As searchers and cadaver dogs sift through the rubble looking for victims and evidence, New York City officials tell ABC News that the possibility is growing that criminal charges could be filed as a…(read more)
Early Morning Dance Parties Take Off in U.S.
Los Angeles (AFP) – Guillaume Meye reports: Partying before breakfast? It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But it is the concept behind “Daybreakers,” early-morning raves becoming increasingly popular in the United States.
At 6:30 am one recent morning, some 250 young — and old — dance enthusiasts gathered in downtown Los Angeles to strut their stuff before many people have even got out of bed.
“Here you get to go dance, you can meet somebody, there is an amazing energy in the room. Because everyone comes here buys a ticket and comes with the intention of dancing, everyone dances.”
Andre Herd, the producer behind the event, said it combines the fun of night-time partying without the morning-after downsides.
“It flips the switch on what everyone knows and used to love in my opinion, which is: you go, you get drunk, you maybe meet somebody, you hook up, you have fun with your friends, you go home, you’re hungover the next day,” he told AFP.
“Here you get to go dance, you can meet somebody, there is an amazing energy in the room. Because everyone comes here buys a ticket and comes with the intention of dancing, everyone dances.”
“I love clubs and now I am over them, this is just like a good way for me to go out and get hot and sweaty and not have to wear stupid shoes and dress like a whore.”
– Lenore, whose friends are all married and who no longer goes out to clubs at night
The parties are held about once a month, with tickets costing $25 and invitations sent out by email about a week in advance.
But unlike a regular rave, there is no alcohol or drugs: the strongest stimulant available in Los Angeles is coffee, with fruit juices the drink of choice at the bar.
There is, of course, a DJ to keep the rhythms coming. Read the rest of this entry »
REWIND: The Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act Passed the House Unanimously and the Senate 97-3Posted: March 28, 2015
Remember When Democrats Used To Support Religious Freedom? Remarks on Signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993
By Bill Clinton, November 16, 1993:
Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President, for those fine remarks and to the Members of Congress, the chaplains of the House and the Senate, and to all of you who worked so hard to help this day become a reality. Let me especially thank the Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion for the central role they played in drafting this legislation and working so hard for its passage.
“What this law basically says is that the Government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion.”
It is interesting to note, as the Vice President said, what a broad coalition of Americans came together to make this bill a reality; interesting to note that that coalition produced a 97-to3 vote in the United States Senate and a bill that had such broad support it was adopted on a voice vote in the House. I’m told that, as many of the people in the coalition worked together across ideological and religious lines, some new friendships were formed and some new trust was established, which shows, I suppose, that the power of God is such that even in the legislative process miracles can happen. [Laughter]
We all have a shared desire here to protect perhaps the most precious of all American liberties, religious freedom. Usually the signing of legislation by a President is a ministerial act, often a quiet ending to a turbulent legislative process. Today this event assumes a more majestic quality because of our ability together to affirm the historic role that people of faith have played in the history of this country and the constitutional protections those who profess and express their faith have always demanded and cherished.
“I submit to you today, my fellow Americans, that we can stand that kind of debate in this country. We are living in a country where the most central institution of our society, the family, has been under assault for 30 years.”
The power to reverse legislation by legislation, a decision of the United States Supreme Court, is a power that is rightly hesitantly and infrequently exercised by the United States Congress. But this is an issue in which that extraordinary measure was clearly called for.
— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) March 27, 2015
As the Vice President said, this act reverses the Supreme Court’s decision Employment Division against Smith and reestablishes a standard that better protects all Americans of all faiths in the exercise of their religion in a way that I am convinced is far more consistent with the intent of the Founders of this Nation than the Supreme Court decision.
“More than 50 cases have been decided against individuals making religious claims against Government action since that decision was handed down. This act will help to reverse that trend by honoring the principle that our laws and institutions should not impede or hinder but rather should protect and preserve fundamental religious liberties.”
The free exercise of religion has been called the first freedom, that which originally sparked the development of the full range of the Bill of Rights. Our Founders cared a lot about religion. And one of the reasons they worked so hard to get the first amendment into the Bill of Rights at the head of the class is that they well understood what could happen to this country, how both religion and Government could be perverted if there were not some space created and some protection provided. They knew that religion helps to give our people the character without which a democracy cannot survive. They knew that there needed to be a space of freedom between Government and people of faith that otherwise Government might usurp.
“We are a people of faith. We have been so secure in that faith that we have enshrined in our Constitution protection for people who profess no faith. And good for us for doing so. That is what the first amendment is all about.”
They have seen now, all of us, that religion and religious institutions have brought forth faith and discipline, community and responsibility over two centuries for ourselves and enabled us to live together in ways that I believe would not have been possible. We are, after all, the oldest democracy now in history and probably the most truly multiethnic society on the face of the Earth. And I am convinced that neither one of those things would be true today had it not been for the importance of the first amendment and the fact that we have kept faith with it for 200 years. Read the rest of this entry »
Time Magazine Parody cover by punditfromanotherplanet
From Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey:
Just how badly has Barack Obama and his administration damaged relations with our allies in the Middle East? NBC’s Richard Engel reports that the Sunni nations in the region have begun to fear that the Obama administration leaks intel to Iran as part of its efforts at rapprochement with the mullahs, which is why the US got blindsided by the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen. The White House’s “incoherence” in policy, Engel reports, has most of them losing confidence in American leadership, according to Engel’s contacts. (via Free Beacon):
Initially, this looked like material for an update on my earlier post regarding the Saudi-GCC coalition and its decision to work around Obama, but it deserves its own thread for a couple of reasons. First, Engel reported this for NBC, and on MSNBC, the “Lean Forward” cable channel that usually acts as a clearinghouse for Barack Obama apologists (and the occasional slam on Middle America). Engel’s not among the apologists; he’s a first-class foreign correspondent whose reports follow no partisan agenda, and whose sources have usually provided him with highly accurate reporting.
More importantly, Engel’s report advances this to an allegation of betrayal, not just incompetence. Clearly, Saudi Arabia has little confidence left in the Obama administration; that much is evident from their actions to cut the US out of the loop on this coalition. Read the rest of this entry »
From The Corner:
Charles Krauthammer said he knew it was impolite to speak ill of the dead, but since Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) was simply retiring, the syndicated columnist said he did not feel quite so constrained.
“I do think he was a disgrace to his own institution because he emasculated it in the name of protecting the president and trying to re-elect Democrats. He didn’t succeed because he essentially shut down the Senate as soon as Republicans took the House in 2010.”
“Harry, we hardly knew ye, and what we did know we didn’t like,” Krauthammer said on Special Report…(read more)
EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan – Dramatic cellphone video shows the terrifying moments after an explosion rocked an East Village building Thursday afternoon.
How can the U.S. hope to keep tabs on Tehran’s nuclear program when we can’t even track its oil tankers?
Ms. Rosett is journalist in residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and heads its Investigative Reporting Project.
Claudia Rosett writes: American negotiators and their cohorts are trying to close a deal that would let Iran keep its nuclear program, subject to intricate conditions of monitoring and enforcement. Yet how is a deal like that supposed to be verified? The Obama administration can’t even keep up with the Iran-linked oil tankers on the U.S. blacklist.
Currently, there are at least 55 of these tankers the Treasury Department says are under U.S. sanctions. These are large ships, major links in the oil chain that sustains the Tehran regime, many of them calling at ports from Turkey to China. They are easier to spot and track than, say, smuggled nuclear parts (which, in a pinch, they could potentially squeeze on board).
“Typical of Iran’s shrouded tanker fleet is the blacklisted ship called the Sinopa, previously named the Superior and before that, the Daisy. Since early 2014, the Sinopa has visited India and China. It has also made multiple trips from Iran to Turkey, via the Suez Canal, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence shipping database, the main source of ship-tracking data for this article.”
But Iran has engaged for years in what Treasury called “deceptive practices” to dodge sanctions. These include trying to mask the identities, and sometimes the smuggling activities, of its blacklisted ships by renaming them, reflagging them to other countries, veiling their ownership behind front companies, presenting false documents, and engaging in illicit ship-to-ship oil transfers.
“Judging by Treasury’s blacklist, the Sinopa—which Treasury still describes under her previous name of Superior—has done all of this under no identified flag. Why not—what is she hiding? The Treasury refuses to comment on specific cases.”
The result, according to information on Treasury’s publicly available blacklist, is that the U.S. government cannot establish under what flag at least 31 of these tankers are doing business. They can be identified by their unique seven-digit hull numbers, or IMO numbers, issued for the life of each ship. But a ship’s flag also is a vital identifier, one under which it signals its position, carries cargo and presents credentials to visit ports, buy insurance and pay fees. On Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals list, which helps ensure global compliance with U.S. sanctions, in the category of “flag” for these 31 tankers Treasury states: “none identified.”
Under terms of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action that frames the Iran nuclear talks, the U.S. does grant temporary waivers for a handful of places to buy Iranian oil in limited quantities: Turkey, India, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. This means that some activities of these tankers may be legitimate. Read the rest of this entry »
SEATTLE — It must be spring break in South Seattle, because there was a ‘goats gone wild’ situation Thursday.
Police said they took 10 goats into custody after a “brief hoof chase” in the 5000 block of South Wallace Street.
BREAKING: 10 goats in custody after brief hoof chase at 5000 blk S. Wallace Street. More info to come.
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) March 26, 2015
The goats reportedly chased a group of children before they were captured.
Fun fact: a group of goats can also be called a tribe, trip, drove, or flock. Read the rest of this entry »
The House on Wednesday approved a $3.8 trillion spending plan for fiscal 2016 that balances the budget in a decade, reforms Medicare and Medicaid, and eliminates Obamacare.
The resolution passed by a vote of 228 to 199, and over the objections of some conservatives who opposed additional defense money because it would increase funding for a special defense spending account that does not require reductions elsewhere in the budget.
Lawmakers passed the budget after hours of debate on a half-dozen spending plans, three from Democrats and three from Republicans.
The GOP gave their rank and file the choice of voting for a budget blueprint that did not boost defense spending.
But that measure had little chance of passing because 77 defense-minded Republicans, citing the threat of terrorism at home and abroad, pledged to vote against it.
They cited warnings from the military that the current funding levels are too low to maintain the nation’s defense.
Some fiscal conservatives decided to back the measure with extra defense funding, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., because the proposal includes a a bigger priority for the far Right: A provision that would make it easier for the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act with 51 votes, instead of 60.
The Senate is expected to approve its own budget blueprint early Friday morning. The plan is similar to the House version but not identical, so the two plans will have to be merged in a conference committee in April, when Congress returns from the two-week Easter recess. Read the rest of this entry »
LA Desk: Supporters of an NFL Stadium in Carson Deliver 15,000 Signatures to City Clerk in Support of Ballot initiativePosted: March 25, 2015
— Robert Holguin (@ABC7Robert) March 25, 2015
[VIDEO] House Committee: Two Secret Service Agents Shown Driving Through an Active Bomb Threat Scene After DrinkingPosted: March 24, 2015
Despite the Secret Service’s refusal to provide video of the incident, House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R, Ut.) released an alternate video showing two agents driving through an active bomb threat scene after drinking, knocking over a barricade in the process.
“…Two agents suspected of being intoxicated drove through the scene, knocking over a protective barrel and passing their vehicle’s wheels within feet of the possible bomb…”
Chaffetz and his fellow lawmakers excoriated Secret Service head Joseph Clancy during a hearing on Tuesday, accusing him of trying to cover up embarrassing details of an incident that occurred outside the White House earlier this month.
On the evening of March 4, a woman dropped a package she claimed was a bomb near the White House and fled the scene. The Secret Service first bungled the response, treating it merely as a suspicious package instead of a verified bomb threat. Read the rest of this entry »
And you thought shipping glitter was all the rage.
This month, the Internet has borne witness to the launch of not one, but two major sites that let you ship your enemies—or your friends, for that matter—a bag of gummy dicks…. 715 more words
Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports: This phrase became a rallying cry for Ferguson residents, who took to the streets to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. Witness accounts spread after the shooting that Brown had his hands raised in surrender, mouthing the words “Don’t shoot” as his last words before being shot execution-style. The gesture of raised hands became a symbol of outrage over mistreatment of unarmed black youth by police.
That narrative was called into question when a St. Louis County grand jury could not confirm those testimonies. And a recently released Department of Justice investigative report concluded the same.
Yet the gesture continues to be used today. So we wanted to set the record straight on the DOJ’s findings, especially after The Washington Post’s opinion writer Jonathan Capehart wrote that it was “built on a lie.” From time to time, we retroactively check statements as new information becomes available. In this case, the Justice Department has concluded that Wilson acted out of self-defense, and was justified in killing Brown.
Does “Hands up, don’t shoot” capture the facts of Brown’s shooting? What has it come to symbolize now?
“Hands up, don’t shoot” links directly to Brown’s death, and it went viral. After the shooting, St. Louis Rams players raised their hands as a symbolic gesture entering the field before a football game. Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot” during rallies after a grand jury in the state’s case against Wilson decided not to indict Wilson in Brown’s killing. The phrase and gesture were on signs, T-shirts, hashtags, memes and magazine covers. It even has its own Wikipedia page.
In November 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson after finding that witness reports did not match up with evidence. Other witnesses recanted their original accounts or changed them, calling their veracity into question. In particular, the grand jury could not confirm the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative the way it was told after the shooting. By then, however, the phrase had taken on a message of its own.
On Dec. 1, 2014, four members of the Congressional Black Caucus repeated the gesture while delivering speeches on the House Floor titled, “Black in America: What Ferguson Says About Where We Are and Where We Need to Go.” Each of the members held up their hands, and the image spread widely online.
Yet the Department of Justice’s March 4, 2015, investigative report on the shooting of Michael Brown found federal investigators could not confirm witness accounts that Brown signaled surrender before being killed execution-style. The department’s descriptions of about 40 witness testimonies show the original claims that Brown had his hands up were not accurate.
Some witnesses who claimed they saw Brown’s hands raised had testimonies that were inconsistent with physical and forensic evidence. Some admitted to federal investigators they felt pressured to retell the narrative that was being spread after Brown’s shooting. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Richard White, Machete-Wielding Suspect in New Orleans Airport Attack, was Carrying Bag with 6 Molotov CocktailsPosted: March 21, 2015
Man attacks TSA agents with a machete at New Orleans airport
The machete-wielding man who attacked two Transportation Security Agency workers at a New Orleans airport was carrying a bag holding six Molotov cocktails.
Officials said they don’t know what suspect Richard White intended to do with the homemade bombs or what triggered the incident.
“As you know this was unexpected incident involving a clearly troubled and disturbed individual,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu at a Saturday afternoon press conference.
White, 62, chased the two Transportation Security Agency workers at New Orleans International Airport with a machete and wasp spray late Friday. He was shot multiple times by an officer, police said.
Officials said they noticed White had been carrying a bag when they checked surveillance video after the incident.
In the bag they found six half-pint mason jars with cloth wicks. The jars were filled with gasoline. The bag also held a barbecue lighter, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said.
Normand said as the bag was being checked other investigators from the Bomb Squad were combing through White’s car parked on the airport ramp. They found three tanks in the trunk holding acetone, Freon and oxygen.
White approached the airport security checkpoint Friday evening, pulled out a can of the insecticide and began spraying both agents and several passengers standing in line before he then drew a large machete from the waistband of his pants, Normand said.
The male officer grabbed some luggage to defend himself from the machete, and then was chased by White, Normand said. Read the rest of this entry »