Tag Archive: current-events


How This School Treated a Marine Dad who Refused to Let Daughter Study Islam Is SHAMEFUL

Kevin Wood, a Marine and father living in Maryland, is under a “no-trespass order” at La Plata High School after he asked his daughter to be excused from a biased assignment about Islam.

The patriotic father first spoke first to an administrative assistant, then discussed the issue with Vice Principal Shannon Morris. But a school official is making the wild accusation that Wood threatened to cause problems at the school in his conversation with Morris.

She said: “Safety comes first. We don’t allow disruptions at the schools, especially if we’re forewarned of them.”

Wood denies making any threats. His version of the conversation is that he explained in no uncertain terms that he does “not believe in” Islam and wants his daughter removed from class while other students study the Muslim religion.

The Wood family will be taking their complaints to state legislators and the Maryland Department of Education. But first, he discussed this important issue with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly (above):

Wood’s wife Melissa said her husband was simply trying to make a point.

“The people do not understand what he endured when he was over in Iraq,” she said through tears. “And he lost friends, and he lost brothers and sisters to these people.”

The Wood family is trying to work out an agreement with the school board. If they can’t, they say their daughter won’t do the assignment and will take the ‘F.’

It is very interesting how seriously the school takes an assignment teaching about the “5 Pillars of Islam” but wouldn’t dare have students memorize the 10 Commandments or Biblical scripture.

Do you support this Marine dad’s battle against his child’s school? Please leave us a comment and tell us what you think.

Read more: http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/school-treated-marine-dad-refused-let-daughter-study-islam-shameful-video/#ixzz3HgArvbVD

Connecting the dots to despotism

The pattern of recent events across America clearly shows a nation in decline. Amazingly, our ruling class still won’t connect the dots.

Recently, I wrote a column suggesting that we are living in an age of insanity. Events since show the madness morphing into soft despotism, which may harden into outright tyranny.

That was the pattern of post-World War I Weimar Germany, where cultural decadence and wheelbarrows full of worthless paper money birthed an evil strongman who promised to restore morality and order.

Before we get anywhere near that odious outcome, I’m hopeful that Americans will awaken to reaffirm our heritage of faith and freedom that has made the United States uniquely dynamic, prosperous and generous. It’s not too late, but we’re nearing the edge of no return, with a moral meltdown and nearly $18 trillion in national debt.

What we may need is a whack upside the head to help us connect the dots. It’s worked before. It took a bloody civil war to end slavery.

It took Pearl Harbor to stir America in 1941 to join the war against religio-fascism in the East and National Socialism in the West.

It took bellicose nuclear threats by the Soviet Union, the grim reality of the gulag, and North Korean troops pouring into South Korea in 1950 to harden our resolve to stop communism.

It took the launch of Russia’s Sputnik in 1957 to harness America’s scientific and industrial might to run away with the space race.

It took the Sept. 11, 2001, airline hijacking mass carnage to wake us up to the dangers of militant Islam. Amazingly, our ruling class, led by the Obama administration, still won’t connect the dots. They insist this threat has no particular religious root, even as terrorist acts underscore it, such as Muslim convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s murderous shooting spree in Canada’s Parliament building last Wednesday, or the ax attack on two officers in a New York subway on Thursday.

It took Obamacare’s brutal takeover of America’s healthcare system to drive millions of voters to the polls in 2010.

Sometimes, it’s not one big event that awakens us. It can be a series of incidents that cause the scales to fall from people’s eyes. The dots of soft despotism are increasingly easy to connect. As Red State’s Eric Erickson likes to say, “You will be made to care.”

Nearly every day, we hear of yet another scandal or federal power grab rocking Washington, with federal agencies simply making up laws or breaking them as they go along.

With the notable exceptions of U.S. district judges in Louisiana and Puerto Rico, black-robed federal tyrants have trashed self-government, striking down a dozen voter-approved state constitutional amendments that protect natural marriage.

Similarly, judges have overturned voter photo-ID laws in several states. Except for Wisconsin, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued stays allowing some of the laws to remain in effect for November’s election.

In California, the state Department of Managed Health Care has ordered all insurance plans to cover elective abortions – no exceptions. This includes churches. Yes, churches, not just businesses owned by Christians, such as Hobby Lobby.

Our rulers behave as though the First Amendment’s religious freedom guarantee is good only behind closed doors. That’s the Soviet model, where commissars forbade religious or charitable activities outside church buildings in order to keep religion irrelevant. In government schools, they enforced atheism to make children think that neither God nor their parents offered anything of substance.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because school bureaucrats in America, working with liberal teachers unions, have turned classrooms into atheist programming centers. Anyone doubting this might want to view IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America.

The 2011 film is a chilling indictment of how millions of Christian parents have entrusted their children to a system that keeps them ignorant about U.S. history, alienates them from their faith and marinates them in moral relativism.

The left’s idea of tolerance with an iron fist has taken other vivid forms lately, painting more dots to connect.

In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a couple who are ordained ministers and who own a wedding chapel face a 180-day jail term and a $1,000-per-day fine if they continue to refuse to “marry” homosexual couples.

In Houston, openly lesbian Mayor Annise D. Parker not only had the city subpoena five pastors to turn over their sermons, but also demanded emails, letters and other communications regarding the city’s transgender statute, the mayor or the topic of homosexuality.

In Jefferson County, Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) went ballistic when conservative school board members proposed in September to create a committee to review the Advanced Placement U.S. history course. The conservatives want to “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights” and delete materials that “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

Egad, this is too much. The ACLU fired off a letter signed by seven other groups and triggered massive student protests against conservative “censorship.” Give us back the leftist propaganda.

Speaking of brainwashed children, what are we to make of three teenaged girls from Aurora, Colorado, skipping school and flying to Germany, apparently to join the Islamic State?

If all religions are pretty much the same, and America is not exceptional in any way, and parents are advisers at best, what’s the big deal?

Connect all the dots, and it’s a very big deal to more and more Americans. The only question is whether and when they will do something about it.

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union. This column first appeared in The Washington Times.

The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.us/digests/30367
Daily Digest
Oct. 27, 2014

THE FOUNDATION
“[America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.” –John Quincy Adams, Speech to the House of Representatives, 1821

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Political Fight Over Ebola Quarantine
In the wake of the doctor in New York City testing positive for Ebola1, the governors of New York and New Jersey imposed mandatory quarantine policies for health workers who had contact with Ebola patients. Facing public backlash coupled with pressure from the White House (because the quarantine “doesn’t comport with science”), however, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed off2. Not surprisingly, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie held firm. Of course, the reason the governors placed strict requirements on those coming in from Ebola-plagued countries is not because of the threat of additional infections, which is minimal, but because the fear generated by all the media hype over Ebola3 can result in significant disruption. The new state measures are designed to negate that disruption. And, as The Wall Street Journal put it in an editorial4, “[I]f it weren’t for the Administration’s incompetence in handling Ebola risks on U.S. soil, maybe the state leaders wouldn’t have felt they had to take matters into their own hands.”

Washington School Shooter Broke Law When Picking Up Gun
Like so many other school shootings that make national headlines, we don’t know why the shooter at the Marysville Washington High School killed two people and severely injured three more on Oct. 24. Also like other shootings, the killer turned his weapon on himself. We do know that when the 14-year-old picked up his father’s Beretta .40-caliber handgun, he broke the law5 because it’s illegal for him to possess the gun and ammunition, carry the gun to school and, of course, open fire. As always, the Left’s pundits point to the gun and label it the source of all social ills. As Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw says, it took all of three minutes6 for a Huffington Post reporter to tweet, “By the way, there are two background check measures on the ballot in Washington this year.” What no one can understand is the freshman’s mental state, why the homecoming prince7 descended to murder. But one thing is clear: The gun didn’t make him do it. More…8

You Didn’t Build That, Part II
At a Boston rally for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, Hillary Clinton echoed Barack Obama’s famous “you didn’t build that9” line in reference to businesses and jobs. Only she was perhaps even more explicit. “Don’t let anybody tell you that, uh, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Clinton said. “You know that old theory, ‘trickle-down economics,’” she sneered. “That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.” For good measure, she added, “You know, one of the things my husband says when people say, ‘Well, what did you bring to Washington?’ [is], ‘Well, I brought arithmetic.’” Clinton is clearly trying to move left to head off a challenge from Elizabeth Warren10. But it’s also interesting to note that her husband benefitted from what we call “Reaganomics” – supply and demand economics that gets government out of the way and lets people keep more of their hard-earned money. Reagan’s policies11 set off a two-decade economic boom. Clinton is suggesting we continue Obama’s policies of taxing and spending, and that’s hardly a reason to vote for her.

FEC to Study Regulating Political Speech on Internet
The liberals on the Federal Election Commission are eyeing political speech. First, they wanted to regulate books12. Now, they want to go after the videos, blogs and websites of the Internet. Ann Ravel, vice chair of the FEC, announced13 that the commission will look into regulating the Internet because “a reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long over due.” Ravel wants to go after a “loophole” exempting political groups who distribute political ads for free across the Internet, insisting these ads must be disclosed to the FEC. But Lee Goodman, the FEC chairman, says these proposed regulations could entangle news sites, blogs or web forums. The Internet has been to political speech like ridesharing service Uber has been to the taxi industry – disruptive to the heavily regulated systems of the past. Doesn’t the FEC have more important things to do, like discouraging voter fraud14 and ensuring the reliability of voting technology15, than tampering with the freedom of speech? More…16

Idaho Wedding Chapel Doesn’t Have to Perform Same-Sex Marriages
A city in Idaho decided the religious beliefs of business owners are enough to prevent the city from slapping a non-discrimination charge against the business. Last week, the owners of the Hitching Post, a wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, sued the city17 because they would have faced a misdemeanor charge if they refused to marry same-sex couples. “But now the city is backing off and has determined the Knapps can say no,” writes Scott Shackford at Reason Magazine. “Unfortunately the reason is not because a wedding ceremony is not a right and nobody of any race, sexual orientation, or religion should be able to demand that somebody must bless (in any definition of the word) their relationship. Rather, the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance doesn’t specify that a business has to be a non-profit in order to claim a religious-based exemption from the law.” The city, of course, danced a legal two-step to avoid litigation, so the problem of same-sex non-discrimination laws hunting those practicing religious freedom will still be decided. More…18

For more, visit Right Hooks19.

RIGHT ANALYSIS
‘Lone Wolf Attack’? Wrong!
By Mark Alexander

After the latest Islamist assault in New York20, let us reiterate the proper interpretation of such attacks.

As noted in my recent column, Islamic Jihad – Target USA21, the most likely near-term form of attack against military and civilian personnel on our turf will be similar to the conventional Islamist assaults in the Middle East – homicidal bombings or mass shootings. This type of attack is low tech but effective in terms of achieving instilling public fear with the long-term goal of extorting policy change. However, a note of caution about the predictable “analysis” that will follow these attacks. Government and media analysts alike will assert there is “no known connection between the assailant and Islamist terrorist groups.” That assertion is patently false.

Recall that in 2009, after Nidal Malik Hasan, yelling “Allahu Akbar,” killed 14 people (including an unborn child) and wounded 30 others at Ft. Hood, The New York Times opined: “[It is] important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East. President Obama was right when he told Americans, ‘we don’t know all the answers yet’ and cautioned everyone against ‘jumping to conclusions.’”

Well, we do “know all the answers” now, and the conclusion is that these acts are directly tied to Islam. Yet the Obama administration and its media outlets insist the Ft. Hood attack, like the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, were not tied to established Islamic terrorist groups. They offer the same errant analysis of the 2009 murder of two American soldiers outside a military recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and conspiracies to detonate bombs in Times Square and the NYC subway system. The result is that Islamist ideology is allowed to propagate and flourish across our nation unabated.

However, these attacks and those to come were and will be directly tied to worldwide Jihad by way of the Qur’an, the foundational fabric linking all Islamist violence. Fact is, American Islamists, such as Louis Farrakhan, Anwar al-Awlaki, Sheikh Ibrahim and other self-appointed clerics, have galvanized their following by preaching hatred for America. And other American Muslin leaders, who would like to be perceived as legitimate representatives of Islam, offer little condemnation of Islamic violence. Their silence is deafening.

Describing Islamist assailants as “lone wolf” actors or “radicalized” constitutes a lethal misunderstanding of the Jihadi threat22. Describing their attacks as “criminal activity” or “workplace violence” is asinine.

The Real Racists Oppose Voter ID
There is no intellectually sound argument against having proper ID to vote – which is quite predictably why the American Left must resort to emotional demagoguery to fight it. Equally unsurprising, playing the race card is their most reliable vehicle for doing so. Yet stunning testimony against North Carolina’s election laws reveal that it is leftists themselves who are willing23 to disparage black Americans and Hispanics to pursue their agenda.

According to expert witnesses retained by the Justice Department (DOJ) and, yes, the NAACP, it is racist to assume minorities can be treated like everyone else – because they are “less sophisticated.”

Read the rest here14.

A Tale of Excused Abuse at the IRS
As we consider the political and legal implications of the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party and Patriot groups, it’s worth taking a trip down memory lane. Watergate offers worthwhile comparisons.

Months of congressional hearings, investigations, resignations, firings and blatant lies ended with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee passing articles of impeachment, resulting in the first and only resignation of a U.S. president on Aug. 8, 1974. The American people watched despicable acts of political maneuvering, criminal activity and absolute corrupt leadership end with a bi-partisan show of rebuke and remedy.

Until recently, history would’ve likely reserved the caption “most corrupt U.S. president” for Richard Nixon. But Barack Obama seems determined to take over that mantle.

Read the rest here24.

Obfuscation Reaches Fast and Furious Levels
Since the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in late 2010 showed that Operation Fast and Furious was far worse than completely botched25, the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder has been plotting to cover its tracks and limit the negative political ramifications. The “most transparent administration in history” has been so opaque that several people and groups, including former CBS reporter Sheryl Attkisson and Judicial Watch, have filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents regarding the scandal just to get to the bottom of it.

Needless to say, the Holder Justice Department was not forthcoming with these documents.

Read the rest here26.

For more, visit Right Analysis19.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
Peggy Noonan: Can Obama Find Thumpin’ to Say?27
Larry Kudlow: The Optimistic GOP Story Everyone Is Missing28
George Will: Done in by John Doe29
Stephen Moore: Meet the New Class Warrior in Chief30
Tony Perkins: California ups the Abortion Ante31
For more, visit Right Opinion32.

OPINION IN BRIEF
The Gipper: “A friend of mine was asked to a costume ball a short time ago. He slapped some egg on his face and went as a liberal economist.”

Columnist Peggy Noonan: “We have criticized Republican lack of a higher meaning. Strangely absent this cycle are candidates who make us believe the one thing every American wants to believe, is desperate to believe: We can come back. America can pump out jobs again, boom again, be a beacon. Here’s the plan, here’s the policy, ‘Let’s do this thing.’ Republicans fail to connect their own dots. But Democrats this year – what a rhetorical, emotional and policy disaster. In ‘08 they were on fire with hope, in ’12 they were keep the faith, stay the course. This year they are surly. They are unloving and unlovable. It’s race and gender politics, it’s wheelchairs, it’s endless defensiveness about voting for or with the president. Republicans may have failed to unite, but the Democrats divide. … On Nov. 5, Mr. Obama will have to say something that shows he gets it. That shows without saying that he’s humbled, that he isn’t living in a bubble. Here’s the problem. The qualities required of such a statement – humility, self-awareness, sensitivity to the public mood – are sort of the opposite of what the president brings to the table.”

Economist Larry Kudlow: “Let me weigh in on the first two bills that the GOP should put on Obama’s desk. The Republicans should start with energy by legislating a Keystone Pipeline Authorization Act … and include energy reforms that would open federal lands to development and drilling and remove all restrictions to energy exports. … Who loses? Our enemy Vladimir Putin and his client state Iran. And if Obama kowtows again to the left-wing enviros, so be it. It’s a 2016 GOP agenda item. Second would be a business tax-reform plan that would slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, stop the double taxation of foreign profits and allow small business S-corps (including unborn start-ups, which are America’s real job creators) to take advantage of the new lower corporate tax rate. … A new Republican Congress should message that they’re tired of obsessing about Obama’s mistakes. Everybody knows about those. The trick now is to focus on solutions. On change. On saying, ‘We can do this. We can fix this.’”

Twitter satirist @weknowwhatsbest: “Hillary told a crowd, ‘Businesses and corporations don’t create jobs.’ She forgot to add, ‘…when Democrats control the economy.’”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

Links

http://patriotpost.us/posts/30310

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/27/nyregion/ebola-quarantine.html

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/30231

http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-incredibility-infection-1414365946

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/391142/todays-shooting-tells-us-nothing-about-law-charles-c-w-cooke

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/10/25/the-marysville-school-shooting-was-politicized-in-around-oh-three-minutes/

http://abcnews.go.com/US/washington-school-shooter-expected-leader/story?id=26458279

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/24/us/washington-school-shooting/

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/14167

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/27654

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/3096

http://patriotpost.us/posts/27691

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1346032/final-checks-and-balances-statement-ravel.pdf

http://patriotpost.us/articles/30358

http://patriotpost.us/posts/30282

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/dems-on-fec-move-to-regulate-internet-campaigns-blogs-drudge/article/2555270

http://patriotpost.us/posts/30162

http://reason.com/blog/2014/10/24/city-tells-idaho-wedding-chapel-it-can-t

http://patriotpost.us/

http://patriotpost.us/posts/30311

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/29413

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/23474

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/10/20/Justice-Department-Expert-Witness-Blacks-less-sophisticated

http://patriotpost.us/articles/30356

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/10531

http://patriotpost.us/articles/30350

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/30329

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/30337

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/30289

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/30347

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/30346

http://patriotpost.us/opinion

An American Decline that Must Be Reversed

October 17, 2014 By Alan Caruba

The tendency of pundits is to address the decline in American culture and traditional moral values. The concerns addressed include the rather sudden, but widespread embrace of same-sex marriages or calls for the legalization of marijuana so anyone can get high without the fear of arrest.

You can probably name a few things you consider evidence of decline, but there is one you are not likely to notice much. It’s the nation’s infrastructure of highways, airports, waterways and ports. It’s only dramatic declines such as the decay of Detroit, once one of the nation’s most dynamic cities that get attention because it is so blatant. We judge the backwardness of third world nations by their bad roads and lack of infrastructure to support their economies.
We don’t, however, think of the U.S. as a nation in decline, but we are.

A September study released by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) revealed that overall spending on public infrastructure fell 10.5% between 2003 and 2012. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, “Spending on highways and streets by federal, state and local governments, dropped a higher 19% during that same period, according to the study.”

NAM president, Jay Timmons, said, “The United States is stuck in a decade-long decline (in infrastructure spending) that will eventually harm job creation, future productivity and our ability to compete head-to-head with companies all over the globe.” When a manufacturer cannot transport their product in a timely fashion, it puts them at a disadvantage. Multiply that by the nation’s many manufacturers and you have a very big problem for lack of adequate highways, roads, and bridges

The great power of America’s infrastructure was supported by the maintenance it requires. The 2013 study was commissioned by the Building America’s Future Educational Fund and NAM to survey manufacturers. It found that they “overwhelmingly viewed America’s infrastructure as old, inefficient, and badly in need of modernization.”

Findings included 70% who believed that U.S. infrastructure is in fair or poor shape and needs a great deal or quite a lot of improvement. The same percentage believe that road are getting worse and 65% did not believe that infrastructure, especially in their region, is positioned to respond to the competitive demands of a growing economy over the next 10-15 years.

This may not seem very exciting compared to news of combat in the Middle East or the threat of Ebola, but consider that, in early October, the Financial Times reported that “China has surpassed the US in terms of GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP), becoming the largest in the world by this measure, International Monetary Fund estimates show. In 2014 China reached $17.6 trillion or 16.48 percent of the world’s purchasing-power-adjusted GDP, while the US made slightly less, 16.28 percent or $17.4 trillion, according to IMF data.“

We are now number two in the global economy.

The NAM study’s research, said University of Maryland Professor Jeffrey Werling, “helps confirm what engineers and executives both know, The quality and quantity of current U.S. infrastructure is deficient, and these deficiencies are already hampering economic growth.”

For years, a federal fuel tax has helped underwrite needed highway construction, but it hasn’t been increased since 1993 and annual collections have been declining due to fuel-efficient vehicles and motorists who have been driving less than in the past. The Wall Street Journal reported that “Congress has shown little interest in raising the 18.2 cent-a-gallon tax” and has relied on stop-gap funding.

There was a time when a politician would jump at the chance to have a bridge or a strip of highway named after him. Those days are over. We have a Congress that can barely agree on anything, let alone something as undramatic as funding infrastructure projects. The States and local communities are squeezed for their own funds, burdened with pensions and other costs.

None of this bodes well, but at least we can say we’ve been warned, eh?

Wal-Mart Cuts Health Benefits for Some Part-Timers
NEW YORK — Oct 7, 2014, 3:36 PM ET
By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO AP Retail Writer
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to eliminate health insurance coverage for some of its part-time U.S. employees in a move aimed at controlling rising health care costs of the nation’s largest private employer.

Wal-Mart told The Associated Press that starting Jan. 1, it will no longer offer health insurance to employees who work less than an average of 30 hours a week. The move affects 30,000 employees, or about 5 percent of Wal-Mart’s total part-time workforce, but comes after the company already had scaled back the number of part-time workers who were eligible for health insurance coverage since 2011.

The announcement follows similar decisions by Target, Home Depot and others to completely eliminate health insurance benefits for part-time employees. It also comes a day after Wal-Mart said it is teaming up with an online health insurance agency called DirectHealth.com to help customers shop for health insurance plans.

“We had to make some tough decisions,” Sally Welborn, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president of benefits, told The Associated Press.

Welborn said she didn’t know how much Wal-Mart will save by dropping part-time employees, but added that the company will use a third-party organization to help part-time workers find insurance alternatives: “We are trying to balance the needs of (workers) as well as the costs of (workers) as well as the cost to Wal-Mart.”

The announcement comes after Wal-Mart said far more U.S. employees and their families are enrolling in its health care plans than it had expected following rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which requires big companies to offer coverage to employees working 30 hours or more a week or face a penalty. It also requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Wal-Mart, which employs about 1.4 million full- and part-time U.S. workers, says about 1.2 million Wal-Mart workers and family members combined now participate in its health care plan. And that has had an impact on Wal-Mart’s bottom line. Wal-Mart now expects the impact of higher health care costs to be about $500 million for the current fiscal year, or about $170 million higher than the original estimate of about $330 million that it gave in February.

But Wal-Mart is among the last of its peers to cut health insurance for some part-time workers. In 2013, 62 percent of large retail chains didn’t offer health care benefits to any of its part-time workers, according to Mercer, a global consulting company. That’s up from 56 percent in 2009.

“Retailers who offer part-time benefits are more of an exception than the rule,” says Beth Umland, director of research for health and benefits at Mercer.

Wal-Mart has been scaling back eligibility for part-time workers over the past few years, though. In 2011, Wal-Mart said it was cutting backing eligibility of its coverage of part-time workers working less than 24 hours a week. And then in 2013, it announced a threshold of 30 hours or under.

Taking into account the latest move, Wal-Mart declined to say what percentage of total part-time workers will not have company-sponsored health care coverage starting next year.

Wal-Mart, like most big companies, also is increasing premiums, and out-of-pocket costs that employees pay, to counter rising health care costs. Wal-Mart told The Associated Press that it’s raising premiums for all of its full-time and part-time workers: For a basic plan, of which 40 percent of its workers are enrolled, the premiums will go up to $21.90 per pay period, up from $18.40, starting Jan. 1.

Wal-Mart employees and their dependents will pay slightly more out-of-pocket for their care next year because the retailer has lowered the percentage of the bill it will cover for doctor visits, tests, and other services to 75 percent from 80 percent after the deductible is paid. But Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove also noted that the company hasn’t changed the maximum amounts that people will have to pay out of pocket annually.

———————————

Tom Murphy in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within Four Months, C.D.C. Estimates
By DENISE GRADYSEPT. 23, 2014
Photo

Yet another set of ominous projections about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was released Tuesday, in a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that gave worst- and best-case estimates for Liberia and Sierra Leone based on computer modeling.

In the worst-case scenario, the two countries could have a total of 21,000 cases of Ebola by Sept. 30 and 1.4 million cases by Jan. 20 if the disease keeps spreading without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported.

James Hamilton said of burying Ebola victims in Sierra Leone, “We will need much more space.”Fresh Graves Point to Undercount of Ebola Toll SEPT. 22, 2014
Health Agency’s New Assessment of Epidemic Is More Dire StillSEPT. 22, 2014
In the best-case model, the epidemic in both countries would be “almost ended” by Jan. 20, the report said. Success would require conducting safe funerals at which no one touches the bodies, and treating 70 percent of patients in settings that reduce the risk of transmission. The report said the proportion of patients now in such settings was about 18 percent in Liberia and 40 percent in Sierra Leone.

What Are the Chances Ebola Will Spread in the United States?
Questions and answers on the scale of the outbreak and the science of the Ebola virus.

The caseload projections are based on data from August, but Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the C.D.C. director, said the situation appeared to have improved since then because more aid had begun to reach the region.

“My gut feeling is, the actions we’re taking now are going to make that worst-case scenario not come to pass,” Dr. Frieden said in a telephone interview. “But it’s important to understand that it could happen.”

Outside experts said the modeling figures were in line with estimates by others in the field.

“It’s a nice job,” said Ira Longini, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida who has also done computer modeling of the epidemic. “It summarizes the extent of the problem and what has to happen to deal with it.”

Bryan Lewis, an epidemiologist at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, agreed that the estimates were reasonable, perhaps even a bit low compared with those generated by other models. He said that if some of the latest data from the World Health Organization is plugged into the C.D.C. model, “the very large numbers of estimated cases are, unfortunately, even larger.”

The current official case count is 5,843, including 2,803 deaths, according to the W.H.O.

It’s unfortunate that such virulent, fatal diseases manifest themselves in socially ‘invisible’ populations and the subsequent effect on ambitions to find a cure. Think 1981 and H.I.V./AIDS.
The C.D.C. estimates omit Guinea, which has been hit hard, because the epidemic struck in waves that could not be modeled.

The W.H.O. published its own revised estimates of the outbreak on Monday, predicting more than 20,000 cases by Nov. 2 if control does not improve. That figure is more conservative than the one from the C.D.C., but the W.H.O. report also noted that many cases were unreported and said that without effective help, the three most affected countries would soon be reporting thousands of cases and deaths per week. It said its projections were similar to those from the C.D.C.

The W.H.O. report also raised, for the first time, the possibility that the disease would not be stopped but could become endemic in West Africa, meaning that it could become a constant presence there.

President Obama’s promise last week to send 3,000 military personnel to Liberia and to build 17 hospitals there, each with 100 beds, was part of the solution, Dr. Frieden said. But it was not clear when those hospitals would be ready, or who would staff them.

Dr. Frieden said the Defense Department had already delivered parts of a 25-bed unit that would soon be set up to treat health workers who become infected, a safety measure he said was important to help encourage health professionals to volunteer. He said that more aid groups were also arriving in the region to set up treatment centers, and that a “surge” of help would “break the back of the epidemic.”

Monrovia, the Liberian capital, is facing a widespread Ebola epidemic, and as the number of infected grows faster than hospital capacity, some patients wait outside near death. Video by Ben C. Solomon on Publish Date September 11, 2014.
Dr. Jack Chow, a professor of global health at Carnegie Mellon University and a former W.H.O. official, said, “The surge only becomes realized when those beds are up and operating and the workers are delivering care.”

He added, “If even the medium case comes to pass, with, say, 700,000 cases by January, the epidemic will quickly overwhelm the capabilities that the U.S. plans to send.”

The W.H.O. reported that a new center had just opened in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, with 120 beds for treatment and 30 for triage. Patients were already lined up at the door.

The report from the C.D.C. acknowledged that case counts were rising faster than hospital beds could be provided. It said that in the meantime, different types of treatment would be used, based in homes or community centers, with relatives and others being given protective gear to help prevent the disease from spreading.

The United States government is also sending 400,000 kits containing gloves and disinfectant to Liberia to help families take care of patients at home.

At least one aid group in Liberia is already shifting its focus to teaching people about home care and providing materials to help because there are not enough hospital beds for the sick. Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the group, Samaritan’s Purse, said, “I believe inevitably this is going to move into people’s houses, and the notion of home-based care has to play a more prominent role.”

“Where are they going to go?” he said.

Though providing home-care kits may seem like a pragmatic approach, some public health authorities said they were no substitute for beds in isolation or containment wards.

But Dr. Frieden said that home care had been used to help stamp out smallpox in Africa in the 1960s. The caregivers were often people who had survived smallpox themselves and were immune to it. Some experts have suggested that Ebola survivors might also be employed to care for the sick.

Dr. D. A. Henderson, who led the W.H.O.’s smallpox eradication program, said that local people had been paid to help in the campaign.

“We recruited a lot of people to stand guard at huts with smallpox,” said Dr. Henderson, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Pittsburgh. “The important thing was to know they got paid.”

He added: “We gave money and food to families who had smallpox so they didn’t have to go out and beg, and they didn’t have to go to the market and potentially infect people. What can you do? If you don’t have food, you’ve got to leave the house and go out. Money can play a useful role.”

Donald G. McNeil Jr. contributed reporting.

Oklahoma beheading: FBI probing suspect’s recent conversion to Islam
Published September 27, 2014FoxNews.com
Facebook3327 Twitter1412 Email Print

NOW PLAYING
FBI investigating workplace beheading at Okla. food facility
FBI officials are investigating a beheading at an Oklahoma food distribution center after co-workers said the suspect tried to convert them to Islam after his own recent conversion.

The suspect, Alton Nolen, 30, was recently fired from Vaughan Foods in Moore prior to Thursday’s attack. Moore Police Department Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told KFOR that Nolen drove to the front of the business and struck a vehicle before walking inside. He then attacked Colleen Hufford, 54, stabbing her several times before severing her head. He also stabbed another woman, 43-year-old Traci Johnson, at the plant.

Lewis said Mark Vaughan, the company’s chief operating officer and a reserve county deputy, shot Nolen as he was stabbing Johnson, who remains hospitalized in stable condition Friday.

“He’s a hero in this situation,” Lewis told the station. “It could have gotten a lot worse.”

Nolen was apparently attacking employees at random, authorities said. The motive for the attack is unclear, but FBI officials confirmed to Fox News that they were assisting the Moore Police Department in investigating Nolen’s background and whether his recent conversion to Islam was somehow linked to the crime.

The police department issued a statement saying, “After conducting interviews with Nolen’s co-workers, information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert several employees to the Muslim religion. Due to the manner of death and the initial statements of co-workers and other initial information, the Moore Police Department requested the assistance of the FBI in conducting a background investigation on Nolan.”

Nolen, according to state corrections records, was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013.

Saad Mohammad, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, told NewsOK.com that leaders of the society’s mosque are taking security precautions to protect Muslims who gather there from any potential retaliatory violence.

Mohammad said any anti-Muslim sentiments local residents might have could be heightened due to the beheadings and violence overseas by Islamic State militants.

“They have this ISIS thing on their minds and now this guy has brought it to America,” Mohammad told the website.

Lewis said he does not yet know what charges will be filed against Nolen, adding that police are waiting until he’s conscious to arrest him. Authorities said he had no prior connection to either woman.

Moore Police Department officials have released 911 calls from the incident, OKCFox.com reports. During the recording, a caller tells an operator that a person is attacking someone in the building. Several gunshots can be heard in the background at the end of the call.

A Vaughan spokeswoman said the company was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the attack.

» ‘Big Three’ ignoring murder linked to domestic terrorism – why?                                                                                          Major television networks have refused to report on what clearly appears to be an act of domestic terrorism committed by a self-proclaimed homegrown jihadist.

As of late last week, Fox News Channel and CNN had been the only television networks to report on the brutal murder of New Jersey college student Brendan Tevlin. Ali Muhammad Brown, who was arrested on July 18, told authorities that he committed the murder to avenge U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prosecutors say Brown is a devout Muslim enraged by U.S. military intervention in the Islamic world, which he referred to as “evil.” It remains unclear if Brown, who was once linked to a suspected terror financing scheme, was a “lone wolf” inspired by jihadist rants or part of a larger plot.

Geoff Dickens, deputy director of research at the Media Research Center, questions why the ABC, NBC, and CBS haven’t been reporting on the murder.

brendan_tevlin”Is this a terrorist act or is it not?” he asks. “And if it is, clearly it should deserve to have network stories. So far we haven’t seen any stories on Brendan Tevlin’s death on any of the [broadcast] networks.”

While the two cable networks have been covering the story regularly, Dickens says the lack of coverage on the broadcast networks points to the same old politically correct mindset of liberals.

“This is where the political correctness almost becomes really dangerous,” he tells OneNewsNow. “Because if it’s not being properly reported, then how are you going to possibly defend against it?”

Dickens says with the suspect’s background and his confession, it is difficult to understand how the networks are not all over this story as an act of domestic terrorism.

—-

Copyright OneNewsNow.com. Reprinted with permission.

GAI: Obama Skipped Over Half His Daily Intel Briefs
Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 08:28 PM
By Drew MacKenzie

In the fallout over President Barack Obama blaming the intelligence community for the rise of the Islamic State, a new report has surfaced showing that he attended less than half of his daily intel briefings.

The Government Accountability Institute, an investigative research organization, said the president went to only 42.1 percent of his intelligence meetings, known as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB, in the 2,079 days of his presidency through Monday, according to Breitbart.

The GAI report also revealed during his first term he attended 42.4 percent of the briefings, while Obama has even reduced that number in his second term, with just a 41.3 percent attendance record.

During an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, the president claimed that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had failed to warn the Obama administration that the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS, was gaining a strong foothold in Iraq and Syria.

“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said.

The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake alleged on Monday that as long as eight months ago Obama’s senior intelligence officials had alerted the White House that ISIS was growing in power while attempting to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

“In the beginning of 2014, ISIS fighters had defeated Iraqi forces in Fallujah, leading much of the U.S. intelligence community to assess they would try to take more of Iraq,” wrote Lake, adding that members of the Defense department were “flabbergasted” by Obama’s statement.

“Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s (lying),” a former senior Pentagon official who knew of the threat posed by Sunni extremists told the Beast.

Breitbart noted that following his controversial TV comments Obama has been accused by people in the intelligence community of lacking interest in “live” PDBs, which allow the president to ask follow-up questions, demand further information and challenge intel suppositions.

Meanwhile, an Obama national security staffer told the Daily Mail that the PDBs have included threat assessment on ISIS since 2012.

“It’s pretty well-known that the president hasn’t taken in-person intelligence briefings with any regularity since the early days of 2009,” the staffer said. “He gets them in writing.

“Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate predictions about (ISIS) have been showing up in the Oval Office since before the election.”

The White House said that the president prefers to read his intelligence briefings on his iPad instead of having in-person briefings, according to reports.

But Breitbart said, “The question remains whether a 42 percent attendance record on daily intelligence briefings is good enough for most Americans.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 193 other followers