My meanderings about politics, space exploration, cars, cats, tech things and whatever else strikes my fancy. To the current occupant of the White House, we will not be taken into war on anyone's leash.
As far as these pictures show, Lincoln has just turn the page love another rather bland design. I realize this is supposed to be some sort of a Town Car alternative but he looks more like a mid 2000’s Ford Taurus then the prestigious Lincoln Continental. AVB
I only have one answer to the Governor, BOYCOTT. AVB
By STEPHANIE EBBS
Mar 29, 2015, 11:06 AM
Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act will not be changing despite critics saying it allows business owners to discriminate against members of the LGBT community, state Gov. Mike Pence said today during an exclusive interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
Pence described the media coverage and opposition to the law as “shameless rhetoric,” saying it strengthens the foundation of First Amendment rights rather than discriminates.
“We’re not going to change the law,” he said, “but if the general assembly in Indiana sends me a bill that adds a section that reiterates and amplifies and clarifies what the law really is and what it has been for the last 20 years, than I’m open to that.”
When ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Pence if the law allowed businesses like florists to refuse to work with gay or lesbian weddings, as critics have said, the governor said the situation has more to do with whether the government is involved.
“The question here is if there is a government action or a law that an individual believes impinges on their religious liberty, they have the opportunity to go to court, just as the Religious Freedom and Reformation Act that Bill Clinton signed allowed them, to go to court and the court would evaluate the circumstance under the standards articulated in this act,” Pence said.
Pence, a Republican, signed the Indiana Religious Freedom and Restoration Act into Indiana law Thursday. It intends to prevent the government from infringing on individual’s religious beliefs, Pence said, but opponents say the law allows business owners to use religion as a reason to legally discriminate against members of the LGBT community.
A federal version of the religious freedom law was enacted in 1993 but dozens of states have passed their own versions since then, including one passed unanimously in Illinois when President Barack Obama was a state senator. Illinois added specific protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation several years after passing its version of the law.
Pence touted bipartisan support for the law, saying that President Obama and Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi supported similar legislation.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the governor was in damage control mode.
“If you have to go back two decades to try to justify something that you’re doing today, it may raise some questions about the wisdom of what you’re doing,” he said on “This Week.” “It should be easy for leaders in this country to stand up and say that it is wrong to discriminate against people just because of who they love.”
The Indiana law gained national attention quickly after it was signed when the NCAA, which is based in Indianapolis, released a statement expressing concern that the law would negatively impact athletes and visitors in town for the Final Four games of its men’s basketball tournament. Several businesses, including Yelp, have threatened to take their business away from the state.
Cancer has touched all of our lives and I hope that in the next two years we will make strides to make it a thing of the past. AVB
By Tom Halkin
Published March 26, 2015
Tune-in this Sunday (3/29) to the esteemed weekly news program “60 Minutes” on CBS for an in-depth segment (part one of a two-part series) on potential new treatments for glioblastoma multiforme.
The segment will follow brain cancer patients in a Duke University clinical trial of a therapy that uses a re-engineered polio virus to kill cancer cells. CBS Evening News anchor, and “60 Minutes” corespondent, Scott Pelley will report on this promising experimental treatment given to 22 glioblastoma patients.
Playing a key role in the episode will be Dr. Darell Bigner, Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Institute at Duke University and Leader of the Neuro-Oncology Program of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Bigner was the 2014 recipient of the National Brain Tumor Society’s Feldman Founders Award for his decades of outstanding contributions and invaluable impact on the field of brain tumor research. You can watch Dr. Bigner’s acceptance speech here. Dr. Bigner is also a member of the National Brain Tumor Society’s Strategic Scientific Advisory Council for our Defeat GBM Research Collaborative.
Hillary Clinton’s net favorability among Democrats is better now than it was in March 2007, and is similar to Al Gore’s in early 1999. Clinton far outpaces her potential 2016 rivals in net favorability, which was not the case in 2007. Go to Gallup for full poll results
I hope this will improve the climate on Capitol Hill, but honestly, I’m not sure it will. I wish Senator Schumer well as if he does well so will the country. AVB
The Washington Post
March 27 2015
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) on Friday endorsed his rival, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), to become the next Senate Democratic leader, clearing the path for what is likely to be an easy transition in leadership when Sen. Harry Reid steps down from the job.
I could not be any happier. I do believe he need to take some of the blame for what’s happening in Congress. I know my fellow Democrats made this agree but I think he was part of the problem. AVB
The Huffington Post
March 27 2015
Harry Reid, the combative leader of the Democrats in the US Senate will retires three decades after he was first elected to the SenateHarry Reid, the combative leader of the Democrats in the US Senate, said Friday that he won’t be seeking reelection in 2016. “We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves. Reid’s retirement next year will come three decades after he was first elected to the Senate. He served as Senate majority leader from 2007-2015.
The Huffington Post
March 26 2015
WASHINGTON — Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), who plans to resign next week amid a mounting ethics scandal, compared himself to Abraham Lincoln in a farewell speech on Thursday.
Speaking on the House floor, the Illinois lawmaker likened his current “adversity” to the 16th president’s troubled life.
“I leave here with sadness and humility. For those I have let down, I will work tirelessly to make it up to you,” Schock said. “I know God has a plan for my life.”
“I also know that every person faces adversity in life. Abraham Lincoln held this seat in Congress for one term, but few faced as many defeats in his personal, business and public life as he did.”
Schock’s political career has fallen apart in less than two months, ever since a Washington Post article revealed that taxpayer dollars had paid for a lavish, “Downton Abbey”-esque redecoration of his Capitol Hill office. He has since reimbursed the government $40,000 on that score.
He also allegedly billed taxpayers for tens of thousands of miles that his car may not have traveled and for private air travel, according to Politico.
The mountain of allegations led the 33-year-old lawmaker, once a rising star in the Republican Party, to announce his resignation last week, saying the accusations had become a “great distraction.”
On Thursday, Schock looked to Lincoln’s “continual perseverance” as an example of “something all of us Americans should be inspired by, especially when going through a valiant life.”
“And I know this is not the end of a story but rather the beginning of a new chapter,” he said.
Throughout his six-minute speech, Schock touted his work in Congress.
“I’m proud of the work I’ve done to contribute to a Republican majority here in Congress,” he said. “I am proud to have played a role in building it.”
He expressed regret that he would not be in Congress to help reform the U.S. tax code, but described his joy in having already aided veterans, fought government overreach and worked to pass job-creating legislation. He did not directly address the allegations against him.
Despite Schock’s resignation, the FBI and federal prosecutors in Illinois said last week that they would conduct an investigation into whether he broke the law in accounting for campaign expenses.
In my opinion, the war on drugs has been a total failure. This just indicates that there is an atmosphere that is not conducive to professional behavior. it’s time for the federal government to change its policies. AVB
Mar 26, 2015 12:21 PM EDT
Several agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) engaged in “sex parties” with prostitutes paid for by Colombian drug cartels, according to a report by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General released Thursday.
Furthermore, the report’s authors say the full extent of the sexual misconduct of DEA agents is not yet known because the agency dragged its feet and withheld or redacted information during the investigation. The local DEA leaders failed to report allegations of their agents patronizing prostitutes and frequenting a brothel. At least one of them was alleged to have solicited and engaged in sexual relations with prostitutes.
Through a series of interviews conducted in 2009 and 2010, the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility learned from Colombian police officers that several agents had solicited prostitutes and engaged in other misconduct.
“The foreign officer allegedly arranged ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes funded by the local drug cartels for these DEA agents at their government-leased quarters, over a period of several years,” the report says. “Although some of the DEA agents participating in these parties denied it, the information in the case file suggested they should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds.”
The report also says that the foreign officer claims to have provided protection for the agents’ weapons and property during the parties, which occurred in government-leased quarters.
“The misconduct occurred for several years while these special agents held Top Secret clearances. Many of these agents were alleged to have engaged in this high-risk sexual behavior while at their government-leased quarters, raising the possibility that DEA equipment and information also may have been compromised as a result of the agents’ conduct,” the report says.
Seven of 10 agents who were accused admitted to attending parties with prostitutes, the report says, and were suspended for periods ranging from two to 10 days. One agent was cleared of all wrongdoing.
Other foreign officers alleged that three supervisory special agents received money, expensive gifts and weapons from drug cartel members.
Still, the Office of Professional Responsibility said it believes the agents’ conduct constituted a local management issue and not a security risk.
Though the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility did not learn about the sex parties until it received an anonymous tip in June 2010, the parties appear to date back to at least 2005. The management from the building where the sex parties took place sent four complaint letters to both the special agent who hosted the parties, as well as to the local DEA management between August 2005 and December 2008. The agent was warned to discontinue to parties, but the misconduct was not reported beyond local management at the time.
“The Department of Justice takes the issues raised in the Inspector General report seriously and…is taking steps to implement policies and procedures to help prevent them from happening in the future,” said Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush. “The Department is already working with the law enforcement components to ensure a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment and misconduct is enforced and that incidents are properly reported.”
DEA agents were also connected to scandal in which Secret Service agents hired prostitutes while visiting Colombia ahead of President Obama’s visit there for a summit in 2012. A DEA agent hired a prostitute to give a massage to a Secret Service agent and facilitated payment for the agent’s sexual encounter with the prostitute.
In the report, the Inspector General said its ability to conduct the review was “significantly impacted and delayed” in receiving information from the DEA. The agency waited several months to provide the inspector general with case file information, and ultimately provided it with such heavy redactions that it was impossible to understand.
The review, which also details misconduct at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the United States Marshals Service, covers the period from fiscal year 2009 to 2012.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who called the report “stunning,” is promising to follow up on the report to “weed out those who risk our national security, embarrass the country, and skirt the law.”
“While the vast majority of employees do quality work, the bad apples highlighted in the report taint their service. We need to hold them accountable and, given the clear evidence in the OIG report, they should be fired immediately. The gross misconduct of DEA agents follows a disturbing pattern of risky and improper behavior afflicting Homeland Security and the Department of Justice,” Chaffetz said in a statement.
This is so pointing out the obvious. 51% of our population is not represented on our currency. Click on the link and go and vote for your favorite woman to be put on the $20 bill by the year 2020. 2020 is significant as it is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. AVB