Tag Archive: desert eagle tech


A very rich man

Photo of elderly man eating lunch with picture of deceased wife goes viral

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This man never dines without a picture of his sweetheart. (Madina Bashizaduah)

Every picture tells a story.

But a photo making the Internet rounds of a man eating at a California In-N-Out Burger alongside a picture of his deceased wife has uncovered a story of true love that will make you squeeze your honey extra hard tonight.

Two weeks ago, imgur user soulrose posted a picture of a man perched in a red and white booth gazing longingly at a photo, with his walker nearby.

“I saw this elderly gentleman dining by himself, with an old picture of a lady in front of him. I though [sic] maybe I could brighten his day by talking to him,” soulrose writes.

After talking to the man, the user found out it was indeed his wife, and proceeded to be blown away by the story of how they met and their enduring love.

“They met when they were both 17. They dated briefly, then lost contact when he went to war and her family moved. But he said he thought about her the entire war. After his return, he decided to look for her. He searched for her for 10 years and never dated anyone,” soulrose wrote.

“People told him he was crazy, to which he replied ‘I am. Crazy in love.’ On a trip to California, he went to a barber shop. He told the barber how he had been searching for a girl for ten years. The barber went to his phone and called his daughter in. It was her! She had also been searching for him and never dated either.”

According to the story, the unnamed man proposed right then and there was married to his wife for 55 years before she died 2009.

Madina Bashizaduah from San Francisco posted a similar image on Twitter on Oct. 22 of the same man—just with a different shirt and new picture. She said he always leaves home with a picture of his sweetheart and recounted the same story of a fateful love for the ages.

Soulrose said the man had a few nuggets of wisdom, saying:  “I was a very rich man. Not with money, but with love” and “Tell your wife that you love her everyday. And be sure to ask her, have I told you that I love you lately?”

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Published October 23, 2014

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Now it’s law enforcement that has nowhere to hide, and that may or may not be a good thing.

A Dutch company has introduced a detection system that can alert drivers if a police officer or other emergency services official is using a two-way radio nearby.

Blu Eye monitors frequencies used by the encrypted TETRA encrypted communications networks used by government agencies in Europe. It doesn’t allow the user to listen in to transmissions, which is illegal and would require advanced decryption capabilities, but can detect a radio in operation up to one kilometer away.

Even if a message isn’t being sent, these radios send pulses out to the network every four seconds and Blu Eye can also pick these up, according to The Sunday Times. A dashboard-mounted monitor uses lights and sounds to alert the driver to the proximity of the source, similar to a radar detector interface.

The company behind it, Target Automotive, says it’s meant to be used as safety device, giving early warning that an emergency vehicle is approaching so drivers can move out of the way, while reminding them to monitor their behavior behind the wheel. But critics see it as a likely tool for intentional scofflaws.

“As it does not distinguish between a police car, ambulance or fire engine responding to an emergency or one that is simply driving under non-blue-light conditions, this particular device is sadly just as likely to be bought by a minority of motorists who wish to evade being caught behaving illegally,” David Bizley, the Royal Automobile Club’s chief engineer, told The Sunday Times.

Blu Eye sells for $1,600 in the U.K., and is not yet available in the United States. However, Target Managing Director Jan Rijks tells FoxNews.com that a version is in the works that is compatible with the P25 protocol used by U.S. emergency services and could be on sale as early as next year.

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$10G to watch grass grow: Coburn report details worst examples of gov’t waste

cordgrass.jpg

The government spent $10,000 to watch this type of grass grow. (USDA.GOV)

As American taxpayers worried about the terror threat from the Islamic State, the crisis at the border and the economy, the U.S. government spent their money to give rabbits massages, to teach sea monkeys to synchronize swim and to literally watch grass grow.

These and other examples of wasteful government spending were detailed by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn in his annual “Wastebook,” his final edition since he is retiring early next year.

“I have learned from these experiences that Washington will never change itself,” Coburn, R-Okla., said in a statement. “But even if the politicians won’t stop stupid spending, taxpayers always have the last word.”

The first example cited in the report is the millions spent on what one attorney called the government’s “dirty little secret”: paid administrative leave for troublesome employees. Workers who were placed on leave for disciplinary reasons, such as misconduct, security concerns or criminal issues, received $20 million while on leave this year.

These workers, according to Coburn, were essentially on a paid vacation that can last for months or years. The GAO also detailed this phenomenon in a report Monday. According to the GAO, during a three-year period more than 57,000 employees were placed on leave for 30 days or more, costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.

Another wasteful project with a big price tag is the Pentagon’s plan to destroy $16 billion in military-grade ammunition that it deems no longer useful. Sounds pricey, right? Well add in the fact that on top of that, the feds plan to spend $1 billion just to destroy the ammo.

“The amount of surplus ammunition is now so large that the cost of destroying it will equal the full years’ salary for over 54,000 Army privates,” the report notes.

Other examples vary from the serious, to the aggravating, to just plain bizarre. One that takes the cake is the $10,000 the government spent to watch grass grow — seriously.

That project is the brainchild of the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is paying for the growth of the smooth cordgrass to be observed on a Florida reserve. The money covers “the cost to monitor grasses, restore two acres as a demonstration and publish a guide on best practices for cultivating the cordgrass, known formally as Spartina alterniflora.”

Still more examples show that while some Americans are struggling to make ends meet in a rough economy, there is a group in the U.S. getting major perks: animals.

In one instance, the government shelled out $387,000 to provide rabbits with a relaxing daily massage. The critters were treated to a “mechanical device that simulates the long, flowing strokes used in Swedish massages” to study the effect of massages on exercise recovery, according to the report.

Another animal getting a fun extracurricular activity courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers are sea monkeys. The government dropped $50,000 on a project to study the swirl of sea monkeys’ collective movements. The researchers did so by choreographing a synchronized swimming routine for the tiny shrimp.

The government also spent $856,000 to throw mountain lions on a treadmill and $171,000 to watch monkeys gamble. They also spent $331,000 on a study that led to a mind-blowing discovery, that “hungry people get cranky and aggressive.”

“With no one watching over the vast bureaucracy, the problem is not just what Washington isn’t doing, but what it is doing.” Coburn said in the statement. “Only someone with too much of someone else’s money and not enough accountability for how it was being spent could come up some of these projects.”

Other notable examples include $90 million spent to promote U.S. culture around the world, $414,000 spent on a U.S. Army video game that some in the intelligence community have worried could inadvertently train terrorists and $4.6 million spent on “lavish” homes to house Border Patrol agents in areas temporarily.

Coburn, known as “Dr. No” for his strong stance against excess spending in Washington, announced in January he is retiring from the Senate early due to ongoing health issues. The Republican had already announced he would not seek reelection but decided to leave his term two years early, in January 2014.

A Coburn spokesperson told FoxNews.com that the senator has said that answers about if and how the “Wastebook” will continue will have to wait until next year. The spokesperson said Coburn hopes every lawmaker will make monitoring government waste a priority, but that one does not have to be a current lawmaker to do so.’

Click to read the “Wastebook.”

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Never miss another election again with California’s new voter registration technologiesand permanent vote by-mail balloting!  The power to win elections is in your hands.The general election on November 4 is less than a month away and California CANNOT afford to have any more anti-gun state legislators elected into office.

Print out a complete copy of all races go here:

http://cms.nraila.org/media/13466353/california_2014.pdf

Many Californians who believe in the right to keep and bear arms mistakenly believe that their vote won’t make a difference.  They are wrong!  Becoming a permanent vote by-mail voter helps increase voter turnout significantly enough to swing elections!  If every single gun owner and believer in the right to keep and bear arms registered to vote and always voted by mail, we could turn back the onslaught of gun bans coming from state and local politicians in California.

If you are not a registered voter, please click here.  After you register to vote, you can become a permanent vote by-mail voter at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/vote-by-mail/pdf/fill-in-vote-by-mail-app-instruct.pdf.

If you are already registered to vote and would like to use the convenience of voting by mail, please click here.

The last day to register to vote in the 2014 general election is October 20.

The last day to apply to vote by mail is October 28.

Register to vote now and help the Second Amendment in California!  California is living proof of the truth of the slippery slope of ever-expanding gun bans.  But if every gun owner and Second Amendment supporter voted in every election, the tide would be turned!  Help make it happen – Register to Vote Today!

Don’t wait to the last day to exercise your important right to vote, because our right to vote is what is needed to save our right to keep and bear arms!

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“Criminal” and “terrorism” concerns lead Home Office to change guidelines to support police knocking on lawful shooters’ doors

Police concern that members of the shooting community may be “vulnerable to criminal or terrorist groups” has prompted the Home Office to update its firearms guidance to support forces in England and Wales in their intention to start making unannounced home visits to legitimate gun owners.

 

The policy, which is effective from today, has been introduced ostensibly to ensure certificate holders are complying with firearms security measures — this is despite the fact that the Home Office’s own figures show that theft of guns is not a widespread concern. On average, in the past five years, annually just 0.025 per cent of the 1,837,243 legally held firearms and shotguns in England and Wales were stolen — an average of just 475 guns per year. The figures are not broken down to indicate whether a firearm was stolen from a home, military or commercial environment or whether it was stolen in transit. Despite such low figures and little evidence of a genuine problem, a dedicated Crimestoppers hotline has also been launched “to encourage members of the shooting community and the general public to report any concerns about legally held firearms”. BASC called the hotline “unnecessary and inappropriate”. The Countryside Alliance has launched an e-campaign for shooters to call on their MP to oppose the police campaign which, it says “encourages an untrusting and vindictive attitude from your friends and neighbours”.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the national policing lead for firearms and explosives licensing, called on the shooting community to lend its support to the new measures, saying: “The public and especially the shooting community can greatly assist the police in gathering intelligence and protecting our communities by being vigilant around firearms licensing. The shooting community is close, and will recognise sudden behavioural changes in fellow shooters that could cause concerns. However, they may not feel like they can act and the Crimestoppers hotline empowers people to voice concerns anonymously.”

He added: “If you are concerned that guns are being kept insecurely or notice signs that shooters may be vulnerable to criminal or terrorist groups or have shown sympathy towards extremist acts, please report it.”

The new Home Office guidance states: “Where it is judged necessary, based on specific intelligence in light of a particular threat, or risk of harm, the police may undertake an unannounced home visit to check the security of a certificate holder’s firearms and shotguns. It is not expected that the police will undertake an unannounced home visit at an unsocial hour unless there is a justified and specific requirement to do so on the grounds of crime prevention or public safety concerns, and the police judge that this action is both justified and proportionate.”

Importantly, shooters must understand that no new power of entry has been conferred on the police or police staff, and those undertaking a visit must provide “a clear and reasoned explanation” for doing so.

In launching the measure, Chief Constable Marsh stressed that the police’s intention is not to “catch out gun owners”. He said: “I know that the vast majority of gun owners understand their responsibility to secure firearms and in the main take this very seriously, which allows their continued lawful use for work or leisure purposes.”

BASC’s Richard Ali stated that the association backs the police in their efforts to help firearms certificate holders “maintain the excellent record of safety and security in England and Wales”. He added: “Where there is specific intelligence of threat, risk or harm then the police should act.”

The Countryside Alliance has called ACPO’s campaign to target the legitimate shooting community over security concerns “unjustified and ill-judged”. The CA’s director of campaigns, Tim Bonner, said: “This campaign is exactly the sort of knee-jerk reaction to an unrelated problem that the Government had promised to avoid. It is unjustified and ill-judged, and will serve only to waste police resources and alienate a large and law abiding section of the community.

“The public appeal for information about certificate holders through Crimestoppers will encourage malicious complaints and the link made with radicalisation and terrorism is insulting and ridiculous. We have not been made aware of a single recent incident in which a licence holder has misused a firearm in pursuit of an extremist agenda.”

This latest move follows on from the introduction last year of Operation Solitaire, a community engagement project which is, according to the police, “aimed at reducing the vulnerability of those with legitimate access to firearms, to using these weapons illegally.” The operation’s target audience includes people who have “regular interaction with holders of firearms and shotgun certificates”.

Police firearms enquiry officers and neighbourhood officers have visited shooting clubs and registered firearms dealers in recent months to highlight concerns surrounding the potential for terrorists or mass killers to exist within the shooting community.

One gun club member recently wrote in an online forum for armed services personnel that his personal experience of the Operation Solitaire initiative was: “the crappiest attempt by the plod at getting us to grass each other up as lone wolf killers”.

BASC’s advice on home visits:

The BASC is advising members to ensure their security arrangements are up to standard. The association is reminding shooters that the police are required to provide a clear and reasoned explanation to certificate holders at the time of an unannounced visit. Shooters should be left in no doubt as to why the visit is being made. The association has reiterated that the police DO NOT have an automatic statutory right of entry, but BASC recommends a sensible and co-operative approach to this type of situation.

BASC states: “It is possible that the reason for visiting may not be specifically about the certificate holder but may relate to other factors such as local rural or urban crime. There is an expectation of elementary co-operation from certificate holders following a reasonable request to check the security of your firearms.”

If shooters feel that any visit has not been undertaken properly, they should first draw this to the attention of the local force, clearly stating the reasons why they believe this to be the case. BASC has also stated that it will challenge robustly any police force which does not correctly follow the Home Office guidelines.

Follow these links to BASC’s advice to members and BASC’s advice for firearms security

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By: Fred Lucas

This significant golf outing took place at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The president has been criticized frequently for playing the game amid national and global crises.

On Sunday a second U.S. Ebola diagnosis was reported.

In August, Obama came under fire for golfing shortly after speaking about the beheading of an American journalist by the Islamic State.

In 2008 Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush told Politico the reason why he stopped playing golf five years earlier: “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

But last year Bush said Obama should not be criticized for playing golf.

Not everyone is as charitable, however.

“The president’s 200th trip to an oasis of fairways comes at a particularly turbulent time,” veteran White House correspondent Keith Koffler wrote on his website White House Dossier.

“The usual problems – an uncertain economy that may or may not be gaining its footing, stagnant wages, low work force participation, Iran on the cusp of a nuclear weapon, and soaring U.S. debt – are all present,” Koffler continued. “But as he strolls about the course today, Obama now also finds himself waging war with merciless (Islamic) terrorists raging across Iraq and Syria like a wildfire, confronting the 21st century version of the Bubonic Plague, and facing the revived threat of a major terrorist attack.”

Even at this rate of golfing (which averages about 33 games a year), Obama won’t break any presidential records for the frequency of his outings.

President Dwight Eisenhower golfed 800 times over his eight years in office, while President Woodrow Wilson golfed 1,600 times in eight years, according to Don Van Natta Jr.’s book on presidential golfing, “First Off the Tee.”

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Friday October 3rd, 2014 :: 12:54 p.m. PDT

Public Service Announcement – We would like to warn the public of Fraudulent Scam Phone Calls.

Public Service Announcement – Fraudulent Scam Phone Calls

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department would like to warn the public of Fraudulent Scam Phone Calls. Recently, various frauds have occurred in the Riverside County area where criminals contact victims by telephone to impersonate law enforcement officials or utility company officials.

In the first type of scheme, the caller claims to be a member of law enforcement, or the court system. The victim is told he or she has a warrant for failing to appear for jury duty. The caller demands payment for the warrant via credit card information, or a Green Dot card. The suspect typically remains on the phone with the victim while he or she travels to the store to obtain the Green Dot card. The suspect further instructs the victim not to tell anyone who they are talking with. After obtaining the serial numbers to the Green Dot cards, the money deposited to the card is immediately removed by the suspect.

The caller is not connected with the Riverside Superior Court or the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. No Riverside County Court or Sheriff’s Department employee will ever contact the public and ask for financial information or payment in lieu of attending court proceedings, or to make up for failure to appear for jury duty.

In the second scheme, the caller claims to be from a utility, or service provider-type company. The victim is told their bill is overdue, or a meter needs to be replaced at the victim’s expense. The caller demands immediate payment for the overdue bill, or installation of a new meter. If payment is not received, the victim’s service will be shut off. The caller demands credit card information or a Green Dot card as described in the first scheme.

The caller is not connected with any utility or service providers. Victims are encouraged to advise the caller they will call the utility company directly, and discontinue the call. The victim should then contact the utility company themselves through legitimate and verified numbers.

It should be noted there are several technologies and methods that allow callers to conceal what number they are calling from, or to give the appearance they are calling from the Sheriff’s Department, court, service provider or utility company.

Anyone receiving a telephone call from a person claiming to be a Riverside County Court or Sheriff’s Department employee or other law enforcement official seeking money should refuse the demand and report the incident to your local Sheriff or Police Station.

Citizens may also submit an anonymous tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

Address/Location
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department – Headquarters
4095 Lemon St
Riverside, CA 92501

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 951-955-2400

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10/01/14

Gov. Jerry Brown agreed with three out of four gun control bills on his desk Tuesday. (Photo: Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press)

California’s governor vetoed a measure regulating homemade firearms but signed a trio of other anti-gun bills into law Tuesday, including one to implement an expanded series of gun seizure orders for those believed by friends or family to pose a danger to the community.

The three bills that were approved make California the first state to codify the practice of so-called “Gun Violence Restraining Orders,” add more marking requirements to airsoft guns, and place increased regulations on bringing firearms in from other states. However, many are taking as a “win” for gun rights Brown’s veto of one bill, SB808, that would have banned the transfer, and inheritance of home-built firearms as well as required serial numbers to be retroactively applied to these guns, referred to famously as “ghost guns” by state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D), the measure’s sponsor.

“I am returning Senate Bill 808 without my signature,” wrote Brown Tuesday in his short veto letter to the California State Senate. “SB808 would require individuals who build guns at home to first obtain a serial number and register the weapon with the Department of Justice. I appreciate the author’s concerns about gun violence, but I can’t see how adding a serial number to a homemade gun would significantly advance public safety.”

Gun rights groups saw reason to celebrate Tuesday. Brandon Combs, president of California Association of Federal Firearm Licensees (CAL-FFL),  hailed the veto on the homemade gun bill as a “significant victory for common sense.”

“Governor Brown was absolutely right to veto SB808,” Combs said in an emailed statement to Guns.com. “Senator de León’s bill would have created a nightmare for law enforcement and law-abiding gun owners alike.”

The firearms industry, even though it largely did not have a dog in the fight on the controversial legislation, was pleased at its veto because many pre-1968 guns — which were not produced during a mandated period for serial numbers — would have been required to have one if the bill passed.

“We opposed SB 808 because even though it did not pertain to the firearms industry per se, it would have required gun owners to place serial numbers on antique firearms, destroying their value as collectible items,” Larry Keane National Shooting Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel told Guns.com Monday.

SB808 would have even placed regulations on 3D printed guns, which many in that industry felt were unneeded. Industry blog 3DPrint.com went so far as to say that, “Every year a staggering ‘0’ people are killed by 3D printed guns,” in their coverage of the bill.

Calling today’s actions by Brown “a bit of a mixed bag,” Combs noted that three other notable gun control measures were signed into law without comment from Brown and will change the state’s laws in a number of ways.

Assembly Bill 1014, the “Gun Restraining Order” bill introduced just days after the Isla Vista killings, will provide a framework for the temporary seizure of guns from an individual at the request of their family or friends. The legislation will allow the seizure for up to 21 days, from an otherwise legal gun owner who is believed to pose a “significant danger.” This initial order could be extended for as long as a year if the situation warrants. California is the first state to implement this sort of far-reaching measure.

Gun control groups championed the measure in the state legislature and were pleased with its passage into law.

“Today, Governor Brown helped to honor the life of my son, Christopher, and so many others killed by senseless gun violence by signing AB 1014 into law,” said Richard Martinez, father of Isla Vista shooting victim Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez and outreach associate for Everytown for Gun Safety, in a statement emailed to Guns.com. “Nothing we can do will bring back Christopher, but I’m confident this new law will help save lives and prevent other families from experiencing this same kind of tragedy. States around the country should be exploring this life-saving measure.”

However, gun rights groups feel the new law gives perhaps too much leeway and is open to abuse.

“AB 1014 trades our Constitutional right of due process for reactionary legislative sensationalism,” Combs explained. “While the restraining order bill that was signed today is a far cry from the insanity Assemblymember Skinner introduced in May, you can bet that we will be keeping a close eye on how the Gun Violence Restraining Order system is applied by the courts.”

Assembly Bill 1609, also signed by Brown Tuesday, will place restrictions on firearms coming into the state and, according to gun-rights groups, will criminalize common firearm transactions. Beginning in 2015, it would require all guns coming into the state to first be transferred to a Federal Firearms License holder who would perform required background checks and observe state-mandated waiting periods before the gun could then be transferred.

The third bill signed by Brown, Senate Bill 199, legislates increased marking requirements on airsoft guns in the state. Members of the milsim community as well as the National Rifle Association opposed the bill specifically in addition toits stand against the body of legislation as a whole as being a needless requirement in light of federal laws already in place.

De Leon’s office did not reply to emails from Guns.com for comment or statement on his legislation, SB808 and SB199.

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‘Real Housewives’ star Joe Giudice heading to prison

  • Teresa Giudice, 41, (L) and her husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, 43, exit the Federal Court in Newark, New Jersey, March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES – Tags: CRIME LAW ENTERTAINMENT) – RTR3G1B9

“The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice is headed to prison for 41 months.

His wife, Teresa Giudice, who is often seen getting into wild screaming matches with her fellow Bravo stars on the series, is still awaiting sentencing in Newark, N.J, in federal court. It was suggested in court that the couple could possibly stagger their sentences in order to care for their four young daughters.

Joe Giudice must pay $414,000 in restitution.

He apologized in federal court in Newark Thursday, saying he disgraced many people.

The Giudices admitted that they hid assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitted phony loan applications to get some $5 million in mortgages and construction loans.

Both Giudices pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three types of bankruptcy fraud. Joe Giudice, 43, also pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2004, and acknowledged he didn’t file taxes on income of approximately $1 million between 2004 and 2008.

On their reality show, the Giudices are shown living in a lavish home and frequently spending on extravagant vacations and items for their kids.

Bravo has yet to comment on their reality star’s sentencing.

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661WineBarrels

 

A woman drowned when she fell into a wine barrel after becoming intoxicated by the fumes.

Spaniard Nerea Perez, 25, was found floating face down in the barrel after fellow vineyard workers wondered where she had gone, and started looking for her in the village of Salas de los Barrios in northern Spain’s Leon province.

Colleague Ginebra Peralta Colunga, 32, said: ‘Now is the time for harvesting grapes so a lot of villages around here have people working on stirring the wine in the barrels.

‘This is the first time this has happened though.’

Winemakers stir the wine while it is fermenting for extra contact with the ‘lees,’ or sediment, which is mostly made up of dead yeast and bits of grapes.

It is a time-consuming practice believed to give a richer, fuller body and more depth of flavours.

The young woman is believed to have been found by her uncle and well-known winemaker Raul Perez.

Emergency crews also had to help members of her family who were overcome by grief at hearing the news of her death.

Wine makers say accidents like this are more common than people think because of the gases given off by wine while it is being made.

Perez was a politic figure in the local town’s Young Socialists group, who paused their campaigning for a day as a mark of respect for the woman after her death was announced.

 

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By Malia Zimmerman  /   October 1, 2014

Photo by Mel Ah Ching

GO BUST: Hawaii Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom says the state will be in trouble financially by 2016 unless the government cuts spending

 

HONOLULU — Hawaii Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom is warning fellow lawmakers he has serious concerns about the state’s economic future.

Slom, the only Republican in the 25-member Senate, cites the Council on Revenues’ recent downgraded economic forecast indicating Hawaii is in a much worse financial position than anticipated.

“Hawaii is set to go bust in 2016 unless the new governor and the state Legislature make some serious cuts,” Slom said.

The administration and Legislature will be challenged, Slom said, “in dealing with the mess resulting from kicking the can down the road for so many years.”

“The final option to deal with the problem by raising taxes is the least desirable and burdensome for the people because we are already one of the highest taxing states in the nation,” Slom said.

The state Council on Revenues, the appointed body that predicts economic trends in Hawaii from which lawmakers create their budget, lowered its projections for state general fund revenue on Sept. 4 for fiscal year 2014 from -0.4 percent to -1.8 percent, or a loss of $76 million in anticipated general fund revenue.

The Council also lowered its projections for fiscal year 2015 from 5.5 percent to 3.5 percent, or an additional $188 million in anticipated loss of general fund revenue.

This is the fifth consecutive time the council has lowered its projections, said Paul Harleman, the budget director for the Senate Minority Office.

Harleman said the state must absorb a loss of $264 million of anticipated general fund revenue during the state’s two-year budget cycle.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration has made some cuts, asking state department to restrict funds by 10 percent.

However, Slom said that will not be enough to of a halt “to stop the freefall” because the $14 million Abercrombie’s move adds up to is just a “drop in the bucket” in the state’s a $6 billion state budget.

“Because the state is not constitutionally permitted to borrow from outside sources for operating expenditures, it is likely the state will tap into the Emergency Budget Reserve Fund and Hurricane Relief Fund,” Slom said. “Those funds are not large, so that will be a small Band Aid for the problem and will not address the problem of overspending for long.”

Kalbert Young, director of the Hawaii’s Office of Budget and Finance, said he agrees the state is “headed into a situation where there is anticipated fiscal year imbalance” because spending is outpacing revenue.

The combination of the state ending balance and formal reserve balances in the Hurricane Relief Fund and the Emergency Budget Reserve Fund dropping below what he set as acceptable target levels, also concerns Young.

“I have been of the opinion that the state should target combination of reserve and ending balance to be no less than 10%,  but also to be of an objective to build formal reserves to be equal to 10% of the general fund budget over time.  Currently, formal reserve levels are projected to be 4.4% of FY15 general fund budget.  The combination of strong ending balances helped to keep Hawaii’s reserve and ending balances at or above the 10% target.  Now, with declining ending balances a possibility in the future and reserve levels at 4%, there is a risk that Hawaii would have inadequate reserve levels during the next economic down-cycle,” Young said.

Young said that unlike Slom, he remains “bullish on the state economy continuing to improve over the next two to three years, translating to increased tax revenue.”

“The challenge is to ensure that expenditure growth over that same period does not outpace revenue growth,” Young said.

 

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Unaccounted for . . .

 

Official: 70% of families from the immigration surge never showed up for follow-up appointments

  • Detained immigrant children line up in a cafeteria at a temporary home in Karnes City, Texas. (AP)

Tens of thousands of young families caught crossing the border illegally earlier this year subsequently failed to meet with federal immigration agents, as they were instructed, the Homeland Security Department has acknowledged privately.

An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that about 70 percent of immigrant families the Obama administration had released into the U.S. never showed up weeks later for follow up appointments.

The ICE official made the disclosure in a confidential meeting at its Washington headquarters with immigration advocates participating in a federal working group on detention and enforcement policies. The Associated Press obtained an audio recording of Wednesday’s meeting and separately interviewed participants.

On the recording obtained by the AP, the government did not specify the total number of families released into the U.S. since October. Since only a few hundred families have already been returned to their home countries and limited U.S. detention facilities can house only about 1,200 family members, the 70 percent figure suggests the government released roughly 41,000 members of immigrant families who subsequently failed to appear at federal immigration offices.

The official, who was not identified by name on the recording obtained by the AP, also said final deportation had been ordered for at least 860 people traveling as families caught at the border since May but only 14 people had reported as ordered.

In a statement, ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen did not respond to questions from the AP about the newly disclosed figures. Instead, she said the agency was committed to increasing its capacity to detain and quickly deport families who crossed the border illegally.

The AP reported in June that the administration would not say publicly how many immigrant families from Central America caught crossing into the U.S. it had released in recent months or how many of those subsequently reported back to the government after 15 days as directed. The AP noted that senior U.S. officials directly familiar with the issue, including at the Homeland Security Department and White House, had dodged the answer on at least seven occasions over two weeks, alternately saying that they did not know the figure or didn’t have it immediately at hand.

The Homeland Security Department’s public affairs office during the same period did not answer roughly a dozen requests for the figures.

More than 66,000 immigrants traveling as families, mostly mothers and young children, have been apprehend at the border since the start of the budget year in October. Nearly 60,000 of those immigrants are from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and cannot be immediately repatriated, so the government has been releasing them into the U.S. and telling them to report within 15 days to the nearest Immigrations and Customs Enforcement offices.

At the meeting, the ICE official acknowledged the no-show figures while explaining the administration’s decision in June to open a temporary detention center for families in Artesia, New Mexico. A second immigration jail in Texas was later converted for families and can house about 530 people. A third such detention center will open in Texas later this year. Before the new facility in Artesia, the government had room for fewer than 100 people at its only family detention center in Pennsylvania.

Immigration advocates have complained that the new detention centers were punishing immigrants who ultimately may win lawful asylum claims to remain in the U.S. In the meeting, they also questioned whether immigration officials had clearly and properly instructed immigrants to meet with federal agents within 15 days.

The ICE official said it was necessary to detain families to ensure they didn’t vanish into the U.S. He encouraged advocacy groups to help find ways to ensure that immigrants reported to federal agents as ordered so the government could begin processing their cases, including any requests to remain in the U.S. legally.

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Obama’s condemnation of Ferguson, Missouri, during UN talk was a mistake

President Obama spoke Wednesday to the United Nations General Assembly in his annual foreign policy address to the world body.  Speaking after the Brazilian president but before Uganda’s leader, Obama spoke for 31 minutes on Russia, Asia, Ebola, Iran and climate change.

Eighteen minutes into his speech, Obama mentioned ISIS. Then, he went on to talk about “violent extremism” (he never mentioned “Islamic extremism”).  But after talking about terrorism and “taking action against immediate threats,” Obama transitioned to calling out America’s “failure” and “our own racial and ethnic tensions” in “the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri.”

Equating the burglary-turned-shooting death in Ferguson with ISIS killings and beheadings was a big mistake.

While humility and self-reflection are admirable leadership qualities, equating the burglary-turned-shooting death in Ferguson with ISIS killings and beheadings was a big mistake.

In the sentence right before President Obama’s Ferguson comment in front of 191 other countries, the president said, “In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri . . .”

Morally equating the events of Ferguson to Islamic terrorism and Russia’s annexation of Crimea gives foreign diplomats from Arab countries and Russia the excuse they need to dismiss America’s condemnation of their actions.

For anyone thinking that President Obama didn’t purposefully mean to equate the world’s problems with the events in Ferguson, two sentences later Obama blamed globalization for the public’s outrage in Ferguson:  “And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization…”

Overstating America’s issues doesn’t make us relatable; it makes others’ issues easily dismissable.

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September 23, 2014

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A federal judge has overturned a Hawaii law barring legal immigrants from applying for a firearm permit, the latest in a wave of rulings against similar laws across the country.

Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled last week in favor of plaintiff Steve Fotoudis, an Australian citizen who is a permanent resident living in Honolulu.

According to court documents, Fotoudis was a competitive shooter in his home country and “had extensive training in firearms use and safety” before he moved to the U.S.

However, when Fotoudis attempted to apply for a firearm permit at the Honolulu Police Department, he was told he was not allowed to because of state law. The law restricted police in Hawaiian counties to issuing gun permits only to U.S. citizens, with a few exceptions that did not apply to Fotoudis.

Seabright ruled that law unconstitutional.

“The undisputed facts establish that Fotoudis, as a lawful permanent resident alien of the United States (and resident of Hawaii), was denied the opportunity to apply for a permit to acquire firearms solely because of his alienage,” Seabright wrote. “This classification violates the equal protection clause of the U.S.”

Gun rights advocates, like Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb, say rulings such as this strengthen the rights of both permanent residents and Americans citizens.

“The Second Amendment is an individual right,” he told FoxNews.com.

The Hawaii statute  is the latest in a series of similar laws being struck down across the nation.

Earlier this year, another federal judge ruled that a New Mexico law that only allowed citizens to apply for concealed handgun permits was unconstitutional.

Judge M. Christina Armijo ruled the law violated the 14th Amendment rights of another Australian citizen, who was represented by the Second Amendment Foundation.

According the Washington Times, attorneys for the state in that case unsuccessfully argued that the law was necessary, as it is impossible to run a complete background check on an immigrant.

They also argued setting different standards for citizens and permanent residents was not discriminatory.

The Second Amendment Foundation has likewise been successful in Massachusetts, Nebraska and Washington on the issue and has filed similar cases in other states.

The issue of gun rights for legal immigrants has also gained support from another end of the political spectrum. The American Civil Liberties Union told FoxNews.com in 2011 they supported the rights of legal immigrants to apply for a concealed weapon permit.

That same year, the group successfully helped a British citizen who was a permanent resident sue the state of South Dakota for the right to apply for a permit.

Gottlieb said while his foundation was not involved in the Hawaii case, he is “really proud” that the judge in that case seems to have followed the precedent of prior decisions.

He said if legal immigrants benefit from other constitutional rights while living in America, they also deserve this one.

“Second Amendment rights should be treated the same way,” he said.

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

NORBORNE, Mo. — Sherry Falke  said her seven-year-old son came home from school Tuesday crying hysterically. She thinks the school went overboard with a punishment her son received at s bringing in a souvenir shell casing.

“He felt it in his pocket, and he took it out and was showing some of his friends at school,” Falke explained.

She says her son Zane forgot he left the shell casing in his pocket, a souvenir he received at the 9/11 ceremony from the VFW in Carrollton, given to him and his Cub Scout group.

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“The principal proceeded to reprimand him as though he were bringing live ammunition to school. I understand that’s in the policy, in the handbook, that they can’t bring guns to school, I fully support that, but it’s an empty blank casing,” Falke added.

Zane’s teacher took the shell casing, and took him to the principal’s office. Falke says they told Zane he could be suspended from school for 10 days, but instead gave him a silent lunch where he sat by himself, and missed two recesses.

“In today’s society, unfortunately, we do have to be concerned with those types of things in schools,” said Dr. Roger Feagan, the superintendent of the Norborne R-VIII School District.

He says while the shell casing is not a huge deal, the safety and security of students is their number one priority.

“Though this seems minor, if we don’t handle the minor things, they can unfortunately escalate into major things down the road,” added Dr. Feagan.

Falke said she called the school and explained the significance of the casing, and asked if they would reduce the punishment knowing now what it was.

“Had he brought a war medal to school, would he have been punished?” Falke asked. “They also passed out American flags to all the kids, if he brought that to school would he have been punished?”

The school said no, the punishment stands.

“We didn’t want anything to lead to anything further with that student or think that was OK to bring to school,” said Dr. Feagan.

The school handbook specifically says weapons, firearms, knives, and the like, are not allowed. While the shell casing doesn’t exactly fall into that category, the school feels the punishment was appropriate, and a common consequence for minor offenses.

The school says it stands behind the punishment, and the superintendent adds that hopefully this is a learning experience for everyone. He says had the school been informed ahead of time about the souvenir, and where it came from, it could have been a great discussion topic in the classroom.

 

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