March 1st, 2014
A group of knife-wielding men attacked a train station in southwestern China on Saturday, leaving at least 27 dead and more than 160 injured in what the country is calling a terrorist strike, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Four policemen were also injured in the mayhem, which broke out around 9 p.m. (8 a.m. ET) at the Kunming Railway Station in the capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province.
Yang Haifei, a local resident of Yunnan, told Xinhua that he was attacked and sustained injuries on his chest and back.
Yang said he was buying a ticket when he saw a group rush into the station, most of them dressed in black, and started stabbing people."I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone," he said, adding that people who were slower were severely injured.
"They just fell on the ground," he added.
Yunnan province Vice Governor Gao Feng held an emergency meeting at Yuannan No. 1 People's Hospital, where the injured are being rushed, and said that local hospitals have received 162 people.
The state-run Yunnan News said that the men were wearing uniforms when they stormed the railway station and that gunshots were heard after police arrived. Several suspects have been detained while police investigate.
Photos circulating online showed scattered luggage and bodies lying on the floor in blood. The motive behind the attack was not immediately clear, but China has seen a number of mass stabbings and other attacks carried out by people bearing grudges against society.
— Eric Baculinao with The Associated Press
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March 1st, 2014
Professor Turley, who largely believes in much of what Obama has done, at least with regard to policy, takes extreme constitutional issue with the breadth of Obama's anti-Constititional power grabs, and for good reason.
Obama has become dangerous, because his power usurpation has gone largely unchallenged and mostly unchecked, and by both the judiciary and Congress.
History is strewn with millions of tinhorn dictators who saw themselves as being bigger than the office in which they achieved, and Obama is showing his colors as being one of those tinhorns.
But, Turley also represents a fact that has largely been in absence with regard to ideology. Turley placeholds the true Liberalism which has largely been missing with the Progressive movement, which has ensnared both Democrats and Republicans, alike, over the past five years.
Indeed, trying to describe the differences between a Liberal and a Progressive is much like trying to describe the difference between art and porn....you just know it when you see it....however, Turley deserves much respect, unlike many if not most of his co-ideologues.
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley issued a dire warning Thursday about the growth of executive power under President Obama, saying if left unchecked the U.S. president could "effectively become a government unto himself."
"It didn't begin with President Obama, but it certainly accelerated under President Obama ...and we are at a point that I consider quite dangerous," Turley told Fox News.
The George Washington University Law School professor spoke with Fox News a day after testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on the same topic. During the hearing, he warned that the nation is at a "constitutional tipping point" as the White House concentrates more and more power.
But he laid the blame at the feet of Congress as well, expressing shock that lawmakers have not fought back harder. "There's not been a whimper of regret or opposition of any substance coming from Congress," he said, adding: "To watch their power usurped by another branch, you would think would concentrate the minds of all members."
The president has been accused of inappropriately circumventing Congress on several occasions over the past few years, including by making unilateral changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and by giving U.S. immigration officers leeway to ignore violations of U.S. immigration law.
Turley said he actually agrees with some of those policies but nevertheless thinks the "means are wrong." He noted that some of these changes were made unilaterally after the president failed to convince Congress to approve them via legislation.
"It's not that President Obama is a dictator," he said. "I'm not questioning his motivations, what I'm questioning is his means."
Obama has vowed to use his "pen and phone" this year to accomplish some of his objectives. He has acknowledged he needs Congress for certain items, like comprehensive immigration reform, but claims he has the authority to act on his own in other areas.
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February 28th, 2014
(CNN) - Sarah Palin may be having a bragging rights moment.
In 2008, when she was the GOP vice presidential nominee, Palin questioned in a speech whether then-Sen. Barack Obama would have the foreign policy credentials to handle a scenario in which Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
"After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence – the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next," she said in Reno, Nevada on October 21, 2008.
The former Alaska governor was happy to highlight her prediction on Friday and scold those who criticized her 2008 comments.
"Yes, I could see this one from Alaska," she said on Facebook. That remark was a reference to a 2008 interview in which Palin argued that Alaska's proximity to Russia helped boost her foreign policy experience.
Saturday Night Live parodied her remarks in a now-famous sketch with Tina Fey, who played Palin on the show, saying "I can see Russia from my house."
On Facebook, Palin continued to explain how she anticipated a growing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, where there has now been an uncontested arrival of Russian military forces by air at a Russian base in Ukraine's Crimea region. They are believed to be Russian land forces, according to a U.S. assessment.
"I'm usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did, despite my accurate prediction being derided as 'an extremely far-fetched scenario' by the 'high-brow' Foreign Policy magazine."
In October 2008, Foreign Policy labeled Palin's prediction as "strange."
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February 27th, 2014
A federal court ruled Thursday that a northern California high school did not violate the constitutional rights of its students when school officials made them turn their American flag T-shirts inside out on Cinco de Mayo or be sent home due to fears of racial violence.
The three-judge panel unanimously decided the officials’ need to protect the safety of their students outweighed the students’ freedom of expression rights.
Administrators at Live Oak High School, in the San Jose suburb of Morgan Hill, feared the American-flag shirts would enflame Latino students celebrating the Mexican holiday, and ordered the students to either turn the shirts inside out or go home for the day.
The school had a history of problems between white and Latino students on that day, and also had a documented history of violence between gang members and between racial groups. The court said these past problems gave school officials sufficient and justifiable reasons for their actions and that schools have wide latitude in curbing certain civil rights to ensure campus safety.
"Our role is not to second-guess the decision to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration or the precautions put in place to avoid violence," Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote for the panel. The past events "made it reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real," she wrote.
The San Jose Mercury News reports the parents of the students represented in the lawsuit claim their children’s First Amendment rights were violated. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based American Freedom Law Center, a politically conservative legal aid foundation, and other similar organizations took up the students' case and sued the high school and the school district.
"This is the United States of America," the mother of one of the students Kendall Jones told the San Jose Mercury News. "The idea that it's offensive to wear patriotic clothing ... regardless of what day it is, is unconscionable to me."
The parents have said in previous interviews with several publications that their children were only trying to be patriotic, not start a fight with Latino students.
William Becker, one of the lawyers representing the students, said he plans to ask a special 11-judge panel of the appeals court to rehear the case. Becker said he and the parents of the children are prepared to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report
February 27th, 2014
Republicans are in a stronger position than Democrats for this year’s midterm elections, benefiting from the support of self-described independents.
The independents in the poll — a majority of whom were white or male or under age 45 — continued to sour on President Obama’s job performance. Republicans hold their edge despite the fissures in their party over whether it is too conservative or not conservative enough, and many are discouraged about the party’s future.
Democrats, in turn, are more optimistic and relatively united. Nonetheless, they, too, are held in low regard over all by a public fed up with Washington’s failure to compromise, and they have failed so far to energize a broader segment of the population.
A majority of Americans surveyed also said they wanted both parties to do more to address the concerns of the middle class, reduce the budget deficit with both tax increases and spending cuts.
Those stances among voters have not translated into support for the president’s party, as 42 percent say they will back Republicans in November, and 39 percent indicate that they will back Democrats.
There is a sense of foreboding in the public as well, with 63 percent of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track, and 57 percent indicating that they disapprove of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy. In addition, eight in 10 Americans are dissatisfied or angry with how things are going in Washington.
At least one Republican leader is faring far worse in the public mind than Mr. Obama. Speaker John A. Boehner had an approval rating in the poll of just 26 percent. More notable, perhaps, was that it was just a bit higher, 33 percent, among Republicans.
The nationwide poll was conducted Feb. 19 to 23 by landline and cellphone among 1,644 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all adults and plus or minus 6 points for Republicans, Democrats and independents. The survey comes more than eight months before Election Day, and less than a quarter of those who responded said they were paying a lot of attention to the 2014 election, meaning that each party has ample opportunity to sway voters.
One issue, though — the Affordable Care Act — seems to have solidified some opposition to Democrats, and historical trends such as an older, whiter midterm electorate are also favorable to Republicans.
“It seems all the Democrats are for Obamacare, and I think this is a really bad deal,” Larry Walker, an independent voter from Torrance, Calif., said in a follow-up interview.
Mr. Obama’s approval rating is now at 41 percent, with 51 percent of Americans saying they disapprove of his performance, his worst standing in the past two years, with the exception of a CBS News survey last November in the midst of the troubled rollout of the new health care law.
Such ratings amount to an early political alarm for Democrats on the ballot this year. When a party controls the White House, its performance in midterm congressional elections typically tracks closely to the popularity of the sitting president in the fall.
But while the 2014 outlook is challenging for the Democratic Party, whose voters traditionally turn out in lower numbers in years without presidential elections, the Republican Party is contending with more profound structural challenges. Forty-two percent of Republicans said they were “mostly discouraged” about the future of their party, and among Tea Party supporters, that number was 51 percent.
“Why is gay marriage being decided by political parties?” asked Chip Myers, a Republican and a self-described “federalist” from Harpers Ferry, W.Va. “And abortion is a person’s right to decide.”
But other Republicans are angry at their party for not being conservative enough on critical issues. “Our schools are overrun with immigrant children,” said Betty Worley, a Republican from Charlotte, N.C. “There are people coming over every day, and they should put a stop to it.”
When asked about the 2016 presidential race, more than eight in 10 Democrats say they want Hillary Rodham Clinton to run, showing a level of interest in her that no other potential candidates — Democrat or Republican — come close to matching among their party’s voters.
Drawing the most interest after Mrs. Clinton are Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, a Republican; and Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky. For all of them, about 40 percent of self-identified members of their party said they hoped the men would run.
As for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who many had once thought to be a Republican favorite, more in his party say they do not want him to seek the presidency (41 percent) than say they do (31 percent).