Friday, May 29, 2015
Good morning! In the news today: Former Speaker Dennis Hastert indicted in scheme to pay off blackmailer; draw Muhammed contest to be held at mosque; Rand Paul needs a sugar daddy; violence soars in Baltimore as police wonder if they’ll be punished for doing their jobs; and doctors have had it with the regulations and are quitting.
Have a great weekend.
Hastert indicted by federal grand jury . . . J. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the U.S. House, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed person to cover up “past misconduct.”
Hastert, who has been a high-paid lobbyist in Washington since his 2007 retirement from Congress, schemed to mask more than $950,000 in withdrawals from various accounts in violation of federal banking laws that require the disclosure of large cash transactions, according to a seven-page indictment delivered by a grand jury in Chicago. Washington Post
Indictment shocks former colleagues . . . Perhaps what’s most surprising is that these allegations never arose during Hastert’s eight years as speaker, the longest such tenure of any Republican in history. A former Hastert aide noted privately on Thursday that House Democrats dug deep into the Illinois Republican’s background during his time as speaker. Among the sleuths was former Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, but like others he came up with nothing. Politico
Everyone on Capitol Hill liked and respected Hastert. Honestly, seeing the headline “Hastert indicted” was a little like seeing “Cap’n Crunch and Barney caught robbing bank.”
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Judge skeptical about dismissing Obamacare suit . . . A federal judge on Thursday appeared skeptical of the Obama administration’s call to dismiss a lawsuit from House Republicans challenging Obama’s use of executive power. The lawsuit argues that Obama is spending certain funds under the healthcare law even though Congress has not appropriated them, and that the administration unconstitutionally delayed the mandate for employers to provide health insurance. The Hill
Earnest gives Cuban “journalists” a proper lecture . . . The White House press Secretary seemed prepared to deal with the presence of a few Cuban “journalists” who were in the briefing room. It kind of set the place abuzz – that real live Cuban journalists were in the house. He had a nice little lecture about freedom for them to take home. I’m sure it will be confiscated at the airport in Havana. White House Dossier
Obama “Hope” artist: Americans ignorant and lazy . . . Ahh yes, the misanthropy of the Left. It shines through so brightly sometimes. White House Dossier
Administration lays out plans to protect sage grouse . . . The Obama administration disclosed plans Thursday to preserve the habitat of the imperiled greater sage grouse in 10 Western states that would include placing limits on oil and natural gas drilling. Fox News
This leaves me wondering. How does sage grouse taste?
Clinton-tied think tank bashes Obama ISIS strategy . . . A think tank with ties to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton issued strong criticisms Thursday of the Obama administration’s strategy to combat the Islamic State, with analysts writing that the U.S. is “failing” and needs to change course. Two former Obama national security aides broke with the president by urging the deployment of American ground troops to directly help the disheveled Iraqi army. One used the word “failing” to describe how the administration is arming the Baghdad military. Washington Times
What an Iraq “surge” could look like . . . After Ramadi fiasco, talk grows of U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq. Politico
Draw Muhammed contest to be held – at a mosque . . . A U.S. Marine is planning a “Draw Muhammad” contest at a free speech rally planned for Friday at a Phoenix mosque. Friday’s event is to be held at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, the same mosque that Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi attended several years before their attack in Garland. Mosque leaders said the men never expressed extremist or violent views before. Washington Times
DC transit bars ads after Muhammed ad suggested . . . Washington D.C. transit officials voted Thursday to suspend all issue-oriented advertising on the city’s rail and bus system after the agency was asked to consider an ad featuring an image of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Fox News
Lotsa Lassa . . . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday that federal and state health officials have identified more than 150 people who may have came into contact with a New Jersey man who died of Lassa fever. Fox News
Rand Paul’s money problem . . . Behind the Kentucky senator’s NSA ‘filibuster’ lies a desperate quest for cash. Politico
Trump says he will make a “major” announcement June 16 and then head to New Hampshire the next day. Hmm. Maybe he’s introducing a new line of maple syrup.
Christie wants to dump Common Core . . . Navigating New Jersey interests and a likely presidential campaign, Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday proposed dropping national Common Core education standards he once supported but have since become a lighting rod issue for Republican voters. NJ.com
Sounds a little, uh, opportunistic.
State Dept. spending followed Clinton Foundation giving . . . Countries and companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation or paid Bill Clinton heavy fees for speeches saw an increase in State Department activity while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. Washington Examiner
Winning “Meet Hillary” campaign contest will cost you . . . If a middle-class individual wins the cash-free $2,000 prize, he or she would have to pay 25 percent on the winnings — resulting in $500 in new taxes. Daily Caller
Sanders’ in 1972: Women fantasize about rape . . . Bernie Sanders’ campaign tried on Thursday to distance the presidential candidate from a 1972 essay in which he wrote — among other things — a women “fantasizes being raped by three men simultaneously.” CNN
China putting arms on artificial islands . . . U.S. surveillance images reportedly show that China has positioned weaponry on at least one of the artificial islands it is developing in the South China Sea, apparently confirming suspicions that Beijing has been building up the area for military use. Fox News
Iraq exhumes 470 bodies from Tikrit mass grave . . . Iraq has exhumed the remains of 470 people believed to have been executed by jihadists near Tikrit last year in what is known as the Speicher massacre. AFP
Iran accused of nuclear cooperation with North Korea . . . An exiled Iranian opposition group accused Tehran Thursday of a “vast collaboration” with North Korea in developing nuclear arms, alleging that experts from both countries made regular intelligence-sharing visits. AFP
Violence soars in Baltimore as police back off . . . Two deaths Thursday continue a grisly and dramatic uptick in homicides across Baltimore that has so far claimed the lives of 38 people. Meanwhile, arrests have plunged: Police are booking fewer than half the number of people they pulled off the streets last year. Arrests were already declining before Freddie Gray died on April 19 of injuries he suffered in police custody, but they dropped sharply thereafter, as his death unleashed protests, riots, the criminal indictment of six officers and a full-on civil rights investigation by the U.S. Justice Department that has officers working under close scrutiny. Associated Press
Doctors quitting under weight of mandates . . . As one of them wrote, “My colleagues who have already left practice all say they still love patient care, being a doctor. They just couldn’t stand everything else.” By which he meant “a never-ending attack on the profession from government, insurance companies and lawyers … progressively intrusive and usually unproductive rules and regulations,” topped by an electronic health records mandate that produces nothing more than “billing and legal documents” – and degraded medicine. Charles Krauthammer
America gets even fatter . . . America’s obesity levels are still growing in spite of the renewed attention placed on healthy living, with some cities bearing the brunt of the continued upswing. In a study released Thursday, researchers found that 2014 had the highest obesity rate to date: 27.7 percent, nearly a third of America’s population. This is an increase from the 27.1 percent seen in 2013 and a huge jump up from the 25.5 percent of 2008. Washington Examiner
What’s up with Sharpton’s daughter’s sketchy nonprofit? . . . Al Sharpton’s daughter Dominique has recently grabbed headlines for her $5 million lawsuit against the City of New York over a sprained ankle — but the shakedown may not stop there. National Review
Limbaugh: Immigration weakening nation . . . “The Democrats … need a permanent underclass,” Limbaugh charges. “They need a never-ending group of people… that will forever be proud, subservient dependents of the federal government. And hence here comes illegal immigration.” Newsmax
Judge allows concealed carry for DC gun owners . . . A federal judge on Thursday rejected a short-term stay of a decision that blocked the District from enforcing a key provision of its restrictive concealed-carry laws — prompting the city to move to issue carry permits to the gun owners who had sued after being denied permits. Washington Times
Warming. But first, cooling . . . Scientists at the University of Southampton predict that a cooling of the Atlantic Ocean could cool global temperatures a half a degree Celsius and may offer a “brief respite from the persistent rise of global temperatures,” according to their study. Daily Caller
Woman stabbed with fork for “taking the last rib” . . . An Indiana woman was arrested Sunday night after stabbing another woman in the eye with a fork in a fight over the last rib at a barbecue. The Star Press reports that Sabrina A. Davis, 45, was arrested and received a preliminary charge of criminal recklessness. An affidavit says Davis was attending a barbecue in Muncie when she raised the ire of the host’s daughter by “taking the last rib from the kitchen.” Fox News
I don’t know. She DID take the last rib. Sometimes violence is justified. I mean, it’s almost self-defense.
White House Dossier
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