Posted by: maboulette | March 4, 2015

THE STORY OF FERGUSON


The U.S. Justice Department probe found systematic, racially biased policing in Ferguson but did clear a white officer who was involved in the fatal shooting of a black teen who was unarmed back in August.

This shooting started a national debate on race, led to months of protests on the streets in several cities and added loudly to the long-time complaints around the country of harassment by many police departments and mistreatment of minorities.

This report stated that police in this suburb community of St Louis issued almost all of its traffic tickets to blacks as it tried to raise revenue through fines and court fees.  The report further stated that police also targeted blacks for arrests, many on sceptical grounds as well as spread racist jokes through their emails system.

The report by the US Justice Department further wrote that the emphasis on income had conceded the real established personality of Ferguson’s police department, contributing to an arrangement of policing that was considered unconstitutional. 

The report further stated that city officials on a routine basis urged Chief of  Police Tom Jackson to create revenue for the city through enforcement actions against the town’s  67% of population that was mainly black.

Promotions for officers were based in part on the number of citations issued, and civilians were seen less as constituents to be protected but more as potential offenders and sources of revenue.

The report further stated that Ferguson police conduct stops without suspicions that were reasonable and made arrests without probable cause.  Further African Americans in this community were more likely to be charged with petty offenses as well as held longer in jail than any other races.

This report led to renewed calls for the city’s chief of police to step down as well as the mostly white leadership of the town.  

In closing, my question for my readers is this – do you believe that this report would have been the same if the President and the Attorney General of the United States were both white?  Is this just another indication of how racially divided the United States is and how our racial  problems have being hiding only coming to the surface when there are incidents occurring such as this?

 

Posted by: maboulette | March 2, 2015

VATICAN ON ALERT FOR ISLAMIST ATTACK


Reuters in Rome is reporting that the Vatican is on alert for a possible attack by Islamist militants on this city-state or Pope Francis.  It was further stated they are not aware of any specific plot, the head of Vatican security said in a rare interview Monday. 

Domenico Giani told Polizia Moderna that the threat exists and they learned of these threats after conversations were held with Italian and other foreign colleagues.  This was the answer when asked if threats from Islamic State militants were credible. 

Giani further stated that the threat does exist but there are not any specific plans ready to attack the Vatican or the Holy Father. 

Islamic State militants have made threats against Catholic targets in Rome that have been given much space in Italian media.  But Giani did say that the alert level was constantly high in and around the tiny city-state, which sits inside Rome. 

Last month, in a video that showed the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya with one of the killers stating, “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for….we will conquer Rome, by the will of Allah.” 

The Vatican has of force of 130 agents along with the more ceremonial Swiss Guard protecting most of the Vatican and the pope, while Italian police guard the exterior, as well as St. Peter’s Square. 

4,800 soldiers were placed on the streets throughout Italy, after the killings by Islamist militants in Paris and Copenhagen.

The pope has several times condemned attacks by Islamic militants further called on Sunday for an end to their “intolerable brutality”.

Posted by: maboulette | March 1, 2015

CONGRESS BOWL ENDED


I was never more ashamed of our Congress than I was yesterday with the fiasco of keeping Homeland Security funded.  The Republicans, Tea Party and Democrats once again played the game of bringing the government to a halt by not funding Homeland Security.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is one of our most important departments in the government and is charged with the primary responsibilities of protecting the United States from and responding to terrorist attacks, man-made accidents, and natural disasters.  A partial shutdown would require 30,000 staff to be put on furlough and require 170,000 essential personnel to keep working without pay. 

Homeland Security was set up during a Republican administration in order to keep our country safe from any terrorist threat that comes up to harm our country and its people.   And in case you don’t know they have stopped many times incidents of terrorism before they could be executed causing harm to your life, my life, and thousands of American lives.

The Homeland Security Department also includes the Coast Guard, Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It’s a very important Department and what Congress did yesterday to keep from funding this department for pure political reasons was just appalling. 

 Funding this department for 3 weeks, turned into 2 weeks and late last night they managed to get this department funded for 7 days. The House and Senate were playing football to gain the upper hand to avoid the partial shutdown of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.   This seems to happen every time funding comes up, yet the difference this time is that we have a problem going on with ISIS that could cause great harm to our country. 

House Republicans insist that any long-term Homeland Security spending bill must block Obama’s November orders shielding 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportations. Democrats oppose any move to link the agency’s funding with immigration policy, and Obama has said he would veto legislation that would undo his action on immigration.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, agreed with Democrats that the Senate would address the dispute on immigration policy in a separate bill. This is all fairly responsible but not for the House oh, no, no, no.

All of this took me to the point yesterday of tearing up my Democratic Party membership card.  And I am sure most of my readers know how I feel about the Republican Party.

Funding of Homeland Security is vital to our country’s safety and when the two parties start this game uses Homeland Security as the football that does not set right with me.  Homeland Security protects me and my family and they can’t when the Congress is fighting over funding of this Department.  

All I can imagine is what our allies and other countries are thinking when they read about yesterday’s Congress Bowl which ended in a tie ballgame and looked very foolish when they refused to play fair and all I can say right now is shame on you Congress, shame on you!  I am going to play a new game – pay all Americans for their vote next election – now just stop and think about  that.

The Democrats can also  stop sending me tons of spam everyday asking for funding – I am not even going to go there – I just don’t know who is getting my $5 yet!


It has been months since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was formally declared an accident.  Now the wild rumours and conspiracy theories have begun to circulate about what the real fate of this Boeing 777.

Almost from the minute the news on this aircraft had gone missing, the numerous conspiracy theorists around the world have been coming up with all the explanations of what they believe happened to the aircraft causing it to disappear while investigators continue failing to find it.

Of course the crash of flight MH17, which was shot down over the eastern Ukraine during last summer only added to the speculation and a lack of clarity from Malaysian officials about the earlier mystery only allowed more rumors to flourish more various theories.

There are relatives of the passengers on MH17 flight who have offered a $3m reward for any information believing that the investigators have withheld from them.

Even the Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim has accursed his own country’s government of holding back saying how could “one of the most sophisticated” systems of radar in the world just lose track of an airplane.  These same doubts have been expressed by the chief executive of Emirates.

If you have any theories, send them to my blog and let’s have a discussion to see what other theories are out there.  We could split the $3 million.

Posted by: maboulette | February 26, 2015

INFECTION BY A “SUPERBUG”


An 18-year-old student is one of the 7 individuals who have been infected by a outbreak of “superbug” tied to contaminated medical instruments at a Los Angeles hospital.  The student is fighting to not become the 3rd to die, his attorney said.

The young man has spent nearly 3 months in the hospital and is in severe state after being ill with a possibly fatal strain of bacteria that is resistant to at the Medical Center.   His attorney said. “He had no life-threatening condition before like he does now.”

At least 7 people — 2 who died — have been ill with the bacteria ‘carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae’, or CRE, after having endoscopic processes between October and January.  Close to over 170 other patients are believed to have also been exposed, said officials from the hospital.

The student had spent almost 3 months in the hospital at one point and was released but then worsened and has been hospitalized again.

“After he had the procedure, he was released. Then he came down with this illness, and when they studied him it was found he had the CRE bacteria in him, they quickly put two and two together, “the attorney said.

There are many drug resistant bacteria that have recently began making their way into many hospitals in the United States.  This is a problem that began developing because of too many doctors giving antibiotics for every little cold or flu that a person had and after years of doing that, many hospitals are now becoming infected with several of these drug resistant bacteria.

Other factors that contribute to bacteria that are resistant include unnecessary prescriptions, incorrect diagnosis, wrong use of antibiotics by patients, and the use of antibiotics as food additives in livestock for growth promotion.  Too many times physician will give a child with cold antibiotics before running a test in the lab to see if the cause is from a virus.  Who has had their child in to the doctor’s office for a cold and with a prescription for an antibiotic? 

An 18-year-old student is one of the 7 individuals who have been infected by a outbreak of “superbug” tied to contaminated medical instruments at a Los Angeles hospital.  The student is fighting to not become the 3rd to die, his attorney said.

The young man has spent nearly 3 months in the hospital and is in severe state after being ill with a possibly fatal strain of bacteria that is resistant to at the Medical Center.   His attorney said. “He had no life-threatening condition before like he does now.”

At least 7 people — 2 who died — have been ill with the bacteria ‘carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae’, or CRE, after having endoscopic processes between October and January.  Close to over 170 other patients are believed to have also been exposed, said officials from the hospital.

The student had spent almost 3 months in the hospital at one point and was released but then worsened and has been hospitalized again.

“After he had the procedure, he was released. Then he came down with this illness, and when they studied him it was found he had the CRE bacteria in him, they quickly put two and two together, “the attorney said.

There are many drug resistant bacteria that have recently began making their way into many hospitals in the United States.  This is a problem that began developing because of too many doctors giving antibiotics for every little cold or flu that a person had and after years of doing that, many hospitals are now becoming infected with several of these drug resistant bacteria.

Other factors that contribute to bacteria that are resistant include unnecessary prescriptions, incorrect diagnosis, wrong use of antibiotics by patients, and the use of antibiotics as food additives in livestock for growth promotion.  Too many times physician will give a child with cold antibiotics before running a test in the lab to see if the cause is from a virus.  Who has had their child in to the doctor’s office for a cold and with a prescription for an antibiotic?

Resistant pathogens in the Staph family quickly can cause a Staph infection so serious and resistant to any drug that a patient loses a limb or develops other problems. 

So if your physician wants you in the hospital for any reason, discuss this problem with him.  Also make sure your nurse or doctors both are washing their hands each time before examining you.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: maboulette | February 22, 2015

THREAT MADE BY ISLAMIST MILITANTS AGAINST SHOPPING MALLS


The U.S. homeland security chief said on Sunday he takes seriously a threat made by Somali-based Islamist militants against shopping malls, including the Mall of America in Minnesota, and advised people going there to be careful.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was reacting to a video released by al-Shabaab seeming to call for attacks on Western shopping areas, specifically mentioning Mall of America, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and London’s Oxford Street.

“This latest statement from al-Shabaab reflects the new phase we’ve evolved to in the global terrorist threat, in that you have groups such as al-Shabaab and ISIL publicly calling for independent actors in their homelands to carry out attacks,” Johnson told CNN, using an acronym for the militant group Islamic State.

“We’re beyond the phase now where these groups would send foreign operatives into countries after being trained some place,” Johnson said.

There is a guide for an attack on malls by the group. The al-Qaida-linked terror group talks in the video about its September 2013 attack on a mall in Kenya. The blatant siege, which went on for days, left more than 60 people dead at an upscale mall in Nairobi. 

Asked precisely about the threat to Mall of America, one of the world’s largest shopping complexes, Johnson said: “Anytime a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place, we’ve got to take that seriously.”

“I would say that if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful.”

Hours later, Homeland Security Department spokeswoman Marsha Catron said the department and the FBI had shared information about the video with local law enforcement and “private sector part 

The Somalia-based militants have heavily recruited in Minneapolis, which is home to the largest Somali population in the United States. Many young men have slipped away to join the group in Somalia.

Posted by: maboulette | February 16, 2015

POPE FRANCIS HELPS HOMELESS WITH FREE SHAVE AND SHOWER


Every Monday homeless women and men line up off St. Peter’s Square where Pope Francis’ latest charitable initiative is: a free shower and shave for those least fortune.

Mauro Casubolo, 49 was one of the first clients as the pope’s barbershop opened in the public restrooms off the Bernini Colonnade.  Mauro chin was still red from his shave – first in 3 weeks – but he is grateful.  He gets by with handouts from local charitable organization but what he really wants is a job – so you need a shave and shower before looking for one.

He says, “It’s a beautiful thing he’s done for us, especially us who live in the middle of the streets because if you want to try to go find some work you can come here and have a shower.”

Francis’ chief alms-giver, Monsignor Konrad Krajewski said that this project has been needed since homeless are those often shunned for their smell and appearance.  This initiative is funded by donation and sale of papal parchments by Krajewsi’s office.

Barbers on their days off volunteer – most Rome’s barber shops are often closed on Mondays – as well as students from the beauty school donate their services as well as some sisters from religious orders.

The pope is becoming more popular as each day goes by with little things like this that he puts into place.

Posted by: maboulette | February 13, 2015

TOTALLY UNBELIEVABLE


More and more I am beginning to totally lose faith of any kind with the Republican party.  For all the years that Obama has been in office, Republicans have done everything to go against their President.  I am just thankful that Obama is smart enough to manage to get things done without the help of Republicans in Congress.

Right now, it is totally unbelievable that the Republicans have invited the Israeli Prime Minister to address Congress against diplomacy with Iran – and they have done this without consulting the White House.  This is not only a bad way to show ourselves to other countries, it is bad manners to do this to your President.

 It doesn’t matter what your position is on Israel, we must all agree that any leader of any foreign country being asked by Congress to undermine current Foreign Policy of the United States has to be considered as a new low in partisan polities.

Will you sign a petition asking members of congress to urge the speech be moved till after the current negotiations with Iran have ended? 

The White House has already said that they will not meet with the Israeli President and Vice President Biden has stated that he may not attend this speech should it take place and so have a number of Democrats.

This is not about what we think of Israel.  This is about the fact that the United States can only have one foreign policy and it should be one that serves the long-term interests of all the American people.  For Republicans to be trying to undermine our national security and interests just for the sake of short-term political points is just completely unacceptable.

We need to show Congress that the America people are aware of dirty partisan politics and we will not stand for this anymore.  By loudly speaking out we can ensure that these types of underhanded tactics do not become the new way to handle our foreign policy.

 

Posted by: maboulette | February 9, 2015

WEST MEMPHIS THREE


I spent most of yesterday (Sunday) watching three documentaries that followed the murder of three 8 year old boys and the trials of the three teenagers who were accused of these crimes that occurred in West Memphis, Arkansas.

Accused

Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. It was during the trial that the prosecution asserted that the children were killed as part of a Satanic ritual.

300px-West_Memphis_Three_Mugshot

New evidence

In July of 2007, new forensic evidences in the case was presented in this case and a joint status report was issued by the state as well as the defense team stating, “Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offense, some if it cannot be attributed to either the victims or the defendants.” In October of 2007, the defense filed a Second Amended Writ of Habeas Corpus, outlining the new evidence.

Innocent

Following a successful decision in 2010 by the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding the newly produced DNA evidence, the West Memphis Three reached a deal with the prosecutors.  Then on August 19, 2011, the three teenagers entered Alford pleas, which let them assert their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict the (but they didn’t have much evidence).  The Judge David Laser accepted the pleas and sentenced the three to time served.  They were releases with 10-year suspended sentences, having served 18 years and 78 days in prison.

Here is why it was so gripping – during the first 2 documentaries you have no idea who did it but you know that the teenagers didn’t do it.  But you don’t learn what happens to the teenagers until near the end of the third documentary and Damien had a date set for execution.

This is why I am so against capital punishment with these documentaries showing the problems with our criminal justice system.  I was glued to the TV and I am not a big champion of documentary movies – they have to grab me in the first 15 minutes or the TV gets turned off.   I highly recommend all three for everyone to watch.  Just search for ‘West Memphis Three’ with your favorite browser.

There are rumors that a 4th documentary is in the works as three other people are now suspected.

 


It’s possible that President Obama knew his remarks at the prayer breakfast would blow some of his opponents’ stacks; it’s possible he’s surprised by the storm. But storm there is, manufactured or genuine. What do you think honest or contrived – what do you think about the comparison of Christian Crusades to ISIS to Islamic state? 

At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, President Obama made mention to Christianity that angry some conservatives.

Speaking generally, Mr. Obama began by accusing zealots who hijack religion “for their own murderous ends.” He mentioned the recent massacre at a Pakistani school carried out by the Taliban, the assault on Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris committed by radical Islamists, and the terrible murders carried out by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS or ISIS).

He widened his lens a bit, talking about the killings of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria and religious war in the Central African Republic. “Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire.

Then the president said this: “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

This did not go down well with right-leaning pundits. They noted that Obama had not actually said “Taliban” when he stated that the school attack or “radical Islam” in the Charlie Hebdo reference. At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone.

Michelle Marlkin, conservative author and talker tweeted, “ISIS chops off heads, incinerates hostages, kills gays, enslaves girls. Obama: Blame the Crusades.”  

Right-side radio host Rush Limbaugh of course made the Christianity mention the subject of one of his segments on Thursday’s show.

“Why would you attempt to downplay Islamist extremism?” Mr. Limbaugh said. “Why would you attempt to put in perspective the actions taken today by Al Qaeda and ISIS and Boko Haram and the Khorasan Group and all of the rest of them by claiming that just as many atrocities have taken place in the name of Christ?”

So what was Obama thinking when he mentioned Christianity in this way? First, it’s likely he was just trolling, knowing that Limbaugh et al. are always looking for ways to arouse anger in their audience. But it’s more likely that he was taking the setting of the prayer breakfast to try to restate something that’s been a US talking point since the Bush administration: America is not at war with Islam.  It is fighting people who use partisan versions of faith as a weapon.  That’s the circumstance of the remark. He leads into it by talking about the ways any religion can be misused.

“Part of what I want to touch on today is the degree to which we’ve seen the professions of faith used both as an instrument of great good, but also twisted and misused in the name of evil,” the president said.

Then he tries to make clear that it is people who are doing the twisting and misusing here. It is not natural in religion itself. And he tries to link this thought to Islam in precise.  “We have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but in fact are betraying it,” he said.

Obama then recalls how people of faith can resolve these matters, the good of religion and the evil of those who misuse it. That’s when the Christianity reference comes in, as a kind of aside to try to begin that it’s not just Muslims who have this problem.

Conservatives have several issues with this line of reasoning. Some – certainly not all – on the right think the principle is wrong. They believe the United States is indeed at war with Islam as a whole, or at least a broad strain of Islam, and the sooner we recognize this, the better.

Here’s Limbaugh “Sharia law is the present-day threat to individual and civil liberties all over the world. Sharia is not a narrow cult. Sharia law is Islam.”

Others agree that we’re not at war with a religion itself, but just think Obama expressed himself poorly and made an inappropriate assessment.

The president specifically noted that the violent acts of Islam are carried out by “twisted” individuals. But his reference to Christianity, the Crusades, and Jim Crow was less about individuals and more about the religion as a whole, writes Noah Rothman at the right-leaning Hot Air.

“The president, and many of his allies on the left, frequently trip over themselves to emphasize – correctly, as it happens – that ISIS’s acts of brutality are not archetypical Islamic behavior…. But to assert this and in the same breath suggest that Christianity was also a violent, expansionist religion a mere 800 years ago is a contradiction. Why make this comparison if ISIS is not representative of Islam?” Mr. Rothman writes.

So there you have it. The president’s full remarks are worth reading if you want to make up your own mind. It’s possible he knew they would blow some of his opponents’ stacks; it’s possible he’s surprised by the disagreement. But disagreement there is, made-up or real.

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