’s seeming belief that unless growing up with married parents has the same effect on black children as on white youngsters, it is not worthy of endorsement.

Otherwise, asserts the Harvard postdoctoral fellow, “blindly promoting the merits of marriage and the two-parent family is not the answer.”

Her purpose appears to be to show how black families do in comparison to white families, as opposed to what the absolute impact of strengthened family structure would be on black children. Take this excerpt:

"Although in general, youths raised in two-parent families are less likely to live in poverty, black youths raised by both biological parents are still three times more likely to live in poverty than are their white peers. Additionally, black two-parent families have half the wealth of white two-parent families. So, many of the expected economic benefits of marriage and the two-parent family are not equally available to black children."

Yet the research Cross herself cites from the National Center for Education Statistics tells a far more hopeful story about the impact of family structure.


Dems rush to implicate Trump for plane crash

In the wake of claims that an errant missile fired by Iran brought down a passenger jet earlier this week, some Democrats and media voices have appeared to make the case that President Trump at least shares in the blame for the death of 176 civilians.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., pointedly laid the blame for the tragedy at Trump's feet, in an interview Thursday.

“If what is being projected is true, this is yet another example of collateral damage from the actions that have been taken in a provocative way by the president of the United States,” Speier told CNN.

This, following a similar suggestion from Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg overnight, which appeared to assert a butterfly-effect argument that if the president had not ordered the U.S. military strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran would not have retaliated, and therefore, the passenger jet would not have been shot down.


Hacking groups are eyeing power grids

At least three hacking groups have the capability to interfere with or disrupt power grids across the US – and the number of cyber-criminal operations targeting electricity and other utilities is on the rise, according to a new report on the state of industrial control systems.

Cyber security company Dragos said that political and military tensions in the Gulf appear to coincide with a rise in interest in hacking groups targeting electricity grids, power companies and other systems related to utilities in the US.

"The threat landscape focusing on electric utilities in North America is expansive and increasing, led by numerous intrusions into ICS networks for reconnaissance and research purposes and ICS activity groups demonstrating new interest in the electric sector," warned its North American Electric Cyber Threat Perspective report.

The report notes that the security researchers are tracking seven groups that target electrical facilities in North America and that three of these have demonstrated the capability to "infiltrate or disrupt" electrical power networks.


North Carolina Voter ID Ruling Puts Security of Democracy at Stake

It’s a cornerstone of our democracy: Government is to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, deriving its authority from the consent of the governed.

These fundamental principles are at stake in North Carolina, due to a ruling from an activist federal judge on voter ID.

It’s amazing that we’re still having this debate today.

Presidents from Jimmy Carter to Donald Trump have advocated for the use of IDs to protect the integrity of the vote, and the Supreme Court has confirmed that states have the right to safeguard their elections. Thirty-five states have done so already, passing laws requiring voters to show identification before casting their ballots.

Against that backdrop, voters in North Carolina overwhelmingly approved adding an ID requirement to the state constitution in 2018. The General Assembly quickly took up the task of drafting a law to put that mandate into place.

The result was a voter ID law that is a model for the nation—making it easy to vote, but tough to cheat.

We got the system in place just in time for the 2020 election cycle. When North Carolinians stepped into the voting booth, they were to have confidence that their vote was protected.

But just a few weeks ago, an unelected federal judge tossed it aside.

Officials wager hometown goods in Ravens playoff game

BALTIMORE —Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and Nashville Mayor John Cooper have struck up a friendly wager surrounding Saturday's AFC divisional-round playoff game.

The Baltimore Ravens play the Tennessee Titans at 8:15 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium. Each city's mayor is offering hometown products that will be claimed by the mayor for the winning team.

In the winner take all stakes, Young anteed up a bushel of mouth-watering Maryland crabs donated by Faidley’s Seafood, two dozen crab cakes by Jimmy’s Famous Seafood and a case of thirst-quenching Duckpin Pale Ale, offered up by Union Craft Brewing Company.


Texas Becomes First State to Reject Refugee Resettlement

Texas governor Greg Abbott (R.) on Friday told the State Department that his state will become the first in the nation to refuse federal refugee resettlement.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Abbott wrote that in the wake of the border crisis that rocked the state in 2019, Texas lacks the state and private capacity to deal with even more demand on its humanitarian resources.

"At this time, the state and non-profit organizations have a responsibility to dedicate available resources to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants, and the homeless—indeed, all Texans," Abbott wrote. "As a result, Texas cannot consent to initial refugee resettlement for FY2020."

The move is likely to shake up refugee resettlement in the United States, as Texas has historically played home to as many as 10 percent of annual refugee arrivals.


Rep. Ilhan Omar Casts Iranians, Iraqis as Victims of Trump

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., berated President Donald Trump’s administration Thursday and cast the Iraqi people as victims on the House floor.

Omar said the Trump administration asks Americans “to deny reality.” Her words came after Iran launched missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq early Wednesday local time.

“This administration says starving the Iranian economy is in defense of human rights, when it is an abuse of them,” Omar said. “That withdrawal from the [Iran] nuclear deal was a demonstration of American leadership when it is an abandonment of it.”

Omar said the families of American soldiers and diplomats “are being kept awake at night worrying.”

She also emphasized that the Iranian and Iraqi people are suffering unjustly.


Political Memes

Saturday Morning Funnies

Cook County declined more than 1,000 ICE detainers in FY19

Lack of cooperation puts repeat offenders back on the streets
CHICAGO — Law enforcement agencies in Cook County, Illinois, released 1,070 criminal aliens and immigration violators in Fiscal Year 2019, despite requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to notify the agency prior to their release from local custody.
“The most concerning issue about working in an area that refuses to cooperate with ICE is not only that we do not know which criminal aliens are being released from custody, but the public doesn’t know either,” said Henry Lucero, ICE’s acting deputy executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). “Because ICE does not have access to standard Illinois law enforcement databases, it’s difficult to accurately account for all the aliens who have been arrested, released and committed additional crimes. However, with the limited information ICE can verify, we know that police resources are being wasted, more people are being victimized, and it’s a matter of time until something more significant happens.”
The following are just two examples where ICE lodged immigration detainers with Cook County for criminal aliens who were arrested, released and rearrested in FY 2019: 
•    Rasheed Abass, a 50-year-old South African national, was arrested in June for indecent exposure. In July, he was arrested for assault. ICE lodged detainers after both arrests. His current location is unknown.    
• Kennete Acevedo Ortiz, also known as Kennev Vasques-Rugama, a 28-year-old Nicaraguan national, was arrested at least three times in FY 2019. His first arrest was in December 2018 for driving under the influence. Acevedo Ortiz was arrested two additional times in 2019; in February for domestic violence and in March for failure to appear. ICE lodged a detainer following each arrest. He is currently in Illinois Department of Corrections’ custody.