Posted: April 16, 2018 Filed under: Education, History, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, John Locke, Liberalism, Self Government, Tacitus, Thomas Jefferson, US Constitution, Virginia
Studying Jefferson should be a guiding star.
Jamie Gass and Will Fitzhugh write: “Students of reading, writing, and common arithmetick . . . Graecian, Roman, English, and American history . . .,” Thomas Jefferson advised that democratic education “should be… able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens.”
Mid-April marks the 275th anniversary of Jefferson’s birthday. Given his world-changing achievements, this milestone is worthy of recognizing – and of being taught in our public schools. His contributions to the American civilization are incalculable; he was a revolutionary, statesman, diplomat, man-of-letters, scientist, architect, and apostle of liberty.
Rather than forcing a titan like Jefferson to conform to our era’s often Lilliputian-style narcissism, we should study history by entering the past with imagination and humility.
In drafting the Declaration of Independence, the most elegant and universally quoted political document in history, Jefferson displayed his greatest talents. He powerfully combined literary language and self-evident truths to shape the legal and political future of the United States.
The first member of his family to attend college, Jefferson loved books and classical learning. He could read six languages, including ancient Greek and Latin, while his 18th-century education taught him timeless principles.
Jefferson’s trinity of great thinkers – Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and John Locke – embodied what’s been called the Enlightenment’s “science of freedom.”
But his favorite writer was the ancient Roman historian Tacitus – a brilliant chronicler of warped, tyrannical emperors. Jefferson’s liberal-arts-centric education instilled in him a vigilance for liberty, which made him ever wary of threats to his republican experiment in ordered self-government.
Legal scholar David Mayer effectively summarized Jefferson’s strict federalism: “constitutions primarily [served] as devices by which governmental power would be limited and checked, to prevent its abuse through encroachments on individual rights…” Jefferson despised the corruptions of kings, standing armies, banks, and cities, which he identified with the Roman and British empires. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 14, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Alexandria, Donald Trump, Member of Congress, Mo Brooks, Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives, President of the United States, Republican Party (United States), Smear, Steve Scalise, The Washington Post, United States Capitol Police, Virginia
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., did not deliver a speech to a white supremacist group. Instead, he attended a separate, fiscal policy event in the same hotel. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Becket Adams writes: Remember when Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was the victim of a bogus news cycle alleging he once played footsie with white supremacists?
That debunked story from 2014 was resurrected very briefly Wednesday morning not long after it was reported that Scalise, who serves now as the House majority whip, and others were shot in Alexandria, Va., as they practiced for the upcoming congressional baseball game.
News of the shooting dominated headlines and newsrooms all morning as members of Congress halted everything to comment and grieve on the matter.
Here’s how Politico’s John Bresnahan described one particular moment in Congress: “Members surrounding [House Speaker Paul Ryan] on the floor, including [Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La.], who helped Scalise out when he had problems over racial issues.”
Ah, no. The supposed issue to which Bresnahan referred is not what it sounds like. That is, he made it sound a lot worse than it really is.
For the unfamiliar, “racial issues” is an irresponsibly vague reference to a moment in 2014 when Scalise was accused of having once delivered an address as an “honored guest” to a conference of white supremacists.
The rumor originated with a blogger named Lamar White, whose main source was a comment thread at a neo-Nazi website, and it soon spread to major newsrooms, including The Washington Post and Politico. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 12, 2017 Filed under: Education, History, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: André Carson, Aspen Institute, Criminal Justice Reform, D.C., Ian Keyser, John Pfaff, Ken White, Lauren Krisai, Locked in: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform, Prosecutor, Reason (magazine), Reason Foundation, Virginia
Lauren Krisai, John Pfaff, and Ken White discuss the power of prosecutors in the criminal justice system, how prosecutors have served as barriers to meaningful criminal justice reform, and whether an influx of forward-looking district attorneys could change the status quo.
“There is no evidence that an individual DA in his office is any more punitive today than he was in 1974,” explains John Pfaff, author of Locked in: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform. “We just have 30,000 of them instead of 17,000 even though the crime rate is roughly the same as it was in 1974. They’ve got to do something. They can’t just play minesweeper all day and keep their jobs.”
On May 25th, 2017, at Reason’s Washington, D.C. office, Reason hosted a panel discussion with Pfaff and Ken White, former assistant United States attorney and co-founder of the blog Popehat. Moderated by Lauren Krisai, director of Criminal Justice Reform at the Reason Foundation, the discussion touched on the power of prosecutors in the criminal justice system, how prosecutors have served as barriers to meaningful criminal justice reform, and whether an influx of forward-looking district attorneys could change the status quo. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 13, 2017 Filed under: History, Mediasphere, White House | Tags: American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, Founding Fathers, Ken Burns, Thomas Jefferson, University of Virginia, video, Virginia
Posted: March 7, 2017 Filed under: Education, History, Terrorism, Think Tank | Tags: Alexandria, American Conservative Union, Berkeley, Breitbart News, Broad Institute, Campus, CRISPR, Jennifer Doudna, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Milo Yiannopoulos, Radical Left, University, University of California, Violence, Virginia, Weimar Republic, White House
Michael Barone writes: Something like that is happening now — but the violence is coming from leftists, not Trumpists. Take the University of California, Berkeley, [long pause] please. That’s where a speech to the Young Republicans by rightist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was shut down by a screaming mob on February 1, as this eyewitness account from Power Line’s Steven Hayward records. Not only was the speech shut down, but gangs of ski-masked and bandana-wearing protesters roamed the streets just off campus with sledgehammers, smashing ATM machines. In one instance, Hayward reports, a 62-year-old Republican who voted for Hillary Clinton held up a sign reading “1st Amendment Protects All Speech” and, on the obverse side, “Even Milo’s” was punched in the nose and dropped to the ground.
Where were the police? Not in a position to help—by design. In this “lethal, horror situation,” said University of California Berkeley campus police chief Margo Bennett, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We have to do exactly what we did last night: to show tremendous restraint.”
[Order Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning” from Amazon]
They made just one arrest. As for City of Berkeley police, according to the San Francisco Chronicle they came equipped with riot gear, but “as the violence escalated, officers pulled back.” Police on a balcony ordered rioters to disperse, but made no move to stop them, supposedly to prevent injury to “innocent protesters and bystanders.” City police made no arrests. “Our primary objective with the resources we had was the protection of life.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 22, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Central Intelligence Agency, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Donald Trump, Langley, media, National Security Agency, President of the United States, Press, United States, Virginia
President Donald Trump told the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at their headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on Saturday that he is engaged in “a running war” with the “dishonest media.”
Posted: November 4, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: A Rape on Campus, Charlottesville, Dean (education), Glen E. Conrad, hoax, journalism, Media bias, Phi Kappa Psi, propaganda, Rape Hoax, Rolling Stone, Sabrina Erdely, Sexual assault, The Washington Post, University of Virginia, Virginia
Deliberations about ‘A Rape on Campus’ spanned three days.
T. Rees Shapiro reports: A federal court jury decided Friday that a Rolling Stone journalist defamed a former University of Virginia associate dean in a 2014 magazine article about sexual assault on campus that included a debunked account of a fraternity gang rape.
The 10-member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was responsible for defamation, with actual malice, in the case brought by Nicole Eramo, a U-Va. administrator who oversaw sexual violence cases at the time of the article’s publication. The jury also found the magazine and its parent company, Wenner Media, responsible for defaming Eramo, who has said her life’s work helping sexual assault victims was devastated as a result of Rolling Stone’s article and its aftermath.
The lawsuit centered on Erdely’s 9,000-word article titled “A Rape on Campus,” which appeared online in late November 2014 and on newsstands in the magazine’s December 2014 issue. Opening with a graphic depiction of a fraternity gang rape, the story caused an immediate sensation at a time of heightened awareness of campus sexual assault, going viral online and ripping through the U-Va. community.
But within days of the article’s publication, key elements of the account fell apart under scrutiny, including the narrative’s shocking allegation of a fraternity gang rape. The magazine eventually retracted the story in April 2015, and Eramo’s lawsuit came a month later, alleging that the magazine’s portrayal of her as callous and dismissive of rape reports on campus was untrue and unfair.
University of Virginia administrator Nicole Eramo leaves federal court after closing arguments in her defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine on Tuesday in Charlottesville. (Steve Helber/AP)
The jurors reached a verdict Friday after deliberating across three days. Eramo has asked for $7.5 million in damages but now, following the verdict, can argue for a different amount. The argument for damages is scheduled to begin Monday.
[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]
Regardless of potential damages, the verdict showed the jury’s willingness to slam a major media outlet for the impact of getting a story wrong. Originally hailed as a brave triumph of reporting for its raw accounts of rape and attempts at bringing accountability to a storied public university, the article led to protests of the U-Va. administration, vandalism of a campus fraternity and outrage among activists trying to prevent sexual assault. Once its flaws were exposed, the article’s deeper message of the effects of campus rape — a pervasive national problem — was lost amid the allegations of shoddy reporting. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 26, 2016 Filed under: Asia, Mediasphere, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: 2009 imprisonment of American journalists by North Korea, CNN, National Intelligence Service (South Korea), North Korea, Pyongyang, SEOUL, South Korea, United States, Virginia
SEOUL, South Korea — Choe Sang-Hun reports: North Korea released a propaganda video on Saturday that depicts a nuclear strike on Washington, along with a warning to “American imperialists” not to provoke the North.
The four-minute video clip, titled “Last Chance,” uses computer animation to show what looks like an intercontinental ballistic missile flying through the earth’s atmosphere before slamming into Washington, near what appears to be the Lincoln Memorial. A nuclear explosion follows.
This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People’s Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP
“If the American imperialists provoke us a bit, we will not hesitate to slap them with a pre-emptive nuclear strike,” read the Korean subtitles in the video, which was uploaded to the YouTube channel of D.P.R.K. Today, a North Korean website. “The United States must choose! It’s up to you whether the nation called the United States exists on this planet or not.”
Such remarks are in line with recent threats and assertions from North Korea about its nuclear and missile capabilities. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 22, 2016 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Antonin Scalia, Barack Obama, Calvin Coolidge, Cold War, Cuba, fashion, Glamour, Havana, hubris, Michelle Obama, President of the United States, United States, Virginia, Wealth Inequality, White House
Morgan Chalfont reports: The two floral dresses that first lady Michelle Obama sported in Cuba this week would not be affordable for the wide majority of individuals living in the repressive country.
[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]
US Weekly recently spotlighted two outfits that Obama wore during appearances in Havana on Sunday and Monday that, according to a Free Beacon analysis, together cost more than 23 times the average annual state salary in Cuba recorded in 2014.
When the president and his family landed in Cuba Sunday, the first lady descended Air Force One wearing a sleeveless, rose-print dress made by designer Carolina Herrera. The dress is currently sold for $2,190 at Bergdorf Goodman, an upscale department store. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 4, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Guns and Gadgets, Law & Justice, Politics, Self Defense | Tags: Associated Press, Barack Obama, Democratic Party (United States), District of Columbia v. Heller, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hillary Clinton, No Fly List, Terry McAuliffe, United States, Virginia
Stephen Gutowski reports: The FBI processed a record number of firearms-related background checks last year, indicating that more guns were sold in 2015 than in any previous year in American history.
“A day has not gone by without a major media assault on gun rights or an Obama administration call for new additional restrictions on gun ownership.”
More than 23 million checks were processed through the National Instant Background Check System in 2015, an all-time record.
“Americans have voted with their dollars and bought record levels of guns and ammunition.”
— Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation.
The all-time record for yearly sales comes after May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December 2015 each set sales records for their respective months. In December the FBI conducted 3,314,594 checks, an increase of more than half a million checks over the previous single-month record set in December 2012.
The number of FBI background checks is widely considered to be the most reliable gauge of how many firearms were sold in a given month because background checks are required on all sales made through federally licensed firearms dealers. However, the checks do not provide an exhaustive representation of gun sales. Checks are not required on sales between private parties in most states, and a single background check may cover the purchase of multiple firearms by the same person at once.
Additionally, some states perform the checks on those who apply for gun-carry permits.
[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]
[Also see – President Obama Has Let His Emotion Get the Better of His Judgment, at by Charles C.W.Cooke, National Review Online]
The record gun sales came as Democrats moved to implement new gun control measures at the federal, state, and local levels. Hillary Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that the Supreme Court’s decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller gun rights case was “wrong” and she and President Barack Obama praised Australian-style gun confiscation. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 4, 2015 Filed under: Religion, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: al Qaeda, Anwar al-Aulaqi, Barack Obama, British nationality law, British people, Central Intelligence Agency, Citizenship in the United States, Colorado State University, Dar Al-Hijrah, David Cameron, Falls Church, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Osama bin Laden, The New York Times, United States, Virginia
Adam Kredo reports: Democratic lawmakers are planning to attend prayer services at a Washington-area mosque that has been accused of acting as a front for Hamas and that served as the home of terrorist spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who reportedly mentored two of the 9/11 hijackers.
“That Democrats in the name of tolerance and diversity are mainstreaming extremists like this is inherently damaging to the Muslim community.”
On the heels of a deadly mass shooting by two Muslim individuals in San Bernardino, California, a group of Democratic lawmakers said they would attend Friday prayer services at the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque in Virginia, which has been linked to the financing of terrorists and where al-Awlaki served as the spiritual leader.
“These same folks just yesterday wanted to take away the Second Amendment rights of those on the terror watch list, and now they want to embrace a mosque that we know from FOIAs was on the terror watch list. Unbelievable.”
— Patrick Poole, a terrorism analyst and national security reporter
The Democrats set to attend include Reps. Don Beyer (D., Va.), Joseph Crowley (D., N.Y.), Betty McCollum (D., Minn.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D., D.C.), and several Virginia state lawmakers, according to the New York Times.
Beyer told the Times that the visit could help diffuse tensions with the Muslim community in the wake of the San Bernardino attack and the recent terrorist massacre in Paris.
“After Paris and after the House resolution a few weeks ago, we just thought it was really important to continue to reiterate to the many, many peace-loving Muslim Americans that they were still a welcome part of our community,” Bayer said.
“A founding member of Dar al-Hijrah, Ismail Elbarasse, also has been accused of working for Hamas’s top leadership. The FBI accused Elbarasse of wiring $735,000 to a Hamas operative in 2004, according to the Investigative Project.”
The accused attackers in San Bernardino reportedly pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State before carrying out the rampage.
[Read the full story here, at Washington Free Beacon]
Al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, began service as Dar al-Hijrah’s imam in January 2001. He is accused of acting as a key recruiter for al Qaeda and as serving as a spiritual adviser for those aligned with the terror group.
Treasury Department records have indicated that, in the past, Dar al-Hijrah acted “as a front for Hamas operatives in U.S.,” and was at one point “associated with Islamic extremists,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 31, 2015 Filed under: History, Science & Technology, Space & Aviation | Tags: Antares, Blue Origin, Blue Origin New Shepard, Cape Canaveral, Florida, International Space Station, Jeff Bezos, NASA, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Space station, Virginia
On October 27, 1961, the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Nation marked a high point in the 3-year-old Saturn development program when the first Saturn vehicle flew a flawless 215-mile ballistic trajectory from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The 162-foot-tall rocket weighed 925,000 pounds and employed a dummy second stage.
Posted: October 9, 2015 Filed under: Politics, Think Tank, White House | Tags: California, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, Eric Cantor, Jeb Bush, Leaders of the United States House of Representatives, Marco Rubio, Primary election, Republican Party (United States), Virginia
Byron York writes: Yes, the House Republican conference is stunned and confused after the withdrawal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., from the speaker’s race. But is it any more stunned and confused than it was exactly two years ago, when the government was partially shut down amid bitter House GOP infighting over Obamacare? Or a year ago, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suffered a mind-blowing defeat in a GOP primary election?
“Things could get worse. There’s certainly no reason to believe they will get better anytime soon.”
The fact is, the chaos plaguing Republicans in the House has been building for a long time. It’s no wonder some GOP lawmakers are reportedly weeping in the Capitol.
Not long after announcing his withdrawal, McCarthy was asked by National Review Online whether House Republicans are, at the moment, ungovernable. “I don’t know,” he said. “Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 22, 2015 Filed under: History, Law & Justice, Politics, Think Tank, White House | Tags: Arlington National Cemetery, Ben Carson, Casino, Catholic Church, Citizenship in the United States, Common good, Consciousness raising, Donald Trump, Fairfax, Famine, United States, United States Census Bureau, Virginia
Obama’s promise was to be a transformative figure, his supporters averred. He would reverse a suspiciously colonialist Bush-era foreign policy, deliver the country into a post-racial period, and restore America’s faith in the power of collectivism and the righteous efficacy of government. As the winter of the Obama presidency approaches, it seems beyond dispute that this presidency has robbed Americans of what remaining faith they had in the value of collective action. The power of massive governmental programs to effect positive change is, at best, dubious. The tragedy of it all is that cynicism has replaced shock when the latest scandalous revelations hit the newsstands. That’s dangerous. The expectation of corruption is a condition that saps a nation’s faith in the virtue of self-governance. It is this kind of contempt for public institutions that leads republics to ruin.
[Read the full text here, at commentary]
Barack Obama’s administration is scandal-plagued. In its twilight years, this White House has subordinated accountability and the preservation of faith in public sector competence to exculpation from the political press.
“The power of massive governmental programs to effect positive change is, at best, dubious. The tragedy of it all is that cynicism has replaced shock when the latest scandalous revelations hit the newsstands. That’s dangerous. The expectation of corruption is a condition that saps a nation’s faith in the virtue of self-governance. It is this kind of contempt for public institutions that leads republics to ruin.”
The in-party spent the better part of the three years that followed the deadly assault on diplomatic and CIA compounds in Benghazi by framing the investigation into it as a manifestation of Republicans’ pathological hatred for the president. That is an impression which remains cemented in the minds of
many average voters who have not closely followed a congressional investigation into that affair – an investigation that exposed the scandalous details regarding how Hillary Clinton and her cadre of privileged aides comported themselves at the State Department. Those Americans who do not see the investigation as a partisan witch-hunt are apt to view it as an indictment of the political culture in Washington that afforded Clinton the leeway to flaunt the law and jeopardize American national security in order to preserve her sense of “convenience.”
[Read the full text of Noah Rothman‘s article here, at commentary]
The Obama-era has made it difficult to recall that it was once the left that prided itself for serving as sentinels standing guard against abuses by powerful government agencies. “Artful” Nixonian abuses of the IRS in order to intimidate and tarnish the reputations of political opponents were once a Republican phenomenon. Today, yet another simmering scandal involving the misuse of the IRS has ensnared Democrats. As such, it is dismissed as a non-issue by the left and partisans in the press.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 27, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, U.S. News | Tags: ABC News, Automatic number plate recognition, Car rental, Glock, Search warrant, Vehicle registration plate, Virginia, Virginia Shooting, WDBJ
Inside Vester Flanagan’s rental car, investigators found extra license plates, a wig, shawl, sunglasses and a hat as well as some stamped letters and a “to do” list….(read more)
Source: CBS DC
Posted: August 26, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Entertainment, Mediasphere | Tags: Interstate 81, Live television, Mr Robot, Roanoke, Television crew, Television station, Terry McAuliffe, Twitter, USA Channel, Virginia, WDBJ
USA said the decision to postpone was made because the finale ‘contains a graphic scene similar in nature to today’s tragic events in Virginia.’
Cynthia Littleton reports: USA Network has postponed tonight’s scheduled season finale of hacker drama series “Mr. Robot” for a week because the episode includes a scene with similarities to the real-life murders that occurred on live TV this morning in Virginia.
“Out of respect to the victims, their families and colleagues, and our viewers, we are postponing tonight’s episode. Our thoughts go out to all those affected during this difficult time,” USA said in a statement.
[Read the full text here, at Variety]
Early today, a reporter, Alison Parker, and cameraman, Adam Ward, for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., were shot and killed while delivering a live report for the station’s morning news program. The suspected killer is a former co-worker of the pair who posted video of the ambush on social media after fleeing the scene.
“Out of respect to the victims, their families and colleagues, and our viewers, we are postponing tonight’s episode. Our thoughts go out to all those affected during this difficult time.”
“Mr. Robot” has emerged as a critical darling for USA this summer. The series revolves around an anti-social IT whiz who is drafted to work for an underground group of hackers focused on rooting out evil and corruption in corporate America. Rami Malek and Christian Slater star. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 26, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere | Tags: General manager, Greater Richmond Region, Moneta, Roanoke, Shopping mall, Smith Mountain Lake, Television station, Virginia, WDBJ
A law enforcement official says the suspect in the on-air shooting of two TV station employees died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Franklin County Sheriff W.Q. “Bill” Overton Jr. gave that detail Wednesday during a news conference.
Officials say suspect Vester Flanagan died at 1:26 Thursday at a hospital in Northern Virginia. Authorities say the man killed his former co-workers — reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward — during a live broadcast for WDBJ-TV on Wednesday morning outside a shopping mall.
The station has said Flanagan went by Bryce Williams on the air. While he worked at the station, they say, he was angry and difficult to work with. He was fired.
A Virginia official says the suspect in the fatal shooting of two TV station employees during a live broadcast has died.
Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran says Vester Flanagan died at 1:26 p.m. Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 26, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Chris Hurst (journalist), James Madison University, List of Melrose Place characters, Live television, Patrick Henry Community College, Roanoke, Smith Mountain Lake, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia, WDBJ
Remembering Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27
From a report by Philip Ross: Parker, a native of Virginia, grew up in the city of Martinsville, about 180 miles southwest of Richmond, WDBJ7 reports. She attended Patrick Henry Community College near Martinsville and graduated from James Madison University, where she worked for the school’s newspaper, in 2012.
She interned at the station that summer and returned in May 2014 as a morning reporter, New York Daily News reports. Parker had been dating the station’s evening co-anchor Chris Hurst. Hurst shared his grief on Twitter.
Ward had graduated from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, where he earned a communications and media studies degree, NBC News reports. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 10, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Think Tank | Tags: Alexandria, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Consumer Price Index, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Great Recession, Inflation, Minimum wage, San Francisco, Seattle, Sticky (economics), United States, Virginia, Wage
Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start.
In June of last year, the Seattle city council passed a $15 minimum wage law to be phased in over time, with the first increase to $11 an hour starting on April 1, 2015. What effect will the eventual 58% increase in labor costs have on small businesses, including area restaurants? It’s too soon to tell for sure, but there is already some evidence that the recent minimum wage hike to $11 an hour, along with the pending increase of an additional $4 an hour by 2017 for some businesses, has started having a negative effect on restaurant jobs in the Seattle area. The chart above shows that the Emerald City MSA started experiencing a decline in restaurant employment around the first of the year (when the state minimum wage increased to $9.47 per hour, the highest state minimum wage in the country), and the 1,300 job loss between January and June is the largest decline over that period since 2009 during the Great Recession (data here). The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession. In contrast to the January-June loss of restaurant jobs in the Seattle area: a) restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period (data here), b) overall employment in the Seattle MSA increased 1.2% and by 21,800 jobs (data here) and c) non-Seattle MSA restaurant employment in Washington increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs (data here). Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 28, 2015 Filed under: Food & Drink, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Associated Press, Chesapeake Bay, D.C., List of mayors of Washington, Maryland, Muriel Bowser, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia, Washington, Washington State
Pundit Planet Roving Arthropod News Analyst comments on Virginia Governor’s Controversial Territorial Claim
‘Maryland’ Crabs: ‘They’re All Born in Virginia’, Says Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
WASHINGTON — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has made a statement about Chesapeake Bay blue crabs that is sure to seem very inflammatory to die-hard Marylanders.
He made the remark during this month’s “Ask the Governor” segment on Newsradio 1140 WRVA in Richmond, while speaking about boosting the state’s oyster business.
“You know, Maryland talks about their crabs. And if anyone from Maryland is listening, I’m going to be very clear: All the crabs are born here in Virginia and they end up, because of the current, being taken there. So really they should be Virginia crabs.”
— Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
His statement is not entirely false, though saying the current is the only reason some crabs migrate into the upper bay is questionable.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, male crabs tend to prefer fresher waters in Maryland and the bay’s upper tributaries, while females, especially spawning females, like the saltier waters of Virginia, near the mouth of the bay….(read more)
Posted: July 14, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Economics, White House | Tags: Counterfeiting, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Injury, Kingsport, List of U.S. federal prisons, Money, Pennington Gap, Prison, Tennessee, Virginia
Woman Blames Obama For Counterfeiting Money
Police say that counterfeit bill was printed on computer paper and that each side had been glued together
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (CBSDC) – A woman reportedly told police she was counterfeiting money because she read online that President Barack Obama created a new law stating that people can start printing their own money.
The Times News reports Pamela Downs tried to use a counterfeit $5 bill at a local grocery store in Kingsport, Tennessee, on Sunday.
Police say that counterfeit bill was printed on computer paper and that each side had been glued together.
According to the Times News, Downs told the officer she received the money from a gas station a few days prior, but that she never inspected the bill.
Police then searched Downs’ purse and found a $100 bill which was also counterfeit. The Times News reports the bill was printed in black and white and that the back of the bill was printed upside down. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 17, 2015 Filed under: Science & Technology, War Room | Tags: Aircraft Carrier, Aircraft catapult, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, Fighter aircraft, Gerald Ford, James River, Newport News, Structural load, United States Navy, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), Virginia
NEWPORT News, Va. (June 16, 2015) Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducts dead-load testing of the The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) . (U.S. Navy video/Released)
Posted: May 15, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Mediasphere | Tags: Albemarle County, Bloomberg L.P., Boston Marathon, Capital punishment, Death Penalty Information Center, Life imprisonment, murder, Noah Feldman, The Washington Post, Virginia
Richard Johnson is a field artist, visual journalist and senior graphics editor at The Washington Post. Read more about his very unique perspective as a courtroom artist in the Bostom Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev death penalty debate here.
Fine work by Richard Johnson. Visit Illustration Age, the best source for editorial illustration and graphic design.
Posted: May 7, 2015 Filed under: Law & Justice, War Room | Tags: American Civil Liberties Union, Associated Press, California, Circuit court, Civil liberties, Constitutional law, Edward Snowden, Fairfax County, Fairfax County Police Department, Mobile app, Virginia
ACLU lawsuit argued the data collection should be stopped because it violates Americans’ privacy rights
WASHINGTON — Devlin Barrett and Damian Paletta report: A federal appeals court ruled Thursday the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of millions of Americans’ phone records isn’t authorized by the Patriot Act, as the Bush and Obama administrations have long maintained.
”The text of (Section 215) cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and … does not authorize the telephone metadata program.’’
— Federal appeals court
The NSA has used the Patriot Act to justify collecting records of nearly every call made in the U.S. and entering them into a database to search for possible contacts among terrorism suspects.
The scope of the program was revealed when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents describing the program, triggering a national debate over the extent of the data collection.
“I am concerned if we throw out some of these programs, now we are at risk. We’re stupid, I got it, in the press, but we shouldn’t put American people at risk.”
— Recently retired NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander
The ruling by the three-judge panel in New York comes at a delicate point in the national debate over government surveillance, as Section 215 of the Patriot Act is due to expire next month and lawmakers are haggling about whether to renew it, modify it, or let it lapse.
The court’s ruling was in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union arguing the data collection should be stopped because it violates Americans’ privacy rights. A lower court judge ruled the program was constitutional, and the civil liberties group appealed, leading to Thursday’s decision.
”The text of (Section 215) cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and … does not authorize the telephone metadata program,’’ the court wrote.
The court declined to address the issue of whether the program violates Americans’ rights, because, they found, it was never properly authorized by existing law.
The judges didn’t order the collection to stop, noting that the legislative debate and the looming expiration of Section 215 will force action on the issue one way or another. The judges also note that if Congress decides to approve some version of the phone data collection program in coming days, then the privacy issue could be revisited in court. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 21, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Education | Tags: Academic freedom, American Constitution Society, Bradley A. Smith, Charlottesville, Federalist Society, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, George Mason University, Greg Lukianoff, University of Virginia, Virginia
George Mason University also becomes the third green light institution in the state of Virginia, joining the University of Virginia and The College of William & Mary
WASHINGTON, April 21, 2015—George Mason University (GMU) has eliminated all of its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). After working with FIRE to ensure its policies comply with the First Amendment, the Virginia university has joined a select group of colleges and universities nationwide to earn FIRE’s most favorable rating for free speech on campus.
“Freedom of speech and academic freedom are core values of a university’s mission. I’m delighted that George Mason has joined the ranks of universities that have committed themselves to the full protection of free speech. Thank you to our administration for their dedicated work in providing a context where students and faculty can express controversial ideas freely, and even inartfully, without fear of reprisal.”
“We commend George Mason University for improving its policies and fully upholding the First Amendment rights of its students and faculty members,” said Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program. “GMU is now a national leader in terms of respecting free speech in higher education, and the university’s actions should serve as a positive example for other institutions to follow.”
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Awards Highest Free Speech Rating to George Mason University
FIRE has been advocating for speech code reform at GMU for nearly a decade. In May 2014, Majeed and GMU Director of Special Diversity Projects Dennis Webster began working together to revise seven university policies, including a flyer posting policy, a sexual harassment policy, two provisions from the student conduct code, and a policy on leafleting. GMU Foundation Professor of Law Todd Zywicki also assisted in the effort.
“We commend George Mason University for improving its policies and fully upholding the First Amendment rights of its students and faculty members. GMU is now a national leader in terms of respecting free speech in higher education, and the university’s actions should serve as a positive example for other institutions to follow.”
— Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program
“Freedom of speech and academic freedom are core values of a university’s mission,” said Zywicki. “I’m delighted that George Mason has joined the ranks of universities that have committed themselves to the full protection of free speech. Thank you to our administration for their dedicated work in providing a context where students and faculty can express controversial ideas freely, and even inartfully, without fear of reprisal.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 8, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Charlottesville, CNN, Columbia Journalism Review, Columbia University, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Jann Wenner, Jonah Goldberg, Left-wing politics, Phi Kappa Psi, propaganda, publishing, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, University of Virginia, Virginia, Whitewash
Ignoring the most basic rules of journalism
Jonah Goldberg writes: Rolling Stone screwed up.
In most media scandals, it’s unfair to paint with such a broad brush. When Stephen Glass concocted his fables at The New Republic, he went to antiheroic lengths to conceal his deceptions from his colleagues. Janet Cooke, who famously won a Pulitzer for her Washington Post series about an eight-year-old heroin addict, “Jimmy’s World,” lied to her editors.
“The field of journalistic ethics can get ridiculously Talmudic. But it’s all based on a very simple rule: Tell the truth.”
That’s not the case with Rolling Stone’s publication of “A Rape on Campus,” the story of the brutal gang rape of a student named “Jackie” at the University of Virginia that turned out to be false. Its failure was a group effort, from editor-in-chief Jann Wenner on down.
[Also See – Campus Rape and the ‘Emergency’: It’s Always An Excuse for Authoritarianism]
The best thing you can say about this fiasco is that there was little deliberate lying involved. According to an exhaustive report by the Columbia Journalism School, the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and her editors didn’t purposefully publish falsehoods.
[Read the full text of Jonah Goldberg‘s column here, at National Review]
Of course, this is faint praise. The field of journalistic ethics can get ridiculously Talmudic. But it’s all based on a very simple rule: Tell the truth. If the truth is unclear, tell what you know and give both sides (or as many credible sides to a story as might exist) an opportunity to make their case. (For opinion journalists, like yours truly, the rule is even easier: Don’t say anything you don’t believe.)
“At every stage, editors and reporters knew what they should do: Talk to the accused rapists, confirm the identities and testimony of alleged witnesses, give the University of Virginia and the leadership of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where the rape allegedly occurred, a fair opportunity to rebut the charges, nail down corroborating details…”
Rolling Stone ignored this basic rule. At every stage, editors and reporters knew what they should do: Talk to the accused rapists, confirm the identities and testimony of alleged witnesses, give the University of Virginia and the leadership of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where the rape allegedly occurred, a fair opportunity to rebut the charges, nail down corroborating details, etc.
“And, at almost every turn, they collectively went another way, caving to Jackie’s refusal to help confirm her story.”
And, at almost every turn, they collectively went another way, caving to Jackie’s refusal to help confirm her story.
[Also see – Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s OTHER Possibly Fake Rape Story]
The Columbia report, requested by Rolling Stone and written pro bono by the journalism school’s dean, Steve Coll, and colleagues, has a single major failing. It’s dispositive on the who, what, when, where, and how the system broke down, but it’s remarkably weak on the question of “why?” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 3, 2015 Filed under: History, Law & Justice, White House | Tags: Adam Smith, Americans, Arkansas, Bill Clinton, Charlottesville, College of William & Mary, Continental Congress, Declaration of Independence, Divine right of kings, Indiana, Ludwig Von Mises Institute, Natural and legal rights, Thomas Jefferson, United States, University of Virginia, Virginia
“Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness…”
Before his death, Thomas Jefferson left explicit instructions regarding the monument to be erected over his grave. In this document (undated), Jefferson supplied a sketch of the shape of the marker, and the epitaph with which he wanted it to be inscribed:
“…on the faces of the Obelisk the following inscription, & not a word more:
Here was buried
Author of the Declaration of American Independence
of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom
& Father of the University of Virginia
What’s missing here? Jefferson declined to include, among his most treasured achievements, his own ascent to the highest office in the land. Thomas Jefferson was elected twice, served two terms as president of the United States. Why did Jefferson consider his own presidency to be unimportant, or not important enough to include in his list of achievements? Much as been written about this, including by Jefferson himself, but my own summary is this: A free people govern themselves. A self-governing society doesn’t celebrate its leaders, or rulers, it celebrates its own freedom.
The most important of these freedoms being freedom of thought. Freedom to think, or not think, whatever the hell you want. To worship, or not worship, whatever deity you want, it’s your business. The freedom to subscribe to–or reject–whatever philosophy you want. The freedom to participate, or refrain from participating in, whatever way of life you chose. An individual is free to worship as he pleases with no discrimination. And has the inherent (not state-given) freedom to not be compelled by another to do otherwise.
Without this, the “habits of hypocrisy and meanness” undermine pluralism, and threaten the foundations of the civil society that his generation fought so hard to build.
Do Jefferson’s successors understand this?
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) was prevented by illness from attending the Virginia Convention of 1774 that met to discuss what to do in the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party and the closing of the port of Boston by the British. But Jefferson sent a paper to the convention, later published as A Summary View of the Rights of British America. The force of its arguments and its literary quality led the Convention to elect Jefferson to serve in the Continental Congress.
He was too anti-British to be made use of until a total break with Great Britain had become inevitable. Then he was entrusted with drafting the Declaration of Independence. This assignment, and what he made of it, ensured Jefferson’s place as an apostle of liberty. In the Declaration, and in his other writings, Jefferson was perhaps the best spokesman we have had for the American ideals of liberty, equality, faith in education, and in the wisdom of the common man. But what Jefferson wanted to be remembered for, besides writing the Declaration of Independence, was writing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and founding the University of Virginia.
Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom
The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom is a statement about both freedom of conscience and the principle of separation of church and state. Written by Thomas Jefferson and passed by the Virginia General Assembly on January 16, 1786, it is the forerunner of the first amendment protections for religious freedom. Divided into three paragraphs, the statute is rooted in Jefferson’s philosophy. It could be passed in Virginia because Dissenting sects there (particularly Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists) had petitioned strongly during the preceding decade for religious liberty, including the separation of church and state.
Jefferson had argued in the Declaration of Independence that “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle [man]….” The first paragraph of the religious statute proclaims one of those entitlements, freedom of thought. To Jefferson, “Nature’s God,” who is undeniably visible in the workings of the universe, gives man the freedom to choose his religious beliefs. This is the divinity whom deists of the time accepted—a God who created the world and is the final judge of man, but who does not intervene in the affairs of man. This God who gives man the freedom to believe or not to believe is also the God of the Christian sects.
I. Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was his Almighty power to do . . .
The second paragraph is the act itself, which states that no person can be compelled to attend any church or support it with his taxes. It says that an individual is free to worship as he pleases with no discrimination. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 28, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, U.S. News | Tags: Arlington County, Handsfree, Highway patrol, North Carolina, Randleman, Road rage, Single carriageway, Sport utility vehicle, video, Virginia, WGHP
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 »
Posted: January 26, 2015 Filed under: Education, Think Tank, U.S. News | Tags: Alpha Tau Omega, Charlottesville, Fraternities and sororities in North America, Kappa Alpha Order, Phi Kappa Psi, Rolling Stone, Sexual assault, Teresa A. Sullivan, University of Virginia, Virginia
U.S. colleges foster and encourage lynch mobs and thought police in place of actual education. It’s time for serious reform.
Daniel Payne writes: For anyone still keeping up with the University of Virginia’s fraternity gang-rape fiasco, this month brought a bit of good news: the Charlottesville Police Department announced it could find no proof that the alleged gang rape had occurred at Phi Kappa Psi. UVA subsequently reinstated the fraternity after having shut it down a few months before.
“Unsurprisingly, much of this bankrupt ideology centers on feminism, which has filled the role that eugenics once filled in American universities: a crystalline instance of peak Progressive thought animated by bigotry and pseudoscience.”
This is small comfort to a debacle that has been both shameful and injudicious from start to finish. If there is anything good to be had from the entire mess, it is that a slapdash and irresponsible publication has been justly humiliated, and that an incompetent and malicious journalist has been perhaps permanently outcast from the good graces of the Fourth Estate. So far as I can tell, Sabrina Rubin Erdely has not been heard from publicly since last tweeting at the end of November. That is fine by me; indeed, if she finishes out her career as an obscure copy editor at a small-town bi-weekly, I do not think journalism as a whole will be worse off, even if the small-town bi-weekly suffers.
“Modern feminism drove much of the witch hunt on UVA’s campus, for instance, and it can be seen at plenty of other colleges, as well.”
Yet the Rolling Stone fiasco is on the main depressing and discouraging, if for no other reason than it has starkly highlighted the fundamental hollowness of our institutions of higher learning, saturated as they have become by the often-toxic influence of academic leftism.
A Microcosm of U.S. Colleges’ Sick Culture
Indeed, UVA provided a perfect example of the moral bankruptcy one often finds at the average American college. In the wake of the Rolling Stone article, the university suspended Greek life on campus with no due process whatsoever; a University of Virginia law school student demanded that Phi Kappa Psi be treated as a “criminal street gang” subject to asset seizure by the government; the fraternity house was vandalized; and effectively the entire university lined up against a group of young men who had been viciously slandered in a national media outlet based on the strength of one uncorroborated and unexamined accusation. “The whole [fraternity] culture,” claimed UVA English professor Alison Booth, with no irony whatsoever, “is sick.”
From its administration to its faculty to its studentry, the University of Virginia displayed the aplomb of a sulky teenager unwilling to think critically about even the most basic of ethical considerations.
“From coast to coast, the vanities of progressivism are having a profoundly negative effect on our institutions of higher learning.”
The University of Virginia, in other words, behaved shamefully and with no civic decorum: from its administration to its faculty to its studentry, the entire institution displayed the aplomb of a sulky teenager unwilling to think critically about even the most basic of ethical considerations. UVA’s president, Teresa Sullivan, should be apologizing profusely to the members of Phi Kappa Psi along with the whole fraternity community. Instead, she’s forcing fraternities to adopt pointless new rules on the basis of a single allegation that even the police now dispute.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 4, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, U.S. News | Tags: Democrats, Election 2014, GOP, Midterms, Virginia, Virginia Department of Elections, Vote Fraud, Washington D.C.
LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — Malfunctioning voting machines are causing issues for voters in several Virginia precincts, the Republican Party of Virginia
RPV wrote a letter to the Virginia Department of Elections this morning stating there were problems with some of the electronic voting touch screens in at least four different Congressional Districts.
“Voters have difficulty selecting the candidate of their choice using the touch screen because the screen’s touch sensor is not properly aligned with the text that appears on the screen.”
— RPV spokesman said in the letter.
A video link included in the letter shows a machine malfunction when someone tries to select the Republican candidate on the ballot:
For more about the precincts where RPV says the issue is happening…(read more)
This story is developing….
Posted: October 28, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Space & Aviation | Tags: Antares, Cygnus, International Space Station, NASA, Orbital Sciences, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Virginia, Wallops Flight Facility
Note: The YouTube video that was originally embedded here was removed, try viewing it at NBCNightly News instead, as linked above.
Posted: October 28, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere, Space & Aviation, U.S. News | Tags: Antares, Cygnus, International Space Station, NASA, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Rocket launch, Virginia, Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island
Collective panic: Any ambitions for being a level-headed war correspondent or courageous A-list camera operator go up in smoke as members of the press are caught on tape going cuckoo bananas while witnessing a failed launch.
Swearing, gasping, pants-wetting, shaky-cam emotional meltdown. NSFW audio. Priceless.
via ANTARES EXPLODES!!! – YouTube
Posted: October 28, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere, Science & Technology, Space & Aviation | Tags: Antares, Cygnus, International Space Station, NASA, Orbital Sciences, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Virginia, Wallops Island
An unmanned space station supply rocket exploded tonight six seconds after launch from Wallops Island, Virginia.
Orbital Sciences Corp. said in a Tweet shortly after the explosion:
The cargo rocket was supposed to launch Monday night, but that had to be scrubbed because a boat was too close to the “hazard zone” near the launch site.
This launch was the third of eight International Space Station cargo resupply missions under NASA’s $1.9 billion contract with Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia. Orbital provides the launch vehicle and cargo spacecraft and NASA runs the range operations.
“Radar aircraft detected the boat and hailed it several times, but there was no response. A spotter plane made multiple passes around the boat at low altitudes using commonly understood signals such as wing waving to establish contact. However, the operator did not respond.”
— NASA statement
The Antares rocket was carrying 4,483 pounds of equipment to the station including 1,360 pounds of food.
Orbital Sciences said everyone at the launch site had been accounted for, and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities. Read the rest of this entry »