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President Selfie Strikes Again

Via Twitter -- Mohd Najib Tun Razak, PM of Malaysia:
Very cute. Now, where's the plane? - Greg Pollowitz

Rahm’s Chicago: Woman Killed After Anti-Violence Event

Via Chicago Tribune:

Leonore Draper was minutes away from entering her West Pullman home after an anti-violence charity event she attended Friday night when she was shot and killed.

Police found Draper, 32, shot in the chest and arm in a parked car near her home in the 11600 block of South Laflin Street in the West Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side at about 10:35 p.m., about 30 minutes after the fundraiser she went to was over. She was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn at 12:32 a.m., according to the medical examiner’s office.
“The irony behind her getting shot… is beyond me,” said Fallon Barrett, 33, who has been close friends with Draper since high school. “I feel like I’m in this really bad dream that I wanna wake up from.”. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

UPDATE: 26 Shot in Chicago Since Friday Afternoon

Via Chicago Tribune:

At least four people were killed and 26 wounded in a 16-hour wave of shootings on Chicago’s South, West and Southwest sides starting Friday afternoon, according to police.

The number of people shot in the city since early Friday afternoon is now well more than half the number shot the entire previous weekend, the city’s most violent of the year to date.

Among those killed were a 17-year-old boy, a 32-year-old woman, and a 21-year-old man.

An 86-year-old man was also killed in a neighborhood dispute involving an off-duty police officer Friday afternoon.  Authorities said the officer’s neighbor shot and injured the officer’s wife about 2:15 p.m., prompting the officer to fatally shoot the neighbor in self-defense and then shoot the neighbor’s wife after she picked up a shotgun her husband had been holding. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Chicagoland: 17 People Shot Since Friday Evening

Via the Chicago Sun Times:

Three people were killed and at least 14 others were wounded in shootings since Friday evening in the city.

The shootings all occurred within a seven-hour period, beginning 7:15 p.m. Friday.

The most recent fatal shooting happened early Saturday in the West Side Austin neighborhood, killing a 17-year-old boy.

Jaquez Williams was standing in the 5500 block of West North Avenue about 2 a.m. when an unknown person approached him and shot him in the head, authorities said. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Best GOP Political Ad Ever? Meet Dr. Monica Wehby

Via Monica for Oregon:



You'll want to have some tissues handy. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Former KKK Leader/Alleged Killer Caught with Black Male Prostitute Dressed as a Woman


The former Ku Klux Klan leader charged with killing three people at Kansas City Jewish centers was caught with an African American, cross-dressing prostitute back in the 1980s.

North Carolina’s WGHP reported Raleigh police caught Glenn Miller in the backseat of a car, engaged in a sex act with a black male prostitute who was dressed as a woman.

WTVD said it found this information when researching Miller’s past in the area.

According to WGHP, officials said Miller wasn’t charged for the incident likely because the government was pursuing a much larger case against him.

Miller is currently facing charges for killing a boy and his grandfather, who was a doctor in Duncan, Oklahoma, outside of a Jewish community center weeks ago.

He also allegedly killed a woman at a Jewish assisted living center. . .


- Greg Pollowitz

Florida School Stops Giving Students Mountain Dew Before Standardized Tests

Via AP:

A central Florida elementary school has stopped a long-standing practice of serving students Mountain Dew before standardized tests.
Florida Today reports that a woman contacted local media outlets after learning that students were being served three tablespoons of soda and some trail mix before taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

Brevard County schools spokeswoman Michelle Irwin says they’ve advised officials at Creel Elementary School to provide only water to students.

 Irwin says Principal Kathryn Eward started serving soda and trail mix about 10 years ago after reading about its positive effect on students taking tests. . .

I think we need to start testing teacher and principals instead of students. - Greg Pollowitz

POTUS in Japan: ‘The Robots Are a Little Scary’

Via ABC News:

President Obama today got up close and personal with the latest in Japanese science and technology, including an encounter with a humanoid robot named “ASIMO.”

During a photo op at the Miraikan museum, which showcases Japanese emerging science and innovation, Obama and the robot bowed at each other and even had a conversation in English.

“It’s nice to meet you,” ASIMO said in an electronic voice. “I can kick a soccer ball, too.”

“OK, come on,” Obama said in wry disbelief.

ASIMO, or Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, accepted the challenge, fetching a ball, stepping back, then punting it toward the president. Obama deftly trapped the ball with his foot.

“How about that, that was pretty impressive,” he said.

The robot, which was designed by Honda, told the president it had learned to jump and started to demonstrate.

Later, in remarks to students and civic officials at the museum, Obama joked that “the robots are a little scary. They’re too lifelike.” . . .

- Greg Pollowitz

The Search for MH370 Exposes China’s Naval Vulnerabilities

Via Reuters:

When Chinese naval supply vessel Qiandaohu entered Australia’s Albany Port this month to replenish Chinese warships helping search for a missing Malaysian airliner, it highlighted a strategic headache for Beijing – its lack of offshore bases and friendly ports to call on.

China’s deployment for the search – 18 warships, smaller coastguard vessels, a civilian cargo ship and an Antarctic icebreaker – has stretched the supply lines and logistics of its rapidly expanding navy, Chinese analysts and regional military attaches say.

China’s naval planners know they will have to fill this strategic gap to meet Beijing’s desire for a fully operational blue-water navy by 2050 – especially if access around Southeast Asia or beyond is needed in times of tension. . .


Florida Insurance Company Sees Higher Premiums in 2015

Via the Miami Herald:

Most of the consumers who bought a private health plan from Florida Blue through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges between October and April were previously uninsured — one of many factors potentially leading to higher premium rates in 2015, according to a senior executive.

Jason Altmire, a former Pennsylvania congressman and now senior vice president of public policy for Florida Blue, cited familiar reasons for a likely rise in rates next year, including the requirement that insurers no longer exclude those with pre-existing conditions, charge equal rates regardless of gender and charge older members no more than three times the amount paid by younger ones.

Other reasons consumers may see higher premiums in 2015, he said, include the Obama administration’s decision to allow Americans to keep their health insurance plans for an additional year even if the plans did not meet the coverage requirements of the health law.

Altmire said that most consumers signed up through the exchange were previously uninsured Americans who may have delayed seeking medical care, making them potentially more costly to insure.

“A lot of them aren’t in the best of health,” he said, noting that consumers who signed up at the outset of open enrollment were likely the ones who needed it most. “We expect it to cost more to insure them because of deferred health needs.”. . .

The premium increases should come right before the midterm elections. Get the popcorn. . . -

The Debate is Over: SCOTUS Upholds Affirmative Action Ban

Via Fox News:

The Supreme Court has upheld Michigan’s affirmative action ban, ruling that the state has the right to determine whether racial preferences can be considered in college admissions. 

In a 6-2 ruling on Tuesday, the justices said that a lower federal court was wrong to set aside the change as discriminatory. The Supreme Court ruled that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution to bar public colleges and universities from using race as a factor in admissions. 

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, suggested that right extends even beyond college policies. 

“There is no authority in the federal constitution or in the [courts'] precedents for the judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit to the voters the determination whether racial preferences may be considered in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admissions,” he wrote. . .

Or does President Obama apply a different standard re. debate to this decision than he does to Obamacare? - Greg Pollowitz

Report: Number of Abducted Schoolgirls in Nigeria Rises to 190

Via BBC Africa:

Some 190 Nigerian schoolgirls remain missing after being abducted last week, their head teacher has told the BBC – far more than the official figure.

Asabe Kwambura said the parents of 230 girls had reported them missing but 40 had managed to escape.

Earlier, a local state governor said that about 77 of the teenagers had not been accounted for.

Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the kidnapping but has not issued any statement.

Some 1,500 people are believed to have been killed in attacks blamed on Boko Haram this year alone. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Al Qaeda in Yemen Shocked by Drone Strikes After Taunting the U.S. on YouTube

Via Fox News:

A suspected U.S. drone strike in southern Yemen killed 55 militants Monday, in the third deadly attack on an Al Qaeda training camp in the area in several days.

Yemen’s interior ministry says among those killed in an hours-long campaign of strikes on the camp in the rugged mountains of Mahfad between Abyan, Shabwa and al-Bayda provinces were three senior members of Al Qaeda. The ministry said the identification process for those killed is ongoing.

The operation kicked off Sunday and is believed to have involved U.S. drones. Security officials said the camp’s infrastructure was destroyed.

Unidentified Yemen tribal leaders earlier said one of the killed commanders was Munnaser al-Anbouri.

Unidentified Yemen tribal leaders has earlier identified one of the  killed commanders as Munnaser al-Anbouri. . .

Let's hope they got some of the big-shots. - Greg Pollowitz

Easter in Chicago: 8 Dead, 37 Injured

Via the Chicago Sun Times:

Easter weekend was no holiday from violence, with shootings claiming the lives of eight across Chicago and leaving 37 wounded.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed the weekend’s violence Monday at a graduation ceremony for the newest class of Chicago Police Department recruits. Emanuel told the graduates he had spoken by phone to the mother of one of Sunday night’s victims of gun violence.

He said she told him she wanted the violence to stop, and that the community needs to speak and stand up.

“For a community to be safe, it’s not just about policing, it’s not just about summer jobs, it’s not just about afterschool, which is necessary, it is also about not living by a code of silence but living by a moral code,” Emanuel said. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Nigeria: 77 Schoolgirls Still Missing

Via BBC Africa:

Seven of the 85 Nigerian schoolgirls still missing after being abducted last week have escaped, the local state governor says.

Another girl had run home on the day of the attack, meaning 77 are still missing, said Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima.

About 130 girls were seized from their school hostel by gunmen last Monday.

Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the kidnapping but has not issued any statement.

Some 1,500 people are believed to have been killed in attacks blamed on Boko Haram this year alone.

The group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, is fighting to establish Islamic law in Nigeria. It often targets educational establishments.

Mr Shettima did not give details of how the girls had escaped, for security reasons. . .

Prayers. - Greg Pollowitz

Obama Votes Present on Deporting Justin Bieber

Via the NY Daily News:

Maybe the Obamas just like the Bieb.

The White House is refusing to answer an online petition seeking to have Justin Bieber deported, claiming the imploding pop star is a “terrible influence on our nation’s youth.”

“Sorry to disappoint, but we won’t be commenting on this one,” the White House responded to the nearly 274,000 petitioners who requested that Bieber be sent back to his native Canada and his green card revoked. “We’ll leave it to others to comment on Mr. Bieber’s case.”. . .

Not only does he vote present, he uses it to make an pitch for his immigration policies. - Greg Pollowitz

One Year Ago: Remembering the West, Texas Fertilizer Blast

Via the Dallas Morning News:

With a congregation of more than 1,500 people torn apart by loss before him, the Rev. John Crowder spoke Thursday of hope and renewal.

“We won’t let our disaster define us,” said the First Baptist Church of West pastor. “We won’t let our past confine us.” The message of strength came during an event marking the first anniversary of the deadly 2013 fertilizer plant explosion that unleashed emotional and physical carnage West is still struggling to overcome.

The ceremony capped a bittersweet milestone in this Central Texas town’s path to recovery. Thursday’s service, “West 4-17 Forever Forward,” began at 7:30 p.m., about the same time a fire broke out last year at West Fertilizer Co. on the northern edge of town.

A moment of silence came at 7:51 p.m., one year to the minute that the blaze caused a stockpile of ammonium nitrate to explode. In seconds, the fiery explosion killed 15 and injured more than 300 people. It damaged or destroyed more than 200 houses, three schools, a nursing home and an apartment complex.

The blast site is now cleared. Gone Thursday were the mangled remains of the fertilizer plant’s buildings that sat for months while state and federal agencies investigated the explosion. The state fire marshal hasn’t determined what caused the fire.

Across the street from where the plant once stood, a white cross memorialized fallen firefighter Cyrus Reed.

“Cyrus, miss you … love you always,” his parents wrote on it. . .



Harry Reid Calls Bundy Supporters ‘Domestic Terrorists’

Via Twitter -- Jon Ralston:

This won't go over well. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Contrary To Earlier Reports, Nigerian Schoolgirls Still Missing

Via the WSJ:

The fate of nearly 100 kidnapped schoolgirls believed by authorities to be in the hands of a militant Islamist sect in northern Nigeria remained uncertain Thursday, as President Goodluck Jonathan moved to rebut criticism that he’d been insensitive to the recent violence that has convulsed the West African nation.

Since armed men burst into a girls’ boarding school in the northern state of Borno on Monday and seized 129 students, 30 have escaped captivity, the state’s education commissioner, Musa Inuwa Kubo, said.

A military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, said in an email on Wednesday, however, that all but eight of the 121 captured girls were safely accounted for. He cited Asabel Kwambura, the school principal, as the source of his information. A day later, Mr. Kwambura denied making the claim.

“The military are not giving the right information,” he said Thursday, adding that he was in regular contact with local officials and the girls’ parents. Some of the parents, he said, were journeying to the northern forests where Boko Haram is known to hide, in an attempt to locate their children and negotiate their release.

Maj. Gen. Olukolade didn’t respond Thursday to requests for comment about the discrepancy.

The Nigerian military’s accounting was the latest in a series of disputed declarations about Boko Haram that have undermined public confidence in the government’s ability to deal with the sect, whose fighters carry out almost daily attacks across the north of the country. . . 

Updates to follow. - Greg Pollowitz

Video: Jay Carney Says Jon Stewart Was Obama’s Toughest Interview in ‘12

Via Real Clear Politics:

I wonder what the White House press corps thinks about that. - Greg Pollowitz


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