China jails Christian pastor who fought church demolitions – Telegraph

At least 400 churches were affected by the one-year campaign that saw elderly Christians repeatedly try to defend their places of worship from demolition teams and security guards. Authorities denied Christian churches were being targeted claiming they were taking action against all “illegal structures”. ]

The pastor’s sentencing followed claims from one Chinese bishop that Beijing had ordered an end to the demolitions in Zhejiang.

via China jails Christian pastor who fought church demolitions – Telegraph.

Seattle Magazine | Restaurants | Why Are So Many Seattle Restaurants Closing Lately?

Washington Restaurant Association’s Anton puts it this way: “It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.”

He estimates that a common budget breakdown among sustaining Seattle restaurants so far has been the following: 36 percent of funds are devoted to labor, 30 percent to food costs and 30 percent go to everything else (all other operational costs).  The remaining 4 percent has been the profit margin, and as a result, in a $700,000 restaurant, he estimates that the average restauranteur in Seattle has been making $28,000 a year.

With the minimum wage spike, however, he says that if restaurant owners made no changes, the labor cost in quick service restaurants would rise to 42 percent and in full service restaurants to 47 percent.

Seattle Magazine | Restaurants | Why Are So Many Seattle Restaurants Closing Lately?.

Why I am a Climate Change Skeptic | Heartlander Magazine

 

Why I am a Climate Change Skeptic | Heartlander Magazine.

My skepticism begins with the believers’ certainty they can predict the global climate with a computer model. The entire basis for the doomsday climate change scenario is the hypothesis increased atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel emissions will heat the Earth to unlivable temperatures.

In fact, the Earth has been warming very gradually for 300 years, since the Little Ice Age ended, long before heavy use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Little Ice Age, during the Medieval Warm Period, Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland, when it was warmer there than today. And during Roman times, it was warmer, long before fossil fuels revolutionized civilization.

Fed sets stage for rate hike but downgrades outlook

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday set the stage for its first interest rate hike since 2006, signaling its confidence in the U.S. economy.

Yet the Fed slightly downgraded its economic outlook, saying that growth “has moderated somewhat” because of weak export growth and a sluggish housing market, among other factors. It said it will raise its benchmark short-term rate, now near zero, only when the labor market improves further and inflation prospects pick up from the current meager pace.

Fed policymakers “have not decided on the timing of the initial increase” in the rate’s target range, said the Fed’s statement released at 2 p.m. ET following a two-day meeting. The move, however, is expected this year.

Fed sets stage for rate hike but downgrades outlook.

Colorado School of Mines – Public colleges with the best bang for your buck – CNNMoney

Colorado School of Mines – Public colleges with the best bang for your buck – CNNMoney.

$2 gas is gone — prices have climbed for 5 weeks in a row – Mar. 2, 2015

 

$2 gas is gone — prices have climbed for 5 weeks in a row – Mar. 2, 2015.

Forbes List: 10 richest people in the world | Miami Herald Miami Herald

Bill Gates, the founder of technology company Microsoft Corp., topped Forbes’ 2015 list of the world’s top billionaires for the second straight year. In 2013, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu was on top. He ranked second this time.

Forbes said it calculated each person’s net worth based on stock prices and exchange rates on Feb. 13, 2014.

Here’s a list of the Top 10:

via Forbes List: 10 richest people in the world | Miami Herald Miami Herald.

Google Confirms Plan to Offer Wireless Service – WSJ

Google Inc. confirmed plans to launch a U.S. wireless service, raising a new risk of tension between the Internet firm and the wireless carriers that support its Android mobile-

via Google Confirms Plan to Offer Wireless Service – WSJ.

DC legalizes pot, ignoring House Republicans – CNN.com

Washington (CNN)Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser defied congressional Republicans and implemented D.C.’s new local law allowing its residents to smoke marijuana.

In implementing the new pot laws that went into effect Thursday, Bowser rebuffed two influential House Republicans who’d warned her that she’d be breaking federal law — and risking retribution.

DC legalizes pot, ignoring House Republicans – CNN.com.

Wesleyan Now Offering LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM Housing (Not a Typo)

Weslyan University in Connecticut is now offering “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM” housing, because apparently “LGBT” — or even “LGBTTQQ” — wouldn’t have been inclusive enough.

For the culturally ignorant among us, “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM” stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, flexual, asexual, genderf**k, polyamorous, bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism.”

via Wesleyan Now Offering LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM Housing (Not a Typo).

Walker leads in early Iowa poll – CNN.com

(CNN)Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is capping off more than a week of bad headlines with some good news out of the first-in-the nation caucus state.

Walker is leading a crowded field of potential presidential candidates in Iowa with 25% of likely Republican caucus-goers throwing their support to Walker in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. The Iowa caucus will be the first test for presidential hopefuls and while the last two GOP winners didn’t get far in the primary process, the caucus is a crucial test of conservative credentials and can help signal some candidates off the campaign trail.

Libertarian favorite Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky came in second in the poll with 13% of support while former Gov. Mike Huckabee, the 2008 caucus winner, and Tea Party darling Ben Carson closely followed with 11% each.

Walker leads in early Iowa poll – CNN.com.

More lawsuits in UNC academic scandal; whistleblower settles with university – CNN.com

(CNN)Three more athletes who say they were scammed out of an education at the University of North Carolina are now suing over academic fraud, and the whistleblower who exposed the fake-class system has now settled her lawsuit with the university.

Former basketball player Kenya McBee has joined former football player Mike McAdoo’s federal class-action lawsuit, claiming the university denied him and thousands of other athletes education when advisers forced him to take classes that never met.

via More lawsuits in UNC academic scandal; whistleblower settles with university – CNN.com.

Surprise: Poorest Obamacare Enrollees Face $530 IRS Tax Bill | Americans for Tax Reform

The majority (52 percent) of Obamacare enrollees receiving an advance premium tax credit to purchase Obamacare insurance is facing the prospect of paying back $530 of that tax credit to the IRS, according to a new study from H&R Block.  This clawback is reducing the refunds for these taxpayers by 17 percent this filing season.

Under Obamacare, taxpayers earning between 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible to receive a tax credit to help purchase insurance on Obamacare exchanges.  This tax credit is calculated using old tax data of the recipients.  The credit is advanced ahead of time to the taxpayer’s insurance company.  The taxpayer must reconcile at tax time the advance credit received with the actual credit she is eligible for.

Families of four earning less than $97,000 are eligible for a credit.  So is a single mother with two children earning less than $80,000 and an unmarried/childless taxpayer earning less than about $12,000.  By definition, these are the lowest income recipients of Obamacare health insurance outside the Medicaid-eligible population.  Higher income taxpayers received no tax subsidy and aren’t facing this tax season surprise.

According to the study, a majority of credit recipients–52 percent–have had to pay back the IRS an average of $530, reducing their refunds by an average of 17 percent.

Surprise: Poorest Obamacare Enrollees Face $530 IRS Tax Bill | Americans for Tax Reform.

Caracas mayor, linked by Venezuelan President to alleged coup plot, arrested – CNN.com

(CNN)Political chaos roiled oil-rich Venezuela Friday after intelligence agents in the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro arrested the mayor of Caracas. The arrest came just days after Maduro accused the mayor of involvement in a plot to overthrow the government.

Agents arrested Mayor Antonio Ledezma — a well-known opposition politician — on Thursday in a raid that sparked a fierce outcry from the president’s political opponents.President Nicolas Maduro said the mayor will be prosecuted “so that he answers for all of the crimes committed against the peace, security and constitution of our country.”

Caracas mayor, linked by Venezuelan President to alleged coup plot, arrested – CNN.com.

Jeb Bush vows to be ‘my own man’ on foreign affairs

WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush sought Wednesday to draw a line beyond the inevitable comparisons to his father and brother on foreign policy, promising he would be “my own man” when it comes to addressing global crises.

Bush, who is proceeding to a presidential campaign of his own, delivered his first major foreign policy address in Chicago and took swipes at the “inconsistent and indecisive” leadership of President Obama and his administration.

The former Florida governor acknowledged he is “lucky” to have a father and brother whose presidential legacies are rooted in the way they tackled wars and conflicts. He addressed the challenge of his last name head on in his remarks.

“I love my brother, I love my dad, I actually love my mother, too,” Bush said. “I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make. But I am my own man. My views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences.”

Jeb Bush vows to be ‘my own man’ on foreign affairs.

Administration: Millions don’t want ObamaCare ‘taken away’ | TheHill

How many sign-ups had previous coverage, before Obamacare canceled their policies?

The Obama administration is touting its better-than-expected ObamaCare enrollment period as it turns to next month’s pivotal Supreme Court fight over the healthcare law.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell argued Wednesday that the 11.4 million sign-ups show the law “is now an important part of everyday lives of millions of Americans.”

She also argued that people are “tired of the back and forth here in Washington” about the law, which she stressed was here to stay.“While we have more work to do, the numbers tell the story, and the story is clear. The Affordable Care Act is working and families and businesses and taxpayers are all better off as a result,” Burwell told reporters.

Administration: Millions don’t want ObamaCare ‘taken away’ | TheHill.

Gay marriage rulings spur Idaho impeachment resolution

BOISE — An Idaho lawmaker upset with federal judges who have overturned same-sex marriage bans across the nation is proposing that Congress impeach judges who fail to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Republican Rep. Paul Shepherd of Riggins introduced the non-binding resolution Monday to the Idaho House State Affairs Committee.

via Gay marriage rulings spur Idaho impeachment resolution.

A Quick Guide to Obama’s New Budget

As soon as the White House released President Obama’s 2016 budget, Heritage Foundation experts dove into the details. Here’s a peek at some of the proposals they found: A Quick Guide to Obama’s New Budget.

Obama: Axelrod ‘mixing up’ gay marriage stance – CNN.com

Obama does not believe in states rights.  He says federal law trumps state law:

 

Axelrod wrote in his book published earlier Tuesday that Obama lied about his position on the issue for the sake of political expediency, writing that Obama had actually supported gay marriage for years. In coming out in support of same-sex couples’ right to marry in May 2012, Obama had cited “the evolution that I went through.”

“I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue,” Obama said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else, and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there.”

Obama: Axelrod ‘mixing up’ gay marriage stance – CNN.com.

Mad World NewsEx-Muslim Imam Pens Open Letter, Giving Obama A History Lesson About Islam

Dr. Mark Christian, founder of Global Faith Institute, knows Islamic history too well, being an apostate from the Muslim faith himself. Having experienced the true nature of Islam firsthand as a devout Imam, Dr. Christian penned a fiery open letter to the American leader, which he graciously provided to Mad World News, that includes a blunt history lesson in the unchanging goal of ancient Islam:

ISIS is animated entirely by Islam. The manner in which they kill – prescribed and outlined in the Koran. The way they make war – prescribed and outlined in the Koran. The way they treat prisoners – also prescribed and outlined in the Koran.

ISIS does nothing that Mohammed didn’t first do 14 centuries ago.

You see, the problem isn’t a “radical interpretation of Islam,” the problem is the belief in Islam that Mohammed was the “perfect man,” and as such, worthy of emulation in all things.

via Mad World NewsEx-Muslim Imam Pens Open Letter, Giving Obama A History Lesson About Islam.

Axelrod book: Obama lied on same-sex marriage – CNN.com

Surprise politicians lie, or at minimum mislead, to get elected:

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama didn’t actually evolve on same-sex marriage, according to one of Obama’s closest former top aides.

Obama had actually supported it for years, David Axelrod writes in his new book, “Believer: My Forty Years in Poltics,” released Tuesday.

But Obama, Axelrod writes, opposed same-sex marriage during his 2008 presidential campaign and throughout most of his first term as President due to political concerns.

Axelrod book: Obama lied on same-sex marriage – CNN.com.

50 Hysterical Laws In America, One From Each State… -

FLORIDA: Women who kill themselves by electrocution in a bathtub with a “self-beautification utensil” will be fined.

TEXAS: Criminals must notify their victims 24 hours in advance of the nature of their crimes yet to be committed.
Read more at http://www.youngcons.com/50-hysterical-laws-in-america-one-from-each-state/#7mcoTIR0MHSj0lYC.99
WASHINGTON: All lollipops are banned.
WEST VIRGINIA: Roadkill may be taken home for dinner.
Read more at http://www.youngcons.com/50-hysterical-laws-in-america-one-from-each-state/#7mcoTIR0MHSj0lYC.99

via 50 Hysterical Laws In America, One From Each State… -.

Alabama Chief Justice: Gay Marriage Violates State Law « CBS DC

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (CBSDC/AP) — Gay marriage arrived to parts of Alabama on Monday — but not to others — after the state’s chief justice sought to put the weddings on hold, echoing familiar southern refrains of resistance to the intrusion of federal courts…

Chief Justice Roy Moore directed probate judges to refuse the licenses and resist what he called an “illegal” intrusion by the federal court. He said Alabama’s 68 probate judges were not bound by the decision since they were not defendants in the lawsuit brought by two women seeking recognition of their California marriage.

via Alabama Chief Justice: Gay Marriage Violates State Law « CBS DC.

Stripping a Professor of Tenure Over a Blog Post – The Atlantic

Professor John McAdams is being stripped of tenure by Marquette University for writing a blog post that administrators characterize as inaccurate and irresponsible.

Academics all over the United States ought to denounce the firing of the 69-year-old, a Harvard Ph.D. who taught courses on American politics and public policy. If tenure can be taken away based upon one controversial blog post, what protection does it offer? How many tenured professors will censor themselves from participating in public conversation to avoid a similar fate? Marquette has violated core academic values, regardless of what one thinks of McAdams’ commentary or the shabby treatment of the graduate instructor he was criticizing (who deserves sympathy for the horrifying torrent of misogyny others directed at her).

Stripping a Professor of Tenure Over a Blog Post – The Atlantic.

My Way News – Obama condemns those who seek to ‘hijack religion’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Thursday condemned those who seek to use religion as a rationale for carrying out violence around the world, declaring that “no god condones terror.”

“We are summoned to push back against those who would distort our religion for their nihilistic ends,” Obama said during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. He singled out the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, calling the militants a “death cult,” as well as those responsible for last month’s terror attacks in Paris and deadly assault on a school in Pakistan…

“Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

“So it is not unique to one group or one religion,” Obama said. “There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”

Obama called for all people of faiths to show humility about their beliefs and reject the idea that “God speaks only to us and doesn’t speak to others.”

My Way News – Obama condemns those who seek to ‘hijack religion’.

Republicans Attack FCC Proposal to Regulate the Internet

FCC TO ENACT OBAMA’S PROPOSAL ON NET NEUTRALITY: “The move is a devastating blow to Internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T; they warn that treating the Internet like a utility will strangle investment, leading to worse service for everyone. They have all vowed to fight the rules in court. But it’s a stunning victory for net-neutrality advocates, who organized a massive public campaign over the past year to pressure the FCC to enact strong regulations.” (National Journal)

via Republicans Attack FCC Proposal to Regulate the Internet.

IRS Chief: “We Still Have Applications That Were Running When JFK Was President” | Americans for Tax Reform

At a Senate Finance Committee Hearing today, IRS commissioner John Koskinen testified on IRS funding requests for the upcoming fiscal year. Koskinen admitted that the IRS is stuck in the past when it comes to technology:

“Despite more than a decade of upgrades to the agency’s core business systems, we still have very old technology running alongside our more modern systems.”

Some of this software is so old that it is the same technology being used in 1963, a full 52 years ago:

“In regard to software, we still have applications that were running when John F. Kennedy was President.”

In fact, Commissioner Koskinen stated that the IRS still uses a programming language — COBOL — that was considered obsolete 15 years ago.

IRS Chief: “We Still Have Applications That Were Running When JFK Was President” | Americans for Tax Reform.

Every Sharpton business known has been dissolved for failure to comply with tax rules.

So far, every for-profit enterprise started by Al Sharpton and known to National Review Online has been shut down in at least one jurisdiction for failure to pay taxes, a review of public records in New York and Delaware reveals.

Records show that Sharpton’s beleaguered for-profit entities often overlap and intertwine, some sharing ties with the reverend’s nonprofit organization, National Action Network. Their financial records are copious, confusing, and sometimes outright bizarre, and together, they depict persistent financial woes for Sharpton, who also personally owes New York State nearly $596,000, according to active tax warrants.

Busted | National Review Online.

White House proposes new foreign profits tax – CNN.com

On Monday, President Barack Obama will use his budget plan to propose spending $478 billion on America’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems, with half of that steep bill financed by new taxes on U.S. corporate profits that are squirreled away overseas, White House officials said….

Still, the White House tax proposal aimed at foreign profits for U.S. companies is far more ambitious than what GOP lawmakers, now in control of Congress, are likely to approve.

Continuing the Obama administration’s efforts to crackdown on foreign tax shelters, the White House proposal would put in place a one-time 14% transition tax on the foreign earnings already accumulated overseas.

via White House proposes new foreign profits tax – CNN.com.

Millions to owe Obamacare tax penalty – Jan. 28, 2015

Some 3 million to 6 million Americans will have to pay an Obamacare tax penalty for not having health insurance last year, Treasury officials said Wednesday. It’s the first time they have given estimates for how many people will be subject to a fine.

Another 15 million to 30 million people will request and be granted an exemption to the mandate by filing Form 8965. Those who aren’t subject to the insurance requirement include undocumented immigrants, low-income Americans and those for whom insurance premiums were more than 8% of their household income.

Millions to owe Obamacare tax penalty – Jan. 28, 2015.

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