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[VIDEO] A Libertarian Builds Low-Cost Private Schools for the Masses 

Higher-education reformers shouldn't have to rely on the government to experiment with new methods. (Thinkstock)

Bob Luddy was tired of trying to convince North Carolina educrats to improve the state’s public schools, so he built his own network of low-cost private schools that the government can’t meddle with.

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Plan Your Wednesday Morning Hangover

ish

…Trump leads in Florida by a minuscule 0.2 percent as I write this; in New Hampshire, it’s Clinton by 0.6 percent, and that’s helped along by the dubious 11-point lead she had in the WMUR poll of the state that was released this morning. The long and short of this is that if literally one more poll of NH were to drop showing Trump ahead by a few points, the average would shift and that state would probably also favor him very narrowly. And in that case, he’d be at … 270 electoral votes. He’s that close to being a perilously slight favorite to win the election per RCP’s polling averages. And note that RCP’s miss on Florida in 2012 involved a larger margin than either FL or NH are experiencing now. That year, Romney finished 1.5 points ahead in the Florida average and lost the state on Election Day by less than a point. Trump would be president with a more modest miss than that in New Hampshire this year.

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That said, there’s a question mark on this map. Observers of Nevada’s early voting like Jon Ralston swear that Dems have piled up enough ballots there to put the state all but out of reach for Trump, notwithstanding his lead in the polls. If that’s true then flipping NH on the map above doesn’t win it for him after all.

[Read the full story here, at Hot Air]

We end up with Clinton winning 274/264. And it’s not obvious which remaining blue state Trump could flip to tilt the election back to him. He’s already won Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and New Hampshire in this scenario. He’s close-ish in Michigan and Colorado, but they’re not as much of a coin flip as FL and NC are. Unless Ralston’s wrong about Nevada, even one of the rosiest maps for Trump still requires him to pull off one more major upset somewhere.

And this assumes, naturally, that you take RCP’s polling average as definitive rather than another site’s. Each election modeler chooses to include and exclude certain polls for their own reasons. Some, like FiveThirtyEight, choose to weight polls according to how accurate the pollster’s been in the past so that some polls count more than others. FiveThirtyEight currently has Clinton ahead by more than three points in New Hampshire’s polling average, making that state more durable for her; that being so, Trump is stuck at 266 even with Florida and Nevada in his column. The Upshot also has Clinton by three in New Hampshire and gives Clinton a better than 80 percent chance of winning the election. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] President Encourages Non-Citizens to Vote Illegally Without Fear of Being Deported

On Cavuto: Coast to Coast illegal alien asking President Obama if she should fear voting, because immigration will come and get her and her family. The President assured her, no repercussions.

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[VIDEO] Creepy Clown Sightings Go Global 

The creepy clown phenomenon started in the U.S. in August with reports of clowns trying to lure children into the woods in South Carolina. Now dozens of incidents are being reported in England and Australia. Mark Kelly reports.

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Bill Clinton, After Needlessly Smearing Opponents as Racists, Gets Defensive

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In a series of swing-state appearances this week, Mr. Clinton struck back at criticism of the family foundation, by turns sarcastic and almost pleading.

At last, Bill Clinton could not help himself.

He paced the stage during a speech on Tuesday in North Carolina, holding his microphone close. He raised his left index finger. And at once, the meandering address turned sharply, and without prompting, to his charitable foundation, a magnet for criticism in recent weeks.

“We live in a Snapchat-Twitter world,” Mr. Clinton lamented, tilting his head theatrically — a septuagenarian embracing his age, decades after reveling in saxophone cool.

“It’s so much easier,” he said, “just to discredit people and call them names.”

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For Mr. Clinton and his extended circle, this election has at times felt like a campaign devised to discredit the former president and call him names.

And after more than a year of uncharacteristic restraint — a notable shift from eight years ago, when his simmering instincts often burdened Hillary Clinton’s first presidential run — Mr. Clinton seems to have had enough.

“Did I solve every problem? No,” he told a crowd on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. “Did I get caught trying? You bet.” Read the rest of this entry »


Clinton Celebrates Election Victory Early

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.

The department has so far released about half of the schedules. Its lawyers said in a phone conference with the AP’s lawyers that the department now expects to releasepantsuit-report the last of the detailed schedules around Dec. 30, weeks before the next president is inaugurated.

The AP’s lawyers late Friday formally asked the State Department to hasten that effort so that the department could provide all Clinton’s minute-by-minute schedules by Oct. 15. The agency did not immediately respond.

The schedules drew new attention this week after the AP analyzed the ones released so far. The news agency found that more than half the people outside the government who met or spoke by telephone with Clinton while she was secretary of state had given money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation. The AP’s analysis focused on people with private interests and excluded her meetings or calls with U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives.

Hillary-Toast

The AP’s reporting was based on official calendars covering Clinton’s entire term plus the more-detailed daily schedules covering roughly half her time as secretary of state. The AP first asked for Clinton’s calendars in 2010 and again in 2013. It then sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the detailed schedules, and the department so far has provided about half of them under court order.

Clinton has said the AP’s analysis was flawed because it did not account fully for all meetings and phone calls during her entire term as secretary. She also said the analysis should have included meetings with federal employees and foreign diplomats. The AP said it focused on her meetings with outsiders because those were more discretionary, as Clinton would normally meet with federal officials and foreign officials as part of her job.

Clinton said she met with people outside government regardless of whether they gave money or charitable commitments to her family’s charity.

“These are people I would be proud to meet with, as any secretary of state would have been proud to meet with, to hear about their work and their insights,” Clinton said this week on CNN.

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With the foundation drawing continued attention, Clinton promised Friday to put in place additional safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest with the charity should she win the White House.

The foundation issue, along with continued focus on her use of a private email server, has dogged Clinton politically throughout the week, drawing strong criticism from opponent Donald Trump.

 

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Former President Bill Clinton said last week that if she is elected president, the foundation will no longer accept foreign or corporate donations.

The State Department is now estimating there are about 2,700 pages of schedules left. Under its process, it is reviewing and censoring them page-by-page to remove personal details such as private phone numbers or email addresses. In some cases it has censored names of people who met privately with Clinton or the subjects they discussed.

A State Department spokeswoman, Elizabeth Trudeau, declined to discuss the ongoing case and noted the agency is struggling with thousands of public records requests….(read more)

Source: Associated Press


Did an FBI Agent Help Convince ‘Draw Muhammad’ Jihadi Shooter to Attack? 

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‘Tear up Texas,’ the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit filed in federal court Thursday.

Katie Zavadski reports: Days before an ISIS sympathizer attacked a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, he received a text from an undercover FBI agent.

FBI-Texas

“It would certainly be inappropriate for an FBI undercover agent or cooperating witness to provoke or inspire or urge a person to commit an act of violence.”

“Tear up Texas,” the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit filed in federal court Thursday.

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Beast]

“U know what happened in Paris,” Simpson responded. “So that goes without saying… No need to be direct.”

 “I could imagine an undercover agent thinking it was just the hyperbolic rhetoric they are participating in, and it wasn’t an intent to go to texas and do harm.”

— Michael German, a former FBI agent now at the Brennan Center for Justice

That revelation comes amidst a national debate about the use of undercover officers and human sources in terrorism cases. Undercover sources are used in more than half of ISIS-related terror cases, according to statistics kept by the George Washington University Program on Extremism, and civil liberties advocates say some of those charged might not have escalated their behavior without those interventions.

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“The affidavit raises a lot more questions than it answers, and I would hope that overseers within congress and the Justice Department would want to take a hard look at the scope of this investigation.”

“It would certainly be inappropriate for an FBI undercover agent or cooperating witness to provoke or inspire or urge a person to commit an act of violence,” Michael German, a former FBI agent now at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Daily Beast. “I could imagine an undercover agent thinking it was just the hyperbolic rhetoric they are participating in, and it wasn’t an intent to go to texas and do harm.”

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Beast]

“The affidavit raises a lot more questions than it answers, and I would hope that overseers within congress and the Justice Department would want to take a hard look at the scope of this investigation,” he added.

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The texts were included in the indictment, released Thursday of Erick Jamal Hendricks of Charlotte, North Carolina. He was charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS. The 35-year-old tried to recruit other Americans to form an ISIS cell on secret compounds and introduced an undercover agent to one of the Draw Muhammad attackers, according to the FBI.

But Hendricks did more than make a connection. According to the court papers, he asked the undercover officer about the Draw Muhammad event’s security, size, and police presence, during the event, according to an affidavit filed in court.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] 11-Year-Old to Pence: Will Your Job Be Damage Control For Trump? 


Former Facebook Workers: ‘We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News’

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“I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news.”

Michael Nunez reports: Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.

“It was absolutely bias. We were doing it subjectively. It just depends on who the curator is and what time of day it is. Every once in awhile a Red State or conservative news source would have a story. But we would have to go and find the same story from a more neutral outlet that wasn’t as biased.”

Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some casesFormer Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.

“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending. I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”

In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”

[Read the full story here, at gizmodo.com]

These new allegations emerged after Gizmodo last week revealed details about the inner workings of Facebook’s trending news team—a small group of young journalists, primarily educated at Ivy League or private East Coast universities, who curate the “trending” module on the upper-right-hand corner of the site. As we reported last week, curators have access to a ranked list of trending topics surfaced by Facebook’s algorithm, which prioritizes the stories that should be shown to Facebook users in the trending section. The curators write headlines and summaries of each topic, and include links to news sites. The section, which launched in 2014, constitutes some of the most powerful real estate on the internet and helps dictate what news Facebook’s users—167 million in the US alone—are reading at any given moment.

“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator. This individual asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retribution from the company. The former curator is politically conservative, one of a very small handful of curators with such views on the trending team. “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”

The former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the former curator said. Read the rest of this entry »


Trying to Hide the Rise of Violent Crime

Progressives and their media allies have launched a campaign to deny the ‘Ferguson effect’—but it’s real, and it’s increasingly deadly for inner cities.

Heather Mac Donald writes: Murders and shootings have spiked in many American cities—and so have efforts to ignore or deny the crime increase. The see-no-evil campaign eagerly embraced a report last month by the Brennan Center for Justice called “Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis.” Many progressives and their media allies hailed the report as a refutation of what I and others have dubbed the “Ferguson effect”— cops backing off from proactive policing, demoralized by the ugly vitriol directed at them since a police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., last year. Americans are being asked to disbelieve both the Ferguson effect and its result: violent crime flourishing in the ensuing vacuum.

“Baltimore’s per capita homicide rate, for example, is now the highest in its history, according to the Baltimore Sun: 54 homicides per 100,000 residents, beating its 1993 rate of 48.8 per 100,000 residents. Shootings in Cincinnati, lethal and not, were up 30% by mid-September 2015 compared with the same period in 2014.”

In fact, the Brennan Center’s report confirms the Ferguson effect, while also showing how clueless the media are about crime and policing.

“Homicides in St. Louis were up 60% by the end of August. In Los Angeles, the police department reports that violent crime has increased 20% as of Dec. 5; there were 16% more shooting victims in the city, while arrests were down 9.5%. Shooting incidents in Chicago are up 17% through Dec. 13.”

The Brennan researchers gathered homicide data from 25 of the nation’s 30 largest cities for the period Jan. 1, 2015, to Oct. 1, 2015. (Not included were San Francisco, Indianapolis, Columbus, El Paso and Nashville.) The researchers then tried to estimate what 2015’s full-year homicide numbers for those 25 cities would be, based on the extent to which homicides were up from January to October this year compared with the similar period in 2014.

Riot police clear demonstrators from a street in Ferguson

“To the Brennan Center and its cheerleaders, the nation’s law-enforcement officials are in the grip of a delusion that prevents them from seeing the halcyon crime picture before their eyes. For the past several months, police chiefs have been sounding the alarm about rising violent crime.”

The resulting projected increase for homicides in 2015 in those 25 cities is 11%. (By point of comparison, the FiveThirtyEight data blog looked at the 60 largest cities and found a 16% increase in homicides by September 2015.) An 11% one-year increase in any crime category is massive; an equivalent decrease in homicides would be greeted with high-fives by politicians and police chiefs. Yet the media have tried to repackage that 11% homicide increase as trivial.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Several strategies are employed to play down the jump in homicides. The simplest is to hide the actual figure. An Atlantic magazine article in November, “Debunking the Ferguson Effect,” reports: “Based on their data, the Brennan Center projects that homicides will rise slightly overall from 2014 to 2015.” A reader could be forgiven for thinking that “slightly” means an increase of, say, 2%.

Nothing in the Atlantic write-up disabuses the reader of that mistaken impression. The website Vox, declaring the crime increase “bunk,” is similarly discreet about the actual homicide rate, leaving it to the reader’s imagination. Crime & Justice News, published by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, coyly admits that “murder is up moderately in some places” without disclosing what that “moderate” increase may be. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Ohio Express: ‘Chewy Chewy, 1968 

Ohio Express and the 1910 Fruitgum Co. were two of the leading late-’60s bubblegum rock groups. Under the aegis of producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, both of these rather anonymous bands surfaced repeatedly on the late-’60s pop charts for Buddah Records, spearheading the bubblegum rock craze. With Joey Levine taking the vocals on their early hits, The Ohio Express roared up in 1968 with “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and “Chewy Chewy,” a pair of million-sellers. Future 10CC leader Graham Gouldman fronted the Express on their final chart bow in 1969, “Sausalito (Is the Place to Go).”

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At the same time, another Kasenetz-Katz discovery, New Jersey’s 1910 Fruitgum Co., was bubbling over with the obnoxiously catchy “Simon Says,” “1, 2, 3, Red Light,” and “Indian Giver,” another gold record triumvirate. Like their labelmates, their mercurial chart run was history before 1969 was over. ~ Bill Dahl, All Music Guide


Gallup: Confidence in Government’s Handling of Terror Hits All Time Low

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Rasmussen: Belief that Terrorists are Winning the War Hits All Time High

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Read more…

Source: Ace of Spades HQ


BREAKING: Judge Orders Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis to Be Released From Jail 

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The Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs will be released from jail, where she’s been held since Thursday on a contempt of court charge.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted the contempt order Tuesday and ordered Rowan County clerk Kim Davis released. Bunning ordered her not to interfere with the issuing of gay marriage licenses.

Bunning sent Davis to jail on Thursday after she refused to comply with his order that Davis issue marriage licenses. She had refused to grant licenses to any couples, gay or straight, since shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage.

Outside the jail where Davis is held, word spread slowly through a crowd of supporters Tuesday afternoon. Some said they couldn’t believe the news….(read more)

Source: ABC News

CNN reports:

U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning in Kentucky has ordered that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis be released from jail.

He ordered her not to interfere with clerks in her office issuing marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.

[Original story, published at 8:43 a.m. ET]

The legal battle over the Kentucky clerk who’s sitting behind bars for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses enters the political arena Tuesday as GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee visits Kim Davis in jail.

Afterward, he’ll lead an “#ImWithKim Liberty Rally” outside the Carter County Detention Center.

For about 1,000 school kids in the area, it means a day off. Classes at five schools have been called off for the day to cut down traffic congestion.

Case appealed

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to jail after finding her in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in Rowan County following June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

Davis says issuing a license with her name on it would violate her Christian convictions against same-sex marriage.

Davis’ legal team has filed several appeals to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is asking that the state take her name off the licenses — a move that her lawyers say would accommodate Davis while allowing same-sex couples to receive licenses. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Does Free Speech Offend You? 

Should offensive speech be banned? Where should we, as a society, draw the line where permitted speech is on one side, and forbidden speech is on the other? Should we even have that line? And should free speech be limited by things like trigger warnings and punishments for microaggressions? Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, answers these questions and more.


Woman Attacked by Ax-Wielding Clown

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A woman in North Carolina told police she was attacked in her home by an ax-wielding clown.

The victim told the police in Hickory, N.C. that a person wearing a clown mask and a multicolored wig had come by her residence at 4:30 a.m. Friday morning and began to swing his ax at her.

“Any law enforcement officer who comes in contact with the suspect in question will have full ability to arrest him.”

The victim was able to take the mask off the attacker and discover that it was an acquaintance of hers, who then fled the scene. She was not injured in the incident.

Hickory Police Department spokesperson Chrystal Dieter told TIME that there was an “outstanding warrant” against the suspect…(read more)

TIME

More: A warrant is out for the arrest of an ax-wielding clown after an alleged attempted assault Friday.

Police responded to a Hickory residence at 4:32 a.m. Friday after receiving a report about a clown with an ax, Hickory Police Department spokeswoman Chrystal Dieter told the Hickory Daily Record. Read the rest of this entry »


Poll: 70 Percent of Americans Believe News Media is Intentionally Biased

Jeff Fager (L), chairman CBS News and executive producer '60 Minutes', Scott Pelley, anchor and managing editor CBS Evening News and David Rhodes (R) president CBS News, speak at the CBS Television Network's 2011 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California August 3, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS) - RTR2PL1B

Nearly three quarters of Americans believe the news media reports with an intentional bias, according to a new survey.

“These are discouraging results for those of us who have spent our careers in journalism. In 23 years in newsrooms, I saw consistent and concerted efforts to get stories right. Clearly, the public’s not convinced.”

— Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center, in an op-ed for USA Today

The 2015 State of the First Amendment Survey, conducted by the First Amendment Center and USA Today, was released Friday…

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Other findings in the survey:

• Only 19 percent of Americans say the First Amendment goes “too far” in the rights that it guarantees. Last year, 38 percent said it went too far, meaning support for the First Amendment has grown.

• 38 percent agree that business owners should be required to provide services to same-sex couples, a 14-point drop from 2013, when the question was first asked. Read the rest of this entry »


How Meddlesome Government is Making your Barbecue More Expensive and Less Tasty

The Houston Rodeo Barbecue Grand Champion Kerry Fellows with the pit he used from Pitts by JJ on the Eastex Freeway Saturday March 09, 2013.(Dave Rossman/ For the Chronicle)

The Houston Rodeo Barbecue Grand Champion Kerry Fellows with the pit he used from Pitts by JJ on the Eastex Freeway Saturday March 09, 2013.(Dave Rossman/ For the Chronicle)

Why Freddy’s Barbecue Couldn’t Really Exist

 writes: Between taking bites out of his political opponents, Frank Underwood, in the first two seasons of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” liked to visit a hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint called Freddy’s. Freddy’s BBQ is fictional and the 100-best-bbqshow used a shack in Baltimore for the set.

[Check out Johnny Fugitt’s book “The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America” at Amazon.com]

DC tourists may be disappointed to learn they cannot sample Frank’s favorite ribs, but the most disappointing fact is not that Freddy’s is fictional. The sad truth is that Freddy’s could simply not exist in DC or in most major cities today.

While researching barbecue restaurants for my recently released book, The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America I visited 365 barbecue restaurants across 48 states. Many owners shared with me that their businesses are hampered by local environmental, safety, and health regulations

Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix, via Associated Press Kevin Spacey as the ruthless American politician Francis Underwood with Robin Wright as his wife, Claire. Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix, via Associated Press

No Tasty Barbecue For You

In Houston, for example, Pizzitola’s Barbecue hangs its hat on being the only remaining Houston barbecue restaurant to cook with a traditional open pit. Pizzitola’s has been smoking barbecue this way for 50 years and was grandfathered into the local safety law banning their traditional method of smoking meat.

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“The White Swan came under federal regulations and were required to use electric cookers rather than continuing to smoke as they had for generations.”

As newer barbecue restaurants popped up just outside city limits, Houston lost tax revenue and residents had to leave the city for great barbecue—everyone lost.

[Read the full story here, at TheFederalist.com]freddysbbq

Houston lost tax revenue and residents had to leave the city for great barbecue—everyone lost.

“Today, cities require restaurants to invest tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in safety hoods and equipment.”

It might seem unfair for Pizzitola’s to have such an exemption and, thus, an advantage over their competition, but it’s actually a blessing and a curse. If Pizzitola’s were to make any major changes to the restaurant—like adding a patio or dining-room space—they would lose their grandfathered-in status.

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Pizzitola’s cannot adapt to compete with other restaurants because this risks losing the way they have been preparing barbecue for 50 years. Eventually this handicap will catch up to them.

No More Opportunities For the Little Guys

Although local regulations have done the most damage, federal regulations are also to blame. From the 1940s until 2009, The White Swan smoked traditional North Carolina pork over smoldering oak.

“It was a shame to see a historic, small town, family-run barbecue joint forced to serve cooked pork rather than traditional smoked barbecue simply to comply with federal food regulations.”

When they franchised in 2009 (and created a number of new jobs), The White Swan came under federal regulations and were required to use electric cookers rather than continuing to smoke as they had for generations.  It was a shame to see a historic, small town, family-run barbecue joint forced to serve cooked pork rather than traditional smoked barbecue simply to comply with federal food regulations. Read the rest of this entry »


The Real Party of the Rich

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Back in October, Fred Barnes wrote: Democratic senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina was pounded last winter and spring in TV ads by conservative groups for having voted for Obamacare and echoed President Obama’s false claim that people could keep their current health insurance. “They had her on the ropes,” says Marc Rotterman, a Republican consultant in North Carolina.

Then Senate Majority PAC, Harry Reid’s personal political action committee, intervened. Its television spots defended Hagan and attacked Thom Tillis, her Republican challenger, for supposedly dubious ethics. This was only the beginning. By last week, Reid’s PAC had spent $9 million to boost Hagan’s reelection. And Hagan’s candidacy was saved from an early, and possibly fatal, tailspin.

“Outside spending by groups—mostly super-PACs—that disclose their donors… is dominated by the left.”

Hagan has outraised Tillis, the state house speaker, $19.2 million to $4.8 million. But that’s only one measure of her money advantage. Liberal and Democratic groups have devoted $26.3 million to going after Tillis—a chunk of it on ads while he was still running in the Republican primary—and another $4 million touting her. Conservative and Republican groups were unable to neutralize the anti-Tillis barrage. They’ve spent $17.3 million against Hagan and $10.9 million to promote Tillis. In overall campaign spending, Hagan tops Tillis by $53.7 million to $33 million. This, however, doesn’t count undisclosed millions in “issue ads” criticizing Hagan by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group.

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The result: Hagan, a mediocre candidate at best, led Tillis in polls for months. Only in mid-October, with spending for Tillis finally matching that for Hagan, has the race tightened. He was ahead by a percentage point or two in several recent polls. Still, Hagan felt confident enough of winning to skip a scheduled debate with Tillis last week.

The North Carolina campaign is a reflection of what’s happened in many of the competitive Senate races. The political fundamentals favor Republicans. President Obama is so unpopular that Democratic candidates avoid mentioning his name, much less inviting him to appear at their campaign events or in their TV spots. Meanwhile, the economy is stagnant. Foreign policy failures continue to stack up. America’s global influence fades. Two-thirds of Americans are pessimistic about the country’s future. Democrats have few national issues they’re comfortable talking about. Read the rest of this entry »


‘America’s Next Top Model’ Contestant Mirjana Puhar Murdered in Triple Homicide

Mirjana-Puhar

Mirjana Puhar — a recent “America’s Next Top Model” contestant — was killed Tuesday in a triple homicide at her boyfriend’s home in Charlotte, NCTMZ has learned.

A source who was very close to Mirjana confirmed to TMZ that she was one of the 3 victims found dead in a home that belonged to Mirjana’s boyfriend. The source says a friend of the couple went to the house after getting a call that gunshots were heard.

We’re told the friend went into the house, saw 2 bodies — Mirjana and the bf — and then called police to report the killings. The friend didn’t see the 3rd victim, but did see money scattered around the house. Read the rest of this entry »


University of Texas, Arlington Campus REWIND: Muslim Student Fabricated Story About Being Threatened by a Man With a Gun

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Jessica Chasmar reports: A Muslim student at the University of Texas, Arlington, who claimed she was threatened at gunpoint by a white man on campus, admitted on Friday that she made the story up, a university spokeswoman said.

The university had issued an alert Friday that the student, whose name was not released, told police that she was followed on her way to campus by a white man wearing a camouflage baseball hat and driving a white pickup truck, the Daily Caller reported. She claimed that when she parked at the university, the man yelled threats at her and pointed a handgun at her before taking off, the Dallas Morning News reported.

[Also see – Student Who Claimed to Be Victim of Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Now Admits She Lied – NRO]

The student also posted on Facebook that the man might have targeted her because she is Muslim, citing the fatal shootings of three Muslim students last week in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Morning News reported. Read the rest of this entry »


High School Teacher Julianna Ortiz Mills Charged with Indecent Liberties with a Student

JOMILLS

Mills was placed under a $10,000 secured bond

A teacher at South Iredell High School was charged after having a sexual relationship with a student, according to the Iredell Sheriff’s Office.

“Deputies say the student is over the age of 16, but according to North Carolina law it is a felony for a teacher to have a sexual relationship with a student at the same school.”

The investigation began when an Iredell County deputy saw a suspicious vehicle parked in an undeveloped residential area. The deputy said a woman, later identified as 37-year-old Julianna Ortiz Mills, was standing next to the vehicle and a younger male was sitting inside.

[Also see – Joy Morsi Update: Queens Gym Teacher Gets Probation For Sex With Underage Students]

[More – Busted for Sex with Student and Sending Nude Pics, Connecticut High School Teacher Danielle Watkins Not Looking Happy in Police Photo]

After both were questioned at the Sheriff’s Office, Mills was arrested and charged with one count of sexual activity with a student by a teacher and one felony count of taking indecent liberties with a student by a teacher. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ROAD RAGE: Temper Tantrum Captured On Camera Leads to Arrest

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ASHEBORO, North Carolina – A North Carolina woman was arrested Monday following a road rage incident caught on camera Saturday.

“I knew what was going to happen. I wanted it on tape. Twice the lady tried to pass me on a two-lane road with double lines on a hill. She about ran me off road first time. She got behind me a second time and then went to go around again…”

Kristin Leigh Phillips, 40, of Randleman, was charged with reckless driving to endanger, assault and battery, injury to personal property, driving left of center and two counts of communicating threats reported WGHP-TV.

The terrifying video of the incident was captured by Sherri Hastings and turned over to law enforcement.

“…I let her have the road, called 911, reported her and her plate number… I started phone video which was in a holder on dashboard — hands free.”

— Sherri Hastings

Hastings told WGHP she was driving in Randleman when a woman driving an SUV attempted to “slam into her” in a 35 mph zone.Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] North Carolina: Non-Citizen and Want to Vote? Greg Amick is Here to Help

Carolina-Vertitas

James O’Keefe documents the problem in North Carolina, where the Senate race is close

This item from John Fund, via The Corner:

fund…O’Keefe had a Brazilian-born immigrant investigator pose as someone who wanted to vote but was not a citizen. Greg Amick, the campaign manager for the Democrat running for sheriff in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), was only too happy to help.

[Follow Pundit Planet’s ongoing coverage of Voter Fraud]

Greg Amick: Here’s a couple of things you can do. You do not have to Amickhave your driver’s license, but do you have any sort of identification?

Project Veritas investigator: But I do have my driver’s license.

Amick: Oh, you do. Show ’em that and you’re good.

PV: But the only problem, you know, I don’t want to vote if I’m not legal. I think that’s going to be a problem. I’m not sure.

Amick: It won’t be, it shouldn’t be an issue at all.

PV: No?

Amick: As long as you are registered to vote, you’ll be fine…(more)fund-book

National Review Online

[Order John Fund’s book Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk from Amazon.com]

Bonus Feature

LaRaza-DC


Armed Badass Grandfather Defends Wife and Granddaughter from Rapists in Home Invasion

eastwood-angry-senior

“Byrd initially complied with their demands, but when the men began to beat Judy and attempted to rape his granddaughter, he grabbed a hidden firearm and let loose a flurry of shots at the assailants.”

A North Carolina man exchanged fire with three home invaders after they tried to rob his house and rape his granddaughter, reports the Fayetteville Observer.

At his Lumberton home on Monday, Kenneth Byrd, 67, was approached by an individual claiming to have car problems. When Byrd invited the man into his home, he was rushed by two additional assailants wearing black clothes and ski masks.

stolen cadillac

Authorities found the third assailant dead in Byrd’s stolen Cadillac, six miles from the Byrd residence

The home invaders — all three brandishing handguns — corralled Byrd, his wife Judy and their 19-year-old granddaughter and demanded money and other valuables from the family safe.

lumberton

Byrd initially complied with their demands, but when the men began to beat Judy and attempted to rape his granddaughter, he grabbed a hidden firearm and let loose a flurry of shots at the assailants. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] George Will: GOP May Get a Surprise from Democrats’ Get-Out-the-Vote Effort

editor-commen-deskBefore we dismiss Will’s warning, let’s recall that during the last election cycle, while many influential conservative talking heads were forecasting a Mitt Romney victory, George Will submitted an early prediction that Obama would win. His contrary analysis was met with a collective groan. Karl Rove (who would have a legendary election-night meltdown) and Dick Morris (Morris’ Fox broadcast career effectively ended in the wake of his laughable Mitt Romney landslide claims) were in full triumphalist mode. Will’s unpopular early forecast, siding with Democrat polling predictions, that Barack Obama’s campaign organization would prevail and hand the GOP a loss, was regarded by Romney supporters as treasonous. And by many others (myself included) as a valid warning, but prematurely defeatist.

“This big-name list of losers should be tattooed on the sweaty palms of every GOP operative drawing a paycheck, and haunt the fever dreams of every conservative talking head in the green room.”

Will wasn’t just playing Johnny Raincloud. He was just among the few with his reading glasses on straight that week. Untainted by wishful thinking, Will called it correctly. But even his resolve didn’t last. Sadly, George Will caught the fever, and as election night drew closer, he, too, predicted a Romney landslide.

Blood on the playbook: whether the pundits are right or wrong, the banks still cash their checks

Blood on the playbook: whether the pundits are right or wrong, the banks still cash their checks

[Romney Landslide: Here Are the Biggest Names Predicting It & How It Will Happen]

That’s a Nov. 4th, 2012 list of the men who walked the plank, and made the wrongest election prediction in modern history. Conservative enthusiasts in need of a cold shower should revisit this list. In fact, this big-name list of losers should be tattooed on the sweaty palms of every GOP operative drawing a paycheck, and haunt the fever dreams of every conservative talking head in the green room.

will-prediction-blaze

Perhaps hardened by that defeat, Will would prefer to be less vulnerable this time around. Similarly, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume was on a panel yesterday bitterly mocking the GOP’s misreading of the” voter enthusiasm gap” as a reliable election predictor. Hume sarcastically observed that a depressed, demoralized, unenthusiastic vote counts just as much as an enthusiastic vote. He’s right. The key thing is the actual voting. The GOP’s challenge to the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote supremacy is in the spotlight. And the GOP’s catch-up efforts remain unproven.

Then there’s the wild card. Though neither Will or Hume mentioned this — but we’ve reported on it here — that doesn’t even account for opponent advantages gained in close races by voter fraud.

So let’s update those sports metaphors: If the GOP doesn’t succeed in taking the Senate, it may not be only because of an inadequate “ground game”, or because the GOP “fumbled the ball”. It will also be because they aren’t employing special teams (legitimate vote boosting efforts, locally-organized vote fraud schemes, take your pick) and because election referees aren’t empowered to do their job. When no penalties are called on an opponent’s violations, it’s harder to win. Points won and lost in these hidden margins aren’t officially measured, but can change the outcome of the game. And can produce — or contribute to — some unhappy surprises.

“At this point in the campaign, they’ve saturated people with broadcast ads, so the utility of the last political dollar is pretty small. The return on ‘Get out the vote’ may be much larger, and we may get a surprise this year.”

From last night’s item at The Corner:

Republicans are too focused on how much money is being spent on ad buys in the final weeks of the election cycle, warned George Will. Instead, they should be wary of Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts, which upended Republicans in the 2012 elections, he said on Tuesday’s Special Report. Read the rest of this entry »


Voters Excited To Use Midterms To Put Country Back On Different Wrong Track

voters

“It will take a lot of work to turn the country around and ensure a different type of horrible future, but I believe there are candidates out there who have the awful principles and ideologies to march into Washington and do it.”

WASHINGTON—Expressing dissatisfaction with the current course the country is taking, voters across the nation told reporters Monday that they are eager to use next month’s midterm elections to help put the United States back on a different wrong track. “We’ve been going down the wrong path for the past few years, and now it’s time to get some new people in there who can lead our country astray in a different direction,” said North Carolina voter Lisa Berkland, adding that Washington D.C. needed an influx of new misguided politicians with their own terrible visions for the country to change the manner in which the nation is veering off course. Read the rest of this entry »


Mia Love Could be Part of the Largest Group of African American Women in Congress Ever

Repeat GOP candidate Mia Love, who would be the first African-American Republican woman in Congress if she won, is now the biggest early favorite to become a House freshman in 2015, though Matheson's decision could spur some more GOP interest in the seat.

Let Us Begin The LOVE FEST

Has anyone else noticed the relative lack of attention in the news to the campaign of Mia Love? In the previous campaign cycle (a disappointing loss, by a fraction, but a great campaign) Love had the media’s attention, especially in the blogosphere, and conservative media. This time around, no so much. Why is that? I had to sort through state and local news stories to learn that yes, she’s running, and yes, she’s expected to win. Mitt Romney held a rally for Mia Love not long ago. And Mia’s 2nd debate with her opponent is October 14th. Let the Love fest begin!

For Utah PolicyBryan Schott reports:

There are five African American women who are likely to be members of the next Congress, including Utah’s Mia Love. If they all win, it will bring the number of African American women in Congress to 20, the most ever.

MiaLove1

Politics365 notes the Congressional Black Caucus is set to swell to as many as 46 members, which includes 20 women. Read the rest of this entry »


Chilly Reception for President’s VA Speech

vets-img

Most of the veterans sat on their hands, leaving awkward silences where White House speechwriters expected ovations

President Barack Obama faced a tough crowd on Tuesday – American military veterans – and fell flat on his applause lines as he failed to win over the American Legion’s convention-goers.

“You could tell when the applause was genuine and when it wasn’t. It was obvious to everyone here.”

— Virginia Legionnaire in attendance

The 35-minute speech seemed to have reminded the audience of the stark divide between the White House’s policy choices and the feelings of the men and women often called on to carry them out.

A Virginia legionnaire who served in the U.S. Marine Corps told MailOnline that ‘a small group of Obama’s admirers – and there are some here – sat near the front and tried to generate applause for him about 10 times.’ Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Court Shuts Down D.O.J. Over Voter ID, Holder Loses in the Carolinas—Again

holder-felons-vote-gloom

Significantly, Judge Schroeder cited the testimony of DOJ’s own experts against it.”

From capitalisminstitute.org: Voter ID laws are a pretty simple concept that enjoy widespread support.  Voter ID laws simply state that anyone showing up to vote at the polls must provide a valid ID of some sort, to prove that they are who they claim to be.voter-fraud

[Related: thinkprogress.org goes completely cuckoo bananas over loss of Democratic party’s long-cherished corrupt voter fraud advantage, repeats discredited claim that it’s “bad for voting rights”]

Voter ID laws help prevent and cut down on voter fraud, and help to protect the integrity of elections.  Progressive Democrats abhor voter ID laws, and Attorney General Eric Holder has attacked such laws in multiple states, claiming they are racist and prevent minorities from voting.

From The CornerHans A. von Spakovsky elaborates:

Attorney General Eric Holder suffered a huge loss on Friday in his war on election integrity. A federal judge refused to issue a preliminary injunction against North Carolina’s omnibus election reform law that includes voter ID, as well as measures such as the elimination of same-day registration…

obama-holder-noJustice

Holder Loses in the Carolinas—Again

Spakovsky continues,

…Significantly, Judge Schroeder cited the testimony of DOJ’s own experts against it. This included one expert who admitted that black turnout in North Carolina is on par with that of whites, and another DOJ expert who acknowledged that the black registration rate is higher than that of whites. That makes it a bit difficult to argue that state officials have been discriminating against minority voters. Read the rest of this entry »


Pollsters: ‘Everything is Terrible’

 John Shinkle/POLITICO

John Shinkle/POLITICO

Polls from major networks, researchers and newspapers agree: America’s in a bad mood.

For PoliticoLucy McCalmont reports: In just one week, polls found politicians of all stripes are hitting approval numbers with record lows. The president finds himself roughly as popular as a trip to the dentist. The entire Democratic Party gets the thumbs down. Oh, and so does the Republican Party.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

But it doesn’t stop there. Americans are also bummed out about the future in general, especially the economy. Things are so low that even an old gpoj-approved-panicfavorite, sugar, polled poorly.

“What we’re really seeing in an unprecedented way, especially in the key Senate races, is that voters don’t like either of the major candidates.”

— Tom Jensen, the director of Public Policy Polling

Pollsters say it all adds up to a country that feels “everything is terrible,” as one put it, a mood that campaigns should consider as they head into the midterm homestretch, when turnout should be all about enthusiasm — not pessimism.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13: In this handout from the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama talks on the phone while in the Oval Office with British Prime Minister David Cameron on February 13, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

(Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

“With an ‘everything is terrible’ mindset, I’m mostly thinking about how after several years of cantankerous and unproductive lawmaking in Washington, there are very few political figures or institutions who the public trusts anymore,” Scott Clement, The Washington Post’s polling analyst, said in an interview.

When it comes to candidates, voters are also less than thrilled with both incumbents and their challengers. Read the rest of this entry »


Clay Aiken Primary Opponent Found Dead

keith-crisco

At the time of Keith Crisco‘s death, the race was still too close to call

For the Washington Post, Sean Sullivan writes:

North Carolina businessman Keith Crisco, a Democrat who ran for Congress against former “American Idol” star Clay Aiken, was found dead at his home Monday, his company and campaign confirmed to Post Politics.

Asheboro Elastics Corp., the company Crisco co-founded, confirmed that he died on Monday. The Asheboro Courier-Tribune, which first reported the news, said details about Crisco’s death were incomplete but that early information was that he suffered injuries from a fall. An employee at Crisco’s company also said he suffered a fall, as did Crisco’s campaign.

Read the rest of this entry »


Senate Democrats Forced to Defend More Seats

al-franken-pouting-AP

For Breitbart.comwrites: In even a neutral political environment, the 2014 midterms were going to be a challenge for Senate Democrats. They are defending 21 seats to the GOP’s 15, with only two of the Republican seats at any kind of risk of flipping to the Democrats. Moreover, Democrats were defending many freshman Senators who first won office in in Republican states in Obama’s wave election in 2008.

This isn’t a neutral political environment, however. Obama’s low approval ratings, the continued fallout over ObamaCare, current Democrat happy-talk notwithstanding, and the sluggish economy have provided Republicans with an enthusiasm and turnout advantage that could match 2010. Read the rest of this entry »


Charles C. W. Cooke: Voter ID and Gun Rights

Voter-ID-and-Gun-Rights

Rules for voting, firearms, and government services should all be heavy — or light.

For NROCharles C. W. Cooke  writes:  Insofar as it is a case at all, and not merely a political cudgel, the brief against voter ID is simple. Minorities and the poor, advocates charge, disproportionately lack government-issued identification documents, and, as a result of the allegedly arduous process that is required to obtain them, they may struggle in perpetuity to remedy this. In consequence, laws that make presentation of ID the price of exercising a fundamental right are unacceptable — disenfranchising the marginalized, removing their voices from the public square, and imposing obstacles to their equal enjoyment of constitutional protections. Given America’s difficult record on such issues, this is a potent indictment, and one that both sides ought to take a little more seriously than they do.

Although in practice it is wildly overstated and tends to descend rather quickly into hysteria, I should say that I have some sympathy with at least two facets of this argument. First, as someone who has had to acquire from scratch the various imperatives of modern life in America — a driver’s license, a Social Security number, a bank account, and so forth — I am keenly aware that obtaining endorsements can be a bureaucratic and painful process and one that should not be too quickly played down. Activists wantonly exaggerate the number of Americans who cannot find the requisite documentation to get hold of an ID card, yes. But there are undoubtedly some, and even if they are very few, as a rule we tend not to judge the violation of rights by number alone.

Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Massive Storms Close D.C. , Ted Cruz and Tea Party Deny Involvement

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Federal offices will be closed Thursday in the Washington, D.C., area as the region braces for the worst of a winter blast that has already brought misery to stranded motorists in North Carolina and hundreds of thousands of people without power across the South.

The White House renewed its attack on Senate and Congressional Republicans, blaming Ted Cruz for masterminding weather disruptions as a scientific stunt aimed at crippling the Federal Government.

By late afternoon some Raleigh motorists were abandoning their cars on the highway. | AP Photo

By late afternoon some Raleigh motorists were abandoning their cars on the highway. | AP Photo

At a White House press conference this morning, Jay Carney blasted President Obama’s Republican opponents:

“Senator Cruz’s secret organization of scientists, meteorologists, campaign donors, and a powerful cabal of evangelical wizards, once again, have conspired to freeze the nation, in order to hurt the American people, and deny millions of innocent people access to essential government services. “

carneyPresserA winter storm warning for the Washington area is in effect until 3 p.m. Thursday. The National Weather Service was predicting as much as 8 inches of snow across the area, most heavily along the Interstate 95 corridor.

Snow will mix with rain and sleet Thursday morning before turning to rain and sleet in the afternoon, the weather service said. Dustings of snow were falling across the area by Wednesday evening. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will open its 86 rail stations as normal on Thursday morning. The agency said it will try to run trains every six to 10 minutes on all five lines, but warned that closures might happen if the weather worsens.

[Free Battery and Charger with Bosch Heated Jacket Purchase at Amazon]

Read the rest of this entry »


Winter Storm Pax Updates: Hundreds of Thousands Lose Power; Traffic Snarls; Northeast Braces for Storm

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Winter Storm Pax continued its second wave of wintry weather Wednesday, dumping freezing rain and sleet across a wide area that could experience catastrophic conditions for a prolonged period of time.

In North Carolina, snowfall led to a disastrous commute Wednesday afternoon in Raleigh and Charlotte. Cars slid off roads and heavy traffic led to gridlock, forcing some drivers to sit in hours of slow commutes or abandon their cars.

(FORECASTWinter Storm Pax | Live Updates on the Storm)

The National Weather Service also warned to “expect significant – crippling – ice totals from Atlanta eastward along the I-20 corridor.” In the Carolinas, snow fell Wednesday in areas expecting to see as much as 18 inches of accumulation from Pax.

[75% Off Men’s Jackets and Coats at Amazon]

At least 14 deaths have been blamed on the storm: two in North Carolina, one in South Carolina, two in Mississippi, two in Georgia and seven in Texas. More than 3,000 flights were canceled Wednesday in the U.S., with many more flight cancellations expected Thursday. More than 400,000 customers lost power across the Southeast Wednesday.

Next up, Pax is hitting parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast Wednesday and into Thursday, closing schools and disrupting travel plans across the region.

(MOREHere’s Why Ice Storms Are So Dangerous)

Read the rest of this entry »


Obama fights perception that administration is out of time, losing altitude, in flames, spiraling toward earth…

jet_crash_eject.jpg?w=750
  writes:  President Obama is touting 2014 as a “year of action,” but it might just as easily be called the year of “measured expectation.”Contrary to the predictions of many in Washington, Congress is on the verge of passing a spending bill that restores funding to some of Obama’s top priorities, which were undermined by deep cuts that took effect last year. Obama will have new money for early-childhood education and infrastructure spending, although the sums involved are far less than what he says is necessary to create jobs and narrow inequality.

Read the rest of this entry »


A Critical Few Weeks for Democrats? It Could Get Worse

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. meets with chancellors and presidents from North Carolina's Historically Black Colleges and Universities for a summit in the U.S. Capitol on April 16, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. meets with chancellors and presidents from North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities for a summit in the U.S. Capitol  (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Stuart Rothenberg writes:  No wonder some Democratic strategists are nervous about the next few weeks.

President Barack Obama’s job approval numbers have taken a dive in two recent polls, and party insiders fear that every other poll released in the foreseeable future will show that the rollout of the president’s health care law has been anything but a success — and has dramatically undermined the public’s confidence in him.

Maybe even more important, they worry that any weakening of the president’s standing will have a significant impact on Democrats’ chances to make House gains and hold the Senate. Read the rest of this entry »


Pirate News: Archaeologists Pull 5 Of Blackbeard’s Cannons From The Sea

Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718 Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718 Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Until today, this cannon hadn’t seen air for 295 years.

CannonOne-1

In 1718, legendary Caribbean pirate Blackbeard sank his ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, after it got stuck on too-shallow land outside the coastal city of Beaufort, N.C. For almost three centuries, the ship’s hodgepodge of cannons from around the world has sat at the bottom of the sea. Today several of Blackbeard’s big guns rose to the surface in the largest cannon catch yet from the site.

Led by North Carolina’s Department of Cultural Resources, today’s cannon recovery is the latest development in an archeological endeavor scheduled to conclude in 2014. The wreck, recorded at least as early as July 12th, 1718, was discovered on the ocean floor in 1996. Since then, archeologists have recoveredtens of thousands of artifacts. A museum dedicated to the wreck offers this fun interactive map of the ship on the ocean floor.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why doesn’t the Left trust the law-abiding poor to own guns?

poor

Why doesn’t the Left trust the law-abiding poor to own guns? That question leapt to mind after reading a recent piece in Nonprofit Quarterly by my friend Rick Cohen, who hails from the Left and, on other issues, has long demanded respect for the denizens of poor neighborhoods.

His article rightly scoffed at officials at a public school in North Carolina who had the brilliant idea of providing their sixth-graders with an “enrichment exercise” that consisted of sending a man in a ski mask into classrooms with a toy gun and pretending to rob the kids.

Rick repeated a crack by the website Progressive Populist that it’s a good thing no teacher pulled out a concealed weapon to shoot the fake bad guy. That could have happened “if the National Rifle Association has its way,” because those crazies at the NRA published a report this year “calling for arming and training teachers and other school personnel.”

Rick’s sneer brought another question to mind. Why does the Left, usually so skeptical about cops and the military, trust them to have all the guns?

Does Rick not realize that, historically, American gun control laws largely targeted“ blacks in the south and the foreign-born in the north,” including Rick’s own Jewish forebears? The state of North Carolina, which draws Rick’s attention today,declared in 1840 that no

free negro, mulatto, or free person of color, shall wear or carry about his or her person, or keep in his or her house, any shot gun, musket, rifle, pistol, sword, dagger or bowie-knife, unless he or she shall have obtained a license therefor from the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of his or her county

That explains why some black men on the left, like Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy, revere the self-help legacy of

Deacons for Defense and Justice — an organization of black men in Louisiana who used shotguns and rifles to repel attacks by white vigilantes during the 1960s.

Read the rest of this entry »


Double Down: Obamacare Will Increase Avg. Individual-Market Insurance Premiums By 99% For Men, 62% For Women

For months now, we’ve been waiting to hear how much Obamacare will drive up the cost of health insurance for people who purchase coverage on their own. Last night, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finally began to provide some data on how Americans will fare on Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchanges. HHS’ press release is full of happy talk about how premiums will be “lower than originally expected.” But the reality is starkly different.

The Obamacare Rate Map, an interactive tool for learning about health insurance prices under the Affordable Care Act, was produced by the Manhattan Institute. Click on the graphic to visit the map.

The Obamacare Rate Map, an interactive tool for learning about health insurance prices under the Affordable Care Act, was produced by the Manhattan Institute. Click on the graphic to visit the map.

Based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. Worst off is North Carolina, which will see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men.

HHS releases a trickle of data and a load of spin

Earlier this month, I and two colleagues from the Manhattan Institute—Yevgeniy Feyman and Paul Howard—published an interactive map that detailed Obamacare’s impact on individually-purchased health insurance premiums in 13 states plus D.C. As the accompanying article described, Obamacare increased premiums in those states by an average of 24 percent.

But those states were largely blue states that had set up their own, state-based insurance exchanges. The big data dump that we’ve been waiting for, since then, is from the majority of states that didn’t set up their own state-based exchange. That data is the responsibility of the Obama administration, namely HHS. Finally, with less than a week to go before the exchanges are supposed to go on-line, HHS has released a slim, 15-page report and a press release that summarize some of the premium data. Read the rest of this entry »