Rick Beato: TOP 10 LED ZEPPELIN RIFFS RANKED

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNpVOw7X_Z8

October 29, 2021. Tags: , , . Music. 1 comment.

VIDEO: Journalist Reads Filthy Porn Book from School’s Library at FL School Board Meeting – Board Members Call Police to Have Him Forcefully Removed for Reading Obscene Content Aloud

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/10/video-journalist-reads-filthy-porn-book-schools-library-fl-school-board-meeting-board-members-call-police-forcefully-removed-reading-obscene-content-aloud/

VIDEO: Journalist Reads Filthy Porn Book from School’s Library at FL School Board Meeting – Board Members Call Police to Have Him Forcefully Removed for Reading Obscene Content Aloud

By Jacob Engels

October 27, 2021

https://twitter.com/gratefulAC19/status/1453174598380441603

In Orange County, Florida on Tuesday, this Gateway Pundit contributor attended the Orange County Public Schools board meeting to document the discussion on their illegal mask mandate, which is in violation of Governor DeSantis’ executive order banning such mandates on students.

The Orange County School Board is one of a handful of Florida’s 67 county boards that have flouted the governor’s order, even as the courts have sided with the DeSantis administration pending current litigation of the matter.

However, shortly before the meeting, this journalist was approached by two concerned parents about a sexually explicit book, which has garnered national attention, that their child found featured prominently in the library of Boone High School on a bookstand promoting the LGBT community during Pride Month.

The book, Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe, a graphic novel with drawings that explains in lurid detail the sexual interactions between two young men, has been inserted into high school libraries across America, despite it violating guidelines against pornography or sexually explicit materials being provided to minors and paid for with our tax dollars.

Gender Queer includes countless images of male-on-male sexual encounters, accompanied by words that one would expect to find inside literary works at adult pornography shops or gay sex clubs and bathhouses. Even so, this book was purchased and pushed by school officials at Boone High School in Orlando, Florida, despite it clearly violating county guidelines.

Jonathan Farrant, who showed up with his wife to express his outrage over the book being made available and given special promotion by Boone High School Staff, told TGP the following in a joint statement with his wife Alicia.

“We are completely disgusted at this evil and how the OCPS School Board, Principal, Librarian and others would have the audacity to allow this type of pornographic filth in our schools. It is time to raise up an army of people and parents that are willing to stand for the morality of our educational system,” stated the Farrants. 

When public comment commenced ahead of the listed agenda items during Tuesday afternoon’s meeting, this GP journalist used his allotted time to alert OCPS Board Members of the situation by reading some of the more graphic passages from Gender Queer.

After reading aloud a portion of just one section, which included the characters in Gender Queer discussing the use of strap-on dildos and performing oral sex on one another, OCPS Chairman Teresa Jacobs demanded this journalist cease reading the passage. After refusing to do so, she instructed OCPS police officers to eject this journalist from the meeting by force.

With no children present at the meeting, it is unclear why OCPS Chairman Teresa Jacobs did not want parents to be made aware of the explicit nature of Gender Queer, especially as it violates the district guidelines she was elected to uphold. This same school board claims to be interested in “protecting” children by forced masking, but their concern for the moral and ethical well-being of those same children who are being exposed to pornographic material, seems to be non-existent.

Parents sitting in the front row were outraged over the removal and excuse by OCPS Board Chair Teresa Jacobs, who claimed she had “no idea” the book was in the classroom, to which the parents replied “that’s the problem.”

Brevard County Public Schools, which neighbors Orange County, immediately pulled the book from schools after they were made aware that students had access to it, for violating district guidelines. School Board districts in Virginia have also recently pulled Gender Queer for similar reasons.

State Representative Anthony Sabatini, who is running to represent Orange County in the United States Congress in Florida’s 7th congressional district, is calling on the OCPS School Board to resign immediately in wake of the news about Gender Queer.

“The entire Orange County School Board must resign immediately. This absolutely disgusting and potentially criminal decision to put these pornographic materials in the schools is disturbing. It’s a shocking new low, even for Orange County,” Sabatini explained via text. 

The content is so abhorrent, that Virginia TV stations have refused to air an ad from a group called Independent Women’s Voice showing images of the illustrations in Gender Queer, according to a report from Yahoo News.

The OCPS School Board took no immediate action during Tuesday’s meeting. County officials and represenatives of Boone High School did not respond to requests for comment.

October 28, 2021. Tags: , , , . Education. Leave a comment.

Images Available in Virginia School Libraries Deemed Too Sexually Explicit for TV

https://news.yahoo.com/images-available-virginia-school-libraries-200244407.html

Images Available in Virginia School Libraries Deemed Too Sexually Explicit for TV

By Brittany Bernstein

October 26, 2021

Local Virginia TV stations including ABC, CBS and NBC have refused to air an ad depicting sexually explicit materials that are widely available to students in school libraries in the state, citing federal law which prohibits airing pornographic images.

“It’s shocking that images, and even some words, that federal law prohibits TV stations to share with adults are the same images being shared with Virginia students with no accountability,” said Victoria Coley, vice president of communications at Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), which created the ad.

The 30-second ad, titled “Worth 1,000 Words,” includes a full screen spread from Gender Queer by Maia Kobae, a book that was available in schools in several Virginia districts, including Fairfax, Loudon and Arlington, according to IWV.

IWV attempted to air the ad after 11 p.m. to show adults the shockingly explicit materials that students have access to in schools, but was told that federal law prohibits sharing pornographic images on air, even if they are aired late at night and for news purposes.

“Independent Women’s Voice has been told to stand down—that we are trying to push out inappropriate materials that violate federal regulations—when we are simply highlighting wildly inappropriate books in Virginia schools,” said IWV vice president Carrie Lukas. “All we want is to make sure that parents and citizens know what is happening in the schools they are paying for and trusting with their children.”

IWV has since submitted a second ad with the sexually explicit material blurred out.

The ad notes that Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who served as governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, vetoed a bill permitting parents to block sexually explicit books in school during his time in office.

Last month, during a debate with his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, McAuliffe argued that parents should not tell schools what to teach.

The comment came in response to Youngkin’s remark that parents should be more involved in the decisions of local school districts during the second and final debate of the race.

“What we’ve seen over the course of this last 20 months is our school systems refusing to engage with parents,” Youngkin said. “In fact, in Fairfax County this past week, we watched parents so upset because there was such sexually explicit material in the library they had never seen, it was shocking.”

Youngkin noted that McAuliffe “vetoed the bill that would have informed parents that they were there.”

“You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education,” the Republican said to his opponent.

The former governor replied that parents would have “had the right to veto books” under the bill he vetoed.

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools, and actually take books out, and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said.

“Yeah, I stopped the bill that I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” he added.

October 28, 2021. Tags: , , , . Education. Leave a comment.

Assistant director on ‘Rust’ set told police he didn’t check all the rounds in the Colt revolver before handing it to Alec Baldwin

https://www.yahoo.com/news/assistant-director-rust-set-told-162608195.html

The assistant director on the “Rust” set told cops that he didn’t check all the rounds in the Colt revolver used by Alec Baldwin.

Assistant director David Halls “advised he should have checked all of them,” according to a new affidavit.

Baldwin fired a gun on the movie set last week, fatally shooting a cinematographer.

The assistant director on the New Mexico set of Alec Baldwin’s “Rust” movie told police that he did not check all the rounds in the barrel of the Colt revolver used in last week’s deadly shooting to make sure they were all dummy bullets, according to a newly filed court document.

Assistant director David Halls told police that when the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed “showed him” the firearm, used by Baldwin in the on-set shooting, “before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds,” according to a new affidavit obtained by Insider that was filed Wednesday in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.

Halls “advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t and couldn’t recall” if Gutierrez-Reed “spun the drum” of the gun, said the affidavit that was included in search warrant documents for a “prop truck” on the movie set.

When authorities with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office asked Halls about the safety protocol on the set in regards to firearms, Halls said, “I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there’s no live fire,” according to the affidavit.

Halls said that Gutierrez-Reed “opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say ‘cold gun’ on set,” the document states.

Halls did not immediately respond to a request from Insider for comment on Wednesday.

Baldwin, who was producing and starring in the Western flick, was rehearsing a scene for the film at Santa Fe’s Bonanza Creek Ranch on October 21 when he fired the gun, fatally shooting the cinematographer and wounding the director, authorities said.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that the gun was a .45 Long Colt revolver fired by Baldwin loaded with a live bullet.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, was shot in the chest and killed, while director Joel Souza was hit in the right shoulder in the incident. Police are still investigating and have not ruled out charges yet.

Authorities said Wednesday that the “lead projectile” was recovered from Souza’s shoulder. Mendoza added it was “apparently the same round” that struck both Hutchins and Souza.

A previously filed affidavit said when Halls handed the gun to Baldwin before the incident, Halls yelled out “cold gun,” indicating that it did not contain any live rounds.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez-Reed told authorities that on the day of the shooting she checked the “dummies” and “ensured they were not ‘hot’ rounds,” according to the affidavit filed Wednesday.

According to the document, when the crew broke for lunch that day, the firearms on set were taken back and “secured inside a safe on the ‘prop truck.'”

“During lunch, [Gutierrez-Reed] stated the ammo was left on a cart on the set, not secured,” the affidavit says.

Gutierrez-Reed told investigators that after lunch, a crewmember, identified as Sarah Zachary, “pulled the firearms out of the safe inside the truck, and handed them to her.”

The armorer told cops that only a few people have access and the combination to the safe, the document says.

“During the course of filming, Hannah advised she handed the gun to Alec Baldwin a couple times, and also handed it to David Halls,” the affidavit said. “When Affiant asked about live ammo on set, Hannah responded no live ammo is ever kept on set.”

Mendoza said Wednesday that police recovered about 500 rounds of ammunition – which includes blanks, dummy rounds, and suspected live rounds – from the “Rust” set as part of their investigation.

“We know there was one live round, as far as we’re concerned, on set,” Mendoza said.

After the shooting occurred inside a church building on the movie set, Halls picked up the gun and took it to Gutierrez-Reed, the new affidavit says.

“Hannah then was told to ‘open’ the gun so he could see what was inside. David advised he could only remember seeing at least four ‘dummy’ casings with the hole on the side, and one without the hole,” according to the document.

Halls “advised this round did not have the ‘cap’ on it and was just the casing,” the document states. “David advised the incident was not a deliberate act.”

October 27, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Guns. Leave a comment.

‘Rust’ Shooting: Gun That Killed Halyna Hutchins Was Used That Morning for Live-Ammo Target Practice

https://www.thewrap.com/halyna-hutchins-live-ammo-target-practice/

‘Rust’ Shooting: Gun That Killed Halyna Hutchins Was Used That Morning for Live-Ammo Target Practice

Crew members had gone ”plinking“ and returned the gun to the set, an insider tells TheWrap

By Sharon Waxman and Brian Welk

October 25, 2021

The gun that killed “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last Thursday was used by crew members that morning for live-ammunition target practice, an individual with knowledge of the set told TheWrap.

A number of crew members had taken prop guns from the New Mexico set of the indie Western — including the gun that killed Hutchins — to go “plinking,” a hobby in which people shoot at beer cans with live ammunition to pass the time, the insider said.

The shooting happened just a few hours later, when lead actor and producer Alec Baldwin discharged a revolver after first assistant director David Halls confirmed that it was a “cold gun,” meaning that the gun did not have any live ammunition in it.

Search warrants issued over the weekend by New Mexico authorities said that Halls had grabbed one of three prop guns set up by armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and yelled “cold gun” as he handed it to lead actor Alec Baldwin, indicating that the gun did not have any live rounds.

Baldwin, who was rehearsing a scene for the film, was “pointing the revolver towards the camera lens” when it hit director Joel Souza and Hutchins, according to the search warrant made public on Sunday. Hutchins grabbed her midsection and then stumbled backwards as she was assisted to the ground, Souza told authorities. Souza, who was also injured when the gun discharged, was released from a local hospital that night.

Asked for comment, the producers of “Rust” referred to a previous statement: “The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company. Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”

The details of the tragic shooting death of the 42-year-old cinematographer seemed only to get more disturbing on Monday as eyewitness accounts have raced through the Hollywood guilds and tight-knit indie community.

The new warrants confirmed that several members of the film’s camera crew had walked off the set earlier that day after complaining about housing, payment and working conditions — forcing producers to scramble to find a new crew.

According to the insider, a walkout by crew members from the below-the-line IATSE union would ordinarily trigger a shutdown of the entire production for 24-48 hours. Instead producers chose to hire non-union replacements to continue the shoot.

Reid Russel, whom the warrant identifies as a cameraman who was standing next to Hutchins and Souza as the gun discharged, said that the crew wrote a letter to the production over the disagreements and that after stepping out for five minutes after returning from lunch, the team was already in possession of the firearm preparing for the scene. He was unsure if it had been checked again in that time.

The police investigation is ongoing.

October 27, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Guns. Leave a comment.

Loudoun County Forces Parents To Sign NDA-Style Form To View CRT-Inspired Curriculum

https://dailycaller.com/2021/10/25/loudoun-county-parents-sign-nda-form-critical-race-theory-curriculum/

Loudoun County Forces Parents To Sign NDA-Style Form To View CRT-Inspired Curriculum

By Chrissy Clark

October 25, 2021

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is requiring parents to sign a form comparable to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to view a portion of the district’s new curriculum inspired by critical race theory, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller.

As part of LCPS’ broader equity agenda, the district spent approximately $7,700 to become a “licensed user” of Second Step Programs, a branch of the left-leaning non-profit organization Committee for Children. According to a copy of the NDA-style form reviewed by the Daily Caller, “eligible parents” at LCPS must sign the document to view the Second Step curriculum.

Curriculum presentations can only be given in person and parents cannot broadcast, download, photograph, or record “in any manner whatsoever.” Downloadable files of part of the curriculum are available on LCPS’ website, per Second Step’s copyright policy.

“I understand that the Authorized Presentation of Second Step Materials I am about to view is not a public event, and that copying, broadcast or recording of any kind is not permitted,” the form reads. “I agree to comply with the terms of the above Special License.”

NDA-Form

According to the district’s agreement with Second Step obtained by the Daily Caller, the curriculum is not subject to traditional Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws.

Scott Mineo, ring-leader of Loudoun County’s Parents Against Critical Theory (PACT) organization, told the Daily Caller that he finds the copyright laws suspicious as similar curriculum packages are readily available for parents to review.

“LCPS is partners with Southern Poverty Law Center, Racial Equity Tools, and Learning for Justice (SPLC), all of which have copyrighted material, however, LCPS freely provides access to these materials,” Mineo said. “Why is there such a double standard when parents want to review Second Step SEL material in its entirety?”

Loudoun County Public Schools did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.

Second Step’s programming revolves around the concept of “social-emotional learning,” which is linked to the core tenets of critical race theory. According to Committee for Children, the non-profit behind Second Step curriculum, SEL is “fundamental to achieving social justice.”

The non-profit is also dedicated to “diversity, equity, and inclusion” and becoming an “anti-racist organization.” Part of Second Step’s curriculum addresses “anti-racism,” a term coined by activist Ibram X. Kendi. It also creates a “common language” to “create lasting systematic change.”

“When we all use the same words — for emotions, situations, and behavioral dynamics — it promotes empathy and understanding between students, teachers, staff, parents, and the community,” the curriculum reads. “Second Step provides a shared emotional vocabulary that can create lasting systemic change.”

Second Step curriculum borrows from Learning for Justice, the education arm of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as well. In July 2020, an LCPS spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon that Learning for Justice resources would be “optional” in the district.

According to a newly released PowerPoint from LCPS, the district will require all elementary schools to implement SEL in the classroom by 2022. Images in the PowerPoint link directly to Second Step curriculum. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has also been working to institute SEL into the curriculum state-wide.

Second Step is used in a slew of other districts nationwide including in Toppenish, Washington, Chicago, Illinois, Tooele, Utah, Austin, Texas, Lee County, Florida, Denver, Colorado, Lexington, Kentucky and more.

Parents in Loudoun County are worried about the new curriculum as SEL emphasizes the moral, ethical and emotional development of students over their academic success. The push for such a curriculum led the VDOE to explore ending advanced degrees, according to Fox News.

A Utah music teacher, who resigned his position with Draper Park Middle School after being required to teach Second Step’s SEL programming, gives the public a brief insight into the curriculum. Teacher Sam Crowly said in his resignation that he could not “in good conscience” present material that “teaches students that their parents are ‘roadblocks’ to their goals; material which contains propaganda, and encourages students to become activists.”

Second Step Program did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comments.

October 26, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Racist San Francisco arrests black women at 13 times the rate of women of other races

Splinter News reported the following: (The bolding is mine)

Black women in San Francisco arrested way more often than white women, report shows

Black women in San Francisco are disproportionately arrested compared with their white counterparts, according to a new analysis of state arrest data from the Center on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

Black women represent 5.8% of the city’s female population, but accounted for 45.5% of all female arrests in 2013, according to the report from the nonprofit, which works to reduce incarceration. For arrests related to weapons and narcotics—both felonies—black women made up 77% and 68% of all female arrests, respectively.

Black women were arrested “at a per capita rate 13.4 times higher than women of other races,” says the report. San Francisco’s overall black population declined from 60,515 in 2000 to 48,870 in 2010.

San Francisco is one of the bluest, most left wing cities in the entire country.

And it’s also one of the most racist.

October 26, 2021. Tags: , . Racism. Leave a comment.

Magnificent Mile no more: Chicago is blighted by shoplifting as ANOTHER American city goes down the toilet because its left-wing AG stops prosecuting shoplifters who steal less than $1000 of goods

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10112809/Chicago-blighted-shoplifting-shoplifters-prosecuted-steal-1000.html

Magnificent Mile no more: Chicago is blighted by shoplifting as ANOTHER American city goes down the toilet because its left-wing AG stops prosecuting shoplifters who steal less than $1000 of goods

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile has been the target of rampant shoplifting that caused several stores to close their doors

State’s Attorney Kim Foxx mandates that Chicago prosecutors only issue felony charges for theft of property over $1,000

Thieves know they can grab armfuls of merchandise without being stopped by store security 

The city’s crime issue may only grow worse as at least 50 cops have been put on unpaid leave for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Cities throughout the country are facing similar issues, including San Francisco, where Walgreens just announced is was closing another five stores

By Brian Stieglitz

October 20, 2021

Chicago is the latest city to be hit by rampant shoplifting and its Magnificent Mile, the once highly-populated retail destination, is now dotted with empty storefronts as businesses are being driven away by the brazen thieves.

The city has been plagued by a string of robberies and a wave of crime in the past few months, as some say that the city’s ‘soft-on-crime’ policies embolden the thieves. The issue may only grow worse as at least 50 cops have been put on unpaid leave for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Shoplifting cases grew more common following a December 2016 motion from State’s Attorney Kim Foxx that mandated Chicago prosecutors only issue felony charges for theft of property over $1,000.

Her officer said at the time that the move was meant to shift focus to the driving factors of the crimes instead of low-level offenses. In turn, however, thieves know they can grab armfuls of merchandise without being stopped by store security.

Chicago’s most recent shoplifting spree involved a group of men who robbed three 7-Eleven convenience stores downtown in a span of 30 minutes on Monday morning.

Four armed men robbed a 7-Eleven on East Lake Street at 8.29am, in which they took an undetermined amount of cash before fleeing in a black vehicle, police said. Five minutes later, police believe the same group wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts, robbed another 7-Eleven and, just before 9am, they made a final stop at a third 7-Eleven and robbed it at gunpoint.

No arrests have been made as of Wednesday afternoon.

‘It’s a serious problem, and we have to address it,’ Alderman Brian Hopkins told CBS Chicago, explaining that the issue affects commercial real estate as well as public safety.

‘The commercial brokers tell us that when they get potential interest from a tenant, that’s one of the first questions they ask, is what’s happening in Chicago to stem the tide of retail shoplifting rings that have been operating with impunity downtown? And we don’t have a good answer right now for that.’

Hopkins added, ‘I think we have to look at prosecution. Clearly there’s a feeling running through the criminal elements that there are no consequences here. We have to look to the courts, and I think we have to just look to all the players in this drama to get Chicago to what it once was.’  

The city’s approach to prosecuting retail crime is similar to one in San Francisco, where prosecutors only issue felony charges for thefts of property worth over $950. Walgreens cited the shoplifting issue as the reason it closed 17 stores and is planning to close another five throughout the city, the pharmacy chain announced last week. 

Stores throughout Chicago’s Magnificent Mile are doing the same as Macy’s closed its 170,000-square-foot flagship store in Water Tower Place last spring, Japanese retailer Uniqlo closed its 60,000-square-foot store in August and the Disney Store closed its 7,000-square-foot location on Michigan Avenue last month.

In the past few years, Gap, Forever 21 and Tommy Bahama have also closed stores on the Magnificent Mile. The vacancy rate has skyrocketed from 11 percent in 2019 to 19 percent this year, according to ABC 7.

‘We recognize community concerns around crime, and the impact it can have on one’s sense of safety as well as the economic stability of a business,’ the State’s Attorney’s office wrote in a statement to CBS Chicago before doubling down on its approach to retail crime.

‘We continue to prosecute retail theft cases as misdemeanors and felonies when appropriate to do so based on the facts and evidence,’ the statement continued.

The State’s Attorney’s office said that so far this year, its prosecutors have reviewed and issued 38 total charges for retail theft in areas of Chicago including the Magnificent Mile and Streeterville. Of that number, 18 were approved as felony charges, 10 were prosecuted and six were convicted. 

The city’s shoplifting issue could grow worse as the Chicago Police Department has started placing officers on unpaid leave for failing to report their vaccination status by Friday’s deadline.

So far, about 50 officers have been placed on an unpaid status, according to Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday, however, called the 50 officers a ‘very small number’ who have had their pay stopped by the city for refusing to cooperate with the mandate.

As of Tuesday, 4,543 officers – a little over one third of the force – have not complied and are being given one last chance to report whether they’ve been vaccinated or be put on no-pay status.

Meanwhile, the city has started seeking recruits from suburban Illinois to fill the potential staffing shortage.   

Robb Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, told CBS Chicago that loss of sales tax associated with shoplifting – on top of the closing stores – further hinder Chicago’s post-pandemic recovery.

‘The impression around the nation is that Chicago is not a very safe place to be,’ he said. ‘And the incidents we saw this morning, over the weekend, the episodes before that, only feed that.’ 

Late last month, a gang of shoplifters was filmed brazenly ransacking UIta Beauty store in the Windy City’s Norridge suburb over the weekend. Footage showed a gang of three hooded thieves emptying its shelves of expensive Christian Dior and Armani makeup into black trash bags.

It was shared on social media Monday, with the shocked cameraman, who hasn’t been named, saying: ‘Look at this, this is insane,’ as he films the theft unfolding before his eyes.

It came as CWB Chicago reported Chicago’s stores have been targeted by three different organized crime gangs. One of those gangs has been targeting upmarket designer stores on the city’s Magnificent Mile, whose businesses were hit by looting in summer 2020 during riots in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

The second has targeted at least three Ulta Beauty stores – although it’s currently unclear if that is the same gang filmed at the Norridge location. And a third gang has been raiding Walgreen’s drug stores to steal cigarettes.

The first shoplifting crew was stealing from high-end Chicago stores between the Magnificent Mile and Rush Street, according to CWB Chicago. Twelve men were seen involved in a raid of 35 handbags at Bottega Veneta on September 27 – which go for thousands of dollars each- and left in two separate cars, including a gray Honda CRV.

The same crew allegedly attempted to steal from Salvatore Ferragamo an hour before but left after they were believed to be recognized by the store’s security guard. They already reportedly stole $43,000 worth of the store’s merchandise in August and injured the security guard during the theft.

‘Michigan Avenue is the economic engine of the city of Chicago. Almost 20% of the jobs are in the mag mile district jobs in the city of Chicago,’ Jack Lavin, the president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said to ABC 7. ‘$180 million of sales tax revenue is generated by this district, it’s the largest neighborhood in the city of Chicago.’ 

He said that the Chamber is pushing for ‘innovative’ ways to attract merchants back to the Magnificent Mile, adding that this may involve breaking large spaces up into smaller retail shops.

Meanwhile, the most recent victim of Chicago’s violent crime wave was a police officer who was shot in the face on Monday and returned to work that same evening, saluted by his colleagues as he entered the precinct still wearing his hospital gown.

The unnamed officer was shot in the cheek when he confronted Jovan McPherson, a felon on probation, who was threatening and holding a woman at gunpoint at a busy Lincoln Park strip mall, Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday.

McPherson allegedly pulled out a gun and a struggle ensued as the officer tried to take the weapon away, prosecutors said. That’s when McPherson fired a shot that struck the officer in the cheek, prosecutors said.

Chicago’s pattern of crime and shoplifting mirrors that of other cities like San Francisco, in which Walgreens announced that it is shuttering another five of its stores because of rampant shoplifting by thieves who sell the items outside the drugstore chain’s doors. 

The national chain has closed 17 of its 70 San Francisco locations in the past two years because of the shelf raiders, who have swiped everything not behind lock and key.

Thefts in the chain’s 53 remaining stores are five times the average for their stores elsewhere in the country, according to company officials.

San Francisco and Walgreens officials have cited ‘organized retail crime’ – in which the thieves sell the swiped merchandise outside the stores – as a main reason for the most recent closures.

‘Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that,’ Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso told the Daily Mail last Wednesday.

‘Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average.’

Viral videos taken throughout the summer have shown shoplifters brazenly sauntering out of stores with armfuls of stolen goods as witnesses watch in shock.

In one incident, surveillance footage caught a group of thieves in masks and hoodies sprinting out of a San Francisco Neiman Marcus with armfuls of designer handbags and others casually walking out of a TJ Maxx store carrying bags worth of goods.

In another, in June, a prolific shoplifter who had stolen from the same Walgreens on at least four occasions, was seen loading armfuls of Walgreens products into a trash bag, then riding his bike through the store with the stolen goods while the security guard and bystanders looked on.

The suspect, Jean Lugo-Romero, 40, was arrested on June 19 and remains in jail.

Shoplifting has been a problem in the Democrat-run state since 2014 – following the passage of Proposition 47, a ballot referendum known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act – that downgraded the theft of property worth less than $950 in value from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Cases have jumped during the pandemic as store staff and security guards choose not to pursue the thieves. Larceny and theft remain the most common crimes committed in San Francisco, increasing by about 8 percent from last year. There were 21,842 cases reported through October 10 of this year, compared with 20,254 cases during the same time through 2020.

The Walgreens locations that will be closing include: 2550 Ocean Avenue, on November 8, 4645 Mission Street, on November 11, 745 Clement Street, on November 15, 300 Gough Street on November 15, and 3400 Cesar Chavez Street on November 17.

New York City stores are also rife with shoplifting incidents and, earlier this month, a TikTok video went viral that revealed brazen thieves stealing from a Rite Aid in front of a security guard before leaving with their stolen items. The security guard, a woman named India who said she worked at a Rite Aid, posted the video to TikTok and dubbed it ‘a typical night at work.’

It showed a parade of people taking things off the shelves and walking out with one of the thieves even smiling and waving at her as he passed.

The comment led people to ask her why she isn’t stopping the thieves if she is supposed to be a security guard, to which she replied: ‘Because it’s illegal to touch, grab or use any physical force to stop them.’

Instead, she said, her job is to ‘observe and report.’

 

October 25, 2021. Tags: , , , . Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

‘Squad’ members spend close to $100,000 of campaign donations to fund private police forces

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/squad-members-spend-close-to-100-000-of-campaign-donations-to-fund-private-police-forces

‘Squad’ members spend close to $100,000 of campaign donations to fund private police forces

By Luke Gentile

October 19, 2021

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez , a New York Democrat, and the other members of her progressive “Squad” spent close to $100,000 on private security in the third quarter while championing the defund the police movement, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The campaign for Ocasio-Cortez paid nearly $10,000 for a private police force to keep the representative safe, while Rep. Ayanna Pressley , a Massachusetts Democrat, racked up a private security bill totaling nearly $4,000, records indicate.

Both Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley have championed a diminished and “reimagined” police state, with the latter suggesting she is “ready to continue the systemic work necessary to radically reimagine a system of public safety in our country that finally censures the dignity and humanity of all,” according to a Fox report.

Still, the bills collected by Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley appear modest to those of Reps. Ilhan Omar , a Minnesota Democrat, and Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat, according to the records.

Omar’s own private security cost $22,000, while the protection needed for Bush carried a price tag of almost $65,000, according to the report.

Omar has called the police in her district “rotten to the root” and stated that “the current infrastructure that exists as policing in our city should not exist anymore, and we can’t go about creating a different process with the same infrastructure in place.”

The money that went toward the private security forces for the Squad members was paid out of their campaigns, the report said.

This means it is possible that donations that were sent to aid calls for defunding the police were, in reality, spent to rent out private police.

October 20, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Defund the Police, Ilhan Omar, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

In-N-Out Burger tells San Francisco ‘we refuse to become the vaccination police’ after city closes restaurant

https://www.theblaze.com/news/in-n-out-burger-san-francisco-vaccination-police

In-N-Out Burger tells San Francisco ‘we refuse to become the vaccination police’ after city closes restaurant

By Chris Pandolfo

October 19, 2021

In-N-Out Burger blasted the city of San Francisco’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirements after the San Francisco Department of Health closed one of the popular California burger joint’s locations for serving customers who were not carrying the proper papers.

“On Thursday, October 14, the San Francisco Department of Public Health closed our restaurant at 333 Jefferson Street because In-N-Out Burger Associates (employees) were not preventing the entry of Customers who were not carrying proper vaccination documentation,” In-N-Out Burger’s chief legal and business officer, Arnie Wensinger, said in a statement.

“Our store properly and clearly posted signage to communicate local vaccination requirements,” Wensinger said. “After closing our restaurant, local regulators informed us that our restaurant Associates must actively intervene by demanding proof of vaccination and photo identification from every Customer, then act as enforcement personnel by barring entry for any Customers without the proper documentation.”

“We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government,” Wensinger declared, slamming the San Francisco Department of Health’s requirements as “unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe” and accusing the city of asking restaurants to “segregate Customers” based on vaccine documentation.

In August, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that the city would require businesses in “high-contact indoor sectors,” including bars, restaurants, clubs, and gyms to obtain proof of COVID-19 vaccination from patrons and employees before servicing them. The health order was implemented to “protect against the continued spread of COVID-19, particularly among the unvaccinated,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

“Many San Francisco businesses are already leading the way by requiring proof of vaccination for their customers because they care about the health of their employees, their customers, and this City. This order builds on their leadership and will help us weather the challenges ahead and keep our businesses open. Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, and our way back to a life where we can be together safely,” Breed said at the time.

San Francisco was among the first major U.S. cities to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter indoor restaurants and other businesses. The city also implemented a vaccine mandate for workers at these places of business, which went into effect on Oct. 13.

In his statement, Wensinger accused San Francisco of forcing businesses “to discriminate against customers who choose to patronize their business.”

“This is clear governmental overreach and is intrusive, improper, and offensive.”

The San Francisco Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

October 19, 2021. Tags: , , , . COVID-19, Police state. 1 comment.

‘Can’t stay anymore’: Residents near new Obama Center fear being pushed out by gentrification

https://www.yahoo.com/news/benefit-were-not-anymore-obama-083016708.html

‘Can’t stay anymore’: Residents near new Obama Center fear being pushed out by gentrification

By Safia Samee Ali

October 19, 2021

CHICAGO — Less than 3 miles from where former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama broke ground last week on their long-awaited presidential center on the South Side of Chicago, Tahiti Hamer lies awake at night thinking about the limited time she and her family have left in the neighborhood where she’s lived her whole life.

Following the announcement of the center in 2015, neighborhoods adjacent to the 19-acre planned site have seen skyrocketing rents and housing prices, and Hamer, 42, a single mother of three, is one of several facing displacement.

Hamer, a teacher at a local YMCA, said she’s tried to buy a home for the last two years, but it’s been out of reach in her neighborhood. She found a house she could afford 12 miles south.

“I do not want to leave. I want to stay, but I’m barely keeping my head above water now,” she said. Hamer’s rent has gone up from $800 to $1,000, and she said her landlord has already told her there’s another $100 hike coming because the area is “coming back up.”

“It’s sad that the place that I’ve lived my whole life I can’t stay in anymore,” she said. “And once I leave, it will be impossible to ever come back. It’s the same story with so many people in this community.”

Despite the Obama Presidential Center being built for the benefit of historically underprivileged communities of color, housing experts say without timely and robust housing protections, it may become a catalyst for displacement, pushing out the residents it intended to help.

The location of the ambitious project was chosen to honor the former first couple’s roots and boasts a library, museum and activity center costing more than $500 million.

Demand has already boomed, with housing costs increasing at a higher rate in areas surrounding the proposed center than citywide since 2016, according to a 2019 study by the University of Illinois Chicago.

Much of the existing community is low-income, with many paying more than they can afford for their monthly housing costs, the study reported, and “eviction rates are some of the highest in the city with South Shore being the highest, averaging 1,800 a year, which is about 9 percent of renters.”

“This very much follows the script of how gentrification works,” said Winifred Curran, a professor of geography and sustainable urban development at DePaul University. “The Obama center is kind of like a signal to developers to get real estate now for cheap, and then the profit potential is huge. That’s what gentrification is, and unless you very specifically do things to keep housing affordable to make property accessible to long-term residents, you’re going to see displacement.”

The battle between residents who live around the site and the city of Chicago has been ongoing for the last six years, but many say they are still waiting for significant aid.

Dixon Romeo, a lifelong South Shore resident and organizer with theObama Community Benefits Agreement Coalition, a resident-based group formed in 2016 to help fight displacement, said residents are not against the Obama center but instead are looking for help, so they will be around to enjoy it.

“How can we benefit from it if we’re not there anymore?” he said. “This is the community that sent President Obama to Springfield. This is the community that sent him to the Senate. This is the community that sent him to the White House, and we should be the community that gets to stay for the presidential center.”

After intense pushback from the coalition, the city passed the Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance last year, which promises to help one neighborhood, which sits directly across from the site, with $4.5 million in affordable housing programs, a requirement that at least 30 percent of new apartments be made affordable to “very low-income households” and a provision that allows renters a “right of first refusal” if their landlord decides to sell the building, among other things.

But Dixon, 27, said residents still haven’t seen any significant changes with the ordinance and that it falls short by not including South Shore and other surrounding neighborhoods that are also feeling financial impacts from the center. He, along with the coalition, is asking the city to implement protections for other neighborhoods.

In a statement to NBC News, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said “since taking office in 2019, the Lightfoot Administration and the newly reformed Department of Housing (DOH) have been committed to working with Woodlawn and all other communities to develop plans for growth that increase opportunity for all and consider the diverse perspectives of everyone. In just two years, the City worked with community stakeholders in Woodlawn, including a 40-member working group of advocates, residents and community organizers, to address displacement and the need for additional affordable housing so that all residents can benefit from the investment that the Obama Presidential Center will bring to the South Side.”

The office also said “DOH is working with Alderwoman Hairston and other stakeholders on several developments and opportunities,” in South Shore.

While more affordable housing is always a good thing, the first step is to make sure people who already have affordable housing don’t lose it, Curran said.

“A lot of times we’re playing a cat-and-mouse gentrification game. Something happens, causes a big spike in rents, people get displaced, and then all of a sudden the city says, ‘Oh, my God, we should have done something with affordable housing,’” she said.

Time is running out. The longer the city drags its feet in providing affordable housing, the more people will be displaced, while gentrification just makes the land more expensive — which means the affordable housing budget will cover fewer units, she said.

“If you’re going to do these things, you have to do them right away because you lose momentum, and at a certain point, what happens is that all the activists who fought for these things get displaced themselves,“ she said. “So they have no one keeping the city accountable for their promises.”

While rent control would be a strong solution to help renters with low income, Illinois prohibits municipalities from passing rent control ordinances under the Rent Control Preemption Act passed in 1997. What they can do is offer property tax breaks to help landlords who already are providing affordable housing, and other subsidies for utilities and bills, she said.

Stacey Sutton, a professor of urban planning and policy and the University of Illinois Chicago, said the issue around the Obama center is not novel for any city, and it’s the same lower-income Black and brown people that disproportionately bear the burden when development takes place largely because class and race are so intertwined.

A 2020 study by Stanford University showed Black residents have more constraints and fewer options of neighborhoods they can move to compared to their white counterparts and that minority communities disproportionately feel the negative effects of gentrification.

“We think of the neighborhoods that we may visit and enjoy, but there’s a full erasure of the history of a lot of those places. Years later, we’ll look back and we won’t remember who lived there, and that’s the erasure,” Sutton said.

“I think the problem with large-scale development, there’s always some downsides, but you try to mitigate the downside. You try to mitigate the adverse effects. And so there are better ways of doing that, and this was not a better way of doing it right,” she said.

Tahiti Hamer is still holding out hope that she’ll be able to stay in the neighborhood that she feels is a part of her, but she knows time is running thin for her.

“I feel like I’m being forced out,” she said. “How can I not afford a home in my own community where I lived for 42 years? It’s unreal and just so unfair.”

October 19, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Barack Obama, Housing. 1 comment.

Obama Presidential Center will displace vital South Side Chicago trees, advocates say

https://www.ehn.org/barack-obama-presidential-center-chicago-2654814450.html

Obama Presidential Center will displace vital South Side Chicago trees, advocates say

The Center will remove hundreds of trees that provide cooling in the summer, cleaner air, and a quiet respite for residents—but promises to re-plant the area and provide an economic boost.

By Krystal Vasquez

August 31, 2021

On August 16, the Obama Foundation started work on the Obama Presidential Center, but without the fanfare that one might expect. Over the past five years, the Center’s South Side Chicago location has prompted multiple lawsuits and a recent Supreme Court petition.

It’s not that Chicagoans don’t want the Center—many seem excited for the economic opportunities it will bring. Rather, opponents, like the non-profit organization Protect our Parks, do not want the Center built in Jackson Park, where they say it will cause “irreparable” environmental harm.

An Obama Foundation spokesperson told EHN in an email that many of the trees are currently dead or in poor health. However, the 2018 survey of the area, performed by experts hired by the Foundation, states that only 64 trees currently need to be removed from the area due to their condition or suboptimal locations.

The spokesperson said current design calls “for more trees than exist on the site today” and that there are plans to increase the biodiversity of the species. This will include bird- and pollinator-friendly plant selections that will benefit the wildlife that frequents the area.

But “one tree does not equal one tree,” David Nowak, an emeritus senior scientist with the U.S. Forest Service, told EHN, explaining that the environmental benefits derived from a large tree are 60 to 70 times greater than smaller trees.

He also added that planting new trees comes with a risk. “There’s no guarantee that the young tree is going to survive,” he explained. “New trees have a fairly high mortality rate before they get established.”

Designing with creativity

Protect Our Park and other community members are pushing for the Center to be relocated to nearby Washington Park. “It’s relatively treeless,” said Hoyt, who points out that there are also many vacant lots in the area that the Foundation could build on.

“It would bring the same amount of jobs [and] it would bring more tourism” since it’s near a major train line, she added. “And we get to save…our safe space” and the environmental benefits it provides.

That said, if the Center stays in Jackson Park, Wolf wonders if there is a way to integrate some of the existing trees into the development. “Design is about creativity,” she said, “yet the first move is to remove the trees [and] create this blank slate of a parcel.”

Positioned between the University of Chicago and Lake Michigan, Jackson Park is a 550-acre green space in the southeastern edge of the city, used for everything from family get-togethers to sporting events.

The park’s lush tree canopy is a refuge from the sweltering summer heat, which has been growing increasingly worse due to climate change. Trees can reduce local temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. “We go [to Jackson Park] to be cooler, to be comfortable as we hang out,” Jeannette Hoyt, director of CCAM Research Partners and former resident of the area, told EHN, adding that many of the nearby residents can’t afford air conditioning. Hoyt is not affiliated with Protect our Parks.

However, if the Center’s construction continues as planned, some of those trees will come down. According to a 2020 Environmental Assessment of the area conducted by the National Park Service, the project will remove 326 trees at the site of the Center, along with an additional 463 trees due to project-related construction, including transportation improvements and relocation of the park’s track and field.

Aside from their cooling effect, the environmental benefit of trees in this area also include the removal of roughly 22 tons of carbon dioxide and 342 pounds of air pollution each year, according to a 2018 survey of the area. The latter is especially important in a city that is ranked as the 16th most polluted city in the US for ozone pollution and whose asthma rates surpass national averages.

Trees also benefit our mental health, Kathleen Wolf, a research social scientist at the University of Washington, told EHN.

“Short amounts of time in nature can help us to restore our minds, and not just make us feel better, but actually reduce potential aggression, reduce irritation, reduce anxiety,” she said.

“One tree does not equal one tree”

Gentrification concerns

The battle is still ongoing, creating a conversation that goes beyond trees. Local communities fear this construction project will gentrify the area, displacing the predominantly Black residents. On the other hand, there’s the benefit of tourism and jobs that the Center has promised to provide.

“I certainly couldn’t say which is better, said Nowak. “It depends what the [local] people want.”

Still, he hopes that as this debate continues the value of these trees isn’t discarded. “There’s a cost associated—not just removing the trees—but the cost of the loss of benefits that would have been there.”

October 19, 2021. Tags: , , , . Barack Obama, Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

Idiots sign petition to ban people from hunting Triceratops

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFuFqA4CG78

October 18, 2021. Tags: , , , . Humor. Leave a comment.

The English Touring Opera has just fired 14 of its musicians because they are white

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/columnists/2021/09/19/sacking-white-members-english-touring-opera-shows-woke-will/

The sacking of white members of the English Touring Opera shows how woke will destroy the arts

I for one would never go to watch an orchestra just because it had been lauded for diversity

By Zoe Strimpel

September 19, 2021

As a child and teenager in Boston, USA, I played in various orchestras. I didn’t much like it, largely because I found it boring, thankless and tiring. Rehearsals were long. Sometimes I didn’t like the music that had been selected: why had the conductor chosen another obscure piece by César Franck? But one thing that I had the luxury of never having to worry about was the ethnic makeup of the players and my own fate auditioning as a young white girl. As it happened, in the youth orchestra scene back then, the top symphonies and seats were dominated by children whose parents were Russian or Chinese. This was not a source of much comment; it’s just how it was.

Since then, we have sunk into such a quagmire of identity politics that even orchestras are now selecting players not because they are the best, but because of their skin colour. The English Touring Opera (ETO) has dropped 14 white musicians in order to increase the ‘diversity’ of the company. Aged between 40 and 60, they’ve been told their contracts will not be renewed because of ‘diversity guidance’ from Arts Council England, which gives the ETO £1.78 million a year.

Arts Council England, one of the most woke funding bodies in the land, protested lamely, arguing that it never meant to get players sacked. “We are now in conversation with ETO to ensure no funding criteria have been breached,” it said. Err. Perhaps this has been a valuable wake-up call for the Arts Council: what did it expect? If you insist on exporting the warped logic of critical race theory, pressuring arts organisations to prioritise skin colour over all else, you can hardly be surprised when they respond like this. If the ETO’s policy of race-based contract non-renewal smacks of the kinds of policies my own grandparents faced in post-Nuremberg Laws Germany, then that is entirely the fault of the institutional bigwigs slurping away at the woke Kool-Aid.

The hideous optics of the ETO debacle offer a particularly stark reminder of how in the era of wokedom, the arts are doomed. Sure, the arts have a social component, but they are fundamentally rooted in creativity and talent, and they must delight, rivet or intrigue. They are not meant to be primarily didactic. I for one would never go to watch an orchestra just because it had been lauded for diversity. I would never read a book because it had been commissioned as part of a ‘diversity and inclusion programme’ and I would never admire a work of art simply because it had emerged from a person of the right colour. Yet such ideas are gaining popularity: earlier this summer, Labour MP Janet Daby, a former shadow minister for faiths, women and equalities, put to then-Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden the merits of issuing “mandatory diversity quotas” for artists that appear in publicly funded galleries like Tate Britain. Thankfully, that quota hasn’t yet been mandated, but under a different government it might well be.

If the ETO rejig seems particularly shocking, the arts have in fact been at it for ages. Back in 2018, Penguin Random House sent a stern email round to agents and employees: the new commissioning policy would have to fall into line with diversity targets, with diversity defined by sexual identity, skin colour and whether one was able-bodied or not. The “company-wide goal” was “for both our new hires and the authors we acquire to reflect UK society by 2025”. Aside from the utter madness of assuming that the percentage of people able to write excellent books should map onto the demographic makeup of British society, this dictum showed that from now on, the narrowest, most box-ticking form of ‘diversity’ – what you are rather than who you are – would determine Penguin’s contribution to literature.

The sprawling diversity and inclusion drives our funding bodies, arts organisations and publishers, who have fallen over themselves to instigate from part of a broader domain of deranged and misapplied moral virtue. One aspect of this became particularly apparent during #MeToo, when man after man found to have a polluted past was chopped from ballet companies, films and comedy careers. I can see why men who sexually molest women might be kicked out of offices. But films? Ballet shows?

A couple of years ago I did a debate at the Oxford Union, arguing that art should not be judged by the biography of the artist, because on that score, there would be no art at all from any time before about five minutes ago. But also because it’s simply wrong: it flattens creative work, with all its many and unpredictable interpretations, into something chilly, Manichean and moralistic.

We won the debate, but only just: there were many who were adamant that art was indistinguishable from the moral virtue of its creator. For today’s arts institutions, virtue and the skin colour of artists have become one and the same thing. Not only is this an immoral equation, as the ETO clearout showed with crystal clarity, but it’s a death knell for the very notion of artistic quality.

October 16, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Music, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

FSO – Star Wars Episode IV – “Here they come!” (John Williams)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJaz5XhSjwc

October 14, 2021. Tags: , , . Movies, Music, Star Wars. Leave a comment.

John Williams & Wiener Philharmoniker – “Main Title” from “Star Wars: A New Hope”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54hoKbTWon4

October 12, 2021. Tags: , , . Movies, Music, Star Wars. Leave a comment.

Cuba lashes out after young baseball players defect in Mexico

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/03/americas/cuban-baseball-players-defect-intl/index.html

Cuba lashes out after young baseball players defect in Mexico

By Patrick Oppmann

October 3, 2021

Havana (CNN) Cuba’s state media on Sunday lashed out after nearly a dozen Cuban baseball players defected in Mexico — believed to be one of the country’s largest and most embarrassing known incidents of mass defection in years.

Eleven young baseball players defected from the national team during a tournament for players under the age of 23, which began last month. The remaining Cuban players on the team are due to return to the communist-run island on Monday.

A statement from Cuba’s National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER) slammed the missing players for “weak morals and ethics.”

Cuban officials also blamed the US for restrictions that force Cuban players to defect in order to play in the Major Leagues.

Typically only the players who are seen as most loyal to the government are selected to play abroad and are accompanied by government chaperones to prevent them from defecting.

Cuba has been hard hit economically during the pandemic with few tourists visiting and restrictions on international flights which has prevented many Cubans from leaving the island.

October 9, 2021. Tags: , , . Communism, Immigration. Leave a comment.

America’s big cities are turning into housing catastrophes. If we want to fix this mess, we should try and copy Tokyo.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/americas-big-cities-turning-housing-120600526.html

America’s big cities are turning into housing catastrophes. If we want to fix this mess, we should try and copy Tokyo.

By Jairaj Devadiga

October 9, 2021

Tokyo

A view of residential houses in Tokyo, Japan.

In major cities around the world, housing is becoming less and less affordable.

Tokyo, Japan, is a notable exception, with prices barely rising since 1995.

The US has restrictive, often absurd regulations, and should instead mirror Tokyo.

Jairaj Devadiga is an economist specializing in public policy and economic history.

This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

In major cities around the world, housing prices have spiraled out of control.

In California’s Bay Area, the median house price is $1.3 million. In Vancouver, the average household must save for 34 years to make a down payment on a house, and put aside 85% of its pre-tax income for mortgage payments. In Sydney, a decrepit house without any toilet facilities sells for $3.5 million.

In this sea of craziness, Tokyo has been an island of sanity. Its housing prices have barely risen since 1995. This is not due to deflation either.

While the population of Japan as a whole has been shrinking, Tokyo has been growing. Between 1995 and 2019, the population of Tokyo grew by 2.17 million, or just above 90,000 per year on average. To accommodate all these new people, lots of housing had to be built. Over the same time period, there was an average of 153,000 housing starts annually.

A study by the Fraser Institute illustrates what happens when housing supply fails to keep up with demand. Between 2015 and 2019, 120,000 new jobs were created in Vancouver and Toronto. In the same time period, there were only 57,000 housing starts every year. Since demand was growing more than twice as fast as supply, prices skyrocketed. The same story played out in almost every major city. Lots of new jobs being created, lots of people wanting to move, and not enough homes being built for all of them.

There are numerous bad policies which prevent the construction of more housing. Chief among them are restrictive zoning laws. In most cities with expensive housing, vast swathes of residential land are reserved exclusively for single family homes. Until very recently, the worst of the bunch was San Jose, with 94% of the land being off limits for apartment buildings. No wonder it is the least affordable city in America.

Not only does this make housing costlier for middle and low income folks, but also subsidizes mansions for the rich. The land on which a mansion sits would be worth a lot more if an apartment building could be built on it. The developer would make a profit even if they sold each apartment at an affordable price.

However, because that’s not allowed, developers won’t bid for that land, thus driving down its price.

While Tokyo does have low density zones, these do not prohibit multi-family buildings. Thus it is not uncommon to see a three story apartment building right next to a single family home.

Apart from zoning, cities dictate minimum lot sizes and maximum floor area ratios (how much of the plot is covered by the building itself), which further stifle construction. In much of Mumbai, for instance, the floor area ratio was capped at 1.33 until 2018.

This had the disastrous result of pushing poor people into slums, as they could not compete with affluent families for the limited housing. In 1971, 22% of Mumbai’s population lived in slums. By 2010, this had risen to 62%. By contrast, Tokyo allows floor area ratios as high as 13, and even higher with government permission.

Another problem is cities wanting to preserve too many historical sites. For instance, cities often declare old homes or commercial establishments to be historical monuments, which prevents them from being torn down and replaced with apartment buildings.

In some cases, cities prevent development even when the historical monument itself would be untouched. For instance, last year, a historic preservation board in Seattle rejected a proposal for a 200-unit apartment building because it would be taller than nearby historical monuments. While Tokyo has historic buildings, its criteria for preservation are much stricter and thus don’t get in the way of affordable housing.

Another important factor in raising housing prices is over-regulation. A recent report by the National Association of Home Builders estimates that regulations add almost $94,000 to the price of new homes. The vast majority of these regulations are purely aesthetic, such as mandating certain types of landscaping and architectural styles, or banning vinyl sidings.

This is not exclusive to American cities. A study on India’s Ahmedabad shows that unnecessary regulations add 34% to the cost of housing. By contrast, Tokyo has very few common sense regulations; mainly to protect against the frequent earthquakes. As long as developers follow these and the very liberal zoning laws, they are free to build as they please.

At this point, you might wonder why these restrictive rules persist if they are so obviously bad. Why is liberal city-planning the exception, rather than the norm? To answer this, we must examine the policy making process itself, to understand the motivations of all participants.

Consider San Jose, with its 94% single-family zoning. The politicians in San Jose were catering to the wishes of their constituents; the people already living in San Jose. Those voters wanted high prices. To them, their house is an investment, which would lose value if more housing were built in their neighborhood. It would also result in new neighbors bringing in a different culture from what the residents are used to.

People who wanted to move to San Jose, but couldn’t due to high prices, would benefit from more liberal planning. They might live in different parts of California, or even in other states. Obviously they don’t get to vote in San Jose elections, thus local politicians have no incentive to help them.

The same process plays out across every city, resulting in sky-high prices.

At the state or national level, though, the political calculus changes completely. People in a particular city might want to restrict housing development, but everyone else wants more. Thus state and national politicians have an incentive to liberalize.

This is exactly what happened in Japan. It too had local governments choking the housing market, resulting in a massive housing bubble in the 1980s. This prompted the national government to enact a series of reforms to rein in housing prices.

The national government formulates building codes, zoning laws, and other city-planning regulations for the entire country, giving very little leeway to local governments.

Recently, governor Gavin Newsom did something similar in California, by finally abolishing single-family zoning statewide, and also loosening some other restrictions.

To win elections, local politicians must necessarily keep down the supply of new housing. It is up to state and national governments to deny them that power, and quickly. Otherwise, home-ownership will remain a pipe-dream for most people.

October 9, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Economics, Housing. Leave a comment.

WASTED ON THE WAY – CROSBY, STILLS, AND NASH (Kudyapi Band Social Distancing Cover)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovoXNhuds7s

October 4, 2021. Tags: , , , . Music. Leave a comment.

Billy Howse and his friend perform “Abracadabra” by the Steve Miller Band

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0GtJl2rDiI

October 1, 2021. Tags: , , , . Music. Leave a comment.

Racists at this Minnesota middle school are dumbing down the academic standards for black students

https://www.foxnews.com/us/untraditional-grading-scale-implemented-at-minnesota-middle-school

Minnesota middle school will eliminate ‘F’s to combat ‘systemic racism’

The system, announced during the 2021-22 school year, does not include 0-49.9 percentiles for students

By Pilar Arias

October 1, 2021

A YouTube video posted by Sunrise Park Middle School in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, details a new grading scale that lacks the letter “F.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9LYheOKda0

The system, announced during the 2021-22 school year, does not include 0-49.9 percentiles for students.

“Our whole intent is to ensure that grades focus on the process of learning,” Principal Christina Pierre said in the video. “Therefore, grades will not include behaviors, attitude, tardiness to class, whether the assignment was turned in late or on time. There’s other ways that we can communicate those things to parents.”

Associate Principal Norman Bell went on to elaborate that students are encouraged to retake/revise tests, quizzes, papers, projects and have a 10-day window to do so from the date the grade is posted.

Sunrise Park Middle School serves students in grades sixth through eighth in the White Bear Lake Area Schools, ISD 624. It is located in a suburb of St. Paul. 

Fox News reached out to the district to see if the grading scale would be implemented at middle schools district wide, which only includes one additional campus, but has yet to hear back.

The district’s superintendent, Wayne Kazmierczak, was named Minnesota Association of School Administrators 2021 Superintendent of the Year.

The school website discussing the award details how the district conducted an “equity audit,” which showed grading disparities among students of color.  

“Grading can be one of the largest areas in which systemic racism and inequities are perpetuated. Dr. Kazmierczak and WBLAS believe grades should be a measure of what a student knows and has mastered in a given course. Grading should not be a behavior punishment and should not be a measure of how well a student can survive stress at home,” the website reads. 

October 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Racist UCLA wants lower academic standards for black students. This professor had the courage to oppose this racist policy. UCLA fired him for it.

https://justthenews.com/government/courts-law/professor-removed-refusal-grade-black-students-easier-after-george-floyd

Professor removed after refusal to grade black students on a curve sues UCLA

Gordon Klein claims he lost $10 million consulting business after UCLA said he violated its “core values.”

By Greg Piper

September 29, 2021

A lecturer removed from the classroom after refusing to grade on a racial curve is now suing UCLA and his dean for costing him at least $500,000 in consulting contracts in just the past year — and an estimated $10 million long term.

Gordon Klein also accused the public university, where he’s taught accounting since 1981, of retaliation by halting his long string of merit-pay increases after his email response to a student went viral.

It has ignored his requests for security escorts in light of “serious physical threats,” including anti-Semitic death threats he reported as recently as March, Klein alleges. He said a psychiatrist diagnosed him with PTSD last summer. 

UCLA and its Anderson School of Management engaged in a “disingenuous publicity stunt to promote that it was at the forefront of rooting out racism” and to chill the speech of Klein and other faculty, the state lawsuit alleges. 

Klein claims breach of contract, violation of privacy, retaliation and “negligent interference with prospective economic advantage,” and is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. 

Student activists had been threatening harassment against faculty in multiple UCLA schools if they didn’t offer black students preferential treatment, including “no-harm” final exams, following the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

(more…)

October 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Black woman in Douglasville accused of pretending to be white man, threatening neighbors

https://www.cbs46.com/news/black-woman-in-douglasville-accused-of-pretending-to-be-white-man-threatening-neighbors/article_4ccc0a7a-216c-11ec-bdef-3bd5aa74a0ef.html

Black woman in Douglasville accused of pretending to be white man, threatening neighbors

By Joyce Lupiani

September 30, 2021

ATLANTA (CBS46) — A 30-year-old Douglasville woman named Terresha Lucas has been charged with making terroristic threats in the Brookmont subdivision of Douglasville.

According to the Douglasville Police Department, residents on Manning Drive began receiving notes last December from a person who claimed to be a white male member of the Ku Klux Klan. The notes threatened to burn down homes and kill people.

The police department’s investigation into the notes led them to Lucas, who is a Black woman.

Lucas, who described herself as a 6-foot tall, white male with a long, red beard, has been charged with 8 counts of making terroristic threats.

The first notes were received Dec. 21, 2020. Other notes were received Feb. 17, Feb. 22, March 1 and March 3. After a 6-month absence, a final note was received Sept. 6.

CBS46 reported in March that the notes were received by at least 7 Blacks who lived in the neighborhood and that the notes contained the N-word and talked about hanging people and killing kids.

Until Sept. 6, Douglasville PD says it did not have much to go on. However, they got the break they needed on Sept. 6 when evidence was found linking the notes to the home of Lucas. Detectives were able to obtain a search warrant and then found other evidence that ties Lucas to the notes.

Lucas is expected to turn herself in this week.

October 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Fake hate crimes, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Russell Brand: So…Trump was RIGHT About Clinton & Russia Collusion!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k6X03XvxWw

October 1, 2021. Tags: , , , . Donald Trump, Media bias. 1 comment.

Far Left Judge Marie Avery Moses Issues Protective Order on Eric Coomer’s Deposition After He Comes Across as Completely Unhinged – But Not on Defendants Including The Gateway Pundit

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/09/far-left-judge-marie-avery-moses-issues-protective-order-eric-coomers-deposition-comes-across-completely-unhinged-not-defendants-including-gateway-pundit/

Far Left Judge Marie Avery Moses Issues Protective Order on Eric Coomer’s Deposition After He Comes Across as Completely Unhinged – But Not on Defendants Including The Gateway Pundit

By Jim Hoft

September 30, 2021

What double standard?

The American left is out to destroy the justice system in the country today.

Attorney Sidney Powell announced during an interview last week that her legal team will depose Dominion’s Eric Coomer for questioning later in the day.

Coomer sued several Trump supporters, media outlets and media personalities following the 2020 presidential election, including Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Michelle Malkin, Joe Oltmann, The Gateway Pundit and Jim Hoft, among others.

Eric Coomer was deposed for an hour by Powell’s attorneys last week.

From what we are hearing it was a complete disaster. The Dominion executive came across completely unhinged and angry.

That’s when far left Judge Marie Avery Moses stepped in to protect Eric Coomer.

Judge Moses issued a Protective Order that only grants secrecy to Eric Coomer’s deposition – but not anyone else’s.

According to our confidential source, “The Judge issued this order sua sponte, which means that no one asked her to do this. She just did it on her own the day after Coomer gave a train-wreck deposition in which he was very clearly emotionally unstable, arrogant, and repeatedly failed to give direct answers to questions. He was clearly playing games and his testimony is simply not credible.”

The media is now blocked from downloading his testimony.

One wonders how the Judge came to this conclusion – the day after Coomer’s deposition – that his deposition transcript needed to be sealed.

What happened to integrity, honesty and justice in America?

Here is the court order by Judge Moses.

October 1, 2021. Tags: , . Stop the steal, Voter fraud. 1 comment.

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