Editorial

This website – OK, Fine – will now write an editorial on the Confederate Battle Flag.  OK, fine, has generally refrained from writing about the Confederate Battle flag because for the most part, it has largely disappeared.  Below is the state flag of South Carolina.

Note that the Confederate Battle Flag does not appear on the flag.

“Asked by the Revolutionary Council of Safety in the fall of 1775 to design a flag for the use of South Carolina troops, Col. William Moultrie chose a blue which matched the color of their uniforms and a crescent which reproduced the silver emblem worn on the front of their caps. The palmetto tree was added later to represent Moultrie’s heroic defense of the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan’s Island against the attack of the British fleet on June 28, 1776,” writes 50states.com.

The U.S. flag and South Carolina state flag flies at half staff to honor the nine people killed in the Charleston murders as the confederate battle flag also flies on the grounds of the South Carolina State House in Columbia, SC June 20, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Miczek - RTX1HF3B

There is a Confederate Battle Flag used as part of a war memorial to Confederate soldiers on the grounds of the statehouse.  The Confederate Battle Flag is not flown above the rooftop of the Capitol building there.  This can be seen in the photo above.

According to PBS, the flag used to be flown above the Capitol building, but was removed from that site in the year 2000. PBS reports that the flag at the memorial cannot be lowered to half-mast.  It can only be hooked onto or removed from the pole.

As written about before, the only state flag in the U.S. that contains the Confederate Battle Flag as part of its imagery is the Mississippi state flag.  All other states have removed that symbol from their flag.  The Mississippi flag can be seen below.

So, isn’t the conversation about the Confederate Battle Flag moot or nearly moot?  Should the real focus be to have the symbol  removed from the Mississippi state flag – the last official state flag that has it?

What about the war memorial flag in South Carolina?  Could they perhaps build a “statue flag” or put a “sculpture” of the flag on the memorial, instead of having a real flag?  What kind of facsimile could be used instead of a real flag?  Is there a compromise?

Those are the thoughts of the Confederate Battle Flag from this website…

Hundreds Of Fruit Pickers Stranded At U.S. – Mexican Border

Hundreds of Mexican farm workers have been stranded for two weeks at the U.S. border after a government computer failure left them unable to get visas, states Reuters.  The visas were sought for them by Washington state cherry growers, officials said on Monday.

Meanwhile, cherry crops have been spoiling in the trees because the orchards lack enough workers to pick them, said officials, according to Reuters.

A State Department database crashed on June 9.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection has managed to process fewer than half the applications it has received seeking H-2A visas for temporary farm employment.

The visas have been granted to about 1,250 workers who had previously obtained them, but 1,500 first-time applicants cannot yet get the documents because of the computer failure, according to State Department spokeswoman Julia Straker.

Among those waiting are more than 550 would-be workers sponsored by the Washington Farm Labor Association.

Most of the workers are stranded in Tiajuana, according to Reuters.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hundreds-of-mexican-farm-workers-stranded-at-us-border-after-massive-computer-glitch-10340661.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/23/us-usa-farmworkers-california-idUSKBN0P30EZ20150623

Hillary Clinton E-Mails To Be De-Classified By State Department

The State Department will announce a timetable Tuesday for the release of more of the 55,000 pages of emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton on her private server, writes NBC News.

The State Department is under court order to make the scheduled releases public. A federal judge has ordered that the documents be released on a “rolling basis” every 60 days.

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/state-department-outline-timetable-clinton-email-release-n364606

Did John Kerry Make A False Statement?

Wikipedia states that The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (commonly known as the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers) is a now-defunct militant organization that was based in northern Sri Lanka.

It was founded in May 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran, and waged a secessionist nationalist insurgency to create an independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil people.

The military engagement led to the Sri Lankan Civil War, which ran from 1983 until 2009, when the LTTE was decisively defeated.

Recently, the publication Lankaweb pointed out a petition to urge John Kerry to retract a statement he made about Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers.

“In remarks made February 12, 2015, welcoming Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry referred to a war that never took place: Sri Lanka’s 30-years of war with the Tamils.” Regretfully, Minister Samaraweera failed to point out this distortion and we, the undersigned, hasten to request that it be corrected.

“Sri Lanka’s 30-year turmoil can best be summed up using President Obama’s ISIS analogy: it was a war on a terrorist group, not on the people it claimed to represent.

“The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) waged a brutal and lengthy armed campaign for a separate state, and the Sri Lankan government responded with military force, eventually eliminating it.

“Any serious effort by the US or others to help Sri Lanka on its path to further reconciliation must start with this recognition: Sri Lanka was no more at war with its Tamil population than the American people with Muslims. The distinction is fundamental to the narratives of both nations.”

(Updated photo)

http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2015/04/27/petition-%C2%B7-urge-secretary-kerry-to-retract-distorted-statement-on-sri-lanka-%C2%B7-change-org/

Is Utah On The Verge Of Eliminating Homelessness?


Secular Talk

According to Nationswell in 2013, Utah has reduced its rate of homelessness by 74 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015.

How did they do it? They furnished apartments to the homeless, because they claim the costs are cheaper because it saves jail costs and E.R. costs.

Nationswell:

“The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached. In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000. Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment.”

Is the change in the Utah homeless rate just cyclical?

The Huffington Post states that in 2011, the Utah homeless rate was decreasing, even when the national poverty rate was increasing:

“Though a recent congressional report announced recession-driven rises in poverty rates in 46 states, Utah is coming close to achieving its 10-year goal of eliminating chronic homelessness. The solution of the state is simple: give homes to the homeless,” states The Huffington Post.

(Updated article)

More:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/30/utah-homelessness-rate-plummets_n_987695.html

http://nationswell.com/one-state-track-become-first-end-homelessness-2015/#ixzz3YWJ1mpdD

The Newest Hot Hillary Clinton Scandal? NYT Claims Questionable Donations Between Russian Uranium Group And Clinton Foundation

Leaks are now coming out from the book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” by Peter Schweizer, which is supposed to hit the shelves May 5th.   The book is supposed to cover controversial donations made to the Clinton Foundation.

The book “tries to draw connections between Clinton Foundation donations and speaking fees and Hillary Clinton’s actions as Secretary of State,” writes Politico.

Recently, the New York Times wrote about an instance from that book regarding the uranium industry.

In January, 2013, an article in the Russian newspaper Pravda described how the Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining rights stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers.  It also brought Russian President Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

But there is an untold story behind that story that involves not just the Russian president, but also The Clinton Foundation.

Several people, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, have been major donors to the charity run by former President Bill Clinton and his family.

Members of that group built, financed, and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

The sale gave the Russians control of very lucrative mines in Kazakhstan as well as one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States.  Uranium One has mining operations in Australia as well.

Since uranium is considered a strategic asset with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies – including the State Department.

The State Department was at that time headed by Hillary Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show that a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. According to the New York Times, those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.

Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.

The New York Times claims its examination of the Uranium One deal is based on dozens of interviews, as well as a review of public records and securities filings in Canada, Russia, and the United States. Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of book previously mentioned.   He is currently the president of the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative research group.  Schweizer provided a preview of material in the book to The New York Times.

Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. However, the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state.

In their defense, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, said no one “has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as secretary of state to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.”

Fallon emphasized that multiple United States agencies, as well as the Canadian government, had signed off on the deal and that, in general, such matters were handled at a level below the secretary.

More:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html

(Updated article)

‘Vulgar’ Mississippi State Warmup Shirts

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Starkville, Mississippi.  Few teams across the country – if any – are more connected with adidas than Mississippi State baseball, states the Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

The team uses adidas not just for apparel, but for gloves and bats too.

However, no one was more surprised by the warmup shirts that featured the phrase “F–K The School Up North” than Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen.

“Somebody ran up and told me,” Cohen said. “It’s unfortunate, but I really don’t have anything (to say) in that area.”

Mississippi State will not wear the shirts again, the Clarion-Ledger reports.

Drug Bust In Oregon

Oregon State Police troopers made two large drug busts this month, seizing 29 pounds of crystal methamphetamine.

The first and larger of the two busts began as a traffic stop April 1st near milepost 35 along Interstate 5 northbound.  40-year-old Raymundo Cota Sauceda was stopped for a traffic violation as the Washington resident drove from southern California to Seattle.

Sauceda consented to a vehicle search, and then a drug-sniffing dog found 28 pounds of meth in a cardboard box in the trunk.

Two days later in a near-identical scenario, a state trooper discovered another pound of meth inside a northbound vehicle on I-5.

A state trooper stopped Martinez Miguel Navarro, 44, of Tacoma, at milepost 13. Like Sauceda, Navarro consented to a vehicle search and the trooper found the meth underneath the front seat.

Like Sauceda, Navarro was traveling back to Washington from southern California. Both men were booked into the Jackson County Jail, and both investigations are ongoing.

Alabama Republican Lawmaker Pushes Repeal Of Law Named After His Dead Patient

Secular Talk

An Alabama doctor-turned-lawmaker, Larry Stutts, is seeking to overturn a state law called “Rose’s law.” Rose’s law requires health insurance companies to pay for minimum post-pregnancy hospital stays.

The law is named for a woman who died 16 years ago from a heart attack soon after she had a child, reportedly because she did not get adequate post-pregnancy care.

The law has nothing to do with Obamacare, according to AL.com, though State Senator Stutts is trying to present it that way.

Oddly, Stutts was that woman’s doctor at the time.

(Updated post)

Iraq and Syria Attempt To Record And Save Art Before It Falls To ISIS

Two temples at the ancient city of Hatra on 27 July, 2005,

In the areas of Iraq and Syria controlled by the Islamic State, residents are recording on cellphones the damage done to antiquities by the extremist group ISIS.

At Baghdad’s recently reopened National Museum of Iraq, new iron bars protect galleries of ancient artifacts from the worst-case scenario.

These are just a couple of examples of the continuing efforts to guard the treasures of Iraq and Syria, two countries rich with artifacts created in the world’s earliest civilizations, according to The New York Times.

Yet only so much can be done under fire, and time is running out as the Islamic State moves forward with the systematic looting and destruction of antiquities.

Last week, officials said, the group ISIS (aka ISIL, Daesh) demolished parts of two of northern Iraq’s’s most prized ancient cities, Nimrud and Hatra, according to the New York Times.

Sunday, residents said militants destroyed parts of Dur Sharrukin, a 2,800-year-old Assyrian site near the village of Khorsabad.

Islamic State militants have called ancient art idolatry to be destroyed.  However, they also steal art and antiquities to sell for money.

Officials and experts who track the thefts through local informants and satellite imagery, according to the New York Times.

More here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/09/world/middleeast/race-in-iraq-and-syria-to-record-and-shield-art-falling-to-isis.html