Gosnell, a movie about convicted murderer and former abortionist Kermit Gosnell that was crowd-funded on IndieGoGo in the largest movie campaign ever, will be directed by Justified actor Nick Searcy and will now be a theatrical release. Previously, producers Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney and Magdalena Segieda intended on making Gosnell a TV movie.
Gosnell raised nearly 2.3 million dollars on IndieGoGo from more than 27,000 donors. The film will be a crime drama, not a documentary.
From an update on the IndieGoGo page:
From the moment we told Nick Searcy about this project, he offered enthusiastic support and, as you know, recorded a video to help with the original fundraising campaign.
Nick has just finished filming the sixth and final season of his hit cable show Justified and says that he is both excited and humbled by the opportunity to direct the GOSNELL movie. We are delighted he has agreed to join the project because of his great talent and, just as importantly, because he cares so deeply about the story.
Nick has said that he feels a great responsibility to you, our investors, to answer and explore three important aspects of the story: what really happened In that anonymous brick building in West Philadelphia, why was it allowed to happen, and most importantly, why did no one want to talk about it after it happened?
The film will be written by Andrew Klavan. There is no targeted release date yet.
Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for:
Today, Donald J. Trump, the globally renowned business mogul, announced he is forming an exploratory committee to determine whether he will run for the office of the President of the United States of America.
Donald Trump stated, “I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble. We have lost the respect of the entire world. Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians --- who are all talk and no action! I have built a great company, created thousands of jobs and built a tremendous net worth with some of the finest and most prestigious assets in the world --- and very little debt! All Americans deserve the same opportunity. Our real unemployment rate is staggering while our manufacturing base is eroding on a daily basis. We must rebuild our infrastructure, control our borders, support local control of education, greatly strengthen our military, care for our veterans and put Americans back to work! We must stop other countries from totally taking advantage of our representatives who are being out-negotiated at every turn. I am the only one who can make America truly great again!”
“Mr. Trump has the vision and leadership skills to bring our country back to greatness,” Trump’s Senior Political Adviser Corey Lewandowski also added, according to the press release. “He has run an extremely successful corporation for many years. During that time, he has created thousands of jobs. Mr. Trump has a proven ability to present real solutions and get things done. He looks forward to meeting with Americans across the country and sharing those solutions to the serious problems we are facing.”
Sound familiar? This is essentially the argument Mitt Romney made in 2012 that worked so well. As a seasoned business executive, he argued that his massive fortune coupled with his exceptional business record (among other things) qualified him to be president of the United States. The problem is, Trump has never served in government as Romney had -- nor does he have experience running as many state or national campaigns. He’s a political novice. So I have to ask: Is forming an exploratory committee a serious step forward to running for president or a publicity stunt to gain media attention and more time in front of the cameras?
For what it’s worth, Trump’s name doesn’t even register in early polling and despite his many great accomplishments he will look out of place running for the nomination (especially as an outspoken birther) against serious leaders with lots of experience. But then again, this is a free country and if he wants to run, I see no reason why he couldn't.
I just don’t expect him to do all that well before calling it quits. We'll see.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Gunmen stormed a popular museum in Tunisia’s capital on Wednesday, killing 19 people, including 17 tourists, before two of the attackers were slain by security forces, the interior ministry said.
About 200 tourists were visiting the Bardo National Museum, located near parliament in central Tunis, when the armed men charged into the building, Tunisian state radio quoted a ministry spokesman as saying. Besides the 17 tourists, one museum staff member was killed.
Many of the victims were from Europe. Meanwhile, Tunisia’s prime minister also said that several of the suspected gunmen are still on the loose:
Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid said 21 people were killed: 17 tourists, two gunmen, a Tunisian security officer and a Tunisian cleaning woman. He said the dead tourists came from Italy, Poland, Germany and Spain.
He said two or three of the attackers remained at large.
And who is responsible for such a brazen and cowardly act? At this time we don’t know, but perhaps it’s not a mystery:
Sit tight for updates.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has run into a little bit of trouble on immigration again, this time forcing a communications aide off his staff after Democrats pushed out old tweets from the aide disparaging Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a well-known opponent of amnesty.
"In other news, I see Iowa is once again embarrassing itself, and the GOP, this morning. Thanks, guys," the aide, Liz Mair tweeted, referring to King's January 24th Iowa Freedom Summit where Walker, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Carly Fiorina, and other possible Republican presidential candidates spoke.
Walker's troubles with immigration began in January when opponents began circulating prior statements of his showing that Walker has endorsed both a "path to citizenship" generally and the Senate's Gang of 8 bill specifically.
Walker has since tried to walk those positions back, telling Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace on March 1st, "My view has changed, I’m flat-out saying it. Candidates can say that, sometimes they don’t."
And Walker's view on immigration has changed. Here he is on immigration in July of 2013: "You hear some people talk about border security and a wall and all that. To me, I don't know that you need any of that if you had a better, saner way to let people into the country in the first place."
And here is Walker in March 2015: "I've talked to people all across America. And the concerns I have is that we need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works. A legal immigration system that works. And part of doing this is put the onus on employers, getting them E-Verify and tools to do that."
So Walker has shifted from believing a secure border wasn't really necessary to now believing that it is.
But what about those illegal immigrants already here? What is Walker's position on that? Again, from March 1st:
WALLACE: The question was, can you envision a world where if these people paid a penalty, that they would have a path to citizenship? And you said, sure, that makes sense.
WALKER: I believe there's a way that you can do that. First and foremost, you've got to secure that border or none of these plans make any sense.
(emphasis added) Notice the present tense. Walker still believes that illegal immigrants currently in the United States should be given a path to citizenship, but only if you secure the border first, which is a not uncommon Republican position on immigration.
But how is it any different than Jeb Bush's position?
Here is Jeb from March 13:
It’s easy to say, ‘Well, anything you propose is amnesty,’ but that’s not a plan. That’s a sentiment, that’s not a plan. I think the best plan, the most realistic plan, the grown up plan, if you will, is once you control the border and you’re confident it’s not going to be another magnet, is to say, ‘Let’s let these folks achieve earned legal status where they work, where they come out of the shadows.’”
So both Walker and Bush believe we should "secure"/"control" the border first (whatever that means), and then, only after that is accomplished, can we give legal status/citizenship to illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
If there is any difference between Walker and Bush on immigration, I do not see it.
White House Aide David Simas managed to make the current chilly US-Israel relationship even colder on CNN this morning. When reporter Alisyn Camerota asked Simas for a response from the Obama administration on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud government’s win in Tuesday’s Israel elections, he offered them a less-than-convincing congratulations.
"We want to congratulate the Israeli people for the democratic process for the election that they just engaged in with all the parties that engaged in that election. As you know now, the hard work of coalition building begins. Sometimes that takes a couple of weeks. And we're going to give space to the formation of that coalition government and we're not going to weigh in one way or another except to say that the United States and Israel have a historic and close relationship and that will continue going forward," Simas said.
To be fair:
Presidents traditionally congratulate an Israeli PM when he succeeds in forming a government. Bibi hasn't done that yet.— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) March 18, 2015
What's more, the White House's treatment of Netanyahu suggests we shouldn't hold our breath. To recap: in the past few weeks, the president has managed to interview with YouTube stars and read mean tweets on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and the First Lady took some time to dance with Ellen, yet neither one of them could attend Netanyahu’s historic speech to Congress earlier this month nor even offer the prime minister a meeting during his trip to the States.
It seems Netanyahu is doing quite well without their support, yet some kind of attention from the White House would be appreciated, especially considering our countries’ longstanding history.
President Obama is also jeopardizing America’s relationship with Israel by seriously considering to sign a nuclear agreement with Iran. Netanyahu has urged Obama to reject this ‘very bad deal,’ which he says would create a dangerous environment not just for Israel, but for the world.
Unfortunately, Netanyahu's pleas are not reaching the White House - their late night TV schedules must be keeping them busy.
A U.S. Air Force veteran has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn for attempting to join the Islamic militant group ISIS.
In December 2014, 47-year-old Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, a former Air Force avionics instrument system specialist, was fired from a job as an airplane mechanic in Kuwait. Just weeks later, Pugh traveled from Egypt to Turkey, and allegedly intended to cross the border into Syria to join ISIS to wage violent jihad. Denied entry into Turkey, he was sent him back to Egypt, then deported to the United States.
“Born and raised in the United States, Pugh allegedly turned his back on his country and attempted to travel to Syria in order to join a terrorist organization,” said U.S. Attorney and Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch in a statement. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute extremists, whether based here or abroad, to stop them before they are able to threaten the United States and its allies.”
Pugh’s attorney has said that he will plead not guilty.
An investigation of his computer revealed recent internet searches for “borders controlled by Islamic state”, “who controls kobani”, “kobani border crossing”, and “jarablus border crossing,” further indicating his intent to cross into Syria. He also had downloaded ISIS propaganda videos, including one showing prisoner executions.
When he arrived in Egypt, Pugh had several partially destroyed USB thumb drives and an iPod that had been wiped of data. He has also been charged with obstruction.
Pugh was also carrying two compasses, a solar-powered flashlight, a solar-powered power source, a fatigue jacket and camping clothes.
“United States citizens who offer support to terrorist organizations pose a grave threat to our national security and will face serious consequences for their actions,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez in a statement. “We will continue to work with our partners, both here and abroad, to prevent acts of terrorism. This investigation demonstrates the importance of law enforcement coordination and collaboration here and around the world.”
If convicted, Pugh will face a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison. He will be arraigned on the indictment Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. before Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in Brooklyn.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party was the clear winner in Tuesday’s election, a near-final tally showed early Wednesday morning, defeating the Zionist Union by a margin of some six seats. That margin was far more decisive than TV exit polls had predicted when polling booths closed at 10 p.m. on Tuesday. All three TV polls had put Likud and Zionist Union neck-and-neck at 27 seats, albeit with Netanyahu better-placed to form a coalition…On the basis of those TV polls, Netanyahu hailed a Likud victory, though Herzog initially refused to concede. As counting proceeded through the night, however, the Likud opened a growing margin of victory. By 6 a.m., with some 99% of votes counted, the Central Elections Committee was indicating a dramatic victory for Netanyahu, with the Likud heading for 30 seats, compared to Zionist Union’s 24 seats.
So the election that was supposed to see Netanyahu crushed instead sees him reelected with Likud jumping from 18 seats to 29/30.— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) March 18, 2015
Tightness of exits in Israel suggests Bibi's shameful 11th hour demagoguery may have swayed enough votes to save him. But at what cost?— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 17, 2015
Keep in mind that this lamenter of demagoguery is the same guy who ran a campaign that accused Mitt Romney of giving a woman cancer, blessing scurrilous charges of tax evasion, and darkly warning Ohio voters that Obama’s opponent wasn’t “one of us.” You’d think he’d respect a ruthless, win-at-all-costs (successful) strategy. Instead, he’s moaning about tactics and civility. Heal thyself…
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is having a really tough time getting re-elected in the Windy City after heading to a run-off last month against opponent and Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garci. In fact, Emanuel is having such a hard time, he's asking Republicans, who he's spent his entire life attacking, for help. Not only that, it looks like some Republicans are happy to do it. More from National Journal:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is about as partisan a Democrat as there is in this country. But to win a second term and avoid a humiliating defeat, he'll need to win over and turn out the small number of Republicans in the city.
Emanuel isn't openly telegraphing his runoff strategy, but signs of his reliance on the party he has worked to oppose his whole career are everywhere. Gov. Bruce Rauner, a longtime acquaintance of the mayor's, has been working behind the scenes to help his friend, while GOP Sen. Mark Kirk warned this month that Chicago could become like Detroit if Emanuel isn't reelected. Rahm's most recent ad comes straight out of the Mitt Romney playbook, accusing his outspokenly liberal opponent, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, of wanting to hike Chicagoans' taxes by supporting $1.9 billion in spending programs. Several of the top donors to Emanuel's Chicago Forward super PAC are conservative Republicans, including hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin, a top Romney supporter and a Crossroads contributor, and investor Muneer Satter, who spent more than $1 million over the past few years on behalf of top Republican candidates and is backing Jeb Bush's campaign for president.
Politics. Such a weird thing.
The first run-off debate between Emanuel and Garcia was last night. Election day is April 7.
In February United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, placing her attorney general nomination on the Senate floor for a vote. Now, she's having a difficult time getting confirmed. Republicans don't like her approval of President Obama's executive amnesty and some Democrats don't believe she's been tough enough on Wall Street over the years.
Despite opposition to Lynch from both sides of the political aisle, the White House is pointing the blame for the stonewalling of her nomination at Senate Republicans.
"Let me just say that if Ms. Lynch were not confirmed by the United States Senate, it would be an astonishing display of partisanship, particularly given the fact that not a single member of the United States Senate has raised a legitimate concern about her aptitude for that office," White House Press Secretary said during the daily briefing Monday. "It is the responsibility of each one of these Senators to make their own decisions but if the outcome were to be that she were denied confirmation for this seat it would be astonishing."
During her confirmation hearing earlier this year, Lynch tried to distance herself from Attorney General Eric Holder but embraced President Obama's recent executive action on illegal immigration. Lynch also argued that anyone who is in the United States, regardless of how they got there, has a right to work.
“This is an opportunity, within the Senate rules, to express my disapproval of the president’s abuse of executive authority, and it’s an opportunity I intend to take," Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said in a statement yesterday about his opposition to Lynch. "I will vote against President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch for attorney general of the United States."
The Israeli elections are over, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud Party has “soundly defeated” the Israeli Left led by Isaac Herzog, according to The New York Times. Herzog is the chairman of the Israeli Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition in the Knesset. Herzog’s Labor Party formed a political alliance with the Hatnuah, another liberal party, to form the Zionist Union for the 2015 elections.
After media reports were saying either the race was too close to call, or that Likud had a slim lead; it became clear, once 99 percent of the vote was tabulated, that Likud soundly beat the Zionist Union (via NYT):
#BREAKING: Decisive victory for Netanyahu as 95% of votes counted: Likud 30, Zionist Union 24, Joint Arab List 13, Yesh Atid 11, Kulanu 10— i24news_EN (@i24news_EN) March 18, 2015
After a bruising campaign focused on his failings, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel won a clear victory in Tuesday’s elections and seemed all but certain to form a new government and serve a fourth term, though he offended many voters and alienated allies in the process.
With 99.5 percent of the ballots counted, the YNet news site reported Wednesday morning that Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party had captured 29 or 30 of the 120 seats in Parliament, sweeping past his chief rival, the center-left Zionist Union alliance, which got 24 seats.
Mr. Netanyahu, who served as prime minister for three years in the 1990s and returned to office in 2009, exulted in what he called “a huge victory” and said he had spoken to the heads of all the parties “in the national camp” and urged them to help him form a government “without any further ado.”
“I am proud of the Israeli people that, in the moment of truth, knew how to separate between what’s important or what’s not and to stand up for what’s important,” he told an exuberant crowd early Wednesday morning at Likud’s election party at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. “For the most important thing for all of us, which is real security, social economy and strong leadership.”
Based on the results reported on YNet, Mr. Netanyahu could form a narrow coalition of nationalist and religious parties free of the ideological divisions that stymied his last government. That was what he intended when he called early elections in December. President Reuven Rivlin, who in coming days must charge Mr. Netanyahu or Mr. Herzog with trying to forge a coalition based on his poll of party leaders’ preferences, said shortly after the polls closed that he would suggest they join forces instead.
“I am convinced that only a unity government can prevent the rapid disintegration of Israel’s democracy and new elections in the near future,” he told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Yet, the Times noted that both Netanyahu and Herzog have rejected the unity government approach since they cannot reconcile their differences on the issues. They also reported that all eyes are focused on Moshe Kahlon, a former Likud minister, who formed the Kulanu Party–“All Of Us”–after a falling out with Netanyahu. Kulanu won 10 seats, and holds the balance of power for either the Zionist Union or Likud. Kahlon leans to the right, but reportedly has issues with Netanyahu. Regardless, Likud is expected to form a conservative government with 63 to 64 seats out of the 120 in the Knesset. Sixty-one seats are required to approve a new government. As Dan wrote last night, no party has ever won an outright majority due to Israel’s proportional election system.
Updated - over 4 millions votes counted, above 95% pic.twitter.com/1lTkVWgvJE— Nehemia Gershuni A. (@Nehemia_G) March 18, 2015
Prime Minister Netanyahu was jubilant in his victory speech saying, "These are important things for every family, citizen, soldier, and all of Israel's Jewish and non-Jewish citizens…you are all important, and you are all important to me…now we must form a strong, stable government that will know how to uphold security and socioeconomic well-being."
Isaac Herzog spoke before, noting 2015 was Labor’s best electoral finish since 1992. He said he would try and form a government as well. Yet, i24news noted in their coverage that the Israeli left has a messaging problem, citing patronizing tones and a general lack of focus. Even the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper–in an article about Arab-Israeli participation in elections–noted that the political left has been a disappointment since the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995.
Over here, media reaction to Netanyahu’s win was that he’s a racist. Slate’s Will Saletan wrote, “Netanyahu has become Israel’s George Wallace.”
Here’s CNN’s Jake Tapper speaking with Christiane Amanpour about the last minute get out the vote efforts, which some have considered racist towards Arabs(via Newsbusters):
JAKE TAPPER: Christiane, in the United States, we woke up this morning to the news that Netanyahu had put out a YouTube video imploring his supporters to show up to the polls today, claiming that Palestinians or Arabs as he called them were being bused to the polls by left-leaning organizations. He was very criticized by people in the Israeli media for what they describe as a racist appeal, but it looks as though this appeal, whether or not one likes it, might have helped galvanize his base to get to the polls.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Well, you're absolutely right and it wasn’t just the press. It was also the Arab-Israeli parliamentarians, those who made the joint list, who are also incredibly upset by that YouTube appeal and I just spoke to one of them who’s part of the joint list who said, look, we have made an unprecedented coalition. We want to work unprecedentedly in the system for our rights and for, you know, Jewish rights and by the way, who are these Arabs that they are scare-mongering us? We are citizens of this country. Let’s not forget, it’s not like a bunch of Arabs from neighboring next door are being bused in to the elections. Israeli Arabs, citizens of the country, 1.7 million of them, as this parliamentarian told me, have been incredibly motivated in this election and they want to get out and try to better their lives, but they’re very conscious, as one of them – as this one told me, that they feel that the Likud Party and the right wing do have a sort-of racist policy towards them and it's very scary for them.
CBS and NBC warned that Netanyahu’s win “could destroy” future peace plans with the Palestinians and relations with Obama.
Arab-Israelis have felt like they’re being treated as second-class citizens, but the Joint List–the political alliance comprised of mostly Arab-Israeli political parties formed for the 2015 elections–has some interesting members of its own–and I don't mean that in a good way. Curtis Houck at Newsbusters cited the Daily Beast, which gave the details [emphasis mine]:
The fault lines of the Joint List already have been cause for heated debate among Israelis. The bloc includes conservatives who believe in polygamy, and also those who rally for women's rights. Ayman Odeh’s Hadash party, a coexistence-communist party calling for an “alliance of the disadvantaged” between both Jewish and Arab citizens, alongside Haneen Zoabi, of the nationalist Balad party, who is notorious among Jewish-Israelis for being belligerently divisive. She was banned from the Knesset last summer after saying that the Palestinian militants accused of abducting and killing three Israeli teenagers in June were not terrorists, and has repeatedly applauded Palestinian resistance.
Moreover, the wider Israeli public is wary of the more radical views of some of the Joint List’s members, such as its Raja Zatraa, who at Bar Ilan University on Tuesday denied that Hamas was a terror organization, and said that ISIS learned its crimes of rape, looting and murder from the Zionist movement.
Yeah, some would classify the latter statement as anti-Semitic. That’s not to condone the campaign actions deployed by Likud, but let’s not pretend that the Joint List is an innocent victim here.
It’s hard for Americans to empathize with the Israeli strategic situation. We don’t live in an area of the world where millions along our borders wish to see us destroyed. We don’t have rockets raining down upon us, and we live in a country with “strategic depth.” Israel is only nine miles at its narrowest point near the city of Netanya.
Regardless, it seems as if Netanyahu has defied the odds and clinched a sweet win.