John McCain says he is "most likely" running for re-election in 2016, but is aware that he will be a top target for conservative groups gunning for establishment Republicans in primaries. In an interview with CNN, the Arizona senator stepped closer to pulling the trigger on a campaign for a sixth term and seems to be spoiling for the fight. But he also said he's not sure Republicans can hang on to the Senate in two years after grabbing it back from Democrats in the midterm elections.
"I am approaching it, that decision, and it's most likely that I will announce that I am [running] again," said McCain, who will be 80 at the time of the 2016 election. McCain had previously said he was considering and "leaning towards" a campaign but would announce his intentions in early 2015.
Eighty? Somehow, he doesn’t have as many years in Washington under his belt as Teddy Kennedy, but he’s sure getting close. Apparently, however, 30 years in the upper chamber isn’t enough. He’s probably running again.
But can an 80-year-old barnacle like Sen. Maverick, a guy who enjoys trolling the Right and once referred to two darlings of the tea party as “wacko birds,” really defeat a younger, more conservative challenger?
At the very least, victory won’t come easily, if it comes at all.
"I will be at the top of the list, there is no doubt about that," McCain told CNN later in the interview. "I expect a vigorous campaign. For me to expect anything else would be foolish. And I'm not foolish."
Indeed not. But he may end up looking foolish if conservatives field a better, more conservative candidate who can make a compelling case for why it’s finally time for him to retire. They certainly have their reasons.
WAMU has the full story, but what it boils down to is this: D.C.'s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has no business category for "brewery," so their business licenses have to be granted as either "delicatessens" or "restaurants," which means they have to fulfill all sorts of regulatory requirements that have nothing to do with being a brewery. The expenses and the red tape involved in this have rapidly piled up. It's a miracle that any of them have survived in spite of the onerous regulations that the D.C. government has placed on them.
This means piles of extraneous regulations. D.C. forced one brewery to install a sink they'll never use. They made one brewery to re-seal their floor, at a $35,000 expense, before the brewery was even open. Sometimes it means worse than that - it means making their beer worse.
Hellbender Brewery was all set to go until an unannounced DCRA inspection found that their high-pressure boiler wasn't to code, and that they'd have to either use a different boiler or hire an engineer to monitor the process.
DCRA inspectors came by and are now saying Hellbender’s steam-boiler system is “not being operated pursuant to code.” In other words, its steam pressure is higher than 15 pounds per square inch, or PSI.
Ben says high-pressure systems are typical in breweries nationwide. But DCRA says if Hellbender uses this system, a certified steam-boiler engineer must be on site whenever it’s running. If the guys switch to a low-pressure system, they'll just need a daily inspection.
Another beer-making establishment has been doing just that since it opened in 2013. Thor Cheston owns Right Proper Brewpub: a restaurant and brewery in Shaw.
“We bought an unbelievable expensive, gorgeous boiler for our brewery, top of the line in terms of technology,” Thor says. “We had to retrofit it. We had to make it dumber, essentially, so that it would meet the D.C. code.”
And now it’s less efficient, he says. Plus, having a boiler man visit every day is costing Right Proper $12,000 a year.
The DCRA is apparently re-evaluating its rules for governing breweries to try to prevent these kinds of hassles. But it's been over five years since the first modern D.C. brewery, D.C. Brau Brewing, was founded. There has been no action yet, and there has been hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted needlessly on these unnecessary regulations. And this is just over five small breweries in D.C.
The federal government's Small Business Administration estimates that federal regulations add more than $10,000 to the cost of every employee that they hire:
And the Heritage Foundation has found that the number of "economically significant regulations" has been on the rise:
The case of D.C. regulatory missteps when it comes to breweries is a particularly egregious case of a regulatory state unable to keep up with economic changes (from an environment with no breweries to one with multiple). But even in a supposedly "efficient" regulatory environment, D.C. breweries would be facing an onerous burden.
Malala Yousafzai has a rare characteristic for someone who is only 17-years-old: limitless courage. Two years ago, when this young Pakistani girl promoted education for girls in defiance of the Taliban, they shot her in the head.
"I had two options — one was to remain silent and wait to be killed," Yousafzai said. "And the second was to speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up."
Unfortunately for these brutal terrorists, Yousafzai lived to tell about it. Her refusal to remain silent spoke volumes for young women around the world whose human rights are being violated every day.
Because of Yousafzai’s astounding bravery, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this week.
"This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change. I am here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice. It is not time to pity them. It is time to take action so it becomes the last time that we see a child deprived of education.”
Yousafzai then challenged her listeners to make a difference in societies that are still fraught with neglect:
“Let us become the first generation that decides to be the last that sees empty classrooms, lost childhoods and wasted potentials.”
The prize was also awarded to Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi, who has saved almost 80,000 children from slave labor, for his incredible efforts.
By accepting her prize, Yousafzai becomes the youngest Nobel Peace recipient in history. She referenced this with a bit of humor:
“I’m pretty certain that I’m also the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize who still fights with her younger brothers.”
This poignant young lady, however, has proven she uses that fighter's mentality for more than just sibling rivalry.
Her courage is ageless – and her words are now timeless.
Watch highlights of her moving speech here:
Comedian Stephen Colbert brought President Obama on his show this week for some serious smack talk.
Colbert, a District of Columbia native, ridiculed the president for his actions on immigration, the sinking economy, the Democratic party’s utter defeat in the 2014 elections, the Keystone pipeline XL, and more.
“Well, let’s talk about the jobs out there and how many of them will be taken by the immigrants you are going to keep in this country,” Colbert stated.
At one point Colbert even asked: “Why did you burn the Constitution and become an emperor?”
As Mark Twain once wrote: “Humor is the good natured side of a truth.” Enjoy:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently suggested that she couldn’t interview a single CIA operative before the Senate Intelligence Committee’s findings were released vis-à-vis Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIts) because...the agency wouldn’t let her.
“The Department of Justice refused to coordinate its investigation with the Intelligence Committee's review,” she said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, referring to the already-completed DOJ investigation which partially overlapped with her own. “As a result, possible interviewees could be subject to additional liability if they were interviewed. And the CIA, citing the attorney general's investigation, would not instruct its employees to participate in our interviews.”
This excuse, Dr. Charles Krauthammer said last night on Special Report, is “total rubbish.”
“The [DOJ] investigation ended in 2012. It’s now the end of 2014. They [the Senate Intelligence Committee] had over two years to interview and talk to anybody involved, including the highest officials…”
“They [ended] up releasing a report without any of that,” he added. “No rebuttal, no context, no statements -- which tells me they had a single intent hanging the CIA out to dry, and they went looking for the evidence that fit.”
Columnist Rich Lowry made a similar point in his Politico Magazine column earlier this week.
“The committee’s chair, Dianne Feinstein, says such interviews were made impossible by Justice Department investigations into the people responsible for the interrogation program, but those investigations ended years ago,” he wrote. “The reality is that the committee didn’t want to include anything that might significantly complicate its cartoonish depiction of a CIA that misled everyone so it could maintain a secret prison system for the hell of it."
Nonetheless, this doesn't mean that the CIA is totally blameless or without fault. On the contrary, the CIA’s own director admitted during a rare press conference yesterday that “in a limited number of cases,” CIA officers committed barbarous, unauthorized, and unlawful acts:
“In a limited number of cases, agency officers [used] interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent, and rightly should be repudiated by all,” he declared. “And we fell short when it came to holding some officers accountable for their mistakes.”
Still, Dr. K did raise one uncomfortable question during the segment.
“How could the committee have released a report without ever having interviewed a single person involved?” he asked. “When we have a criminal trial, we actually interview the witnesses…we don’t rely entirely on documents.”
Not always true, apparently. Sometimes, politics trumps fairness.
Idowu Ajibola is a Nigerian immigrant who owns the Rehoboth Pharmacy in Ferguson, Missouri. It’s been described as a stable small business; one of many that dotted the city, which was virtually destroyed in the riot that erupted after it was announced that the grand jury was not going to charge then-Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
He gave his account of what happened to his store to CNSNews.com’s Brittany Hughes. Ajibola said that the looters broke four windows and doors and ransacked his shop. Police secured the area around two in the morning on November 24-25, but he had to explain he was the business owner since they closed the road; they eventually let him through.
Horrified at the damage, Ajibola stayed and slept in his car to ward off any future attempts by looters to rob his store (via CNSNews):
“I feel that I was a victim twice,” Ajibola told CNSNews.com at his store, which was severely damaged by rioters in the second wave of Ferguson riots on Nov. 24-25. “It’s very devastating.”
It’s been a little more than two weeks since Ferguson was rocked by the second set of violent riots and looting that broke out when a grand jury decided not to bring charges against white police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. Rioters ransacked dozens of stores, burned several others, torched police cars and ultimately left the small city and its citizens to bear the scars of the violence.
With the rioters and most of the media gone, the process of trying to assess, recover, and rebuild is only just beginning for many small business owners like Ajibola.
“I pray I stay open,” Ajibola told CNSNews.com, trying to smile as he looked about his small, ransacked store. Meager offerings of pain medicine and paper towels sat on the nearly empty shelves, as tiny rays of natural light peeked through the plywood that covered the holes where windows and doors used to be.
I certainly hope Ajibola's business survives. While it may be tough some days, this is America; where there's always tomorrow to rebuild if tragedy strikes, or room to do better when you fall short the first time.
In a somewhat controversial move, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has dropped the physical test requirement for probationary firefighters. The move was done in part to increase the number of female members in FDNY.
From the New York Post:
The Fire Department has stopped requiring probationary firefighters to pass a job-related physical-skills test before getting hired — a move that critics derided as a lowering of standards.
The move by first-year Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, which allows probies to fail components of the Functional Skills Training test but still graduate from the Fire Academy, comes amid criticism of the department’s low hiring rate of women.
Out of FNDY's 10,500 firefighters, just 44 are women. Only 57 percent of females pass the physical test, compared to 95 percent of males. The physical test involves, among other things, moving a tire six to eight feet and climbing up a ladder wearing an oxygen tank with a small amount of oxygen.
This, frankly, scares me. If I were trapped in a burning building, I wouldn't care if the person tasked with saving me were a man, a woman, or a genderless robot--my main concern would be their ability to carry me to safety. It's also highly unlikely that physical fitness tests are the only reason for the disparity of the sex ratio in firefighters. Call me crazy, but if I were a mother with children, I personally wouldn't seek out a job that required me to regularly risk my life and run into a burning building.
FDNY's commissioner should be concerned about two things: keeping firefighters safe, and being able to extinguish fires quickly and efficiently to protect the public. Dropping physical tests (or allowing people who go beyond the time required to stay in the program) is not advancing either of those goals.
This post has been updated
Yes, this was already self-evident with the shoddy journalism practiced by Rolling Stone’s Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who wrote the controversial piece about the alleged gang rape of Jackie at a party hosted by Phi Kappa Psi. Then again, she never gave the name of a specific fraternity according to her three friends “Randall,” “Andy,” and “Cindy,” who were portrayed as “callously apathetic” in the RS piece; details that they dispute.
Jackie told them that she had been forced to perform oral sex on five men. While not at all close to what was reported in the RS article, this is still rape.
The three friends agreed to talk to the Post on the condition that they keep their aliases used in the RS piece due to the publicity of this case–and give their side of the story (via WaPo):
“It didn’t happen that way at all,” Andy said.
Instead, the friends remember being shocked. Although they did not notice any blood or visible injuries, they said they immediately urged Jackie to speak to police and insisted that they find her help. Instead, they said, Jackie declined and asked to be taken back to her dorm room. They went with her — two said they spent the night — seeking to comfort Jackie in what appeared to be a moment of extreme turmoil.
“I mean, obviously, we were very concerned for her,” Andy said. “We tried to be as supportive as we could be.”
They said there are mounting inconsistencies with the original narrative in the magazine. The students also expressed suspicions about Jackie’s allegations from that night. They said the name she provided as that of her date did not match anyone at the university, and U-Va. officials confirmed to The Post that no one by that name has attended the school.
Also, photographs that were texted to one of the friends showing her date that night were actually pictures depicting one of Jackie’s high school classmates in Northern Virginia. That man, now a junior at a university in another state, confirmed that the photographs were of him and said he barely knew Jackie and hasn’t been to Charlottesville for at least six years.
The friends said they were never contacted or interviewed by the pop culture magazine’s reporters or editors. Although vilified in the article as coldly indifferent to Jackie’s ordeal, the students said they cared deeply about their friend’s well-being and safety. Randall said that they made every effort to help Jackie that night.
“She had very clearly just experienced a horrific trauma,” Randall said. “I had never seen anybody acting like she was on that night before, and I really hope I never have to again. . . . If she was acting on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, then she deserves an Oscar.”
In this new account, Jackie’s friends said she went on a date with someone in her chemistry class. In the Rolling Stone piece, it was someone she met during her lifeguarding job.
“Randall” told the Post that he struck a friendship with Jackie, and that she wanted to be more serious in that regard; he wasn’t interested. The three friends soon discovered that Jackie might have caught the eye of a junior in his chemistry class; he asked her out on September 28, 2012 (the night of the attack). Her friends, interested in who this person could be, exchanged texts with this mystery man after obtaining his number from Jackie:
In the text messages, the student wrote that he was jealous that another student had apparently won Jackie’s attention.
“Get this she said she likes some other 1st year guy who dosnt [sic] like her and turned her down but she wont date me cause she likes him,” the chemistry student wrote. “She cant turn my down fro some nerd 1st yr. she said this kid is smart and funny and worth it.”
That first year presumably being “Randall.” The article also noted that when Jackie told her story to Emily Renda, a 2014 UVA graduate who was raped and now serves as a sexual violence specialist at her alma mater, she noticed how the number of attackers in Jackie’s account went from five to seven.
Additionally, Phi Kappa Psi, the frat in question, held no social event on the night of Jackie’s alleged attack (Sept. 28, 2012).
Recently, ABC News did an interview with the three friends, who revealed their real names as Alex Stock (“Andy”), Kathryn Hendley (“Cindy”), and Ryan (Randall); Ryan asked that ABC News withhold his last name. As previously mentioned, they strongly disagree with RS's account of their interaction with Jackie on the night of the alleged assault–and said it was Jackie who decided not to go to the police.
Jackie also named one of her alleged attackers:
Last week, for the first time, Jackie revealed a name of her main alleged attacker to other friends who had known her more recently, those recent friends said. That name was different from the name she gave Andy, Cindy and Randall that first night. All three said that they had never heard the second name before learning it from a reporter.
On Friday, The Post interviewed a man whose name is similar to the second one Jackie used for her main attacker. He said that although he was a lifeguard at the same time as Jackie, he had never met her in person and never taken her out on a date. He also said that he was not a member of Phi Kappa Psi.
Hanna Rosin over at Slate–a Washington Post-affiliated site–wrote about these new revelations regarding the name of Jackie’s date and the text messages, saying Erdely is either “gullible” or guilty of “active wrongdoing” [emphasis mine]:
The Post story doesn’t connect all the dots, but it’s not hard to do. Jackie has now given her friends two different names for the man she was with that night. Neither of them was in fact with her, ever dated her, or even knew her all that well. She appears to have invented a suitor, complete with fake text messages and a fake photo, which suggests a capacity for somewhat elaborate deception. Jackie, though, has not recanted her story. Her attorney would not answer questions for the Post's story on Wednesday and has told reporters to stop contacting Jackie.
Here's the most disturbing journalistic detail to emerge from the Post's reporting: In the Rolling Stone story, Erdely says that she contacted Randall, but he declined to be interviewed, “citing his loyalty to his own frat.” Randall told the Post he was never contacted by Erdely and would have been happy to be interviewed.
That could mean one of two things: Jackie could have given Erdely fake contact information for Randall and then posed as Randall herself, sending the reporter that email in which he supposedly declined to participate in the story. Erdely also could have lied about trying to contact Randall. Rolling Stone might have hinted at this possibility in its “Note to Our Readers” when it referred to a “friend of Jackie’s (who we were told would not speak to Rolling Stone)" but later spoke to the Washington Post. That would take Erdely a big step beyond just being gullible and failing to check her facts, moving this piece in the direction of active wrongdoing.
By now, we can safely say that this RS story is an absolute disaster.
Nevertheless, forced oral sex is rape, according to FBI guidelines. So, it seems that the gang rape itself is at least probable. Yet, the notion of being gang raped on a broken glass table in a darkened room by seven guys might have been an overly sensational recollection on behalf of the Rolling Stone. At the same time, Jackie–as far as I can see–has stood by her story.
Who’s at fault? We’ll have to see what happens as this train wreck continues, but there seems to be a logical case to be made for Erdely and Sean Woods, who edited the story, to lose their jobs. In fact, Cortney wrote earlier today how the infamous New Republic fabricator Stephen Glass chastised Erdely when she wrote for UPenn’s newspaper.
Regardless, rape is a serious issue; it’s a horrific crime that should be taken seriously. Yet, you don’t do any justice when it comes to addressing this issue when you fail to check your sources, dates, facts, and times.
Jackie might have been gang raped by being forced to perform oral sex. Though that possible scintilla of truth is most likely lost thanks to the RS fallout. This story isn’t about rape apologists, the dreaded patriarchy, or rape hoaxes (rape isn't a hoax); it’s about bad journalism.
UPDATE: I found the video and it's been embedded in the post. Also, I forgot to add this tidbit from ABC," The [Rolling Stone] article describes Jackie sinking into depression after the alleged rape, and holing up in her dorm room. Not so, say her friends, who told ABC News she seemed fine after the alleged assault."
Again, this is just awful journalism.
P.S. We’re not immune from mistakes; we all make them. Here’s my latest foul up on the Cromnibus. Yet, as my colleague Guy has said before, the point is to own it immediately, which is something that Rolling Stone also botched.
The Friday Filibuster: The one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about this week in politics.
50% of New Jersey voters would choose Hillary Clinton over Chris Christie if the election were held today.
45% of likely voters favor suing the administration over Obama’s immigration overhaul.
52% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton.
58% of Americans want to see Obamacare repealed—a record high.
52% of Americans believe it’s more important to protect gun rights, compared to 46% who say gun control is more important.
60% of Americans oppose President Obama bypassing Congress to make changes to immigration law.
Elections: The 2014 midterm elections finally came to an end on Saturday after Sen. Mary Landrieu lost her seat by double digits to Republican challenger Bill Cassidy. That Republican pickup means the GOP gained nine seats in the Senate, commanding a 54-46 majority starting in January. Senate Republicans are already debating whether or not they should restore the filibuster. Attention has also shifted to the 2016 election. According to WaPo,Rick Santorum is running for president again and a new Q-poll shows Hillary Clinton “mows down” Chris Christie and other GOP presidential hopefuls in the Garden State.
Gruber Hearing: Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was in the hot seat on Tuesday to explain his controversial comments regarding the Affordable Care Act. During the House Oversight Committee hearing, Chairman Darrell Issa, Rep. Trey Gowdy and other congressional Republicans hammered the MIT professor for his role in deceiving the American people to pass the law. Gruber repeatedly used a rehearsed apology for his “inexcusable comments” but insisted he was not the “architect” of the law, despite being paid more than $5 million for his consultation work law through federal and state grants.
Interrogation Report: Senate Democrats released a highly partisan and controversial report this week on the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Techniques post-9/11. The report concludes that the methods used were not effective in acquiring intelligence—a finding that was slammed by CIA operatives and called an ‘egregious falsehood’ by the man who oversaw the program. CIA Director John Brennan also pushed back, providing context for why EITs were adopted in the first place. He admitted, however, that the causal relationship between the use of EITs and intelligence is “unknowable.” Meanwhile, Americans working on counterterrorism operations overseas are on high alert, as Republicans warned the report’s release could endanger their lives, incite violence, and be used by terrorists as a recruitment tool. And finally, in an attempt to stay relevant, war on women expert Sandra Fluke weighed in, making an unintelligible comparison between the report and sexual assault/police brutality against men of color.
Cromnibus: Sen. Elizabeth Warren led the liberal crusade against the spending bill all week over business-friendly deregulatory provisions, but the media covered her plan to shut down the government very differently than they did last year’s. The $1.1 trillion spending bill passed in the House, 219-206, with just hours until the deadline. Earlier in the day it was nearly killed on a procedural vote, but President Obama had Boehner’s back. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is “enormously disappointed” with the legislation over language she says weakens restrictions in Dodd-Frank. Marijuana supporters in D.C. are also upset, as the deal reached blocks legalization in the District. The bill has now moved over to the Senate, where lawmakers have given themselves a two-day extension of current funding to get the bill passed. Sen. Jeff Sessions has vowed to fight against the amnesty funding in the bill.
On the Hill: Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), bid an emotional farewell speech on the floor Thursday. And Sen. Barbara Boxer, one of the Senate’s most liberal and insufferable members, is planning to step down, according to sources close to the California Democrat.
Immigration: President Obama’s executive amnesty will be paid for by millions of legal immigrants, giving illegal immigrants a free and expedited path to legal status. Twenty-four states have now joined Texas’ lawsuit challenging the president’s immigration program, which could be stopped before it even starts if the motion prevails. Interestingly, the judge hearing the challenge foresaw this summer’s humanitarian crisis at the border.
Health Care: The shortage of primary care physicians continues under Obamacare, which is more unpopular than ever before. Yet somehow, former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius thinks all the law needs is a rebranding. And with tax season on the horizon, the CBO said it will be a chaotic and frustrating time for many Obamacare consumers.
Global Security: The Islamic State, which John Kerry is now referring to as ‘Daesh,’ claims to have a ‘radioactive device’ in Europe. The terrorist group is responsible for the most deaths worldwide in November, when jihadists conducted 664 attacks that killed more than 5,000 people in 14 countries. While Islamic extremism shows no signs of abating, morale in the U.S. military is alarmingly low.
Media and Culture: Like World War II hero Louie Zamperini’s survival, the film “Unbroken” took years of patience and endurance. Zamperini’s daughter doubts anyone today could survive what her father did.
In Other News: Judicial Watch documents show Lois Lerner, former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS, met with the Election Crimes Division at the DOJ just one month before the 2010 midterms. Over in The Badger State, unions are up in arms as Wisconsin GOP weighs right-to-work law.
Graphics by Feven Amenu.