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Archive for June 3rd, 2014

2 Kids Stabbed in New York City Elevator

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

2 Kids Stabbed in New York City Elevator
New York police are searching for a man who stabbed two children, one fatally, in an elevator Sunday evening. Police described the man as a “heavy set” black male, approximately six feet tall, between ages 25 and 35, and last seen wearing a gray shirt. He stabbed a six-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl inside an elevator in their apartment building in Brooklyn and fled. Prince Joshua “PJ” Avitto, 6, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. “We cannot have a city where two … children going to get an ice cream are stabbed, one killed and the other fighting for her life,” said New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Automakers see big US sales gains in May

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Automakers see big US sales gains in May
DETROIT (AP) — Brisk demand for SUVs and pickup trucks — and a strong Memorial Day weekend — was expected to push U.S. auto sales to a seven-year high in May.

Sgt. Bergdahl to the Firing Squad?
Military law experts discuss possible desertion charges against recovered Taliban prisoner.

Irish church under fire over children’s mass grave
DUBLIN (AP) — The Catholic Church in Ireland is facing fresh accusations of child neglect after a researcher found records for 796 young children believed to be buried in a mass grave beside a former orphanage for the children of unwed mothers.

Texas open-carry gun groups threaten to leave NRA

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Texas open-carry gun groups threaten to leave NRA
Following rebuke from the NRA, one activist says he’s willing to “rip up my cards and burn my certificates on camera”

Hillary Clinton: Don’t second-guess Bergdahl swap
During a question-and-answer session in Broomfield, Colorado, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a measured defense of the Obama administration’s controversial decision to swap five Guantanamo Bay detainees for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held hostage in Afghanistan.

Mitch McConnell: Campaign finance amendment just a “political exercise”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to debate a constitutional amendment to regulate campaign spending.

ABC News’ Ingraham: Immigrant Humanitarian Crisis Is “An Invasion Facilitated By Our Own Government”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

ABC News’ Ingraham: Immigrant Humanitarian Crisis Is “An Invasion Facilitated By Our Own Government”

Fox News and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham dismissed the humanitarian crisis that is prompting thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America to illegally cross into the United States, saying that the surge is “an invasion facilitated by our own government.” Ingraham stated that “it’s not our responsibility” to help these children and criticized the use of military facilities to house them.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that this fiscal year, it will care for 60,000 unaccompanied children, many under the age of 13, who will attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border into the United States after fleeing violence in Central America:

Most of the children who HHS cares for are attempting to cross through the Rio Grande Valley and coming from Central America, driven by the dire economic conditions and sustained violence at home, experts say. HHS then keeps the children, typically for 30 to 45 days, until officials can place them with a parent or sponsor, often inside the U.S. The children are then put into deportation proceedings; some are deported but others ultimately are able to stay.

Mexican minors who are apprehended when crossing illegally into the U.S. are almost always repatriated and not referred to HHS for custody and care.

The Journal noted that the Defense Department “has made available facilities at military bases in San Antonio, and Ventura County, Calif., where HHS contractors feed, provide medical care and offer some education for the children.”

The Associated Press added: “More than 90 percent of those sheltered by the government are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, many driven north by pervasive violence and poverty in their home countries.”

Discussing the story on her radio show, Ingraham accused the Obama administration of “becoming human traffickers,” claiming that the administration is “trafficking illegal immigrants from one part of the country to another part of the country to further erode American wages and further forward their goal of ultimate amnesty and changing the electoral and cultural landscape of the United States forever.”

She continued: “It’s not our responsibility. And to use our military facilities to house and feed and clothe and give medical attention to people who are law breakers as our own military can’t get the proper attention required — military being left out in the cold as far as their own medical treatment.”

Later in the show, she blasted congressional Republicans and Democrats who support immigration reform, including Rep. Eric Cantor and Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio, for allowing the children into the country. She stated:

INGRAHAM: Make no mistake about it, my friends, this current influx of tens of thousands of new people crossing this border is only being done because of the enticement by Eric Cantor, [Rep. Luis] Gutierrez, Obama, Rubio, McCain, [Sen. Lindsey] Graham, [Sen. Robert] Menendez, [Sen. Charles] Schumer, and the list goes on and on.

She went on to call the crisis “an invasion facilitated by our own government.”

Right Step on Coal Plants

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Right Step on Coal Plants
Eugene Robinson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — Even for people who don’t believe in it, climate change just got real. It’s about time. The Obama administration’s proposed new rule for existing power plants — reducing heat-trapping carbon emissions by up to 30 percent by 2030 — is ambitious enough to get anyone’s attention. No, this one measure will not halt or reverse human-induced warming of the atmosphere. But the rule is necessary in the context of seeking international consensus on solutions — and also significant in its own right. Before Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy could announce the…

The Apology Game
Charles Kesler, RealClearPolitics
Apologizing is rampant these days. Hardly a week goes by without some public figure (or unlucky private citizen, become a public figure) offering to apologize, usually at the demand of some group or other who has taken offense at something said or done. If extorting apologies were an interstate crime, the FBI’s hands would be full fighting the crime wave spawned by the apology mafia. “Taking offense” is certainly on the offensive in our highly sensitive age. For some people it is a living. What else does Al Sharpton do, exactly, except lie in wait for someone who utters a…

Poll: Majority Unhappy With Obama’s Handling of VA Woes
Michael Cipriano, RealClearPolitics
More than half of Americans disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the recent scandal involving Veterans Affairs medical facilities, according to a CNN/ORC International survey. The poll found that 58 percent are unhappy with the president’s response to the VA’s problems, which include long waits for treatment and the falsification of records to mask those delays. Just 37 percent of respondents say they approve. Obama accepted VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation “with considerable regret” last week after a report by the VA inspector general…

Four Key Questions on Primary Day in Iowa
Scott Conroy, RealClearPolitics
An open U.S. Senate seat in Iowa is a rare and precious commodity. After all, Republican Chuck Grassley has won re-election by at least a 30-point margin since he was first voted into office as part of the 1980 Reagan wave. And while Democrat Tom Harkin has had some closer shaves, he will have held his seat as the state’s junior senator for three decades by the time he retires at the end of his term in January. Among the Republicans aiming to succeed Harkin, there are four credible — but still largely unknown — candidates vying for their party’s nomination in Tuesday’s…

Minister attacks myth of girls’ jobs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Minister attacks myth of girls’ jobs
A government minister is set to challenge a “persistent and debilitating myth that girls don’t do science”.

Wife ‘corrects’ minister over bins
Minister Brandon Lewis is corrected by his wife after he got his facts wrong on recycling in a BBC interview.

VIDEO: Online news v papers you can hold
Online free news plays a part in falling newspaper and magazine sales, but titles are still being launched.

Biggest Super Tuesday casualty?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Biggest Super Tuesday casualty?
The Tea Party has kept its aim on Sen. Thad Cochran (R) despite a scandal involving his wife.

Incumbent GOP Senator On The Ropes In Mississippi Primary As Runoff Looms

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Incumbent GOP Senator On The Ropes In Mississippi Primary As Runoff Looms
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The nastiest campaign in the country likely will go on for three more weeks.

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran trailed tea party challenger Chris McDaniel in Tuesday’s Republican primary. But McDaniel could not quite get more than 50 percent of the votes because of a third GOP challenger, Thomas Carey, who pulled just under 2 percent. McDaniel held a lead of less than 1 percent, with 98 percent of the vote counted, at 49.6 percent to Cochran’s 48.6 percent.

Unless McDaniel clears the 50 percent threshold, the election will be headed for a runoff on June 24, raising difficult questions for Cochran and for the Republican establishment in Washington.

Do the National Republican Senatorial Committee and establishment Republicans double down on Cochran and continue to send money and bodies to Mississippi to try to crush an energetic upstart whose supporters swarmed to the polls? Is that even possible? Can Cochran continue to refuse to debate McDaniel, as he has done so far? And how will the presence of Cochran, 76, on the campaign trail shape the race, given his decidedly uneven performance on the stump so far?

The NRSC answered some of those questions in a statement to the press just before 2 a.m. Wednesday.

“Should Mississippi go to a runoff, we will expect a vigorous debate about the future of our country over the next three weeks and we will continue to fully support Thad Cochran,” NRSC executive director Rob Collins said in the statement.

McDaniel, 41, promised a room full of supporters, who stayed at his rally here in the local convention center until almost midnight, that he would win the election.

“One way or another, whether it’s tomorrow or whether it’s three weeks from tonight, we will stand victorious,” he said.

McDaniel called the night “historic.”

“Our founders gave us something incredible didn’t they?” he said. “The idea that the government works for us, not the other way around. The idea of the consent of the governed.”

“For too long we’ve been silent. For too long we sat still. For too long we let them have their way with us, and tonight in Mississippi, they heard us once again,” he said, to loud cheers from the crowd.

As he left the stage with his wife and two sons, McDaniel was greeted by Jenny Beth Martin, president of the Tea Party Patriots, whose group has supported his campaign. They embraced, and posed for a picture. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, whose group has also spent money in this race for the challenger, stood watching nearby.

And McDaniel’s campaign manager, state Sen. Melanie Sojourner, rallied the crowd to redouble their efforts in the coming weeks.

“If this lasts three more weeks, you have come out so big for us, and so huge, and everything tomorrow starts over, it’s votes and dollars and volunteers. Every single thing we’ve done for the last eight months we have to replicate, starting tomorrow,” Sojourner said. “So there are sign up sheets. There are donation baskets. Anything and everything you can do, we will start forever if we start back over at zero.”

McDaniel aides were heard outside their war room, where earlier supporters had joined hands and stood in a circle praying, talking about the need to figure out how to raise money for the three-week contest.

“It’s time for people to make an investment,” one said.

“So many people didn’t want to vote for Chris because they didn’t think he had a chance. Now he has a chance,” another said.

In Jackson, Cochran supporters had mostly left the senator’s election night rally when Rep. Gregg Harper emerged to address the crowd on Cochran’s behalf.

The prospect of the two Republicans bludgeoning each other for three more weeks is a best-case scenario for Democrats in Mississippi, who have encouraged the idea that McDaniel may be vulnerable to Democrat Travis Childers in the fall.

Cochran, seeking his seventh term in office, had appeared ready to defeat McDaniel two weeks ago, when the state senator was engulfed in controversy amid questions over whether he knew about or was involved with a supporter’s arrest for entering a nursing home where Cochran’s wife lives, and videotaping her. The McDaniel supporter briefly posted the video of Rose Cochran, who has dementia, online before pulling it down.

But in the last week, the furor over the nursing home episode has subsided, and attention has returned to Cochran’s weakness as a candidate. It’s a disadvantageous spot to be in, heading into a three-week runoff.

Cochran, like McDaniel, received higher than expected raw numbers of votes. But turning out his support against a McDaniel base that is almost certain to be just as energized as before — if not more so by the smell of blood in the water — will be a difficult task.

Thad Cochran, Chris McDaniel Virtually Tied In Heated Senate Race
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tea party favorite Chris McDaniel and six-term Sen. Thad Cochran dueled inconclusively at close quarters in Mississippi’s primary election Tuesday night, an epic struggle in a party deeply divided along ideological lines. GOP governors in South Dakota, Alabama and Iowa all coasted to renomination.

Senate hopeful Joni Ernst, a state senator, overwhelmed a fistful of Republican rivals in Iowa after uniting rival wings of the party and will challenge Rep. Bruce Braley this fall for a Senate seat long in Democratic hands.

In a third Senate race on the busiest night of the primary season, former Gov. Mike Rounds won the Republican nomination in South Dakota — and instantly became the favorite to pick up a seat for the GOP in its drive to capture the six the party needs to capture a majority this fall.

Five states picked candidates for governor, including California, where Democrat Jerry Brown cruised to renomination to a fourth term.

The marquee contest of the night was in Mississippi, where Cochran, 76, and the 41-year-old McDaniel remained locked in a close, uncallable race as the vote count mounted. Returns from 98 percent of the state’s precincts showed the challenger narrowly ahead in a three-way race, but just below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a June 24 runoff.

“People of this country were somehow awakened and we’ve been asleep for far too long,” McDaniel told supporters as the results came in.

Rep. Gregg Harper, who had campaigned with Cochran, told the senator’s supporters, “It’s looking like a run-off.”

Officials said the vote tally did not include provisional ballots, at least some of them cast as a result of the state’s new voter ID law. Those voters have five days to furnish proof of residence. An official canvass could take longer, until June 13.

Dozens of nomination races for House seats dotted the ballot, and including 38 in California’s open primary system, which awarded spots on the November ballot to the two top vote-getters regardless of party.

The Senate contest between Cochran and McDaniel in Mississippi drew top billing, a costly and heated race between a pillar of the GOP establishment who has helped funnel millions of dollars to his state and a younger state lawmaker who drew backing from tea party groups and former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The campaign took a turn toward the sensational when four men, all McDaniel supporters, were arrested and charged with surreptitiously taking photographs of the senator’s 72-year-old wife, who suffers from dementia and has long lived in a nursing home.

One black group of Cochran supporters, “All Citizens for Mississippi,” advertised in two black newspapers and handed out flyers in the race’s final days as they appealed to traditionally Democratic voters to extend his career.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, a black Democrat who served for 26 years in the state Legislature, said he was supporting the white, Republican incumbent. He said the senator has secured federal funding for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers research station in his city, adding, “It is incumbent for me to vote for Thad.”

The race was arguably the year’s last good chance for the tea party wing of the party to topple an establishment favorite in a Senate primary, following losses in Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.

The impact of the race seemed less in the national battle for control of the Senate. Former Rep. Travis Childers captured the nomination to oppose the winner of the Cochran-McDaniel race in a state that last elected a Democratic senator in 1982.

The national stakes were higher in Iowa, where Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s retirement created an open seat that Democrat Braley, a fourth-term lawmaker, seeks to fill — as does Ernst.

She fashioned her rise in the race on memorable television commercials.

“I grew up on an Iowa farm castrating hogs, so when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork,” she said in one of them, concluding with a smile, “Let’s make ’em squeal.” She was able to transcend many of the intra-party divisions that flared in other races, gathering business groups, abortion foes, the Senate Conservatives Fund and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — groups not always on the same side in a season of struggle for the GOP.

In other Senate races, appointed Democratic Sen. John Walsh and Republican Rep. Steve Daines in Montana each overpowered primary rivals en route to a likely race in the fall that the GOP is expected to target as an opportunity to gain a seat.

Republicans eyed another fall pickup opportunity in South Dakota, where Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson is retiring and Rounds easily eclipsed his rivals for the GOP nomination. Rick Weiland, making his third try for a seat in Congress, was unopposed by other Democrats.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., had no competition for renomination, and Jeff Bell won the GOP spot on the November ballot.

In New Mexico, former Republican Party chairman Allen Weh won the nomination to oppose Democratic Sen. Tom Udall.

Democrats fielded no candidates in Alabama to oppose GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was re-nominated without primary competition and is assured of re-election in November.

California’s open primary law produced a crowded ballot, with three-term incumbent Gov. Brown and 14 others competing for primary votes. Republicans included Neel Kashkari, a former Treasury Department official, and Tim Donnelly, a state assemblyman and conservative favorite.

Republican governors winning renomination included Robert Bentley in Alabama, Dennis Daugaard in South Dakota and Terry Branstad, seeking a sixth term in Iowa. All are favored to return to office in the fall.

Gov. Susana Martinez had no Republican opposition in her pursuit of a second term in New Mexico.

The Senate primary wasn’t the only close race in Mississippi.

Rep. Steven Palazzo hovered around 50 percent in a five-way contest in Mississippi. He faced the possibility of a runoff against former Rep. Gene Taylor, a Democrat seeking a comeback after switching parties.

New voter identification laws were in effect in Mississippi and Alabama, although there were no difficulties immediately reported.

Critics Are Questioning American Military Credo of Leaving No One Behind

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Critics Are Questioning American Military Credo of Leaving No One Behind
Military and civilian officials rallied to defend the years of effort spent to rescue Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Sinosphere Blog: Far From Beijing, Jaded Students Inspired to Protest
The Tiananmen protests of 25 years ago are well documented, but less well known are the protests took place across China, paralyzing cities large and small for nearly two months that spring.

World Briefing: Somalia: U.S. to Name Envoy
The United States will soon appoint an ambassador to Somalia for the first time since closing its embassy in Mogadishu 23 years ago.

At War Blog: My Wars Are Ending
Last week, President Obama, speaking at West Point, made clear that the end of combat in Afghanistan is near. A Marine struggles to find clarity about what it all meant.

Inquiry Snares Altaf Hussein, Exiled M.Q.M. Chief
The arrest of Altaf Hussain on suspicion of money laundering caused panic in his stronghold of Karachi, Pakistan, where businesses closed and residents rushed home fearing political violence.

Tea Party Primary Challenge in Mississippi Goes to the Wire

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Tea Party Primary Challenge in Mississippi Goes to the Wire
Senator Thad Cochran appeared headed for a runoff with a Tea Party-backed challenger in Mississippi, while the candidate preferred by Republican leaders cruised to victory in Iowa.