Category Archives: Economy

“Don’t kill anybody”: Murder-free weekend urged in Baltimore

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh

It’s come to this: Wearing t-shirts begging folks not to kill. Mayor Catherine Pugh and former mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake must be so proud.

From MSN: A 44-year-old mother might seem an unusual visitor on the drug corners of Baltimore, but Erricka Bridgeford has stopped by them for weeks to make her pitch for peace.

Forget your grudges for one weekend, she urges the young men she finds. Help bring a 72-hour truce to a city besieged by gun violence. “It’s a city-wide call,” she tells them, “but I’m talking to you.”

Bridgeford and other neighborhood leaders are drumming up support for the three-day ceasefire to quell Baltimore’s violence on the first weekend of August. She admits, however, that such peace is a tall order for a city that’s seen 188 killings this year.

Organizers aim to stop the shooting from Friday, Aug. 4 through Sunday, Aug. 6 with a unified and blunt message: “Nobody kill anybody.”

Their message has been printed on T-shirts and fliers. They designed a website and held community meetings. More than 1,600 people visited their Facebook page. The grassroots campaign has swelled since it began in May.

“I’ve seen the momentum build over the past several weeks,” said T.J. Smith, spokesman for Baltimore police. “We are all in this together and we’re 1,000 percent supportive of the efforts.”

The campaign urges people to put aside their guns and join weekend events for healing, from a peace rally Friday evening to a vigil Sunday where participants will read the names of every person killed in 2017.

“The Baltimore Ceasefire was not declared by any one organization,” organizers wrote on their website. “This ceasefire is the product of Baltimore residents not only being exhausted by homicides, but believing that Baltimore can have a murder-free weekend if everyone takes responsibility.”

More than 600 people have pledged to keep the peace, they wrote. Among them are some of the young men Bridgeford has met on the corners. “You just talk to them like they’re your little brother,” she said.

A professional mediator, neighborhood volunteer and part-time Uber driver — “Everyone who gets in my car leaves with a flyer and a speech” — Bridgeford’s own younger brother was gunned down a decade ago in Southwest Baltimore. His killer was never caught.

Next month’s ceasefire would prove successful if it deters a single shooting, she said. And she figured the movement has already saved a life somewhere. “Somebody was plotting on this weekend,” she said. “Now they’re not going to do it because of a rumbling in their soul.”

The organizers are raising money through their website for more fliers. Some of the money will be donated to the families of anyone killed over the ceasefire weekend. Bridgeford is urging everyone she meets to echo the call for peace. “Jumping out in open-air drug markets might not be for everyone,” she said. “But we’re asking everyone to do their part.”

Community ceasefires, however, have failed to stem the violence in the past. The group Mothers of Murdered Sons called for a ceasefire over Mother’s Day weekend, but at least four people were shot, including a 59-year-old man and 17-year-old woman; both were killed.

Other communities have called for ceasefires after spates of violence in Birmingham, Ala. and Berkeley, Calif., and such efforts are as much about empowering residents as reducing homicide statistics, said Cassandra Crifasi, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins-Baltimore Collaborative for Violence Reduction.

Persistent violence often leaves neighbors feeling powerless, she said. “Communities feel like they can’t do things for themselves. They don’t have a voice. They don’t feel heard,” she said. “This effort seems to me like the people most affected by violence are standing up and saying, ‘We’re not going to take this anymore.'”

A similar awareness campaign began in Chicago in 2013 and has spread across the country with people wearing orange in June to draw attention to the scourge of gun violence. Across the country more than 90 people are shot and killed every day, according to the Wear Orange campaign.

Baltimore, meanwhile, remains gripped by its own violent spike, with 2017 on pace to be the city’s deadliest year ever. The number of homicides shot up to 344 in 2015; another 318 people were killed last year. Baltimore had not exceeded 300 annual homicides for decades before 2015.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Crifasi said of the ceasefire. “It indicates to me there are lots of people in Baltimore still invested in the safety and security of their communities.”

People like Bridgeford who has carried the message to Baltimore’s drug corners. She found an unexpected audience, even encouragement in the streets. “I’ve absolutely heard skepticism,” she said. “But even the skeptics are like, ‘Stay out here.'”

DCG

Advertisements

Big government butting in: British man ordered to remove butt-baring gnome ornaments

gnome ornament

Mr. Perry with the offensive gnome butt/Telegraph photo

From NY Post: A British gardener is butting heads with his local council over its crackdown against his bottom-baring gnomes, according to a report.

Lauren Perry, 77, was ordered to remove two cheeky ornaments from outside his Wistaston home because they were deemed a possible distraction to motorists, the Telegraph reported.

“It has been brought to our attention that several displays and items have been placed on the highway verge in Wistaston,” read a letter from the village’s senior highways officer.

“I am sure that your intentions are meant to be humorous and light hearted. Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same sentiment,” wrote Andrea Bickerton, who gave Perry a week to take down the characters. “If you fail to remove them, the Council will remove them and recover from you the expense of doing so,” she warned.

But Perry took the letter as a real kick in the pants. “I feel very disappointed. My daughter bought them for Father’s Day as a bit of fun as she knows I like a laugh. These things are in discount stores in their hundreds on shelves,” he said.

“How can they be classed as offensive? I put them up two weeks ago — no one ever approached me to complain or ask for them to be removed. The next thing I know, this heavy-handed letter arrives,” he added.

Perry told the Telegraph that he had worked hard to turn a rough patch of trash-filled land into a more attractive area.

“It’s all been self-funded as we were turned down for funding by the parish council,” he said. “We even bought the sign that says ‘Wonderful Wistaston.’ Now I feel like replacing it with one that says ‘Miserable Wistaston.’”

Realizing there will be no fairy-tale ending, Perry said he would move one of the gnomes onto a wall and replace the other elf with one with its pants on

Hopefully, no one will find that offensive. You’d think Cheshire East highways had more important things to worry about — like clearing out all the gulleys full of weeds,” he railed.

A council spokesman said village leaders “do not wish to spoil people’s fun,” but that “there is a safety issue here as such objects could easily cause a distraction to motorists and other road users, leading to an accident.”

DCG

GMA spins a story on an illegal alien: “Ohio father of 4 bids farewell before deportation to Mexico”

illegalThe father is more than welcome to take his family with him to his native home.

The father had notice six years ago that because he is an illegal alien, he’d be getting the boot.

The father had been in the US for 16 years – plenty of time to acquire US citizenship.

Yet the media does their best everyday to prove why most see them as an arm of the demorats.

From Yahoo (originally on Good Morning America): An Ohio father of four had an emotional farewell with his family this morning before returning to Mexico.

Jesus Lara Lopez, who worked at a packaging facility in Willard, Ohio, was seen off by family and about a dozen supporters at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport this morning, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Photographs taken at the airport before his flight show him embracing his children in a series of tearful goodbyes.

When Lopez checked in with immigration officials in March, he was told he was being deported under “an illegal immigration crackdown,” his lawyer David Leopold told the press this morning.

Lopez has been in the country for 16 years, and his children were born in the U.S., the Plain Dealer reported.

A federal immigration judge first ordered Lopez removed in 2011, Khaalid Walls, the Northeast communications director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told ABC News. In 2014 the agency granted Lopez a stay of removal, Walls said, adding that “in a further exercise of discretion, the agency has allowed him to remain free from custody to finalize his departure plans.”

“The agency will continue to closely monitor his case to ensure compliance,” Walls said.

He said that ICE could not confirm for ABC News whether Lopez complied with its request until after he is “successfully repatriated,” for operational and security reasons, but would try to provide an update on his status later today.

ABC affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland reported that Lopez had never been charged with a crime during his 16 years in the U.S., has paid taxes and did not receive food stamps. Walls noted in response that the lack of a criminal record does not necessarily exempt an unauthorized immigrant illegal alien from deportation.

“As Secretary [John] Kelly and Acting Director [Thomas D.] Homan have stated repeatedly, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of national security and public safety threats; however, no class or category of alien in the United States is exempt from arrest or removal,” Walls told ABC News.

Leopold told WEWS-TV that his client had a valid work permit. The New York Times reported in June that Lopez worked “the graveyard shift packing Milano cookies and Goldfish crackers” at Pepperidge Farm.

ABC News reached out to Pepperidge Farm for a comment about Lopez’s work permit, and the company said he was hired by a third-party company, Spherion, which manages packaging workers at the facility. Spherion confirmed for ABC News that Lopez had a valid work permit and it hired him in October 2016.

“These are the darkest times I’ve ever seen as an attorney. When the best and the brightest that we have to offer are taken from their homes and sent away,” Leopold told reporters. “The law is so broken.”

America’s Voice, an immigration rights advocacy group, posted a statement on its website criticizing the deportation of Lopez from John Sandweg, a former acting director of ICE and a former acting general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security.

“Cases like this are an incredible waste of ICE resources that only make it harder for the agency to identify and remove dangerous criminals,” he wrote. He added that he believes enforcement resources should be focused on finding criminals and public safety threats instead.

Sandweg has been a vocal critic of President Trump‘s broad promise of reducing illegal immigration to the U.S. a central part of his 2016 campaign.

The U.S. was already focused on enforcing immigration rules during the presidency of Barack Obama, who oversaw the removal of more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders, earning him the nickname deporter in chief.

“The [Trump] administration’s focus on the low-hanging fruit of the enforcement system only allows the bad guys to remain at large, weakening our public safety,” Sandweg added.

DCG

NYC to link funding for arts and museums to diversity, de Blasio says

Martin-Luther-King-01

From Fox News: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday the city will begin linking funding for arts groups and museums to how quickly they increase diversity at their organizations, posing a challenge for the city’s major institutions.

New York City is renowned for its diversity – 67 percent of residents identify as people of color – but only 38 percent of employees at cultural organizations are employees of color, according to a recent study from the city’s Cultural Affairs Department.

However, the 175-page report comes amid the mayor’s re-election campaign, as de Blasio works to strengthen his standing as someone who fights inequality.

The plan to tie funding to diversity was unveiled as part of CreateNYC, the city’s first comprehensive cultural plan that received feedback from 200,000 New Yorkers and took 10 months to complete.

In a press conference, de Blasio said the city would collect data on the diversity of staffs and boards at places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall and dozens of other organizations, according to the New York Times. “This will be a factor in the city’s funding decisions going forward,” Mr. de Blasio said at the announcement in Queens, reports the Times. “We do this because we believe in fairness.”

“The least-white jobs are maintenance and security,” Tom Finkelpearl, the commissioner of cultural affairs, told the Times. “And the whitest are curators. That points to some problems.”

Although it remains to be seen how much cultural organizations will now feel pressured to change their hiring tactics — and whether or not this move boosts the mayor’s campaign in any way — de Blasio’s announcement drew praise from some city officials.

Our city draws strength from its diversity. No matter who you are, what language you speak, or how much money you have, you have a right to take part in the city’s rich cultural resources,” said New York City Council Member Stephen Levin.

DCG

More unoriginal trash coming out of Hollyweird: “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later”

Wet Hot American Summer was an American comedy film that bombed in 2001. The movie takes place during the last full day at a fictional summer camp in 1981, and spoofs the sex comedies aimed at teen audiences of that era.  The film was a critical and commercial failure, but has since developed a cult following.

And because Hollyweird has no original ideas left, they’ve decided to remake this (albeit set ten years later) as a series on Netflix. From Wikipedia:

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later is an upcoming satirical comedy internet television series written by David Wain and Michael Showalter, and directed by Wain. The Netflix series is a sequel to both Wain’s 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer, and the 2015 prequel television series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. The series will consist of eight episodes, and is scheduled to be released on August 4, 2017.

There are plenty of reasons to ignore this internet television series. In fact, here is one reason to avoid this show:

Michael Ian Black: This comic is a favorite douche on Twitchy…because he makes it so easy. Check out his brilliant tweets:

And if that isn’t reason enough to avoid this show, here’s four more…

Christopher Meloni: A devout proggie, Christopher starred in Amy Schumer’s stupid movie, Snatched.  His Twitter timeline embodies TARD (Trump Acceptance Resistance Disorder). Some recent examples:

  • Our snowflake president loves his participation trophies
  • Fragile In Chief and his minions need to be reassured.
  • Mike Pence, organ grinder monkey
  • Trump declared this week is “Made in America Week”. Which is ironic since his clothes aren’t made in America and neither was his presidency.
  • It’s not appropriate for this Pretender In Chief to be constantly vaca-ing on our dime. #GetAJob #BesidesBeingARussianMole
  • Makes one yearn for the wisdom of a Dan Quayle when the Idiot In Chief opens his mouth
  • With all due respect – shut up u f—ing d—, Ur damaged goods and only Putin and idiots and brown Nosers believe in u.

Alyssa Milano: This former child actress has gone full-blown TARD. Just check out her Twitter timeline. Here are a couple examples of her distaste for everything Trump:

  • She slammed Melania’s official portrait saying, “You look beautiful, but you could feed many of the impoverished in our country with your rings.” Apparently rich Republican women are not allowed to own/wear huge diamond rings, only rich Demorat women.
  • In March, Alyssa wrote about how her “anger is palpable.” In an article for Marie Claire, she writes about how women will take down Trump stating, “Removing him will be up to us. Despite the crushing, life-altering blow we suffered on November 8th, it’s [sic] women who are organizing the resistance. Feminine power is boundless. Women can change the world. We already have…and we’re not giving up now.”

Alyssa also supported the Georgia congressional candidate loser Jon Ossoff. She even went to Georgia and offered rides to get people out to vote for him. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Amy Poehler: Amy is a well-known demorat who supported Obama and Hillary Clinton. She promoted Obamacare through the #getcovered hashtag.

Poehler also participated in the “Demand a Plan” video to end gun violence (aka gun control). Funny though, she and her liberal friends enjoy armed protection at award shows. Hypocrite.

Dax Shepard: Dax is married to Kristen Bell, an enthusiastic supporter of Planned Parenthood. Last year the two of them were paid to promote Samsung washing machines, of which there were 21 reported cases of machines that exploded. Oops.

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later…another product of Hollyweird that I will not be watching.

DCG

WNBA team Seattle Storm raising money for baby butchers Planned Parenthood

dawn trudeau

WNBA owner Dawn Trudeau: Just trying to help people…

Fine by me. That will be less taxpayer dollars we need to give to Planned Parenthood.

From Seattle Times: Each of the Seattle Storm’s three owners has a specific spot where she prefers to sit for the team’s home games: Dawn Trudeau likes to be in her courtside seat, Lisa Brummel watches from about the fifth row, and Ginny Gilder sits halfway up in KeyArena.

They aren’t secluded in a suite. They’re among the fans and talking with them, too. So when the idea to host a game that supports Planned Parenthood emerged, Trudeau said the owners felt “fairly confident that our core supporters would continue to support us and would be actually pleased that we were doing this.”

For the three women who have owned the Storm since 2008, that assessment has appeared to be right. Some proceeds from Tuesday night’s game against the Chicago Sky will support the nonprofit that provides reproductive health care. The idea has sparked an “overwhelmingly positive” response, Trudeau said.

This is the first time a sports franchise has partnered with Planned Parenthood, according to a spokesperson from Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI), the branch of the organization for which the Storm is raising money.

“It brings tears to my eyes,” said Christine Charbonneau, CEO of PPGNHI. “It’s the kind of thing I suppose we always dreamed of if there were ever women owning things, that women would treat other women differently than maybe (what) happens sometimes when men own things.”

Along with an online auction, the Storm has pledged to give $5 from each ticket sold to Planned Parenthood, meaning a sold-out KeyArena of 9,686 spectators would generate a donation close to $50,000.

“We own the team, but we have life experience as women,” Trudeau said of the all-female ownership group. “That’s something that we carry with us and that informs the decisions that we make and that is certainly a part of our DNA — literally and from an organizational standpoint.”

When Trudeau was a fourth-grader in the mid 1960s, she remembers how in gym class, the boys would get to run around and play basketball or kickball, while the girls were told to sit and watch. Trudeau wanted to play but couldn’t.

That’s when Trudeau said she became a feminist. She hadn’t learned that word yet, but as a fourth-grader she realized boys and girls were treated differently, an awareness she has carried into her professional career.

Planned Parenthood holds an annual check-up with its donors, and at that event in November, there was a meeting topic about what the presidential election meant for the organization. Gilder approached Charbonneau and said she wanted the Storm to do something to help, but she didn’t know what that would entail.

A few months later, Charbonneau found out the Storm owners were planning to dedicate a game to the nonprofit.

With the ongoing national health care debate, Trudeau said some Americans could soon lose their health care, and women and children often are among the first. That’s why Trudeau said now is the right time for the Storm’s initiative.

“We thought that this was something we could do for our community,” Trudeau said. “We can’t do anything about the national decisions that are being made, but we can do something to help the people around us.”

Trudeau got her first birth control from Planned Parenthood and said she considers it a place that gave her “the chance to really make the decisions in my life that allowed me get to where I am today.”

Even though Trudeau said a negative response from any group wouldn’t have stopped them from proceeding, the Storm’s owners met individually with the players to explain the partnership. “We wanted them to know what we were doing, why we were doing it, and if they did want to support it, give them an opportunity to do that as well,” Trudeau said.

Four players — Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Noelle Quinn and Sami Whitcomb — took part in a PSA video the team released last week. The Storm did not make players available to comment on this story.

Read the rest of the story here.

h/t Newsbusters

DCG

Kamala Harris: The Democratic message is “telling the American public we see them”

kamala harris

Kamala Harris: Womyn unshackled…

So inspirational!

From Yahoo: Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said that Democrats have a message “much bigger” than opposing President Trump and that the party is focused on telling Americans “we see them.”

“The issues are not simple, so the message is not going not be simple,” Harris told Yahoo News in a small gaggle of reporters after she gave a speech at the “Women Unshackled” criminal justice conference Tuesday morning.

Harris said Democrats should not have a “monosyllabic” simple slogan, but instead focus on issues that matter to Americans, like jobs, the economy, health care, climate change and criminal justice reform.

“It’s going to be multitiered, but essentially it’s about telling the American public we see them,” Harris said of the Democrats’ message. “All Americans want to know that they are healthy, that their children and their parents are going to have access to health care and dignity. All Americans want to know they can get a job and keep a job. All Americans want to be able to retire with dignity.”

“These are truths, and when we see people for who they really are, and instead of some demographic based on what a pollster looks at, I think we’ll all be better for it,” she added.

Democrats have struggled to articulate a unified message since Trump won. And the issue of the party’s branding sparked up again after a top House Democrat, Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., recently told the Associated Press that the message is “being worked on.”

Harris is a buzzed-about potential candidate for president in 2020 and has already raised significant amounts of money for her Senate colleagues running in 2018. Harris has said she’s not giving “any consideration” to running for president, but Democratic donors are increasingly speculating about her as a top contender.

Harris’ criminal justice speech Tuesday to a bipartisan group of lawmakers and activists was greeted with enthusiastic applause, and the senator was nearly mobbed afterward with fans wanting to take selfies with her. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., are also speaking at the event, organized by the U.S. Justice Action Network.

In her speech, Harris criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for steering the country back toward another war on drugs, which she called an “abject failure” and “crazy.”

“We made a mistake when decades ago we decided to criminalize what is a public health matter,” Harris said, advocating for drug treatment instead of jail time for nonviolent offenders.

She also spoke of her recent visit to a women’s prison in Chowchilla, Calif., where she talked to incarcerated women who were making American flags. “I walked away thinking, ‘Isn’t it part of who we are as Americans that we believe in second chances?’” she said.

Harris, a former prosecutor elected just last November, has made criminal justice reform one of her top issues in her short time in the Senate. She has co-sponsored legislation with other Democratic lawmakers to ban the practice of shackling pregnant inmates, and she announced during her speech that she would also be introducing legislation to reform the bail process so that decisions about whether to release prisoners ahead of their trials is based more upon the security risk of doing so and not upon how much money the prisoner has.

The senator told reporters she’s “optimistic” that legislation could pass, even in a divided Washington. “I think this is something that should not be thought of as even bipartisan — this should be a nonpartisan issue,” Harris said.

DCG