Sunday, January 31, 2016

Even Ted Cruz’s family thinks he’s creepy — and here are four ways we know that


Nobody likes Ted Cruz.
Since the day he sashayed into the Senate as the new President from Texas, he has endeared himself to exactly no one except for a few House members he convinced to shut down the government. For freedom.
A simple Google search of ‘Hate+Ted+Cruz’ turns up this kind of media coverage:
Why Everyone (in Congress) Hates Ted Cruz — NY Magazine
Why D.C. Hates Ted Cruz — The Atlantic
Why even people who agree with him hate Ted Cruz — The Week
A lot of people just don’t like Ted Cruz. How come that’s okay with him? — The Washington Post
The Ted Cruz pile on: GOP senators warn of revolt should he win nomination — CNN
How Unpopular Is Ted Cruz Right Now? — The Atlantic (again)
Why Senate Republicans Hate Ted Cruz — Slate
Five Reasons Congress Hates Ted Cruz — The Fiscal Times
Trump ups the ante: ‘Everybody hates Ted’ Cruz — The Washington Times
Ted Cruz So ‘Hated’ by Republicans That He’ll ‘Need a Food Taster’ at Senate Lunches: ABC News Reporter — The Blaze
The GOP Establishment Has Found The One Thing That Can Make Donald Trump Palatable: Ted Cruz — The Huffington Post
You get the idea. The GOP would rather have braying tacky “short-fingered vulgarian” Donald Trump as their standard bearer rather  than a guy who was actually elected to office as a Republican.
Even screechy babbling Bumpit-headed Sarah Palin, whose endorsement helped Cruz win in Texas, prefers Trump.
To be fair, there is probably a quid pro quo in play for Palin, including a shopping spree at Forever 21 and a comp room and all-you-can-drink mini-bar at Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York whenever she’s in town.
But do politicians, peers, and washed-up reality stars with rogue children actually know the REAL Ted Cruz?
For that you would have to turn to his family. His loved ones. The people who see him drink milk from the carton, forget to flush, and are sent to bed early on Friday night so he can watch Cinemax. Alone.
Back in December, Cruz released a commercial starring his family wherein he attempted to convey human feelings and interactions with his wife, kids , parents, and assorted stunt people with little regard for themselves.
The outtakes from the video show a man trying so hard…and failing so badly.
His father gives him a distasteful look while Cruz blah blah blahs about himself. His mother hunches her shoulders when Cruz is instructed to give her a second hug — this time with feeling. Like a human being, g-dammit! ....

Fired staffer accuses Trump and his campaign of sexism and wage discrimination


A former staffer from Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for president alleges that the campaign pays women staffers less than men as a matter of course and that sexism is rampant among the former reality TV star’s campaign staff.
According to the New York Times, former staffer Elizabeth Mae Davidson, 26, filed a complaint with the Davenport, Iowa Civil Rights Commission alleging that men working for the campaign were paid more than women doing the same jobs and that male campaign staffers were allowed to plan and speak at rallies while women were expected to keep quiet and follow orders.
Furthermore, Davidson said, when Trump was confronted with herself and another female campaign volunteer at a rally last summer, the billionaire mogul said, “You guys could do a lot of damage,” in apparent reference to their looks.
When the Times asked Trump if he’d made the apparently sexist remark, he replied, “That is not the worst thing that could be said. But I never said it. It’s not in my vocabulary.”
Davidson filed the complaint on Tuesday in Davenport, Iowa’s third largest city. Until she was fired, she worked as the campaign’s field organizer.
Trump’s campaign claims Davidson was fired for performance-related issues.
“My people tell me she did a terrible job,” he told the Times.
The billionaire real-estate mogul then lashed out at the Times for running the story a day ahead of Monday’s Iowa caucuses, saying the newspaper’s reporting “could damage my chances.”
Davidson alleges that she was fired for making disparaging remarks about high-ranking campaign staff and breaking the nondisclosure agreement she signed as a condition of her employment with Trump 2016.
Her termination came a day after the Jan. 14 publication of a New York Times article that accused the Trump campaign of being “amateurish and halting, committing basic organizing errors.”
Davidson explained in an interview that she made $2,000 per month as a part-time worker for the campaign. Men with similar positions and levels of authority were paid $3,500 to $4,000 per month, she said.
“As a result of this discrimination I have suffered lost wages, mental anguish and damage to my career,” Davidson said in her complaint.
Her lawyer, Dorothy A. O’Brien, told the Times that the complaint would trigger an automatic investigation by the Davenport civil rights agency. After 60 days, Davidson has the option of allowing the agency to continue its investigation or filing suit in state court.
When asked if she would be attending Monday’s caucuses for Trump, Davidson said, “Some of the bad things about him I dismissed, because I was working for the candidate. Now, I’m more critical, especially how he treats women.”

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Oregon man joining Bundy militants threatens cops in drunken rant: ‘I will kill all of you’


A 54-year-old Oregon man allegedly planning to join the militant group occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge can be seen threatening to kill sheriff’s deputies in footage posted on Monday by KATU-TV.
Body camera footage shows Joseph Arthur Stetson telling a Harney County deputy, “I’m planning to go out there and protect the Bundys, be their personal guard. If anybody wants to kill them, they have to kill me first.”
The encounter on Monday was filmed at a local market after deputies responded to a report of an armed man on the premises. Stetson was reportedly carrying a pellet gun.
“What concerns me right now, as I’m talking to you, I can smell some alcohol on your breath,” the deputy tells Stetson. Stetson responds by saying that he drank some NyQuil earlier in the day, then refuses to take a field sobriety test.
“I was a colonel in the United States armed forces,” he says. “Green Beret.”
He then reaches into his pocket, only for the deputy to stop him by grabbing his arm before telling him, “You’re making me a little bit nervous right now” and motioning for a colleague to assist in handcuffing Stetson.
As he’s being handcuffed, Stetson says, “I will kill all of you. Don’t believe me? If I go to jail, when I come out, I’ll kill you.”
As the arrest continues, Stetson can be heard speaking more angrily, saying, “I’m a Green Beret colonel, you damn sons of bitches. Freaking Nazi Germany, that’s all you are. I can’t be killed anyway.”
He then yells at a nearby state trooper that he is being subjected to an “illegal arrest” and vowing not to harm state troopers, unlike the deputies.
“I am the last hope,” Stetson yells. “I am a freakin’ colonel, Green Beret. My record is sealed by Ronald Reagan.”.....................

Foo Fighters - The Pretender

The Cult - She Sells sanctuary (Long Version)

Temple of Love (extended) [HQ] Sisters of Mercy

The Sisters of Mercy -- Lucretia, My Reflection

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Motörhead - Ace Of Spades Live Full-HD

D'oh! Cruz Campaign Concedes He Had Insurance Coverage All Along


Original story:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) revealed Thursday that he and his family -- including his two young daughters -- are not currently covered by health insurance. His reason? The 2016 presidential candidate told his audience at a New Hampshire campaign stop that his provider, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, had dropped all of its individual policies and he was finding an alternative because "our premiums are going up 50 percent."
"That’s happening all over the country. That’s happening in New Hampshire," he said.
However, a number of details of his account do not line up with what health care experts told TPM.
For one, BCBS-Texas did not drop all of its individual plans, but rather just its PPO plans --a type of health insurance that tends to be more expensive but also more flexible, because it allows consumers to visit a variety of caregivers without first receiving a referral. The insurer continued to offer its HMO plans and said it dropped its PPO plans in order to keep the other plans affordable.
"Last year we informed members that we would no longer offer PPO's to individual policy holders, but would work to transition them to other available insurance plans for individuals so they would not experience a gap in coverage," said BCBS-Texas spokeswoman Edna Pérez-Vega, via email to TPM. "Those who have been transitioned also have the option of choosing different plans for 2016. We worked with the members and their providers to minimize the impact of this change to their ongoing care, particularly if they needed to transfer their care to other providers."
BCBS-Texas announced it was dropping the PPOs in July, meaning Cruz had months to find a plan before his coverage lapsed Dec. 31. (The open enrollment deadline for coverage kicking in on Jan. 1 was December 17).
In his remarks Thursday, Cruz suggested that his wife Heidi was frustrated that he had yet not found a replacement plan, though he has until the end of the month enroll in coverage that begins in March.
"By the way, when you let your health insurance policy lapse, your wife gets really ticked at you," he said, according to Politico. "It’s not a good — I’ve had, shall we say, some intense conversations with Heidi on that."
Was his own negligence to blame?
As to Cruz's assertion that his premiums had spiked by 50 percent, according the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, on average, premiums in Texas increased by only 4 percent. (In New Hampshire, contrary to Cruz's claim, premiums went up by 5 percent on average, according to the HHS.)
Furthermore, as Los Angeles Times columnist Michael A. Hiltzik pointed out, the premiums of some plans in Texas decreased, as tracked by and that none of them increased by 50 percent.
Cruz and his family were previously covered under a blue chip employer plan offered by Goldman Sachs, where his wife Heidi worked before going on unpaid leave in March to help with the campaign.
As a U.S. senator, Cruz also has the option to get coverage through the Washington, D.C.-exchange, where he would also be eligible for a subsidy up to 75 percent from his government employer, as Hiltzik also noted.
"Cruz is still eligible for the government’s employer subsidy of up to 75% of his health insurance premium," Hiltzik wrote. "He has said he wouldn’t accept the employer share, which makes his complaint about his cost of insurance just a teeny bit more dishonest because he’s the one driving up his own premium."
The Cruz campaign did not respond to requests from TPM to clarify his comments.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Air Force: Human Error Damaged Nuclear-Armed Missile in Silo


Errors by three airmen troubleshooting a nuclear missile in its launch silo in 2014 triggered a "mishap" that damaged the missile, prompting the Air Force to strip the airmen of their nuclear certification and quietly launch an accident investigation, officials said Friday.
In a statement released to The Associated Press, the Air Force declined to provide key additional details or a copy of the report produced last November by the Accident Investigation Board, saying the information was classified and too sensitive to be made public.
Under the Air Force's own regulations, Accident Investigation Board reports are supposed to be made public. The Air Force did release a brief summary to the AP after it repeatedly sought answers for more than a year. The summary said the full report was classified on Nov. 9, 2015, by Gen. Robin Rand, who took over as commander of Air Force Global Strike Command in July 2015.
The Air Force said the accident caused no injuries and posed no risk to public safety. It said top Pentagon officials were briefed on the results of the investigation in December, as were members of Congress.
The damaged missile was removed from its underground silo, which is designated Juliet-07 and situated among wheat fields and wind turbines about nine miles west of Peetz, Colorado. The silo, one of 10 in a cluster, or flight, that straddles the Colorado-Nebraska border, is controlled by launch officers of the 320th Missile Squadron and administered by the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.
The accident follows a period of turmoil inside the nuclear missile corps that the AP revealed in a series of articles and amid an emerging national debate about the costs and benefits of investing hundreds of billions of dollars to modernize the entire strategic nuclear force at a time when war craft is changing.
The Minuteman 3 is the only land-based intercontinental ballistic missile in the nuclear force. First deployed in 1970, it long ago exceeded its planned service life, and the Air Force is developing plans for a replacement.
The Air Force's brief summary of the Juliet-07 mishap said the Minuteman 3 missile "became non-operational" during a diagnostic test on the evening of May 16, 2014. The next morning a "mishap crew" chief, who was not identified, "did not correctly adhere to technical guidance" during troubleshooting efforts, "subsequently damaging the missile." No further details about the damage or errors were revealed.
The investigation report summary said the actual cause of the accident, established by "clear and convincing evidence," is classified. It said there were four contributing factors to the accident, of which it identified two. One was the mishap chief's failure to follow technical guidance. The other was that the mishap chief "lacked the necessary proficiency level" to anticipate the consequences of his actions during the troubleshooting.
In seeming contradiction of that second point, the Air Force said in its separate statement to the AP that the mishap team chief was properly trained for the task he was performing. It said he and two other airmen on his team were immediately stripped of their certification to work with nuclear weapons. They remained decertified for "over a year," until they were retrained and returned to nuclear duty.
Lt. Col. John Sheets, spokesman for Air Force Global Strike Command, said it is possible that some or all of the three could still face disciplinary action.
To prevent a recurrence of their mistake and the accident it caused, the Air Force said it has "strengthened" technical guidance, modified training curriculum and shared information about the conditions that led to the mishap with other units that operate Minuteman 3 missiles.
Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein was commander of the ICBM force at the time of the incident. The AP requested an interview with him but the Air Force declined to make him available. Weinstein is now the top staff officer on nuclear matters at Air Force headquarters in the Pentagon.
When the AP inquired about the accident in December 2014, Sheets said no details could be released until after the accident investigation board had completed its work and presented its findings to the commander of Global Strike Command. He assured the AP that the investigation report would be made public, although when the AP filed a request for it in March 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act, the Air Force denied the request, saying the information was "exempt from mandatory disclosure" and would be withheld from release because it consisted of "advice, opinions, evaluations or recommendations."
Sheets later said the report was not yet complete but would be made public as required under Air Force regulations. He subsequently amended that, saying senior officials had decided the information was too sensitive to release.
The Air Force's own legal office says the purpose of an accident investigation is to provide a publicly releasable report of the facts and the circumstances of the accident. An Air Force order dated April 14, 2015, is explicit about this.
"An accident investigation conducts a legal investigation to inquire into all the facts and circumstances surrounding Air Force aerospace and ground accidents to prepare a publicly releasable report" and to obtain evidence for use in litigation and disciplinary action.
At times the Air Force has been slow to acknowledge its nuclear missteps. In 2014 then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed worry that personnel failures were squandering public trust in the nuclear force. He ordered an independent review, which was underway at the time of the Juliet-07 accident. The review team was not told of it, however, because "the accident was going through the investigative process" at the time, the Air Force told the AP.
The most recent previous Air Force investigation of an accident at an ICBM launch silo was in 2008. That investigation, which was publicly released, found that a fire in a launcher equipment room went undetected for five days. It uncovered the remarkable fact that the Air Force was using duct tape on cables linked to the missile.
The fire was caused by a loose electrical connection on a battery charger that was activated when a storm knocked out the main power source. The fire ignited a shotgun storage case, incinerated shotgun shells, ignited and melted duct tape at the opening of the launch tube, charred an umbilical cable in several places, and burned through wires in a pressure monitoring cable.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

White House Responds To Palin: Domestic Violence 'Isn't A Joke'


White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that he would not be making light of Palin's comments.
"The reaction of some people I think is to make light of some of the rhetoric that we see on the campaign trail, particularly from Gov. Palin," Earnest said at Thursday's press briefing. "But the fact is domestic violence is not a joke. Gun violence is not a joke. Problems with addiction are not a joke. The consequences, or I should say, the sacrifices that many of our men and women in uniform make for our safety and security are not a joke."
Palin's son Track was arrested Monday on suspicion of domestic violence against his girlfriend, among other charges. He allegedly punched her in the eye and threatened to shoot himself, according to a police report.
Palin suggested Wednesday at a rally in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that Track's behavior stemmed from his combat service.
Earnest said the Obama administration takes the health concerns of military service members very seriously.
"We take them all very seriously and there are many communities and families that are dealing with these very difficult challenges in a way that is sometimes difficult to talk about publicly," he said.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The ‘unconscionable’ water crisis in Flint: How politicians failed — and poisoned — the public


Lee and Ernie Perez knew something was amiss when their three cats started throwing up after drinking water.
In 2014, the longtime residents of Flint, Michigan, were dealing with the same circumstances that had consumed most of the town. The problems began in April that year, after the city switched its water source and started pulling water from a local river as a cost-saving measure. Almost immediately, residents levied complaints about the smelly, discolored and disgusting fluid that was now flowing into their households.
So the Perezes shut off their taps. They started purchasing bottled water – to cook, drink and bathe. Their three cats, along with a feral feline who lived outside, switched over, too.
“They all get bottled water,” Lee Perez said.
More than a year later, the Rust Belt city of 100,000 is still reeling from the effects of a water supply that was found last fall to have been poisoned with extremely high levels of lead. Just this week, officials reported that they witnessed a spike in Legionnaires’ disease – a severe form of pneumonia – after Flint began using the water from the Flint river that proved problematic. While causation is still unknown, scientists studying the water problem predicted a spike in the disease.
And the evidence is mounting that federal, state and local officials ignored or neglected indicators of a growing water crisis.
As early as October 2014, there were problematic signs. A local General Motors engine plant stopped using water from the Flint river because parts were becoming rusted , but officials nevertheless continued to reassure residents the water was safe to drink – a decision deemed “unconscionable” by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this week.
Tests also revealed elevated levels of chemical compounds in the water supply that can lead to liver or kidney issues. Nonetheless, officials downplayed residents’ concerns, saying – confidently – that the water was safe to drink.
In February, results from independent studies began to trickle out. One from a coalition that included residents, Virginia Tech researchers, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan showed the highly corrosive Flint river was leaching lead off water pipes before flowing into households across the city of 100,000; another, from a local pediatrician, showed an increase in Flint children with elevated levels of lead.
Officials vehemently disputed the research until, in October, governor Rick Snyder admitted the situation was far graver than he initially understood and announced a $12m plan to transfer Flint back to its previous supply with the city of Detroit.
Snyder also appointed a task force to investigate what caused the crisis. Last month, the group released a scathing report that placed blame chiefly on the state’s environmental department – from failing to properly treat the Flint river to officials belittling responses to public outcry. The federal government is also investigating what happened .
In the meantime, residents are left trying to cope with the gravity of a manmade public health debacle. And they want answers.
“Well, he should’ve done it a long time ago,” resident Barbara Cowan said of Snyder’s response, while she was picking up a case of water on Thursday that is now being distributed by the National Guard and the Red Cross.
“He ignored it,” she continued. “He’s [chosen] to ignore it, because he didn’t live in Flint.”

‘Completely unacceptable’

On Thursday, the Perezes joined a seemingly never-ending stream of residents that flowed into the city’s no. 5 firehouse, where Red Cross volunteers have been handing out cases of bottled water to anyone in need. The water resource center, one of five currently operating in the city, has been busy: The previous day, Red Cross personnel at the site handed out nearly 700 cases of water, said volunteer Peggy Zuehlk.
But even with clean water to drink, the Perezes still had additional concerns.
The cats don’t vomit anymore, but the couple says they still don’t feel comfortable showering in whatever’s coming through their pipes.
“The itch, it’s just unbelievable,” Ernie Perez, 73, said of the effect the water has on his body. “It’s not an itch like you got a little mosquito bite or something.”
Lee jumped in: “It’s like a hot prickling needle that’s all over your body. And as seniors, we can’t take that.” Adding to their exasperation is the hefty price for unusable tap water in Flint, which has some of the highest water rates in the country .
“We flush our toilet,” said Lee Perez, “and we pay $109 a month.”
Snyder ordered the National Guard on Tuesday to assist the state at the water resource sites established across Flint, where residents say they are still struggling to grapple with the reality that lead-contaminated water flowed into their households for months.
The state has also requested additional assistance from the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Late Thursday, Snyder asked Barack Obama to declare the area surrounding Flint in a state of emergency to expedite the response to the growing water contamination problem.
Low exposure to lead, a powerful neurotoxin, can produce long-term health effects, particularly in young children in the form of behavioral problems or lower IQ. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no safe level of lead exposure.
What’s now known is that state environmental officials improperly applied federal regulations to ensure water is treated properly. The governor-appointed task force said the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) department bears “primary responsibility for what happened in Flint”.
That task force found that water from the corrosive Flint river leached lead off household pipes and flowed into the system because Flint hadn’t been required by the state environmental body to use corrosion control to treat the water. The report also found that the tone and substance of the state environmental division’s public statements were “completely unacceptable”, the report said.
“It’s unconscionable what happened here,” Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards, who helped lead a team that tested water samples of nearly 300 homes in the city, told the Guardian last fall of the state’s decision to not require Flint to use corrosion control to treat the river. Edwards also “predicted, based on our prior research there would be higher levels of Legionella, due to the lack of corrosion control”.
Between June 2014 and November 2015, there were 87 cases in Genesee County, where Flint is located, of which 10 resulted in death, according to the state, although it is not yet known whether the disease is linked to the water.
In early July, in response to the release of an internal Environmental Protection Agency memo raising concerns about Flint’s water source, state officials downplayed concerns.
“Let me start here – anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax,” spokesman Brad Wurfel said at the time.
Later that month, Snyder’s then-chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, wrote an email saying Flint residents aren’t “getting the benefit of the doubt” over water issues.
“Now they are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they are receiving from (MDEQ) samples,” Muchmore said in the email obtained by Edwards. “These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us (as a state we’re just not sympathizing with their plight).”
Officials responded to Muchmore by saying there’s nothing to worry about in Flint. Snyder’s spokespeople have said Muchmore’s remarks reflect how the governor’s administration was engaged with the community.
But MDEQ should have had a more accurate assessment of the situation, according to the auditor general’s report released in December. The report noted that MDEQ officials were aware in March 2015 that Flint’s lead water levels were already above enforcement action thresholds set by the EPA.
Observers have also pointed their finger at the EPA for its handling of the situation.
Henry Henderson, midwest director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the EPA has authority under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act to take emergency actions in crises like in Flint.
“It’s become painfully obvious that every level of government, including but not limited to the EPA … haven’t felt no urgency about this matter at all,” Henderson said, “have been shockingly lackadaisical, [and] have made inappropriate statements in public in terms of the safety of the situation, which is wildly unsafe.”
I think it’d be safe to say there was a cover-up
Larry Ross
The EPA’s regional administrator told the Detroit News this week that federal officials chose to implore the MDEQ to respond to the situation, rather than take action itself, despite knowing for months that Flint wasn’t properly using corrosion control to treat its water.
Henderson said the administrator, Susan Hedman, could be “disingenuous or just remarkably ignorant about her responsibilities and her power to affect those responsibilities”. Federal law authorizes EPA administrators to take action to deal with issues like the Flint water crisis, he said.
In an email obtained by the Guardian, dated 20 August, from EPA program manager Jennifer Crooks to three MDEQ officials, she asked for a copy of a letter sent to Flint notifying the city of high lead levels.
“Flint has sure gotten a lot of attention over the past year; I’m going to stay positive,” Crooks wrote. “And say that I hope this all dies down once they connect to the Karegnondi pipeline (in 2016).”

A quest for cheaper water

The water problems stemmed from a decision to use the Flint river as a more affordable water supply. The policy was aimed at easing the financial uncertainty looming over the city, where more than 40% of the predominantly black population lives below the poverty line. Flint has been throttled for decades by a depleted tax base as manufacturing jobs moved elsewhere – a problem compounded by a subsequent spike in violence that has routinely placed the community high on the list of violent US cities.
But it is the city’s lead-tainted water disaster that has left residents and activists asking questions about how this could have happened.
The governor’s office declined to answer questions about what role it played in the decision-making process that led to Flint using the local river as its main water source, but what is clear is that the lead-contamination crisis took place while the city was under the control of Snyder-appointed emergency managers.
In late 2011, as Flint’s finances continued to worsen, Snyder appointed an emergency financial manager with vast powers to oversee the city’s finances – and effectively rendered local elected officials powerless. In the intervening months, state and city officials began discussing the most affordable water option for Flint.
By March 2013, it was decided Flint would join a new water system and leave Detroit, with the hope of obtaining more affordable rates for residents. Though Flint was still under the control of an emergency manager, that month city council members overwhelmingly approved a resolution to join a new regional water system in 2016.
But there was a problem: the Detroit water system, realizing Flint was set to leave, increased the city’s rates and gave it a one-year notice to renegotiate a short-term contract until 2016, or find a different water supply. Without Detroit, Flint would need a temporary water source until the new regional system came online.
As late as February 2014, the option for Flint to use Detroit’s system in the interim was still on the table. The following month, however, then-Flint emergency manager, Darnell Earley, wrote a letter to Detroit water officials – obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, which broke the story of Flint’s lead water crisis – saying he expects “that the Flint Water Treatment Plant will be fully operational and capable of treating Flint River.”
“In that case, there will be no need for Flint to continue purchasing water to serve its residents and businesses after April 17, 2014,” wrote Earley, who’s now the emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools.

‘He’s trying to save face’

On Thursday, outside a water resource center near downtown Flint, Larry Ross said elected officials from the top down carry responsibility.
“I believe that the governor, the state, and the powers that be, I think it’d be safe to say there was a cover-up. I think they were trying to take the cheapest way out as far as restoring this water condition,” Ross said. “If it wasn’t for the national exposure, I think they would’ve left things the way they are.”
A line snaked out the door and continued to grow as residents tried to stay warm in frigid January temperatures. Motorists double-parked their vehicles throughout the firehouse’s lot, leaving little room to navigate. Observing nearby, Flint’s fire chief, David Cox Jr, said the chaotic scene illustrated the “plight of the city”.
“Anytime that truck is delivering it’s going to get crazy out here,” said David Cox Jr, the city’s fire chief. “And this is only one station; it’s like this everywhere at all fire stations.”
Residents say they’re grateful to see the influx of supplies and assistance. But Lee-Anne Walters, the Flint mother who first reached out to EPA officials in early 2015 with concerns about her tap water, said Snyder’s response still leaves much to be desired.
Last year, Walters’ son, Gavin, was diagnosed with lead poisoning and has since developed speech impediments, she said. When Edwards, the Virginia Tech researcher tested her water, the results were astounding: one test returned a result that Walters’ water was filled with 13,200 parts per billion (ppb) of lead, substantially higher than levels deemed safe by the EPA. (At 5,000ppb, water is considered hazardous waste.)
“I still feel like he’s trying to save face to save his career rather than try to save the people,” Walters said of Snyder’s response to the crisis.
The announcement this week that city officials will begin shutting off water to residents with unpaid bills will likely cause additional grumbling, amid the ongoing controversy.
But the chief concern for now remains obtaining clean water.
While Ross and others waited their turn to pick up a jug and case of water, a volunteer emerged from the door and shouted: “Everybody listen up, for the first time we have water testing kits … everybody should be walking out of here with a water testing kit, even if you just came for water.”
As more residents started filling inside, the volunteer tried to offer a silver-lining: “At least it’s not snowy today.” © Guardian News and Media 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Alan Parsons Project – I Robot - Vinyl

01. I Robot 00:00 
02. I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You 06:09 
03. Some Other Time 09:32 
04. Breakdown 13:36 
05. Don't Let It Show 17:29 
06. The Voice 21:50 
07. Nucleus 27:12 
08. Day After Day (The Show Must Go On) 30:45 
09. Total Eclipse 34:31 
10. Genesis Ch.1, V.32 37:42

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Oregon judge plans to bill Ammon Bundy up to $70,000 a day for security costs to county


An Oregon judge says he will bill Ammon Bundy up to $70,000 a day to reimburse Harney County for security costs related to the ongoing occupation of a wildlife refuge.
Local schools reopened Monday for the first time since Bundy and other militants seized a visitors center Jan. 2 at the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve and demanded the transfer of federally owned land to the county, reported KTVZ-TV.
Bundy and other militants used a backhoe owned by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife to remove fences separating federal land from property owned by a local rancher.
Bundy said the militants had rifled through files at the occupied building looking for evidence of wrongdoing, but he insisted they had not accessed computers — although public radio reporters witnessed them doing that.
WATCH: Teen chokes up at town meeting asking Bundy to leave, says ‘I shouldn’t have to be scared in my own hometown’
Some of the Fish and Wildlife employees have been relocated from their homes “out of an abundance of caution” in case their personal information, including home addresses, had been accessed by the militants.
They have also changed a sign outside the wildlife refuge to identify the occupied building as the “Harney County Resource Center,” although it’s not clear how the notoriously cash-strapped militants paid for the new sign.
Sheriff David Ward, who has said he agrees with the militants’ views but not their tactics, has set up concrete barriers and other security measures around his office and the courthouse after the militants or their supporters threatened him and other county officials.
Ward issued a statement Monday vowing that he and other law enforcement officials “will not be intimidated,” and he repeated his call for the out-of-state militants to leave the area.
“There’s an hourglass, and it’s running out,” Ward said as cheers erupted at a public meeting Monday night. “Go home.”
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty also spoke at the meeting, where he said the occupation had cost taxpayers an estimated $60,000 to $70,000 each day it has dragged on.
“We’re going to send Mr. Bundy the bill,” said Grasty, who criticized Republican lawmakers for meeting with the militants over the weekend.
The judge also called on residents not to offer assistance to the roughly two-dozen militants, who have been joined in recent days by out-of-state militia groups.
“No matter how you feel, do not bring food and supplies up to the refuge,” Grasty said.
The militants have been widely mocked for first calling for snacks, and then issuing a wish list of items such as flavored coffee creamer, tampons and cigarettes.
They have apparently received some unwanted gifts, such as sex toys, as seen in a Facebook video posted by Jon Ritzheimer, an Arizona veteran who is taking part in the occupation.
“It was really mind-blowing to me that people would actually spend their money (on this),” Ritzheimer said. “This box right here, $17.90 (for shipping). They spend and waste their money on all this hateful stuff to send out here to us and buy this ridiculous stuff. This one was really funny — a ‘bag of dicks.’ Rather than going out and doing good, they just spend all their money on hate and hate.”
He then angrily shoved all the unwanted gifts off a table and onto the floor.
Ritzheimer urged fellow “patriots” to join them in Oregon for “history in the making,” and he offered a message to his family.
“Please look at this as a deployment, only this time I’m actually serving my country rather than being sent over seas to line the pockets of corrupt politicians,” he said. “It is our sacrifice as a family that will make this country great again, not some election.”

Law Prof: Cruz Is Not A Natural Born Citizen And Thus Can't Be President


She joins Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe in raising concerns that Cruz may not meet the "natural born citizen" requirement for presidency under the Constitution. She previously wrote a paper about the topic in 2014.
In the Washington Post op-ed, McManamon argued that if one turns to the "common law" definition of "natural born citizen," he or she will find that 18th century English jurist William Blackstone defined the term as a "born within the dominions of the crown of England" and that U.S. founding father James Madison called birth place "the most certain criterion" of allegiance.
She acknowledged that other legal experts -- specifically former solicitors general Neal Katyal and Paul Clement -- have interpreted "natural born citizen" to mean anyone who was a U.S. citizen at birth, but criticized that interpretation because it depends on "radical 18th-century British statutes."
Cruz was born to an American mother in Canada in 1970. The debate over his eligibility for president was inflamed when Donald Trump made it an issue on the campaign trail.

Okla. Bible study leader charged with more than 50 counts for molesting 14-year-old girl he ‘brainwashed’


An Oklahoma bible study leader who has been charged with dozens of sex crimes against a 14 year old girl had a history as a sex offender before joining the church, NewsOK reports.
Donnie Ray Schultz, 45, faces more than 50 charges for rape and forcible oral sodomy, along with counts of making and possessing child pornography. He met the victim through a Bible study class he volunteered to teach at Calvary Christian Church in Del City, a city in central Oklahoma. A teacher at her high school said the victim reported she felt “brainwashed” by him.
“The victim stated that over the course of 16 months, she and the suspect have had sexual intercourse 20-30 times and had oral sex numerous times,” Del City police detective Michael Gray wrote in a report obtained by NewsOK.
Gray wrote that Schultz, a handyman, would often take his victim to the houses he worked at and rape her there. She also reported that Schultz sometimes filmed the abuse.
A spokesman for the church called the allegations a “complete shock,” though NewsOK reported the church was aware of Schultz’ history as a sex offender when he joined.
“While (Schultz) led a small group Bible study on church doctrine, he was one of seven members who took turns teaching the class. The class was for adults only, but apparently some participated in the class before they were eighteen,” Calgary spokesman Jason Sharp told the paper. “(Schultz) was never in any paid, employee relationship with the church. He (led) the discipleship class as a volunteer.”
Before Schultz joined the church 19 years ago, Calgary in Del City had been informed by his previous church that Schultz was a convicted sex offender. But they told his current church he could be trusted and they should accept him.
Police believe there are more victims.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Trump praises ‘maniac’ North Korean dictator for consolidating power by slaughtering family members


GOP front runner Donald Trump praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un for maintaining an iron grasp on autocratic power by slaughtering opponents, including his uncle.
The real estate mogul-turned politician was speaking in Ottumwa, Iowa on Saturday afternoon when he started talking about nuclear weapons. North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a nuke this week.
Trump called the North Korean supreme leader a “maniac” but then said he deserves credit for his brutality.
“And you’ve got to give him credit — how many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals and all of a sudden, you know, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. How does he do that?” Trump went on, according to The Hill.
“Even though it is a culture, and it’s a culture thing, he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss. It’s incredible,” Trump said. “He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. I mean this guy doesn’t play games.”
Trump said he would make China to “handle the problem” along with Japan and South Korea.
Watch Trump’s speech, as posted to YouTube, here. His comments regarding North Korea start around the 41-minute mark:

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Trump goes full birther against Cruz — and gets accused of ‘jumping the shark’


Trump casts doubt on Cruz’s eligibility for the presidency on the basis that he was born in Canada, echoing his earlier false claim that Obama was born in Kenya
Donald Trump cast doubt on Republican candidate Ted Cruz’s eligibility for the presidency on Tuesday, on the basis that he may not be a US citizen.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said the fact that Cruz was born in Canada was a “very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”
The Republican frontrunner went on to claim a “lot of people are talking about … the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport.”
Cruz, whose campaign declined to comment, was born in Calgary in 1971. Although his father Rafael was not an American citizen at the time, his Delaware-born mother, Eleanor, was. Article II of the US constitution requires that “no person except a natural born Citizen … shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
However, legal scholars have long interpreted natural born citizen to refer to whether someone acquired their citizenship at birth, not the geographic location where they were born. As a result, Cruz, who was a citizen at birth, is natural born.
Cruz has been reluctant to directly engage Trump during the Republican debate season, however this episode did prompt a feisty tweet from the Texas senator.
He posted as his response to “@realDonaldTrump calling into question my natural-born citizenship,” a YouTube clip of the character Fonzie from Happy Days “jumping the shark”. This moment was seen as an irreversible downward turn for the show’s quality and has spawned the phrase “jumping the shark” for the moment when a once successful product permanently goes wrong.
Cruz was asked at a November campaign stop in Chariton, Iowa, about the circumstances of his birth. Cruz said: “As a legal matter it is plain as day that a child of a US citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen. So will people raise this for political mischief? Sure, it’s politics, that’s what they do, but as a legal matter … it’s quite straightforward and I don’t believe there is any impediment whatsoever.”
Trump, who was one of the most vocal “birthers” pushing the false claim that Barack Obama was born in Kenya — which incidentally would still have made him a natural born citizen — has questioned Cruz’s citizenship in the past.
In 2013, he told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl that the Texas senator might not be eligible to be president. “If he was born in Canada, then perhaps not. That will be ironed out. I don’t know the circumstances. If he says he was born in Canada, that’s his thing.”
A few Democrats have also questioned Cruz’s citizenship. Florida congressman Alan Grayson called Cruz “a Canadian” in 2014 and said he was not eligible to serve in the White House.