Author Archives: DCG

UK appoints “minister for loneliness” to help people cope with “sad reality” of modern life

government solve all problems

From MSN: Britain appointed a “minister for loneliness” on Wednesday to tackle what Prime Minister Theresa May described as “the sad reality of modern life” affecting millions of people.

Tracey Crouch, a junior minister for sport and civil society, will take on the role as part of a broader strategy to combat loneliness in Britain. “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” May said.

“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with,” the prime minister added.

More than nine million people say they are always or often lonely, out of a population of 65.6 million, according to the British Red Cross.

The charity describes loneliness and isolation as a “hidden epidemic” affecting people across all ages at various moments in their life, such as retirement, bereavement or separation.

The ministerial appointment follows a recommendation from a committee in memory of Jo Cox, a lawmaker for the opposition Labour party who was murdered by a far-right extremist.

“Jo experienced and witnessed loneliness throughout her life especially as a new student at Cambridge University and separated from her sister Kim for (the) first time,” the Jo Cox Foundation wrote on Twitter.

“She would be delighted by Tracey Crouch’s new job as minister for loneliness and would be saying ‘let’s get to work!'” the Foundation added.

The prime minister was to host a reception on Wednesday to celebrate the legacy left by Cox, whose killing just days ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum shocked the nation.

Britain’s loneliness initiative will see a strategy published later this year, with input from national and local government, public services, the voluntary sector and businesses.

DCG

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Alec Baldwin calls “renunciation” of Woody Allen “unfair and sad”

alec baldwin and woody allen

Apparently Alec didn’t receive the memo that “every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”

From Hollywood Reporter: After actors Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Hall pledged to donate their salaries from their work on Woody Allen films to charity in light of the re-emergence of sexual abuse claims against Allen by adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, Alec Baldwin took to Twitter to say that he finds the public disapproval of Allen “unfair and sad.”

In a series of tweets posted Tuesday, Baldwin praised the director, stating that any charges made against Allen by Farrow were never filed. “Woody Allen was investigated forensically by two states (NY and CT) and no charges were filed. The renunciation of him and his work, no doubt, has some purpose. But it’s unfair and sad to me. I worked with WA 3 times and it was one of the privileges of my career,” Baldwin wrote.

Chalamet and Hall’s decisions came after Farrow’s accusations resurfaced in wake of the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative. In 2014, Farrow penned a letter to The New York Times, detailing her director father’s alleged abuse. Farrow wrote a similar op-ed for the Los Angeles Times last December, linking Allen to the #MeToo movement. Allen has repeatedly denied Farrow’s claim that he sexually assaulted her.

Baldwin argues that sexual abuse complaints should never be dismissed, but he says accusations should also be “treated carefully.” “Is it possible to support survivors of pedophilia and sexual assault/abuse and also believe that WA is innocent? I think so,” Baldwin tweeted. “The intention is not to dismiss or ignore such complaints. But accusing ppl of such crimes should be treated carefully. On behalf of the victims, as well.”

Last year, Baldwin quit using his personal Twitter account after receiving criticism for his opinions on the #MeToo movement. The actor expressed his sympathy for victims, admitting that his “goal is to do better in all things related to gender equality.”

Chalamet announced on Instagram Monday night that he will be donating his salary from his work on the upcoming Allen film A Rainy Day in New York to three charities: Time’s Up, the LGBT Center in New York and RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization.

“I have been asked in a few recent interviews about my decision to work on a film with Woody Allen last summer … What I can say is this: I don’t want to profit from my work on the film, and to that end, I am going to donate my entire salary,” Chalamet said in his statement.

Chalamet’s co-star in Rainy Day, Rebecca Hall, also announced she would donate her salary from the film to Time’s Up last week.

DCG

Baltimore’s rising violence claims the lives of seven students from same school

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh

Heckuva job mayor!

Mayor Catherine Pugh…keeping the city “moving forward” and “taking control” of what happens in your neighborhoods.

From Fox News: A growing number of students at a Baltimore high school for troubled or vulnerable youth are missing out on a second chance to turn their life around, instead becoming statistics in a city paralyzed by violent crime.

At least seven students at Excel Academy at Francis Wood High School have been murdered the past 15 months — all victims of the city’s rising violence. At least five were killed during the 2016-17 school year. The sixth was killed in October and a seventh in November.

Among those was Stefon Cook, 20, who had been in school for only a month before he was gunned down in November. “We knew him and we knew him in a good light,” Principal Tammatha Woodhouse told the Baltimore Sun.

Another was 19-year-old Markel Scott, who was shot six times two months before his high school graduation last year. “I grew up here and I’ve never seen crime like this,” his mother Sharonda Rhodes told the New York Times. “These are not normal times. The guns are everywhere.”

The school is a grim reflection of the violence devastating the city, which saw 343 homicides in 2017 – making it three years in a row that the city saw more than 300 murders in a single year.

In its effort to help students cope with the ongoing violence, the school has four social workers, a psychologist and mental health counselors. Safe spaces have been set up so students have a place to vent.

“After the third time, it was like ‘What’s going on? Why are so many people from our school getting murdered? Is someone going after Excel?’ But I think most of them were at the wrong place at the wrong time,” student Deja Williams, 19, who knew all the seven young men killed, told the New York Times.

Woodhouse said there were many times during the last 15 months that she wondered if it was just too much to handle. “I remember having a conversation with my supervisor like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore.’ And he was like, ‘Well, who’s going to do it if you can’t?’” she said.

She continued: “These are young folks who are independent, taking care of themselves and have to survive in an environment that’s not so welcoming to young folks. How as a city do we look at them and ensure that they have economic resources and make sure that they have some stake in the game as it relates to Baltimore?”

City officials say they are trying to figure out ways to make the city safer.

The city is adding a network of more than 750 high-definition cameras that have the ability to zoom in and follow people as they walk down the streets, the Times reported. The city’s leadership also ordered every agency to undertake initiatives to reduce crime, like installing street lighting and clearing vacant lots.

The recent rise in homicides appeared to be triggered by the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray, an African American man who died while in police custody.

“It’s like sitting on a keg of dynamite,” Mayor Catherine Pugh told the Baltimore Sun. “If we don’t fix it, it will all explode.”

While it’s unclear whether the strategies will work, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told the Sun that the Violence Reduction Initiative is “fundamentally improving how the government is delivered to poor, violent communities in a way it’s never been delivered before.” He said they are already seeing a slight decrease in crime. “So you have to stick with that,” he said, “and you have to find ways to expand it.”

DCG

On his way out of office, Chris Christie signs law requiring gun owners to turn in their bump stocks

Chris Christie celebrity softball game for charity at Yankee Stadium June 4, 2015

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

RINO Chris Christie is out as governor of New Jersey. On his last day, he signed a lot of bills including a bump stock ban. From NJ.com:

New Jersey has now banned “bump stocks,” controversial firearm accessories allegedly used by the shooter in last year’s Las Vegas massacre. The devices can be affixed to semiautomatic riffles to allow them to fire bullets, mimicking automatic weapons.

But under the new law — which takes effect immediately — anyone who owns one has 90 days to surrender them to authorities. Retailers have 30 days.

Christie, a Republican, signed the law even though he has long opposed new gun-control measures in the state.

“We applaud Gov. Christie’s signing into law of a ban on bump stocks, the device used by the Las Vegas mass shooter to effectively turn his weapons into fully automatic machine guns, leading to the largest mass shooting in modern US history,” said The Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action. “We are very pleased that partisan politics played no part in this move toward making the people of New Jersey safer from such mass shootings.”

For those unfamiliar with bump stocks, here’s an explanation of how they work:

“Bump stocks are simple pieces of equipment that replace the stock of a rifle and add a small “support step” in front of the trigger. The shooter rests his finger on this step and pulls forward on the barrel or forward grip to press the trigger against his finger. The recoil of the shot then propels the rifle backwards into a gap in stationary stock where the loose fit gives the rifle freedom to bounce forward. This, along with sustained forward pressure on the rifle, has the effect of ‘bumping’ the trigger back into the shooter’s unmoving finger. So long as a shooter maintains forward pressure, the rifle will continue to fire at a rate much faster than could be accomplished with even the quickest possible series of manual trigger pulls.”

The end result is “bump firing,” where your semiautomatic firearm shoots bullets much quicker, in a fashion similar to fully automatic mode.

Banning bump stocks will not stop anyone from bump firing. All you need to do this maneuver is your finger and belt loop. See a demonstration video here. It’s really quite simple – I’ve even tried it – although not as masterfully as the guy in the video.

So there’s Christie’s legacy: A ban that violates the Second Amendment and prevents no one, absolutely no one, from practicing bump fire. Good job, RINO.

DCG

LA Times asks, “Why is liberal California the poverty capital of America?

nancy pelosi tweet

Demorats own this.

Doesn’t take an econ major in junior high to solve this riddle.

Kerry Jackson at the LA Timeswrote this op-ed piece: Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.

Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).

It’s not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause. Several state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200% above the poverty line receive benefits. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.

The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, some states — principally Wisconsin, Michigan, and Virginia — initiated welfare reform, as did the federal government under President Clinton and a Republican Congress. Tied together by a common thread of strong work requirements, these overhauls were a big success: Welfare rolls plummeted and millions of former aid recipients entered the labor force.

The state and local bureaucracies that implement California’s antipoverty programs, however, resisted pro-work reforms. In fact, California recipients of state aid receive a disproportionately large share of it in no-strings-attached cash disbursements. It’s as though welfare reform passed California by, leaving a dependency trap in place. Immigrants are falling into it: 55% of immigrant families in the state get some kind of means-tested benefits, compared with just 30% of natives.

Self-interest in the social-services community may be at fault. As economist William A. Niskanen explained back in 1971, public agencies seek to maximize their budgets, through which they acquire increased power, status, comfort and security. To keep growing its budget, and hence its power, a welfare bureaucracy has an incentive to expand its “customer” base. With 883,000 full-time-equivalent state and local employees in 2014, California has an enormous bureaucracy. Many work in social services, and many would lose their jobs if the typical welfare client were to move off the welfare rolls.

Further contributing to the poverty problem is California’s housing crisis. More than four in 10 households spent more than 30% of their income on housing in 2015. A shortage of available units has driven prices ever higher, far above income increases. And that shortage is a direct outgrowth of misguided policies.

“Counties and local governments have imposed restrictive land-use regulations that drove up the price of land and dwellings,” explains analyst Wendell Cox. “Middle-income households have been forced to accept lower standards of living while the less fortunate have been driven into poverty by the high cost of housing.” The California Environmental Quality Act, passed in 1971, is one example; it can add $1 million to the cost of completing a housing development, says Todd Williams, an Oakland attorney who chairs the Wendel Rosen Black & Dean land-use group. CEQA costs have been known to shut down entire homebuilding projects. CEQA reform would help increase housing supply, but there’s no real movement to change the law.

Extensive environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions make energy more expensive, also hurting the poor. By some estimates, California energy costs are as much as 50% higher than the national average. Jonathan A. Lesser of Continental Economics, author of a 2015 Manhattan Institute study, “Less Carbon, Higher Prices,” found that “in 2012, nearly 1 million California households faced … energy expenditures exceeding 10% of household income. In certain California counties, the rate of energy poverty was as high as 15% of all households.” A Pacific Research Institute study by Wayne Winegarden found that the rate could exceed 17% of median income in some areas.

Looking to help poor and low-income residents, California lawmakers recently passed a measure raising the minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour by 2022 — but a higher minimum wage will do nothing for the 60% of Californians who live in poverty and don’t have jobs. And research indicates that it could cause many who do have jobs to lose them. A Harvard University study found evidence that “higher minimum wages increase overall exit rates for restaurants” in the Bay Area, where more than a dozen cities and counties, including San Francisco, have changed their minimum-wage ordinances in the last five years. “Estimates suggest that a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14% increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant (which is the median rating),” the report says. These restaurants are a significant source of employment for low-skilled and entry-level workers.

Apparently content with futile poverty policies, Sacramento lawmakers can turn their attention to what historian Victor Davis Hanson aptly describes as a fixation on “remaking the world.” The political class wants to build a costly and needless high-speed rail system; talks of secession from a United States presided over by Donald Trump; hired former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. to “resist” Trump’s agenda; enacted the first state-level cap-and-trade regime; established California as a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants; banned plastic bags, threatening the jobs of thousands of workers involved in their manufacture; and is consumed by its dedication to “California values.” All this only reinforces the rest of America’s perception of an out-of-touch Left Coast, to the disservice of millions of Californians whose values are more traditional, including many of the state’s poor residents.

With a permanent majority in the state Senate and the Assembly, a prolonged dominance in the executive branch and a weak opposition, California Democrats have long been free to indulge blue-state ideology while paying little or no political price. The state’s poverty problem is unlikely to improve while policymakers remain unwilling to unleash the engines of economic prosperity that drove California to its golden years.

h/t PJ Media

DCG

Demorats own this: Previously deported illegal alien accused of killing two cops wishes he’d killed more

illegal luis bracamontes

Illegal alien Luis Bracamontes free to roam in sanctuary California

Demorats choose to provide sanctuary to illegal aliens who kill our citizens. Shame on them.

The death of an American citizen, Kate Steinle, by the hand of an illegal alien, meant absolutely nothing, NOTHING, to them.

SHAME ON THEM.

From Sacramento Bee: There’s never been much dispute over whether Luis Bracamontes shot and killed two Sacramento-area deputies in October 2014.

Hehas repeatedly admitted to it in court hearings, and at the start of his trial Tuesday his own lawyer essentially convicted the illegal immigrant alien of killing Sacramento sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer sheriff’s Deputy Michael Davis Jr. in a daylong spree of violence that started in a Motel 6 parking lot near Arden Fair Mall.

“Let me be clear and up front,” public defender Jeffrey Barbour told the jury hearing his case. “Mr. Bracamontes is responsible for the death of Deputy Danny Oliver and Detective Michael Davis. “He shot them both.”

The statement came during an extraordinary opening day during which the proceedings devolved into a spectacle of the defendant threatening to kill more people, giggling as a prosecutor described his crime spree and his own lawyers once again questioning his sanity.

“I wish I had killed more of the mother——-,” he boasted to the jury as prosecutor Rod Norgaard described the outbreak of violence.

Smiling broadly, Bracamontes added, “I will break out soon and I will kill more, kill whoever gets in front of me … There’s no need for a f—— trial.”

That outburst led to Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White briefly removing the jury, then warning Bracamontes. “You will not disrupt this trial, you will not speak out,” White told him. “If you do, you will be removed from the courtroom.”

Barbour, who along with partner Norm Dawson has questioned Bracamontes’ sanity, then asked the judge to reconsider his finding that Bracamontes is mentally competent to stand trial.

“Your motion is denied,” White told Barbour. He then had the jury come back in and instructed them not to pay any attention to what had happened. All of them indicated they could do so, and Norgaard concluded his opening statement just before noon.

Barbour and Dawson then renewed their efforts, asking the judge outside the presence of the jury if they could enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

“We believe Mr. Bracamontes’ outbursts, his laughter, are a function of his mental illness,” Barbour said.

But the judge was having none of it, noting that the issue already had been litigated in previous hearings and that if Bracamontes chooses not to help his lawyers that’s up to him. “He is not incompetent to stand trial,” White declared.

The jury returned after a lunch break and, after Barbour conceded his client killed both deputies, he urged the jurors to listen to evidence presented that may be of use in the penalty phase, when they will have to choose between the death penalty or life in prison if he is convicted.

Bracamontes, 37, an illegal immigrant alien from Mexico, is on trial along with his wife, Janelle Monroy, 41. She faces a possible sentence of life in prison.

Part of the evidence defense attorneys hope will spare Bracamontes from the death penalty is the fact that after his arrest a blood test found an “excessively high” amount of methamphetamine in his system that may have made him paranoid and agitated, and that he wrote a suicide note in the house where he holed up before surrendering to authorities.

“Forgive me, God,” the note read. “Please take me with you. I love you, Janelle.”

Prosecutors say the suicide note was written after Bracamontes turned on the burners of the home’s gas stove and tried to have it ignite to kill him and any officers who rushed in. Instead, Bracamontes crawled out of the house and surrendered meekly.

He is charged with killing both deputies, shooting a motorist in the head to steal his car and wounding another Placer County deputy in Auburn. His wife is accused of assisting Bracamontes after Oliver was killed by helping move an assault-style rifle from car to car as the couple fled authorities.

The case is being heard by two separate juries, one for each defendant. Monroy’s attorney Pete Kmeto attempted in his opening statement to draw a sharp line between Bracamontes’ actions and hers.

“There’s no issue as to whether or not she shot anyone,” Kmeto said. “She didn’t.”

Instead, he portrayed her as a victim who lived in fear of her husband, especially after she saw him kill Oliver. “The evidence is going to show that this woman who loved this man and was married to him for years was stuck in a car with a crazy person,” Kmeto said.

Norgaard, a Sacramento prosecutor who is handling the case with Placer County Deputy District Attorney Dave Tellman, had a different perspective, telling her jury that she moved Bracamontes’ weapon from car to car as the pair embarked on a 40-mile rampage that ended in Auburn.

“They were in it together all along,” Norgaard said.

The case has drawn widespread media attention, partly because of Bracamontes’ status as an illegal immigrant alien and his history of arrests and deportations in Arizona. President Donald Trump has weighed in on the case, mentioning it during a speech to Congress last year and introducing the widow of one of the slain deputies.

Read the rest of the story here.

h/t Twitchy

DCG

Four demorats plan to boycott President’s Trump SOTU address

Fine by me!

From Fox News: Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson added her name to a growing list of Democratic lawmakers who say they are fed up with President Trump and will boycott his State of the Union address at the end of the month.

Wilson, who was elected in 2010 and made headlines last year for fighting with Trump over his telephone call to the widow of a fallen soldier, cited the president’s “recent racist and incendiary remarks about Haiti and African nations” for reasons why she wouldn’t be attending the Jan. 30 speech.

“For the first time since I began serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, I will not be attending the president’s State of the Union address,” Wilson said in a statement late Sunday. “I have no doubts that instead of delivering a message of inclusivity and an agenda that benefits all Americans, President Trump’s address will be full of innuendo, empty promises and lies.”

Wilson joins Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.; and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., in boycotting the event.

“Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?” Waters said on MSNBC over the weekend. “Someone who lies in the face of facts, someone who can change their tune day in and day out. What does he have to say that I would be interested in? I don’t appreciate him and I wouldn’t waste my time sitting in that house listening to what he has to say. He does not deserve my attention.

Lewis made his announcement Friday, citing reports that Trump had referred to some African countries as “s—holes” in a conversation with lawmakers about immigration. “I cannot in all good conscience be in a room with what he has said about so many Americans,” Lewis said on MSNBC Friday. “I just cannot do it. I wouldn’t be honest with myself.”

Blumenauer said he would be skipping the event before Trump’s remarks became public, but said it would be a waste of time and that he was staying home. “Rather than listening to another destructive, divisive speech by Trump, I will not attend this year’s annual address to Congress,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “Instead, like I did during his inauguration, I’ll be working at home listening to Oregonians about what they think about the State of the Union.”

On Sunday, the president addressed the people who are accusing him of being a racist. “I’m not a racist,” Trump told reporters. “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.”

The State of the Union boycott isn’t the only protest planned by Democrats.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said she is planning on wearing black in order to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment, while other House lawmakers say they are planning on inviting victims of sexual assault to attend the president’s first State of the Union address. “Some members will be bringing survivors of sexual assault and advocates as their guests,” an aide to Florida Rep. Lois Frankel told NBC News.

Other ideas that have since been nixed include holding mock trials with the women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

Trump has denied any claims of sexual misconduct.

Democrats’ boycott of the annual address isn’t something new. In 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, skipped former President Barack Obama’s last State of the Union address. That same year, three conservative Supreme Court judges — Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia — were also a no-show.

Scalia, who died in 2016, had missed the State of the Union address more than a dozen times, and called the event “a childish spectacle.”

DCG