President Obama skipped the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on February 13. Obama is soon to nominate his choice to replace Justice Scalia. The Republicans said they would filibuster until after a new president was elected. Obama, not liking the decision, said they should instead approve his nomination. But Obama voted to filibuster George Bush's nominee, Samuel Alito, during his brief stay in the Senate. Whoops.
You're not going to believe this, but it's true. Local officials in Washington D.C. approved a bill to pay residents not to commit crimes. What?! That's right, pay criminals not to commit crimes! City officials will identify up to 200 would-be criminals and give them money (collected from taxpayers) free of charge. Do you see a problem with this? The government will have to continue to pay these criminals year after year. Not only that, other potential criminals not on "the list" will want to be added and receive free money. Then other residents will say that they are thinking of a life of crime, just to collect money. Other criminals from other cities will want to relocate, and why not? It's free money!
Is this what America is coming to?! We have to pay criminals and would-be criminals not to commit crime?! Many criminals are too smart for this; they will figure out a way to collect the money and commit crime at the same time. You know, double-dipping, and the taxpayers will have to pay for it all! Only in Washington D.C., right? Wrong. There is already a program like this in Richmond, California. Who's next, Chicago?! I guess the expression "crime doesn't pay" will have to be modified. The new saying will be: "Crime does pay... it just matters where you live"!
It wasn't the economy that stalled the government in Washington, D.C., nor was it ISIS or an act of terrorism. It was an act of God! With just an inch of snow on the ground on Wednesday, January 20, the president's motorcade got into several fender-benders while going just a few miles from Andrews Air Force Base to the White House. By the time the snow stopped on Saturday, there was 1 1/2 feet total. Everybody was snowed in. Nobody knew what to do!
A traffic ban was put into effect, and the entire transit system closed on Sunday. Well, at least Washington had Sunday to figure it out so the government could be up and running on Monday, right? Wrong. All government buildings and offices were shut down. Even New York City, which had over 2 feet of snow (their 2nd biggest snowstorm in history), carried on with business as usual when Monday came around.
A California university received a federal grant of $406,875 recently, for a low-cost exercise program for California Latino men. Does the program involve a gym or membership to a gym? No. A community center with exercise equipment? No. Exercise equipment for their homes? No. What is the program?... Texting Latino men via cell phones to encourage them to exercise. That's it?! That's it. Do you think it will work? Seriously, no way. And who's paying for the $406,875? You and I and all working taxpayers! Ugh!
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez held her annual holiday party at a Santa Fe hotel on Friday, December 18. Several complaints were called into the Santa Fe Police Department. Governor Martinez was heard on the police dispatch tapes downplaying the disturbance. She said that there was no need for the police to come, and that the complaints were completely exaggerated. But they weren't. Complaints of someone from her staff throwing snowballs from the balcony were true. The governor was unaware that many in her staff were being too loud and behaving in a way you do when you have had too much to drink. Uh-oh!
Once this all came to light, Governor Martinez gave a complete apology, saying, "I want to apologize for the conduct of my staff." She continued, "None of that should have happened and I was not aware of the extent of the behavior... and that behavior is not acceptable." She also said that she should not have tried to stop the police from responding and that she was wrong in some things she said. Many politicians try to hide or distort the facts as Governor Martinez did. But unlike most who then try to deflect the blame, she didn't; she sincerely apologized. Too many times, people won't accept blame; they just give half-hearted apologies. You know... "If I have offended anyone, blah, blah, blah."
Colton Southern, a 7th grader near Houston, Texas, got in trouble this December. He is a model student, Boy Scout, active church member, and community volunteer. So, what was the problem? A school official told him he could not wear a "Star Wars" shirt and that he would have to cover it up immediately. Colton's dad, Joe, was furious, saying, "It's political correctness run amok!" Amen! What's next?! Banning kids from seeing the Star Wars movie?! Will his shirt offend any of the kids or turn someone to violence? Of course not!!
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, a government agency, is allowing Lindsay Miller to wear her ridiculous headgear even though their policy does not allow head coverings in license photos. Why? Because there are exceptions for religious reasons. So Lindsay is allowed to wear a spaghetti strainer or colander in her driver's license photo. For religious reasons?! Yep. Lindsay is a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. No kidding! She refers to herself as a Pastafarian. What is Pastafarianism? A social movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religion and opposes creationism and intelligent design. What?! Maybe they oppose intelligence! And if I offend any Pastaheads or whatever they're called, I don't care!
This "religion" describes heaven as a stripper factory and as a place with a beer volcano. It says that the Flying Spaghetti Monster invented the lawn sprinkler and other nonsense! Give me a break! Only in America would this be called a religion. Anyone may become ordained for a $25 fee. Once ordained, the minister's card says they now can exercise their duties to preside over "marriages, baptisms, giving last rites, and casting out false prophets". This isn't right. It's more than foolish. It's idiotic. It's not a religion and should not be counted as one! What has America come to?!
What's next? Footballism? You know, where they have to wear helmets all the time. Or Astronautism, where members have to wear full astronaut gear to live. What about Nixon-cultism? Members have to constantly wear a Richard Nixon mask! And don't forget Loserism, where members wear a paper bag over their heads everywhere they go. Do you see my point? Stop the madness!!
Tell me what you think: A male employee wastes several hours each day at work, visiting inappropriate sites and watching pornography on the internet for a period of about 6 months. During this time, he is paid on average more than 10 hours of overtime per week. Do you think the employer should have the right to fire him? Let me answer that for you... YES!! What if you were the employer? Would you fire him? I hope you would say yes!
Guess what? You are the employer! We vote on and elect people to represent us in our government. But sometimes even our representatives cannot or will not do the right thing. Sometimes their hands are tied by government laws and rulings. And sometimes they're the ones tying the knots!
Robert DeLeon, a Wisconsin government computer technician, is that male employee in the first paragraph. He spent an average of over 4 hours a day viewing these degrading sites. Do you know how much DeLeon was paid? Wisconsin taxpayers paid him over $50,000 a year! And even though he was fired in 2004, a government arbitrator (Wisconsin lawyer Henry Hempe) sided in with DeLeon's union, saying that he should've been suspended for only one day! What?! That's crazy! DeLeon was reinstated, or more accurately, unfired, in 2005. Hempe also ordered that the Wisconsin taxpayers give DeLeon back pay in the amount of $45,000! On top of that, taxpayers had to pay the arbitrator (Hempe) $1000 a day, plus expenses!
Who knows how many government employees are wasting our money in Wisconsin and Illinois and across this nation. Countless thousands, no doubt. And it seems that our government is allowing it to go on, like an inadequate daycare watching over unmanageable children. We are like the parents, who are forking over money to this massive broken daycare! Many government employees are trying to do what is right, but too many don't care. They don't care that they steal from their employer...the taxpayers.
A Dallas high school student named Jaegur was suspended on September 14. That day, an administrator had discovered something of Jaegur's that was in direct violation of the school's rules. What was it? A weapon of sorts? No. A fake gun or other prank? No. Baggy pants? I wish this rule would be enforced across the land but no, he never wore baggy pants. Then what? It was his T-shirt.
Guess what was on the shirt. Vulgar graphics or words? No. Anything hateful or rude? No. Something religious? No. Are you ready for this? Are you sitting down? Okay, I'll tell you... it was a picture of an eagle with the United States flag in the background! What?! What was he thinking? How offensive and disgraceful. Maybe he should have been expelled. What about criminal charges? Seriously, are you kidding me?! What is disgraceful and offensive is suspending a student for wearing a patriotic shirt. This is still America, isn't it? When the principal found out what had happened, he apologized to Jaegur and his mother.
A second-grader from Santa Clara, Utah, found himself in trouble this September, when he showed up with something at Arrowhead Elementary School. Kobe Sanden, 7, was kicked out of class, and his mother, Teyawwna Sanden, was called to pick up her son immediately. The school violation? The little Native American boy was wearing a mohawk hairstyle. That was all?! Yep! The school principal, Susan Harrah, told Teyawwna and her husband, Gary Sanden, that they would have to get Kobe a haircut before he could come back. Gary said that it was just a symbol of the boy's heritage. Of course - but no, the school would not listen. Kobe's mother was very upset and said, "No!"
When the school received a lot of backlash because of its insensitivity, school officials said the parents would have to prove that Kobe was an actual Native American. How offensive! Before Kobe could come back to school, the parents would also have to get a letter from the Seneca Nation in New York verifying that the mohawk haircut is of Native American heritage. Is this school completely out of touch?!
The Seneca Nation was all too eager to write a letter... "It's disappointing that your school does not view diversity in a positive manner, and it is our hope that Kobe does not suffer any discrimination by the school administration or faculty as a result of his haircut." Well said! The school "caved in" and allowed the mohawk. Being half Native American myself, I say, "Yay!"
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), formed in 1970 to protect the environment, caused one of the biggest environmental disasters in modern history. On August 5, an EPA cleanup team, working with heavy machinery, was investigating an entrance to the Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colorado. The EPA crew mistakenly knocked out the plug and toxic orange-colored water poured out into Cement Creek and soon into the Animas River which in turn gushed into the widely-used Colorado River. The EPA reported initially that the mine waste spill was 1 million gallons but days later had to admit that it was over 3 million gallons! The EPA also failed to warn the other states (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah) that would be affected by their catastrophic blunder soon enough.
Millions of people are feeling the effects of the disaster who use the rivers and waterways daily for drinking, agriculture, fishing, swimming, and much more. Millions of animals will also be directly affected. Some of the toxins deposited into the water system include arsenic, iron, lead, mercury, and zinc. Measurements for lead alone were over 10,000 times higher than normal. The entire cost of the cleanup will be in the billions, possibly $100 billion! And that will only be a partial cleanup. Guess who's paying for the massive task of trying to clean up this mess?! Taxpayers! We already have to pay higher prices because of the EPA's regulations, and now this. In trying to protect the environment, the EPA has instead devastated it for years to come and burdened taxpayers even more in the process!
Since Donald Trump is running for president, he is now eligible for this article. The remarks he made about Mexico and illegal immigrants are, at the very least, wrong. Saying that Mexico is sending Mexicans across the border who are mostly criminals, is inaccurate and shows his ignorance. Is there a problem with the border? Of course. But what are the facts? Mexico isn't sending anyone over. And the drug dealers and other criminals coming over the border are a very small percentage. The vast majority of Mexicans coming to the U.S. are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Facts also show that the vast majority of criminals in the U.S. are American citizens, not "illegal Mexican-born aliens"! Trump said that he had nothing to apologize for, further showing his ignorance.
Trump's comment about John McCain not being a war hero is also disturbing. Is he that out of touch? Apparently. Anyone knowing McCain's story knows that he is correctly referred to as a war hero. Trump, days later, said that he had respect for McCain, but still refused to apologize. What?! NBC, as well as others, has wisely severed ties with him. Is there any way that Trump could win the nomination? No, never. The GOP, among others, should take up the new mantra, "Dump Trump," as soon as possible!
In other news, the government said that computer hackers have stolen Social Security numbers and other personal information from 4 million Americans. But that number was grossly less than the actual amount... over 21 million identities were stolen! Once again, our government shows how inept it is, since the Americans who had their lives compromised are all government workers and their families.
The government has been forcibly taking crops from farmers since the late 1930's and has been paying them less than the fair market value. Much less! And the farmers had no choice in the matter... the government acted like a bully stealing another kid's lunch money. The raisin reserve program (yes, there is such a thing) was started after the Great Depression, to guarantee food in desperate times and to keep the prices higher. Due to the program, tons of raisins were wasted. California raisin farmers, Marvin and Laura Horne, who were also fined nearly $700,000, had enough. They took the government to court. They lost. They appealed and took it to the appellate court. They lost again. Now all they could do was hope that the U.S. Supreme Court would hear their case. It did.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the farmers by an 8-1 margin! The court said that the program was unfair and outdated. The court also said that it was unconstitutional because of government officials seizing property without fully compensating the farmers. The fines, totaling $695,000, were dropped,
and the government was forced to pay the Hornes the market value for the raisins taken. Yay! This is a huge win for farmers and citizens in general. The big bully government shouldn't be able to push around its citizens whenever it wants! And now, thanks to the big government watchdog (the U.S. Supreme Court), there are fewer people for the government to take advantage of.
Lyndon McLellan, 50, has owned a convenience store and gas station in Fairmont, North Carolina, for over 13 years. He has worked hard and put in a lot of long days to make it profitable. Lyndon managed to save up $100,000 in that span of time, spending wisely and saving whenever he could.
Lyndon always respected the law, and mainly kept to himself. He wouldn't make daily deposits, since he worked most of the time. Also, he was located in a rural area, miles away from the bank. When he did make a deposit, sometimes it was in the thousands, especially since it was a "cash only" business. He didn't think anything about it. But that changed one day last year.
Suspicious of Lyndon's large deposits (nearing $10,000 some-times), the I.R.S. sent agents to his business in October. They said that he was seemingly up to no good, but Lyndon explained to them that he was not doing anything illegal or wrong. They couldn't prove anything, but it didn't matter. The I.R.S., using civil forfeiture, seized his entire bank account of $107,702.66! Civil forfeiture was never supposed to be used against law-abiding citizens; it was intended to be used as a provision against drug dealing and other crime-related activities. But once the I.R.S. had the money, they were not going to return it, since they could keep it for themselves (the Justice Department was operating similarly). They even told him to "shut up" about it or the situation was going to get worse!
But the media got wind of this injustice and demanded answers from the government. At first, the I.R.S. said that they would return half of the money, but then agreed to return it all after mounting pressure. But what about the other hundreds of yearly cases? What about the millions of dollars seized every year? There has been a significant spike in civil forfeiture cases in the past few years. Some are related to illegal activity, but most are not. Since it costs too much to fight your own government, many just give up. Too often, agents in our government are lawless and self-serving, not caring about anyone but themselves! It is a shame when your own government makes war with law-abiding citizens be-cause of injustice and money-hungry greed!