Since the Occupy protests began, there has been no shortage of anti-Semitic sentiment being aired by its demonstrators across the country. Their messages often revisit the age-old anti-Semitic slur likening the Jewish people to money-grubbing “bankers” who are in complete “control” the country and its finances.
Zombie’s blog now brings us new videos by Urban Infidel and an independent New York blogger depicting the same kind of bigotry. In the video that follows, an Occupy protester can be heard disparaging a Jewish man wearing a traditional kippah head-covering — at one point calling him a “dumb motherf**ker.”
Since the words can be difficult to discern at times, a partial transcript provided by Urban Infidel follows the video. Caution, explicit language is used:
Clay Hill Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida, finds itself in the middle of an epic battle over the separation of church and state.
It’s Baptist Pastor Ron Baker versus the Clay County School District. Of course, outside groups, too, have joined into the intense debate. The pastor, who has been holding prayer meetings at several of the district’s schools for most than a decade, was recently told by the school board that doing so is unconstitutional.
But despite officials’ warnings, he claims he has no intention of ceasing. According to Jacksonville.com, he said:
“I think if I were to stop, it somehow sends the message that I think it must be wrong. Why wouldn’t I want to pray for the safety and security of that school, pray for all those teachers and administration, pray for all those students.”
Let’s delve a bit further into the details, as this one’s a bit tough to follow. The Huffington Post reports that the center of the debate appears to hinge on a morning prayer meeting that occurs at 8:15 a.m. at Clay Hill Elementary School. In an opinion written up by J. Bruce Bickner, an attorney for the board, these prayers aren’t legal — an idea that religious rights groups disagree with.
“…It is a violation of the United States Constitution for a teacher, school administrator or other school district employee to join in a prayer session during their work time,” Bickner wrote.
The controversy commenced when, as WOKV.com reports, ”Clay Hill principal Larry Davis sent out a memo in September urging students and members of the community to take part in the prayer circle.” The memo promoted the prayer session to the school’s 40-member staff, while citing a controversial article that claims that the First Amendment only applies to Christians. Below, find the principal’s letter:
Read more here.
For the first time today the Emergency Alert System took over television and radio airwaves nationwide to conduct a test from the Emergency Alert System. But just how successful was this test?
According to the New York Times, some were reporting seeing the test work perfectly at its scheduled time while others were delayed or never saw the message at all:
Many of the reported failures affected cable and satellite television subscribers, and some were quite head-scratching: Some DirecTV subscribers said their TV sets played the Lady Gaga song “Paparazzi” when the test was underway. Some Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York said the test never appeared on screen. Some Comcast subscribers in northern Virginia said their TV sets were switched over to QVC before the alert was shown.
In some cases the test messages were delayed, perhaps because they were designed to trickle down from one place to many. A viewer in Minneapolis said he saw the message about three minutes late. A viewer in Chattanooga, Tenn., said she saw it about 10 minutes late.
Business Insider’s Zeke Miller reports that at as late as 2:09, they were still waiting for the test to run in New York. Business Insider reports this statement by FEMA Spokeswoman, Rachel Racusen:
“The nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System test was administered and the FCC and FEMA are currently collecting data about the results. This initial test was the first time we have tested the reach and scope of this technology and what additional improvements that should be made to the system as we move forward. Only through comprehensively testing, analyzing, and improving these technologies can we ensure an effective and reliable national emergency alert and warning system. We thank all of our partners who made this test possible and look forward to working with all our stakeholders to improve this current technology and build a robust, resilient, and fully accessible next generation alerting system that can provide timely and accurate alerts to the American people.”
Read more here.
President Obama wants the federal government to do some belt-tightening during tough economic times. On Tuesday he signed an executive order directing agencies to cut back on everything from travel to cellphones, printing, and even promotional or commemorative items such as T-shirts, plaques and mugs.
Each executive-branch agency has a month and a half to identify areas to slash expenditures by 20 percent below fiscal 2010 levels, which will produce what the White House estimates will be $4 billion in annual cost savings.
“At a time when families have had to cut back, have had to make some tough decisions about getting rid of things that they don’t need in order to make the investments that they do, we thought that it was entirely appropriate for our governments and our agencies to try to root out waste, large and small, in a systematic way,” he said
But don’t expect the Oval Office to start cutting back on the official White House M&Ms on Air Force One or curtailing pricey presidential travel.
Mr. Obama is traveling to Hawaii on Friday to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which aims to advance trade and other U.S. economic ties to the region, and then will move on to Australia to promote the two countries’ longstanding alliance. He will end his travel in Bali at another summit, this one aimed at boosting security and anti-terrorism initiatives with Pacific Rim nations.
Air Force One will be flying an estimated 50 hours in 10 days, from Washington to San Diego to Honolulu to Canberra, Australia, to Darwin, Australia, to Bali, Indonesia, and then back to Washington. The 50 hours of flight time, multiplied by the $181,000 per hour to operate Air Force One, amounts to more than $9 million, not including the cost of staff time for those traveling with him.
After the announcement, during a briefing with reporters about Mr. Obama’s trip, White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked whether the president planned to trim some fat from his travel schedule because he has asked others to do so. Mr. Carney shot down any such notion.
“The president makes trips as part of his capacity as commander in chief and president of the United States. There are no plans to [change his travel],” Mr. Carney said.
Read more here.
Michelle Obama told high school students taking part in a mentoring program at Georgetown University on Tuesday that being married to the president can be scary at times, because he makes the family get out of its comfort zone.
The first lady urged students not to let fear guide them after a student asked about being worried about going away to college.
“I mean this is scary,” she said. “Shoot, being married to Barack Obama? He’s got big plans. He’s always pushing us beyond our comfort zones, and I’m dragged along going, `What’s he doing now? No, not this.'”
She told the group of about 50 students from schools in Maryland, Washington and Virginia that she had her own doubts about going from a public school in Chicago to college at Princeton. She said she wondered whether she’d be able to compete with classmates who were wealthier and had gone to some of the best schools in the world. But she said she was willing to work hard and found her strengths.
“One of my strengths was that I had a big mouth, and I liked to talk a lot,” she said, adding that she tells her own daughters not to be afraid to speak up.
She said her advice for college students is not to procrastinate, to ask for help and not to get into credit card debt.
“So in college buy what you can afford, which for most college students is nothing,” she said.
The students visited classes and toured the Georgetown campus before spending about an hour with the first lady
As if Obama would ever actually apologize for anything other than America’s history:GOP Lawmaker Calls on Obama to Apologize to Netanyahu for Disparaging Live Mic CommentsThe BlazeOn Monday The Blaze reported on President Obama’s not-so-private conversationwith French President Nicolas Sarkozy where the two men were overheard on an open mic making disparaging comments about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Today, a freshman House Republican called on President Obama to formally apologize for these exceedingly critical comments.“I find President Obama’s criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu highly offensive and call on him to issue a formal apology on behalf of the American people,” Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said in a statement Tuesday. “Whether the microphones are on or off, the message to our allies in Israel should always remain the same: ‘We stand with you.’”In the conversation between the two heads of state, Sarkozy told Obama that he “cannot stand Netanyahu; he’s a liar.” To which Obama replied, “you’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!”Grimm characterized Obama’s comments as “disgraceful and inappropriate coming from someone who holds the highest office in the United States.” He added that “they provide a poor and inaccurate reflection of the American people he was ele
House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa has demanded an explanation from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich for a false statement he made to Congress in a February 4, 2011 letter. Weich is a deputy to Attorney General Eric Holder, who has become embroiled in the scandal stemming from the failed “Operation Fast and Furious” gun-walking program.
In his February 4 letter to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, Weich wrote that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives “makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who heads the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, conceded in Senate testimony Tuesday that the statement in that letter was false, and that he knew it was false long before the letter was written.
Breuer has not said whether he had a hand in drafting that letter, but he waited more than nine months to correct the record.
Weich and Holder have refused to comply with a congressional subpoena for information about who prepared the letter and who reviewed it before it went out. Even so, Issa has renewed his demand for information that would prove who inserted the false information.
“Mr. Weich, as you are well aware, it is a crime to knowingly make false statements to Congress,” Issa wrote in a letter released Wednesday. “As the Department’s principal liaison to Congress, we rely on you to be straight with the facts. You have not been, and so your credibility on this issue has been seriously eroded.”
“Whether it is the case that you were fed a lie and faithfully repeated it in a letter to Congress, or whether it is the case that you took the initiative to lie to Congress yourself, you are responsible for the contents of letters that bear your signature,” Issa continued. “The buck stops with you.”
Issa’s letter demanded Weich “provide a complete list of individuals who helped” him draft the February 4 letter, along with “all communications, including emails, referring or relating to the development of DOJ’s response to Senator Grassley’s January 27, 2011, request for information.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to delay implementation and revisit a proposed new 15 cent fee on fresh-cut Christmas trees, sources tell ABC News. The fee, requested by the National Christmas Tree Association in 2009, was first announced in the Federal Registry yesterday and has generated criticism of President Obama from conservative media outlets.
The well-trafficked Drudge Report is leading with the story, linking to a blog by David Addington, a former top aide to then-Vice President Dick Cheney, at the conservative Heritage Foundation assailing the president thus: “The economy is barely growing and nine percent of the American people have no jobs. Is a new tax on Christmas trees the best President Obama can do? And, by the way, the American Christmas tree has a great image that doesn’t need any help from the government.”
The National Christmas Tree Association says the fee would fund a program “designed to benefit the industry and will be funded by the growers” and is “not expected to have any impact on the final price consumers pay for their Christmas tree.” According to the Federal Registry, the proposed Christmas Tree Promotion Board, which would be funded by the new fee, would launch a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” and to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States.”
White House spokesman Matt Lehrich told ABC News that despite some media coverage, “I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama Administration is not taxing Christmas trees. What’s being talked about here is an industry group deciding to impose fees on itself to fund a promotional campaign, similar to how the dairy producers have created the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign.”
Nonetheless, the criticisms have apparently had an impact as the program is now being delayed.
“USDA is going to delay implementation and revisit this action,” Lehrich said.