Starving North Korea Looks To Mongolia For Food Aid

North Korea has issued an appeal to landlocked Mongolia for food assistance, bypassing strained relations with neighboring China in an effort to send nourishment to the starving, isolated country.

Information on the extent of North Korea’s malnourishment is limited, but the World Food Program notes that one in three North Korean children experiences stunted growth because of malnourishment, and North Koreans as a whole have gone from being physically taller than their South Korean neighbors to half a foot shorter.

“We ask Mongolia to seek possibilities of delivering food aid to North Korea,” the North Korean ambassador wrote to Mongolian President Ts. Elbegdorj last week.

The Express U.K. last week reported an escapee’s account of routine cannibalism in the Hermit Kingdom under both deceased Dear Leader Kim Jong-il and his son, current dictator Kim Jong-Un.


Drone Makers Capitalize On Boston Terror

The president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International told an American publication that drones would have been perfect for post-attack reconnaissance following last Monday’s bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon.

“UAS [Unmanned Aircraft Systems] could be an important tool in the tool kit for first responders,” Michael Toscano told U.S. News and World Report. “Whether it is in response to a natural disaster or a tragedy like we saw in Boston, UAS can be quickly deployed to provide first responders with critical situational awareness in areas too dangerous or difficult for manned aircraft to reach.”

Constitutionalists, who’ve been protesting President Barack Obama’s drone policy, estimate there could be tens of thousands of drones in domestic skies by 2020. Numbers from the Federal Aviation Administration seem to back that prediction.

Sequester Skies, Gun Shows Grow, Obama’s Stressing Us Out, Celebs Losing It, RINOs Talk Terror & Citizenship — Monday Morning News Roundup 4-22-2013

  • Interest in guns and gun ownership seems to be sky high, despite Federal and State assaults on the 2nd Amendment. Attendance at gun shows this month has exceeded what many longtime enthusiasts have seen – even in New York, where people are seeking to arm themselves because they’re “scared.”
  • Today’s apparently the moment of truth for the airline industry, which will fly its first-ever day under the Federal Aviation Administration’s staffing cutbacks, thanks to Federal sequestration spending “cuts.” New York and L.A. have had a few delays so far; other than that, the AP doesn’t report much in the way of chaos.
  • But if you want chaos, look around. A new compilation of stats shows Americans living through the Administration of President Barack Obama are more suicidal, more stressed, sicker, more medicated and generally poorer than ever before.
  • Take celebs, for instance. Poor they may not be, but they can’t seem to keep it together. NFL  broadcasting legend Al Michaels, of all people, was quietly busted on suspicion of DUI over the weekend. But there was nothing quiet about Reese Witherspoon’s pompous tantrum as she watched her hubby get taken down in Atlanta Friday for the same offense.
  • With immigration reform shaping up as Congress’ next big fight, the RINO gang of eight is putting together a talking point agenda that uses Boston and other terror incidents as reasons to adopt their proposal to “legalize” more than 11 million illegal immigrants and start keeping tabs on who they are.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Detroit Cops Kidnapping, Abandoning Homeless People Outside City

The Michigan arm of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice calling for an investigation into the Detroit Police Department’s practice of forcing homeless people into vans and taking them “for a ride” miles out of town, where the cops then desert them.

In many cases, police would offer homeless loiterers a ride to a local shelter, church or warming center, but would instead drive them outside the city limits, tell them to empty their pockets of any money and abandon them.

“DPD’s practice of essentially kidnapping homeless people and abandoning them miles away from the neighborhoods they know — with no means for a safe return — is inhumane, callous and illegal,” said Sarah Mehta, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney. “The city’s desire to hide painful reminders of our economic struggles cannot justify discriminating against the poor, banishing them from their city, and endangering their lives.”

The complaint stems from a year-long investigation by the ACLU, which began after the organization began receiving complaints that police were essentially “deporting” homeless people hanging out in the touristy Greektown entertainment district because they were bad for area businesses.

That’s an understandable reason to want homeless people to take themselves somewhere else. Homeless people don’t attract a lot of sympathy, whether from hardworking, productive members of society, in general, or from anyone, in particular, who’s ever tried to run a business in an urban area where vagrancy is a problem. Individualists who rightly hold others in society to the same standard by which they themselves live often give homelessness no quarter.

But if there’s a Constitutional way to deal with homelessness, this isn’t it. Lacking a criminal pretense for taking the homeless into custody, Detroit police innovated, devising an unConstitutional “solution” that works only for as long as it takes the transplanted, stranded victims to find their way back to the exact same spot.

“The ACLU’s letter to Detroit documents the experiences of five individuals who were doing nothing illegal, yet were subjected to this abusive and unlawful treatment on multiple occasions,” the organization said in a press release. To read all five (and then some), go here, but here’s a taste:

Andrew Sheehan, 37, was “taken for a ride” at least four times since December 2011. Andrew has been homeless on and off for several years because of a substance abuse problem. He has since completed a drug rehabilitation program and is now working, living in an apartment, and continuing to attend religious services at Saints Peter and Paul Church in Greektown. Andrew has been picked up several times while sitting on a manhole in Greektown to keep warm. Police have driven him anywhere from five to seven miles away. On one occasion officers said they were taking Sheehan to a shelter, but instead dropped him off at the boundary between Detroit and River Rouge on Fort Street – eight miles from where he was picked up.



According to the ACLU complaint, the Detroit PD’s tactics represent repeated violations of the Constitutional right to due process and the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizures. The ACLU also argues that by arresting, detaining and forcibly removing homeless people without probable cause, the police department is also in violation of a 2003 consent order from the Department of Justice.

Is Depression Contagious?

A study by two University of Notre Dame professors suggests that spending time around someone who’s depressed can be more than just a drag; it could end up saddling you with the same condition.

The study, which followed more than 200 first-year students who’d been randomly assigned, in pairs, as housing partners, found that individuals paired with roommates whose depression stemmed from their “cognitive vulnerability” to stressful situations were more likely to develop the same symptoms than those who were paired with emotionally healthy students.

By contrast, some depressed students paired with roommates who handled the stresses of first-year college life well were likely to shake off many of their own negative symptoms.

The key factor, the study indicates, centers upon the type of a depression a person has. In the case of cognitive vulnerability depression, individuals don’t handle life changes well and view their circumstances as unchangeable or the product of personal failings.

In simple terms, negative thinking leads to cognitive vulnerability depression. The common-sense corollary is that hanging out with someone who’s a negative thinker increases the chance that you’ll become a negative thinker, too — unless you’re such a positive thinker that your influence starts to rub off on that depressed person you’re spending so much time around.

In the study, it took about six months for someone to go from happy to depressed, once they’d lived with a roommate already struggling with cognitive vulnerability depression. But signs of “contagion” were already evident after sharing living quarters for only three months.

“The findings provide striking evidence for the contagion effect, confirming the researchers’ initial hypothesis,” the study states.

“Our study demonstrates that cognitive vulnerability has the potential to wax and wane over time depending on the social context,” wrote Gerald Haeffel and Jennifer Hames, who co-authored the study. “This means that cognitive vulnerability should be thought of as plastic rather than immutable.”

In other words, a pessimist can think himself into a state of depression; but with changes in both his surroundings and his view of how to solve problems, he can think and act his way back out of it.

“Our findings suggest that it may be possible to use an individual’s social environment as part of the intervention process, either as a supplement to existing cognitive interventions or possibly as a stand-alone intervention,” the study says. “Surrounding a person with others who exhibit an adaptive cognitive style should help to facilitate cognitive change in therapy.”

Scouts May Lift Homosexual Policy, But Not For Adults

The Boy Scouts of America could soon lift a long-standing policy that prohibits homosexual boys from joining the organization.

The 103-year-old group decided last Friday to lift the policy on homosexuality for young men, but will continue to bar gay adult men from serving as leaders in the organization. The decision must be ratified in a nationwide vote to be held next month.

Gay rights advocacy groups still want adults included in the revised statement.

Texas School Counselor Fired For Racist Facebook Comment About Fertilizer Blast

Commenting on Facebook about President Barack Obama’s statement on last Wednesday’s tragic fertilizer factory explosion in West, Texas, Andrew Jackson Middle School counselor Karon Wright said this:

Its amazing how the “whites” get angry when Obama speaks. Oh well….its most of the whites who is getting blown away. So they will soon be wiped from the earth. Lol

The Grand Prarie, Texas, school system immediately fired her, saying Wright’s comments were wrong, “highly offensive, insensitive to the tragedy happening to our friends and neighbors in West, and disrespectful to the very human bond that we share with the people of West, especially those who have lost their loved ones.”

The school system had plenty of reason for firing Wright just for the disgusting spirit she exhibited in her very public remark. But if school officials needed more reason, her punctuation and subject-verb agreement would have also sufficed.

8th Grader Jailed For NRA Shirt At School

An eighth grader in West Virginia got suspended and arrested last week for wearing an NRA shirt that depicted a hunting rifle underneath the words “protect your right” to school and then refusing to take it off after being confronted by a school official.

Jared Marcum, whose record was spotless before the incident, now faces two charges of obstruction and disturbing the education process — whatever that means in Logan County — even though his contention that he never bore an aggressive or violent demeanor during the argument isn’t disputed by the school.

The school, Logan Middle, doesn’t prohibit gun imagery in its dress code. Marcum and his father, Allen Lardieri, say the faculty member in question is essentially violating Marcum’s 1st Amendment rights by censoring what he can say about his 2nd Amendment rights.

“I never thought it would go this far because, honestly, I don’t see a problem with this — there shouldn’t be a problem with this,” Marcum said.

Putin To Help Boston, Who Are These Guys, Anyway?, Man Lives Through Boston AND Texas Blasts, McCain Backs Amnesty, Mary Jane Farmers Stoked For 420 – Friday Morning News Roundup 4-19-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to assist U.S. investigators as they break down the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.
  • A narrative describing the two suspects in the Marathon bombing began to emerge as soon as police revealed the identities of the two men. Not all the accounts agree.
  • Senator John McCain of Arizona is supporting the amnesty plan for immigrants living illegally in the U.S. because, “realistically, there is nothing we can do to induce them back to their country of origin.”
  • Green thumbs in Cali are celebrating the counterculture “420” holiday Saturday like never before, with marijuana-themed farmer’s markets  drawing people out to peruse an array of fresh, locally-grown herbs.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Former NASA Scientists Challenge Government Narrative On Global Warming

A new study group composed of former NASA scientists is challenging the mainstream narrative on the validity of global warming.

About 20 scientists, most of them former members of the U.S. space program’s Apollo Team (the team that put America on the moon) organized The Right Climate Stuff research team last year to re-examine the belief that human-generated carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are creating a global warming crisis.

The team invited a number of scientists both for and against the conventionally accepted theory of global warming to study the issue, but stipulated that all presentations had to be backed by data.

A year later, the team has come out with a sort of progress report that indicates the way it’s leaning so far. The report makes six assertions:

  1. The science that predicts the extent of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is not settled science.
  2. There is no convincing physical evidence of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming; most of the alarm results from output of unvalidated computer models.
  3. Computer models need to be validated before being used in critical decision-making. “Our manned aerospace backgrounds in dealing with models of complex phenomena have convinced us that this rule must be followed to avoid decisions with serious unintended consequences.”
  4. Because there is no immediate threat of global warming requiring swift corrective action, scientists have time to study global climate changes and improve prediction accuracy.
  5. The U.S. government is overreacting to concerns about anthropogenic global warming. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be beneficial for forest and crop growth to support the Earth’s growing population, so control of carbon dioxide emissions is not an obvious best solution to hyped-up concerns regarding anthropogenic global warming.
  6. A wider range of solution options should be studied for global warming or cooling threats from any credible cause.

The findings aren’t unique among scientists who dissent from the mainstream take on global warming. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change organized in the early 2000s as a research team united by a lack of a standing agenda on environmental policy.

“Because we are not predisposed to believe climate change is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, we are able to look at evidence the [U.N.-backed] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ignores,” explains the group’s website. “Because we do not work for any governments, we are not biased toward the assumption that greater government activity is necessary.”

Cop Pulls Gun On Slowpoke Teen In McDonald’s Drive-Thru

Don’t you hate it when you have to wait an eternity in the drive-thru line at a fast food place?

Who among us hasn’t wished — at least once — to be able to speed things along by brandishing a pistol and telling the jerk at the front of the line, or maybe the window attendant, he needs to get things moving?

Allegedly, that’s exactly what off-duty Detective Sgt. Scott Biumi of the DeKalb County, Ga., Police Department did last week. Biumi, 48, reportedly got angry from the long wait at a McDonald’s drive-thru, got out of his vehicle and put his service pistol against the neck of Ryan Marsh, 18, who was idling his Ford truck at the window up ahead.

“He put his hand right here,” said Marsh (himself an off-duty employee at the McDonald’s in question), pointing to his shoulder and chest. “Then he pulled the gun and put it, pointed it at, like, my neck area” before Biumi hopped back in his Chevy Impala and drove off into the night.

Marsh told 11 Alive News afterward:

We were waiting on them to cook the food. And the cop — I didn’t know at first that he was a cop — pulled up behind us and waited about two minute; two to three minutes…And he got out and started yelling; yelling at us, “Stop holding up the drive-thru line” — this, that and the other. He walked back over to his car, got back in, and I said, “Sorry for the inconvenience, Sir.” And he goes, “Who has the loud mouth?” And I was, like, “I said that,” not being smart or anything. He’s like, “Well, you never know who you’re messing with.” And I was just like, “No, Sir, I don’t.” He goes, “Keep your mouth shut.” I was like, “I’m sorry.” He’s like, “Well, you don’t know who you’re messing with. And there’s some crazy people out there.” And that’s when he pulled the gun on me, and kept on yelling at me for about thirty more seconds. And then walked off.

Biumi, a 20-year cop, was arrested the next morning and charged with felony aggravated assault. He was placed on administrative leave, with pay, while the department investigated the case. He was out of jail on a $22,000 bond the same day.

With pay? All well and good, if the McDonald’s security camera hadn’t gotten the whole thing on tape:

Welfare Makes Up One-Sixth Of Federal Budget

A strange amalgam of interests, accelerated by the Administration of President Barack Obama’s constituency-expanding entitlement policies, are driving a surge in the predominant role that welfare programs continue to play in accounting for an ever-increasing chunk of the Federal budget.

Welfare spending programs — not including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment — have come to comprise one-sixth of the Federal budget, according to a Forbes report.

That’s one-sixth — without taking into account the money the government throws at the Medicare mammoth.

As it turns out, the war on poverty is a lucrative business for special corporate interests wise to the fact that there’s money to be made in helping the welfare state extend its reach — in expanding the definition of “poverty,” as the Obama Administration has done, in order to catch more Americans in its entitlement dragnet.

“A record-shattering 50 million Americans now live below the poverty line, a number likely to grow as Obamanomics drives more people out of the work force and onto one assistance program or another,” the Forbes article states. “What could be better for the myriad civil servants and wing-tipped bankers who dole out benefits as ever more ‘clients’ join the ranks of the poor and unemployed?”

Financial institutions lap up the transaction fees processed each time a food stamp card is swiped at the point of “sale.”

Farmers, already among the most subsidized of any private capitalists, serve out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agenda of expanding various nutrition assistance programs by devoting an increasing portion of their yields to food aid programs that have grown since their inception in the 1960s.

And, on the government side, the Federal worker bureaucracy compounds in both complexity and number each year, because it takes more government employees to cross-coordinate and implement Federal assistance programs that dish out more “help” to more people than at any time in our Nation’s short history as a welfare state.

Mainstream Newspapers Fall In Line To Condemn Gun Grab Defeat In Senate

Mainstream liberal newspapers spent Thursday bemoaning the Nation’s future, following the Senate’s defeat of key components of a gun control bill Wednesday that effectively killed the legislation for good.

The Chicago Tribune called the defeat an indication of Congress’ “shameful disconnect” with the American people.

The Los Angeles Times said the dead bill is a “shameful failure;” a “powerful reminder of how difficult it is to make progress on gun control at the federal level.”

The Washington Post said the Senate “cowered in the face of fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association.”

Finally, Bloomberg described the vote as a reflection of rural values prevailing over the views shared among “most of the American public,” unbelievably attacking the Senate’s Constitutionally designed two-votes-per-State structure as antiquated and not representative of modern demographics:

The proposal’s demise, in a 54-46 vote, is a testament to legislators’ continuing fear of the gun lobby. It also illuminates a political equation that grows more unbalanced, especially in the Senate, every year. The votes of Wyoming’s two senators, representing 580,000 citizens, effectively cancel the votes of California’s two senators, representing 38 million. The votes of Illinois, with a population of almost 13 million, are voided by those of Alaska, with little more than 700,000.

It’s called a Constitutional republic. And hey, how ’bout that other whole entire wing of Congress?

Boston Hockey Fans Drown Out Soloist In Singing Of National Anthem

Usually, when a mob of people acts as one, the results are ugly. But Wednesday’s game between the Boston Bruins and the Buffalo Sabres was preceded by a rendition of the national anthem that, for a moment, united thousands of people at Boston’s TD Bank Garden in a pretty uplifting way.

Still galvanized by Monday’s bomb attack on bystanders at the Boston Marathon, the emotional home crowd spontaneously took over the singing, drowning out Rene Rancourt, who’s been doing the pre-game service for more than 40 years.

Rancourt wisely stepped aside midway through the proceedings, allowing the voices of 17,000 people to ring through the arena:


NRA ‘Helps’ Bombers, Florida Leashes Drones, Obama Hisses In Defeat, Cops Shame New York Governor On Guns, Ex-Sexual Predators Get Scarlet Letter: Thursday Morning News Roundup 4-18-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • One MSNBC host believes the National Rifle Association is “in the business of helping bombers get away with their crimes” because the organization has fought to keep elements that can be traced to a production point out of gunpowder. Sheesh.


  • The Florida Legislature has voted to place limits on what the State’s cops can do with drones. The Governor is expected to sign into law a bill that would require police to obtain a warrant before they could use camera-enabled drones for surveillance.


  • This brings to mind something about a pot and a kettle: President Barack Obama called gun rights groups “liars” in a fit of anger after his centerpiece gun-control legislation was handily defeated Wednesday. The President called it “a pretty shameful day for Washington.” Aren’t they all?


  • The Albany Police Officers Union has attacked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his recent gun-grabbing legislation, which the officers describe as “flawed,” “shameful,” “purposely burdensome on law-abiding citizens” and morally wrong. They also note that the Governor’s goal was politically motivated and makes no one safer. Bingo!


  • Once they’ve been freed from jail, people who’ve been convicted of rape in Bradford County, Fla., settle down somewhere, and then the cops come and stick a giant red sign in their yards letting everyone know they’ve got a sexual predator in their midst. Why let them go in the first place?


Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

–Sam Rolley contributed to this update.

FBI Data Shows Criminals Won’t Be Caught In Gun Grab Dragnet

How many bad guys do you think try to buy guns from licensed dealers, the retailers whom Congress wants to slap with further restrictions on instant verifications for gun sales? How many criminals are getting access to their guns via “traditional,” on-the-grid avenues, initiating transactions that route them through background checks designed to ensure those very creeps aren’t the ones who can get their hands on firearms?

One-fourth? Ten percent? Five?

Try less than 1 percent. In fact, it’s less than half of 1 percent. Since 1998, there have been 590,070 attempts by convicts — guilty of both felonies and misdemeanors — to buy firearms from gun dealers who must check their criminal past on the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system. That’s out a total of 167,488,942 background checks done on all gun sales for the same period.

Both sets of figures come straight from the FBI. Hat tip to CNS News for doing a little arithmetic: Those 590,070 convicts who tried to buy a gun through legitimate means represent a mere .35 percent of all gun-buy attempts over the past 14 years.

Senate Democrats busied themselves Wednesday trying to scrounge up enough votes to move ahead with an amendment to the laughably-titled Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, one that would close the so-called “gun show loophole” by mandating background checks on firearms transactions between private individuals.

They lost, with the amendment failing to pass in a 54-46 vote. Without the amendment’s approval, the whole Act’s chances of making it through the early days of the Democrat-controlled 113th Congress likely will be sunk.

Complicating matters more for supporters of the Gun Grab Act was the introduction of an “alternative” gun control bill Wednesday by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). That bill may have its critics, once pundits from the right and left have a chance to pore through its language; but a rundown of the bill’s highlights indicates, at least in spirit, a piece of legislation written with the understanding that criminals, by definition, can’t be touched by draconian gun laws that serve only to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Highlights of the Grassley-Cruz bill include:

  • No expansion of the existing NICS background check system.
  • Creating a task force to prosecute those who fail criminal background checks when attempting to buy guns.
  • Requiring the U.S. Department of Justice to report to Congress periodically on its prosecution of those who attempt to buy guns illegally.
  • Making third-party “straw purchase” trafficking illegal.

For the most part, the bill looks, at first glance, to target government and law enforcement agencies already tasked with enforcing existing laws instead of going after individual citizens with expanded Federal restrictions. Cruz couched the bill just so at a Wednesday morning press conference:

Rather than restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans, we should be focusing on keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals, which this legislation accomplishes. While the Obama Administration continues to politicize a terrible tragedy to push its anti-gun agenda, I am proud to stand beside my fellow senators to present common-sense measures that will increase criminal prosecutions of felons who try to buy guns, criminalize straw purchasing and gun trafficking, and address mental health issues.

Sounds fair. But these bills have a way of coming out of committee — if they get off the ground at all — looking far different than they did going in, and Cruz may yet be criticized for introducing any “alternative” that even smells like gun control — regardless of its publicity value — when simple opposition to the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act would have served the original 2nd Amendment very well.

The Grassley-Cruz amendment was up for a Senate vote late Wednesday, so stay tuned.

UPDATE: The Senate defeated the Grassley-Cruz amendment in a 52-48 vote late Wednesday, as well as a ban on “straw trafficking” by a 58-42 margin.

Four Years After Obama’s Stimulus, Jobs, Growth and Infrastructure All M.I.A.

Bunker-style concrete toilets, doles to delayed or bankrupt green energy start-ups, $30 million for a spring training home for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and — the irony — an $18 million redesign for the website so the government can spin its own version of how successful the program has been: Here’s the predominant legacy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Sure, States have received millions upon millions of dollars in ARRA project funds for roads, bridges and “public works,” many of which are just now coming up for construction bids.

But that’s just an extension of an already-backward carrot-and-stick relationship between the Federal government and the States, all of which are beholden more than ever before to the Feds for conditional funding and more powerless than ever before to assume Constitutionally unenumerated sovereign prerogatives that Washington lapped up long ago.

Even Texas, for all its leaders’ cock-and-bull about standing up to the executive branch, is as guilty as any State when it comes to cheating on the 10th Amendment when the Federal-funding mistress comes calling. Only California and New York have taken more ARRA stimulus money.

A new story published by Reason dismantles the Obama Administration’s assertion that ARRA has created lasting jobs and that the nearly $1 trillion invested in the President’s first-term economic stimulus plan is showing economic dividends that outlive the lifespan of the short-term projects it helped fund. A survey of businesses that accepted ARRA funds or contracts found that seven of every 10 companies either didn’t hire workers or ended up having to lay off the ones they did hire:

We found that only 41 percent of the companies that received stimulus grants or contracts actually hired workers for the relevant project. The other 59 percent either hired no workers for the stimulus project or reduced their payrolls because they couldn’t afford to retain all their staff even with the stimulus money coming in.

Within the 41 percent of companies that did hire workers, the survey found that 55 percent kept all their workers once the project was done. But 30 percent were…forced to lay off workers once the government money stopped flowing. Another 15 percent of companies hired workers but couldn’t retain all of them. These findings suggest that ARRA did not create much lasting employment among firms that received grants or contracts for stimulus projects.

Look closely at Edward Tufte’s “Lights-On” map of America, an Obama Administration bauble that purports to impress the eye with a graphic representation of where every ARRA-stimulated project across the fruited plain is located. If you squint, all those little shiny lights start to look like a birds-eye view of 831 billion little dollar signs, now scattered to the four winds.


UPDATE: Expanded Gun Background Checks FAILS In Senate Vote

Not so fast, gun grabbers. The U.S. Senate voted 54-46 late Wednesday against a critical addition to a Democrat-supported gun-control bill, one that the bill’s supporters sorely needed in order to keep the entire piece of legislation alive.

The amendment, sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would have added a requirement to the proposed Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act mandating background checks on gun sales between private buyers and sellers, an effort to repair the so-called “gun show loophole” that supporters wrongly believe places massive numbers of guns into criminal hands.

The Administration of President Barack Obama had been waging an aggressive campaign to mobilize support for the overall bill. But the Senate’s smackdown of the gun show loophole amendment is already being described as “devastating” to the President’s overall gun control agenda.

Worth noting: RINOs who followed through with their pledge to gut the 2nd Amendment by supporting Wednesday’s lost cause: Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.), John McCain (Ariz.) and Toomey voted in favor of the failed amendment.

Amendments To Cyberstalking Bill Lack Teeth

A couple weeks ago, we previewed a forthcoming Congressional rush job to mark up the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) behind closed doors.

Described by opponents and privacy protection advocates as a “backdoor wiretap” measure that gives the Federal government even greater warrantless surveillance powers over private electronic communications, CISPA is one of a number of measures Congress is taking up during “cyber week,” a late-April push on several digital initiatives that all promise to expand Federal snooping powers.

Now comes word that some CISPA opponents may be appeased by a new amendment produced by the closed-door talks — one that would require companies to share “cyberthreat” data with the Department of Homeland Security, headed by Secretary Janet Napolitano, as a first step before the same information gets passed on to the military. The big change is the inclusion of the “civilian” DHS as a middleman agency that reviews the data, rather than allowing companies to communicate the same information directly to the military.

Don’t be fooled. Handing Big Sis secretly culled data so she can simply turn around and pass it along to Big Brother is nobody’s idea of a safeguard. Amendment or not, CISPA — and the way it’s being amended outside the view of the public — still stinks.

BREAKING: President Target Of ‘Suspicious’ Package; Positive Test For Ricin

Several mainstream media outlets are reporting that the FBI and Secret Service have intercepted a suspicious package, or envelope, intended for President Barack Obama.

MSNBC is reporting that the package has initially tested positive for ricin, an organically derived protein that can be fatal if inhaled, even in miniscule quantities.

The parcel was intercepted at an off-site screening facility for mail addressed to the White House. Investigators believe they know the source of the mailing, but haven’t made any arrests.

Reports of parcels targeting Obama, as well as U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), are mounting since Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. The FBI, which has taken over that investigation as well, currently isn’t linking the bombing with the targeting of Washington politicians.

Sleeping Man Shot 16 Times May Sue Police For Abuse

Auburn, Wash., resident Dustin Theoharris could end up costing the Kings County Sheriff’s Department a lot of money.

He wasn’t even the reason the cops went to the house where he was sleeping on the night of Feb. 11, 2012 to make an arrest. He didn’t own the house; in fact, he was only renting out a bedroom. Before police showed up that night, they didn’t even know Theoharris existed. They were there to pick up another man on a failure-to-appear charge — which they quickly did, without incident, before sweeping the place for contraband in the hope of adding to their suspect’s charges.

Cops would later learn that Theoharris was an alleged recreational drug user, but he sure wasn’t in the process of committing a crime when police woke him from a dead sleep by bursting through his bedroom door. Disoriented from the intrusion, Theoharris reached for a small flashlight.

One of the two officers who had burst into the room told the sheriff’s office in the immediate aftermath that, as Theoharris started to reach for the flashlight, the dazed young man announced to the cops that “he had four guns.”

That bit of verbal legerdemain represented some quick thinking on the part of the Detective Aaron Thompson because he and officer Kristopher Rongen had just drawn a lot of unwanted attention to themselves, put their careers in jeopardy and were about to have to explain to other officers in the house what they had just done — and why.

Because as Theoharris reached for his flashlight, Thompson and Rongen emptied 16 rounds into his body. The two cops had fired a total of 20 shots. Theoharris ended up on the floor, bleeding from wounds to his face, arms, legs and torso. His jaw and shoulder were shattered; he had also suffered organ damage and a fractured spine. But somehow, through multiple surgeries, he lived.

There weren’t “four guns” in the room; there were only two – the two the cops brought in with them. A locked gun case in a separate room contained a rifle owned by Theoharris.

Predictably, prosecutors panned the incident and sided with the cops, saying the perpetrators were justified in their use of force — all 16 bullets’ worth — against what they perceived to be a threat.

Never mind that any perception of threat was created entirely by the police themselves; that in the span of about 10 seconds, the cops had taken Theoharris from zonked-out slumber to all-out anguish; that the police didn’t enter his room with anything resembling a tactical plan; that they had no business entering his room in the first place; that their premise of searching the residence for guns — in order to slap an additional felony charge onto the man whom they’d already apprehended — at the very least required them to knock at Theoharris’ door and announce themselves.

The cops invoked their 5th Amendment powers when called by the district attorney’s office to testify about what they’d done.

Now, Theoharris is preparing a lawsuit — one that could cost Kings County many millions of dollars. And, while some may decry the waste of public funds that will attend a crippling verdict, it’s a good thing.

Because as long as law enforcement officers know that they can base their aggressive behavior on the presumption they are themselves immune from criminal law, torts are just about the only legal recourse their victims have. It’s too bad that recourse can be only a punishment, and not a deterrent.

Why Won’t The USDA Say Which Stores Get Food Stamp Money?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture won’t disclose which retailers profit most from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), despite pressure from some health and media organizations to reveal where the money’s going.

Unlike Medicaid and other public-spending juggernauts, which do reveal statistics on where the free money ends up, the food stamp program’s books remain on lockdown under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

It’s tough to know whether there’s a sinister reason lurking behind the USDA’s refusal to disclose how much money retailers are making off food stamps, how much stores charge food stamp users per product or which products food stamp users are even buying.

But a 2011 report done by a Tulsa newspaper showed that Wal-Mart was Oklahoma’s biggest retail beneficiary of the food stamp program, taking in half of that State’s food stamp dollars at the point of sale.

‘Just A Training Exercise,’ DHS Keeps You Safe, Breaking Down Venezuela, State-Controlled Media In The EU, MSM Tardy To Abortion Murder Trial: Friday Morning News Roundup 4-12-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • It’s already begun: a university track coach near the scene of Monday’s Boston Marathon explosions told his local TV station he thought it was strange that bomb sniffing dogs were already hanging out near the start and finish lines, while cops were hanging out on rooftops. “They kept making announcements to the participants do not worry; it’s just a training exercise,” he said. “Evidently, I don’t believe they were just having a training exercise.”
  • In a twist of sick irony (or sinister planning) on the heels of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Department of Homeland Security began featuring a “how DHS keeps you safe” section on its website this morning complete with an infographic titled “A Day in the Life of Homeland Security.”
  • The race to replace dead Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a lot closer than it ever was when Chavez campaigned. The government went ahead and proclaimed Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, the winner of Sunday’s national election — and people started rioting in the streets. Early returns had shown Maduro ahead of opposition challenger Henrique Caprilles by less than a single percentage point, and Caprilles wants a recount of 300,000 votes. The National Assembly says there’s no recount happening. One academic observer predicts unpredictable violence as people lose faith in the integrity of the political process.
  • Control the message, control the masses. European Union officials, angered by British press coverage of its activities, are pouring millions of euros into initiatives to create a state-controlled media. The European Commission claims it wants to create a “moral compass” for the press, as it seeks new national and Europe-wide regulatory powers over journalists.
  • Better late than never. After getting slammed for a month by independent news outlets for snoozing on the grisly multiple-murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, mainstream newspapers and TV stations are finally starting to show up. The Washington Post’s Melinda Henneberger vomited all over herself explaining why her paper and others have eschewed coverage of Gosnell, who’s accused of slicing and dicing late-term newborns who managed to survive intended abortions and laughing about it.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

–Sam Rolley contributed to this update.