Professor Wants ‘Merry Christmas’ to Become ‘Happy Federal Holiday’

"Oh bleeding hearts of the world, UNITE!" ~ The Grinch

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We’re not necessarily people who buy into the “War on Christmas” rhetoric some people like to talk about.  Friends get upset when someone says, “Happy Holidays” because they’re including Christmas and New Years, but the other party thinks they’re just ignoring Christmas.  It gets kind of ridiculous.

Well, they might just have a point.

From The Daily Caller:

University of Central Florida professor Terri Fine wants Americans to stop wishing each other “Merry Christmas” and begin using the more inclusive “Happy Federal Holiday” instead.

In a column on the UCF website titled “A Holiday Greeting That Applies to Everyone,” Fine argues that “Happy Federal Holiday” is a more inclusive holiday greeting than saying “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Chanukah,” or even “Happy Holidays.”

Part of the problem, Dr. Fine explains, is that “People wish each other ‘Merry Christmas’ whether they know the other person’s religious background or not,” even though Christmas occurs around the same time frame as Hanukkah (which Fine refers to as “Chanukah”). Simply saying both “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Chanukah,” Fine argues, isn’t appropriate because “Christmas is one of the two holiest days for Christians, while Chanukah is a minor holiday on the calendar.”

Using both greetings, Fine says, is insulting to both Christians—by implying Christmas is a minor holiday—and Jews—by denying “the holiness associated with the major Jewish holy days and festivals.”

Simply saying “Happy Holidays,” Fine says, also isn’t “culturally sensitive” enough.

“[I]t is the non-specificity of ‘Happy Holidays’ that makes it inappropriate because it fails to recognize the importance of Christmas to Christians while it also suggests that Chanukah should be more important to Jews than the high holidays and festivals that come at other times during the year,” Fine claims.

The most inclusive greeting, according to Fine, is for Americans to wish each other a “Happy Federal Holiday.”

Holy Dancing Edison on a neon lit dashboard, really?  That’s supposed to be better?

Fine’s argument is that since the federal government recognizes these holidays regardless of anyone’s personal beliefs, such terms are more appropriate for any and all.

Impressive stupid

A little background via University of Central Florida’s faculty page: “Dr. Fine’s research interests include women and politics, public opinion and voting behaviors and political methodology. She is affiliated with the Dept. of Women’s Studies.”

Here’s an alternative suggestion from us here at SamePageNation.  if someone tells you “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or something else you don’t celebrate, then say, “Thank you” and realize they weren’t being rude and just want you to have a great holiday season.  It’s nothing to be a jerk about.



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From The Adults? Harvard’s ‘Holiday Talking Points For The Politically Correct’

It's real... "Holiday Placemat for Social Justice: A guide for discussions on race and justice with loved ones."

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Parents want their kids to have good educations.  The best, in fact.  That’s why a lot of parents pony up the insane amounts of cash to send their kids to Ivy League schools.  At least one school, Harvard, repaid that faith by giving students talking points for holiday discussions on “placemat” cards.  You know, so they can lecture their knuckledragging relatives.

From The Daily Mail:

Harvard has advised students to lecture their non-Ivy-League relatives on liberal values in a bizarre set of holiday placemats to take home over Christmas.

The laminated cards raise some likely hot topics that lesser-educated family members may raise at the dinner table, then offers a suggested response.

Covering such complex issues as police brutality, racial divisions, and the Syrian war, one of the sections tells students to say: ‘Racial justice includes welcoming Syrian refugees.’

Courtesy of the Harvard Republican Club

Honestly, there is just so much wrong here that this might take a little while.  Bear with us.

First, let’s address the idea of talking points coming from the college itself.  There are people in this country who believe college has become less about education and more about indoctrination.

When groups typically expressing one side of American politics are stifled, while professors can rail about guns in a biology class with not a word said by anyone in authority, it becomes a bit harder to look at those folks as being wrong.  Oh, don’t get us wrong, plenty do and we tend to think they’re wrong about the goals of colleges.

However, this came from the college itself.  These talking points clearly represent one side of these debates.  They’re advising students to pick a particular side of them.  There’s no effort at critical thinking here, there’s just an effort to get Ivy League students to parrot a particular set of values.

Folks, if you’re paying for your kid to get an Ivy League education, you may want to consider asking for a refund.  After all, it looks to us like Harvard doesn’t think your kids are capable of handling holiday dinner conversation on their own.

That doesn’t even touch on the total fail some of these talking points make.  For example, it brings up Tamil Rice’s shooting.  Yes, it’s a tragedy by anyone’s estimation.  However, it’s not as cut and dried as the Harvard card tries to make it.  After all, outside experts have called the officers actions justified.  If Junior tries to use this card at some family gatherings, he’s going to be very upset to find that he just couldn’t hold his own in the debate.

Each one of these talking points is vapid, emotion-ridden, and offers little if any substance.  Yet they were handed out to students at what is supposed to be one of the elite colleges in the country.  What does that tell you about the focus of these institutions?

You see, we’re thinking that as bad as some of the students at these schools may be acting, the problem lies with the administrations that tolerate some of this.  The issue in Missouri wasn’t so much the whiny kids who demanded their “safe spaces”, but the professor who enabled them and even mustered up some “muscle” to expel a reporter.  Where is she today?  Still at the University of Missouri.

Yale permitted a student to scream, literally, at a staff member because of a difference of opinion.  She has a right to her opinion, and she has a right to express her opinion, but there’s something wrong when that level of disrespect can be shown to a staff member and be permitted.  It’s unsurprising that the professor who accidentally sparked that discussion has decided to stop teaching at Yale.  If the college didn’t have our backs, we’d be out of there too.

College administrations are supposed to be the adults in the room.  It’s beyond time they start acting like it and recognizing that they’re the people in charge.  Deal with the real problems, and tell the students to learn to deal with disappointment on the rest.  After all, that’s how the real world works.

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Democrats Attempting to Bring Back Failed 90s Era Assault Weapons Ban

And they are using one of the most tired cliches to justify it.

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Democrats are once again standing on the bodies of those killed by firearms in order to violated the rights all Americans have to self-defense. This time, it’s the victims of the terrorist attack in San Bernadino. Democrats are using that as a reason to try to bring back the Assault Weapons ban enacted during the Clinton era.

And they are using one of the most tired cliches to justify it.

“Now, let’s remember that assault weapons were first designed for the battlefield by Germans during the Second World War,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), according to The Hill. “The sole purpose of their existence was to kill as many people as quickly as possible during military combat.”

First of all, there’s no such thing as an “assault weapon.” Writing in the Stanford Law and Policy Review, Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson wrote, “Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of ‘assault rifles’ so as to allow an attack on as many additional firearms as possible on the basis of undefined ‘evil’ appearance.”

That’s it.

Here’s more from the people who want to restrict your rights:

“The assault weapons we’re talking about today are not just any guns,” Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) told reporters. “They’re not for hunting, they’re not for target practice. These are weapons of war, designed to inflict the maximum amount of death and injury.”

“I don’t know any hunters who use an assault weapon — and if they do, that’s not much of a sport,” added House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.).

“I understand people want to protect themselves in their homes,” Hoyer said, “but what we have here is a reasonable restraint.”

See, the reasonable restraint doesn’t need to be placed on the people. It’s the government that needs restraint.

The Constitution did that at one time, but not anymore.

Here’s the thing about this ban, though. It did nothing when it was in place before. Multiple studies prove that.

But don’t take our word for it. The Washington Post reported in 2013:

Did the law have an effect on crime or gun violence? While gun violence did fall in the 1990s, this was likely due to other factors. Here’s the UPenn study again: “We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”

One reason is that assault weapons were never a huge factor in gun violence to begin with. They were  used in only 2 percent to 8 percent of gun crimes. Large-capacity magazines were more important — used in as many as a quarter of gun crimes. But, again, the 1994 law left more than 24 million magazines untouched, so the impact was blunted.

Did the law have an effect on mass shootings? That’s possible, though not certain. As this chart from Princeton’s Sam Wang shows, the number of people killed in mass shootings did go down in the years the ban was in effect (save for a surge in 1999, a year that included Columbine):

Because mass shootings are relatively rare, it’s difficult to tell whether this was just a random blip or caused by the ban. Still, the number of mass shootings per year has doubled since the ban expired. That’s suggestive, at least.

Plus, most of the gun violence in America is committed with handguns, and no one is suggesting anything be done about that.

This is about doing something, anything, even if it doesn’t work. Even if there’s no chance of it passing.

And that’s key, since a majority of Americans are against more gun control. If this were to pass, it would hurt Democrats, which is why they’re proposing it now, when they’re sure Republicans will kill it.

It’s all theater and politics. Sad, but that’s the truth of it.

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Judge Rules Against Catholic School… Says They Have to Hire Gays

Let's take a closer look at freedom of association... and how this decision abridges that.

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Matt Barrett applied for the job food services director at an all-girls Catholic prep school in Massachusetts. He was offered the position, but had it rescinded when he listed a man as his emergency contact.

WCVB reports that Barrett wrote “husband” when asked what his relationship was to the man. He was then told, “We can’t hire you.”

Barrett then filed a discrimination suit against Fontbonne Academy.

In court, the lawyer for Fontbonne, John Bagley, made the case that law in Massachusetts exempt the school from those employment laws as the school is a religious institution.

Barrent’s lawyer, Ben Klein of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said that exemption didn’t apply to Fontbonne, because they only apply to institutions “that restrict their employment and the population they serve to members of that same religion.”

Superior Court Associate Justice Douglas Wilkins agreed with the defense, ruling the school couldn’t deny employment to Barrett based on his sexual orientation, even though it goes against the religious beliefs of the Catholic church.

“As an educational institution, Fontbonne retains control over its mission and message. It is not forced to allow Barrett to dilute that message, where he will not be a teacher, minister or spokesman for Fontbonne and has not engaged in public advocacy of same-sex marriage,” the Catholic website Crux reports Wilkins wrote in his ruling.

“Marriage equality has been the law of Massachusetts for over a decade, and it is now the law of the land. But you can’t have equality if you can get married on Saturday and fired on Monday,” Klein reportedly said.

That’s always in interesting statement. “X has been the law of the land for this number of years. Blah, blah, blah.”

Well, wasn’t the ban on same sex marriage the law of the land for a couple centuries? Should that not have been challenged?

By the above logic, no, it shouldn’t be.

You know what else is was the law of the land for a really long time?

Freedom of association.

Does the First Amendment protect the freedom of association?

The First Amendment reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The answer is: technically, no; legally, yes; but practically, it doesn’t matter.

The freedom of association simply means that a person has the right to associate, not with whomever he chooses, but with whoever is willing to associate with him. Inherent in the right to associate is the right not to associate. Any person has the right not to associate with whomever he chooses.

In a free society, any person or group of persons has the right to associate with any other person or group of persons willing to associate with him or it on the basis of any standard and for any reason. And likewise, any person or group of persons has the right not to associate with any other person or group of persons on the basis of any standard and for any reason.

It doesn’t matter whether a government bureaucrat or a person who was refused association believes that the actions of the refusing person or group are illogical, unreasonable, irrational, hateful, discriminatory, bigoted, or racist. What matters is freedom.

Emphasis mine.

What we are looking at here, in the most basic terms, is government using force to tell private organizations that they must employ someone who they don’t want to.

So while some find the practice of refusing to hire gays offensive and wrong, we have to ask which is worse — that, or using force to violate the rights of individuals to decide who they associate with?

Freedom isn’t always pretty. It can be ugly.

The use of force is ugly also.

We need to remember the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”

What he means is, while there are ugly aspects to freedom, the ugly aspects of tyranny are worse.

Far worse.

Some will say this is taking the position that discrimination is ok. That’s shallow thinking. This isn’t a defense of discrimination, but a defense of freedom.

In all its unattractive forms.
Read more at Brainy Quotes – Thomas Jefferson

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CISA Added to Omnibus Bill — "They Took a Bad Bill and Made It Worse."

Pretending is over - the 'Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act' is now a blatant surveillance bill.

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Anyone who is paying attention and cares about their civil rights couldn’t help but notice two things that have occurred recently. First, Congress just stopped pretending that the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) was a cyber-security bill, turning it into a blatant surveillance bill. Second, they jammed it into the Omnibus bill, a bill that must pass.

techdirt reports they have a source involved with the CISA negotiations and they claim there are four troubling things about it. First, it drops the prohibition on sharing information with the National Security Agency, It also removed the limits on using the data for “surveillance” reasons, along with removing the limits keeping government agencies from using it for anything other than cyber-security. Finally, it removes the mandate that personal information unrelated to a cyber security threat be “scrubbed.”

This was the key point that everyone kept making about why the information should go to DHS first — where DHS would be in charge of this “scrub”. The “scrub” process was a bit exaggerated in the first place, but it was at leastsomething of a privacy protection. However, it appears that the final version being pushed removes the scrub requirement (along with the requirement to go to DHS) and instead leaves the question of scrubbing to the “discretion” of whichever agency gets the information.

In another post, techdirt reports that there might be some pushback to the bill:

There is some opposition within Congress to this. We’ve seen a “Dear Colleague” letter sent around by a set of four members of Congress (two from each party) — Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Justin Amash, Jared Polis and Ted Poe — opposing this move, but chances are that most members of Congress actually have no idea that this is happening, which is why you should be calling today to let them know how problematic this is.

That’s bipartisan opposition. Rep. Justin Amash is a libertarian minded Republican, while Rep. Jared Polis is a progressive Democrat.

It’s also likely that one of the senators running for President of the United States might make a stand against it. Sen. Rand Paul is a staunch opponent of CISA. In August, Paul offered amendments on the bill.

“This bill says that if a company violates [the privacy agreement] in sharing your information, that there will be legal immunity for that company,” Paul said on the Senate floor according to The Hill. “I think that weakens privacy.”

“It makes your privacy agreement not really worth the paper it’s written on.”

His amendments were rejected in October.

It might not be a libertarian minded Republican that takes the stand on this one. Self-described Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders also opposed CISA, voting against its passage.

According to Wired, Sen. Ron Wyden is against it also, writing in a press release that “Americans deserve policies that protect both their security and their liberty. This bill fails on both counts.”

The trouble is, CISA is now part of the Omnibus bill, a must-pass bill:

Lumping CISA in with the omnibus bill further reduces any chance for debate over its surveillance-friendly provisions, or a White House veto. And the latest version actually chips away even further at the remaining personal information protections that privacy advocates had fought for in the version of the bill that passed the Senate.

“They took a bad bill, and they made it worse,” says Robyn Greene, policy counsel for the Open Technology Institute.

And since any vote against the Omnibus bill is a vote against the entire budget, which threatens a government shutdown during Christmas.

Do you see that happening?

The only scenario that makes sense is if one of the presidential candidates wants to get some free press by making a stand for privacy, which any of them might.

What do you think about all this? Tell us in the comments.

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WATCH => Yale Students Sign Petition To Eliminate First Amendment

The following video may not be a safe space for all viewers.

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Ivy League schools are supposed to be where the best and brightest go to school.  Well, based on some of what we’re seeing lately, we may have to reevaluate that belief.  Majorly.

From Fox News:

Looking to understand just how controversial the debate over free speech on our college campuses really is, filmmaker and satirist Ami Horowitz recently traveled to Yale University, one of our nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, to speak directly to students.

“I decided to take this campus free speech debate to its logical conclusion,” said Horowitz, who asked students if they’d sign a petition calling for an outright repeal of the First Amendment. “The result was this unbelievable display of total stupidity.”

In fact, Horowitz discovered a solid majority of the students asked willingly signed the petition, with several expressing their enthusiastic approval for his anti-First Amendment efforts.

The video itself, for your amusement:

Ah, our favorite hits. There’s the Yale student screaming about how they’re trying to make a home, screw intellectualism.  Then there is our favorite professor from the University of Missouri calling for muscle as well.  The only thing missing is the Smith College group banning any press that won’t agree to come out openly to support them.

Then we see students openly support eliminating the First Amendment.  They sign a petition to that effect.  The irony eluded them, we think.

Unfortunately, these Yale students aren’t alone.  The student government vice president at Missouri made her feelings on the First Amendment known weeks ago.

If this is the kind of education that students are getting at Yale and other places, then whoever is footing the bill needs to demand a refund and consider suing for fraud.  After all, these children are about the least educated people we’ve come across in some time.  Considering Congress, that’s saying something.

The First Amendment is what protects their inane prattling.  It’s there to protect that which is offensive.  In the Soviet Union, no one ever got in trouble for singing Stalin’s praises.  It was when they criticized him that they had problems involving gulags.  “Approved” speech has never needed in protection.  Tyrants will always permit complimentary speech, or speech that advances their own agenda.

No, the test has always been whether or not a society will tolerate disagreement.  The United States always has.  Asa  result, fringe movements such as the civil rights movement, the abolitionist movement, and women’s suffrage were permitted to grow and prosper until their positions became the law of the land.  Without the First Amendment, any and all of these efforts could have bee killed early.  What would our society have looked like today?

The ACLU was right to defend the right of the American Nazi Party to march in Skokie, Illinois.  It’s not because Nazis are cool, because they’re not.  It’s because one has to defend the most distasteful speech imaginable–such as anything coming out of a Nazi’s mouth–if you don’t want to risk what comes out of your mouth from being deemed illegal.

The truth is, many of these arguing against the First Amendment don’t understand that the first casualty of a First Amendment Free society might just be their own pet causes.

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Study: Despite Legalization, No Increase in Teen Marijuana Use

A surprise to some, not at all to others

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Opponents to marijuana legalization just knew it would happen.  If pot were legal for adults, teens were going to have easier access to it and teen drug use would increase.  Even among those who supported legalization, it made a fair amount of sense to some.

That hasn’t happened.

From The Daily Caller:

Marijuana use among high school students has remained flat despite the implementation of a series of legalization measures across the country, new data show.

The Monitoring the Future Survey, released Wednesday, showed there has not been any significant change in marijuana prevalence this year across 8th, 10th and 12th graders, with each group reporting daily cannabis use of 1.1 percent, 3 percent and 6 percent.

There has also been significant decline in the percentage of students who believe marijuana to be a dangerous drug.

Over the past 10 years, the percentage of 8th, 10th and 12th graders who view cannabis as “carrying a great risk of harm” has dropped from 74 percent to 58 percent, 66 percent to 43 percent and 58 percent to 32 percent respectively.

These are welcome statistics for pro-legalization activists in other states who are facing the same pushback.

Of course, any teens using drugs illegally is a bad thing.  Make no mistake on that.  Whether one agrees with the age limits or not is irrelevant, the fact is that there are ways to change those rather than just ignoring them.  Doing that can lead to all sorts of other problems, such as a juvenile record.

The important point is that legalization for adults may have increased access for high school kids looking to spark up, but it hasn’t increased desire among that same demographic.  These are kids who have been bombarded since the womb with anti-drug campaigns, after all.  Is this the reason the demand is in check?

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Man Sues City, Says Ban on Begging Violates the First Amendment

Interesting. Why are the homeless not allowed to ask for donations while firefighters can "pass the boot?"

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A Rhode Island mans claims he used to beg at an intersection until police cited him for violating a city ordinance. He claims that’s a violation of his First Amendment rights.

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is representing Michael Monteiro and claim this is the first of many lawsuits they plan over laws they say target the poor. They claim that the homeless are not allowed to ask for donations while firefighters can “pass the boot” without being molested.

This isn’t the first time such a lawsuit has been filed. In 2013, beggars in Springfield, Ill. said the city’s ban was a violation of their freedom of speech.

“The City has openly expressed hostility towards panhandlers and a desire to rid the downtown historic district of their presence,” the lawsuit said.

Believe it or not, courts have struck down bans on begging before, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, in Michigan, Arizona, California and Utah.

In a March 15 order, U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart in Salt Lake City granted the plaintiffs’ motion seeking to order agencies statewide to stop enforcing the law.

Earlier in the week, state attorneys argued the panhandling prohibition addressed traffic and public safety concerns. But Stewart found Utah’s law is too sweeping and infringes on constitutionally protected rights.

Barnard says if officers now enforce the law, they can be sued.

So is this a case of violating First Amendment rights?

In 1990, Alan Dershowitz wrote about a case before a New York judge who said that’s exactly what bans on begging does:

U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand agreed with the beggars: The simple request for money by a beggar or panhandler cannot but remind the passerby that many people in the city live in poverty and often lack the essentials for survival. Even the beggar sitting in Grand Central Station with a tin cup at his feet conveys the message that he and others like him are in need.

While often disturbing and sometimes alarmingly graphic, begging is unmistakably informative and persuasive speech.

Judge Sand cited U.S. Supreme Court cases concluding that organized charities that solicit for others do have a First Amendment right to send their message. He reasoned that no constitutional distinction can be drawn between the more refined entreaties of the professional fund-raiser and the “more personal, emotionally charged” face-to-face importuning of the subway beggar.

The New York Times reports that a similar verdict was handed down by federal judge Robert W. Sweet in 1992 and the Life of the Law blog quotes law professor Bill Quigley, who describes begging in a different way.

“The right of a person to essentially say, ‘Look, I am the victim of economic injustice. No one would say that’s not political.’ If they said, ‘I am the consequence of economic dislocation or the information age and globalization, that would be a political statement. But most people are, like, ‘look, I just need some money.’”

It’s an interesting discussion, regardless of where you come down on it. If it’s public property, why shouldn’t a person be allowed to ask another person if they’re willing to hand over some of their property? No force is being used. No one’s rights are being violated.

Why does there need to be a law?

Shop owners would say, rightfully so, that a line of beggars outside their shops is bad for business. There should be a law that keeps them away in order to protect their business’s bottom line.

But since the sidewalk is considered public property, often it’s considered unConstitutional to prohibit begging.

Simple solution — sell the sidewalk to private owners. The business owners would then be able to remove people when they feel they need to go.

What do you think? Is begging a right? Is the ban on it a violation of the First Amendment?  Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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EXCLUSIVE – Hot Steel: The Man Behind the Viral Video That Has ‘Truthers’ In Meltdown

"Your argument is invalid... Get over it... Get a job!"

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Trent Tye isn’t your ordinary guy in a lot of ways.  The fact that he makes his living beating the daylights out of metal, bending it into different shapes for different purposes alone accounts for that.  Tye is one of a dying breed: The American blacksmith.

And, he’s a unique blend of old and new.  A man who works in an ancient trade who now has a viral video to his credit.

As of this writing, the video boasts over 1.3 million views on YouTube, and that number is likely to just keep climbing. The funny thing is that it all started because of Facebook.

Speaking to SamePageNation, “I saw this thing on my timeline,” Tye said, “talking about how steel melts at 2,300 degrees and jet fuel only burns at 1,500.”  Tye said he tried to explain that melting steel wouldn’t be necessary to cause the steel to fail, but his words fell on deaf ears.

So, with that in mind, he turned to his partner and they shot the video.

The response has been…well, entertaining.

Some of the responses demanded Tye account for other aspects of the World Trade Center collapse.  “My point in all this is to show that steel folds well before it melts,” he told us.  As he points out in the video, he’s not addressing the idea of there having been some conspiracy to take down the World Trade Center.  “It’s just a bad argument,” he said. “I wasn’t recreating a specific thing, I was just pointing out one argument: that steel won’t melt.”  And yet, that’s not enough for many.  “I addressed a singular point, not the conspiracy,” Tye repeated.

Of course, this isn’t Tye’s first brush with fame.  Tye was featured as a competitor on the History Channel’s Forged in Fire‘s first season.   Not to mention that Tye comes from an area that has a higher than usual concentration of fairly famous folks.  A 1995 graduate of Lee County High School in Leesburg, Georgia, Tye shares an alma mater with stars like Luke Bryan and American Idol Phillip Phillips, plus baseball star Buster Posey.   The reality star turned YouTube sensation laughs off any comparison between himself and those guys.  “The biggest difference is that if I open my mouth, it’s clear that they’re the ones with talent,” he said.

While some are posting rather mean spirited stuff about him on the internet, Tye is maintaining an easygoing sense of humor.  “I broke the internet” he laughs, talking about how people seem to be going nuts over the video.  How nuts?  Well, not counting the people who support the 9/11 conspiracy theories trying to call and convert Tye to their viewpoint, there’s apparently been at least one offer to buy the video from Tye.  He’s decided to decline selling it.  Right now at least.

Despite the latest brush with fame, Tye is maintaining his humility too.  One story he shared with SamePageNation makes it understandable how he can keep grounded.

Shortly after the show aired on the History Channel, Tye was talking with a friend. “He was joking with me about being famous,” Tye said.  Tye was speaking a little loud about being on a reality series, he reports, when a head popped out from around the gas pump.

“Are you that reality star?” the guy asked.

Tye said, “I bowed up and said, ‘Yes, sir.  I am.'”

The man looked at Tye and exclaimed, “I knew it  I knew it was you as soon as I heard you.  I’m a huge fan of Naked and Afraid!”

“Any pride I had at that point crawled out of me and up under my truck,” Tye told us with a laugh.

So what does Tye think about this latest publicity?  “Well, I’ve got a viral video, and it’s not a sex tape, so I’ll take that as a win.”  We reckon that puts him ahead of a lot of other former reality show stars.

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‘Unalienable Rights’… It May Not Mean What You Think It Means

.... and who (or what) exactly is this Creator our Founding Fathers spoke of?

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There is a lot of talk today about restricting free speech, implementing gun control or outright banning of guns, or attacking the free exercise of religion. They use terms like “safe spaces” and “speech codes,” promote things like “common sense gun control” and preach about the need to protect the children.

There’s one word you don’t hear anyone using, though — unalienable.


The most famous use of the word is in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

What does unalienable mean?

To understand what Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers meant it’s important to understand the philosophy of the man who inspired them — William Blackstone.

Blackstone was an English jurist, judge and Tory politician that lived from 1723 to 1780. He wrote Commentaries on the Laws of England. This played a big role in the development of the American legal system.

In 1765, Blackstone wrote:

For the principal aim of society is to protect individuals in the enjoyment of those absolute rights, which were vested in them by the immutable laws of nature; but which could not be Blackstonepreserved in peace without that mutual assistance and intercourse, which is gained by the institution of friendly and social communities. Hence it follows, that the first and primary end of human laws is to maintain and regulate these absolute rights of individuals. Such rights as are social and relative result from, and are posterior to, the formation of states and societies: so that to maintain and regulate these, is clearly a subsequent consideration. And therefore the principal view of human laws is, or ought always to be, to explain, protect, and enforce such rights as are absolute, which in themselves are few and simple; and, then, such rights as are relative, which arising from a variety of connexions, will be far more numerous and more complicated.

He continued:

And these may be reduced to three principal or primary articles; the right of personal security, the right of personal liberty; and the right of private property…

I. The right of personal security consists in a person’s legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation.

II. Next to personal security, the law of England regards, asserts, and preserves the personal liberty of individuals. This personal liberty consists in the power of locomotion, of changing situation, or removing one’s person to whatsoever place one’s own inclination may direct; without imprisonment or restraint, unless by due course of law.

III. The third absolute right, inherent in every Englishman, is that of property: which consists of the free use, enjoyment, and disposal of all his acquisitions, without any control or diminution, save only by the laws of the land.

So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community.

First, it must be emphasized again that rights do not come from government. They come from our Creator, whether you believe that to be God, Allah or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And since the government doesn’t bestow them or grant them, they cannot take them away.

They can, and do, violate them, however.

For example, civil asset forfeiture is a massive violation of the absolute right to property. So is eminent domain.

This is an important distinction.

Read this next part carefully and internalize it. Some make the case that repealing the Second Amendment would essentially revoke our right to bear arms. It wouldn’t because the right of personal security is a natural, unalienable right. Repealing the Second Amendment wouldn’t even grant the government the power to ban firearms, as the Constitution doesn’t give the federal government any such power. They would have to pass another amendment giving them that power.

But even then, they wouldn’t be doing anything other than violating our rights, not revoking them. They can’t because the government doesn’t grant them. Think about that.

Many Americans don’t understand this concept anymore. Perhaps it’s the removal of civics from the government school system or perhaps it’s something they learned and have since forgotten, but when you hear people calling for “muscle” to force a person to leave a public space, it’s clear they don’t understand natural rights.

But the Founders did. They gave us a Constitution that limited government and protected those rights. We have to protect our Constitution, agreed?

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EXCLUSIVE: Hobbled Guardians- American Forces Powerless to Help the Afghan Chai Boys

"I doubt that's what the world wants to hear, but it's the truth at least."

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There are few things in this world that can make the blood run colder than to hear a United States Marine use the word “hopeless.”

“When faced with laugh or cry situations, you laugh. It’s really all you can do in a hopeless situation,” he says.

Gallows humor is one of the few coping mechanisms our warfighters have on Afghan front. At US-controlled forward-operating bases, soldiers & marines are maintaining a fragile truce while training what the American government hopes will be the future of self-reliant peace in Afghanistan. In the days since the fall of the Taliban, new freedoms have come with an unexpected and disturbing price: the resurgence of “bacha bazi”…translation, “playing with kids”.

Last week, SamePageNation presented reports that senior military officers have ordered American fighters not to interfere with the practice of buying, selling and molesting young boys. But for one Marine, it’s about more than following orders. It’s about keeping himself and his fellow servicemen alive.

“It was never an order,” he states. “When you get over there, you keep your mouth shut until you figure out what is going on. Everyone basically said to shut up so you don’t ‘disrespect their culture’, which gets you shot. They believe being dishonored is an act worthy of killing to regain your honor. It doesn’t take an order to realize you don’t want to be shot in the back…especially considering the number of Americans being killed by Afghans already.”

“JC”, a US Marine Corps officer speaking on the condition of anonymity, spent two tours totaling 15 months in Afghanistan. What he experienced and described may be shocking, but unfortunately not new.

“We knew prior to 9/11 they molested children. Suddenly it’s an outrage?” His question might seem valid. Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling 2003 novel The Kite Runner included graphic depictions of the so-called “chai boy” phenomenon. Twelve years, seven million copies, and a hit film adaptation later, the American public still seems shocked that such activities are going on at our forces’ doorsteps.

“[We heard] the discussions, through my interpreter, about what they do on Thursday nights.  Also saw the boys as we made our travels, all dressed up and henna tattoos/hair colored. Would hear it sometimes and walk away because it’s pretty disgusting. Thursday nights were always called ‘man love Thursday’.”

The jokes might seem callous, but it’s the only salve some fighters have for the helplessness they feel. “You keep your mouth shut and don’t cock block the Afghans, and they don’t shoot you,” JC says. “But, if you don’t rescue the chai boy, he shoots you. It’s a numbers game.  Dozens of Afghan soldiers & police, or one 14-year-old boy. The problem is it’s a Catch 22.”

According to a 2014 report by The Diplomat’s Roshni Kapur, bacha bazi is considered a sign of wealth and power among the political, military & economic elite of Afghanistan:

This tradition is seeing a revival in the north of the country. Former commanders in the Northern Alliance are a part of a syndicate that is resurrecting bacha bazi, which serves as a status symbol. For those who cannot afford to buy children, DVDs are sold openly on the streets. Some boys are sold by their parents, others are lured from the streets with the promise of a better life.

Although bacha bazi is outlawed in Afghanistan, being against both sharia law and the civil code, there is little enforcement. Muhammad Ibrahim, deputy Police Chief of Jowzjan denies that the practice continues: “We have not had any cases of bacha bazi in the last four to five years. It does not exist here anymore.”

JC confirms Afghan leaders’ denial. “Only the interpreters openly talk about it. The ones doing the act won’t speak of it in mixed company because it’s forbidden by Islam. So anything drawing attention to it, for or against, is an ugly reminder to them. We would never bring the subject up with the senior leaders I met.  That would be like asking you personal questions.” When asked whether shame or fear of violent retribution was keeping Afghanis silent? “Both.”

“We don’t have time or the desire to change everything about their culture that we don’t like. When you try to do that, you’re there for much longer and you go from liberators to occupiers. Imagine them trying to make our women stop showing skin. That’s a major culture change that will take a generation to take effect.”

“We only want them stable enough to keep terror organizations from taking hold again. After that, there’s a whole world of child molesters out there. That doesn’t make it our job to fix it. You’d really like to, but we also want to go home and hold our own kids and keep them safe after witnessing something like that.”

And what of morale? “When you’re burying your friends, that doesn’t really move the needle,” he states. “All of us were [disgusted by the practice], but carrying human remains is pretty disgusting too. If there weren’t bullets flying, maybe we could have dedicated more time to worrying about what Afghans were doing to their future generations.” He goes on to describe one comrade who “got whole body shakes when he saw henna since he knew what it meant.”

JC acknowledges some of his answers come across as cold. “I doubt that’s what the world wants to hear, but it’s the truth at least,” he says. But his frustrations and apparent cynicism comes from, in his words, “risk averse commanders doing ‘by the book’ things to further their careers.”

On the subject of Army SFC Charles Martland, a decorated Green Beret who is facing an involuntary discharge for shoving an alleged Afghan child rapist in 2011, JC says, “This is one in a litany of instances where I don’t understand higher commanders’ actions. We had a guy court martialed for ordering snipers to disable a tractor that was evacuating enemy fighters. Sometimes I think there is a personal aspect to the command relationship that gets in the way of the ‘right’ thing to do.”

When asked what he would like to say to the commanders who put him and his brothers in close quarters with the people who perpetrate these horrors, his frustration is obvious…as is his suggestion that perhaps the unknowns are even worse than the knowns.

“That’s a loaded question. By that, I mean bacha bazi doesn’t come anywhere near the top of my list. Understand, we didn’t even have a national level mission when I got there.”

We ask: “So you have a list of grievances?”

“I’d say everybody does.”


Duane Lester contributed to this story


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Homeschooled Children Now Number in the Millions With Urban Homeschoolers Growing Quickly

When homeschooling started, it was illegal in 30 states. Think about that. The government would put you in jail if you dared to question its authority over the...

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There is an article in Time about urban homeschoolers. These are homeschool families in cities, as opposed to rural or suburban homeschoolers.

It’s more than an article about urban homeschoolers, though. It’s almost a history lesson of the American homeschool movement. It’s quite fascinating.

For example, when homeschooling started, it was illegal in 30 states. Think about that. The government would put you in jail if you dared to question its authority over the education of your children.

This attitude, that children don’t really belong to the parents but to society and parents are merely temporary caretakers of the collective’s kids, not only persists, but is preached openly still today. This ad on MSNBC drew quick and fierce condemnation for making exactly that assertion:

“We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and realize that kids belong to whole communities.”

That is not a parody ad. That’s real. Think about that attitude for a second.

Despite the collectivist attitude surrounding education, the homeschooling movement grew from around 10,000 in the mid 1970s to over 2 million today.

Today, the trend is reaching urban areas:

Homeschooler Gwen Fredette lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children. “Our school system has a lot of problems,” she says. That’s an understatement: Philadelphia public schools are in flat-out crisis. After a video of a 17-year-old student knocking a “conflict resolution specialist” unconscious at Southwest Philadelphia’s Bartram High went viral last year, a social studies teacher at the troubled school told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I had a better chance in Vietnam. . . . Here, you lock your door and pray no one comes in.”

Nor is violence the only concern in the city’s public schools. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that 60 percent of West Philadelphia schools had serious problems with mold or water damage. Budget shortfalls have left schools without nurses and made a collapsing public-education system “a chronic and seemingly immutable fact of life,” according to Philadelphia Magazine. Academic outcomes are horrendous. Just 10 percent of graduates from the city school district go on to get college degrees.

How do homeschooled children do in college? It’s a solid question, considering one of the more common push-backs against homeschooling is parents aren’t prepared or trained to be teachers. Turns out, they do just fine:

Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers­ — 66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent — and earned higher grade point averages along the way, according to a study that compared students at one doctoral university from 2004-2009.

Home school students do so well, they are now being actively recruited by colleges.

Homeschool memeNow here’s something from the Time article that’s interesting. For years, homeschoolers had to answer questions about socialization, as if going to public school and dealing with the collective result of poor parenting is the only path to proper socialization. But now, with people realizing that homeschooling isn’t just a bunch of religious nuts, suddenly that isn’t a problem:

How will children learn to be well-adjusted members of society, the thinking goes, if they aren’t in school with other kids their age? Won’t they become social outcasts? Homeschoolers, particularly urban ones, view the question as ludicrous. Cities are social places.

Anyone fearing that homeschooled kids are being improperly socialized should visit the Yonkers home of Anne and Erik Tozzi. The couple met at Oxford, where Erik, a native New Yorker, spent a year studying medieval history. The Tozzis say that living on a closely packed city street has been a social asset for their five homeschooled children.

Author and homeschool dad Joe Kelly told the Huffington Post the same thing years ago, saying, “I know that sounds counter-intuitive because they’re not around dozens or hundreds of other kids every day, but I would argue that’s why they’re better socialized.”

The biggest obstacle to homeschooling in America continues to be government. State laws differ, with some being more liberal while others make burdensome demands. The Home School Legal Defense Association rates the states by regulations. The states with the highest amount of government involvement are in the northeast, while the Midwest boasts the highest number of homeschool friendly places to live.

As homeschooling grows, parents in states like New York and Massachusetts will have to become part of the school choice movement or become leaders in it. Government and the collectivists who reject education outside of bureaucratic control won’t surrender their authority easily.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is having a rough time. Rougher than when she lost to that upstart in 2008.

From the Benghazi investigation to questions about her server and emails to donations to the Clinton Foundation, scandal after scandal plagues the former First Lady.

She can’t understand why people are still talking about her emails. After all, she said, “It’s not anything that people talk to me about as I travel around the country. It is never raised in my town halls, it is never raised in my other meetings with people.”

Of course, her town halls are generally staged and scripted, so that’s probably true.

So what happens when Hillary enters what she thinks is a safe space and can take unscripted questions? Say some place like an elementary school classroom?

Of course this is a spoof, but how close to reality is it? When there are over 300 classified emails on her server and she’s on the stump making jokes about how nice it is that Snapchat deletes everything automatically, it’s clear she’s arrogant. She believes she’s above the rule of law.

This is beyond party politics, despite what she wants everyone to believe. When she made the joke about Snapchat, even Democrats were shocked at her flippant attitude about something so serious. Mark Halperin told MSNBC:

“When she told that joke, there were people around me who gasped because it’s not a joking matter for a lot of people,” he said. “She said here at the fair, when she had a press availability, real voters don’t talk to her about this. They never bring it up here. Well, you know what, Joe? Real people never bring up to me that I need to lose some weight.”

Halperin added, “I have never in my career dealt with a presidential campaign who’s as unresponsive to basic questions. There’s lot of facts that they won’t respond to on a daily basis.”

What this comes down to is transparency and accountability.

National security should matter to every American and when the Secretary of State is running her classified emails out of a server housed in a bathroom closet, questions need to be answered.

When donations are made to the Clinton Foundation by a Canadian uranium mine being purchased by Russia while Hillary is Secretary of State, questions need to be answered. When you add that she kept the donations quiet despite an agreement with President Obama to disclose them publicly and followed that with a $500,000 pay day for Bill from a Russian investment bank with connections to the Kremlin, just for giving a speech in Moscow, questions need to be answered.

When there are four dead Americans in Benghazi and the public is fed a line about a spontaneous protest over a video, questions need to be answered.

Questions being asked by both Democrats and Republicans. Instead, Hillary is essentially looking at everyone, from Iowa Democrats to DC Republicans and saying:

It makes a big difference; her sharp dive in the polls and her party’s search for a viable alternative that isn’t a self described socialist shows it.

In reality, Kenneth exists. We just know him as “the truth.”


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Tech companies want your DNA…

Huffington Post reports: Last month, Apple revealed its plans to collaborate with genetic researchers to design an app that would allow consumers to take a DNA test and...

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Huffington Post reports:

Last month, Apple revealed its plans to collaborate with genetic researchers to design an app that would allow consumers to take a DNA test and submit their DNA information for genetic studies.

According to Popular Science the DNA could be used in studies to track genetic diseases.  Expectant mothers could use the results to get a clearer picture of potential genetic disorders which could be passed to their children.  However, all of this comes with one big problem; there isn’t much oversight regarding privacy of submitted DNA.  In other words, no one is really sure where that information might end up.

The FDA requires the presence of a genetic counselor before imparting news to a person that he or she is afflicted with certain genetic disorders, which begs the question ‘what are these companies really going to do with the results of these studies?’

Are you comfortable with your DNA being the missing link to big data and big tech companies as they move towards knowing more and more about every detail of your life?

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What if Kim Davis Was Muslim?

Before we get into this, it needs to be clear that Kim Davis should not be signing marriage certificates.

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Before we get into this, it needs to be clear that Kim Davis should not be signing marriage certificates. Not because gay couples should be kept by government from freely marrying in any church that will marry them, but because government has no role in marriage.

It’s a religious ceremony. (Funny how the most ardent advocates of separation of church and state are also the loudest advocates of government recognizing gay marriage, but that’s another post.)

If you think government should be involved, there’s a contract for that:


Regarding Kim Davis, the Christian Democrat county clerk in Kentucky who is now sitting in a jail cell for her refusal to issue a marriage license to gay couples, it’s interesting to consider this issue from a different position.

The issue here is Davis won’t issue a marriage license because she says it would be a violation of her faith.

But what if Kim Davis were Muslim? Would she still be in jail for refusing to do her job?

There is precedence that says she would not. In fact, if she were Muslim, it might even be the government suing for discrimination.

Since this is a situation where a worker is refusing to do an assigned task on religious grounds, we’ll forego all the lawsuits filed because Muslim men wanted to wear beards even though their employers had policies against them. We’ll also exclude the lawsuits where Muslim women wanted to wear hijabs despite employer dress codes that prohibited them.

Jijab protest

Let’s focus on situations where Muslims flat out refused to do their jobs on religious grounds.

Safoorah Kahn was a teacher at MacArthur Middle School. She requested unpaid leave to perform hajj – a pilgrimage to Mecca the Koran says must be taken once in a Muslim’s life, when they are physically and financially able. The school denied her leave, so she resigned and went to Mecca. And she sued the school district for religious discrimination. The U.S. Justice Department settled the lawsuit against the school district for “$75,000 in lost back pay, compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees.” The school also had to develop a policy accommodating religions and provide training on said accommodations.

Star Transportation fired two Muslim drivers after they refused to haul loads with liquor in them. The two cited their religion as the reason. In May of 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the trucking firm, saying they “refused to provide two employees with an accommodation of their religious beliefs.”

Failure to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees, when this can be done without undue hardship, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion. The EEOC filed suit, (EEOC v. Star Transport, Inc., Civil Action No. 13 C 01240-JES-BGC, U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in Peoria, assigned to U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid), after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its statutory conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the fired truck drivers and an order barring future discrimination and other relief.

The EEOC said Star Transport could just give the two men loads without booze and it wouldn’t be a big deal. Now get a load of this:

John Hendrickson, the EEOC Regional Attorney for the Chicago District Office said, “Everyone has a right to observe his or her religious beliefs, and employers don’t get to pick and choose which religions and which religious practices they will accommodate. If an employer can reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practice without an undue hardship, then it must do so. That is a principle which has been memorialized in federal employment law for almost50 years, and it is why EEOC is in this case.”

What does “undue hardship” mean? According to the Wall Street Journal, “the details are tricky.”

It is loosely defined as resulting in more than minimal costs or burden to accommodate a worker, which includes causing drops in efficiency or safety, burdening other employees or incurring certain expenses, according to federal regulations and EEOC guidelines.

You can focus on the idea of undue hardship, but the issue here is the “accommodation of religious beliefs.” These guys weren’t asking for time to pray and being refused. They weren’t saying they should be able to wear beards, as commanded by the Koran. They were saying the Koran says we shouldn’t drink alcohol, so we refuse to be party to another person’s sin.

And the federal government went to bat for them.

How is that different than Kim Davis? It isn’t, but a federal judge put her in jail for it.

When the Supreme Court announced their decision legalizing gay marriage across the country, President Barack Obama praised it, saying ““that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love.”

It follows that all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they worship.

Hat Tip: Dan from Squirrel Hill

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Another Day, Another Mom Arrested for Letting her Kid Play Outside

... on a playground just 120 feet from the front door in their gated community.

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Sonya Hendren didn’t want to be a helicopter mom to her son, Tomahawk.  So, she let him play outside by himself.  Unfortunately, because he was just four years old, neighbors freaked out and called the police.

Now Hendren was charged with felony child endangerment for letting her child play on a playground just 120 feet from the front door in their gated community.

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Every day is a learning experience when you’re just 4-years-old. Tomahawk Hendren is a self proclaimed outdoor guy. But his explorations inside his gated Sacramento apartment complex has taught his mom a hard lesson about the law.

“He was outside and a neighbor called the cops on us,” said Tomahawk’s mother, Sonya Hendren.

Sonya Hendren was arrested for felony child endangerment and neglect and had TomahawkMom and Son taken away. The alleged crime was letting him roam on a playground 120 feet from their front door.

“We have a CPS (Child Protective Service) case now and every time he’s not in my visual site we’re in violation,” Hendren said.

Though the charges have been reduced to misdemeanors Hendron has been fighting to get them dropped for several months.

“I thought she would just get a warning … and she wouldn’t let them be out alone again,” said Sonja Horrell, who reported Tomahawk to CPS. Horrell and her daughter said they were worried because Tomahawk was left unattended. They said they didn’t mean the family any harm.

Horrell’s daughter Brandi said, “I’m not mad that she has to do things now to teach her because what if somebody did take him away.”

Hendren’s attorney notes that if this was 20 years ago, the time frame when most adults grew up, this wouldn’t be a crime.  No charges would have been filed.

Maybe, maybe not.  Tomahawk is just four years old, after all.

However, it’s also not the only time a parent has been arrested for behavior many of us grew up with.  In June, a Florida couple was arrested after a neighbor called to report the couple’s 11-year-old son playing in the back yard for 90 minutes without adult supervision.  A year earlier, South Carolina woman found herself in handcuffs for letting her child, age nine, to play in a nearby park while she worked.  In August of last year, another Florida parent was arrested for letting her son walk to the park by himself…while equipped with a cell phone.

The list goes on and on and on.

Folks, most of us grew up in a world where this was fairly normal.  Maybe not at four, mind you, but you probably knew some kids who got to do that around that age.  Most importantly, nothing happened to them.

Of course, some might argue that we live in a different world than we did back then.  They’re right.  It’s actually safer.  The site Free Range Kids has compiled a lot of reports, all showing that children aren’t in any more danger than they were a generation ago.

What has changed, however, is perception.  With 24 hours of news, broadcasters at CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all have to find ways to fill the time.  Stories about bad things happening to children are especially poignant, and really strike a cord with viewers, so they get airplay.  Whereas the story might never have made it off of the local news in the days before 24-hour news, now it is seen throughout the nation.  Enough of these, and there’s a perception of the world being less safe for children.

Not that it should matter.  The world as a whole is irrelevant.  What matters is that things like this should be up to the parent, not the police.

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Family’s Solar Panels TOO Powerful and Shut Down by Utility Company.

Now, regardless of how you feel about regulations in general, which dim bulb came up with this?

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In a time when many people are going on and on about green energy, it’s unsurprising that a Southern California couple would opt to put solar cells on their own home. After all, cutting your power bill is a common reason to adopt solar. However, for this SoCal family, apparently their solar has been deemed as working too well, and subsequently blocked by their local utility company.

From The Week:

Looking to slash their electric bill, retired couple Ron and Sarah Hall installed solar panels on their Southern California home. Nearly a year later, they haven’t saved a dime.

The panels are considered too powerful, NBC Los Angeles reports, and were never turned on. A company called Solar City installed 36 panels on the Hall’s Lake Elsinore house for free; they would make their money back by filling out rebates through residential energy conservation programs. SoCal Edison, however, would not let the couple activate their system because it exceeded California’s standards for residential energy production. “They’re saying that the system that I have will generate 128 percent, that’s 28 percent over what they estimated,” Ron Hall said.

The problem isn’t necessarily the fact that the panels would generate wasted electricity, NBC Los Angeles explains. Instead, the state is concerned that homeowners could sell their excess energy.

As a result of this fear, California would require the Hall’s to adhere to business regulations.

Now, regardless of how you feel about regulations in general, can’t we all agree that this is just dim witted?  Plenty of states permit solar panel owners to sell excess power to the electric company without having to jump through more hoops than a dolphin auditioning for a gig at Sea World.  They simply send a check for the excess..

Meanwhile, California maintains a reputation as being one of the more environmentally friendly states in the nation.  Really?  Maybe it’s time to realize that sometimes regulations are a problem, especially when it gets in the way of a retired couple trying to save a bit of money on their light bill.  While we’re at it, can someone explain the evil of a retired couple supplementing their income with some excess electricity? We’re asking because we ain’t seeing it.

Perhaps California will come to learn that when you make it a pain for people to do something, they just won’t do it.  If you want folks to put solar cells on their houses, don’t punish them because it works a little too well.

Just a thought.

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Fight Against Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Puts Obama and the Koch Brothers On the Same Page

"You’ve got Van Jones and Newt Gingrich. You’ve got Americans for Tax Reform and the ACLU. You’ve got the NAACP — and the Koch brothers.”

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Mandatory sentencing became a reality in the 1980s to address disparities in sentencing for crimes with very similar facts. Congress’ intent was to eliminate this disparity by mandating minimum sentences for certain crimes. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1985 created the United States Sentencing Commission and charged it with enacting Sentencing Guidelines. They went a step further and, in an attempt to end lenient sentencing by sympathetic judges, required minimum sentences for certain crimes:

For example, Congress enacted the Armed Career Criminal Act[10] in 1984 as part of the same law that included the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984.[11] The Armed Career Criminal Act demands that a district court sentence to a minimum 15-year term of imprisonment anyone who is convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm if he has three prior convictions for “a violent felony or a serious drug offense.”[12] Two years later, concerned by the emergence of a new form of cocaine colloquially known as “crack,” Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986,[13] which imposes mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment for violations of the federal controlled substances laws.[14]

Weldon Angelos is sitting in prison, sentenced in 2004 to 55 years without parole for selling about $1,000 worth of weed. He was sentenced to one day for the marijuana. The rest of the sentence was mandatory:

Federal drug laws require 5- to 30-year mandatory minimum sentences for possessing, brandishing or discharging a gun during a drug-trafficking crime. For each subsequent gun conviction, there is a mandatory sentence of 25 years that must be served consecutively. This is often referred to as “gun stacking,” which is why Angelos received 55 years without parole.

He received five years for the gun in the car; 25 years for the second gun charge, having one in an ankle strap; and another 25 years for a third firearms charge, the gun police found in his home.

The judge who sentenced Angelos had no choice. Utah U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Cassell said it was “the most difficult case he’d faced” and the sentence was “unjust, cruel and even irrational.”

Another irrational case was in Missouri, where Jeff Mizanskey was sentenced to a life sentence for weed, a sentence mandated by the state’s Three Strikes law. Strike one was for selling an ounce of weed to a close relative. Strike two came when police searched his home and found less than three ounces. Two years later, he was merely present while a friend bought weed from a supplier working with the police.

Mizanskey never did anything violent, yet was the only person in the state sentenced to life in jail.

Cruel? Unjust? Irrational?

Many in Missouri thought so, bringing Democrat and Republican state legislators together to lobby for his release, which was announced earlier this month.

Two people in particular agree there’s the need for sentencing reform. Libertarian billionaire Charles Koch and progressive President Barack Obama.

“This is a cause that’s bringing people in both houses of Congress together,” Obama said. “It’s created some unlikely bedfellows. You’ve got Van Jones and Newt Gingrich. You’ve got Americans for Tax Reform and the ACLU. You’ve got the NAACP — and the Koch brothers.”

The audience started laughing.

But Koch Industries is urging support of the same legislation in Congress that is backed by Obama as his administration tries to reduce the burgeoning prison population, cut the billions spent on inmates and reverse severe drug-sentencing policies that began with the crack cocaine epidemic.

Obama interrupted the laughter. “No, you’ve got to give them credit,” he said. “You’ve got to call it like you see it.”

Members of Koch Industries have met with members of the Obama administration to discuss sentencing reform. They are the only two parties from opposite ideologies working together to fix this problem:

Senators Patrick Leahy (D–VT) and Rand Paul (R–KY) have introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013,[2] which would apply to all federal mandatory minimums. Senators Dick Durbin (D–IL) and Mike Lee (R–UT) have introduced the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would apply to federal mandatory minimums for only drug offenses.[3]


The Smarter Sentencing Act cuts in half many of the non-violent mandatory minimum sentences for drugs, with means fewer people in prison. It also means 8,829 offenders would be up for resentencing.

It’s time to stop kicking the can down the road while people like Jeff Mizanskey and Weldon Angelos sit in jail longer than rapists and murders. Something that upside down brings everyone to the same page.

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Obama Says Mass Shooting Should Be Politicized — Ok, Then … Let’s Do This

A devil's advocate look at the post gun utopia President Obama and other anti-gun activists imagine.

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Following the tragic shooting yesterday at a community college campus in Roseburg, Ore., President Obama renewed his call for increased gun control nationwide.

The shooting at Umpqua Community College left 10 dead and in his speech addressing the shooting, President Obama said, “Earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying, ‘The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws even in the face of repeated mass killings.’ And later that day, there was a mass shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. That day! Somehow this has become routine.”

He continued.

“…somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.”

Ok, let’s get politicizing then.

Larry O’Conner asks a solid question to start us off.


There’s only one law that could prevent a mass shooting.  It would be a law that abolishes not just the private ownership of firearms, but would abolish the presence of firearms within the borders of the United States.Then, the border would have to be completely closed to prevent black market guns from getting into the country. Finally, all firearms would have to be surrendered and not even the police or military could possess them.

The military?  Seriously?

Seriously.  Major Hasan ring a bell?

This is the only way.  Just banning them or making gun controls stricter will not work.

Let’s assume for the purpose of politicizing this shooting, that this happens and there are guns in America.

What then?

In 1997, following a mass shooting, Great Britain did close to the above scenario.  Handgun ownership is almost completely banned.  Since then mass shootings have dropped.  Their gun laws are so strict, their Olympic shooting team has to go to another country to practice.

True story.


Knife crime across England and Wales has risen for the first time in four years, official figures have revealed.

Police recorded 26,370 offences in 2014/15, up from 25,974 the previous year – breaking a downward trend since 2010/11.

The ONS data showed that possession of knife offences rose by 10%, sexual assaults with knives went up 28%, and knife assaults increased by 13% from 11,911 to 13,488 offences.

The statistics also showed:

  • A 37% rise in the number of sexual offences recorded by the police
  • The number of rapes (29,265) and other sexual offences (58,954) are at the highest level since the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in 2002/03.

Crime doesn’t end because guns are banned.  The only difference is, the people are denied the one thing that puts them on equal footing with a bad guy — a gun.


In the post gun utopia President Obama and other anti-gun activists imagine, this woman is raped:

An elderly woman took hold of a firearm to scare off two men who entered her Big Sur home and attempted to rape her on Sunday, according to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.

Around 9 p.m. Sunday, deputies responded to a report of an attempted home invasion in the 37000 block of Garrapatos Road, about 2 miles east of state Highway 1, sheriff’s officials said.

Two men armed with knives entered the home and made their way into a bedroom, where they tried to rob and rape an elderly woman, according to sheriff’s officials.

The woman was able to defend herself with a firearm, sheriff’s officials said.

Is this better or worse than if she didn’t have the gun and was raped?

Serious question.  Given that the only way to prevent mass shootings is to deny her access to a firearm, in this situation, she is raped.  Possibly murdered.

Is it better that she, and countless other women, be raped than to have a mass shooting?

It’s not a false dilemma.  It’s reality.

Women use firearms all the time to protect themselves from sexual assault.  Here’s an example.  Here’s another.  And yet another.

All of these women, rather than being able to defend themselves, are likely raped if they don’t have a gun.

The question that must be asked of those who want to ban guns is, is this better?

Will the increase in home invasions be worth banning guns?

Will the increase in other violent crimes be worth banning guns?

These questions deserve answers because the reality of the situation is simple.  Bad things happen to good people, whether guns are legal or not.

We either deal with the tragedies associated with too much freedom, or we deal with those associated with too little, but one thing is consistent.

We deal with tragedies.

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Ben Shapiro to Mizzou Protesters: ‘Toughen Up’ (Video)

He starts by addressing this notion of "white privilege," calling it racism of the highest order...

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If there is a story that’s managed to unite people across the political spectrum, it may well be the protests at the University of Missouri.  Recently, Ben Shapiro, author of “Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth, visited the campus and took a shot at the children trying to run the place.

From Progressive Today:

With only 4 days notice the event titled “Truth is a Microagression” was an overwhelming success signaling that despite the media narrative, the views of the campus protesters are not prevalent throughout the student body.

Posters and flyers advertising the event bore the tagline “Check your liberal privilege” and the words “Toughen up you spoiled children” were scrawled on the sidewalk outside the venue by the MU College Republicans.

The auditorium overflowed with students as Shapiro blasted the school’s racebaiters. The crowd was so large that nearly 100 people watched the livestream from another auditorium and over 7000 people watched online from around the country.

A brief video of Shapiro’s comments:

However, many would be allies are stepping away from the protests at Mizzou over their treatment of the press and just shake their heads at the ridiculousness of the Mizzou sympathizers at Smith College who would only permit reporters who would agree in print with their movement.

To be sure, any movement on a campus is unlikely to attract every single student or even a majority of students.  Protests rarely garner a majority of anything.  In fact, it could be argued that the majority rarely needs to actually protest anything.

Also, Shapiro states in the video that the perception based on the media reports is that the University of Missouri is a hotbed of racism and racially charged acts such as the infamous cotton incident:

MU police were called to the black culture center Friday morning after students and staff awoke to find cotton balls strewn across the lawn. The racist act, an overt reminder of slavery, came on one of the last days of Black History Month.

Police said they received an anonymous tip that led to the arrest but did not provide additional details. Capt. Brian Weimer would not confirm whether nearby video surveillance images were used in the arrest, saying he did not want to jeopardize the case.

Nathan Stephens, director of the black culture center, said he was pleased to hear about the arrests.

This case has been cited as one of the overtly racist acts on campus.

Ahem. It’s also from 2010.

Other allegations are often sketchy.  The student body president, Peyton Head, claims that white students yelled racial slurs at him. This is the same Peyton Head who also said it was confirmed that the KKK was on campus…despite there being no confirmation of any such thing. He also said he was working with law enforcement, which if true would have meant he knew there was no such threat.  In other words, he lied.  Can we trust his word on something with so little evidence?

While we do know that the now infamous poop swastika happened, we still don’t know who actually did it.  While some are ready to jump on the idea that it was white students trying to send a racist message, there’s good reason to want to wait and see.  After all, recently a black student in Michigan posed as a white student and threatened a mass shooting.  After a series of black churches burned in St. Louis, acts believed to be racially motivated, it turned out the arsonist was a black man.  At Vanderbilt University, black students decried the hate crime of someone leaving a bag of dog poop outside the black cultural student.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a blind girl whose service dog who pooped, so she cleaned it up and rather than take the fecal matter inside, she left it outside because she didn’t know where a garbage can was.  Whoops.

Now, this doesn’t mean the poop swastika–and you have no idea who ridiculous it feels typing “poop swastika”–isn’t racially motivated.  We simply know it happened and nothing else.  Since we have other incidents of so-called racism turning out to be either misunderstandings or perpetrated by black people, we’re merely saying it’s prudent to wait and see.

Unfortunately, the media isn’t really down with that.  They’d rather jump all into it.  Frankly, we think the students needs to “toughen up” a bit.  The real world is far, far worse than college and is far less likely to give a flying flip about their feelings.

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Here’s Ben’s full presentation, courtesy of Young Americans Foundation; very worthwhile:

Photo Credit: Ben Shapiro/facebook
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