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Why It's So Cold In Starbucks: Employee ADMITS They Don't Like You

Jul 6, 2015 | 7:04 PM

July 6, 2015 - Going to Starbucks? Take a sweater, it's cold in there. For several years now I have wondered why every Starbucks seems to be too cold. I mean, cruelly cold, far colder than they need to be for the comfort of their customers. It's not just me who feels this way. Most of my fellow Starbucks customers agree that the air conditioning is almost always arctic in its severity. But nobody can agree on just why. Some folks have long theorized that Starbucks keeps their stores bitingly frigid to discourage us from lingering. I always thought that was a bad theory. Turns out I was wrong, as revealed to me yesterday by a Starbucks employee.

Image: Mike Elgan on Google+
I've asked many a Starbucks barista and manager why they can't turn the A/C to a comfortable temperature. The reasons given are always ridiculous. They'll say that their thermostat is controlled by Starbucks corporate headquarters in Seattle. Some have added that corporate HQ only gives them a leeway of five degrees on their thermostat. Others have said, amazingly, that the temperature is set to keep the employees comfortable because it "gets so hot behind the counter," implying that they care more about their own comfort, and the customers be damned.

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in a mall in Houston, Texas right now. It's in the mid-90's here and a typically humid day. At 9:00 this morning, the big plate glass windows of Starbucks were wet with condensation because they were so chilled by the cold air within. That's how it usually is, and none of the other shops in this mall had wet windows. The air conditioning in those shops is set to be comfortable for human habitation, not deliberately cruel. Starbucks A/C is all about cruelty.

Yesterday, a Starbucks employee let slip that Starbucks actually wants you to be uncomfortable. The store she works at, which I occasionally patronize, has a long wooden table in the center of the room, attended by 16 comfortable wooden chairs. For years, regular patrons have sat there and worked on their laptops, lingered over conversation and read newspapers, struck up conversations with strangers and made lasting friendships.

And that pisses off the manager. The policy of freezing out the customers for the purpose of increasing profits does not work, but Starbucks doesn't seem to get that. I've often heard people walk into this store and turn right around and leave. "Oh, it's too cold in here," I've heard them say. I've seen others come in, get a drink, sit for 20 to 30 minutes and then say, "Let's get out of here, it's too cold." Those people (usually women with bare arms, by the way) might have ordered more beverages or some food had the temperature been comfortable. Meanwhile, there are regulars who hang out for many hours despite the cold. The purposefully severe cold imposed by Starbucks, in an attempt to increase profits, just might be backfiring on them.

There are plans to replace that wonderful table in the near future with an island counter table, the kind that's high enough to stand at. High stools will replace the chairs. "That won't be very popular with a lot of your customers," I said. The response I got was revealing. "That's the whole idea," she said, and she was dead serious. I didn't need to ask her to explain.

Her meaning was obvious: Starbucks will make every sneaky, un-obvious attempt to make you uncomfortable that it can. The cold isn't driving away enough customers as is, so maybe a less comfortable seating area will help torture people.

"Starbucks is freezing all the time," wrote Mike Elgan. "Customers hate it. And Starbucks knows their customers hate it. How could they not know? A simple Google search shows that freezing in-store temperatures are an amazingly common complaint, bringing more than a hundred-thousand results."

So, Starbucks doesn't give a damn about you. They don't like you hanging around. So here's a suggestion: Take a sweater with you and linger just to piss them off.
7:04 PM | 0 comments | Read More

A Pride Flag For Heterosexuals? Absolutely!

Jun 30, 2015 | 9:50 PM

June 30, 2015 - A "pride flag" for straight people? Hell yes, and it's about time! Welcome to the United Straights of America, heterosexuals and those who love them now have their own symbol of pride. It features a unique design in red, white and blue that shows male and female side by side.

Gay people have had their own "pride flag" for a long time now, and a flag for straight men and women is long overdue.

But NOW more than ever you'll want to show this off.  It's not "anti-gay," but it's definitely pro-hetero! The all-American color scheme makes it very patriotic, too.  United Straights items are available in the "PoliticalZone" store at Zazzle.com. Get your own and let the world know that you're proud to be straight.
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Texas Cops Go Nuts, Caught on Shocking Video

Jun 7, 2015 | 8:52 PM

June 7, 2015 - Another overreaction by cops: Police in McKinney, Texas were called to a "disturbance" at a pool party Friday evening, June 5. Their behavior can only be described as dysfunctional. Rather than calmly entering the scene and asking questions, they went into the neighborhood as though they were Special Forces entering an enemy village. This disturbing video shows one of the cops slamming a black girl to the ground for apparently nothing more than something she said. Watch the video below.

Cop draws gun in McKinney, Texas
Cop goes nuts in McKinney, TX, June 6. He was suspended. (YouTube)
According to police in McKinney, Texas, the confrontation began with calls around 7:00 pm Friday about teens using a community pool without permission and "actively fighting." Brandon Brooks, who posted the YouTube video, tells Buzzfeed that "a bunch of white parents were angry that a bunch of black kids who don’t live in the neighborhood were in the pool." More at Vox.com...

However, it may be that the black teens went to the pool party at the invitation of some of the white teens who live in the neighborhood (see tweet below).

The Dallas Morning News reports that "McKinney police officer Eric Casebolt, a corporal with the department’s patrol division, has been placed on administrative leave after a video surfaced showing the officer manhandling a 14-year-old girl outside a pool party Friday night."
Whether or not the kids were wrong to be in the pool has become a secondary concern. The reaction by the police seems disproportional to say the least, especially considering that Officer Casebolt came very, very close to shooting some young people after he brutally manhandled a young girl.


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A Russian Twerked-Up Perversion of Bees and Winnie The Pooh (Updated)

Apr 19, 2015 | 10:00 AM

April 19, 2015 - The video went viral, Russia went nuts, and official action has been taken. Someone might even go to prison. Why? Because the Credo dance school in Orenburg, Russia hijacked the beloved and innocent children's character Winnie the Pooh and put him in a pedophile-pleasing production of twerking teenage girls. The video, of an event held on January 31, was posted on April 12 by YouTuber "vitamen72" and immediately went viral and has caused an ongoing heated public debate in Russia.

"The....clip shows young female students of the 'Credo' dance school in Orenburg, Russia," reported Sputnik News on April 14, "performing a dance routine dubbed 'Bees and Winnie-the-Pooh' dressed in rather skimpy outfits. The routine, more commonly known as twerking, was viewed over 5 million times in less than three days, and was picked up by media outlets from Boston to Beijing."



As of April 19 at 9:40 AM (New York time), the video was watched nearly 19,845,959 times.
Update: Three hours later, 20,048,204 views.

"But the performance was deemed highly inappropriate by some Russian viewers," according to Sputnik News, "especially considering that the dancers appear to be rather young. Calls for public shaming have been flooding social media networks and blogs, with the authorities eventually getting involved and temporarily closing the school down. Others, meanwhile, have argued that none of the dancers were underage, as was originally speculated, and that twerking was a legitimate style of dance which received national recognition in the US back in the early 2000s."


Twerking is so sophisticated
It seems a bit unfair to blame decadent Americans for this decadent Russian behavior. Monkey see, monkey do. But this is serious business, so serious that the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation is investigating the twerking. (Russia's rough equivalent of the FBI.) Even the mayor of Orenburg is investigating, forming a committee to make sure that all of the artistic activities in town are, apparently, twerk-free.

A report by LifeNews illustrates just how seriously the Russian authorities are taking this twerking travesty (translation by Google):

"In the administration of Orenburg held a meeting to which were invited the leadership of dance schools and parents of girls who performed the controversial dance 'Bees and Winnie the Pooh.' - We have decided to establish the circumstances and the end of the test [Investigation Committee] suspend dance school - said Deputy Chief of Staff of Orenburg Valentin Snatenkova. Recall erotic dance 'Bees and Winnie the Pooh' 15-18-year-old girl was in front of their parents during the reporting concert dance studio 'Credo' in one of the recreation center of Orenburg. Investigation Committee of the Orenburg region started checking into the emergence of online video frank dance under 'indecent.' - In this video seen signs of Part 1 of Article 135 'indecent assault without violence a person under eighteen years of age, in respect of persons who are not attained the age of sixteen years ', - reported in the UK in the Orenburg region. - This article is punishable by 3 to 10 years." More at LifeNews.


A much safer bee hive
Note that the spokeswoman of the investigative committee in Orenburg, Angelika Linkova, says the offense could carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, according to The Daily Express (UK).

Twerking is basically grinding one's butt like a cat in heat. Sure, you can do synchronized butt grinding, but does that make it dance? Dunno, but it sure gives the news media a great excuse to show lots of tight female booty clenching, wiggling, bouncing and writhing. Like this one, for example, and this one. And also this one. Because let's be honest: This video is porn.

But wait, hold on..... This may all be way overblown, reports Global Voices. "Most people reacting to the Orenburg dancers seem to have made two mistakes: (1) they assumed the concert took place at a school talent show, and (2) they thought the participants were as young as 13. It turns out the video is from a January 31 event at the Credo dance studio (not a high school), and the girls onstage were no younger than 16. According to the woman who runs the dance school, all the underage dancers needed to get the approval of their parents in order to participate."

Also See:
Russian girls' 'twerking bees' video sparks criminal investigation at dance school - The Independent
Russian Girls Twerking in 'Patriotic' Costumes Cause Outrage - Moscow Times
Russian investigators probe viral teen 'twerking' video - Rappler
Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation - Official site
Investigative Committee of Russia - Wikipedia
10:00 AM | 0 comments | Read More

Evil Obama Brings Plague Of Bees On Helpless Children At White House

Apr 6, 2015 | 4:40 PM

Obama Summons Bees From Hell To Attack Kids
Obama, Satan Incarnate Himself
April 6, 2015 - Obama, Satan Incarnate Himself, summoned a plague of bees upon innocent children, then sadistically laughed and commanded the little ones to remain where they are even as they screamed for mercy. Obama referred to himself as "King of the Wild Things," and told his young victims that he was lonely.

Obama laughed maniacally as he performed his dark magic while reading a book to the children, which was his way of baiting the unsuspecting victims to his pagan egg roll at the White House today.

Upon opening a book of evil spells, a swarm of bees from Hell engulfed the children. "Bees are good!" Obama howled while the children were attacked.

After the bees dispersed, Obama charred all of the children with fire from his nostrils and then ate them as horrified reporters looked on. Watch the disturbing video:


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The Atlantic Wrongly Calls California Largest State

Mar 23, 2015 | 6:51 PM

March 21, 2015 - The Atlantic's editorial staff seems to be geographically challenged. The headline of a March 21 article is "The Economics of California's Drought," and has the unfortunate subhead of "What happens when the country's largest state runs low on water?" And there's the problem.

The article's author, Matt Schiavenza, might have meant to call California "the country's most populous state," but that's not what was written. Perhaps he meant to say, "the state with the country's largest population," but he didn't write that either.

Misleading subtitle in The Atlantic Wire
To be fair, headlines are often not written by the author but by an editor. Regardless of who writes them, headlines should not be vague, ambiguous or confusing.

In any case, the subtitle calls California "the country's largest state." Without qualifying that, by specifying population, it is misleading and unclear at best.

California has a lot more people than Texas and Alaska combined. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 Demographic Profile:

California had a population of 37,253,956 (ranked 1st).

Texas had a population of 25,145,561 (ranked 2nd).

Alaska had a population of 710,231 (ranked 47th).

But although California may have the biggest population of the 50 states, but in terms of geographic size it ranks third, behind Alaska and Texas. The U.S. Census Bureau says that the three largest states in 2008, by total area, were as follows:

Alaska had a total area of 664,988 sq. miles (ranked 1st)
Texas had a total area of 268,597 sq. miles (ranked 2nd)
California;had a total area of 163,694 sq. miles (ranked 3rd)

Alaska is waaaaay bigger than California
California was clearly a distant third in terms of size as recently as 2008. I strongly suspect that the total land areas of have not changed enough to have altered these states' size rankings. And to repeat myself, "largest state" and "largest population" are two very different things.

Of course, Schiavenza was writing about the water crisis in California, not about the size of the state. But he referred to another article with some probably-unintentional irony. "Earlier this month," he wrote, "the title of a Los Angeles Times op-ed published by Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a professor at UC Irvine, got right to the point: California would run out of water in a year. This headline—as Famiglietti himself pointed out—isn't exactly accurate."

Irony: Schiavenza's headline "isn't exactly accurate." And Schiavenza should know that LA Times op-ed was not "published by Jay Famiglietti." He wrote it. The LA Times published it.

Also See:
States Ranked by Size and Population ipl.org
6:51 PM | 0 comments | Read More

Mom Says Ted Cruz Did Not Terrify Her Little Girl

Mar 16, 2015 | 8:03 PM

Ted Cruz, official photo
Ted Cruz is not Satan
March 16, 2015 - The leftwing blogosphere and minor media outlets are again portraying US Senator Ted Cruz as a mean and hateful person. He's not just mean, according to their narrative, but a cruel and sadistic man who terrifies young children.

Cruz spoke while standing before a casual audience at a free "chili and chat" event with the Strafford County Republican Committee in Barrington, New Hampshire yesterday. He said that "the world's on fire," a remark not meant literally but as a reference to the conflicts around the globe. It set off a firestorm of liberal idiocy.

That remark accidentally became a lighthearted moment in which Cruz showed tenderness toward a curious young child. But that moment has been twisted into something monstrous by crazed left wing bloggers. My favorite example of the leftist truth twisting is an innaccurate piece of garbage written by an attractive blond imbecile named Jessica K. Roy at New York Magazine:

Mommy, why is that mean man yelling at me? a 3-year-old named Julie Trant must have thought to herself on Sunday afternoon, when her parents brought her to a Ted Cruz speech in Barrington, New Hampshire. Forced to sit scarily close to the spittle-spewing angry monster posing as a junior senator from Texas, Julie was understandably confused and scared when Cruz told the crowd, "The whole world is on fire."

That paragraph is a steaming pile of untruth. To begin with, Cruz was not yelling at anybody when he said, "The Obama economy is a disaster, Obamacare is a train wreck and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind — the whole world is on fire." Off to his left, 3-yr. old Julie sat with her parents and listened attentively. Curious, Julie piped up and asked, "The world is on fire?"

Cruz turned toward them and responded, "The world is on fire, yes!" He emphasised the word "yes," but was not clearly not yelling. "Your world is on fire." This time, he emphasized the word "your," and smiled at the mom and daughter.

But Cruz was quick to comfort the youngster. He added, "But you know what? Your mommy’s here, and everyone’s here to make sure that the world you grow up in is even better." This was clearly meant to reassure the girl.

Julie was not "forced to sit scarily close" to Cruz. She was with her parents and naturally sat with them. Cruz stepped closer to respond to Julie, but at no point was he "spittle-spewing" or "angry." And, in fact, Julie's question indicates that she wanted Cruz to approach and give her an anwer.

Jessica Roy, Vapid Liar
(photo: Twitter)
Roy is not a clever liar, given that her article/hit piece included a video of the non-terrifying event, which clearly shows that Cruz was not acting the way she reported. (Did she even watch that video?)

Roy, pretending to be a real journalist, wrote that Cruz was "posing as a junior senator from Texas." Posing? Does Roy think that Ted Cruz is not really a senator? Does she doubt that he's actually from Texas? Roy (@JessicaKRoy) is a senior writer for NY Magazine, which doesn't say much for NY Mag. Roy, 27, has also worked for TIME, New York Observer and Fusion. Briefly.

Roy wrote that young Julie was "understandably confused and scared" by Cruz. But that's not true. Julie's mother, Michelle Trant, said so in an interview on WRKO Radio today.

Ted Cruz frightens a little girl, not
Three year old Julie, in her pink hoody, sits on her mom's lap.
Compare Roy's trash article to a well-written, balanced story about the Cruz "world on fire" flap at People.com, where Sandra Sobieraj Westfall (@sswestfall) got the story about Cruz right.

Politico provided a partial transcript of what Michelle said on The Kuhner Report:

"There was no tears," Trant said, telling the show she told her daughter that "Ted Cruz is the one that will put this fire out. And then she then looked at him as a hero...."I’m telling you: She was quite happy,” Trant added. “She was like, ‘oh? you’re going to put that out? We’re good. We’re good here.’"

Roy ended her report with a complete fabrication. "That night," she wrote, "Julie made her mommy check to make sure no Ted Cruzes were hiding under her bed." More likely, Julie had happy dreams of her new hero Ted Cruz saving the world.

* * * * *

On another night, however, little Julie might ask her mother to check under the bed to make sure no Greenpeace militants were there. For while Ted Cruz certainly did not intend to frighten a 3-year old kid, the global warming climate change alarmists deliberately terrorize children.

Even NASA plays the scare-kids-for-algore act, not giving a damn about the nightmares suffered by uncountable 6-year old kids.

"For example," noted American Thinker in 2011, "from May 7 through May 14, kids the world over were to tramp in the 'iMatter March' to convince adults that the most pressing global issues are not bloody terrorist attacks, abject poverty, tyrannical socialism, or even kooky environmentalism, but rather the planet's real peril comes from climate change."

For Democrats and liberals, it's okay to tell kids that the world is about to literally overheat and kill all the cute animals, with the full intention of terrorizing them. But let Ted Cruz say that the world "is on fire," and mean it metaphorically, then immediately says reassuring words to a young child, well now, that's just evil.

Also See:
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Is Online Gambling Legal in the U.S.?

Mar 3, 2015 | 5:25 PM

Online gambling is huge.
If you're confused about the legalities of online gambling in the United States, you're not alone. Gambling online in the U.S. is actually legal, but the laws vary from state to state. In fact, the states cherish their right to regulate gaming within their own borders.

Trying to understand the many and varied rules and regulations, however, can be daunting and confusing, not to mention time consuming.

Search Google for "Is online gambling legal in the USA" and you'll get "About 1,610,000 results" related to the subject. Who's got time to sift through all of that? And even if you did, knowing that you're getting the right information is - pardon the pun - a gamble.

I was glad, therefore, to become aware of a website called UnitedStatesGamblingOnline that offers comprehensive legal online gambling information for United States players. UnitedStatesGamblingOnline provides tons of facts about legal online gambling in every state, details about the laws in those states, legal explanations of the various types of online gambling, gambling news and much more.

Gambling is immensely popular. Millions of Americans gamble legally in Nevada and New Jersey, where players lay down their bets on everything from professional sports games to … well, you name it.  Most states today operate lotteries and more and more cities are allowing casinos. Some states now even let you play their lotteries online.

So, with the timeless popularity of gambling, the fact that it's legal in some form or another in every state except Utah and Hawaii, and with the advent of the Internet, it stands to reason that online gambling should be wide open and completely legal.

I said in the beginning of this article that online gambling is legal in the U.S. But there have been some attempts at the federal level to make placing bets via your computer more difficult, causing some misconceptions about online gambling's legality that persists today.

Gambling has changed over the years
A law passed in 2006 had a chilling effect on the industry. The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) caused much confusion, and nine years later many people still think that the UIGEA 2006 bill made it illegal for US players to enjoy online gambling. However, that's not true.

The UIGEA "was put in place to regulate how online gambling transactions are processed, and was designed to protect players and their investment," says UnitedStatesGamblingOnline.

" The only real affect that the law had on players is that some gambling brands and payment methods chose not to jump through the regulatory hoops required by the legislation, and instead left the US market, hence slightly reducing selection for players in the United States." But today, notes the website, "there is a nice selection of legal online gambling sites that welcome US players."

Unfortunately, sports betting is different than, say, playing poker online. Currently, federal law is inconsistent. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), passed by Congress in 1992, restricts nearly all of the states from legalizing sports gambling. PASPA actually limits sports betting in the U.S. to four parts of the country: Oregon, Nevada, Montana and Delaware. The unfortunate effect of PASPA has been to keep ethical operations out of the business, while illegal sports gambling operations thrive. The Federal Wire Act also comes into play. The Department of Justice decided that it applies to sports betting, thereby making it illegal in the U.S. The 1961 law "specifically prohibits betting or gambling businesses from using a wire communication facility to transmit interstate or foreign bets, wagers and related information."

There is a current push by some governors and members of Congress to repeal PASPA and update the Federal Wire Act to take the Internet into account. This would bring online sports betting into the sunlight with other forms of online gambling that are already legal.  Sen. John McCain, for example, says that Nevada should not be the only state allowed to have legal sports betting.

Also See:
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John Kerry To Visit Paris, But He's In No Hurry

Jan 12, 2015 | 3:54 PM

Jane Hartley, US Ambassador to France
US Ambassador Jane Hartley
attended the Paris march
Image: allgov.com
January 12, 2014 - The Cavalcade of Idiots, also known as The Obama Administration, can't help acting, well, idiotically. Embarrassed by their no-show at yesterday's million-plus anti-terror march in Paris, in a show of unity against Islamist terror, John Kerry will make a clumsy (and too-late) trip to make it look like the Administration cares about the recent victims of Islamist terror.

Nobody should be fooled by this act of insincerity. If they really cared, they would have sent someone. The US was officially represented at the march by Jane Hartley, our ambassador to France. But she was already there and she's not a national leader.

The fact that over 40 foreign dignitaries managed to gather in Paris on the same day, and with relatively short notice, is impressive. However, the so-called leader of the free world, the President of the United States, was conspicuously absent. Sure, Barack Obama's a busy guy. But it's safe to say that those heads of state also have a lot on their plates, yet they were able to rearrange their schedules to pay respect to the slain, show their defiance of terrorism, support free speech, and represent their own nations in a respectable manner.

That was too much to ask of Barack Obama, it seems. He couldn't even send a cabinet member to represent him - and the United States - at the solemn event. Not even Secretary of State John Kerry could be bothered to fly to Paris from India, where he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday to discuss stronger economic ties "and set the stage for President Obama’s visit" on January 26.

Kerry will travel to Paris, reports The Daily Mail (UK), "after the U.S. government was shamed for not joining a rally yesterday for victims of the French terror attacks attended by 40 world leaders and a million people." The Daily Mail report says that Kerry tried to explain the absence of a major US official by saying, "I really think that this is sort of quibbling a little bit in the sense that our Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was there and marched, our ambassador was there and marched, many people from the embassy were there and marched."

Kerry's lame response - that a handful of minor US officials attended the march - seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of the importance of public relations. It might also indicate an actual disregard for the tragedy of the 17 deaths at the hands of Islamist gunmen last week.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney
Canada's Public Safety Minister
Steven Blaney attended the march
Image: CTV
Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris on Sunday, but he "skipped out early," as the Daily Mail notes in a story with this scorching headline: "America snubs historic Paris rally: Holder was there but skipped out early, Kerry was in India, Obama and Biden just stayed home." He met with European security and terror experts in Paris on Sunday, but Holder did not even go to the march, reports The Telegraph (UK).

Even more incredibly, Kerry won't go directly to Paris until later this week. He'll arrive there on Thursday after stopping in Bulgaria and Switzerland, and then only stay for a part of Friday.

But the US was not the only nation that failed to send a major leader to Paris. Canada's Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney was his nation's only representative at the march. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, pulled an Obama, but at least Harper takes a gutsier public stance against terrorists.

On Saturday, Blaney laid a wreath outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo, and met with RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agents who are working with French security agencies there. On Sunday, Blaney attended an international terrorism meeting, which Eric Holder also attended. Unlike Holder, however, Blaney attended the unity rally march on Sunday.

Also See:
List of leaders who attended Paris rally Times of India
America betrays its values by not sending top U.S. officials to Paris unity rally Daily News
French Officials Defend Obama Amid Questions About Paris Rally Absence Christian Post
Why is Obama Unable to Call Terrorist Attacks Islamic Terrorism? The Blaze
Stephen Harper Is Right To Name The Enemy Toronto Sun
Charlie Hebdo attack: The Paris trap India Express
3:54 PM | 0 comments | Read More

Hoodie Emergency In Oklahoma, Fines and Prison

Jan 4, 2015 | 2:54 PM

Hooded and Intimidating:
Wearing this $3,480 mink coat could
get you arrested in Oklahoma.
(Photo: MailonFurs.com)
January 4, 2015 - Oklahoma may soon clarify and strengthen an existing ban on wearing hoods in public. Violators could be fined from $50 to $500 for wearing a hoodie (a hooded sweatshirt), if one state senator has his way. As if that wasn't strange enough, he actually wants to declare an emergency to deal with hoodies.

The law is Senate Bill 13, and it's intended as an amendment to an existing law that already bans the wearing of hoods and other types of disguises while committing a crime. Oklahoma has had a partial ban on hoods since the early 1920s. According to Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR, the law was "originally drafted to help combat crimes from the Klu-Klux-Klan."

But now, State Senator Don Barrington, (Republican, District 31; bio), is sponsoring a bill that would almost completely ban hoodies in public if if passes in February this year. Barrinnton's bill is actually intended to amend "21 O.S. 2011, Section 1301, which relates to masks, hoods and disguises; modifying certain restrictions; and declaring an emergency."

Yes, it says "declaring an emergency."  We'll come back to that but first let's see what Barrington's bill says in Section 1.

It shall be unlawful for any person in this state:
A. To wear a mask, hood or covering, which conceals the identity of the wearer during the commission of a crime or for the purpose of coercion, intimidation or harassment; or

B. To intentionally conceal his or her identity in a public place by means of a robe, mask, or other disguise.

Photo: MailonFurs.com
The problem with that, as pointed out by Daily Caller, "is that the immediately preceding paragraph in the existing law, titled 21 OS 1301, makes it illegal for anyone 'to wear a mask, hood or covering, which conceals the identity of the wearer during the commission of a crime' or for 'coercion, intimidation or harassment'."

Civil rights advocates, reports Daily Caller, "worry that the two clauses read together could give police the authority to arrest someone for wearing a simple hooded sweatshirt."

Allow us to point out another problem: Interpretation by cops. How will this law will be enforced by law enforcement officers? Even handedly among all age groups, races and sexes? Reality suggests that such would not be the case.

If a cop sees somebody wearing a hoodie sweathshirt or hooded parka, or a ski mask, scarf or other "covering," how in hell can he/she know -- as that person walks down the street or sits in a diner -- if their "purpose" is coercion, intimidation or harassment? To know that would require being able to know someone's intentions, and unless Oklahoma has perfected mind reading, that's not possible.

The law makes exceptions, of course: They include kids being kids on Halloween, people going to or from masquerade parties, protection from the weather, and to those participating in the parades or exhibitions of minstrel troupes, circuses, sporting groups, mascots or other amusements or dramatic shows. (There are more exceptions detailed in the proposed bill.)

As for the emergency declaration in Section 2 of Barrington's bill:
It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.

This is apparently such an urgent and widespread problem in Oklahoma that Barrington wants to declare an emergency and implement the law the moment it passes (if it passes) in February. Time's a wasting, you know, because even now someone might be wearing a ski mask as he tries to walk from the strip club to his car without being recognized by his neighbors. God forbid. The horror.

It's not OK: State Sen. Don Barrington
Barrington, chair of the Senate's Public Safety Committee, says that "The intent of Senate Bill 13 is to make businesses and public places safer by ensuring that people cannot conceal their identities for the purpose of crime or harassment," he says.

Really? Imagine this: A man wearing a hooded sweatshirt is in a restaurant. It's a cold day, and he keeps his "hoodie" over his head while eating. His meal is not satisfactory, however, and he complains firmly but civilly to his server. The server takes offense, calls the cops, and accuses the customer of harassment while hooded.

Punishment for violating the law would be "by a fine of not less than Fifty Dollars ($50.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not exceeding one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment."

Constitutional issues are unavoidable with laws pertaining to what we can and cannot wear. Think Progress reminds us that "CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin took on the issue when an Indiana mall banned the garment in March" of last year. Hostin said that a ban on hoodies "is about the pretext of being able to stop young African-American males,” she said. "Hoodie is code for ‘thug’ in many places and I think businesses shouldn’t be in the business of telling people what to wear. The Fourteenth Amendment protects us from this."

In theory, maybe, but 10 other states have similar bans on masks and head coverings, Fourteenth Amendment be damned.

Also See: State Codes Related To Wearing Masks Anapsid.org
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North Korean Nuke Report (Updated)

Jan 1, 2015 | 9:30 PM

Kim Jong-un (ABC News)
Kim Jong-un (ABC News)
Updated January 1, 2015 - Disturbing videos (below) about North Korea's nuclear weapons and how it threatens to use them. An opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune today reminds us that the threat from North Korea should not be laughed off. Rather, it should be taken as deadly serious:

"While the world's attention focuses on North Korea's cyber war with Sony, the Hermit Kingdom is rapidly increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons material, with little real pushback from the United States," wrote Josh Rogin and Eli Lake for the Chicago Tribune. "North Korea is estimated to have 30 to 34 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium now, enough for around nine nuclear weapons, depending on the size of each bomb. Last year it conducted its third nuclear weapons test."

The Tribune opinion piece raises this disturbing question: "Why does a targeted cyber-hack draw a tougher response from Obama than the amassing of a small nuclear arsenal?" and notes that "The message that sends to Pyongyang is that it can threaten the entire region with nuclear weapons, just so long as it doesn't touch Hollywood."

The first video is from 2009 when Kim Jong-Il was still alive and in power. The second video below, from 2013, shows how his son Kim Jong-Un continues the madness. The third video here, from 2014, reports that "North Korea might have a nuclear weapon that's small enough to be placed on a missile." And that's no joke, as Lora Moftah points out in an excellent report at International Business Times. Moftah makes it very clear just why North Korea is a threat to be taken very seriously. As recent as August [2014], North Korea threatened to attack the U.S. with nuclear force in response to a joint military exercise with South Korea. The threat was preceded a few weeks earlier with a direct warning by Pyongyang that it would fire nuclear-armed rockets on the White House and the Pentagon." Really, no joke.



9:30 PM | 0 comments | Read More

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