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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Iraqi Woman Beaten to Death in California, Hate Crime Suspected

A woman from Iraq who was found beaten, lying in a pool of blood in her in El Cajon, Calif., home next to a note saying “go back to your country,” has died and police are investigating her death as a possible a hate crime.

Shaima Alawadi’s 17-year-old daughter found her unconscious on the dining room floor of her home Wednesday. She was taken to the hospital and put on life support, but she was taken off life around 3 p.m. Saturday.

“Our understanding is that she was beaten and she was hit with some kind of a tool about 8 times in the head. She was knocked on the floor and was found in a pool of blood,” said Hanif Mohebi, the director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Alawadi was a 32-year-old mother of five children, ranging in age from eight to 17.

“A week ago they left a letter saying this is our country not yours you terrorist, and so my mom ignored that thinking it was just kids playing a prank,” Alawadi’s daughter, Fatima Al Himidi, told ABC News affiliate KGTV. “But the day they hit her, they left another note again, and it said the same thing.”


Group Offers $10,000 For US Black Teen's Killer

A black political group offered a $10,000 reward Saturday for the killer of an African-American teenager, amid a nationwide uproar which has prompted a rethink of America's race issues.

The New Black Panther Party displayed a wanted poster on its website with a picture of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin, 17, last month.

"WANTED!!! For the murder of Trayvon Martin... ALIVE, not dead or harmed," the poster read.

Several dozen supporters of the group known by its acronym NBPP -- unrelated to the revolutionary Black Panther Party active in the 1960s-1980s -- meanwhile protested for the third time this week at the police headquarters in Sanford, Florida.

"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," leader Mikhail Muhammad told the Orlando Sentinel. "We don't hate anyone, we hate injustice."

Activists had called for the mobilization of 5,000 black men to capture Zimmerman. And Muhammad said the NBPP was receiving donations from black entertainers and athletes, with a goal to collect $1 million by next week.


ABC News Blogs Lawsuit: Student Body President Removed Over Gay Prom Proposal

A student body president in Alpharetta, Ga., said he was removed from his leadership post after school administrators disagreed with an idea he proposed to make the titles of prom king and queen open to gay couples.

Reuben Lack, 18, was removed from his post on Feb. 8, 2012 for "pushing personal projects," according a suit the teen filed in federal court.

Lack, whose Facebook says he is straight, alleged the suit that administrators at Alpharetta High School violated his first amendment rights when they shut down a student council meeting discussion on modifying the prom king and queen tradition to make it accessible to gay couples.

The school countered that Lack was let go for not fulfilling his duties as president.

"The student was essentially a poor leader," Suzann Wilcox Jiles, attorney for the district said in a statement issued to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "He behaved in manner not becoming of student body president including but not limited to rescheduling meetings with little notice, directly going against the instructions of the faculty advisers."


Hilarious Texts From Parents Gone Bad

Brothers Stephen and Wayne Miltz, creators of the popular, recently published a book of hundreds of private text messages between parents and children. A selection of our favorites:

Mom: Love you, kiddo!

Me: Aw, thanks. Love you, too!

Mom: Sorry, wrong person

Me: Dad, my bank account has ten dollars in it!

Dad: Oh good, our plan to get you to contact us succeeded

Me: I was offered a job!

Dad: Accept it before they realize their mistake.


Paul Ryan: I'd "Consider" Vice Presidential Run

Republican Congressman Paul Ryan left the door open Sunday to running as the GOP's vice presidential candidate, telling CBS' "Face the Nation" that he'd "consider it" if asked.

Ryan, speaking with CBS News' Norah O'Donnell, initially said he was "so focused" on his current job at the moment that a vice presidential bid was "something I'm not even considering right now."

When pressed, however, Ryan said he would "consider" taking the job if asked.

"It's just something I'm not even considering right now," the Wisconsin Republican told O'Donnell initially. "I'm so focused on my job in Congress. If I wanted to be president or vice president so badly I would have run for president. I don't - so I didn't.


MILLER: Obamacare’s Hefty Tax Bill

President Obama promised to make health care more affordable, but instead he’s done the opposite. The White House and congressional Democrats slipped 20 new taxes into the Obamacare legislation to raise $500 billion to help pay for the new entitlement’s $2.6 trillion cost. It’s now up to the Supreme Court to provide relief.

Mr. Obama claims to want to raise taxes only on “millionaires and billionaires,” but his signature health care law hits the middle class hard. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) analyzed the 2,700-page bill and came up with a comprehensive list of its levies.

“Obama promised no taxes of any kind for those who earn less than $250,000. Obamacare broke that pledge repeatedly,” ATR President Grover Norquist told The Washington Times. “They deliberately hid the taxes and wisely understood that delaying the pain by making the effective date after the election, maybe you could get through the election.”


US Could Bring Hate Charge in Fla. Teen Shooting

The U.S. Justice Department could bring a hate crime charge against the shooter in the killing of black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin if there is sufficient evidence the slaying was motivated by racial bias and not simply a fight that spiraled out of control, legal experts and former prosecutors say.

So far, only one such clue has surfaced publicly against 28-year-old George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who fatally shot the 17-year-old Martin on Feb. 26 in the central Florida town of Sanford. On one of his 911 calls to police that night, Zimmerman muttered something under his breath that some listeners say sounds like a racial slur. Zimmerman's father is white, and his mother is Hispanic.

"It sounds pretty obvious to me," said Donald Tibbs, a Drexel University law professor who has closely studied race, civil rights and criminal procedure. "If that was a racial epithet that preceded the attack on Trayvon Martin, we definitely have a hate crime."


Tax Breaks Exceed $1 Trillion, Report Says

A congressional report detailing the value of major tax breaks shows they amount to more than $1 trillion a year—roughly the size of the annual federal budget deficit—and benefit wide swaths of the population.

The figures could be useful to lawmakers of both parties and President Obama, who are looking for ways to shrink future deficits and offset the anticipated cost of overhauling the much-criticized U.S. tax code, an effort likely to include tax-rate cuts. Both parties are looking to trim or eliminate tax breaks to achieve those goals.

Obama has suggested eliminating breaks for corporate jets and oil and gas companies to reduce deficits. He also has raised the possibility of reducing tax breaks for U.S. multinationals that ship jobs overseas, as a way to offset the cost of lowering the corporate tax rate to 28% from the current 35%.

The new report, by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, underscores how far-reaching many of the tax breaks are, which makes changing them a politically daunting task.

Maryland Tobacco Bill Would Increase Taxes on Smokeless, 'Little Cigars'

A typical Monday at Francis Keller's smoke shop in Annapolis sees regular customers coming in, as they do on a daily basis, to have a smoke. However, a pending increase in tobacco taxes is threatening his livelihood.

Keller, who took over The Smoke Shop from his uncle in 1966, could see his business shut down if the Maryland General Assembly goes through with tax bills that include tobacco tax provisions.

Both the House and Senate version of the tax legislation would raise taxes on smokeless tobacco and so-called "little cigars." However, Keller worries that instead of bringing in tax dollars, it will drive customers away.


Biden Calls Republican Budget an Attack on Seniors

COCONUT CREEK, Florida (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden joked about his age with Florida retirees on Friday and portrayed Republican attempts to cut Social Security and Medicare as an attack on the dignity of aging Americans.

"I don't like that word 'elderly' anymore," the silver-haired and balding 69-year-old vice president joked at a packed retirement community recreation center in Florida. He said he preferred the phrase "more mature."

President Barack Obama dispatched Biden to Florida, an electoral battleground with the nation's largest concentration of people 65 and older, in an effort to paint a stark contrast between his approach to Social Security and Medicare and that of his Republican rivals.

"Look us over, look into your heart and ask ... who do you believe is genuinely committed to preserving the dignity of people in terms of their healthcare and their basic, basic ability to live?" Biden said.


Robert Bales Shooting: Afghan Families Paid for Deaths Injuries

Two weeks after Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly went on a rampage near an Afghanistan Army base, killing more than a dozen Afghan civilians, the United States military paid relatives of the deceased and injured, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Military officials held a ceremony in Kandahar on Sunday, during which the U.S. paid relatives $50,000 for each death and $11,000 for each person injured during the March 11 shooting spree, the report says.


WEST: Why Obamacare is Bad for America’s Health

On Monday, the Supreme Court will consider the legality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare. The high court will pore over Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to determine the true meaning behind the words, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common Defense and general welfare of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes.” The 2012 Supreme Court must determine whether the Founders had any intention of mandating the behavior of private enterprises and individuals.

To me, the answer is obvious: absolutely not.

Our nation was founded on the Declaration of Independence. Freedom of choice and a free market are at the core of our nation’s soul. A governmental mandate for the behavior of individuals and private enterprises is anathema to what our founders intended. The prospect of having an unelected panel of bureaucrats determining fundamental decisions about our individual health care is perhaps the most personal and intimate intrusion into our lives. The concept of this absurd and dangerous law surely ranks with the gr

ievances laid down 236 years ago.In January 2011, Florida federal District Judge C. Roger Vinson ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional, stating: “Never before has Congress re

quired that everyone buy a product from a private company (essentially for life) just for being alive and residing in the United States. If [the government] has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a transaction… it is not hyperbolic to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.” Today, this prediction is being attempted before our very eyes.


Mississippi State University Shooting: Student Shot and Killed on Campus

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP/ABC7) - A student was shot to death at a Mississippi State University residence hall late Saturday night, prompting campus-wide alerts as authorities searched for suspects who fled the scene.

University spokeswoman Maridith Geuder said police received a call about the shooting at Evans Hall around 10 p.m. Saturday. The victim was taken to a hospital where he subsequently died.

The Clarion Ledger reports that the victim has been identified as John Sanderson of Madison, Ms. and that the three suspects are not students at Mississippi State.

Three male suspects fled the building in a blue Crown Victoria. As of early Sunday, no arrests had been made and the campus remained under advisory conditions on Sunday morning.

The Starkville Daily News reports that law enforcement officials are "aggressively searching" for the suspects. School administration officials enacted a "Maroon Alert" on campus, which indicated emergency conditions. The school's website said the alert continued well into the morning.


The Real Meaning of MPH

See Where Christian Church Growth is 'Explosive'

One of the world’s premiere organizations for spreading the message of the Bible in restricted nations says the underground Christian church in Iran is experiencing “explosive” growth.

“Forty years ago an estimated 200 Muslim Background Believers were living in Iran,” says a new report from Open Doors USA. “Today the estimation is 370,000 MBBs.”

Open Doors said the growth is happening in all regions of Iran but mostly in the larger cities.

Christians in the Islamic mullah-run nation constantly are targets for persecution. WND has reported recently the conflict between Iran and the Western world over Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death for leaving Islam for Christianity. Gene Kapp of the American Center for Law and Justice said what probably has been keeping the pastor alive is the international outcry against the sentence.

In Iran, house churches regularly are raided and congregants jailed, according to Open Doors


Zimbabwe Probes Trump Brothers’ Hunting Trip

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwean conservationists said Friday they are investigating the legality of a hunting spree in the country by the heirs to U.S. magnate Donald Trump’s fortune after photos showed up online of the brothers posing with dead game animals.

The independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said that Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric killed an elephant, an endangered leopard, a buffalo, a crocodile and other “big game” animals on a 2011 trip arranged by a South African safari firm that is not registered in Zimbabwe.

Photographs of the brothers — one with the slain leopard and another showing one brother holding up an elephant’s severed tail in one hand and a knife in the other — have been were withdrawn from at least one website after a flurry of protests.


Prostitution ring in Madrid Tattooed 19-Year-Old Woman With Bar Code

A Spanish National Police investigation into two Madrid prostitution rings led to the rescue of a captive 19-year-old woman who was tattooed with a barcode on her wrist after she tried to escape the ring, authorities said Saturday.

The bar code served as a form of identity for the woman and as certificate of "ownership" by one prostitution ring, and beneath the bar code was also tattooed the amount of money she owed the ring, police said.

Held hostage by a pimp, the woman had multiple lesions from being beaten and whipped, and her head and eyebrows were shaven because she tried to flee, police said.


Santorum Scores Huge Win in Louisiana

Did Mitt Romney hit the Etch-A-Sketch reset button too early?

That’s what Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom must be asking himself today after Rick Santorum’s huge victory in Louisiana where he came close to winning a majority of the vote among four remaining candidates.

Santorum was projected the winner with less than 20 percent of the vote counted on the basis of a commanding 45 percent to 28 percent lead over Romney, with Newt Gingrich getting 19 percent and Ron Paul with 6.

Santorum’s win was his fourth in the South, where front-runner Mitt Romney has not been able to connect with conservative voters.


Dick Cheney Undergoes Heart Transplant Surgery

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering Saturday evening after undergoing heart transplant surgery, his office said.

Cheney, 71, had surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia.

He had been on the cardiac transplant list for more than 20 months, a statement from his office said.

"Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift," it said.

Cheney has a history of heart trouble, suffering at least five heart attacks since 1978. His first occurred when he was 37.


DHS: Illegal Immigrant Population is 11.5 Million

About 11.5 million illegal immigrants were in the U.S. last year, a figure that was essentially unchanged from 2010, according to the latest estimate the Homeland Security Department released Friday.

Homeland Security’s demographers said recent economic and security trends appear to have halted what had been a steady rise in illegal immigration, but haven’t significantly reversed it.

“It is unlikely that the unauthorized immigrant population increased after 2007 given relatively high U.S. unemployment, improved economic conditions in Mexico, record low numbers of apprehensions of unauthorized immigrants at U.S. borders, and greater levels of border enforcement,” the demographers said in their report.