Robbers Use Gun On Gun-Free Campus To – What Else? – Rob Four Ohio Students

Guns are forbidden on the campus of the private Case Western University in Ohio, so it has some built-in value as a safe place for anybody with criminal intent against person and property.

Over the weekend, three guys concealed their faces with hoodies and bandannas, came into a common area for on-campus housing, pulled out a handgun, and robbed four unlucky (and obviously unarmed) students.

The affair took place in the middle of the day Saturday. No one was injured and, according to a reporter for the Northeast Ohio Media Group, “most of” the victims’ possessions were recovered at a nearby house.

Case Western responded predictably, issuing a statement the following Monday saying “we feel compelled to take significant immediate, short- and long-term action to increase security on campus.” The short-term answer was to place a security guard in Wade Commons, the group area where the robbery occurred and to order keycard-activated locks.

Long-term steps involve installing a door buzzer and security camera, as well as to “assess the university’s entire 500-acre campus’s perimeter, which borders several economically stressed neighborhoods in Cleveland and East Cleveland,” according to a follow-up report.

There was no mention of reevaluating the university’s gun policy.

It isn’t the first, or even the second, instance of on-campus violence this year. A woman was robbed at gunpoint in front of a campus building on June 10; another man was robbed of his cell phone in April, by a perpetrator who, according to witnesses, was carrying a pistol.

Obama Dinner Fire Sale: Price Of Seats Slashed At President’s California Fundraisers

President Barack Obama’s fundraising junket on the west coast has reportedly hit a wall, with per-plate prices for the Democratic fundraising dinners which he headlines tanking from a previous high of $32,400 to as little as $5,000.

That’s getting into hoi polloi territory.

Why the price cut? Donor fatigue, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“President Obama hit the Bay Area for a fast cash-and-grab fundraising drive Wednesday, but there were signs that even in one of the nation’s most reliable Democratic ATMs, donor fatigue is setting in,” the Chronicle reported this morning.

“Democratic donors who were invited to the San Francisco event, at the Four Seasons Hotel on Market Street, said they had initially been asked to donate as much as $25,000 to sit down with Obama. One who balked at the price said organizers had offered a cut-rate deal of as little as $5,000,” the report also revealed.

A San Francisco event also reportedly began offering tickets at a deep discount, even though similar events in the past have routinely enjoyed ticket prices of $32,400 per guest.

Only three months have passed since Obama made a similar trip through Silicon Valley to pass the hat, and one unnamed invitee (the report doesn’t say whether the invitee actually attended an event this time around) told the Chronicle it feels as though donors are being asked to pay more for the privilege of the President’s brief company — while receiving less than they’re used to.

“Five-thousand dollars to sit down with the president for an hour? That’s usually what it costs for a photo of you and your whole family.”

Someone Finally Acknowledges Obama’s Transcendent Power Over The Moral Universe

In a spasm of progressive wordsmithing that may have inadvertently forged a new slogan for MSNBC, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, rhapsodically greeted President Barack Obama for a party fundraiser Wednesday by declaring that Obama is “bending the arc of the moral universe forward.”

Some of us understand metaphors and such; but, try as we might, we have no idea what this means. It vaguely sounds like something Jesus might have done.

For Inslee, evidently, worship is the idea. In a midterm election cycle that has seen incumbent Democrats divided over whether to acknowledge their President and risk offending voters who don’t approve of Obama or whether to run from him — even if it means skipping out on your own fundraiser to avoid having your picture taken with him — Inslee is all in.

With two years remaining before voters have the chance to elect another Governor (Inslee scraped by Republican Rob McKenna in the 2012 election), maybe Inslee feels like there’s time enough to disassociate from Obama when it counts.

The Governor’s paean to Obama came at the home of a Seattle real estate developer, where Obama himself took the mic to repeat his threat of executive action to circumvent obstructionist Republicans in Congress, comparing them with luddites who wouldn’t have sent a man to the moon.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

… Obama had sharp words for Republicans in Congress. He praised past Republican presidents: Eisenhower for interstate highways, Nixon for the Environmental Protection Agency. “The problem is that the bunch we have now have gone off the rails,” he said.

He wants to cooperate, said Obama, but: “When I can’t get Congress to help I’m going to do everything I can on my own.”

…Obama evoked Sunday’s 45th anniversary of the moon landing. On Monday, he had Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, and Neil Armstrong’s widow, to the White House.

“Nobody went to the moon because they were skeptics. Naysayers put nobody on the moon.”

It’s worth mentioning that Obama wouldn’t let the press in to Tuesday’s White House celebration of the moon landing, a move that elicited a formal complaint from a very thoroughly infuriated White House Correspondents’ Association.

Back in Seattle, Obama also delivered a minor revelation that sheds new light on his repeated claim that he routinely learns about his Administration’s scandals only when he, along with the rest of America, sees breaking reports about the scandals on TV news.

“Obama did raise eyebrows with an offhand remark about the news media,” the Post-Intelligencer’s Joel Connelley reported. “He doesn’t usually watch the news, Obama quipped, because ‘whatever they’re reporting, I already know.’”

Can both claims be true?

Probably — but only if you know how to bend the arc of the moral universe.

Another Day, Another IRS Revelation: Backups From The Lois Lerner Era Do Exist, Commissioner Admits

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in front of Congressional investigators for the third time in the last month, admitted today that the agency does possess backup drives that may contain the elusive data that allegedly went missing when former Exempt Organizations administrator Lois Lerner’s computer hard drive crashed.

Koskinen would not attest to the probability of finding anything of interest on the backup drives, though, saying only that an inspector general’s investigation is in the process of reviewing their data. The tape-based devices, intended as six-month backup storage for everyday IRS electronic communications and client-side storage, reportedly date from the time Lerner’s computer hard drive crashed in 2011. Koskinen had told the House Oversight Committee at a previous hearing that the data could not be recovered.

During today’s session, Koskinen also informed a subcommittee of the House Oversight panel that the IRS was dropping its internal investigation into the political discrimination scandal that revolves around the missing data, saying the agency will henceforth defer to the inspector general’s investigation.

Republicans on the Oversight panel were as incredulous as ever at Koskinen’s testimony, insisting that the entire saga of missing emails and serendipitous hard drive crashes, along with the agency’s slow-footed and sometimes contradictory information, suggested a coverup.

“All I’m saying is that timing is pretty suspect,” Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said, with Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) adding, “You guys sat on the information for several months.”

Republicans continue to call for a special prosecutor to investigate the scandal.

IRS Says Lerner’s Emails May Be Recoverable After All

Along with news this week that several additional Internal Revenue Service employees with ties to Lois Lerner suffered computer crashes came another minor revelation from agency lawyer Thomas Kane, who told a Congressional panel that, just maybe, Lerner’s long-lost emails can still be retrieved.

On Monday, the House Oversight Committee released a portion of a transcript from testimony Kane had given last week, revealing that Kane suggested the possibility that tape drives used to archive IRS employees’ electronic data may still be intact, with her communications on them.

“I don’t know if there is a backup tape with information on it or there isn’t. I know that there’s an issue out there about it,” Kane told the Oversight Committee. “… It’s an issue that’s being looked at.”

As noncommittal as that sounds, what’s especially interesting is the fact that, if those drives are still out there — and if they still do contain Lerner’s emails — it’s because the IRS, once again, hasn’t been following its own protocols.

IRS policy calls for tape drives used for backup storage to be “recycled” every six months. That is, after a drive has successfully stored six months’ worth of information, that information can be erased and replaced with new backup data from the present. The emails relating to Lerner’s alleged computer crash date from some still-unknown time beginning in 2011 — when her computer supposedly went on the fritz.

Kane’s testimony that the drives (and with them, Lerner’s emails) may still be out there also contradicted IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s testimony before the Oversight Committee last month, when he averred that all the backup drives used to save data generated in the IRS Exempt Organizations Division had been recycled.

Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) pounced on that revelation, accusing the agency of sloppy management and suggesting Koskinen is still attempting to conceal the truth from House investigators.

“Finding out that IRS Commissioner Koskinen jumped the gun in reporting to Congress that the IRS ‘confirmed’ all backup tapes had been destroyed makes me even more suspicious of why he waited months to inform Congress about lost Lois Lerner emails,” Issa said following Kane’s testimony. “Commissioner Koskinen has repeatedly blamed the reporting delay on an effort to be sure what he said was correct. We now know that wasn’t the case.”

Democrats Pledge To Live A Week On Minimum Wage

It’s been a while since Congressional Democrats have rallied around President Barack Obama’s push for a Federal minimum wage increase, so it’s about time for some fresh publicity. The midterms are less than four months away.

So this week, a gaggle of Democratic Representatives is putting itself through the minimum wage austerity experience, attempting to get by on $77 for a week — a budget that’s supposed to reflect the discretionary spending power that comes from earning a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Here’s how progressive blog ThinkProgress weeps over the tribulations of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who joined with Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Keith Ellinson (D-Minn.), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and others in attempting to subsist on fast-food earnings:

Since he began his minimum wage challenge on Sunday, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, now president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, has had eggs and toast, a bowl of cereal with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a banana. On Monday, he came to work with a bologna and cheese sandwich and a banana. “I’m not sure what I’m going to have for supper,” he told ThinkProgress.

He’s also had to give up some pleasures. “I was walking by a nice restaurant last night near my apartment and people were sitting outside and eating nice food and drinking,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘You know what would be nice? To have a cold beer.’ But you know, I didn’t. Ordinarily I would, but if you don’t have much money there’s a lot of things you can’t do.”

Sounds like he’s in a cold, dark place.

This “Live The Wage Challenge” theater is the product of a push, on the five-year anniversary of the last Federal minimum wage increase, to persuade Congress to raise the Federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The challenge, which has a website that invites you to participate, is sponsored by dozens of labor unions and progressive organizations, according to a report from The Washington Free Beacon.

Instead of living for one week on minimum wage, perhaps well-intentioned Democrats could challenge themselves to live for one year on a middle-class wage (while they’re at it, they might even consider enriching the endeavor by doing middle-class work). It would be an experience far more representative of Americans who, while working to pursue their careers and long-term goals, must make tough financial decisions that have lifelong consequences.

Obama’s Fundraising Trip Will Spend Public Funds; Features Only One Job-Related Stop

The last President did it; this President does it, and the next President will likely do it, too: flying around on Air Force One for political cheerleading and fundraising, with a nominal job-related stop along the way to justify using public funds to pay the expense of the entire trip.

President Barack Obama’s schedule for the next three days involves jetting around on Air Force One for a trip that will include five fundraisers in three cities: Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, with the only planned presidential stop a speech on the economy at a vocational school in Los Angeles.

Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard did simple math to arrive at a $2.85 million price tag for that trip – and that’s only the cost of flying the plane:

At $228,288 an hour, the base flight time of 12.5 hours from Washington to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and back to Andrews Air Force Base will cost taxpayers $2.85 million.

Expensive? That bill doesn’t include the cost of flying and housing staff and the Secret Service, or the prepositioning of equipment like limos to get the president from his hotel to events.

More reason to pile on Obama, right? Sure, but he isn’t the only President who’s spent public money to generate money for his party. Democrats were staking out moral high ground during the George W. Bush presidency, criticizing Bush for using Air Force One as a fundraising slingshot during midterm election cycles.

Obama has spent more than Bush – in part because fuel costs more now – but arguing over which President spends more is an academic matter, when set against the realization that our election laws allow for the practice in the first place.

Figuring out how the White House follows the law is itself a mystery. “I’ve never been able to find anything concrete, so we never know the bottom-line cost of any presidential trip,” Brian Doherty, a political science professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, told The Washington Times for a 2012 story on presidential campaign spending. And Doherty’s an expert on the topic – he’s even written a book about it.

Beretta Moving From Gun-Strict Maryland To Gun-Friendly Tennessee

Beretta USA Corp. announced today it will move its current firearms manufacturing operation in Maryland to Tennessee, citing the threat of more gun control laws in Maryland that, if passed, would make it illegal for the company to sell its product in the very State where it’s produced.

In a press release on Beretta’s website , General Manager Jeff Cooper explained the company already had intended to open a Gallatin, Tenn. location to produce new product designs, but that the political climate in Maryland led to a decision to move its entire Maryland manufacturing operation – and with it, 300 jobs – to the Tennessee facility.

From the statement:

“During the legislative session in Maryland that resulted in passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the version of the statute that passed the Maryland Senate would have prohibited Beretta U.S.A. from being able to manufacture, store or even import into the State products that we sell to customers throughout the United States and around the world. While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the State,” stated Jeff Cooper, General Manager for Beretta U.S.A. Corp.

“While we had originally planned to use the Tennessee facility for new equipment and for production of new product lines only, we have decided that it is more prudent from the point of view of our future welfare to move the Maryland production lines in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility,” Cooper added.

Beretta still hasn’t broken ground on its $45 million Tennessee location, and it will be 2015 before the company makes its move out of Maryland. Interestingly, Beretta will continue to keep its Administrative headquarters in Accokeek, Md.

In 2014, Nearly Half Of Americans Aren’t Sure If Barack Obama Is A U.S. Citizen

Birtherism as a political phenomenon may have had its moment, but don’t tell that to nearly half the people who responded to a Rasmussen poll released Monday. By Rasmussen’s count, 40 percent of Americans either firmly believe President Barack Obama isn’t an American citizen, or they haven’t been fully persuaded that he is.

According to the poll, 23 percent say Obama definitely isn’t a citizen, while another 17 percent say they aren’t sure. On the other hand, 60 percent reject the idea that Obama’s not a U.S. citizen.

Republicans make up the majority of those who believe Obama has lied about his citizenship, with 41 percent responding that he’s not a citizen and another 20 percent indicating they aren’t sure. Among Democrats, there are (somehow) 11 percent who believe Obama isn’t a citizen, and 7 percent who haven’t made up their minds.

The poll, which covers public opinion about a range of alternate history narratives and conspiracy theories, reveals that the lingering suspicion over Obama’s citizenship is much more pervasive than other popular theories about hidden truths:

Last November, on the 50th anniversary of the [President John F. Kennedy] assassination, 36% of adults said Kennedy was the victim of a lone gunman, but just as many (37%) said he was the victim of a larger conspiracy.

One-in-four adults (24%) are convinced that the U.S. government knew in advance about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and did nothing to stop them, and 19% more are not sure. Only 57% say that conspiracy theory is false.

Just as many (23%) say the theory that Obama is not an American citizen is true, with another 17% who aren’t sure. Sixty percent (60%) reject that theory as false.

Interestingly, however, more Americans (82%) are willing to declare as false the theory that Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1966 and replaced by the Beatles than are willing to reject any of the other conspiracy theories we asked about.

In addition, there are more people who believe Obama is not a U.S. citizen than there are people who believe the U.S. faked sending men to the moon, that a real UFO with aliens aboard crashed near Roswell, N.M., or that Shakespeare is not the true author of “Hamlet” and “Macbeth.”

Immigrants With Criminal Pasts Often Go Free In The U.S. When ICE Runs Out Of Options

Whenever U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains illegal immigrants or legal foreign nationals with criminal backgrounds, its efforts to deport them to their native countries aren’t always successful — not by a long shot. And whenever ICE exhausts available legal mechanisms in attempting to return those who have committed crimes — even if they’re in the country legally — to their homes, it sets those criminals free in the United States.

A remarkable investigative story Sunday in Minneapolis’ Star Tribune recounts the aftermath of one such failed deportation: the freeing of Somali national Omar Kalmio, who subsequently murdered four people in North Dakota. He was convicted in 2013.

“Omar Kalmio was never supposed to get to North Dakota,” the Tribune’s Mark Brunswick wrote. “The Somali national from Eagan was supposed to be deported because of his violent criminal record in Minnesota. Instead, he was released from custody when federal officials could not send him back to Somalia. Eight months later, he murdered four people in Minot in one of the most deadly crimes ever committed in modern-day North Dakota.”

While the audacity of his crime may seem aberrant, the circumstances that allowed Kalmio the free rein to kill people are not. In the region the Tribune examined, most of the immigrants whom ICE has set free are criminals.

“In the Upper Midwest, including Minnesota, more than 85 percent of the more than 800 who have been released are what the government considers their most dangerous offenders,” the report states. “Many have committed additional crimes after being released from an immigration system that appears hamstrung and intensely secretive.”

Nationwide, ICE has released at least five convicted terrorists and “hundreds” of convicted murderers.

It has to do this, under U.S. law. Currently, the government must operate under a six-month time constraint to deport foreign nationals who’ve been convicted of crimes in the U.S. or whose deeper criminal pasts surface through fresh documentation. But once that period expires, there’s no legal backup plan. As the report indicates, U.S. courts have consistently protected immigrants — even those who represent criminal risks — from indefinite detainment.

Inevitably, immigrants’ home countries don’t want to take back known criminals, and they often stall the bureaucratic process with the knowledge that the problem will forever fall in the lap of the U.S. government, once six months have passed.

Since the early 2000s, when court precedents set the tone for the policies ICE now follows, “Congress has struggled to set the balance between protecting the public and protecting the Constitution,” wrote Brunswick. “So far, it has found no answer.”