A Marquette Park neighborhood man is expected to appear in court later today after he was accused of wresting a Taser from a Chicago police officer and using it on him Sunday night during a struggle on the city's Southwest Side, police said.
The incident began with officers attempting to interview Dashawn James, 19, because they thought he had violated curfew in the 6500 block of South California Avenue, according to police.
A fight broke out after officers followed James, who fled and became "combative," punching two officers and gaining control of one of their Tasers, according to a police report.
James "deployed" the Taser several times striking an officerâ€™s arm, according to the report. Another officer used his Taser to subdue James, who was arrested at about 10:40 p.m. Sunday.
Neither officer was seriously injured.
James, who lived on California Avenue where the inital stop occurred, was taken to Holy Cross Hospital for observation.
He was charged Monday night with two counts of battery to a police officer, three counts of resisting arrest, one count of disarming a police officer and misdemeanor obstructing identification, police said.
He is expected to appear before a judge later today.
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Police say they tased and arrested a suspected drug dealer early Sunday morning after he tried to run away from them in the parking lot of a North Charleston night club.
North Charleston Police Department officers say they were patrolling the parking lot outside the Blue Magic Sports Bar & Grill around midnight when they saw what appeared to be a marijuana cigar sitting inside a parked Chevrolet Cobalt. Officers waited for the owner to return, and around 2 a.m., a man returned to his vehicle.
Police then told the man, 20-year-old Darrell Kasey Williams, to stand still but he took off immediately. Police said Williams' pants fell down as he tried to run and one of the officers fired a shot from his X-26 Taser, which struck Williams in the left buttock.
Williams then fell to the ground and was restrained by officers. Police searched the suspect and found over $2000 in cash in his pocket.
During a search of the Chevy Cobalt, officers found two marijuana cigars, two bags containing 44 grams of marijuana, a box of "Good Sense" plastic bags, a digital scale, and a sealed mason jar containing "trace amounts of marijuana."
Police also found a loaded .40 caliber handgun inside the car.
Williams was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and unlawful carrying of a pistol and was taken to Roper Hospital for treatment.
"This is a battlefield that we must stand upon and we need to let president Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend, the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida is not on the table. Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, and take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."
On Monday, January 30, the New Jersey Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to consider Assembly Bill 588 and Assembly Bill 1013. The hearing will be held at 2:00 p.m. in Committee Room 16, 4th Floor, State House Annex in Trenton.
Sponsored by Assemblyman L. Grace Spencer (D-29), A588 is cleverly disguised as police safety legislation aimed at armor piercing ammunition (which is already prohibited under federal and state law). The measure actually opens the door to a sweeping ammunition ban by an unelected public official by executive fiat. Common hunting, target, and self-defense ammunition would be subject to ban, along with BB's, airgun pellets, and non-metallic ammunition like plastic airsoft pellets, if the Attorney General decides that they pose a threat to the safety and well being of law enforcement.
Although the bill only mentions handgun ammunition, it is in fact not limited to handgun ammunition, and would apply to all rifle ammunition for which a handgun is ever made. As an increasing number of gun manufacturers make handgun models that shoot rifle caliber ammunition, the line between "handgunâ€Â vs. "rifleâ€Â ammunition has become blurred, and the New Jersey State Police have already begun treating rifle ammunition in this category as if it were handgun ammunition for regulatory purposes. As long as a handgun exists that shoots a particular caliber of rifle ammunition, New Jersey treats that ammunition as if it were handgun ammunition.
The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee is also scheduled to consider A1013 which is sponsored by Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-31). A1013 would criminalize the use of a defaced or stolen firearm that is used to injure a police officer and enhances penalties for defacing a firearm. One provision of this police safety legislation significantly increases the penalties relating to "defacedâ€Â firearms. Because of New Jersey's longstanding poorly crafted definition of "defacedâ€Â firearms, it is possible that refinishing a firearm, or long-term damage from rust or scratches from ordinary wear and tear, could be deemed "defacementâ€Â subjecting honest gun owners to lengthy prison sentences, even though identifying information on the firearm is still legible.
Please contact members of the Assembly Committee on Law and Public Safety and respectfully urge them to OPPOSE both A588 and A1013. Members can be contacted by calling (609) 292-5135. You can also find district office phone numbers and e-mail addresses below.
Well, it sure is nice of First Lady Michelle Obama to do her part to stimulate the economy. But a $50,000 lingerie shopping spree is a bit over the top, especially seeing that the Obama's want us all to think they identify with the 99%.
Agent Provocateur saw sales jump by more than 12pc, helped by US First Lady Michelle Obama spending $50,000 (£31,794) in one shopping spree.
The First Lady “ better known for shopping at more modestly-priced High Street stores “ along with the Queen of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah, closed off part of Madison Avenue to spend time in the luxury lingerie shop. Their purchases contributed to a market-spanking 12.5pc lift in sales.
Agent Provocateur, which is styled on vintage Hollywood glamour, sells handmade Calais lace corsets that sell for up to £900, which could ruffle the feathers of more than just President Barack Obama in an election year. (Read More)
I wonder what it cost the taxpayers and other merchants for Madison Avenue to be placed on lock down during her little shopping spree
A new federal effort called SuperTracker may sound like a program to keep extremely close tabs on suspected terrorists or other enemies of the state, but it isn't ”unless those enemies also happen to be healthy-minded consumers intent on dropping a few pounds.
A product of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), SuperTracker is an online tool located at choosemyplate.gov that helps users set and maintain dietary goals.
Create a user profile at the site, and you can track the calories you consume each day, record your daily physical activities, set weight management goals, and see how close you come to eating the USDA's recommended daily allowance of dark green vegetables.
SuperTracker, an expanded version of previous tools called the MyPyramid Tracker and the MyPyramid Menu Planner, debuted in December 2011. In its first month, it reportedly attracted more than 700,000 registered users.
Any day now, then, we should expect to see either the end of the obesity epidemic or SuperDuperTracker, an even more intrusive and hands-on government effort to engineer our behavior. If you're a betting man, bet on the latter.
SuperTracker offers functionality no private-sector calorie-counting program can match: It's the only one that helps normalize the idea that the government should be monitoring your eating habits and functioning as your weight-loss coach.
1. Guns have only two enemies rust and politicians.
2. It's always better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
3. Cops carry guns to protect themselves, not you.
4. Never let someone or something that threatens you get inside arms length.
5. Never say, "I've got a gun." If you need to use deadly force, the first sound they hear should be the safety clicking off.
6. The average response time of a 911 call is 23 minutes; the response time of a .357 is 1400 feet per second.
7. The most important rule in a gunfight is: Always win cheat if necessary.
8. Make your attacker advance through a wall of bullets . . . You may get killed with your own gun, but he'll have to beat you to death with it, because it'll be empty.
9. If you're in a gunfight:
- If you're not shooting, you should be loading.
- If you're not loading, you should be moving.
- If you're not moving, you're dead.
10. In a life and death situation, do something . . . It may be wrong, but do something!
11. If you carry a gun, people call you paranoid. Nonsense! If you have a gun, what do you have to be paranoid about?
12. You can say 'stop' or 'alto' or any other word, but a large bore muzzle pointed at someone's head is pretty much a universal language.
13. You cannot save the planet, but you may be able to save yourself and your family.
One of the most salient messages from Obama's State of the Union Address is that he is unwilling to take responsibility for any of his failures. Instead, he took credit for successful policies that he opposed, and ascribed blame on others for failed policies that he supported.
For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.
Obama fought tooth and nail to oppose the surge of troops and force that helped defeat the insurgency in Iraq. In fact, his entire political career and successful run for president was born out of his opposition to the surge. Yet, he has the impertinence to take credit for the success of policies he tried to defeat.
War on Terror and Afghanistan
For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda's top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban's momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.
Obama has forced our troops to fight with egregious rules of engagement, zero intelligence from interrogations, inferior force, and looming cuts to our weapons and war craft. While our troops are fighting valiantly, yet dying in scores because of the tepid war effort, Obama is negotiating with the Taliban. Biden believes that the Taliban are not our enemy, and as such, the administration has released many of the most dangerous terrorists from captivity. We are propping up a failed government that will make peace with the Taliban the very threat that we sought to eradicate in the first place ten years ago.
Yet, Obama has the audacity to claim victory in the war on terror?
Bad Economy & Joblessness
Let's remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren't, and personal debt that kept piling up.
It speaks volumes that we can elect a man to the highest office in the land who has no understanding of creative destruction. This is a man who blames stagnation on modern technology and exhibits nostalgia for bank tellers, wagon drivers, and letter carriers. Yet, all these supercilious elitists regard Obama as the most intellectually gifted president in recent years.
In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn't afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people's money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn't have the authority to stop the bad behavior.
Not only did he advocate for Freddie and Fannie's interventions and mandates on banks before the collapse, he continues to do so now. His acolytes at HUD are still leveraging the market to push an affordable housing agenda.
Together, we've agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion.
YOU LIE! Under Obama's budget proposal, there will never be a year in which we spend less money than we did the previous year discretionary or mandatory. They are all baseline cuts from his unsustainable baseline created as part of the spending spree during his first two years in office. Just during Obama's speech, the government spent over a half billion.
Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it.
Obama promises to lower the corporate tax every year, yet he never mentions a specific proposal, and never pushes for it outside of major speeches. He also fails to mention that he has encumbered American businesses with the most odious regulatory regime in our history. Yet, he has the nerve to complain about jobs moving overseas.
We're also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements I signed into law, we are on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule. Soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.
Due to pressure from his bankrollers in Big Labor, Obama and his party dragged their feet on the three free trade agreements for years. They only caved to the enormous bipartisan pressure when Republicans agreed to reauthorize a failed protectionist welfare program called Trade Adjustment Assistance. Yet, he has the cowardice to take credit for the trade deals as if they were his own.
I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That's why my Administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That's why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.
This president has protected illegals to such an extent that he is willing to use federal resources to fight several states for enforcing immigration laws passed by Congress. As for the drop off in illegal crossings, that is a function of Obama's failed economy. One way to dry up the job magnet is to destroy jobs for everyone. In that sense, Obama has been the most effective president in combating illegal border crossings.
As I told the Speaker this summer, I'm prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.
One sentence is all Obama devoted to the programs that consumer 40% of the budget and over $50 trillion in unfunded liabilities. And that is leadership?
Personal Income Taxes
Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.
OK. Let's do this slowly, so that the intellectual midgets on the left will process the data. In 2009, the top 1% earned 16.9% of AGI, yet they paid 36.7% of federal income taxes. The top 5% earned 31.7%, but paid 58.7% of all federal income taxes. The bottom 50% earned 13.5% of AGI, yet they shouldered just 2.3% of the burden. Almost all of those taxes come from those near the 50 percentile mark. In fact, 29% of all tax filers actually have a negative tax liability when the refundable credits are factored in.
Obama is definitely right on one point: there is inequality in the tax system.
Obama Claim: "Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it."
Reality: Companies don't get tax breaks for moving anything overseas. Rather, they face double taxation when they try to bring foreign-earned profits back here to America. America is one of the only countries in the world which seeks to tax income coming back home from overseas. A U.S. company earning a profit in France first pays French corporate income tax. If they leave that money there, they never pay taxes again. But if they want to bring that money back home to create jobs, invest in new plant and equipment, or shore up pension plans, they have to pay a second layer of tax to the IRS.
Obama Claim: "From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax."
Reality: Large companies have very high average effective tax rates. Some liberal groups have cooked the books to make it look otherwise. For example, the most common liberal numbers put U.S. taxes paid in the numerator, but worldwide global profits in the denominator. Of course it looks artificially small. We have the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world (nearly 40% when state corporate income taxes are included).
Obama Claim: "Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs."
Reality: Is this why the President wants to raise the top two individual tax rates, which is the tax rate paid by the majority of small business profits?
Obama Claim: "We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs."
Reality: An employer keeping their own money is not a subsidy. Energy companies that manufacture oil don't receive any welfare benefits from the federal government.
Obama Claim: "Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile. People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year. There are plenty of ways to get this done. So let's agree right here, right now: No side issues. No drama. Pass the payroll tax cut without delay."
Reality: The U.S. House passed a one-year extension of the payroll tax holiday in December. The Senate did not. The President's complaint should not be directed anywhere but at Harry Reid.
Obama Claim: "Right now, we're poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans."
Reality: Congress only put a time limit on the 2001 and 2003 tax relief because of Senate Democrat filibustering. These tax rates have been in place for more than a decade, and extended several times by Congresses controlled by Republicans, Democrats, and split control. President Obama himself signed an extension of these tax rates just one year ago.
Obama Claim: "Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary."
Reality: Obama doesn't mention how capital gains and dividend taxes (which drive down average tax rates for the households Obama is referring to) are a second layer of tax on corporate profits. The real capital gains and dividends rate is closer to 45%.
Second, you can't raise taxes on "the rich" without also raising the tax rate assessed on the majority of small employer profits and on the businesses employing the majority of small business employees.
Third, it's unfair to count both the employer and the employee "half" of Social Security tax payments when comparing Warren Buffett to his secretary--half is notionally paid by the employer, and doesn't directly reduce employee paychecks in the near term; also, there is a Social Security benefit in the future that should be considered
Obama Claim: "Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else “ like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we're serious about paying down our debt, we can't do both."
Reality: According to Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute, this isn't true. You can prevent all scheduled tax hikes from happening, grow spending at 2% annually, and still balance the budget after 10 years.
Obama Claim: "Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes."
Reality: Capital gains and dividends already face a tax rate of 45%, when properly understood as the second layer of the 35% corporate income tax rate.
Obama Claim: "And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you're earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn't get special tax subsidies or deductions."
Reality: Senator Coburn probably does want to see a net tax hike on small employers, but that doesn't mean they are getting a subsidy. They are keeping their own money.
Obama Claim: "If you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn't go up. You're the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You're the ones who need relief."
Reality: President Obama made a "firm pledge" not to raise "any form" of taxes on families making less than $250,000 when running for President in 2008. Yet 16 days into his administration, he raised taxes on smokers, who have an average income of about $30,000 per year. Then, he raised seven more taxes on these families as part of his jobs-killing Obamacare law.
Obama Claim: "We don't begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich. It's because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don't need and the country can't afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference..."
Reality: If President Obama doesn't want to claim deductions, he doesn't have to. If he or Mr. Buffett want to pay more in taxes, they can send a check to the Treasury today. They should also support the "Buffett Rule Act," sponsored by Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Senator John Thune (R-S.D.)
Enough large-scale idealism: letâ€™s dive into how SOPA and PIPA would affect you. Here are seven ways this legislation would affect your everyday life.
1. Anyone Can Kill Your Website - and Your Livelihood.
Under the proposed legislation, all someone has to do is file a complaint of copyright infringement about your site and:
-Your ad campaign is shut down (choking off your ad revenue)
-Your Payment Processors cut you off (no more PayPal or credit card payments from your website)
-Search engines remove you from their listings (again, you donâ€™t exist).
-Your reputation is tarnished,
-New visitors canâ€™t find you or your site via search engines,
-Your revenue ceases.
This happens without legal consult, without a courtroom visit, without a full-scale investigationâ€¦what ever happened to being innocent until proven guilty, Congress?
Furthermore, if itâ€™s determined that your site didnâ€™t have a copyright infringement in the first place, you canâ€™t sue the accusing party for wrongfully shutting down your livelihood.
2. Youâ€™ll Be Held Accountable and Punished For Someone Elseâ€™s Actions.
If someone else posts a link to a site with a copyright infringementâ€“ even if itâ€™s just on one page of your site, in one comment â€“ youâ€™re still considered the guilty party. Your entire site is flagged, your PayPal restricted, etc.
Someone posts a link to a Taylor Swift cover song on YouTube in your comment section? Your site can be shut down. It makes no difference that you didnâ€™t post it.
3. You Can Go to Jail
The bill calls for a penalty of up to five years in prison for a copyright infringement. Post a Hipster Ariel picture, photoshop a movie still, put together a dance routine to â€œTotal Eclipse of the Heart,â€Â or sing a cover of Adele and you could face five years in prison.
Five years in jail for posting a video? Really, Congress?
4. Your Favorite Sites Will Censor What You Post...Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will have no choice to censor what you post or risk a lawsuit or a site shutdown. Picture the FCC operating on your social media streams. I picture some moustached moderator painstakingly watching all of my video blogs just to make sure I donâ€™t have "Moves Like Jagger" playing in the background. And even if I did have Moves Like Jagger (I donâ€™t, for the record), I deserve the the right to show off those moves to my friends and family without Facebook rejecting my video for fear of lawsuit.
5. While Others Will Be Forced Out of Existence: Do you think sites like reddit, Wikipedia, and Tumblr REALLY have the financial resources and personnel to monitor every single submission for fear of copyright infringement? Theyâ€™d be forced to go dark: just like Reddit, Wikipedia, and BoingBoing are doing on January 18th in protest of SOPA.
6....And Still Others Will Never Be Invented.
SOPA and PIPA discourage Internet startups who donâ€™t have the financial or legal means to fight copyright infringement claims. Just imagine Pinterest trying to survive in a post-SOPA world.
7. Finally, and Most Importantly: Your Voice Will Be Limited
This will affect what you post. Itâ€™ll affect what you publish. Itâ€™ll limit what, where, and if you can comment on the things that concern you. The risks attached with SOPA will force the sites you use everyday to limit user interaction: and in a world where revolutions are raised online, your voice has never been so important.
Need an example of what the virtual world might look like under SOPA? Hereâ€™s a visual example of what the Internet might look like on SOPA, taken from our very own comments section on the CopyPress blog:
Any of these comments (especially Daveâ€™s link to a Family Guy clip) can cause an intellectual property owner to flag the blog for copyright infringement. Instead of contacting CopyPress to request the comment to be taken down, the entire CopyPress.com site would be punished - even though the site didnâ€™t actually link to the aforementioned video.
Photos on Twitter, Links on Facebook, comments on the Huffington Post, Tumblr submissions, and Pinterest pins are just a few of the current Internet features that would have to be shut down or strictly monitored.
Obama announced today that he’s not going to give approval to the Keystone XL Pipeline before the 2012 election, claiming that after three years and billions of dollars spent on study, the pipeline needs yet more study.
But there may be a more practical motivation to Obama’s decision. One of the largest oil plays in America, and almost certainly the fastest growing, is North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields. The Keystone pipeline, if built, would have taken 100,000 barrels per day of oil from those fields. But without the pipeline, oil producers in the state are going to be forced to rely more heavily on rail transport to bring the oil to market (the state’s roads are already running at maximum capacity).
The Burlington Northern/Santa Fe railroad serves North Dakota (along with Canadian Pacific), and guess who has a majority stake in BNSF these days?
As oil production ramps up in the Bakken fields of North Dakota, plans to use the pipeline to transport it have been dashed.
As a result, North Dakota’s booming oil producers will have to rely even more on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad, which Buffett just bought, to ship it to refineries.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to buy Burlington Northern Santa Fe in a deal valuing the railroad at $34 billion. Berkshire Hathaway already owns about 22% of Burlington Northern, and will pay $100 a share in cash and stock for the rest of the company.
U.S. unions are bitterly split on whether Keystone XL should be built. The conflict has hamstrung the Blue-Green Alliance, the main group unifying union and environmental efforts. Because it contains unions on both sides of the question, the alliance has been silent and a spokesperson said the group did not have a position.
Two transit unions have opposed the deal, arguing that the climate impact of extracting and burning an additional 900,000 barrels per day of tar-sands oil outweighs the benefits of short-term job creation. But high unemployment among members has motivated four U.S. construction unions to push for the project.
Calling the pipeline a huge step in the wrong direction, Larry Hanley, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union said, “The scientific evidence is that it will contribute to more climate change and create a hostile environment on our planet.”
Tar sands mining produces a mixture of hydrocarbons and sand, the consistency of peanut butter. It must be heated to mine it and diluted with other fuel to pipe it. Processing it into oil requires yet more energy, meaning that carbon emissions to create a barrel of tar sands oil are much greater than for conventional oil.
Canadian energy union president David Coles jumps the fence to get arrested with 100 others at a Greenpeace protest against construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. U.S. unions are torn over the project. Photo: Alex Pritz.
Expanding tar sands production will “impede our country’s and the world’s efforts to transition to a green and more sustainable economy,” said the ATU and the Transport Workers (TWU) in a joint statement, urging Obama to reject the pipeline permit. ATU represents 190,000 bus and train workers in the U.S. and Canada; TWU represents 130,000.
The transit workers’ stand is “huge,” said Joe Uehlein of the Labor Network for Sustainability, an independent network of labor activists involved in environmental efforts.
“A lot of unions have policy positions on climate,” said Uehlein, a former secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department. “This is different. Unions are taking a stand in a very direct way on something that isn’t theoretical.”
The transit unions were immediately attacked by the Laborers (LIUNA).
“It’s time for ATU and TWU to come out from under the skirts of delusional environmental groups which stand in the way of creating good, much needed American jobs,” said President Terry O’Sullivan. LIUNA threatened to no longer support legislation that benefits transit workers.
Union activists said the Laborers’ harsh outburst may have been effective in deterring other unions from opposing the pipeline publicly.
The Laborers have lobbied Congress, bused workers to hearings, and paid for robo-calls to support the pipeline. Also in support are the Teamsters, Operating Engineers, and Pipefitters (UA). The four unions say they’ve signed project labor agreements with TransCanada, guaranteeing that the U.S. construction jobs will be union.
The Laborers have even found themselves in common cause with Charles and David Koch, the famously anti-union billionaire brothers, and their Astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity. Koch Industries is responsible for a quarter of the tar sands crude imported to the U.S., according to InsideClimate News, and owns refineries in the U.S. and Canada.
What will these unions get for their efforts? Job creation claims vary wildly. The U.S. State Department, which decides whether the permit would be in the national interest, estimated that 6,000 construction and manufacturing jobs would be created in the U.S. TransCanada has estimated it would create 20,000 jobs directly and 119,000 indirectly.
“The company is totally lying,” said Lara Skinner, a professor at Cornell University who studied the jobs impact of Keystone XL.
TransCanada claims it will spend $7 billion, but that includes money already spent on previous pipelines and money spent in Canada, Skinner said. Spending in the U.S. would be closer to $3.3 billion.
The manufacturing jobs figure is also inflated, she said, because the company has already obtained half the steel it needs for the pipeline, with 80 percent of it from Canada and 20 percent from India.
In 2009 Indian pipe imports provoked an outcry from the Steelworkers, during construction of a shorter pipeline. The Steelworkers union is having a wrenching internal debate about Keystone XL and has announced no position yet.
Skinner estimated direct job creation from the pipeline at 2,500 to 4,650 jobs, mostly in construction. After construction, the pipeline can be run by a few dozen people, according to the Canadian union representing tar sands workers.
“There is a group of people who are committed to gaining employment any way you can have it,” said ATU’s Hanley. “That’s unfortunate. We have to be more thoughtful about the impact, and whether or not we’re being told the truth.”
Tar sands processing is notoriously dirty, creating air and water pollution during extraction, processing, and refining. Indigenous people who live downstream, known as First Nations people in Canada, have denounced the massive habitat destruction caused by mining operations; they charge that a spike in cancer rates in their communities is due to tar sands pollution.
Pipeline spills are also a danger. In requesting permits for a pipeline running from Alberta to Illinois and Oklahoma, TransCanada predicted 11 spills in the next half-century. But in the first year of operation, that pipeline experienced 30 spills. (The fuel is very corrosive.)
The new pipeline would cross the giant Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska. Critics say a spill there would put at risk water used by eight states. They’ve dubbed it “BP on the prairie.”
But local pollution issues are overshadowed for many by the climate impact of tapping a huge new source of intensive carbon emissions.
NASA climate scientist James Hansen wrote colleagues in June that “exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.
“If the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over,” he said.
Hansen, along with Uehlein, was among the 1,200 pipeline protesters arrested at the White House.
CEP NIXES XL
The Canadian union representing oil sands workers, CEP, has been fighting Keystone XL for five years, according to President David Coles. All 1,500 delegates at the last CEP convention voted against it.
The union primarily opposes the pipeline because it wants refining jobs to stay in Canada. Montreal energy workers saw 500 layoffs last year when a Shell-owned refinery there shut down.
CEP leaders see Keystone XL as further solidification of a “colonial” relationship with the U.S., in which Canada exports raw materials and the jobs that add value go to the U.S. “Americans get the jobs, and we get the environmental disaster,” Coles said.
But CEP leaders are also concerned about the lack of a comprehensive energy plan for Canada. The Canadian Labour Council and the Alberta Federation of Labour also oppose Keystone XL.
“No one with any brains would say there should be unfettered expansion in Alberta or Saskatchewan. That’s crazy,” said Coles. “Our members live and work there. They gotta breathe the air. They gotta be there after the stuff is pumped out of the ground.”
Coles and other union officials joined a Greenpeace demonstration on Parliament Hill, and he was among 100 arrested for trespassing. “How the hell do you delink jobs, environment, First Nations rights? You can’t,” he told the rally before being arrested. “You have to look at the whole thing.”
Despite attacks, the transit unions have held firm in their opposition.
“We need jobs, but not ones based on increasing our reliance on tar sands oil,” the unions wrote, advocating instead a green New Deal with jobs in renewable energy and conservation.
“There is no shortage of water and sewage pipelines that need to be fixed or replaced, bridges and tunnels that are in need of emergency repair,” the transit unions stated, highlighting some of the construction unions’ bread and butter.
Why are transit unions taking this stand? “Transit in many ways is the solution to a lot of the big issues we’re confronted with, including the fact that we have global warming,” said Hanley.
He said labor has to look beyond its own interests to support its allies’ issues as well. “We don’t think we would be true to ourselves if we only tried to build alliances that would help us,” Hanley said, “although this is one where there is common interest.”
“The transit workers did it for the right reasons,” Uehlein said. “Solidarity has to be thought of in the context of broader human solidarity.”
Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.
Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA. The Senate will begin voting on January 24th.
Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.
Tell Congress: Don't censor the Web Fighting online piracy is important.
The most effective way to shut down pirate websites is through targeted legislation that cuts off their funding.
There's no need to make American social networks, blogs and search engines censor the Internet or undermine the existing laws that have enabled the Web to thrive, creating millions of U.S. jobs.
Too much is at stake - please vote NO on PIPA and SOPA.
You have two cows. The government takes one and give one to your neighbor.
You have two cows. The government takes them both and promises you milk but you starve.
You have two cows. The government takes them and sells you the milk.
You have two cows. The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, and then pours it down the drain.
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
You have two cows. You sell one, force the other to produce the milk of four cows and then act surprised when it drops dead.
You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point that you must sell them both in order to support someone else who already got a free cow from the government.
You have two cows. You keep one and give one to your neighbor.
You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So what?
You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. You vote people into office who tax your cows, forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the tax. The people you voted for then take the tax money and buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel righteous.
You have two cows. The government seizes both and sells you the milk. You join the underground and start a campaign of sabotage.
You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.
The first MLK Day bill was submitted four days after King's death King's assassination in 1968 on a hotel balcony in Memphis, TN sent a huge shockwave through the civil rights movements as well as the halls of Congress.Congressman John Conyers quickly moved to establish a day to honor the slain minister and civil right visionary by submitting a bill to Congress to commemorate his official holiday every January 15th. Unfortunately, the bill didn't move at all. Conyers resubmitted his legislation through several Congresses until the 1980s, when it began to gain traction through growing public support for the measure.
Stevie Wonder was instrumental in getting MLK Day recognized
Among the holiday's many, many supporters was this iconic musician who not only used his status to garner support for the day, but also his music. The lyrics to Wonder's 1980 single 'Happy Birthday' on his 'Hotter Than July' album spoke about the need for a holiday to honor MLK's life and work. It's popularity helped it become an anthem for the movement. Musician Gil-Scott Heron toured with Wonder for 'Hotter Than July' and recalled in his memoir the initiative that Wonder took to make sure the holiday was established, even though time may have forgotten. â€œSomehow, years later it seems that Stevie's effort as the leader of this campaign has been forgotten,â€Â Heron wrote a year before his passing in 2011. â€œBut it is something that we should all remember. Just as surely as we should remember April 4th, 1968, we should celebrate January 15th. And we should not forget that Stevie remembered.â€Â
Jesse Helms and John McCain vehemently opposed MLK Day
As the legislation to establish the holiday grew in popularity, it wasn't without with its detractors. During the 15-year run it took to establish the holiday in the federal legislature, several high-ranking Republicans voted against the bill, including Arizona Senator John McCain and North Carolina Senator John P. East. Helms, with East's help, took the loudest and (some might say lowest) shotat preventing the bill from establishing the holiday. As the bill gained popularity and seemed destined for passage in 1983, the late senator tried to get the FBI to release tapes and investigation files on King's activities and private life compiled at the behest of former director J. Edgar Hoover. In addition, he read from a 300-page document titled â€œMartin Luther King Jr.: Politics Activities and Associatesâ€Â on the Senate floor that aimed to establish King's connection to the Communist movement. Helms' comments were met with staunch opposition from both sides of the aisle, including New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who threw Helms' document on the floor and stomped on it during his rebuttal.
Arizona lost Super Bowl XXVII for refusing to recognize MLK Day
Even after President Reagan signed the holiday into law after Congress' veto-proof approval in 1983, some states failed to include the holiday into their schedules or steadfastly refused to acknowledge it. Arizona Governor Evan Mecham vowed to rescind the holiday signed into law by former Governor Bruce Babbit shortly after it became official in 1986 because he deemed it to be â€œillegally created.â€Â The following year, the St. Louis Cardinals moved to Tempe, Arizona and the National Football League decided to give the failing team a boost after their first dismal season by letting them host Super Bowl XXVII. The MLK Day controversy was bound to put the NFL in the middle of the heat since a boycott was brewing throughout the state until they agreed to recognize the holiday, but NFL officials were assured it would pass by the day of the big game. Mecham fulfilled his promise to cancel the holiday in 1987, but the legislature overturned his measure in 1989. Except, opponents of MLK Day got a ballot initiative that let the voters overturn that legislation. So, The NFL pulled the Super Bowl from Tempe and moved it to Pasadena, California. The NFL returned to Tempe for Super Bowl XXX after legislators recognized the holiday in 1992.
South Carolina was the last state in the Union to recognize MLK Day
The holiday may have been on the books in the early 1980s, but more than a decade later, some states failed to follow suit. Some states had a â€œCivil Rights Dayâ€Â on their calendars and by 1990, only three had no civil rights holiday on the books: Arizona, New Hampshire and Montana. The objections against a holiday for MLK fell under economic concerns or doubt over King's worthiness to merit his own state holiday. By the start of the new millennium, South Carolina was the only state in America to not sanction an official MLK Day celebration, opting instead to give state employees the option of taking off the federal holiday or one of three other Confederate holidays. Governor Jim Hodges signed the official MLK Day bill into law in 2000.
NEW ORLEANS -- It's a video that is circulating heavily across the Internet and is stirring outrage from many people, like LSU fan Kayla Nelson.
"(I’m) angry, speechless, disgusted. Something like that shouldn't happen," she said.
The video was allegedly shot after the BCS Championship Game at a fast food restaurant on Bourbon Street.
It appears to show a group of Alabama fans tormenting a passed out LSU fan for several minutes.
You can see numerous people crowding around the victim, as someone sticks fingers into his nose and others dump trash on his head.
But the most disturbing action comes later from one fan, and we decided to carefully edit the video due to the graphic nature of what he does.
The fan pulls out his genitals, climbs on top of the victim and simulates a sex act onto his face.
Monday, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore sounded off on the crime, although it's out of his jurisdiction.
"At the least it's a simple battery - absolutely at the least. They are touching him without his consent,” Moore said. "You know, sexual battery - the touch of another. If this were in Baton Rouge, and I could locate him and find him, I'd try to try him for anything I could try him."
The NOPD confirms it is investigating, but officials say the victim hasn't come forward to press charges.
Moore said that isn't necessary.
“Don't forget, charges are brought in the name of the state and not in the name of the victim. So, if the state wished to proceed on these charges, without his consent, they could," he said.
For now, authorities don't know identities of either the victim or the suspect, but some people hope that will soon change.
"I think he needs to be found and he needs to go to jail or whatever needs to happen with the law. That's just disgusting,” said LSU fan Sean Nelson.
We contacted Assistant Orleans District Attorney Chris Bowman, who said as of early Monday evening, prosecutors in his office had not seen the video.
However, Bowman said they would review the video soon.
Tonight, our viewers sounded off on the situation in large numbers:
Laurie said, "No class. Disgusting."
Kim said, "That was the most disturbing video I have ever seen."
And Terri said, "Please don't associate this with all Alabama fans." She went on to say, "I am as disgusted by this as anyone else."
(Newser) - Past or present drug use doesn't seem to damage middle-aged brains, a new study finds. British researchers studied the mental sharpness of thousands of 50-year-old subjects, and found that those who had used illicit drugs - mainly marijuana - actually performed better than others on tests of memory and other brain functions, Reuters reports. Around a quarter of test subjects said they had taken drugs at some point in their lives; 6% were still using drugs in their 40s.
The middle-aged tokers may have scored higher than others because the drug users tended to have a higher education level than non-users, the researchers say. "The results seem to suggest that past or even current illicit drug use is not necessarily associated with impaired cognitive functioning in early middle age," the lead researcher says. "However, our results do not exclude possible harmful effects in some individuals who may be heavily exposed to drugs over longer periods of time."
A rabbit punch is a blow to the neck or to the base of the skull. It is considered especially dangerous because it can damage the cervical vertebrae and subsequently the spinal cord, which may lead to serious spinal cord injury or even death. Not to be confused with a Donkey punch...
Homeland Security Is Monitoring The Drudge Report, The New York Times
The Department of Homeland has been operating a "Social Networking/Media Capability" program to monitor the top blogs, forums and social networks online for at least the past 18 months. Based on a privacy compliance review from last November recently obtained by Reuters, the purpose of the project is to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture." Whatever that means. Either way, the list of sites reported by Reuters reveals in a Wednesday afternoon exclusive is pretty intriguing:
The Drudge Report
The Huffington Post
The New York Times's Lede blog
Wired's Threat Level
Wired's Danger Room
ABC News' investigative blog The Blotter
"blogs that cover bird flu; news and activity along U.S. borders - drug trafficking and cybercrime"
In conclusion, the Department of Homeland Security is just like you. We've seen no reports of The Atlantic Wire being on the list. But if we are, hello Department of Homeland Security employees -- thanks for reading!
Barbour pardoned a lot of people - 208, many criminals of the worst sort - and caught red Mississippi by surprise. One thing you generally count on Republican governors for is keeping murderers behind bars.
One snag, though: Part of the Mississippi Constitution specifies that all pardons must follow a 30 day period of notice, for public complaint and comment. Mississippi's AG says he can find no such notice, so the pardons are void, at least for now.
Mississippi Circuit Judge Tomie Green has temporarily blocked the release of 21 inmates who'd been given pardons or medical release by Republican Haley Barbour in one of his final acts as governor.
The iconic product officially came to an end at 5 p.m. Wednesday as part of a settlement to end litigation between the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and the Dublin-based Dr Pepper Bottling Co. over an alleged violation of a licensing agreement.
Dr Pepper Snapple filed suit against the Dublin bottler last June, claiming it was taking a financial hit because of the Dublin label and that Dublin was overstepping their territorial boundaries by marketing outside of a six-country region. Dr Pepper Snapple was countersued by the bottler in August.
With the settlement, both suits will be dismissed. And the result means layoffs for the Dublin company.
Under the agreement, Plano-based Dr Pepper Snapple bought the Dublin company's sales and distribution operations, as well as the distribution rights to a six-county territory that had previously been served by the local bottler. Exact terms of the settlement were not released.
The former Dr Pepper bottler will reopen at 10 a.m. today as Dublin Bottling Works Inc., and will continue to operate the Old Doc's Soda Shop and museum, and will continue to bottle a variety of soft drinks such as NuGrape and Triple XXX Rootbeer.
Just not Dr Pepper.
Jeff Kloster, vice president of Dublin Bottling Works, said the "new" name is actually the name the company started with in 1891.
"It's a sad day. It's been a hard day to recognize that Dublin Dr Pepper will no longer be with us," Kloster said.
Because the company is losing distribution rights for all Dr Pepper products in their six-county region, Dublin Bottling Works spokesman Bruce Vincent said, the company would be laying off 14 of its 40 employees, mostly warehouse staff.
Dr Pepper Snapple spokesman Chris Barnes said those laid off would have the opportunity to apply for positions within the Dr Pepper Snapple company.
Barnes also said the Dr Pepper product available in Dublin - and throughout Texas - will remain the same.
"This case has not been about what's in the bottle, it's been about what's on the bottle," he said. The product will still be bottled and canned in "distinct, nostalgic packaging," Barnes said, the only difference being no Dublin name on the label.
The Dublin bottler has been described as the "world's smallest" Dr Pepper bottler, and in a September statement, the bottler claimed sales accounted for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Dr Pepper's total annual sales.
Barnes said Dr Pepper has a special link with Dublin, something the company hopes to preserve. They will continue to sponsor the annual "Dr Pepper, Texas" birthday celebration held each June, which brings about 80,000 visitors to the Erath County town.
"Dublin Dr Pepper is what held us together, and I don't believe that there is any citizen in this town that would not support them just because of this decision that came down," Dublin Mayor Becky Norris said.
That doesn't mean the news will be welcomed by the town's approximately 3,700 residents, however. In July, residents turned out for a rally in support of the bottler.
"I think that they're going to be upset, because when an outside, or seemingly outside, entity comes in and you feel like they've mistreated one of your own," Norris said.
Norris praised the Kloster family - who live outside Dublin - for supporting various city events.
"If it isn't going to work with them having a distribution route, they probably have some great ideas that are probably going to boost them into the future," she said.
With a "state-of-the-art type" museum opened by the bottler just last month, Norris said she was optimistic that tourists will still visit her town to learn about its place in Dr Pepper lore.
"You can't take away the history and the facts," Norris said.
Kloster said he wasn't sure exactly how much Dublin Dr Pepper was still available, but delivery trucks were running their routes until 5 p.m. Wednesday, so there's still a small window to grab a case of what is now officially a collector's item.
What my seventh-grade daughter learned during her school's "sustainability day"
By Jim Huffman
A few weeks ago, my seventh-grade daughter's school put regular classes on hold for a "œsustainability day."
One of the things they did during this reprieve from the rigors of math, history and English was watch a video titled "The Story of Stuff," starring Annie Leonard and lots of animated illustrations.
The video has been around since 2007.
It has had about 2 million YouTube and goodness knows how many voluntary and involuntary classroom viewers. Leonard even bagged an interview on "œThe Colbert Report," though she was so humorless that Colbert appears to have cut the interview short.
If you haven't seen the video, here are a few highlights:
Our materials economy (extraction, production, distribution, consumption, disposal) is a linear system on a finite planet and that does not work (Is that because the planet is round and a line is straight?)
Extraction equals natural resource exploitation equals "trashing the planet"
Over just the last three decades, one-third of the earth's "natural resource space" has been consumed (So is the earth one-third smaller than it was in 1980?)
Less than 4% of the original forests in the United States still exist
The United States takes other people's stuff
Production involves mixing toxics with natural resources to make toxic products
The highest level of toxics occur in human breast milk (though it is somehow still safe to drink)
Victor LeBow (you can look him up on Wikipedia) invented conspicuous consumption
The point of advertising is to make us unhappy so we will consume more stuff
Low prices, at the expense of low wages and no health care for workers, keep us buying more stuff
You get the idea. We are destroying the planet because we have been convinced that the only way to have value as human beings is to consume as much or more than the other guy. By way of illustration, Leonard explains how women are duped into constantly buying new shoes. (Hint: it has to do with the size of the heels.)
The best part is this: "It is government's job to watch out for us, take care of us, that's their job."
Maybe Annie Leonard should join the Obama campaign staff with an eye to becoming Lisa Jackson's successor as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency or she could become secretary of education and develop a national curriculum to teach students about the role of government.
We already have nearly half the population paying no federal income taxes, but many of them may not understand that, nonetheless, it's government's job to take care of them.
The bad news is that Leonard's little project has been so successful that she now has a staff and has produced other fanciful videos about bottled water, cap and trade, Citizens United, cosmetics, electronics and how we're not really too broke to finance all manner of government good works.
The good news is that my daughter found "The Story of Stuff" laughable. But she thinks some of her classmates have abandoned their pillows. After all, they heard it at school.
Stephen Robinson from Skidmore Avenue, Bradmore, Wolverhampton, went on a fire extinguisher-wielding rampage sparked by an argument over a missing dog. He also threw tire levers and cans of lager during the ugly disturbance attended by more than 30 officers.
Robinson had been drinking heavily before the incident that spiralled out of control.
Robinson, an unemployed mechanic had asked an officer to help him find his dog, but the officer had laughed. That's when "œbecame abusive".
Robinson returned home to get the dog's lead and when he came back was confronted by four officers armed with CS gas and batons.
Robinson armed himself with the extinguisher and activated the foam into the face of a police officer, causing stinging to his eyes and temporary blindness, said prosecutor Mark Phillips.
He told Wolverhampton Crown Court that Robinson then damaged a police car with one of the tyre irons before picking up a can which led officers to believe he had petrol.
Robinson was laughing as he poured the fluid over himself and threatened to set it alight before returning to his home when he was then tasered eight times so he could be restrained and arrested.
Judge John Warner jailed the 36-year-old for 16 months and told him: "Police should not have to put up with this sort of behaviour while they are trying to do their job."
The father of two admitted responsibility and accepted he "œlost control of his anger and his emotions".
Start stockpiling your cream and preservative filled snack cakes: Hostess is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Again.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Texas-based company that makes Wonder Bread, Ho-Ho's, Ding Dongs, Mini Muffins, Sno Balls, and several other treats that could easily double as slang middle schoolers use to sexually harass each other has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy once before, back in 2004. This time around, their fiscal travails centered around the high cost of baking supplies and contracts with unions. Plus, people just aren't all that interested in buying white bread anymore.
Representatives from the company are planning to attempt to negotiate with members of the Teamsters Union and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. When a company enters bankruptcy protection, they're legally allowed to change the terms of employment contracts.
Maybe confronting unions and lamenting Americans' changing palates isn't the best way to go about fixing Hostess. The company's got a strong brand and lots of appeal. For example, once, I saw a squirrel climbing a garbage can with an entire Sno Ball in its mouth. A Hostess Cupcake is pretty much the number one item on rat Christmas lists every year. It's really too bad that the company can't figure out a way to monetize how much urban vermin love Hostess products. They'd be out of the woods in no time.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sheriff's deputies deployed Taser guns three times Tuesday afternoon to control a passenger at Sacramento International Airport.
Sacramento County Sheriff Department spokesman Jason Ramos said deputies stepped in when Edwin Barton, 26, attempted to re-enter the secure passenger area and refused to allow TSA officials to examine his baggage.
Barton arrived to Sacramento International on a Southwest flight late Tuesday morning morning. Ramos said he tried to go back into passenger boarding area of Terminal B because he supposedly lost or forgot something.
After an argument started with a TSA agent, a deputy seized Barton, but he was able to get away and started running around the security area, Ramos said.
When Barton was shot with a Taser gun, he began pulling the prongs out, police said. Another deputy responded and also fired his stun gun to bring the suspect under control.
Ramos said Barton, a New Hampshire resident, was taken to a hospital for routine examination.
He is now booked at the Sacramento County Jail on two misdemeanor counts.
Ramos said nobody else was injured and the incident caused only minor delays for outbound passengers going through security.
One TSA agent commented that he hoped the incident would be posted on YouTube because, â€œIt was epic.â€Â
First Lady Michelle Obama took issue with reporter Jodi Kantor's characterization of East Wing-West Wing tensions in her latest book "The Obamas."
"I never read these books. There are so many books that have my picture on the cover, my name on it, I don't even know what's going on," Obama told CBS' Gayle King. "Who can write about how I feel? What third person can tell me about how I feel?"
Obama said that she does not routinely interfere in West Wing business in an interview that aired on CBS' "This Morning," despite reports that she clashed with top West Wing aides and expressed her concerns and displeasure about policy and politics through backchannels.
"I don't have conversations with my husband's staff. I don't go to the meetings," she told King. "I guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here, a strong woman. But that's been an image that people have try to paint of me since the day that Barack announced, that I'm some angry black woman."
Obama said that she and former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel "never had a cross word" - despite Kantor's reporting that they clashed over strategy and policy during Emanuel's tenure. But she stopped short of issuing a blanket denial of the issues raised in Kantor's book, saying that she certainly expressed her opinion to President Obama.
"I do care deeply about my husband. I am his biggest ally," said Obama. "I am one of his biggest confidantes, but he has dozens of really smart people who surround him. That's not to say that we don't have discussions and conversations. That's not to say that my husband doesn't know how I feel."
Wolverine has a skeletal system made of Adamantium and his body can regenerate after almost any injury. Spider-Man has superhuman strength, with the ability to shoot webbing from his wrists and leap from building to building. The Human Torch can burst into flames and fly faster than any jet plane on Earth, and the Invisible Woman, well, she can turn invisible.
Tim Tebow's super power is the ability to go 6-for-16 through 3 quarters and somehow pull a win out of his ass once he summons his magical pet kicker to boot a few 55-yarders. This isn't a joke, Tebow is getting his own comic book.
"Like the Marvel heroes who pull off last minute victories, Tim Tebow has fans around the world on the edge of their seats and believing that in our own lives when time is running out and all looks lost, we can dig deep inside and use our various strengths to triumph over insurmountable odds" says Bill Rosemann of Marvel.
I'm not surprised. Like I pointed out in the Greatest Moments of 2011, people love arguing about Tebow, whether it's his religious faith or his ass backwards sophomore success. Either of those arguments and throw in every girl's typical response of, "I'd take his virginity" proves that he's extremely marketable so this will obviously be a success.
A 36-year-old Denver woman, apparently drunk, leaned against an iconic Clyfford Still painting worth more than $30 million last week, punched it, slid down it and urinated on herself, according to a criminal case against Carmen Lucette Tisch.
"It doesn't appear she urinated on the painting or that the urine damaged it, so she's not being charged with that," said Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office, said Wednesday.
"You have to wonder where her friends were."
Tisch is being charged with criminal mischief in the incident that happened at the Clyfford Still Museum at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 29.
Damage to the painting "1957-J-No. 2." is estimated at $10,000.
The painting, which is nearly 9 1/2 feet tall and 13 feet wide, is estimated between $30 million and $40 million by the museum.
Tisch allegedly committed the offense with her pants pulled down, according to the police report, and struck the painting repeatedly with her fist.
The officer stated that scratches and other damage to the painting were visible.
A museum spokeswoman declined to describe the damage to painting or answer questions about who would pay the cost for repairs, deferring to the police investigation and museum policy.
The museum released a statement:
"On December 29, 2011, an incident of criminal mischief took place at the Clyfford Still Museum. The police were summoned and the offender was arrested and is currently in police custody. Museum officials are cooperating with the authorities regarding the situation and are in the process of further assessing the incident."
Ivar Zeile, owner of Plus Gallery in Denver, said that if the painting's canvas wasn't pierced, it likely can be restored.
Whether the damage affects the painting's value, however, depends on several factors, including whether it remains a museum piece or goes on the market. Sometimes such damage becomes part of piece's history, he said.
"It does damage the piece, though, even people just knowing that happened," he said.
The Clyfford Still Museum opened on Nov. 18 to exhibit the influential North Dakota-born artist's 60-year body of work.
Still, celebrated as one of the top abstract-expressionists of the 20th century, died at 1980. The city and county of Denver acquired the collection after a long lobbying effort by former mayor John Hickenlooper with the help of Still's nephew, Curt Freed, a Denver doctor.
To fund the musuem's endowment, four of Still's paintings were sold at Sotheby's auction house in New York for more than $114 million.
Freed could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Still's widow, Patricia, agreed in 2004 to give the city hundreds of her husband's works on the condition that Denver build a museum to house them. She died a year later, and her estate were added as well.
The museum's collection includes about 2,400 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, much of which have never been on public display before.
Tisch was still being held in the Denver County Jail Wednesday on $20,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in Denver County Court Friday morning.
Court records show that Tisch was arrested a year ago on an armed robbery charge in Glendale. She was freed on $50,000 bond, then the charge was dropped on Dec. 16.
She pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in Lakewood in 2008 and received fines, 48 hours of a community service, a 30-day suspended jail sentence and 18 months probation, records show.
The parents of an eighth grader who was fatally shot by police inside his South Texas school are demanding to know why officers took lethal action, but police said the boy was brandishing - and refused to drop - what appeared to be a handgun and that the officers acted correctly.
The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun that closely resembled the real thing, police said late Wednesday, several hours after 15-year-old Jaime Gonzalez was repeatedly shot in a hallway at Cummings Middle School in Brownsville. No one else was injured.
"Why was so much excess force used on a minor?" the boy's father, Jaime Gonzalez Sr., asked The Associated Press outside the family's home Wednesday night. "Three shots. Why not one that would bring him down?"
His mother, Noralva Gonzalez, showed off a photo on her phone of a beaming Jaime in his drum major uniform standing with his band instructors. Then she flipped through three close-up photos she took of bullet wounds in her son's body, including one in the back of his head.
"What happened was an injustice," she said angrily. "I know that my son wasn't perfect, but he was a great kid."
Interim Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said the teen was pointing the weapon at officers and "had plenty of opportunities to lower the gun and listen to the officers' orders, and he didn't want to."
Interim Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said the teen was pointing the weapon at officers and "had plenty of opportunities to lower the gun and listen to the officers' orders, and he didn't want to."
The chief said his officers had every right to do what they did to protect themselves and other students even though there weren't many others in the hallway at the time. Police said officers fired three shots.
Shortly before the confrontation, Jaime had walked into a classroom and punched a boy in the nose for no apparent reason, Rodriguez said. Police did not know why he pulled out the weapon, but "we think it looks like this was a way to bring attention to himself," Rodriguez said.
About 20 minutes elapsed between police receiving a call about an armed student and shots being fired, according to police and student accounts. Authorities declined to share what the boy said before he was shot.
The shooting happened during first period at the school in Brownsville, a city at Texas' southern tip just across the Mexican border. Teachers locked classroom doors and turned off lights, and some frightened students dove under their desks. They could hear police charge down the hallway and shout for Gonzalez to drop the weapon, followed by several shots.
Two officers fired three shots, hitting Gonzalez at least twice, police said.
David A. Dusenbury, a retired deputy police chief in Long Beach, Calif., who now consults on police tactics, said the officers were probably justified.
If the boy were raising the gun as if to fire at someone, "then it's unfortunate, but the officer certainly would have the right under the law to use deadly force."
In a defiant display of executive power, President Barack Obama on Wednesday will "stick his thumb in the eye" of GOP opposition and name Richard Cordray as the nation's chief consumer watchdog. Outraged Republican leaders in Congress suggested that courts would determine the appointment was illegal.
But why are Republican leaders outraged at this recess appointment? Well, mostly because the Senate is still in session.
Although President Obama has constitutional power to make appointments during a congressional recess, Republicans have moved to keep that from happening by having the Senate running in pro forma sessions, meaning open for business in name with no actual business planned.
The Senate held such a session on Tuesday and planned another one on Friday. Republicans contend Obama cannot make a recess appointment during a break of less than three days, based on years of precedent.
The Obama White House contends such an approach is a gimmick. For all practical purposes, the Senate is in recess and Obama is free to make the appointment on his own.
McConnell said that Obama's move "lands this appointee in uncertain legal territory, threatens the confirmation process and fundamentally endangers the Congress' role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch."
The president plans to argue that the appointment was necessary because, with a new director in place, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can start overseeing the mortgage companies, payday lenders, debt collectors and other financial companies.
The Senate's top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, accused Obama of an unprecedented power grab that "arrogantly circumvented the American people."
Added House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio: "It's clear the president would rather trample our system of separation of powers than work with Republicans to move the country forward. This action goes beyond the president's authority, and I expect the courts will find the appointment to be illegitimate."
The White House braced for fallout, but said Obama was left with little choice to get the consumer agency fully running after months of stalemate.
White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer announced Obama's move on Twitter after senior administration officials first confirmed it to The Associated Press.
Obama planned to talk about his decision at an economic event in Cordray's home state of Ohio, accompanied by Cordray.
Cordray would take over the job later in the week and stands to serve for at least the next two years, covering the length of the Senate's session.
Obama planned to say that every day Cordray waited for confirmation, millions of people remained unprotected from dishonest financial practices, according to prepared remarks obtained by the AP.
"That's inexcusable," Obama says in the remarks. "And I refuse to take 'No' for an answer. I've said before that I will continue to look for every opportunity to work with Congress to move this country forward. But when Congress refuses to act in a way that hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them."
Let's talk about what makes one city drunker than another city: according to this new list from the Daily Beast, it comes down to the number of drinks people own up to having per month in surveys.
Which maybe explains why their drunkest city - Boston - was actually considered the country's soberest city on the Men's Health list earlier this year.
That list used data like drunk driving statistics, number of deaths from alcoholic liver disease, and "the severity of DUI penalties." So maybe people in Boston are just the most honest about how much they drink? Or they drink a lot, but walk home?
Anyway, the cities that can proudly call themselves the drunkest of the drunk this year include Boston, Springfield, Mass., Milwaukee, Reno, and San Antonio. Trend alert: people like to drink where it is cold, where it is touristy, and also in Texas. Below, the full list.
The Daily Beast's Drunkest US Cities of 2011
2. Springfield, Massachusetts
4. Reno, Nevada
5. San Antonio
7. Austin, Texas
8. St. Louis
9. San Diego
10. Tucson, Arizona
11. Burlington, Vermont
12. Charleston, South Carolina
14. Las Vegas
15. Ft. Meyers, Florida
16. Buffalo, New York
17. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
18. Lincoln, Nebraska
20. Bismarck, North Dakota
22. San Francisco
24. Norfolk, Virginia
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Mitt Romney admits his eight-vote Iowa caucus victory was 'pretty narrow' but says he's got more staying power than runners-up Rick Santorum and Ron Paul or his other rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.
Heading off to New Hampshire, where Romney holds a healthy lead in the polls, the former Massachusetts governor predicts a long road to the nomination. Romney says his national campaign team and strong fundraising will set him apart from the pack.
He told CBS's "Early Show" on Wednesday that he will take his campaign all the way to the Republican convention in Tampa and predicts others are going to find that hard to do.
One candidate - Rick Perry - is already stepping back to decide whether to stay in the race after a fifth-place finish.
When Alabama rolls into town for the BCS National Championship Game on January 9, a lower-stakes competition will take place down the street at Cafe Adelaide's Swizzle Stick Bar.
Head mixologist Lu Brow created a purple and gold drink called Les Is More, and visiting Alabama mixologist LeNell Smothers will be in town making her Roll Tide cocktail.
Brow's LSU tribute, which will also be served at the Swizzle Stick the week leading up to the game, gets its purple hue from creme de violette and the gold from a lemon twist.
Smother's drink, which includes Southern Comfort, pomegranate liqueur and cranberry juice, is a single serving of crimson tide.
Sample both drinks at Cafe Adelaide's BCS National Championship tailgate party at the Piazza de Italia.
The party runs from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar are located inside the Loews Hotel at 300 Poydras St.
Les Is More
By Lu Brow of the Swizzle Stick Bar
1.5 ounces citrus vodka
.75 ounce creme de violette
1 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
large swath lemon peel
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
By LeNell Smothers of Little Donkey (Birmingham, Ala.)
1 ounce Southern Comfort
1 ounce Pama pomegranate liqueur
1 ounce cranberry juice
.5 ounce sweet and sour mix
.5 ounce simple syrup
2 drops Fee Brothers orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
State laws taking effect as 2012 begins require girls seeking abortions in New Hampshire to first tell their parents or a judge; voters in Tennessee to show photo ID; and California students to learn about the societal contributions of gays and lesbians. A sampling of some other new laws taking effect Jan. 1:
New restrictions govern who can testify as an expert witness in civil and criminal trials in a measure aiming to limit what critics call "junk science" theories of how or why a crime occurred.
Civil unions or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples are legalized, giving them the same state rights and obligations of those who are married but clarifying that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Any agency administering public benefits must require each applicant to provide at least one "secure and verifiable document."
Municipalities with 911 call centers can require retailers selling prepaid cellphones to charge a fee to support the emergency systems.
New safety requirements for cities that allow drivers to steer their golf carts off the green and onto roads and multi-use paths, including brakes, reverse warning devices and a horn.
People convicted of first-degree murder must be added to a new public database, similar to the sex offender registry, when they're released from prison or any other facility. The database would include names, addresses, workplaces, schools attended and photos for offenders for up to 10 years after release.
Motorcyclists stopped at a red light may proceed through if it fails to change to green after a reasonable length of time.
Animal-control centers scanning a lost pet for a microchip also must look for other common forms of identification, including tattoos and ID tags.
The state attorney general gains new subpoena powers to investigate open meeting law complaints, and members of public bodies who knowingly participate in violations are subject to civil penalties up to $500.
Music therapists and dietitians face new licensing requirements, while educators must now undergo a criminal background check when their licenses are renewed. Fire performers and apprentices must apply to the state fire marshal for certificate of registration.
A statewide emergency alert system is established for vulnerable elderly people, similar to the Amber Alert system for abducted children.
More criminals convicted of misdemeanors will be housed in county jails rather than in state prisons to save money and reduce repeat offenses.
Penalties increasing for raping a child, creating a minimum sentence of 25 years but allowing judges to increase the time when appropriate, up to 60 years for the worst cases.
Penalties also increase for people who fire a weapon into an occupied home, a measure that seeks to curtail drive-by shootings
New laws make any daily drink specials illegal, essentially banning happy hour.
Police in Portland, Oregon, were on the receiving end of 'The Force' officers had been alerted to an incident inside a Toys R Us in Jantzen Beach after a man allegedly used a toy lightsaber to attack people.
According to police, by the time officers arrived three people had been assaulted by a man brandishing the toy.
Officers said they tried to calm the man down but he kept swinging the lightsaber and shouting incoherently.
So they then tried to use a Taser on him, but the man managed to break the wires free using the toy.
Abandoning the Taser attempts, police then wrestled the man to the ground before taking him into custody.
David Canterbury, who was arrested at the scene, was treated for injuries and taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
Pete Sampson, from Portland Police, said the man was not wearing an outfit at the time he carried out the attack.
He added, "We believe he used a blue light sabre but he was not dressed as a Jedi at the time."
Canterbury was put under police detention while at the hospital and given citations for three counts of fourth-degree assault, one count of third-degree theft, one count of resisting arrest and one count of interfering with a police office.
A teenager says he was shot over Air Jordan sneakers in Redford. Police are looking now for two teenage suspects.
19-year-old Matthew David is walking with crutches and has a .22 caliber bullet still lodged in his hip.
He was staying at a friend's house in the 19900 block of Denby in Redford when he says two thieves walked in with a gun around 3:30 a.m.
"We were just chilling there listen to music, having fun, and these two kids just [came] down, one with a bandana, one with a gun, just saying like give me all your money and your cell phones and just â€¦ pointing the gun at us saying they were going to kill us if we moved," David explained. "Then...I just started freaking out, like you're going to take my life...over some money?"
David says he confronted the gunman and got into a struggle, which led to the shooting.
"I just...stood up and the kid...tried just like hitting me. I kind of moved out of the way and like pushed him, then...the kid with the gun just said, "I'm going to kill you," David said. "I just looked at him in the eyes. I just put my hands up, and he just went to my head with the gun. Then, he went lower and shot me in the hip."
The gunman and his accomplice took off. The teens believe they were targeted because the boy who lives at the home had several pairs Air Jordan sneakers, which were stolen along with wallets, cell phones and watches.
The two suspects police are looking for are described as black males between the ages of 16 and 18. One is 5'8" tall and weighs 150 pounds. The other six feet tall and weighs 160 pounds. They're said to be driving a white, full size GM pickup truck.
"They're dangerous enough to shoot someone over some shoes...so obviously they're not thinking," David told us. "What if ...instead of my mom being called that her son's shot, but if he's okay, what if she got a call that he's dead?"
"I should've just stood there and just let them take everything, but â€¦ my adrenaline just was crazy."
Thankfully, David is expected to recover. Police are working to catch the two thieves involved.
President Barack Obama signed a law on New Year's Eve granting himself absolute power to indefinitely detain American citizens suspected (by him) of being "belligerents." He promises he won't use it, however.
On December 31, 2011, with the President's signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the writ of habeas corpus - a civil right so fundamental to Anglo-American common law history that it predates the Magna Carta - is voidable upon the command of the President of the United States. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is also revocable at his will.
The United States, as Senator Lindsey Graham declared during floor debate in the Senate, is now a theatre in the War on Terror and Americans "can be detained indefinitely...and when you say to the interrogator, 'I want my lawyer,' the interrogator will say, 'You don't have a right to a lawyer because you're a military threat."
Don't worry, though. Although the President now wields this enormous power, he adamantly denies that he will ever "authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens." That guarantee is all that stands between American citizens and life in prison on arbitrary charges of conspiring to commit or committing acts belligerent to the homeland.
The President continued by explaining that to indefinitely detain American citizens without a trial on the charges laid against them "would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation."
Ironically, the signing statement in which President Obama gave these assurances is itself violative of the Constitution, the separation of powers established therein, and only demonstrates his proclivity for ignoring constitutional restraints on the exercise of power once those powers have been placed (albeit illegally) by a complicit Congress at his disposal.
Once development of it begins in the body politic, the muscle of tyranny never atrophies.
Supporters of the law (including President Obama) point to the "undeniable" success achieved against "suspected terrorists." Although President Obama claims that the section of the NDAA (1021) authorizing the President to detain these suspects "breaks no new ground and is unnecessary," the President's interpretation of just who inhabits the universe of likely suspects (as explained in the signing statement appended to the NDAA) includes "al-Qa'ida and its affiliates and adherents.."
Since the beginning of hostilities in the wake of 9/11, the federal government has often had problems proving membership in al-Qaeda of those arrested as 'enemy combatants' in the War on Terror, so imagine the difficulty they would face in presenting evidence of affiliation or adherence to that shadowy, ill-defined organization.
Fortunately for the President, the NDAA absolves him of the requirement of gathering and presenting to an impartial judge evidence probative of such evil associations. The mere suspicion of such suffices as a justification for the indefinite imprisonment of those so suspected.
As if the foregoing roster of Stalinist-style authoritarianism isn't an imposing enough threat to freedom, there is an additional aspect of the new law that places the civil liberties of Americans in greater peril.
The NDAA places the American military at the disposal of the President for the apprehension, arrest, and detention of those suspected of posing a danger to the homeland (whether inside or outside the borders of the United States and whether the suspect be a citizen or foreigner). The endowment of such a power to the President by the Congress is nothing less than a de facto legislative repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, the law forbidding the use of the military in domestic law enforcement.
Again, the aforementioned Senator Lindsey Graham has no qualms shredding that parchment protection from tyranny, either. Said Graham: "I don't believe fighting al Qaeda is a law enforcement function. I believe our military should be deeply involved in fighting these guys at home and abroad."
The undeniable unconstitutionality of the National Defense Authorization Act and its violation of the Posse Comitatus Act is likely to result in the necessity of states nullifying those sections of the law that exceed the enumerated powers of Congress. This remedy would be applied by the legislatures of the states in an effort to protect its citizens from arrest and extradition by armed members of the federal armed forces. While the frightening abolition of civil liberties contained in the NDAA could not have been codified were it not for the signature of President Obama, the complicity of the Congress in easing our Republic's "slip into tyranny" should not be overlooked.
Sixty-eight percent of the House of Representatives voted for this measure, for example. Perhaps in the elections of 2012 those lawmakers who voted in favor of the measure will be held accountable by their constituents for such an inexplicable violation of the congressional oath of office and its requirement that members protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Other sections of the 500-plus-page, $662-billion law authorizes the continued expenditure of money on the perpetuation of two unconstitutional foreign conflicts (Iraq and Afghanistan), as well as greasing the skids for the deployment of the American military into Iran if economic sanctions fail to persuade Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to see things our way.
While the NDAA's effect on the Constitution is all but ignored by the administration and Congress, its effect on oil prices is taken very seriously. Under applicable provisions of the new law, President Obama may punish international firms which buy oil from Iran. President Obama has an out, however, if he believes that the imposition of such penalties is driving up the price of crude.
The New York Times quotes an unnamed administration official who explains the importance of vigilantly protecting the stability of the volatile oil market: "We have to do it in a timely way and phased way to avoid repercussions to the oil market, and make sure the revenues to Iran are reduced."
Finally, President Obama signed the NDAA, and the depth of the impact of this law on the freedom of Americans and the perpetuation of our Constitution cannot be measured. Promises to restrain oneself from abusing power are unreliable.
As Thomas Jefferson once warned:
Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind those we are obliged to trust with power... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.