March 3rd, 2012
Pundit Press is proud to present interview number 53 in our ongoing series. Today we're interviewing Barry and Kim, the editors of the political site Conservative Refocus. We thank them for their time and participation.
1. When and why did you start Conservative Refocus?
In mid-2009, I began noticing something I had never seen before--ever--in my America. It was creeping into the mindsets of myriad business associates, some members of the media, and most of the people that I ran into in day-to-day life. It was actual fear, and it was not from a foreign attacker, not even so much towards the economy, but rather it was a both new and tangible fear of our Federal Government and what it was trying to accomplish. Not only that, only a relative few, at the time, within the media and certain websites were speaking directly to these fears. These individuals were standing alone in a storm, and they needed every bit of help they could get. I felt wrong in knowing I could help out in my own way, and yet was doing nothing beyond noticing and taking part in the angst as it continually unfolded.
I slowly began to smolder in anger at what was happening both all around us and to us, as Americans, and started speaking out on Facebook. Many friends began expressing an opinion that I should create a forum, and another good friend, Kim Stallings, who is a former academian and author of several well-known college texts, holding a Masters in English with a concentration in argumentation, offered to help create a site, serving as editor and webmaster, while I would be the writer. I can remember her asking, “what should we call it?” and while busy working on a business problem, I flippantly suggested Refocus. She asked, “Is that it?” I replied well…..I don’t know, “Conservative Refocus,” and that’s how the site was born.
In February 2009, I lost my job due to the troubled economy...and began a tremendous journey of transformation, realization, and true "self" education. Barry was largely my "teacher" during this time--helping me to sort through my experiences and understand how what this country was going through under the Obama administration was connected. During our conversations, I recognized in Barry someone who possessed a breadth and depth of historical knowledge, sharp critical thinking skills, a commitment to keeping up with current events, and an extraordinary passion for and ability to communicate; he was--I knew--a voice that needed to be heard. So I encouraged him to put his voice "out there"...lending my web skills, editorial skills, graphics skills,marketing skills, etc...and Conservative Refocus was born in August of 2009. Barry was meant to join the conversation and MOVE it in a particular direction--and he has DONE that. To educate. To inspire. When we started the site, I "knew" on some level it was going to be important and successful, but I think we're both constantly amazed at how far we've come in such a short amount of time...and we have only just begun.
2. What's the best part about running your site?
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March 3rd, 2012
Media activist recently promised to publish revealing Obama videos
Noting that the cause of Andrew Breitbart’s unexpected death yesterday was being examined by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office, talk-radio host Michael Savage raised the question of whether the conservative media powerhouse – who recently announced he had videos that could politically damage President Obama – was murdered.
On his top-rated show today, Savage played an audio clip of Breitbart telling an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington last month that he had obtained videos that shed light on Obama’s ties to radicals in the early 1980s who helped propel him to the presidency.
“Maybe my overly active imagination kicked into overdrive,” Savage told his listeners of his decision to raise the question. “But you heard what Breitbart said – he has videos … we’re going to vet the president.”
Breitbart reportedly was walking near his home in Brentwood, Calif., just after midnight this morning when he collapsed. A neighbor saw him fall and called 911. Emergency crews tried to revive him and rushed him to the emergency room at the UCLA Medical Center.
It’s entirely plausible, Savage acknowledged, that Breitbart simply collapsed of a heart attack because of overwork and a reported history of health problems.
“I’m asking a crazy question,” Savage said, “but so what? We the people want an answer. This was not an ordinary man. If I don’t ask this question, I would be remiss.”
Breitbart told the CPAC crowd last month that the videos would reveal Obama during a time when he was meeting a “bunch of silver ponytails” – referring to Weather Underground terror group members Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
Ayers and Dohrn reportedly launched Obama’s political career with a fundraiser in their Chicago home.
Savage noted that Breitbart had dinner with Ayers and Dorhn three weeks ago at the couple’s Hyde Park residence on Chicago’s South Side, which is near Obama’s home. Breitbart was invited by Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson, who won an Internet auction for a dinner party with the couple.
“I’ve got videos – this election we’re going to vet him,” Breitbart said at CPAC, promising they would show how “racial division and class warfare are central” to the “hope and change” that Obama”sold in 2008.”
“He threatened the president at CPAC with video that could derail the president’s campaign,” Savage said.
“I pray it was natural causes, but we’ll never know the truth.”
Savage said that if Breitbart’s colleagues have the videos, they should post them as soon as possible and make them viral “or they’ll never see the light of day.”
Savage said he hadn’t spoken with Breitbart for the past two years, but he recalled the media maven’s visit to his home in the Bay Area.
“He spoke for three straight hours,” Savage said. “I was unable to say a word.”
Savage also attended a party at Breitbart’s Los Angeles home.
“I told him two years ago to get a body guard. Never be alone in the street,” Savage said.
Savage, the author of the bestselling novel “Abuse of Power,” put on his novelist hat and speculated about ways a murderer could remain undetected by inducing a heart attack that didn’t leave any traces.
A caller from Savage’s native New York City said there’s a simple way to find out what happened.
“If the tapes come out, he died of a heart attack,” the caller said. “If the tapes don’t come out, they whacked him.”
“The Savage Nation” airs live Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern. It can be heard online through stations such as KSTE in Sacramento.
More from WND
March 2nd, 2012
BLS Note: And that positive trend might be...less garage fires as a result? How in the Sam Hill can you layoff workers, halt production and see a positive trend?
Noted, that this is in the Friday Document dump, media pile,by the way
General Motors has temporarily suspended production of its Volt electric car, the company announced Friday.
GM, which is based in Detroit, announced to employees at one of its facilities that it was halting production of the beleaguered electric car for five weeks and temporarily laying off 1,300 employees.
A GM spokesman told The Hill on Friday that production of the Volt would resume April 23.
"We needed to maintain proper inventory and make sure that we continued to meet market demand," GM spokesman Chris Lee said in a telephone interview.
Lee noted that sales of the Volt were higher in February than they were in January, and added that California recently decided to allow the electric car to qualify for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in the state.
"We see positive trends, but we needed to make this market adjustment," he said.
The Chevy Volt has come under criticism from Republicans in Congress because of reports of its batteries catching on fire during testing. President Obama gave the electric vehicle a vote of confidence in a speech to the United Auto Workers union this week, promising he would buy a Volt "five years from now, when I'm not president anymore."
But Republicans have argued that the Volt was being pushed by the Obama administration for political reasons instead of consumer demand.
“Is the commitment to the American public or is the commitment to clean energy, that we are going to get there any way we can?” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) asked in a hearing in the House in January about the Volt's reported battery fires.
“When the market is ready … it won’t have to be subsidized,” Kelly said.
Chevy has argued the debate about the Volt has become too political.
"We did not develop the Chevy Volt to be a political punching bag," General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson testified before Congress in the same January hearing. "We engineered the Volt to be a technological wonder."
Chevy has sought to give a boost to the public image of the Volt, releasing a commercial in January tying the Volt to the effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
"This isn’t just the car we wanted to build,” a narrator says in the commercial over footage of Volts being manufactured in Hamtramck, Mich. “This is the car America had to build.”
March 2nd, 2012
By the CNN Wire Staff
Are you there? Send us photos and video. Check out CNN affiliates WLEX, WTHR, WHNT, WAFF, WAAY, KFVS, KTVI, WAVE, WLKY, WDRB and WHAS on the latest on the storms in the South and the Midwest. Find out how to help storm victims with Impact Your World.
(CNN) -- A devastating storm system moved across the United States on Friday, spawning a slew of tornadoes that contributed to at least 21 fatalities in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
National Weather Service meteorologist John Gordon reported Friday afternoon the agency had about "half a dozen reports of tornadoes on the ground," as well as reports of "significant damage" -- making his comments before some of the worst twisters were reported.
"This is an enormous outbreak that's going on right now across Kentucky and the South," Gordon said. "It's crazy. It's just nuts right here."
Southern Indiana was particularly hard hit, with Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Erickson saying three had died in Jefferson County as a result. Sgt. Rod Russell with the Indiana State Police said later that three people also were killed in Scott County.
In addition, Emergency Management Director Leslie Cavanaugh of Clark County -- which has about 110,000 people -- reported one death. Sheriff's Department Maj. Chuck Adams added that a man was found dead in his car several miles outside Henryville.
"We've got total devastation in the north-ceindntral part of the county (and) widespread damage from the west to the east," added Adams. "We are inundated with calls."
At least 15 people were killed across Indiana, authorities said.
Aerial footage from CNN affiliate WLKY showed structures torn to shreds and large swaths of trees knocked down in Henryville, about 20 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky.
Other aerial images showed similar devastation in St. Paul, Indiana. Several officials -- including Jeffersonville, Indiana, Mayor Mike Moore, U.S. Sen. Dan Coats and Adams -- indicated that the town of Marysville suffered especially significant damage.
Cavanaugh also said that the local high school, Henryville Junior-Senior High School, had been "demolished."
According to Sara Reschar, an administrative assistant for the West Clark Community Schools, "students were already out of the school when the storm hit" -- having been dismissed about 15 minutes earlier. Adams said there were some "scrapes and scratches," but no serious injuries as a result.
Authorities used thermal imaging equipment, search dogs and other means Friday night to look for a 9-year-old boy in Henryville whose whereabouts was unknown after the tornadoes came through, Adams said.
Amid the devastation, there was also some hope -- in the form of a 20-month-old girl found alone, and without identification, in a field in Salem, about 20 miles from Henryville.
Adam said the girl was intubated and then flown to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville. He said that people since had called in to identify the girl, while adding he did not know her current condition.
About four hours after the National Weather Service said a twister touched down in Indiana's Posey County, Gov. Mitch Daniels said crews "are racing the nightfall" to assess the damage and help those in need. Sgt. First Class Tina Eichenour of the Indiana National Guard said that roughly 250 troops have been called to duty, destined for towns such as Henryville and Marysville.
"I am constantly amazed by both the unpredictability and the ferocity that Mother Nature can unleash, when she chooses to," Daniels said of the severe weather.
His counterpart in Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear, on Friday declared a statewide emergency to facilitate local authorities' access to state resources. The governor has authorized the deployment of 50 National Guard troops to go to Morgan County to join a 12-person search and rescue team out of Lexington.
"The storm system hasn't cleared Kentucky yet, but we obviously have reports of some heavy damage," Beshear told CNN's Erin Burnett.
At least five people were killed in Kentucky tied to Friday's severe weather, said Chuck Wolfe, a spokesman for the Kentucky Emergency Management Agency.
Shawn Harley, from the National Weather Service, confirmed that people were trapped in damaged buildings after a large tornado struck the small town of West Liberty in eastern Kentucky. There was no immediate word on casualties as a result and Wolfe said state authorities had lost contact with the town.
Wolfe said officials believe the town "got hit pretty heavily." Beshear is expected to visit West Liberty to assess the damage Saturday.
Separately, a man in his 50s was found dead in his mobile home in Bethel, Ohio, the Clermont County Commissioners said in a press release.
In Tennessee, severe weather was responsible for critical injuries of as many as eight people in the cities of Harrison and Oolteweh, officials there said.
The storm brought golf-ball-size hail, strong winds and rain into the two northeast Alabama counties before continuing on a northeastward path into Tennessee.
Tennessee Emergency Management spokesman Jeremy Heidt said there were reports of possible tornado touchdowns in nine counties total. At least 29 people were injured across the state, according to Dean Flener, also with TEMA.
Between 40 and 50 homes in Hamilton County, Tennessee, have "significant damage that we know about," the county's Chief of Emergency Management Bill Tittle told CNN.
Reporting from that area near Chattanooga, CNN's Rob Marciano observed a continuous stretch of damage about 200 yards wide that ripped what had been brick-and-mortar homes down to their foundations.
Tittle said that there are 24 reported injuries and, while none of them appears to be life-threatening, he acknowledged that "we have not reached all the homes."
"We obviously have lots of debris, homes with roof damage, streets that are impassable that we have crews cutting down trees with chainsaws in order to get emergency vehicles through, and as of now our crews are just going door-to-door on foot," said Amy Maxwell, Hamilton County, Tennessee, emergency management spokeswoman.
Maxwell later said six to 10 people were at local hospitals after suffering injuries, and a triage area was set up at Ooltewah High School to treat patients on the scene.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said a touchdown of a tornado had been confirmed, though he expressed optimism that sound preparation and safety measures appeared thus far to prevent any deaths.
"We're just working diligently at this hour to try to make sure that everyone is accounted for," Coppinger told CNN. "And hopefully we'll be able to escape (without fatalities)."
Meanwhile, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said there have been seven injuries and about 40 homes destroyed but no fatalities after two tornadoes touched down in his state Friday morning.
"The April 27 tornado and the track of the two this morning were exactly the same," Bentley told CNN, referring to last year's twisters that left at least 238 dead.
Both Buckhorn High School in Madison County and the Limestone County Correctional Facility in an adjacent Alabama county were hit Friday.
Henryville Formation video
There was also widespread damage in Madison County, the National Weather Service said, and some injuries were reported, according to a local ambulance service.
The Madison County Emergency Management Agency confirmed that a rain-wrapped tornado was spotted near the Harvest area, just northwest of Huntsville, which itself was hit hard by a tornado last year.
"The key thing that let me know it was serious was the loud wind," said Hovet Dixon of Harvey, Alabama. "It almost seemed like it was trying to lift my roof off."
The warden for the Limestone Correctional Facility, Dorothy Goode, said the prison was hit by the storm. All prisoners -- the facility holds about 2,200 -- were accounted for, she said.
Storms are expected to begin to weaken during the late evening as they move east toward the Appalachians. The severe weather threat should diminish overnight Friday into Saturday morning, Morris said.
These tornadoes follow an earlier outbreak that began Tuesday night and left 13 dead across Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee and battered parts of Kentucky.
CNN's Susan Candiotti, Larry Shaughnessy, Nick Valencia, Carma Hassan, Moni Basu, John Murgatroyd, Melanie Whitley, Joe Sterling, Dave Alsup, Logan Burruss and Kara Devlin contributed to this report.
March 2nd, 2012
After a firestorm of calls, posts and Tweets from angry consumers, two companies pulled their advertisements with Rush Limbaugh after the conservative radio talk show host called a Georgetown University law student a "slut" for speaking out about the current debate over birth control.
“Due to recent commentary by Rush Limbaugh that does not align with our values, we’ve made the decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program," Gabby Nelson, company spokeswoman at mattress manufacturer Select Comfort, said in an emailed statement.
Select Comfort, which advertises its Sleep Number brand bed, was the second company to sever ties with Limbaugh over the growing controversy. Sleep Train was the first to sever ties. It sent a message out on Twitter earlier today, telling consumers, "We are pulling our ads with Rush Limbaugh and appreciate the community's feedback."
The law student, Sandra Fluke, testified before a House committee this week about the high cost of hormonal contraception and the burden this places on women who need it for medical reasons last week after being barred from an earlier Congressional committee hearing on the topic.
Other companies are distancing themselves from the talk-show host, including some who say they don't advertise with Limbaugh, but have been overwhelmed with phone calls and online messages.
The Twitter feed of online dating site eHarmony read, "We’ve never paid for ads on Limbaugh show. We’re looking into the matter of 'network buys' and will let you know what we discover." (Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET.: Spokeswoman Becky Teraoka said via e-mail, "We do have that confirmation" that a network buy did not land eHarmony advertising on Limbaugh's show.)
Ray Pohlman, spokesman for AutoZone, said the company had never advertised with Limbaugh and was working with its media buyers to find out if any ads did air. "If a commercial ran, it was in error," he said. "We're running it down."
"We have not advertised on Rush Limbaugh's radio program in over five years," Life Quotes spokeswoman Michelle Matlock said via email.
"We are actually not an active advertiser on the program and currently have no plans to sponsor it in the future," Megan Greuling, spokeswoman for Lending Tree, said via email.
Some companies indicate they'll be sticking with Rush, though. "While we do not condone or agree with Limbaugh’s statements regarding Sandra Fluke, we respect his right to express his views, as well as those who disagree with him," Quicken Loans spokeswoman Paula Silver said in an emailed statement. "As an advertiser, our goal is to reach a broad audience, which we accomplish by placing ads on a number of programs across the country representing diverse views."
A statement posted on ProFlowers' Facebook page late Thursday night was more circumspect. It read, "We would like to assure you that we do not endorse the views expressed by Rush Limbaugh. We understand your concerns and value your feedback." The post was inundated with hundreds of comments from Facebook users urging the company to drop its advertising.
Limbaugh did not reply to msnbc.com's request for a comment.
Related story: Woman called 'slut" by Limbaugh is 'outraged'