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Member since: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 01:16 AM
Number of posts: 2,949

About Me

Was once a republican. long long ago, in a far, far away place. I apologize.

Journal Archives

Off Duty Officer fires gun inside school

Source: WHMI Radio News

A wrestling meet at Fowlerville High School was disrupted Saturday afternoon when an off-duty police officer accidentally discharged his firearm.

According to Fowlerville Police Chief John Tyler, the incident involved an off-duty Flint officer at about 12:40pm as he stood on the gym floor. The bullet went into the gym floor and there were no injuries from the gunshot, although one person was treated by EMS for a twisted ankle. The meet resumed after about 50 minutes.

Chief Tyler said a report will be referred to the Livingston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office once they complete their investigation. The weapon was the officer's off-duty sidearm, which he was legally licensed to carry. The wrestling meet was not a Fowlerville district event, but instead one organized by a third party

Read more: https://whmi.com/news/article/off-duty-officer-fires-gun-accidentally-fowlerville

So does that count as “a good guy with a gun”, or “a bad guy with a gun”?

I’m so confused when an accidental discharge of a firearm happens in a school...

Pruitt and Chief of Staff Personally Approved Pay Raises of Up to 72 Percent for Top Aides, IG Finds

By Eric Katz, GovExec.com

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt personally signed off on the pay raise of at least one employee through an obscure hiring authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act, while his chief of staff signed off on several others on his behalf, according to a new report. The report contradicts Pruitt’s previous claims that he was unaware of the raises.

Pruitt personally approved the hiring of and subsequent title change for an employee in an “administratively determined” position, according to a “management alert” issued by EPA’s inspector general on Monday. The new role resulted in a 26.7 percent raise, or about a $21,000 bump. Six other employees received raises through the Safe Drinking Water Act, all of whom had their new salaries signed off on by Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson “for Scott Pruitt.”

Pruitt personally authorized and signed for the initial hiring of three of those employees.

Three employees were originally hired either by Pruitt or Jackson in “administratively determined” positions, converted Schedule C political appointees, and later converted back to AD roles. The total salary increases after those transitions ranged from 25 percent to 72 percent, or from $12,000 to $66,000.



Syrian air defenses shot down 13 missiles: state TV

Source: Rueters

(Reuters) - Syrian air defenses shot down 13 missiles fired in a U.S.-led attack on the country on Saturday, Syrian state TV said.

It said the missiles had been shot down in the Kiswah area south of Damascus, the capital.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a total of three scientific research centers had been hit in the attacks - two in Damascus and one in the Homs area - in addition to military bases in Damascus.

The Observatory said all the bases and facilities struck in the attack had been evacuated by the Syrian government earlier this week.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-target/syrian-air-defenses-shot-down-13-missiles-state-tv-idUSKBN1HL042

EPA Ethics Official Backtracks on Approval of Pruitt Rental Agreement

EPA Ethics Official Backtracks on Approval of Pruitt Rental Agreement

By ERICH WAGNER. http://www.govexec.com

The career ethics official who initially cleared Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s $50-per-night rental agreement for a room in a Capitol Hill two-bedroom condo owned by lobbyists appeared to backtrack on that approval Wednesday, saying it was based on the text of the lease, not how the property was actually used.

Kevin Minoli, EPA’s principal deputy general counsel and the agency’s designated ethics official, issued a new memo explaining the rationale for his original verdict on the lease. In it, he noted finding a number of Airbnb listings in the vicinity of the Capitol Hill apartment for single rooms in the neighborhood of $55 per night. But he said his decision was based on the text of the rental agreement with health care lobbyist Vicki Hart, not necessarily the reality of Pruitt’s tenure at the residence.

“The review addressed the terms of the lease as they were written in the lease agreement only,” Minoli wrote. “Some have raised questions whether the actual use of the space was consistent with the terms of the lease. Evaluating those questions would have required factual information that was not before us and the review does not address those questions.”

Additionally, Minoli said his analysis did not take into consideration whether Pruitt provided favorable treatment to Vicki Hart’s husband, Steven Hart, as a result of the rental. Steven Hart is chairman of Williams and Jensen, a lobbying firm with a number of clients who fall under the EPA’s jurisdiction.

“The review addressed those parts of the federal ethics regulations that regard gifts, but was not intended to and did not address other portions of the federal ethics regulations such as the impartiality rule,” Minoli wrote. “It is important to note that the federal ethics regulations regarding impartiality apply regardless of whether something involves receiving a prohibited gift.”


Trump Administration Plans to Slash Labor Relations Board, Consolidate Power

The Trump administration is looking to undermine the fundamental mission of the National Labor Relations Board, according to several employee and outside groups, who are objecting to cuts and a proposed reorganization of the agency.

Proposals from NLRB officials appointed by President Trump would seek to centralize functions currently performed by regional employees in the field and reduce their investigatory authorities as they seek to resolve cases involving workforce representation and unfair labor practices. The agency is also seeking to dramatically slash its budget and workforce, and has implemented a hiring freeze and other cuts despite uncertainty as to whether Congress will go along with the reductions. The multi-pronged efforts have demoralized employees, their advocates recently told leadership, and justifications of boosting efficiency could belie the true intention of crippling the agency.

“Ultimately, whatever case-handling efficiency steps are adopted, they must be consistent with the mission of the [1935 National Labor Relations Act, which established the NLRB],” said the committee of regional directors, according to a letter to NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb obtained by Bloomberg Law. “Adopting measures that result in efficient resolution of cases but contravenes the mission of the act is a hollow accomplishment.”


Dem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points

Special Election seat flips -

Kentucky Democrats on Tuesday reclaimed a rural district in the state House of Representatives that went heavily for President Trump in 2016.

Linda Belcher (D), a former state legislator who lost her seat in the Trump landslide in Kentucky, reclaimed the Bullitt County district by a more than two-to-one margin, defeating her GOP opponent Rebecca Johnson 68 percent to 32 percent.

The Democrat had lost her seat in 2016 by just 150 votes, or less than 1 percentage point, even as Trump carried the district with 72 percent of the vote there compared to Hillary Clinton's 23 percent. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also won the district in 2016 with 64 percent of the vote.


Internal Emails Show FBI Agents Were Shocked and Shaken After Trump Fired Comey

Internal Emails Show FBI Agents Were Shocked and Shaken After Trump Fired Comey


Washington D.C.— A trove of internal FBI emails released over the weekend shows the dramatic impact President Trump’s firing of then director James Comey had on the bureau’s workforce last May. The messages portray agents deeply shocked and saddened by the news, and they contradict Trump’s description of a bureau “in tatters.”

The blog Lawfare, run by Brookings Institution government studies Senior Fellow Benjamin Wittes, filed four Freedom of Information Act requests for the documents back in June. After the FBI delayed in answering, Wittes filed suit.

The resulting direct messages from special agents and field office heads show a reaction of “shock” and “profound sadness” at the removal of a “beloved figure to whom the workforce was deeply attached,” the blog said. “It also shows that no aspect of the White House’s statements about the bureau were accurate—and, indeed, that the White House engendered at least some resentment among the rank and file for whom it purported to speak.”


A former FBI counterterrorism analyst now with Lawfare had written similar impressions of bureau employee loyalty to Comey in June, based on talks with 20 ex-colleagues. “Complete shock, followed by deep sadness,” was the general reaction to the firing, she wrote.

Wittes writes that the FOIA request was aimed at establishing a factual basis for those impressions that differ from the message from the White House:

In an organization “in turmoil,” one run by a “nut job,” in whom the rank and file have “lost confidence,” one might expect such an email to have a celebratory flavor, to talk about how the long national nightmare is over, say, or how there's a great opportunity to restore sanity to the organization.

But in fact, the emails showed that “no aspect of the White House’s statements about the bureau were accurate—and, indeed, that the White House engendered at least some resentment among the rank and file for whom it purported to speak, Lawfare noted.


Leaked Memo: Trump Admin to Boost Use of Private Prisons While Slashing Federal Staff

Leaked Memo: Trump Admin to Boost Use of Private Prisons While Slashing Federal Staff

ERIC KATZ | JANUARY 25, 2018 5:18 PM ET

The Trump administration is following through on its promise to use more private contract prisons, with the Justice Department seeking to identify inmates to transfer out of government-owned facilities and to cut federal guard positions.

The Bureau of Prisons has the stated goal of “increasing population levels in private contract facilities,” according to a memorandum sent by the agency’s Assistant Director for Correctional Programs Division Frank Lara on Wednesday and obtained by Government Executive.

The memo follows guidance from Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year that reversed an Obama administration policy to phase out the use of private prisons. In 2016, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo instructing the bureau to either end private facility contracts when their terms expired or “substantially reduce [their] scope” to correspond with declining inmate populations. Sessions said in February 2017 that Yates' decision “changed long-standing policy” of the bureau and impaired its “ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.”


Big 'flash' seen in the skies over part of Michigan and beyond

Source: Lansing State Journal

LANSING - Police dispatch lines were lighting up with reports of a big flash in the sky on Tuesday night, evidence of an apparent fireball seen over parts of lower Michigan and as far away as Chicago and Windsor.

Lansing-area dispatchers were fielding calls about the phenomenon around 8:20 p.m., and the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids also received calls.

Twitter was jumping with reports about the flash on Tuesday night.

"What is being described as a 'meteor re-entry' caused a large flash of light and loud noise heard across Michigan, Chicago and Windsor," read a tweet from Michigan Bests.

Read more: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/2018/01/16/big-flash-seen-skies-over-part-michigan-and-beyond/1038927001/

An Airman of the Cold War fights 60 years later

In 1955 she was kicked out of the Air Force for being a lesbian. At 90, she's fighting back.

By KYLE SWENSON | The Washington Post | Published: January 11, 2018

The barracks were thick with anxious whispers and rumors, but she figured there was nothing incriminating about leaving the air base for a sandwich.

On a Friday night in 1955, Airman 2nd Class Helen Grace James and another female service member left the field after work for dinner in a nearby town. The place was too crowded to sit down, so after getting food the two drove to the wooded area south of where Hempstead Harbor stabs into Long Island. They found a quiet spot to eat. James cut the engine. She was reaching for her sandwich when flashlight beams ignited the car interior. Air Police. From the base. They had been followed.

"They asked us what we were doing," James recently told The Washington Post.

Within a few days, She was arrested and put through hours of humiliating interrogation. The questions were so harsh and disgusting James had to run to the latrine because she felt sick. Finally, after an interrogator threatened to go to her family, James relented. She said she would sign whatever they wanted.
The experience was not isolated but part of a larger and ugly chapter in American history. She was subjected to a military investigation because she was a lesbian. If she was a lesbian, the U.S. military did not want her in uniform. Long before "don't ask, don't tell," in an era spiked with Cold War paranoia and McCarthyism, the government and military systematically rooted out service members like James.

Now, at 90, she's fighting to right the historical wrong with a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force. The complaint asks the court to upgrade her discharge to "honorable," thus restoring the California woman's rights and honor as a veteran.


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