Thursday, December 27, 2012

RANDOM SHOTS - Sandra Bullock, NYC Newpaper Gives Addresses Of Gun Owners, Ranchers At Odds On Border, Chinese Forced Labor Camps, Rural Vote Went To Romney, and More!

New York Newspaper Faces Backlash After Publishing Map Of Gun Permit Holders

So let's see how this works. A citizen does nothing illegal by obtaining a gun permit, yet gets his name published in the local newspaper the same as if he were a child molester?

Imagine that for a moment. A local New York newspaper is drawing the ire of its readers after publishing an interactive map that shows the names and addresses of thousands of residents who have legally obtained handgun permits.

The online map was published by The Journal News along with an article under the headline: "The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood."

For me, I'm hoping our local newspaper publishes the names and addresses of everyone who legally contributed to the Obama re-election campaign, or who is legally registered as a Democrat.

Maybe we can get an online map published along with an article under the headline: "The fool next door: What you don't know about the Obama supporters in your neighborhood."

While that was being facetious, I'm being serious when I ask why hasn't the same Newspaper seen fit to publish the names and addresses of child molesters and rapists, and other criminals, yet has the gaul to publish the names and addresses of law abiding citizens who have done nothing to warrant such an attack on their privacy?

The newspaper obtained, and then published, the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The article, in explaining the decision to publish the information, pointed to the school massacre in nearby Newtown, Connecticut, as an excuse to publish such an invasion of privacy.

The Journal News is using the school massacre as a way of saying that they are responding to the supposed concerns of some residents about which of their neighbors might have firearms.

But, unlike what the idiots at The Journal News assumed, their readers swiftly condemned their move to ridicule their neighbors.

They pointed out that the interactive map could make the gun owners a target, but also make clear to would-be robbers which homes do not contain a gun - and safer to rob!

"Do you fools realize that you also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob that have no guns in them to protect themselves?" one reader wrote on Facebook.

"You have just destroyed the privacy of these law abiding citizens and by releasing this list, you have equated them to that of sex offenders and murders," wrote another. "These are law abiding gun owners, they are no danger to anyone except for criminals. And with this information you have made them targets for both criminals and anti-gun lobbyist who I am sure are going to treat them like monsters."

The newspaper, in a written statement, defended the decision to run the names.

"The massacre in Newtown remains top-of-mind for many of our readers," the statement said. "In the past week, conversation on our opinion pages and on our website, LoHud.com, has been keenly focused on gun control.

"Our readers are understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods. We obtained the names and addresses of Westchester and Rockland residents who are licensed to own handguns through routine Freedom of Information law public-records requests."

“New York residents have the right to own guns with a permit and they also have a right to access public information,” said Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group.

 Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government and an expert in the state’s Freedom of Information law, has said all government records and data are presumed public unless a specific statute bars their release. Names and addresses are specifically deemed public records, he said.

But Why?

The Journal News has not answered why they would do such a horrible thing and put people at risk.

“We knew publication of the database would be controversial, but we felt sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings,” said CynDee Royle, editor and vice president/news.

 “People are concerned about who owns guns and how many of them there are in their neighborhoods,” she said. “Our Freedom of Information request also sought specifics on how many and what types of weapons people owned. That portion of the request was denied.”

So that's it? The reason they did this is because they can? That's their whole justification if an adult or child gets hurt during a robbery of those homes, or say another that has been marked as defenseless? People are concerned and want to know, and we can, so we did, that's their whole justification.

The map showed the locations of pistol permit holders -- though did not specify whether those shown actually owned a weapon. Since rifles and shotguns can be bought without a permit, that information was not included.
The newspaper separately noted that the reporter on the story "owns a Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Magnum and has had a residence permit in New York City for that weapon since February 2011."

But honestly, this falls under the heading of not right.

Why stupid? Well, by getting the names and addresses of these law abiding citizens and posting them because they violate the agenda of that newspaper, it goes to the concept that just because you can - doesn't make what you did right.

The Journal News did something that they can legally do, but it wasn't right that they did it. No matter how they want to frame it, it just isn't right to treat law abiding citizens with such contempt simply because they are doing something that you don't like.

I was actually hoping that someone would publish the home addresses of The Journal News Staff because they are responsible for this.

Janet Hasson, Publisher, The Journal News/LoHud.com
3 Gate House Lane, Mamaroneck, NY 10543
(914) 694-5204

Dwight R Worley, Reporter, The Journal News/LoHud.com
230-6 139th Ave., Queens, NY 11413
(718) 527-0832
Work Email: dworley@lohud.com
Twitter: @dwightworley FB: LinkedIN: http://...

Cynthia R Lambert (aka CynDee Royle), Editor, The Journal News/LoHud.com
17 McBride Ave., White Plains, NY 10603
(914) 948-9388
Work Email: croyle@lohud.com

Robert F. Rodriguez, Visual Editor, The Journal News/LoHud.com
420 Riverside Dr, Apt 7A New York, NY 10025-7748
(212) 222-4566

Nancy Cutler, Opinion Editor, The Journal News/LoHud.com
9 Woodwind Ln., Spring Valley, NY 10977
(845) 354 3485 Home Phone
(845) 578-2403 Work Phone
Work Email: ncutler@lohud.com

Barbara L Nackman, Reporter, The Journal News/LoHud.com
279 Farrington Ave Tarrytown, NY 10591
(914) 332-5185
Work Email: bnackman@lohud.com
Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, Reporter, The Journal News/LoHud.com
306 Quaker Rd Chappaqua, NY 10514
(914) 238-4607
Work Email: svenugop@lohud.com

Michael J Risinit, Reporter, The Journal News/LoHud.com
42 Robinson Lane Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
(845) 454-2278

Seth Harrison, Photographer, The Journal News/LoHud.com
107 Valleyview Rd Irvington, NY 10533
(914) 231-5411
Work Email: sharriso@lohud.com

Ed Forbes, Digital Editor, The Journal News/LoHud.com
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
(914) 696-8488
Work Email: eforbes@lohud.com

David McKay Wilson, Columnist, The Journal News/LoHud.com
104 Topland Rd Mahopac, New York 10541
Work Email: dwilson3@lohud.com

Journal News Employees

An interactive map with publicly available information about The Journal News employees including home addresses, phone numbers and photos.

 The Journal News Staff - Where They Live!  

By publishing their home addresses, maybe they can learn how vulnerable one can feel when people do things to innocent people.

By experiencing the possibility of a threat just as they have caused others, maybe they will rethink their actions in the future?   I can only hope so.

The actions of anti-gun folks like The Journal News just proves more than ever that we have to bond together to fight them.  
SECOND SHOT!  

Ranchers split over proposal to waive environmental reviews for US border security plan

In Arizona, wWhen Dan Bell drives through his 35,000-acre cattle ranch, he speaks of the hurdles that the Border Patrol faces in his rolling green hills of oak and mesquite trees -- the hours it takes to drive to some places, the wilderness areas that are generally off-limits to motorized vehicles, the environmental reviews required to extend a dirt road.

John Ladd offers a different take from his 14,000-acre spread: the Border Patrol already has more than enough roads and its beefed-up presence has flooded his land and eroded the soil.

Their differences explain why ranchers are on opposite sides of the fence over a sweeping proposal to waive environmental reviews on federal lands within 100 miles of Mexico and Canada for the sake of border security.

The Border Patrol would have a free hand to build roads, camera towers, helicopter pads and living quarters without any of the outside scrutiny that can modify or even derail plans to extend its footprint.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill authored by Utah Republican Rob Bishop in June.

But prospects in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate are extremely slim and chances of President Barack Obama's signature even slimmer. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified in Congress this year that the bill was unnecessary and "bad policy."

Still, an idea that House Republicans kicked around for years has advanced farther in the legislative process than ever before and rekindled discussion over how to balance border security with wildlife protection.

The debate raises some of the same questions that will play out on a larger scale when Congress and the president tackle immigration reform: Is the U.S. border with Mexico secure, considered by some lawmakers to be a litmus test for granting legal residency and citizenship to millions? Has the U.S. reached a point of border security overkill?

Heightened enforcement -- along with a fewer available jobs in the U.S. and an aging population in Mexico -- has brought Border Patrol arrests to 40-year lows.

The U.S. has erected 650 miles of fences and other barriers on the Mexican border, almost all of it after a 2005 law gave the Homeland Security secretary power to waive environmental reviews.

The administration of President George W. Bush exercised its waiver authority on hundreds of miles after years of court challenges and environmental reviews delayed construction on a 14-mile stretch in San Diego.

The Border Patrol, which has doubled to more than 21,000 agents since 2004, has also built 12 "forward operating bases" to increase its presence in remote areas. Instead of driving long distances from their stations every shift, agents stay at the camps for several days.

Lots more needs to be done, according to backers of Bishop's bill to rewrite rules on millions of acres of federal land managed by the Interior and Agriculture departments, including more than 800 miles bordering Mexico and 1,000 miles bordering Canada.

The bill would waive reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and 14 other laws in dozens of wilderness areas, national forests and national parks.

"It's a paralyzing process now," said Bell, 44, as his GMC truck barreled down a dirt road on a 10-mile stretch of his ranch that borders Mexico. "They wanted to put this road in for a decade, probably even longer. They broke ground on it last year."

Bell, a burly, third-generation rancher who leases his land from the Agriculture Department, acknowledges there are noticeably fewer border crossers since the government built a fence on the eastern part of his ranch, near Nogales. In the ranch's west end, the Border Patrol opened one of its camps in 2005 -- a collection of shipping containers that agents use as a base while alternating 12-hour shifts.

Yet migrants continue crossing in some rugged reaches that are well outside of cellphone range. Bell says waiving environmental reviews within 100 miles of the border may be unnecessary but that a 25-mile zone would help immensely.

"There are areas where the agents can't get to," he said. "By the time they get out of the station and get to these remote areas, then hike another two or three hours just to get close to the border, they have to come back because their day is pretty much eaten up. It's really difficult when there's no access out there."

Ladd, a fourth-generation rancher whose spread near Douglas is in a flatter, more easily traveled area of mesquite-draped hills, thinks the Border Patrol has gone far enough. The agency installed four 80-foot camera towers on his land about six years ago. In 2007, it completed a fence along the 10.5 miles of his ranch that borders Mexico.

Rainfall that runs downhill from Mexico is stopped by debris caught in the mesh fence and an adjoining raised road, Ladd says. The water is diverted to other areas, causing floods and soil erosion on his property.

Ladd, 57, thinks the bill would allow the Border Patrol to "run roughshod" over ranches and farms.

"Be careful what you wish for, they're going to tear it up," Ladd tells other ranchers. "Once they get in, it pretty well turns into a parking lot. It's really hard to get them out."

Ladd says the 37 miles of roads on his ranch are enough for the Border Patrol's needs. "Why do you need new ones?" he asks.

The Interior Department raised concerns in a survey of Arizona's Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge last year that found nearly 8,000 miles of off-road vehicle trails, blaming much of it on smuggling and Border Patrol activity. It urged the Border Patrol to rely on tools like radars and cameras, which are less threatening to wildlife.

Critics of the Border Patrol's growth have long called new fences, roads and other infrastructure a threat to Sonoran pronghorn, Mexican grey wolves, jaguars and other border wildlife.

A Government Accountability Office report in 2010 offered fodder for both sides of the debate. It found Border Patrol supervisors generally felt land laws didn't hinder them on the job but that the agency sometimes encountered roadblocks. An unnamed agency took four months to review a Border Patrol request to move a camera tower in Arizona, by which time traffic had moved to another area.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat who has led opposition to the bill that has largely split along party lines, calls the effort a disguised step toward repealing environmental laws.

"The border has become a very convenient excuse to go after laws that have been on the books for four or five decades," he said. "You plant your flag on the 100 miles (of border) and then build from there."

Bishop dismisses that criticism as a scare tactic and a "lousy argument."

"Sovereign countries control their borders. Anything that stops us from that is a violation of why we are a nation," he said.
THIRD SHOT!

Beer Sales Help Rebuild 16th Century Monastery

Monks in a small Northern California town are rebuilding a 16th Century Spanish monastery with help from what may seem an unlikely source: beer.

The first phase of the building's decades-long restoration project in the Sacramento Valley town of Vina has been completed, with the Chapter House of Ovila now standing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In the 1930s, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst bought the former Trappist monastery— the Santa Maria de Ovila — and imported it from Spain for an estate that was never realized. He had planned to use parts of the church for an indoor swimming pool changing room.

Once that project was scrapped, Hearst donated the monastery's pieces to the city of San Francisco, but the dismantled building sat forgotten in Golden Gate Park for more than 60 years.

The Vina monks eventually convinced the city to let them rebuild it there, and with the help of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in nearby Chico have raised millions to get started.

The brewers created a series of Ovila Abbey ales inspired by Belgian Trappist monks, an order that to this day makes some of the finest beers in the world.

Sierra Nevada Brewing and the monks have raised $7 million over the past 12 years to help with the historic and painstaking reconstruction.

The gothic, limestone building that housed Cistercian monks for hundreds of years is finally erect again.

Still, Father Paul Mark Schwan said another $2 million is needed to finish the project: the building is still without the proper window glass, floors and electricity needed to finish it.

"Will it take another 12 years?" Schwan told the paper. "I prefer it not."

FOURTH SHOT!

White House resorts to Name Calling and Blames "Congressional Stupidity" For Cliff

 President Barack Obama had to cut short another one of his many vacations to get back to Washington and do something that he doesn't like to do - that of doing the business of government.

He had cut his annual taxpayer paid Hawaii Christmas vacation to resume talks to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of automatic year-end tax hikes and spending cuts. If you remember during the last debate with Mitt Romney, Obama said that there was no worry about the nation getting to this fical cliff. I guess he was just kidding!

The White House has now called on Congressional Republicans not to stand in the way of a resolution in the U.S. Congress.

“What we need is for the Senate Minority Leader not to block a vote and for Boehner to allow a vote,” a White House official told ABC News. “The hits from our economy are not coming from outside factors they’re coming from Congressional stupidity."

That's right, his people in the White House actually used the term "Congressional stupidity" to describe resistance to the Obama agenda.

Of course if folks in Congress would say "Presidential stupidity" than they'd probably be called racist, but that's a whole nother subject for another day. Critics of the president are alll called racists.

Obama is now seeking a stripped down deal to prevent tax rates from rising on all but the wealthiest Americans and to stop steep across-the-board spending cuts.

The White House last week proposed a broader package that would have let tax rates stay low for those making up to $400,000, a compromise from the president's previous rate hike threshold of $250,000.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner was unimpressed with the offer and sought unsuccessfully to push his own proposal through Congress, but members of his own Party balked at rate hikes of any kind.

Talks broke down after that and the president and lawmakers left town for the holiday.

The focus will shift to the Senate for a deal, where Obama will rely on an ally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to work out a bill that the top Senate Republican, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, will not obstruct.

But even though Obama is trying an end-run on the issue, the House of Representatives must also pass the measure.

"Congressional stubbornness risks again damaging the fragile economy, just as the nation's near-default in 2011 - the result of a stalemate over raising the national borrowing limit - dealt a nascent economic recovery a setback," said an administration official - which was no surprise to anyone.

"If you think about the possibility of Congress failing to act to avert the fiscal cliff, combined with the abomination of what occurred in the summer of 2011, hits to our economy aren't coming from external factors, they're coming from congressional stupidity," the official said.

Since name calling is not a really smart negotiation tactic, I can't wonder why the administration is such a bunch of dumb asses. Especially when they know darn well that they have put off negotiations for the better part of an entire year while Obama shirked his job as president and assumed the role of Campaigner and Chief.

Calling folks names like stupid and pointing fingers is nothing new to this White House, it is just the way they do business. They shirk their duties and their responsibilities, and they get fools to vote for them. And yes, that's just the way it is.
FIFTH SHOT!

More Proof Chinese Forced Labor Camps Manufacturing Goods For Sale In The U.S.

On December 26, 2012, it was reported that an Oregon woman who found a Chinese laborer's plea for help hidden in a box of Halloween decorations says she thinks the letter, which describes brutal conditions inside a work camp, is authentic.

Julie Keith, 42, of Portland, bought a Halloween graveyard kit from Kmart last year and tucked it away in a storage box. When she opened the kit this October, she found the letter tucked in between two Stryofoam headstones.

“If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization,” the unsigned letter read. “Thousands people here who are under the persicution [sic] of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever."

The writer said the product was made in Masanjia Labor Camp in Shenyang, China, where laborers work for 15 hours a day without time off on the weekends and holidays, making only 10 yuan ($1.61) per month.

The China director at Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson, told The Oregonian that the organization could not confirm the origin or authenticity of the letter.

But Keith told Fox News that she thinks it isn’t a fake, after analyzing the product packaging and showing it to a Chinese co-worker at the Portland Goodwill store where she works, who said it looked authentic.

“I fully believe it is real,” she said, describing how the headstones where the letter was found inside of were sealed together and the box was closed with tape. “It had to of come from where they said.”

Keith posted an image of the letter on Facebook and said she’s been criticized online from people who fear retribution against the workers, as the letter contains their exact location at the camp they are stationed – “Unit 8, Department 2.”

But she added that she is “just trying to spread awareness.”

“It would be nice if these companies were aware of what was happening,” she said.

ICE's Homeland Security Investigations said Tuesday that it is looking into the letter, The Oregonian reported.

Keith told Fox News that she spoke to ICE agents and gave them the box of decorations and the letter, but hasn’t received any updates.

Sears Holdings Corporation, which owns Kmart, said in a statement that it is also investigating the matter.

"Sears Holdings has a Global Compliance Program which helps to ensure that vendors and factories producing merchandise for our company adhere to specific Program Requirements, and all local laws pertaining to employment standards and workplace practices," the company said.

"Failure to comply with any of the Program Requirements, including the use of forced labor, may result in a loss of business or factory termination.”

LAST SHOT!
Republicans Took The Rural America Vote!

That's right, while folks in the city voted for Democrat Barack Obama in the last election, Republican Mitt Romney won rural America.

It appears that a decline in turnout in Rural America is almost entirely attributable to the decision by Democratic voters in Rural America to stay home. As a result, Democrats this year left a good number of rural votes on the table.

Fact is that Romney soundly won rural counties across the entire nation by 59% to Obama's 39%.
The good news is that the 2012 results mark a comeback for Republicans in Rural America.

Believe it or not, in 2008, candidate Barack Obama severely reduced the Republican Party’s rural advantage -  winning nearly 6% more of the rural vote than John Kerry had in 2004.

Obama didn’t close that gap by turning Republicans into Democrats. Republican turnout increased in 2008 in rural counties, but Obama vastly increased the turnout of Democrats living in rural counties at the time.

Remember, the popular vote turned out very close this year indicating that Obama is just not as popular as some in the media are making out. Many believe that an indication of how unpopular Obama is in the nation was demonstrated by the way that rural Democrats stayed home this year.

Turnout was down in 2012 from four years ago.

Most demographic groups voted more Republican in local, state, and for Congress this year than they did in 2008, though the shifts weren’t enough to change the result for the presidency.

One thing that Obama supporters and the media, or the White House, doesn't want to talk about: The vote for Obama was down more than nine percent from 2008 - that's nearly 7 Million less votes for Obama in 2012 than in 2008.

About a third of that decline was due to lower Democratic turnout in rural counties.

Contrast that with the fact that Republican presidential candidates got about the same number of votes in each of the last three elections - between 12.3 and 12.9 million votes.

Democrats Kerry and Obama received just over 8 million rural votes in the 2004 and 2012 elections. In 2008, however, Obama won about 10.6 million rural votes.

Yes, turnout was up in rural America in 2008, an increase of about 3.2 million over the average turnout in rural counties in 2004 and 2012.

But 2.24 million votes out of that increase were Democratic votes. When turnout increased in rural counties in 2008, 70 percent of that increase was attributable to Democratic voters.

Moreover, the turnout in rural counties was disproportionately strong in 2008. In 2008, the rural vote accounted for 18.3% percent of the national total.

Or, think about it this way: One third of President Obama’s decline in votes from 2008 was due to results from rural counties. But those counties make up only 17 percent of the nation’s voters.

The lesson seems to be that there are a lot of Democrats living in rural communities who just don’t vote for one reason or another.

Why did President Obama do so well in 2008, and yet lose more than 2.2 million rural votes four years later?

Well, back in 2008 the Obama campaign certainly concentrated more on rural communities and rural concerns, a huge number of farm and ranch groups supported the Democrat because they thought he support farmers and ranchers - and would enforce anti-trust laws in the food industry.

Four years later, well Rural American found out that Barack Obama was all talk and no action.
His promises about anti-trust enforcement came to nothing, and the President barely set foot in rural America during the campaign this year.

It's a possibility that rural Democrats stayed home because the President didn’t deliver on promises from 2008, and he didn’t show up at all during the 2012 campaign.

There may be another reason why rural Democrats stayed home this year. Some believe that people with minority political beliefs hate to come out into the open and be noticed.

For me, well, when I read that - my bullshit detector went off.

You see, while it might be true tat the majority of rural Democrats don't want to be known, from my experience liberals living in Rural America are one of the biggest problems that we in Rural America have to contend with.

While some expert somewhere might really believe that folks with liberal attitudes keep quiet in rural America, or that they participate less in public affairs, or vote less, that's not the experience everywhere. And honestly, it's certainly not the case here.

Most of us know who the liberals are in our area, with a population of 189 in Glencoe, we pretty much know there names and where they live. We also know who they support and what kind of liberal Communist ass changes they want to bring into our lives.

While some educated statistics collector thinks he knows something about liberals in rural America, and he might go on and on about how there may be some sort social pressures that are disproportionately suppressing the rural Democratic vote, I don't see that happening at all.

If anything, liberals are more organized and willing to tell their neighbors how to live - than conservatives would be - and that lends to their desire to get into politics. Liberals crave political influence.

And yes, that's the reason why so many rural communities are always having to battle their desire to change things from what traditionally works to some Communist way of life that has been a proven failure.

For me, I believe that the decline in Democrat turnout in rural counties is due mostly to a decline in the number of Democratic voters in rural areas.

Yes, maybe having Obama in the White House has changed something for the better? After all, there is a real possibility that rural Democrats have learned that not everything is Bush's fault, and Obama is all talk and no action - all promises and nothing delivered.

There is a possibility that rural Democrats found out that Obama is like teats on a bore hog. And yes, that's probably more the truth.

TRIVIA

Actress Sandra Bullock is known for doing some really outstanding roles. While filming "Two if by Sea" in 1996, Sandra Bullock found out the hard way that she's allergic to horses.

Though she looks great as a Cowgirl, and she still loves horses, she now can't get too close to them.

Story by Tom Correa

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