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Guess What Most of These Have in Common

Posted By stephanie stickley on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:32AM

According to a recent Gallup poll, the U.S. has shown almost no improvement in well-being in the past five years, with just a slight increase from 2011 when Americans reported the most miserable scores since the survey began. The top and bottom states have remained nearly the same. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which has surveyed 1.7 million Americans since the survey was first conducted in 2008, reflects the physical and emotional health of residents in each of the 50 states. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the scores of each state in the six categories that comprise Gallup’s index to identify objective measures that impact well-being. Some of the factors include health, life expectancy, income and education level. These are America’s most unhappy states:


Read This, Then Dare Call Obama a Dictator

Posted By stephanie stickley on Mar 9, 2013 at 8:11AM

A House committee passed sweeping anti-abortion legislation Thursday aimed at ensuring the state doesn’t subsidize abortions even indirectly through tax exemptions or credits.

House Bill 2253 resurrects ideas from last year's "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," but it tacks on items affecting information the Kansas Department of Health and Environment distributes on abortion and fetal development. It also defines in state statute that "life begins at fertilization."

The measure approved by the Federal and State Affairs Committee also would strengthen a law designed to prevent medical residents from performing abortions on state property.

Rep. Ponka-We Victors, D-Wichita; Rep. Louis Ruiz, D-Kansas City; Rep. Broderick Henderson, D-Kansas City; and Rep. Annie Tietze, D-Topeka, voted against the bill in committee.

Much of the debate centered on a portion of the bill that bars anyone associated with an abortion provider from working in a public school. It is meant to prevent districts from contracting with groups like Planned Parenthood to provide sexual education materials, but Rep. Emily Perry, D-Mission, said the bill as written was overly broad.

"I read this section to prohibit parents from going in and volunteering at their child’s school if they work at a place that provides abortion services,” Perry said.

Committee Chairman Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, confirmed with a staff attorney that the bill would, for example, prohibit an abortion clinic secretary from "bringing cupcakes" to school for his or her child's birthday party.

Perry offered an amendment to exempt school volunteerism that she said was supported by the bill's author, Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe. Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita said he also supported it.

"Certainly if somebody wants to volunteer we can’t stop somebody," Brunk said. "We wouldn’t want to.”

The amendment passed, after it was tweaked to limit it to those who work for abortion providers and volunteer in schools, but not those who volunteer in abortion clinics and work in schools.

There was still opposition to the amendment from Rep. Allan Rothlisberg, R-Grandview Plaza, who said he didn't want anyone involved in "killing children or babies" volunteering in public schools in any capacity.

“If they want to (volunteer) they can find another job that will allow them to do so," Rothlisberg said. "We should have people of integrity and morality teaching our children.”

The bill is now eligible for a full vote in the House, where many elements of it passed last year before stalling in the Senate.

It has the strong support of abortion opponents, and abortion-rights supporters consider it the most serious threat to access to the procedure being considered this year.

Under the bill, a woman who has an abortion couldn’t include the cost in calculating her medical expenses if she deducts them on her income taxes. Also, groups providing abortion couldn’t claim the same sales tax exemption on certain purchases as other health care providers.

Brunk called it a an attempt to set up a "comprehensive" firewall between state money and abortion.

The bill's passage came one day after Arkansas legislators overrode a veto to pass what is believed to be the nation's strictest anti-abortion law. The Arkansas bill would virtually ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy based on a fetus having a detectable heartbeat.

Brunk congratulated Arkansas lawmakers on pushing the bill through and said such a measure would have significant support in the Kansas Legislature.

"I think there's a sense a lot of us would like to do that," Brunk said. "A lot of us would like to do heartbeat legislation."

Brunk said there is a split among some anti-abortion advocates, though, who fear such a bill would bring instant court challenges, which was the argument Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe articulated in vetoing the bill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


ACORN Smear Costs O'Keefe

Posted By stephanie stickley on Mar 9, 2013 at 7:54AM

Remember James O'Keefe?

That would be the same James O’Keefe who brought down community organizing and voter registration organization ACORN in his march to becoming a conservative icon for his alleged ‘good works’.

Matthew Phelan and Liz Farkas over at Wonkette have broken the story about the first bit of blowback resulting from O’Keefe’s brand of ‘journalism’.

It seems that the master of the cleverly edited—if highly deceptive—video reel is now being required to pay the sum of $100,000 to Juan Carlos Vera, a one time California employee of ACORN. Mr. Vera had been portrayed by O’Keefe as being a willing participant when O’Keefe and his accomplice, Hanna Giles, proposed smuggling young women into the United States to work as prostitutes.

While Mr. Vera had no idea he was being surreptitiously video taped—which is not surprising given that California law expressly bars the secret recording of one’s voice or image—there was also something Mr. O’Keefe did not know until after he released the damaging video of his conversation with Vera for broadcast.

As soon as O’Keefe and his partner-in-crime left the ACORN location, Mr. Vera called the police to report the entire incident. It turns out that Vera had been playing along with O’Keefe in an effort to ensnare O’Keefe and Giles whom Vera believed were in the act of breaking the law by proposing to engage in the importing of young women to become prostitutes.


As part of the settlement, Mr. O’Keefe was required to say that he “regrets any pain” he caused Mr. Vera—although I have some doubts as to whether O’Keefe has been losing any sleep over his illegal behavior and the harm he did to Mr. Vera.

Why might I feel that way?

Because Mr. O’Keefe’s lawyer—Los Angeles attorney Michael Madigan—wasted no time in characterizing the $100,000 payment as a “nuisance settlement.” Apparently, when releasing videos smearing an innocent man by suggesting he is willing to participate in the flesh trade turns out to do that individual serious damage, it counts as nothing more than a nuisance to Mr. O’Keefe and his attorney.

A report issued by the California Attorney General in 2010 revealed that O’Keefe and Giles were given immunity from prosecution (a serious mistake in my opinion) in exchange for turning over the complete and unedited tapes that O’Keefe shot in Los Angeles, San Francisco and National City where O’Keefe worked his magic on Juan Carlos Vera.

The AG’s report highlighted how Mr. O’Keefe edited his videos to appear as if he was engaging in his ACORN hi-jinks wearing “stereotypical 1970’s pimp garb”, the intent being to suggest that ACORN employees would willingly do business with someone dressed in this manner. However, it turns out that O’Keefe was actually wearing a coat and tie when he entered the ACORN offices. The report also stated that ACORN employees “may be able to bring a private suit against O’Keefe and Giles for recording a confidential conversation.”

Here’s hoping that Mr. Vera is but the first of many to take advantage of the opportunity to bring such a legal action.

Oddly, a Google scan revealed no coverage of the settlement in Breitbart.com or any of the other conservative media who so enjoyed Mr. O’Keefe’s exploits.

Go figure.


What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Posted By stephanie stickley on Mar 8, 2013 at 10:51AM

A Republican state lawmaker in Georgia on Thursday introduced a bill that would relax gun restrictions on people who have been treated for mental illness.

State Rep. Rick Jasperse (R) told The Associated Press that his bill — titled the “Safe Carry Protection Act” — would allow people who have voluntarily sought out treatment for mental illness and substance abuse to get a firearm license.

The measure would also do away with fingerprinting requirements for license renewals and permit guns in bars, churches and college campuses.

“Simply being hospitalized doesn’t make a person a criminal or a threat,” Jasperse explained.

Under the proposed bill, a probate judge would be required to accept written statements from permit applicants claiming that they had not been involuntarily hospitalized, unless the state could prove otherwise within 30 days.

The move to loosen gun restrictions goes against a national trend of increasing gun control after the December mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Georgia Democrats vowed to oppose the bill, but admitted that they did not have the votes to block it.

“More than anything in the wake of not just one, not just two, but a series of tragedies, for our reaction to be an expansion of the places where people can feel unsafe, to increase the efficiency of evil, I find that be just a flabbergasting decision to make as a Legislature,” Democratic minority leader Stacey Abrams said.

The Second Amendment advocacy group GeogriaCarry.org claimed that the bill was “designed to enhance the safety of all Georgians through the safe carrying of firearms by responsible citizens.

I Do Thank the Right for Its Tepid Support of This Guy

Posted By stephanie stickley on Mar 4, 2013 at 12:31PM

6 Most Absurd Things the Romneys Said in Their First Post-Election Interview

Mitt Romney is back. The former Massachusetts governor and failed Republican presidential candidate gave his first post-election interview to Fox News [3], and the results weren’t pretty--though they were absurd.

Mitt and Ann Romney gave Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday the honor of hearing them babble. From blaming minorities’ love of Obamacare to whining about their election loss, the interview was chock full of ridiculous moments and quotes.

Here are 6 of them.

1. Blaming Minorities’ Love for Obamacare

Given the fact that the Republican Party staked out a totally anti-Obamacare political position throughout the 2012 campaign, it’s striking to see their former standard-bearer blame the legislation for his loss. It is admitting political failure of the highest degree.

Mitt Romney told Fox News’ Wallace [4] that “We did very well with the majority population, but not with minority populations, and that was a failing, that was a real mistake.” After Wallace asked him why, Romney added: “I think the Obamacare attractiveness and feature was something we underestimated, particularly among lower incomes.” As Think Progress points out, [4] this comment “is reminiscent of the explanation he gave his donors for his defeat shortly after the election — Obama won because of ‘the gifts [5]’ he gave to African-Americans, Latinos and young voters.”

2. Romney’s Heart Lies to Him

During the election, Mitt Romney was living in an alternative universe--the same universe where most of the Republican base lived. Romney told Wallace that his “heart” told him he was going to win the election. [6] His heart lied to him, then--all the polls in the run-up to the election accurately showed that Obama would win.

“We were convinced we would win. We saw that the polls were very close, but we knew that the energy and passion was with our voters. My heart said we were going to win,” Romney said on Fox News. “It was a slow recognition, until ultimately when the Ohio numbers began coming in and they were disappointing, I said, 'Look, this looks like we lost.' Wasn't certain. Some people said 'Oh, look, if this number comes in you could win,' but by 8 or 9 o'clock it was pretty clear that we were not going to win.”

Romney was reading too much of the conservative press and watching too much Fox News if he really thought he had a good shot of winning.

3. Mitt Romney Thinks He Could Be a Better Leader Than Obama

Washington, D.C. is bad now. Romney thinks he could have fixed it with bold leadership [7]--perhaps by slashing tax rates for the suffering wealthy and repealing health care legislation that helps out ordinary people.

Romney told Fox News he could have avoided the sequester. “I don't see that kind of leadership happening right now,” he said. “It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done. It's hard.”

4. Blaming the Media

Ann Romney knows what made Mitt lose: the media! [8] It wasn’t Romney’s 47% remark; nor the Republicans insistence on austerity; nor their utterly tone-deaf positions on immigration. Nope--the mainstream media was in the tank for Obama.

“I’m happy to blame the media,” Ann Romney said. “It was not just the campaign’s fault, I believe it was the media’s fault as well. He was not being given a fair shake.”

5. Our Campaign Also Screwed Up--By Not Letting Mitt Be Mitt

Ann Romney also engaged in a bit of hilarious reflection on how the Romney campaign was run. She thinks that if Mitt Romney was allowed to let his true colors show, he would have done better. Indeed--more of those unfiltered remarks like his 47% speech would have really gone a long way.

Wallace asked her if she was upset that by the Romney campaign’s unwillingness to “let Mitt be Mitt,” and she said yes [9]. “Well, of course … it's true,” she said of the campaign keeping Romney from showing his true self.

6. Don’t Worry America--Mitt Will Continue to Offer His Sage Advice

Mitt Romney did not get the message from American voters. He vowed to continue to be engaged [10] in political life, even when it’s clear the vast majority of Americans--Democrats, for sure but also many Republicans--never want to hear from him again.

“I'm not gonna disappear. I'm not running for office…. but I care about America,” said Romney. “Sitting on the sidelines when so much is at stake is just not in my nature.”


And Again...

Posted By stephanie stickley on Mar 1, 2013 at 1:53PM

UPDATE: Deputies say man shot himself in leg

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Richmond County deputies have learned details about the shooting incident that happened at the Fox Den Apartments.

Deputies arrived after 9:30 p.m Thursday to find 20-year-old John Fredrick Mack with a gunshot wound in the inner left thigh.

Initially, investigators were looking for a suspect but later learned Mack accidentally shot himself in the leg.

Mack was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries but was later released.

No charges will be filed against Mack at this time.


Tell Me More About Responsible Gun Owners...

Posted By stephanie stickley on Feb 28, 2013 at 3:13PM

A gun owner in Florida was arrested on Wednesday after he opened fire at a suspected Walmart shoplifter because he said he felt threatened and wanted to “mark” the man’s car for police.

As unarmed 42-year-old Eddie McKee allegedly ran from an Orange City Walmart with stolen merchandise, 35-year-old Jose Martinez pulled out his gun and fired at least five bullets, according to WKMG.

“I saw one black gentleman running from the parking lot, he dove in his car,” a caller told 911. “And there were two older gentlemen chasing him down. One drew a gun, ripped open the guys car door and screamed, ‘Freeze, freeze, don’t move!’ And then fired shots.”

Bullets riddled McKee’s vehicle, hitting the trunk and shattering the back window. Two other cars were also hit by gunfire.

Martinez told WKMG that he was shocked that police arrested him because he thought no one other than the shoplifter was in danger. He said he just wanted to mark the man’s car for police.

Orange City police argued that surveillance video showed that the gun owner was never in danger because McKee was in the process of fleeing when the shooting occurred.

Martinez has permit to carry a concealed weapon in Florida, but was charged with aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied vehicle, both felonies.

McKee faced a misdemeanor charge after police caught up with him in DeLand.


Could Be Your Kid Next

Posted By stephanie stickley on Feb 28, 2013 at 12:59PM

Van ISD Superintendent Don Dunn has confirmed an employee was shot during private instruction after a school district sponsored handgun training safety class.

Multiple sources, including teachers at Van ISD, and from the employee's family, tell us that the employee is Glenn Geddie, who works in the maintenance department for Van ISD. We can confirm that Geddie is at ETMC in Tyler, listed in fair condition.

Back in January, the Van Independent School District school board authorized "certain school employees and other persons" to carry authorized firearms on school property.

"We are going to go above and beyond on all out training," said Van Superintendent Don Dunn back in January. "We're going to start training immediately. It will be every employee who is approved to carry."

Dunn also said in January that they are all concerned something could go wrong with this plan, but the possibility of an attack on campus outweighs that fear.

Here is a statement from Van ISD:

"At the conclusion of the CHL training on February 27, 2013, one certified person stayed for private instruction with the instructor and had a mechanical malfunction with his weapon. With the assistance of the instructor, the malfunction was addressed, but the gun misfired and the bullet ricocheted coming back to strike the VISD employee in the left leg. The VISD employee was attended to at the scene and transferred to Tyler for further treatment. The injury is not life threatening or disabling. Because of privacy and security issues we cannot make any further statement."


I Feel Safer Now

Posted By stephanie stickley on Feb 26, 2013 at 5:00PM

The Argyle Police Department in Texas recently arrested a man from Corral City after he admitted shooting his girlfriend while the couple was drinking and playing a game of “quick draws.”

At first, the 53-year-old woman told police that she had had been cleaning her .44-caliber Ruger Vaquero when she shot herself in the hand and shoulder, according to a incident report obtained by The Cross Timbers Gazette.

The nervous boyfriend, who smelled of alcohol, told police the same story. But he later admitted that he had been responsible for the shooting.

The man said that the couple had been practicing “quick draws” on each other during a night of drinking. He insisted that he was not aware that the gun was loaded.

“The officer reported that the woman had been lying in a large pool of blood all night long,” the paper said.

The man was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The name of the suspect and the victim had not been released, and the Argyle Police Department did not respond to Raw Story by the time of publication.