NYC Mayor: Spent NYPD Range Shell Casings Cannot Be Sold to Ammo Manufacturers
As part of his commitment "to public safety," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will no longer allow ammunition manufacturers to enter bids for spent New York City Police Department (NYPD) shell casings.
According to the New York Times, Georgia Arms won the auction for the shell casings in 2012 with a bid of $67,680.
NYT reports that "Georgia Arms routinely buys once-fired shell casings, reloads them with bullets and sells a bag of 50 for $15 to the public." Their winning bid in 2012 netted them "28,000 pounds of shell casings."
New York's Department of Citywide Administrative Services is holding an auction for the first time since Georgia Arms bought the shell casings in 2012. The prize is "67,200 pounds...of spent brass casings," enough to be converted "into millions of bullets." Mayor de Blasio has made it clear that the bidding is open only to "recyclers or their representatives."
In other words, Georgia Arms need not apply.
De Blasio press secretary Phil Walzak explained:
As a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Mayor de Blasio has pledged to protect our people and support the national movement for common sense gun control. Limiting the sell of bullet shell casings and lead to metal recyclers supports our overall commitment to public safety.
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Thu, 24 Apr 2014 04:32:34 GMT
Obamacare Slashes Senior Home Health Care Services
In early April, the Obama Administration delayed cuts in the Medicare Advantage program mandated by Obamacare. These plans, used by 30% of Medicare beneficiaries, supplement traditional Medicare coverage. The planned cuts to the MA program risked a political firestorm just months before the midterm elections. While MA received a short-term pardon, the Obama Administration is going forward with dramatic cuts to home health care services for seniors.
Over 3.5 million seniors receive health care services in their home. Over 60% of the recipients are women. These beneficiaries tend to be older, poorer and sicker than the overall Medicare population. Because of this, they often lack transportation, making home health care services critical for their well-being. Those impacted by the ongoing cuts are the most vulnerable and at-risk seniors.
Obamacare gave the Obama administration wide latitude in containing spending in the program. In a decision that baffled critics, however, the administration chose to impose the maximum cuts allowed, cutting reimbursements by 14% over the next four years. The announced cuts will dramatically shrink the home health care sector and leave over a million seniors without access to health services.
“Despite the broad discretion granted to it by Obamacare, the Administration decided to impose the deepest possible cut, which is already having a dire impact on jobs, women and vulnerable seniors,” Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare said. “Without relief, these Medicare cuts will continue to impact the home health professionals upon whom millions of the Medicare program’s most vulnerable seniors depend.”
In issuing its reimbursement guidelines, the administration acknowledged that "approximately 40%" of the more than 11,000 home health care agencies would be losing money by 2017.
Home health care services had been one of the fastest growing sector for jobs. In December, 2013, however, on the eve of the cuts taking effect, the sector shed almost 4,000 jobs, the largest loss of jobs in the sector in more than a decade. Over 1.2 million Americans currently work in the home health care sector, 90% of whom are women. An analysis by Avarle Consulting estimated that almost half of these jobs, 498,000, are threatened by the Obamacare cuts.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:59:00 GMT
Bundy Family Says 'Euthanized' Cattle Shot Multiple Times
Ammon Bundy, son of embattled Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, said some of the dead cattle the family found after the federal government backed down from a tense standoff over a week ago had been shot as many as five times – seemingly more than necessary to kill the animals.
“Well we know that two bulls were shot. And the one that they threw up in the mountain, Nickelcrick, he had a shot from above. He was shot by helicopter, but then he had four other shots to him as well. It looks like a fun shoot,” said the younger Bundy adding, “One hit him in the head and it ripped his whole face up. It was almost like a fun shoot. I didn’t know how or what was going on, but then one was definitely from the top down. Its pretty good proof that what happened in the helicopter that did that one.”
A BLM contractor hired to round up the animals did not respond to a voicemail about the allegations. A spokesman for the BLM did not respond to a request for comment.
Helicopters are often used during cattle roundups and their use for this activity is controversial. The Associated Press reported in June of 2013 that the BLM was taking comments and suggestions about its proposal to use helicopters to help gather wild horses over the next two years. Bundy described how he thinks the helicopter roundup killed Bundy Ranch cattle.
“Since Saturday they were in gathering this cattle by helicopter. They were pushing them all. When you do it that way, it was 90 degrees that week—in the 90’s, those cattle run too hard and it’s very difficult on them and they’ll overheat and die, but also this is calving season right now,” said Bundy. “So these cows are aborting their calves and they’re also separating their newborn babies from their mothers.”
Bundy believes that is the reason why the ranch has at least 27 calves that they know of that were separated from their mothers. At this point, the ranch staff and the family can’t find the mothers to the calves.
“So there’s that issue, because its just inhumane how they gathered the cattle. We do it through a trapping process. It’s very humane to them,” he said.
Several of animals inside the enclosures at the Bundy ranch appeared to have their hides torn and limped along due to injuries to their legs. Bundy claims the injuries to the cattle were caused by “contract cowboys” dragging the animals.
“We actually have a bull in the corral that was drug pretty hard and he’s hurt and he’s still alive. They just drug him and his skin came off and then with these animals that are in these graves, all of them all of them were drug and,” said Bundy.
Bundy went further, “Now if they were drug before they were alive or dead we don’t know that. They were all drug. That’s why autopsies needed to see if there’s dirt in their lungs and whatever else is going on —that type of stuff is needed to see how they actually died—if they were suffocated. That’s another thing. You put a rope around a cow’s neck and you pull them, well obviously, they’re going to choke.”
Bundy explained that cow’s neck won’t usually break, but when he and the staffers at the ranch rope a cow, they put the rope around a leg and then around its neck.
“That way,” Bundy said, “You can get it in there and you don’t choke it, but these guys just choke it. And I bet a good amount of ‘em were just killed by rope. They just suffocate them.”
A BLM official sent a statement to Breitbart News on Monday confirming the Department did “euthanize” two Bundy cows and two Bundy bulls. One cow and one bull, according to the official, died during the round up.
“The Bundy branded bull that was euthanized posed a significant threat to employees during the gather. The Bundy branded cow ran into a fence panel injuring its spine and was euthanized,” the official wrote.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:55:45 GMT
In the Georgia Senate Race It’s the Outsiders vs. the Conservative Insiders
About a month out from the initial ballot, the five-way Republican primary in Georgia is heating up, with businessman David Perdue, a cousin of former Georgia Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, taking the early lead.
The primary features a kind of cornucopia of Republicans who have stepped up to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss. There's a war veteran, an OBGYN doctor, a popular eleven-term congressman, a wealthy businessman, and a secretary of state.
Three of the candidates in the race are already members of the House of Representatives: Reps. Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston, and Paul Broun. They are the conservative insiders that continue to win re-election in their safe Republican districts and feel like it’s time to move on to the Senate.
Perdue and Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel are making the case that they can bring fresh eyes to Washington.
Though Perdue has the lead, Kingston is close behind, Handel is showing signs of momentum, and the pack is close together with enough time left for significant movement. In all likelihood, no candidate will emerge with 50 percent of the vote, forcing a July runoff between the top two finishers.
Gingrey admitted that the three of them discussed the race together before making the decision to jump in, but they all felt qualified to step up. Since they all jumped in the race, they've formed a voting bloc on the far right flank of the Republican conference, including recently voting against the Ryan budget.
“All three of us represent very, very safe Republican congressional seats so we’re not putting our districts at risk of flipping from red to blue, that’s not going to happen,” Gingrey said.
A native Georgian, Gingrey felt that he had the edge, as his congressional district includes most of the metropolitan Atlanta area.
Early polling, he explained, showed that he had excellent name recognition in the state as his district currently represents at least 65 percent of Republican primary voters.
It doesn’t hurt, he added, that as a native Georgian, Gingrey was an also an OBGYN doctor before he was a congressman, delivering hundreds of babies in the state.
Rep. Jack Kingston is an 11-term congressman, first elected in 1993 as part of the Gingrich revolution.
Arguably Kingston is the leader of the three, as he has already raised $4 million in the race and earned the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce.
“I’ve been a soldier in this war for many many years. I’ve never forgotten who I was, where I came from, or what I was sent to do,” Kingston explained during a Republican primary debate on Saturday.
Kingston has a fairly conservative voting record that would stack up effectively, if it wasn’t for the staunch conservatism of his conservative colleague Rep. Paul Broun.
Broun chews up Kingston’s record with a constitutionally conservative buzz saw.
Endorsed by Congressman Ron Paul, Broun proudly states that if elected, he will close down the Department of Education, Energy, Commerce, Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“When I was sworn into congress, I swore to uphold the Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic, out of control government has become the biggest enemy to the Constitution that we have,” Broun said emphatically to Breitbart News.
Broun openly criticizes Speaker John Boehner for leading Republicans in the direction of bigger government. Broun was one of the few who voted against Boehner as speaker in 2013—choosing to vote for conservative firebrand Rep. Allen West instead.
Kingston’s conservative voting record pales in comparison to Broun’s, which easily earned him the endorsement of the Madison Project.
Broun insists that his record not only inspires grassroots conservatives to keep fighting for him, it offers them a feeling of confidence.
“They know where I am going as a Senator, because they have seen where I have been as a congressman,” he explains.
Broun is fully aware that Democrats are mocking him on the sidelines, whispering to the media that he is an unelectable, gaffe-prone radical, but to him, that’s a sign that he’s going to win.
“The media likes big government, and they are fearful that I’ll get elected to senate,” he replied simply when asked if he’s worried about their assessment of his character.
Despite the critics in the consulting class, however, Broun is widely regarded to be running a disciplined campaign, although he isn't taking off in the polls.
Broun believes it’s nearly impossible for a Democrat to win in Georgia.
“The only way we’re going to give a Democrat any opening whatsoever is if conservatives stay home. That may happen if Georgia Republicans nominate a big spending, big earmarking, go-along-get-along, whatever the leadership says, establishment type of Republican,” he says hinting at Kingston’s record.
When you have three Republican congressmen from safe Republican districts each talking about their conservative values and their voting record in Washington, they frequently strike a familiar chord.
Two of the other candidates are Washington outsiders, who are making the case that it’s time to send new blood to Congress, instead of promoting an existing congressman.
Perdue, thanks to a well-funded ad campaign and the name recognition he enjoys, he has taken the lead, running on the idea that as successful businessman and an outsider he will bring common-sense ideals to Washington.
“People are more concerned about the fact that I’m an outsider, they’re fed up with trusting people on the inside to do what they say what they’re going to do and haven’t done it,” he said in an interview with Breitbart News.
He dismisses his other four opponents for failing to deliver, roping them in with the larger problems with Washington D.C.
“When they look at comparing me to four professional politicians it’s pretty easy, if they like what’s going on in Washington, they’ve got four people to choose from,” Perdue says, pointing at the “childish behavior” in Congress that has racked up 17 trillions of dollars of debt.
Perdue’s pitch is working. It’s already earned favorable remarks from fellow businessman Herman Cain, a popular conservative figure in the state after his campaign for president.
Purdue lost some momentum after he derided his opponent Handel for only having a high school degree.
“I mean, there’s a high school graduate in this race, OK? I’m sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex," Perdue said at an event in January. The tape was revealed in the first week of April, sparking controversy for his campaign.
Handel jumped on his remarks, pointing out that it was a troubling sign of elitism that he would bring to the Senate.
Perdue’s comments also earned the scorn of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who endorsed Handel.
With Palin’s endorsement and the quick response to Perdue’s blooper, Handel has surged to third place. Handel also earned the endorsement of Arizona governor Jan Brewer.
Handel believes that her surge is justified and argues that it’s time for a candidate who can effectively articulate a conservative message without tripping over themselves.
“Look at the candidates in this race, every single one of my opponents has already said something, already generated a headline, that plays right into the hands of Democrats,” she told Breitbart News.
Perdue admitted his mistake, telling Breitbart News that he got “ahead of his headlights a bit,” but he says that he called Handel and apologized.
“I asked for her forgiveness and I apologized. That’s the way I was raised,” Perdue said.
Perdue believes voters will see past his gaffe, and polls two weeks after the controversy show him at the top of the field.
The latest Insider Advantage poll in Georgia shows that Perdue is still leading the race with 18.9 percent support with likely Republican primary voters. Kingston is at 15.4 percent, while Handel has 12.9 percent. Broun currently shows 11.3 percent, while Gingrey clocks in at 8.7 percent.
Handel, however, believes that she offers a better message for the Republican party that has struggled to defend themselves from the Democrat charges of anti-woman policies.
“There are just ways that women can talk and interact on issues that I think can be very very productive for the GOP,” she said. “I think for me as a conservative woman from the South, its not lost on me that there will be tremendous opportunity, and with that is going to come a significant obligation of responsibility so that I am strong voice for conservatives generally and also conservative women.”
When asked whether she was concerned about the tendency of the left to target conservative women such as Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Handel said that she would continue fighting and shrug off the attacks.
“I would say the media maybe tried to chew on Sarah Palin, but I think she does a pretty good job of holding her own,” she said.
Handel got another boost Wednesday when RedState editor-in-chief and radio host Erick Erickson endorsed her.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:28:17 GMT
Study: Claims Of Common Core Advocates Not Valid
Supporters of the Common Core standards frequently make the claim that the standards are rigorous, reflect college-readiness, and have been internationally benchmarked and are, therefore, comparable with standards of high-achieving nations. A new study, however, challenges these claims.
Since five of the 29 members of the Common Core Validation Committee refused to sign an attestation form stating they agreed with these claims, and the report was released with 24 signatures and no mention of the five members who refused to sign it, the validity of the claims of Common Core advocates is highly questionable.
Ze’ev Wurman, a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and former senior policy adviser with the U.S. Department of Education, is the author of “Common Core’s Validation: A Weak Foundation for a Crooked House,” published by the Massachusetts-based Pioneer Institute.
Wurman observes that no member of the Validation Committee had a doctorate in English literature or language, and only one had a doctorate in mathematics. Furthermore, only three members had any extensive experience writing standards, and two of those three refused to sign off on the Common Core standards.
“Since all 50 states have had standards for a decade or more, there is a pool of people out there experienced in writing English and math standards,” said Wurman. “It’s unclear why so few of them were tapped for the Common Core Validation Committee.”
Wurman describes two studies conducted by Validation Committee members, who signed off on the Common Core standards in 2010, and then later attempted to find post facto evidence to justify their decisions. In both studies, the research was poorly executed and failed to provide evidence that the standards are internationally competitive and reflective of college-readiness.
One such validation study was performed by David Conley in 2011, whose research claims to demonstrate that Common Core’s college-readiness standards do lead to adequate preparation for college. However, as Wurman observes, Conley’s study fails to ask the key question: “Do the college readiness standards reflect a sufficient level of preparation for college coursework?”
Wurman asserts that rather than demonstrate whether the Common Core standards reflected college-ready knowledge and skills, Conley’s 2011 study asked teachers of college freshman about the relevance of the Common Core to their coursework. Conley’s study, Wurman notes, fraught with methodological problems, nevertheless concluded that the Common Core standards are aligned with college requirements.
One of the studies cited by Wurman was conducted by William Schmidt, Common Core Validation Committee member and Michigan State University educational statistician. Schmidt and a colleague explored whether Common Core math standards are comparable to those in the highest-performing nations and the outcomes that might be reasonably expected after Common Core implementation.
As Wurman describes, even after Schmidt and his colleague rearranged the Common Core concepts in an order that made them appear more like the math standards in high-performing countries, there was less than 60 percent congruence between the two. The researchers found no correlation between student achievement and the states that use math standards most similar to Common Core.
Schmidt’s research methodology, however, was so irregular that he and his colleague wrote that they estimate congruence “in a novel way…coupled with several assumptions.” The researchers admit as well that their analyses “should be viewed as only exploratory…merely suggesting the possibility of a relationship.” Nevertheless, their final conclusion does not reflect such caution.
In addition, Wurman revealed incorrect coding in Schmidt’s study, and examples of Common Core concepts introduced in high school that were listed as being taught in seventh grade.
James Milgram, professor of mathematics at Stanford University and the only member of the Common Core Validation Committee with a doctorate in mathematics, asserted that Common Core is two years behind the math standards in the highest-performing nations. In addition, Milgram wrote that Common Core fails to prepare students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.
Wurman told Breitbart News:
Of all the questionable and problematic elements that I have described in my study, I found the glossed-over re-arrangement of the TIMSS topic progression for the Common Core to be the most offensive. Schmidt & Houang repeated references to TIMSS topics “shape resemblance” to that of Common Core as an indication of Common Core's focus and coherence, when they knew full well that they artificially and incoherently re-arranged Common Core topics precisely to get such superficial visual resemblance, cannot be simply excused as sloppy research. It must have been done with an intent to mislead.
That the flagship peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association chose to publish such paper speaks volumes about what still passes for "research" in education.
Wurman’s research is consistent with another recent study published by the Brookings Institution which found that the Common Core standards will have “little to no impact on student achievement.”
Brookings’ 2014 Brown Center report revealed that states whose standards were less like Common Core performed better on national assessments than those states that had standards more like Common Core.
“Supporters of the Common Core argue that strong, effective implementation of the standards will sweep away such skepticism by producing lasting, significant gains in student learning,” states the Brown Center report. “So far, at least--and it is admittedly the early innings of a long ballgame--there are no signs of such an impressive accomplishment.”
Wurman’s study has far-reaching implications, since Common Core supporters continually articulate the claims the research refutes.
Writing at The Daily Beast on Monday, for example, Charles Upton Sahm bemoans the fact that the Common Core standards are getting “pummeled left and right.” He argues that Common Core is an “historic opportunity to provide American students with a more rigorous, content-rich, cohesive K-12 education,” despite the fact that there is no research to support these claims.
Jim Stergios, executive director of the Pioneer Institute, observes that Common Core’s weak foundation was the result of the standards’ enmeshment in nontransparent political schemes from their inception.
“From the start, advocates did their best to keep Common Core out of the public eye, even as the so-called ‘internationally benchmarked’ standards lost the support of the Validation Committee’s most highly qualified members — the only ones with proven experience developing high academic standards,” Stergios told Breitbart News. “This study shows that after the fact proponents have no analytic basis to continue to call Common Core standards high quality, internationally benchmarked, or research based.”
“That’s why Common Core supporters rarely debate its merits in public and, instead, prefer to use their stable of DC lobbyists and PR firms to obscure its academic deficiencies,” Stergios said.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:27:37 GMT