Chicago: 53 Murdered, 224 Wounded In August

53 Homicides, 224 Wounded In The Month Of August In Rahm’s Chicago – Weasel Zippers

Chicago or Syria?

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Via Breitbart:

No matter how Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy spin it by touting overall crime being down in the city, the numbers for 2013 are still horrifying.

The website HeyJackass.com, which keeps some pretty interesting data regarding Chicago crime statistics, reports that the city saw 53 homicides in August, with 41 deaths and 224 wounded as a result of shootings.

The August crime wave ended on a tragic note, with 11 people shot and killed over Labor Day weekend; more than 25 more were shot and wounded.

For September to date, there are already seven shooting homicides with another 29 people wounded. The city crime data portal shows that murders and shootings are down, but only when compared to 2012. When compared to 2011, the number of murders is almost identical. HeyJackass.com shows a total 309 homicides for 2013, and things don’t seem to be getting any better.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Democrat Mission Accomplished… Detroit Finally Files For Bankruptcy

After 50 Years Of Democratic Rule Detroit Files For Bankruptcy – Gateway Pundit

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50 Years of Failure:

From January 1952 to Today-

Jerome Cavanagh (D)
Roman Gribbs (D)
Coleman Young (D)
Dennis Archer (D)
Kwame Kilpatrick (D – Crook)
Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. (D)
Dave Bing (D)

Take a bow, Democrats.

USA Today reported:

The city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in federal court Thursday, laying the groundwork for a historic effort to bail out a city that is sinking under billions of dollars in debt and decades of mismanagement, population flight and loss of tax revenue.

The bankruptcy filing makes Detroit the largest city in U.S. history to do so.

The filing begins a 30- to 90-day period that will determine whether the city is eligible for Chapter 9 protection and define how many claimants might compete for the limited settlement resources that Detroit has to offer. The bankruptcy petition would seek protection from creditors and unions who are renegotiating $18.5 billion in debt and other liabilities.

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who in June released a plan to restructure the city’s debt and obligations that would leave many creditors with much less than they are owed, has warned consistently that if negotiations hit an impasse, he would move quickly to seek bankruptcy protection.

Thank you, Democrats. You own this.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Related article:

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FLASHBACK: Obama Says I “Refused To Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” – Weasel Zippers

And yet they did anyway.

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Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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*VIDEO* Cedar Falls, IA: City Government Demands All Keys To Properties Belonging To Residents

Egyptian Pyramids Found By Infra-Red Satellite Images

Egyptian Pyramids Found By Infra-Red Satellite Images – BBC News

More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings, including two suspected pyramids.

“To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist,” says US Egyptologist Dr Sarah Parcak.

She has pioneered the work in space archaeology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and says she was amazed at how much she and her team has found.

“We were very intensely doing this research for over a year. I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the “Aha!” moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we’d found and I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.”

The team analysed images from satellites orbiting 700km above the earth, equipped with cameras so powerful they can pin-point objects less than 1m in diameter on the earth’s surface.

Infra-red imaging was used to highlight different materials under the surface.

Ancient Egyptians built their houses and structures out of mud brick, which is much denser than the soil that surrounds it, so the shapes of houses, temples and tombs can be seen.

“It just shows us how easy it is to underestimate both the size and scale of past human settlements,” says Dr Parcak.

And she believes there are more antiquities to be discovered:

“These are just the sites [close to] the surface. There are many thousands of additional sites that the Nile has covered over with silt. This is just the beginning of this kind of work.”

BBC cameras followed Dr Parcak on her “nervous” journey when she travelled to Egypt to see if excavations could back up what her technology could see under the surface.

In the BBC documentary Egypt’s Lost Cities, they visit an area of Saqqara (Sakkara) where the authorities were not initially interested in her findings.

But after being told by Dr Parcak that she had seen two potential pyramids, they made test excavations, and they now believe it is one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt.

But Dr Parcak said the most exciting moment was visiting the excavations at Tanis.

“They’d excavated a 3,000-year-old house that the satellite imagery had shown and the outline of the structure matched the satellite imagery almost perfectly. That was real validation of the technology.”

The Egyptian authorities plan to use the technology to help – among other things – protect the country’s antiquities in the future.

During the recent revolution, looters accessed some well-known archaeological sites.

“We can tell from the imagery a tomb was looted from a particular period of time and we can alert Interpol to watch out for antiquities from that time that may be offered for sale.”

She also hopes the new technology will help engage young people in science and will be a major help for archaeologists around the world.

“It allows us to be more focused and selective in the work we do. Faced with a massive site, you don’t know where to start.

“It’s an important tool to focus where we’re excavating. It gives us a much bigger perspective on archaeological sites. We have to think bigger and that’s what the satellites allow us to do.”

“Indiana Jones is old school, we’ve moved on from Indy, sorry Harrison Ford.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

Daily Benefactor News – NYC Sanitation Department’s Slow Snow Cleanup Was A Union Budget Protest

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NYC Sanitation Department’s Slow Snow Cleanup Was A Union Budget Protest – New York Post

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts – a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

“They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important,” said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.

Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department – and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan – at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.

The snitches “didn’t want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation,” Halloran said. “They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file.”

New York’s Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process – and pad overtime checks – which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.

The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow.

They said crews normally would have been more aggressive in com bating a fierce, fast-moving bliz zard like the one that barreled in on Sunday and blew out the next morning.

The workers said the work slowdown was the result of growing hostility between the mayor and the workers responsible for clearing the snow.

In the last two years, the agency’s workforce has been slashed by 400 trash haulers and supervisors – down from 6,300 – because of the city’s budget crisis. And, effective tomorrow, 100 department supervisors are to be demoted and their salaries slashed as an added cost-saving move.

Sources said budget cuts were also at the heart of poor planning for the blizzard last weekend. The city broke from its usual routine and did not call in a full complement on Saturday for snow preparations in order to save on added overtime that would have had to be paid for them to work on Christmas Day.

The result was an absolute collapse of New York’s once-vaunted systems of clearing the streets and keeping mass transit moving under the weight of 20 inches of snow.

The Sanitation Department last night denied there was a concerted effort to slow snow removal.

“There are no organized or wildcat actions being taken by the sanitation workers or the supervisors,” said spokesman Matthew Lipani.

Joseph Mannion, president of the union that represents agency supervisors, said talk of a slowdown “is hogwash.” But he admitted there is “resentment out there” toward Mayor Bloomberg and his administration because of budget cuts.

His counterpart at the rank-and-file’s union, Harry Nespoli, has also denied there is a job action, though he admitted his guys are working lucrative 14-hour shifts.

Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said only: “We would hope this is not the case.”

But multiple Sanitation Department sources told The Post yesterday that angry plow drivers have only been clearing streets assigned to them even if that means they have to drive through snowed-in roads with their plows raised.

And they are keeping their plow blades unusually high, making it necessary for them to have to run extra passes, adding time and extra pay.

One mechanic said some drivers are purposely smashing plows and salt spreaders to further stall the cleanup effort.

“That is a disgrace. I had to walk three miles because the buses can’t move,” said salesman Yuri Vesslin, 38, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg – quickly becoming the public face of failure this week – spent a second consecutive day yesterday defending himself to critics of his administration’s handling of the storm.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Camden, New Jersey: Another Leftist-Run City Bites The Dust

Camden, NJ Lays Off Hundreds Of Cops And Firefighters Instead Of Bureaucrats, Gov. Christie Blamed – The Hot Joints

If you want to see the utter greed and selfishness of public sector unions look no further than Camden, New Jersey. Drug related violence and a high level of gang activity has made Camden the second most dangerous city in America.

Gov. Chris Christie has been working hard to put New Jersey back on firm financial footing. He has promised to balance the state’s budget by any and all means necessary.

Camden has a $26.5 million deficit that it must close. Lay offs are simply unavoidable in a situation like that. The logical and responsible thing to do is lay off those employees whose work isn’t absolutely critical to the city, right? Lay off the paper pushers first and then see where you stand. Only as a last resort would you cut critical positions like police, firefighters, paramedics, etc.

Not in Camden. The city council voted unanimously to lay off 400 workers, half of them cops and firefighters. That’s close to half the city’s entire police force and a third of all firefighters.

Meanwhile, the public sector union workers are free to sit on their fat, bloated asses and let the gravy train keep right on rolling. What a disgrace.

One union official had this to say about the cuts:

“If we agreed to everything that the city proposed in concessions, it would only have a minor impact on the number of layoffs,” Walco told the council members.

How much you wanna bet that’s a load of crap? This was purely a political stunt to try and damage Gov. Christie.

Want proof?

When it was over, Council president Frank Moran suggested they’re not to blame.

“We didn’t put a price tag on public safety. Unfortunately, the governor of the State of New Jersey put that price tag on it,” he said at the packed Council meeting.

That price tag is $69 million, in transitional aid. Moran suggested that Camden residents should vent to Governor Chris Christie.

We’re used to hearing liberals warn of having to lay off cops and firefighters, but we all recognize it as meaningless rhetoric. There’s plenty of people to get rid of before cops and firefighters. But Camden actually did it.

They’re playing politics with peoples lives. The public sector unions in Camden are going to have blood on their hands. How many citizens are going to be murdered, mugged, raped, or assaulted as a result of losing half the police force?

Moreover, how many people are going to be helped because a bunch of paper pushing bureaucrats get to keep gossiping around the water cooler?

Chris Christie should run an ad campaign touting the selfishness and greed of public sector unions. He should show the people of New Jersey that city workers don’t care about their safety.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

Related Stories

NJ City Layoff Plan Cuts Police Force By Half – Police One

Camden City Council Approves Massive Layoffs – Philadelphia Inquirer

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Camden, NJ Ranked 2nd Most Dangerous US City In 2009; St. Louis Tops List – Daily Record

St. Louis overtook Camden, N.J., as the nation’s most dangerous city in 2009, according to a national study released Sunday.

The study by CQ Press found St. Louis had 2,070.1 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, compared with a national average of 429.4. That helped St. Louis beat out Camden, which topped last year’s list and was the most dangerous city for 2003 and 2004.

Detroit, Flint, Mich., and Oakland, Calif., rounded out the top five. For the second straight year, the safest city with more than 75,000 residents was Colonie, N.Y.

The annual rankings are based on population figures and crime data compiled by the FBI.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Camden Mayor Dana Redd Seeks To Double Aide Pay – Associated Press

A city watchdog is outraged that Mayor Dana Redd wants to double the top maximum salaries for three jobs.

The top salary for mayoral aides would jump to $150,000 from $71,000. Redd also wants to raise the maximum salaries for city attorney and mayor’s counsel, though not as drastically.

Her spokesman said the bigger salaries are needed to attract a qualified and experienced staff.

Watchdog Kelly Francis called raises for anyone during a recession in the impoverished city “insane.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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NJ Community Speaking Out Against Corrupt Cops – Police Once

At ground zero of the police corruption scandal in Camden, prayers for a community’s rebirth are painted on boarded-up storefronts, fading old-timers drain bottles of cheap liquor on dirty porches, and young men waste away on trash-littered corners.

And nearly everyone in this Waterfront South neighborhood has a story about the officers at the center of the ongoing federal investigation.

“They were the dirtiest cops I ever seen,” said Keith Sartin, standing in front of a park at Broadway and Ferry Avenue.

Interviews with more than two dozen residents last week added emotion to the spare comments from authorities Friday, when former Camden Police Officer Kevin Parry pleaded guilty in the case.

Parry acknowledged his role in a corrupt police operation that has led to charges being overturned or dismissed in 185 drug cases. Parry implicated four other officers.

Since December, dozens of low-level drug dealers and drug users have been released from prison, and their stories – coupled with a review of the convictions vacated by the court since December – indicate the accused officers claimed the Waterfront South neighborhood as their territory.

The officers are being investigated on allegations that they skimmed cash and planted drugs during illegal searches and illegal arrests. Parry, 29, entered his plea in U.S. District Court, saying he and four other officers stole drugs, stashed them around the city, and bribed people in exchange for information in at least 70 incidents.

In some cases, he said, additional drugs were planted on people to increase the charges. He said he and other officers had falsified police reports and lied in court.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

Related Story

2 Camden NJ Cops Charged In Police Corruption Case – Law Enforcement Corruption

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Camden’s COO Pay More Than Philly Mayor – WPVI

Base pay for Camden’s state-appointed chief operating officer is more than the mayor of Philadelphia.

Theodore Davis earns $220,000 compared to $167,436 for Michael Nutter.

Davis was the highest-paid person in New Jersey’s executive branch in 2008. He’s 26th when comparing total pay, which includes overtime and bonuses or incentives.

The 75-year-old retired judge also collects a pension of nearly $10,000 a month.

The COO position was created when the state gained control over Camden in 2002. The job carries the same duties as mayor.

Davis says he negotiated his salary with the state Treasury Department based on what he thought was fair. Davis says claims that he’s overpaid are “ridiculous.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

Related Story

Camden COO Leaves 220G Post, With No Explanation – Philadelphia Inquirer

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The Cartel: It’s Not About The Kids, It’s About The Money – Education Reporter

The Cartel is a hard-hitting exposé that shows how the union stranglehold on public education is destroying the lives of millions of children. Bad teachers can’t be fired because they have tenure. Politicians are bankrolled and controlled by the unions.

Behind all of the dismal tales of greed, graft and goons are real children stuck in failing and often violent schools. The film introduces us to 17-year-old Juan, a soft-spoken kid who played shortstop in high school and wants to open his own car repair business. After ten years in Camden, NJ public schools, Juan could not recite the alphabet, much less read. His math skills were slightly better; by the 8th-grade, he knew the multiplication tables up to four times four.

Students enrolled in a program called Community Education Resource Network (CERN) tell why they prefer it to the public schools they left. Some cite teachers who actually care about student learning, and others stress finally feeling safe at school. The contrast in funding is as stark as the attitudes of teachers and students. Instead of a $17,500 per student budget, CERN is run on a shoestring and a prayer. Teachers are volunteers, classes are held at a church, and the school uses textbooks thrown away by public schools. After working with kids who graduated from Camden public schools, CERN co-founder Angel Cordero has some pointed questions for district teachers and administrators: “For 12 years, what did you do with that child? What did you do with the money?”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Welcome To “Transition Park”, The Horrible Tent City In Camden, NJ – Business Insider

There’s no easy way to say it, but Camden, New Jersey — a city right across the river from Philadelphia — has a reputation for being one of the poorest, most decrepit towns in the United States. Since the 1970s, the city has been the epitome of poverty with no solution in sight.

And when the financial crisis hit in 2006, Camden got hit hard. Really hard. Off highway I-676 at Exit 5A lies a place called Transition Park, better known as Tent City. The community even has an official website and they post strict rules for anyone looking to stay there.

If you think you’ve seen poverty, get ready to be shocked at what you’re about to see.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Camden, NJ Preparing To Close All Its Libraries – Newsvine

The library board in Camden, one of the nation’s poorest cities, is preparing to close all three of its libraries by the end of the year, saying its funding has been slashed so drastically that it cannot afford to keep operating.

Library officials are hoping enough money surfaces to save the system, but they’re preparing for a shutdown and say they’re not just threatening it as a ploy.

“Of all places, they’re one of the places that needs free public libraries the most,” said Audra Caplan, president of the Public Library Association.

The city of about 80,000 residents across the Delaware River from Philadelphia consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most impoverished. It’s a place where most families don’t own computers, where just one big bookstore serves the local colleges and where some of the public schools don’t even have librarians.

Camden Free Public Library is a major hub for many residents and draws 150,000 visits a year.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Camden Rebirth: A Promise Still Unfulfilled – CCOP

Raw sewage seeped into Jackeline and Eduardo Gonzalez’s basement, through its bathroom, hallway, and bedroom.

The fumes forced the family to eat outside and sent 1-year-old Eduardo Jr. to the emergency room three times with respiratory problems. The toxic flow burned holes in walls and ruined clothes and a sofa. The mold ended Grandma’s visits from Puerto Rico.

The sewage comes from a collapsed pipe at the end of their block, on Cherry Street in Camden. How does the city respond? For three hours, three days a week, a bored employee uses a noisy machine to transfer waste from the busted sewer into one that works.

This jury-rigged solution has been in place for more than a year.

Camden is so broke, so unable to perform the basic functions of government, that the obvious solution – repairing the century-old brick sewer system – is almost impossible to achieve, fiscally and politically.

Life in Camden wasn’t supposed to be like this. Seven years ago, New Jersey rolled out a revitalization plan that brought with it the biggest municipal takeover in American history.

After years of being subsidized by state taxpayers, corrupt and crumbling Camden would be taken over, repaired, and put on a path to self-reliance.

Then-Gov. Jim McGreevey gave Camden $175 million in bonds and loans, plus a one-time $7.5 million appropriation from the state budget, in exchange for an appointed chief operating officer to run the government and for gubernatorial control over the school board. His plan would create jobs, improve the quality of life, decrease crime, demolish all unsafe vacant buildings, lure new businesses, and, yes, mend sewers.

Five years later, when the recovery effort was first scheduled to be completed, the Gonzalezes bought a small rowhouse with money earned cleaning offices in Cherry Hill. But their odorous problem has now forced them to put that house on the market for the price they paid, $69,900.

So far, no buyer is interested.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

Daily Benefactor News – The Top Ten Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts In The United States – More Articles


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The Top Ten Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts In The United States – Pajamas Media

In the first half of this essay, Gerrymandering 101, I explained how gerrymandering works and why it’s so ubiquitous. Here in the exciting conclusion I name and shame the ten most gerrymandered districts of the current 111th Congress – plus 20 bizarre bonus districts not mentioned in the title.

(10.) North Carolina-12

This is what most people imagine when they think of a gerrymandered district – what I call “Gerrymander Classic.” NC-12 looks very much like the gerrymandered districts of the 19th century, but taken to extremes. As bad as it is, NC-12 at least looks like a congressional district, with meandering lines, consistent width, and hand-drawn appearance. As we’ll soon see, modern gerrymandering is often another animal altogether, with jarring shapes and artificial boundaries that are not just offensive to the eye but somehow feel like an insult to rationality.

(9.) Florida-20

This is what gerrymandering looks like in the modern era: ugly. Gone are any attempts at aesthetics. In the old days, redistricters at least tried to disguise their gerrymandering by drawing district lines that looked almost kinda sorta reasonable. No more. Nowadays many districts, with FL-20 being a good example, seem to be the result of computer algorithms with no regard whatsoever for human or natural boundaries. Needless to say, all sense of “community” within a congressional is out the window altogether when it is shaped like this, with jagged tendrils reaching out every which way to gobble up the desired demographic.

(8.) Pennsylvania-12

PA-12 is a rare example of “packing” (jamming as many opposition voters as possible into one district) that backfired. This district was created to be a Democratic stronghold formerly held by Congressman Jack Murtha, who was assumed to have a lock on the district. At the last redistricting in 2000, the Republicans in charge gave up on the area, which is solidly unionized, and decided to “pack” Murtha’s new district with as many Democrats as possible, to allow the remaining districts in the region a chance to have slim Republican majorities. But in the intervening ten years everything has changed: the area grew more and more conservative, and the locally popular Murtha died, opening up the seat to possible challengers. In the 2010 election, PA-12 barely remained Democratic with Mark Critz winning by a hairsbreadth 50.8%-49.2% margin – while most of the surrounding districts overwhelmingly went Republican. Thus, if the foolish 2000 Republican redistricters had not consciously set out to create a “packed” Democratic district, and had instead just drawn the boundaries at random, they could have easily won all the races in the area, instead of losing this one (and the adjacent PA-4) by the slimmest of margins. Note to gerrymanderers: THINGS CHANGE. What may appear to be a wise gerrymander maneuver today may blow up in your face sometime in the future.

(7.) North Carolina-6

I have included NC-6 as a perfect example of “inverse gerrymandering,” a district that is partly hollowed out internally by a different gerrymandered district – in this case, the northern end of NC-12, our first example above. NC-6 is a stark reminder that no gerrymander is freestanding: all congressional districts are interlocked like jigsaw puzzle pieces, and every time you enclose any area by some outrageous boundary line, you are disincluding that same area from some surrounding district. So for every gerrymander you create, you are likely to also have a less-noticeable but just as offensive inverse gerrymander next door.

(6.) Florida-3

Florida has more than its fair share of gerrymandering nightmares. But while many of the state’s districts were admittedly drawn to favor Republican candidates, FL-3 is instead a federally mandated “minority-majority” district gerrymandered to give black voters a voice:

[FL-3] was drawn in 1992 to be North Florida’s black-majority seat and Democrats were shifted from the surrounding districts to make the surrounding districts more Republican. It currently stretches from Jacksonville’s downtown in the north to Orlando’s in the south, and stretches east and west to include other largely minority and Democratic areas such as Gainesville, Sanford and Eatonville. As a result of this gerrymandering, the district is strongly Democratic with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D +18 and gave Obama 73% of its vote in the 2008 election. It is 50.9% black and 35.4% white… The 3rd District is at the center of the debate over the potential impact of the FairDistricts initiative. Due to its shape, the 3rd is one of several districts that violate restrictions in the initiative which require compact districts that conform to geographical and political boundaries. On the other hand, the 3rd District is protected by the Voting Rights Act and a non-compact shape may be necessary to ensure it remains an effective African-American seat.

The “FairDistricts Initiative,” ballot proposals designed to finally make Florida’s redistricting theoretically nonpartisan, was finally approved by voters this year on November 2 – but was immediately challenged in court not by the Republicans as you might imagine but by none other than Corrine Brown, the representative of FL-3! Why? Because the new law stipulates that districts be geographically compact, which would eliminate her voting bloc and most likely her seat in Congress, when FL-3 is totally reconfigured next year. Which is ironic, because Republicans also view the new law with disdain, seeing it as a plot to swing the redistricting advantage back to the Democrats. Sigh. Can’t we all just get along? (Answer: NO!)

(5.) Illinois-17

Political scientists love to cite IL-17 as the prototypical gerrymandered district, and you are likely to see IL-17 used as the illustration in many academic treatises about redistricting. And we can see why here. Its shape has often been described as “a rabbit on a skateboard,” though to me it looks more like an embryonic ichneumon wasp with a pancreatic cyst. We saw above how PA-12 was a gerrymandering blunder by the Republicans; IL-17 is the opposite, a gerrymandered district created by Democrats to ensure themselves a seat in western Illinois – but which this year was snatched from their grasp by Tea Party candidate and now congressman-elect Bobby Schilling. Ooops! The Democrats went out on a limb when drawing IL-17 – several limbs, by the looks of it – but the wave election of 2010 changed the electoral landscape. Let me repeat my warning to over-confident redistricters next year: THINGS CHANGE. Gerrymander at your own risk.

(4.) Florida-22

Florida-22 isn’t a congressional district: it’s a series of random lines generated by a malfunctioning dot-matrix printer. What else could explain the sheer purposelessness of the innumerable jagged ins and outs of a district so thin that in a few places you could run across it in under a minute? All of this to achieve – what? A district that is almost perfectly balanced between Democrats and Republicans. Couldn’t the same result have been effected a little more simply, perhaps by circling some random part of a Florida map with a felt pen? But all is forgiven, Florida-22, because on November 2 you elected as your representative Allen West MFC (My Favorite Congressman), quite obviously the next President of the United States.

(3.) Arizona-2

Arizona’s second district is the one most likely to make people burst out laughing. I mean, c’mon. And the explanation for this atrocity only makes it seem worse:

The odd shape of the district is indicative of the use of gerrymandering in its construction. The unusual division was not, however, drawn to favor politicians. Owing to historic tensions between the Hopi and the Navajo Native American tribes and since tribal boundary disputes are a federal matter, it was thought inappropriate that both tribes should be represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by the same member. Since the Hopi reservation is completely surrounded by the Navajo reservation, and in order to comply with current Arizona redistricting laws, some means of connection was required that avoided including large portions of Navajo land, hence the narrow riverine connection.

So, the district was drawn this way so that Hopis and Navajos don’t give each other “electoral cooties” by having to vote for the same congressman? What – is America now a 3rd-grade playground? Imagine how Republicans in Nancy Pelosi’s district feel, or Democrats in rural Texas. All across America people have to line up at polling places alongside people whom they despise. Get over it.

(2.) Maryland-3

Maryland-3 is the poster child for the lunacy that is gerrymandering. And the funniest part? The Democratic politicians who created it deny that it’s gerrymandered at all:

The new district was concocted after the 2000 Census when Maryland, like all states, drew up new congressional and state legislative district boundaries to reflect changes in the population.

Former Secretary of State John T. Willis, who was in charge of the redistricting as chairman of the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee, said the committee did not mean for the 3rd District to look like it does. That’s just how the numbers worked out, he said.

“It’s a very complex situation, and population is the No. 1 driving characteristic,” Willis said.

The final plan, Willis noted proudly, created eight congressional districts that had almost exactly the same number of people in them.

“All of our congressional districts don’t deviate by more than one person,” he said.

But Rascovar said that no matter how the committee “painted it”, the new boundaries were drawn to favor Democratic candidates in the 2nd District.

“They needed ‘x’ number of votes… what you end up doing is juggling these neighborhood votes, and it becomes absurd,” Rascovar said.

“The most absurd is that the politicians drawing up these districts are no longer concerned with the neighborhoods,” he said. “All they care is, ‘How many loyal Democrats can I get in this district?’”

Willis disagreed. Although the interests of incumbent representatives were taken into consideration, he said, no single district was favored.

We didn’t draw the district that way on purpose. It was an accident! Honest!

(1.) Illinois-4

Here it is: The most ridiculous congressional district in the entire country. No, you’re not looking at two districts; IL-4 has two absurdly gerrymandered halves held together by a thin strip of land at its western edge that is nothing more than the median strip along Interstate Highway 294. The end result is a gerrymandered gerrymander, a complete mockery of what congressional representation is even supposed to be. As with AZ-2, the intention behind IL-4 was to create an ethnic enclave, in this case an Hispanic-majority district within an otherwise overwhelmingly non-Hispanic Chicago. Problem is, Chicago has two completely distinct and geographically separate Hispanic neighborhoods – one Puerto Rican, the other Mexican – but neither is large enough to constitute a district majority on its own. Solution? Lump all Hispanics together into a supposedly coherent cultural grouping, and then carefully draw a line surrounding every single Hispanic household in Chicago, linking the two distant neighborhoods by means of an uninhabited highway margin. Voila! One Hispanic congressperson, by design. And as a side-effect, the most preposterous congressional district in the United States.

But wait – our gerrymander tour isn’t over. If you think those ten were bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. While they may have indeed been the ten most gerrymandered districts in the nation, at least they shared something admirable in common: They were legal. The same cannot be said about our next ten districts, which may not be as crazily shaped as the ones above, but which are in one crucial aspect far worse: they’re noncontiguous.

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Planned Parenthood Got $349.6 Million In Tax Dollars, Performed 324,008 Abortions, Paid Its President $385,163 – CNS

Planned Parenthood received $349.6 million in tax dollars in the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2008, and it paid its president $385,163, plus another $11,876 in benefits and deferred compensation.

According to a “fact sheet” published by the organization, its Affiliate Health Centers performed 324,008 abortions in 2008, the latest year for which Planned Parenthood has publicly released an annual report.

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Obama Panel Probes Stimulus Waste… At Ritz Carlton – Washington Examiner

Members of a key panel created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have scheduled a meeting on November 22 to consider ways to prevent “fraud, waste, and abuse of Recovery Act funds.”

The meeting will be held at the super-luxe Ritz Carlton Hotel in Phoenix, AZ. The group is the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, a sub-committee of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency board.

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Minn.’s Pawlenty Ups Challenge To Fed Health Law – News Max

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential GOP presidential candidate, stepped up his attack Thursday on President Obama’s federal health care law with a court filing challenging its cost to states.

Pawlenty and Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri joined in the federal court filing in Pensacola, Fla. A judge there ruled that parts of a lawsuit filed by 20 other states challenging the health care overhaul can go to trial.

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‘Explosive’ Debt Commission Recommendations Include $961 Billion Tax Hikes – MRC

Nearly $1 trillion. Certainly that’s a big enough tax hike to warrant mention in a broadcast evening news show, especially after an election fueled by anger against government overspending and potential tax hikes.

Yet, only one of the three broadcast evening shows mentioned that number in its report about the debt commission’s preliminary recommendations that shook Washington on November 10th.

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Study: 100,000 Hispanics Left Arizona After SB1070 – Daily Caller

A new study suggests that there may be 100,000 fewer Hispanics in Arizona than there were before the debate over the state’s tough new immigration law earlier this year.

BBVA Bancomer Research, which did the study, worked with figures from the U.S. Current Population Survey. The study says the decline could be due to the law known as SB1070, which partly entered into effect in July.

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Chocolate Shortage Forecast – KIAH

Imagine a world without chocolate. Screams from chocolate lovers are piercing, but the nightmare scenario could become reality. Experts believe there will be a chocolate shortage this year. Most of the world’s cocoa crops are in West Africa.

That area is suffering from a drought and crops are being destroyed by two mysterious diseases that have scientists baffled.

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Federal Judges Deny 63% Of Deportation Requests – Sweetness & Light

Federal immigration judges in Los Angeles rejected 63 percent of deportation requests this year filed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials – the third highest number in the nation.

One of the primary reasons for the rejections is that judges found the government had no legitimate grounds for seeking a removal order, according to a Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse report.

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