Issues of the Day
America: Throw The Bums Out
Americans are fed up with elected officials, according to recent polling data which finds that just 19 percent of likely voters believe that most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected.
On Monday, Gallup reported that the number of Americans who feel that most members of Congress should be replaced is the second highest since the polling agency began asking the question in 1992.
“These negative evaluations of Congress have historically been related to lower rates of incumbent re-election in midterm elections and a higher turnover of congressional seats,” Gallup reports.
To better understand what the numbers could mean for the upcoming midterm elections, will to reelect sitting members of Congress is 14 points lower than in 2010 and 19 points lower than in 1994, both years that saw midterm shakeups due to voter dissatisfaction.
The flipside to the high rate of disapproval, however, is that 50 percent of voters say that their particular Congressional representative deserves to be re-elected.
“This percentage essentially ties with the response to this question in 2010, and is just slightly higher than the 48% in 1992,” Gallup notes. “So while this measure is historically low, it has not dropped to the record-low depths of the ‘most members’ question.”
Average Price of Ground Beef Hits All-Time High
By Ali Meyer
The average price for all types of ground beef per pound hit its all-time high -- $3.884 per pound -- in the United States in July, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
That was up from $3.880 per pound in June. A year ago, in July 2013, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $3.459 per pound. Since then, the average price for a pound of ground beef has gone up 42.1 cents--or about 12 percent.
Five years ago, in July 2009, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $2.147, according to the BLS. In those five years, the average price has climbed by $1.737 per pound--or almost 81 percent.
Along with the average price data, the BLS calculates a consumer price index, which is a “tool that simplifies the measurement of movements in a numerical series,” explains BLS. “An index for 110, for example, means there has been a 10-percent increase in price since the reference period.”
The consumer price index for seasonally adjusted uncooked ground beef was 270.724 in July, which is down slightly from the all-time high of 271.726 in the previous month of June. When BLS began tracking this index in January of 1947, the index stood at 26.5.
The CPI is simply the average change over time in prices paid by consumers for a market basket of goods and services.
The seasonally-adjusted price index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs also hit an all-time high in July, according to BLS.
In January 1967, when the BLS started tracking this measure, the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was 38.1. As of last July, it was 236.147. By this January, it hit 240.006. By June, it hit 253.318. And, in July, it climbed to a record 254.174.
“The food index rose 0.4 percent in July, its fifth increase at least that large in the last 6 months,” states the BLS. “The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs has increased 7.6 percent over the [last 12 months] and the index for dairy and related products has risen 4.3 percent.”
There’s one thing that many gun owners fail to plan for.
Yes, gun owners go through all the rigors of training with their weapons so they know how to react at a moment’s notice.
They work hard to elect pro-gun officials into office who will help protect their second amendment rights, and they toil tirelessly to combat the negative image cast upon gun-owners by leftists and the media.
They do a heck-of-a-lot to make sure that they are able to hold onto their guns, since the constitution says they can.
But, what most gun-owners don’t have is an entire plan their family can follow if the crap hits the fan.
Take a look at the situation in St. Louis.
The citizens have grown extremely tense since 18-year-old Michael Ferguson was shot by police. And St. Louis is just a snapshot of what the United States is going to look like when either the economy collapses, or when we’re hit with some other kind of major disaster.
If you see pictures, it looks like a war-zone in some places.
Of course, there are two sides to every story, so this isn’t about pointing fingers. No one knows for sure whether Brown was in the wrong when he was on the receiving end of multiple gun shots from St. Louis police.
What can be said for certain though is the town of Ferguson, along with other local municipalities, have begun a quick descent into total chaos.
Armed police are storming the streets, firing both tear gas as well as rubber bullets into crowds.
Violent protestors have been running afoul of the law for several days, and are putting innocent civilians in the line of fire repeatedly as they continue to loot and pillage without any signs of slowing down.
And even worse, families are sitting in their homes, cowering in fear, unsure if either the police or violent criminals are going to bust down the doors.
Make no mistake, owning a gun is the first line of defense in situations like this.
But the real question gun-owners should be asking themselves after everything’s gone down the tubes…
What are you going to do next?
Do you have a 2-day, 2-week, 2-month plan?
Don’t get caught unprepared for these kinds of situations.
What’s happening in St. Louis are just the tremors before the “big quake.”
Do yourself a favor and help both you and your family prepare for potential disaster by creating a plan. Do it before it’s too late.
Carr: Best of facts-free reporting hands-down...I mean up
By: Howie Carr
I began to lose interest in Ferguson, Mo., when it was first reported that the late Michael Brown was an “aspiring rapper.”
Hadn’t heard that one yet? It was in the LA Times, under the headline: “Michael Brown’s raps: Money, sex, drugs — and a vulnerable side.”
Of course he had to have a vulnerable side. That’s why he was known as “the Gentle Giant.”
He didn’t look terribly gentle in that closed-circuit video, shoving the owner of the Ferguson Market when he was stealing the box of Swisher Sweets just before he got shot. But the demonstrators could see right through that — “the man” had photoshopped the video, or so they said live on national TV.
The cops lifted the curfew Monday night. The demonstrators reacted with their usual restraint and maturity. Only 57 were lugged.
Now CNN and others are reporting that the police have a dozen or so witnesses backing up the cop, that the Gentle Giant was “bum-rushing” Officer Darren Wilson when he had to open fire.
But don’t bother the demonstrators with facts. Especially those engaging in “looting tourism.” That phrase appeared in the Washington Post, you know, the same newspaper that reported that the autopsy showed marijuana in the aspiring rapper’s bloodstream. Not exactly a hotbed of right-wing conspiracies, the Washington Post.
Didn’t somebody else who got shot recently have marijuana in his bloodstream? Trayvon Martin was the name, I believe. He was killed by a Hispanic, er, a “white Hispanic,” as The New York Times dubbed George Zimmerman, in case the mobs were on the verge of moving on to the next faux outrage.
If ever there was a time for the mainstream media to cover something the way they cover an Obama scandal — which is to say, not cover it, like Fast & Furious or Benghazi — this is it.
“Nothing to see here, folks, move along!”
But don’t hold your breath. Instead, CNN has Don Lemon, fresh from espousing his theory that a Black Hole swallowed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, now reporting live from the QuikTrip and talking about how he “understands.”
Understands what? Being attacked by a 300-pound hop head? Looting liquor stores?
All the players from the NFL team known as the Washington (they may not be named) ran out onto the field Monday night with their hands up, chanting, “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!”
As someone suggested yesterday, wouldn’t a more appropriate slogan at this point be: “Hands Up! Don’t Loot!”
The Bias of Eric Holder
By Associated Press
Eric Holder talks about the nation's civil rights struggles in a way no previous U.S. attorney general could — by telling his own family story.
As he increasingly pushes his Justice Department to protect voting rights and end unfair prison sentences and police brutality, Holder has drawn on personal history to make the case that the nation has much work to do to achieve justice for all. It's a legacy he'll likely draw on when he travels Wednesday to Ferguson, Missouri, to supervise the federal investigation of the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer.
Holder tells how his father, an immigrant from Barbados proudly wearing his World War II uniform, was ejected from a whites-only train car. How his future sister-in-law, escorted by U.S. marshals, integrated the University of Alabama in spite of a governor who stood in the schoolhouse door to block her. How as a college student, he was twice pulled over, his car searched, even though he wasn't speeding.
And Holder recalls that the slaying of black teen Trayvon Martin in 2012 prompted him to sit down with his own 15-year-old son for a talk about the way a young black male must act and speak if confronted by police — the same talk his father had given him decades earlier.
"I had to do this to protect my boy," the nation's first black attorney general said at an NAACP convention last year.
President Barack Obama is sending Holder to Ferguson to bring the full weight of the federal government into the investigation of the death of another young black man, Michael Brown, who was unarmed when a white police officer shot him multiple times Aug. 9. Daily and nightly protests, sometimes marred by rioting and looting and met with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets from police, have rocked the suburban St. Louis community since.
Holder has led an unusually fast and aggressive Justice Department response to the local case, sending teams of prosecutors and dozens of FBI agents to investigate and arranging a federal autopsy on top of one by local authorities.
Still, protesters in the streets say they aren't convinced justice will be done. Holder's record on civil rights and personal commitment may help reassure the community when he visits.
"It's a powerful message," said William Yeomans, a law school fellow at American University who worked in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division for more than two decades. "He's the embodiment of law enforcement, and the positive contribution he can make here is to assure the community that the federal government is taking very seriously the quest for justice in this incident."
Holder reinvigorated a civil rights force at Justice, Yeomans said, that had been scaled back and demoralized during President George W. Bush's administration.
Holder's department has been especially strong in going after police misconduct, both through criminal civil rights cases and lawsuits against police departments, Yeomans said.
His civil rights push got off to a difficult start, however.
Shortly after taking office in February 2009, Holder called the United States "a nation of cowards" when it comes to talking about race in a Black History Month speech. Conservative backlash was swift. Holder quickly toned down his rhetoric while quietly rebuilding the division.
For much of Holder's early tenure, his public profile was shaped by battles over how to prosecute terror cases, the use of armed drones to kill terror suspects overseas and his handling of various Obama administration controversies. A 2012 vote in the Republican-controlled House made Holder the first sitting Cabinet member ever held in contempt of Congress over his refusal to hand over without preconditions documents involving the Fast and Furious gun investigation.
More than a dozen Republican lawmakers have called for his impeachment for not prosecuting anyone in the Internal Revenue Service for targeting conservative groups and for his department's probes of journalists linked to news leaks.
But over the last three years, civil rights has moved to the forefront, starting with Holder's opposition to state voter ID laws that make it harder for the poor to cast ballots. He compared Texas' voter ID law to a poll tax, the now-illegal fees imposed across the South for decades to block African-Americans from voting. The Justice Department is now suing Texas and North Carolina over their voting restrictions.
"Over the past three years, the department's Civil Rights Division has filed more criminal civil rights cases than during any other period in its history - including record numbers of hate-crimes cases," Holder noted in April.
Holder has indicated he's unlikely to stay on as attorney general through the end of Obama's second term, but says he has more to accomplish before departing. That may partly explain his accelerated push for equal treatment under the law.
He has worked on easing mandatory sentences, especially for nonviolent drug offenses that have a disproportionate impact on black men.
Holder ordered his prosecutors to stop charging many drug defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences, pushed a U.S. Sentencing Commission proposal to lower guideline penalties and backed legislation to give judges more discretion in sentencing.
"This focused reliance on incarceration is not just financially unsustainable," he said in March, "it comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate."
He used the Martin killing two years ago to criticize "stand your ground" gun laws in states like Florida. The Justice Department is investigating the 17-year-old's death but has yet to say if it will file federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who said he killed Martin in self-defense and was acquitted in a state trial.
Holder even partnered with the Education Department to try to change the so-called "school-to-prison pipeline," where minority children — especially black students — are suspended and expelled at a rate that's three times higher than that of white children.
ISIS beheads American journalist; threatens others
By Associated Press
In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley - and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say.
The White House must now weigh the risks of adopting an aggressive policy to destroy the Islamic State against resisting any action that could result in the death of another American.
It will also confront the potentially necessary step of pursuing the Islamic State in Syria, where President Barack Obama has resisted launching airstrikes or deploying significant American firepower.
Obama was expected to make a statement Wednesday about Foley's killing.
U.S. officials confirmed a grisly video released Tuesday showing Islamic State militants beheading Foley. Separately, Foley's family confirmed his death in a statement posted on a Facebook page that was created to rally support for his release, saying they "have never been prouder of him."
"He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people," said the statement, which was attributed to Foley's mother, Diane Foley. She implored the militants to spare the lives of other hostages. "Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world."
Foley, 40, from Rochester, New Hampshire, went missing in northern Syria in November 2012 while freelancing for Agence France-Presse and the Boston-based media company GlobalPost. The car he was riding in was stopped by four militants in a contested battle zone that both Sunni rebel fighters and government forces were trying to control. He had not been heard from since.
The beheading marks the first time the Islamic State has killed an American citizen since the Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011, upping the stakes in an increasingly chaotic and multilayered war. The killing is likely to complicate U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Obama administration's efforts to contain the group as it expands in both Iraq and Syria.
The group is the heir apparent of the militancy known as al-Qaida in Iraq, which beheaded many of its victims, including American businessman Nicholas Berg in 2004.
The video released on websites Tuesday appears to show the increasing sophistication of the Islamic State group's media unit and begins with scenes of Obama explaining his decision to order airstrikes.
It then cuts to a balding man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in the desert, next to a black-clad militant with a knife to his throat. Foley's name appears in both English and Arabic graphics on screen. After the captive speaks, the masked man is shown apparently beginning to cut at his neck; the video fades to black before the beheading is completed. The next shot appears to show the captive lying dead on the ground, his head on his body. The video appears to have been shot in an arid area; there is no vegetation to be seen and the horizon is in the distance where the sand meets the gray-blue sky.
At the end of the video, a militant shows a second man, who was identified as another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warns that he could be the next captive killed. Sotloff was kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013; he had freelanced for Time, the National Interest and MediaLine.
One U.S. official said the video appeared to be authentic, and two other U.S. officials said the victim was Foley. All three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the killing by name.
Several senior U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the situation said the Islamic State very recently threatened to kill Foley to avenge the crushing airstrikes over the past two weeks against militants advancing on Mount Sinjar, the Mosul dam and the Kurdish capital of Irbil.
Both areas are in northern Iraq, which has become a key front for the Islamic State as its fighters travel to and from Syria.
Since Aug. 8, the U.S. military has struck at least 70 Islamic State targets - including security checkpoints, vehicles and weapons caches. It's not clear how many militants have been killed in the strikes, although it's likely that some were.
The Islamic State militant group is so ruthless in its attacks against all people they consider heretics or infidels that it has been disowned by al-Qaida's leaders. In seeking to impose its harsh interpretation of Islamic law in the lands it is trying to control, the extremists have slain soldiers and civilians alike in horrifying ways - including mounting the decapitated heads of some of its victims on spikes.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists estimated Tuesday that about 20 journalists are missing in Syria, and has not released their nationalities. In its annual report in November, the committee concluded that the missing journalists were either being held and threatened with death by extremists, or taken captive by gangs seeking ransom. The group's report described the widespread seizure of journalists as unprecedented and largely unreported by news organizations in the hope that keeping the kidnappings out of public view may help in the captives' release.
What if the Rioters Were White
By Walter Hudson
If Ted Nugent talked about white empowerment, would it be tolerated by Al Sharpton talking about black empowerment?
Imagine, if you will, a young white unarmed man shot to death by police under ambiguous circumstances like those which have sparked riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Imagine that, in response to that white man’s death, white militia men, white Tea Partiers, and white professing Christians rallied to the town where it occurred. Imagine they began burning buildings, looting businesses, and defying measures by local law enforcement to maintain order. Then imagine that a charismatic political celebrity, say – Ted Nugent, showed up with an army of conservative activists leading a voter registration drive and said:
Five thousand new voters will transform the city from top to bottom…. Nobody can go to the White House until they stop by our house.… Elected officials don’t have to care about white citizens as long as they don’t fear us at the ballot box.
How would the media and the government respond? Would Attorney General Eric Holder be traveling to the town to personally oversee a civil rights investigation unprecedented in scope? Would reporters wring their hands, pleading for understanding?
It’s fair to guess that the rioters, along with any peaceful protestors, would be categorically labeled racists. Their political allies would be tarred and feathered with political ads and vitriolic media commentary. If the federal government responded at all, it would probably look more like Waco or Ruby Ridge than the restraint which has been shown in Ferguson.
In other words, we are witnessing evidence of a racial double-standard in America. But black people and others of color are not its victims. White people are, along with any of color (like myself) who dare to dissent from the mainstream consensus that historical injustice justifies modern rights violations.
The intervention of Holder in Ferguson stands particularly alarming, because he has demonstrated time and again a blanket disregard for justice wherever race is concerned. Let us not forget, this was the same attorney general who refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panther Party for blatant voter intimidation (standing right outside a polling place with clubs in hand) among other things, and in 2011 implied that white people cannot be the victims of racial injustice.
You want to have a conversation about race? Let’s have it, and let’s cut right to the chase. We are witnessing a regime of institutional racism in this country directed not against blacks, but whites. When the institutions of government and media stand eager to apply a double-standard to one group of people over another based upon skin color, what else do you call it?
Folks like Eric Holder, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other agitators racing to forge political capital from the unrest in Ferguson have no interest whatsoever in equality under the law. Indeed, they have made it clear on several occasions that they advocate for and actively pursue a public policy which treats individuals differently based upon their racial identity and ethnic background. In a word, they seek injustice.
BEFORE RETURNING TO GOLF COURSE, OBAMA PROMISES 'RELENTLESS' PURSUIT OF JUSTICE AGAINST ISIS
Obama said the world is appalled at the brutal murder of journalist James Foley.
According to the White House pool report, minutes after making his public statement Wednesday about the beheading of American journalist James Foley at the hands of ISIS, President Obama went directly to the golf course at Martha's Vineyard where he's vacationing. His golf partners are Alonzo Mourning, Glenn Hutchins, and Cy Walker.
Before returning to the golf course, in his statement the president said, “We will be vigilant and we will be relentless" in pursuing justice for Foley.
After the release of the ISIS video Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron cut his vacation short.
G’ day…Ciao…….Moe Lauzier