10 things you need to know today: March 13, 2014

Deal. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Week

Obama says Russia will pay for meddling in Crimea, China unveils satellite photos of possible airplane debris, and more

1. Obama vows consequences unless Russia backs down in Ukraine
President Obama expressed support for Ukraine’s new premier on Wednesday and said the U.S. would “apply a cost” to Russia if it doesn’t back out of Crimea. Obama plans a final diplomatic push to get Moscow to loosen its grip on the Ukrainian region before voters there decide Sunday whether to break from Ukraine to join Russia. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart on Friday. [The Washington PostThe Wall Street Journal]

2. China unveils satellite photos showing possible airplane debris
China posted satellite images on a government website showing what could be debris from theMalaysia Airlines jet that vanished on Saturday with 239 people on board. The plane, which had just left Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing, was last tracked not far from the area where the satellite spotted the floating objects, off the southern tip of Vietnam. The images were released Wednesday, but recorded on Sunday. [BBC News]

3. Jan Brewer announces her retirement
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) announced Wednesday she would not run for reelection when her term ends this year. Brewer, known for her hardline immigration and abortion policies, would have had to win a court battle to run again. Arizona governors are limited to two terms, and she has served one full term and part of a second. Brewer said it was “time to pass the torch,” but vowed to work hard in her final months. “My pen and veto stamp have plenty of ink,” she said. [The Huffington Post]

4. Turkish protests spread after teen’s death
Two people were killed as protesters clashed with police in Turkey on Wednesday following the funeral of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died Tuesday from an injury he sustained during last June’s violent demonstrations. He was going to buy bread when he was hit in the head with a tear-gas canister. His death struck a nerve with massive anti-government crowds, who called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a murderer. [Reuters]

5. Rockets fired from Gaza land in Israel
Gaza militants launched a fresh volley of rockets into southern Israel on Thursday, a day after the most intense barrage fired from the Palestinian territory since 2012. Eight of the 30 rockets fired on Wednesday exploded in developed areas, although no injuries were reported. Israeli military sources vowed a response. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, saying the rocket barrage was payback for a deadly Tuesday airstrike. [The Associated PressThe Jerusalem Post]

6. Six killed in Manhattan buildings explosion
A suspected gas explosion destroyed two building in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood on Wednesday, killing at least six people and injuring at least 64 others. Nine occupants of the buildings still remained unaccounted for late Wednesday night. “This is a tragedy of the worse kind because there was no indication in time to save people,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. [ABC News]

7. Investigation rattles Herbalife’s stock
Herbalife shares plummeted Wednesday after the nutritional supplements marketer announced it was being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission. Pershing Square hedge fund investor Bill Ackman has been slamming the company’s business plan, and said this week that its marketing is essentially a pyramid scheme. Herbalife refuted the accusation, and said it welcome the FTC inquiry. [USA Today]

8. Teen who sued her parents moves back home
Rachel Canning, the New Jersey teen who unsuccessfully sued her parents for tuition money, has returned home, her parents’ lawyer said Wednesday. The parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, cut her off financially just shy of her 18th birthday when she left the house, upset over their rules. The judge denied her request for emergency support, saying the case could “open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox.” [The Christian Science Monitor]

9. Alabama’s ban on gay… divorce
A court in Alabama had denied a lesbian couple the right to divorce, because the state doesn’t recognize their legal Iowa marriage. Circuit Judge Karen Hall said in a one-sentence ruling that there was no way to grant Michelle Richmond and Kirsten Allysse Richmond the uncontested divorce they sought “pursuant to the laws of this State,” which doesn’t recognize the validity of same-sex marriage in the first place. [NBC News]

10. Arthur Chu’s reign ends on Jeopardy!
Controversial Jeopardy! champ Arthur Chu lost on Wednesday night’s show, ending his streak on its 12th day. Chu, whose reign was the game show’s third longest, angered devoted fans with his unorthodox, all-over-the-board strategy of buzzing in quickly and jumping around among categories. Chu won $297,200, and took his loss in stride, posting his voice dubbed into Weird Al Yankovich’s “I Lost on Jeopardy!” [USA Today]

Another Toddler Dies From Self-Inflicted Gun Shot – This Time Three Year-Old In AZ

I really don’t like the NRA nor its cowardly servants in Congress…

Addicting Info

It seems like an everyday thing now. You get online or turn on the TV and there it is. Another headline of a child/toddler getting hold of a gun, playing with a gun, and dying by a gun.

Some of he public and media seems to getting tired or numb to such stories. The Arizona death of a 3-year old, didn’t even make it to mainstream media news, and it’s been four days. Why? Is this kind of story no longer shiny and sexy news? I’m angry. Children –babies are dying for no good reasons, while pompous NRA advocates are finding more ways to lobby/buy more pro-gun laws. In Arizona, the state where this child died, Governor Jan Brewer passed two anti-safety gun laws this very week. One demands resale of guns that were brought to community gun buybacks events, by citizens, wanting to help get firearms off the street and out of the hands of wrong people. Brewer ignored those citizens and also passed a law making it illegal to gather or maintain background checks on current gun owners. Yes, you read that right.

I wonder if the Arizona governor has any feelings about this toddler’s death. If so, did it cause her to rethink her new laws? At three, many children are still in diapers. How the hell do we live in a country, where a toddler can so easily find a gun, and shoot himself in the face?  How many innocent children, and adults are going to die in this country before all lawmakers start doing the right thing.

3,835 wrongful deaths have occurred by guns, since the Sandy Hook gun massacre. That’s over 75% of the total American deaths in the Iraq war (4,486 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq)  About 70 of the known gun deaths since Sandy Hook have been children. This means we have basically allowed three more Sandy Hook Massacres to take place, one child at a time.  Here are three very recent tragic child deaths;

This week, in Yuma Arizona,  3-year old, Darrien Nez, shot himself after finding a 9mm pistol in his 35-year old grandmother’s backpack

 April 30, in Kentucky, a 5-year old boy shoots and kills his 2-year old sister with a .22 caliber rifle he received as a gift.

April 17, in Kansas,  a 7-year old, Gavin Brummett,  shot himself in the head while firing a semiautomatic handgun. He was on a family shooting trip.  

The Koch Brothers Are Spending Millions to Deny Poor Americans Healthcare


I’ll never understand the logic of billionaires using every mechanism possible to keep working poor Americans “in their place” by making every effort to destroy ObamaCare.


One should be wary of assigning the word evil to another human being because it means they are profoundly immoral and guilty of not conforming to conduct established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics. Evil, or immoral, people would likely cause pain, suffering, and even death to another human being for pleasure, or withhold assistance to a person in distress regardless it would be of no consequence or cost to them. Unfortunately, America is home to two of the most evil men on the planet. It is difficult to imagine any American spending their money to deny medical care to an infirm American they have no connection to or personal hatred for, but Charles and David Koch are spending money to deny poor Americans healthcare for no readily apparent reason except the Kochs are genuinely evil, immoral men devoid of personal or social ethics.

Recently there has been encouraging news for residents of states with Republican governors because they are accepting the Affordable Care Acts’ Medicaid expansion provisions to provide the poorest Americans with healthcare. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is the latest Republican to accept the Medicaid expansion plan that takes effect on January 1, 2014 and is fully funded by the federal government for three years. After three years federal funding begins phasing down to no less than 90% by 2020. States would be left with a minimal investment (10%) after 2020 to provide healthcare for hundreds-of-thousands of poor Americans who would be without medical care without the expansion.

Brewer, who is not normally recognized for her compassion, spoke at arally to garner support for her decision and cited her reasons for embracing expansion that include, broadening eligibility for the poor saves taxpayer money, saves lives, and eases the burden on hospitals caring for uninsured patients. She warned that without expansion, 50,000 Arizonans would lose healthcare coverage after January 1 “even if they’re in the middle of their treatment; the human cost of this tragedy can’t be calculated.” Despite the cost to the state of not expanding Medicaid, one might wonder why Brewer had to rally support to avert an incalculable human tragedy, because any Arizona resident with a modicum of morality would embrace a program providing healthcare to 50,000 poor Arizonans.

Continued here…

Meet Archie Hackney

Barack Obama, Archie Hackney

Archie Hackney’s name should be known to every American, especially every GOP politician and a few Dems as well.

The picture on the left was taken on May 24, 2012 when President Obama was in Des Moines, Iowa giving a speech about congress renewing wind energy contracts.

Mr. Hackney, a WWII veteran,  felt it was imperative to stand up in the presence of his Commander-in-Chief.   Mr. Hackney has apparently maintained the values instilled upon him during an era where the office of the presidency was respected whether you agreed with his politics or not.  He was still the leader of the free world.

Archie’s picture with the President brings tears to my eyes.  We need more citizens and politicians like Archie.

That sort of respect has dissipated greatly since the election of Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of The United States of America:

The 10 Worst Moments of Disrespect Towards President ObamaThe 10 Worst Moments of Disrespect Towards President Obama

It starts from the Superiority Syndrome: People acting as if they’re more important than a U.S. President — when they clearly are not.  To fingers in the face.  To people questioning his already established and proven citizenship.

The incidents of disrespect towards President Obama continue.

When people criticize Administration policy, that’s just politics.  But several incidents directed at this President appear to find new lows.  Of course, people can disagree with the President. But, why can’t people respect the Office of the Presidency?

The very public nature of disrespect towards President Obama is noteworthy.  Did Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have to conduct business with the President in front of reporters?  Wasn’t there a better time and place? Would a visiting leader from a foreign country be greeted with a finger in his face by a Governor? If not, why would it happen to the leader of our own country? Could a hockey goalie have executed a quiet no-show for a White House invitation honoring his team? See Facebook for the answer on that one.

It wasn’t the end of the world when Speaker John Boehner refused the President’s date to speak to a joint session on jobs in September 2011.  And yes, the White House picked that date to steal attention from a GOP debate.  But like so many moments of disrespect towards the 44th President: No one can find another example in American history where a U.S. President requested a date to address Congress and was refused. Can anyone find another incident like the Brewer one?  That the list below can even be compiled is telling.

1. The birther fiasco (2009-2011). No evidence. No proof. No documentation.  But the story traveled on for years. Yes, Hawaii is part of the United States of America.

2. “You lie” (Sept. 2009). That any individual — no less a member of Congress watching a U.S. President during a joint session on live national television — is so lacking in self control that this moment was made possible is incredible — even in an age of incivility. Remember this happened only nine months into Obama’s presidency and is another “we can’t remember that ever happening ever before” moment. Close your eyes and pretend Rep. Maxine Waters was Wilson doing this to President Bush and image the reaction.

3. Signs of the Tea Party (July 2010) and Naked Racism (April 2011).  Anyone remember California GOP official Marilyn Davenport’s racist e-mail? Did she ever resign for that?  I remember all the criticism of the NAACP – particularly from Black Republicans — for their “Tea Party resolution” of 2010.  Where was that indignation regarding what can be viewed in this video? Click here.

4. Donald “unchecked ego” Trump inflames birther fiasco, media assists (April 2011). The mouth of Donald Trump is a powerful thing when joined with a 24-hour cable news cycle desperate for viewers.  That news organizations invited Trump on the air unchallenged with zero proof of what he was saying speaks volumes on the state of journalism.  That Trump was completely comfortable demanding that a U.S. President “show him his papers” displays a superiority complex that exists among those who can’t accept someone they view as “lesser” in a position of power over them.

4. Deadbeat dad and probable one-termer thinks his presence before the President actually matters and needs to tell everyone (Sept 2011). The disrespect isn’t that probable one term Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) wouldn’t attend the President’s Sept. 8 speech. The disrespect is that Rep. Walsh actually believed that everyone knowing he wasn’t attending was important.  That he needed to announce he would not attend on national television, as if anyone cared, was yet another delusional superiority episode.  That proudly showing public disrespect towards the President is a winning strategy in some political circles reveals a lot.

5. Newt Gingrich’s “Kenyan anti-colonial behavior” comment (Sept 2010). Even Washington Post columnist and conservative thinker George Will slammed this attempt to define the President as “foreign.” Never mind the facts: President Obama wasn’t reared by his father in Kenya with whom he spent only a month of his 50 years on this earth. The strategy to define the President as a “foreign” or “alien” being was started by Sarah Palin in 2008.

6. One of the underlying premises of disrespect towards the President is that he can be ordered around and dictated to like he’s Tipi the laundry boy.  The presumption that a U.S. President can be ordered around is a new phenomenon that appears to have gotten underway around January 2009.  From big mouth Congressmen to millionaires with nothing to do, you name it — they all inherently believe they can order President Obama around.  At least Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an actual leader of something. Regardless, read this and ask yourself if you think this would have happened to Presidents Bush, Reagan or Clinton.

7. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer puts her finger in the President’s face (January 2012). The photo speaks for itself.  Of course there are strong political disagreements between President Obama and Gov. Brewer.  But is it just possible there was a better time and place for this conversation?  Brewer said she felt “a little threatened” by President Obama. Please.

8. GOP House, prompted by Tea Party — refuses to raise debt ceiling (Aug 2011). Sounds like this was just hardball politics right? Let’s review the facts: The debt ceiling had been raised 69 times since 1962 without incident.  Seven times during Bush II and 18 times during Reagan.  Suddenly, with President Obama, a shiny new precedent is set with regard to raising the debt ceiling.  Another never before seen incident is born.

9. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Publicly Announces His Top Political Priority (Dec 2010). McConnell wants the President out of office?  No news there, but, wait, there’s more to it. “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term,” Sen. McConnell told the Heritage Foundation.  Of course the Senate Republican Leader doesn’t want the President to be re-elected.  But what’s with the public announcement? In July 2010 McConnell acknowledged his single most important political goal: President Obama being a one-term President. Again: In public and on national television.

10. Speaker Boehner refuses speech date request (September 2011). No it is not the end of the world.  Of course, the White House intentionally wanted to step on a GOP debate that same night. But, this is yet another first in American history. Once again, no one can find another instance where a President of the United States requested a date to address Congress and was refused.

Brewer’s Immigration Blast At Obama Looks Like A Dud

Brewer’s Immigration Blast At Obama Looks Like A Dud

H/t:  Jamar L. Freeze

Think Progress

At first blush, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer seemed to be defying the federal government once again on Wednesday night.

The Republican governor signed an executive order saying Arizona had no plans to give government benefits, including drivers licenses, to the tens of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants in that state who would be getting work permits and immunity from deportation under President Obama’s new immigration policy.

But while the order sounded harsh, at least one high-ranking Democrat in Arizona quickly threw cold water on it, saying Brewer’s declaration appears to be little more than hot air.

“It doesn’t seem to really do anything,” state Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira told TPM. “I see it as her once again trying to grandstand on the issue of immigration.”

The order came the same week that the Obama administration began rolling out a program to bring undocumented young people out of the shadows and give them the ability to work and do things like pay taxes. Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program had youths lining up throughout the nation to find out how to apply for it.

Brewer, who signed Arizona’s harsh immigration law known as SB 1070 and who has butted heads with Obama on immigration multiple times, said her executive order was a direct response to the president’s program. But whether that response actually changes the way Arizona will deal with the program is another matter.

Schapira pointed out that Arizona already had a number of strict immigration laws in place, including one that barred illegal immigrants from getting drivers licenses or state issued identification cards. The law may have already been interpreted to bar any newly immune immigrants from getting those state IDs, Schapira said. That means Brewer’s order effectively carried no weight at all.

Even the governor admitted at a news conference late in the day that nothing really changed because of her order. “It actually is no different than what was already in place,” Brewer said.

She also struggled to describe her action on a conservative talk radio show in Phoenix, saying it was only meant to guide state workers on how to handle the situation.

“It was an order to clarify where Arizona stands on this position so there would be no confusion for the directors of my agencies,” the governor said in the phone interview with KFYI’s Mike Broomhead.

Later in the same conversation, she stumbled when describing what role the state would play under the president’s new program. “We will issue an employment authorization card to these people,” Brewer said, then paused as if listening to somebody in the background. “The feds will, yeah, the feds will.”

After the order was issued, Alessandra Soler, the Arizona director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the whole thing made it look as if Brewer didn’t really understand the law in the first place.

“This is yet another reason why Arizona has no business trying to regulate immigration matters,” Soler said in a written statement.

Yet she also added that the ACLU believes neither Brewer’s order nor the current Arizona laws will bar the newly documented young immigrants from getting state issued IDs. “This order conflicts with state and federal law because people who are granted deferred action will, in fact, have authorized presence in the United States and under Arizona law people who have authorized presence are eligible to apply for Arizona state identification,” Soler said.

Regardless, other immigration activists and people involved in politics told TPM it was too soon to know for sure whether Brewer’s order would change anything. They said immigration attorneys would be looking at the language in the coming days to figure out what, if anything, comes next.

Listen to Brewer’s appearance on KFYI in Phoenix.

Arizona Governor Tries To Thwart Obama’s Immigration Directive With Executive Order

Which is it?  Does Arizona’s Governor Brewer hate Obama immensely or is it a hate for “undocumented workers”?   By the way, in my mind, no human being is “illegal”…

Think Progress

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) has signed an executive order that attempts to thwart President Obama’s directive extending temporary work permits to more than a million undocumented immigrants. The Obama administration’s policy — which would grant two-year work authorizations to undocumented youth between 15 and 30 years of age who have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least five years — was announced in June and went into effect on Wednesday.

Brewer’s order directs “state agencies to deny driver’s licenses and other public benefits to young illegal immigrants who obtain work authorizations” and “directs state agencies to start emergency rulemaking processes as necessary to implement her order.” From the document:

White Nationalist CPAC Panelist’s Website Attacks Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice - Caricature
Condoleezza Rice – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Why are those clowns panicking?  She was never seriously considered.  I believe that Drudge planted the article to take attention off of Mitt’s problems about Bain Capital and SEC forms.


Vdare, the website run by white nationalist and CPAC panelist Peter Brimelow, today editorialized against the possibility of Condoleezza Rice becoming Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Someone writing under the name “Patrick Cleburne” (Cleburne was a Confederate general) calls Rice an “an Affirmative Action cipher with no visible talent except for obeying Neocons” and says her nomination would indicate that “a Romney Presidency is likely to degenerate into minority appeasement.”

A similarly-themed “Say No to Rice!!!” email forward sent to BuzzFeed includes a link to the Vdare item. It is a pledge which attacks Rice on her foreign policy, experience, and looks, suggests Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as a superior female vice presidential candidate:

Say No to Rice!!!

I hereby vow not to vote for Mitt Romney if he chooses the liberal Condoleezza Rice as his running mate.

We thought the open-borders Rubio was bad. Rice is even worse. Check out some of her positions:

On most social issues, Rice is a liberal.

Like Rubio, Rice supports the Third World invasion of the US. Both legal and illegal immigration are driving down American wages, but Rice doesn’t seem to care. Like Cultural Marxists engaged in social engineering, Rice wants to destroy the historic American nation.

Rice is tied to the disastrous foreign policy of the Bush years. Romney should be trying to distance himself from the disastrous Bush years, not embracing them.

Rice is inexperienced, uninspiring and uncharismatic. (In fact, she’s quite unattractive.)

Rice has never held elected office. The selection of her as a running mate would be blatant affirmative action — much like Obama getting the early blessing of the Democratic Party was blatant affirmative action. Aren’t Republicans supposed to be against affirmative action?

If it’s a female that Romney seeks as his running mate, there are much better choices, such as Jan Brewer, who would inspire and energize conservatives.

If Romney is so naive to select someone like Rice as his running mate, he doesn’t deserve conservatives’ votes.

Please take the conservative pledge with me and promise not to vote for Romney — either don’t vote for vote third party — if Romney chooses Rice as his running mate.

Thank you.

Please forward this to everyone you know.

Liz in Ohio

Alabama Judge Rebukes Private Correctional Company For Running ‘Debtors Prison’

I can’t believe that in these economic times for middle class and low income workers, that this exists at all.  Are we in France during the 16th century as in… Les Misrables?

Think Progress

In 2010, four residents of Harpersville, Alabama filed suit against several local officials and private prison company Judicial Corrections Services, alleging that they were illegally imprisoned in the Shelby County jail.

The charges were alarming: the four inmates claim low income defendants are routinely denied adequate counsel, are not advised on their constitutional rights and — most egregiously — are saddled with outrageously high fines and bond rates that the indigent have no way of paying.

On Wednesday, Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Hub Harrington handed down his decision, and tore into the defendants:

When viewed in a light most favorable to Defendants, their testimony concerning the City’s court system could reasonably be characterized as the operation of a debtors prison. The court notes that these generally fell into disfavor by the early 1800′s, though the practice appears to have remained common place in Harpersville. From a fair reading of the defendants’ testimony one night ascertain that a more apt description of the Harpersville Municipal Court practices is that of a judicially sanctioned extortion racket. Most distressing is that these abuses have been perpetrated by what is supposed to be a court of law. Disgraceful.

Judge Harrington goes on say that defendants appearing before the Harpersville Municipal Court are “subjected to repeated and ongoing violations of almost every safeguard afforded by the Unite[d] States Constitution, the laws of Alabama and the Rules of Criminal Procedure.”

At issue are the fines that JCS is authorized to impose if an individual convicted of a crime is not immediately able to pay the imposed fine. That person is placed on “probation,” and JCS begins to collect an additional $35 fee every day the individual does not pay in full his or her penalty. If the mounting debt is not paid, JCS forwards the case back to the court and the person is imprisoned for “probation violations” with no adjudication.

The ruling, which enjoined the court and JCS from further imprisoning probation violators and added a 30 day grace period for individuals to pay off a court-ordered penalty before JCS begins to charge their $35 fee, highlights yet another problem with states’ growing reliance on private companies to run corrections services.

In Florida, lawmakers who accepted thousands of dollars from private prison companies have passed legislation to expand private prison contracts, in Arizona Governor Jan Brewer acceptedmore than $60,000 from another private prison company in exchange for favorable legislation, and in Pennsylvania, a judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison after it was revealed he channeled hundreds of young people into privately run juvenile detention facilities in exchange for lofty payouts.

Monday Blog Round Up

Obama Leads in the Swing States

Divorce in America, by the Numbers

What the Court has wrought: the coming Medicaid wars

Obama signs bipartisan transportation, student loan bill

Wireless Firms Are Flooded By Requests To Aid Surveillance

Obama team targets Romney over taxes, Republicans cry foul

Greg Sargent: Even in bad economy, this election should be a choice

Mitt Romney needs to answer basic questions about his offshore millions..

Global Warming Denier George Will Blames Historic Heat Wave On ‘One Word: Summer’

Jan Brewer Asks Supreme Court To Overturn Ruling Allowing Benefits For Same-Sex Partners

Democratic Underground: John King Pops Jan Brewer’s “Win” Balloon To her Lying Face….

CNN’s John King interviewed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer just hours after the Supreme Court ruled on Arizona’s SB1070 law which targeted “illegal” immigrants in that state.

Brewer takes a page from Mitt Romney’s book and blames President Obama for just about everything except the decision.  John King has to burst her bubble a couple of times to bring her back to reality, but she doesn’t take the bait.  She concludes the interview as loony as when she started.

Democratic Underground

Humorous comment from the DU site:

1. she doesn’t even seem to make sense


Poor thing, what a horrid woman. 
How miserable her life must be.
Persecution/abandonment, whenever she talks.

Don’t cry for me, Arizona
The truth is they never loved you
Now they attack us
And stand above us
I’ve kept my promise
They just don’t love us