Ooouuuch. My sides are still aching after last week’s comical announcement by GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush that he had snagged the coveted endorsement of notorious electoral reject Eric Cantor, the former House majority leader kicked to the curb by disgusted voters in Virginia’s 2014 primary election.
Newsflash to GOP elites: Getting Cantor’s support is not like landing a prized marlin. It’s like hooking one of those hideous bottom-feeding blobfish named the world’s ugliest creature.
Inside the Beltway, The Washington Post reported, “Cantor remains well-liked and respected in the Virginia business community and among the Republican donor class in the commonwealth.”
But outside the Beltway, the failed Republican revolutionary-turned-Wall Street influence-peddler is a snortle-inducing spectacle on both sides of the political aisle.
In Cantor’s endorsement statement Thursday, he praised Bush as a “true conservative leader” who “can re-energize our nation and recapture our greatness.” That’s empty babble coming from the epitome of an out-of-touch, self-aggrandizing, revolving-door ruling class.
BushCantor share the same smug condescension toward Americans who believe in strict immigration enforcement and putting American workers first. Cantor fecklessly lied to voters during the campaign season about his position(s). He showered his district with anti-illegal immigration flyers that fraudulently portrayed him as standing up to President Obama on amnesty. But on Capitol Hill, he championed the DREAM Act for illegal alien students, huge H-1B visa increases to quench Big Tech’s appetite for cheap foreign tech workers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce/AFL-CIO’s collaboration on massive immigration expansions.
While Cantor lip-synced to the limited-government tea party message, he boogied in backrooms with his pork-barrel pals. He assailed Obama’s bloated stimulus and then celebrated the high-speed rail boondoggles in his state funded by it. As a celebrated “young gun” on the right, Cantor preached fiscal responsibility, while blowing nearly $170,000 on fancy steakhouse dinners across the country in his last year in office.
Like Bush (and Gang of Eight cheerleader Sen. Marco Rubio), Cantor was the beneficiary of – and water carrier for – generous Silicon Valley and Big Business contributors. Cantor’s biggest donors included New York financial conglomerates the Blackstone Group ($65,500) and Goldman Sachs ($26,000), and California tech company Oracle ($25,000).
By contrast, the biggest donors to Cantor’s successful challenger, libertarian economics professor Dave Brat, were Virginia couple Gerry and Karen Baugh of Baugh Auto Body ($5,400), Michigan writer and artist Louis McAlpin ($5,200), and retired Virginia couple Martha and Kenneth Schwenzer ($5,200).
One outside group, the American Chemistry Council, spent a whopping $300,000 on soft-money ads to protect Cantor – an amount that exceeded Brat’s entire campaign funding.
Likewise, while Bush fashions himself a champion of the American worker, he pompously pushes the Gang of Eight amnesty as the only “adult” plan in the room. While he poses as a champion of American parents, students and “school choice,” he trashes activist moms and zealously crusades for failed Fed Ed rackets and data-mining schemes masquerading as “higher standards.” And while he stumps for the ordinary American’s “right to rise” through conservative principles, he has parlayed his political career into a multimillion-dollar collection basket from liberal special interests and corporate cronies who fund his Common Core advocacy – including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the GE Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Intel and Pearson Education.
BushCantor seem to think everyone else will suffer from Sudden Election Amnesia Syndrome and grant big-spending, open-borders Republicans blanket amnesty for their betrayals. But what Brat told voters in Virginia about Cantor goes for voters nationwide as Bush flounders. “Eric Cantor doesn’t represent you,” Brat bluntly warned. “He represents large corporations seeking a never-ending supply of cheap foreign labor. He doesn’t care about how this will affect your livelihood, your schools, your tax bills or your kids’ chances of finding a job.”
The disgraced seven-term representative from Virginia’s affluent 7th district, who turned his back on grassroots constituents in favor of cashing in on power, now promises to work closely with Bush “as they chart a course to the White House.”
Here’s to Cantor’s success in helping Jeb navigate his same path to loserdom. Bon voyage!
Immigrant-headed households in the U.S. use welfare at a much higher rate than their native-born counterparts and that trend holds true for both new and long-time immigrant residents, according to a new study.
According to a report released Wednesday from the Center for Immigration Studies, 51 percent of immigrant-headed households (both legal and illegal) reported using at least one welfare program during the year in 2012. Thirty-percent of native-headed households meanwhile used at least one welfare program.
The CIS report analyzed welfare data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Included in the center’s definition of welfare is Medicaid, cash, food, and housing programs.
“If immigration is supposed to benefit the country, then immigrant welfare use should be much lower than native use,” Steven Camarota the CIS’s Director of Research and the report’s author said. “However two decades after welfare reform tried to curtail immigrant welfare use, immigrant households are using most programs at higher rates than natives.”
Camarota noted that the skill and education level of many current immigrants is contributing to their welfare use.
“The low-skill level of many immigrants means that although most work, many also access welfare programs. If we continue to allow large numbers of less-educated immigrants to settle in the country, then immigrant welfare use will remain high,” he added.
While welfare use among both new and old immigrants is high – with 48 percent of immigrants in the U.S. for more than 20 years reporting welfare use – the rates vary based on region of origin.
In 2012, 73 percent of immigrant-headed households from Central America and Mexico reported using one of more welfare program. Households from the Caribbean used welfare at a rate of 51 percent, African immigrants were at 48 percent, South America at 41 percent, East Asia 32 percent, Europe 26 percent, South Asia 17 percent.
The report further highlights that while immigrant-headed households use welfare at a higher rate than natives they also pay taxes at a lower rate.
“On average, immigrant-headed households had tax liability in income and payroll taxes in 2012 that was about 11 percent less than native households, or about 89 cents for every dollar native households pay, based on Census Bureau data. Immigrant households have lower average incomes (from all sources) than native households and are a good deal larger, giving them more tax deductions. As a result, their average income tax liability is less than native households,” the report reads
Other findings in the CIS report include:
• No single program explains immigrants’ higher overall welfare use. For example, not counting subsidized school lunch, welfare use is still 46 percent for immigrants and 28 percent for natives. Not counting Medicaid, welfare use is 44 percent for immigrants and 26 percent for natives.
• Immigrant households have much higher use of food programs (40 percent vs. 22 percent for natives) and Medicaid (42 percent vs. 23 percent). Immigrant use of cash programs is somewhat higher than natives (12 percent vs. 10 percent) and immigrant use of housing programs is similar to natives.
• Many immigrants struggle to support their children, and a large share of welfare is received on behalf of U.S.-born children. However, even immigrant households without children have significantly higher welfare use than native households without children – 30 percent vs. 20 percent.
• The welfare system is designed to help low-income workers, especially those with children, and this describes many immigrant households. In 2012, 51 percent of immigrant households with one or more workers accessed one or more welfare programs, as did 28 percent of working native households.
• The large share of immigrants with low levels of education and resulting low incomes partly explains their high use rates. In 2012, 76 percent of households headed by an immigrant who had not graduated high school used one or more welfare programs, as did 63 percent of households headed by an immigrant with only a high school education.
• The high rates of immigrant welfare use are not entirely explained by their lower education levels. Households headed by college-educated immigrants have significantly higher welfare use than households headed by college-educated natives – 26 percent vs. 13 percent.
• In the four top immigrant-receiving states, use of welfare by immigrant households is significantly higher than that of native households: California (55 percent vs. 30 percent), New York (59 percent vs. 33 percent), Texas (57 percent vs. 34 percent), and Florida (42 percent vs. 28 percent).
After five burglaries in six years, a retired Maine lobsterman bought a gun to defend himself and ended up shooting an intruder hours later.
Sixty-seven-year-old Harvey Lembo tells the Portland Press Herald he bought a 1941 revolver Monday.
“I’m tired of it so I went and bought a gun,” Lembo told WGME-TV.
Just past midnight Tuesday, he says he was awakened and saw a big shadow. Lembo says he climbed into his wheelchair and found an intruder near where he kept his pills.
Lembo says he ordered the man to stay where he was while he called police.
“I told him to sit on the coffee table, or I’d blow his brains out,” Lembo said.
But that’s when man bolted toward the front door and Lembo shot him in the shoulder.
“If he’d have sat there, nothing would have happened. But he wanted to leave and I’d had enough of it, I’d had enough,” Lembo told WGME-TV.
Forty-five-year-old Christopher Wildhaber was charged with burglary and violating probation and was ordered held without bail. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had a lawyer.
The family of Kate Steinle slapped federal officials and San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi with a lawsuit on Tuesday.
They say that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the sheriff must take responsibility for their daughter’s July 1 death, after the man charged with her murder along a popular waterfront had been deported five times.
“We’re here to make sure that a change is made so nobody has to endure the pain that my mom and dad and I go through on a daily basis,” Brad Steinle, Kate’s brother, said Tuesday, ABC News reported. “The system failed our sister, and at this point nobody has taken responsibility, accountability. And nothing has changed.”
Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, 45, has pleaded not guilty to Steinle’s killing. His criminal record also includes multiple felony convictions for narcotics charges.
“It’s too late for us, that ship has sailed. But we want it for future, possible victims,” Liz Sullivan, Kate’s mother, told a local ABC affiliate.
ICE had turned Sanchez over to San Francisco authorities earlier in the year due to an outstanding drug warrant, but he was not returned upon his release from custody. The gun used to kill Steinle was stolen from a BLM agent’s car on June 27.
San Francisco is one of a number of “sanctuary cities” across the U.S. that does not pressure its local officials to abide by federal immigration laws. Sarah Saldana, director of ICE, said in July that U.S. officials released more than 66,000 criminal immigrants between 2013-2014, CNN reported.
The U.S. government’s $1.6 billion vocational program for at-risk youth was created decades ago to end poverty by offering poor teenagers free job training, but it’s a seriously mismanaged hotbed of violence rife with violent crimes that are routinely covered up by officials in charge.
The crisis appears to have plateaued recently when four youths participating in the program, known as Job Corps, brutally murdered a fellow student in a Miami, Florida job training center. The area’s mainstream newspaper reported that the Job Corps students confessed to luring a 17-year-old to the woods, where he was repeatedly hacked with a machete and forced into a shallow grave as he lay mortally wounded. The sickening details came right out of the police report. Months earlier a murder occurred at a Job Corps facility in St. Louis, Missouri.
The recent crimes are part of a much broader problem within the Job Corps, which serves about 60,000 low-income students ages 16-24 at 125 centers nationwide. The Department of Labor (DOL) administers Job Corps, which has also been plagued with fraud and corruption over the years, and insists it has a strict policy forbidding any kind of violence or illegal drugs. The reality is however, that crime is rampant at local centers around the country and seldom do cases get reported or adequately investigated. Often officials sweep incidents under the rug or downplay them to prevent the offenders from getting booted out of the taxpayer-funded program.
In fact, earlier this year a scathing DOL Inspector General report blasted the agency for failing to take action involving lax enforcement of Job Corps disciplinary policies that had been well documented in previous investigations. The “continuing deficiencies” have allowed “potentially dangerous students in the program,” investigators wrote, further revealing that an astounding 35,021 serious misconduct incidents occurred at 11 centers alone. In many cases serious infractions were not reported or were improperly downgraded to lesser infractions, the agency watchdog found. They include assault, illegal drugs and fighting among the students.
For instance, at a North Carolina center a violent physical altercation landed one student with enough injuries to require hospitalization yet the crime was downgraded and no disciplinary action was taken, in violation of established rules. At an Oklahoma center a student struck another student in the head with an object yet remained enrolled as if nothing ever happened, even though the injury required five stitches. At a Pennsylvania facility a student was busted with drugs on the Job Corps property yet faced no consequences. There are many more examples in fact, 51 students who should have been automatically discharged, remained in the program. Not surprisingly, they went on to commit other crimes, the IG confirms in its report.
Some of the Job Corps centers are operated by independent contractors, but many are directly run by the U.S. government which makes the violations all the more outrageous. For instance, of 47 centers that retained 177 students who should have been discharged for disciplinary reasons, eight were federally operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The public funds wasted to keep the 177 thugs enrolled could have been used to house and educate other at-risk youth who are more committed to be in the program, the DOL watchdog points out.
Job Corps has been in trouble for more than just covering up serious crimes over the years. There has also been fraud involving the waste of public funds and abuse of prepaid debit cards as well as unscrupulous contract practices. Last year a federal audit identified nearly a quarter of a million dollars in questionable personal purchases made by staff and students on government debit cards. A separate probe determined that Job Corps doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable contracts and failed to keep proper documentation for others worth tens of millions of dollars.
Score one for the Marines!!!!
The ballsy Devil Dog who asked Ronda Rousey to his Marine Corps Ball — in a video viewed more than 4 million times – just got some great news… SHE’S ALL IN!!!
Ronda was out in L.A. with 3 friends when she said she wasn’t just impressed with Jarrod Haschert’s video… but she thinks he’s cute too.
And now that her upcoming fight has been moved from January to November, her schedule is wide open to attend the ball on December 11th. There’s just one catch – Jarrod might need to round up some single friends, STAT!
One more thing… Ronda says she may be interested, but warns she’s not a “first date kind of a girl”… which shouldn’t be a problem since Haschert appeared on “TMZ Hollywood Sports” last week, he told us he plans on being a perfect gentleman.
Thursday, September 3
9:00 PM – TCU at Minnesota
Friday, September 4
10:15 PM – Washington at Boise State
Saturday, September 5
12:00 PM – Stanford at Northwestern
3:30 PM – BYU at Nebraska
3:30 PM – UTEP at Arkansas
3:30 PM – Louisville at Auburn
7:00 PM – Arizona State at Texas A&M
7:30 PM – Texas at Notre Dame
8:00 PM – Wisconsin at Alabama
Monday, September 7
8:00 PM – Ohio State at Virginia Tech
Cultural Stalinism rolls on
Congratulations, liberal Taliban. You have managed to consign a little more of our history and our heritage to the Memory Hole:
A statue of Jefferson Davis has been removed from its place on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin after a failed appeal by a Confederate heritage group.
The statue has been a target of vandalism as well as criticism that it is a symbol of racism and discrimination.
“Racism” and “discrimination” can be defined as “noncompliance with current leftist ideology.” Since no one who lived in the 19th century was compliant with this deranged ideology, sooner or later everyone from that era will have to be erased.
The destruction of a nation is not complete without destroying its history. That is what this is about folks. All you “tolerance” addicts think you are moving us forward by dong this? You are doing the very opposite. What is it they say, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it? What should we say about those who erase history?
Can you imagine a group of white people marching down the street chanting, “Michael Brown what a clown! He got what he deserved,” after he was shot by officer Darren Wilson?
I can only imagine how the #BlackLivesMatter activists would have reacted.
How many riots would it have started? It would have been considered a ‘racist chant’ and it would have gotten coverage from the Obama Administration, for sure.
But moments after Texas Deputy Darren H. Goforth, a 10-year veteran, father of two, husband, and a public servant, was murdered execution style by an African-American at a gas station while he was refueling his vehicle, we heard chants of “Pigs In A Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon” from the racist #BlackLivesMatter activists.
Yes, you heard right. I said racist.
Check it out:
* When white people say “white power”… it’s racist.
* When Mexicans say “brown pride”… it’s racist.
* But when ‘Black Power’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ is chanted… that isn’t racist? If that’s your way of thinking, you’re an ignorant person and you are part of the problem.
In what world is it OK for such a disturbing chant to be yelled out in the streets after an innocent man was murdered?
The Obama administration has had multiple chances to bring whites, blacks and Hispanics together to possibly end racism by uniting everyone in a tragic time. But instead, they’ve picked a side and now our country is divided by race.
We need to wake up America. We need to stop the ignorant people who keep dividing us. We need to become one and do as Jesus instructed us: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’
How about instead of White, Black, Hispanic lives matter, we use #ALLLIVESMATTER?
A dusty old Quran tucked away the University of Birmingham library has been holding onto a mystery for centuries, and what was just unearthed could shake the religion of Islam straight to its depraved core.
Contained within the seventh century-old Quran, were the fragmented remains of a script written on animal hides, which turned out to be Suras, chapters 18-20 of their religious book. The find has Muslim leaders really disturbed, since these archaic texts pre-date their prophet Muhammad. The scripts are thought to date back to 568AD and 645AD, meaning everything handed down from their prophet came afterwards, proving that the prophet Muhammad’s directives to his followers were fabricated simply for his own personal sick and twisted political agenda.
According to historian Tom Holland, the historic find “destabilizes, to put it mildly, the idea that we can know anything with certainty about how the Quran emerged – and that in turn has implications for the history of Muhammad and the Companions.”
Another scholar, Keith Small explained that this find could absolutely be devastating to Islam:
“This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Quran’s genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from heaven,” the Oxford Bodleian Library scholar noted.
Muslims scholars of course were quick to decry the texts, hanging on to the ideology they’ve been blindly clinging to for years.
“The tests carried out on the parchment of the Birmingham folios yield the strong probability that the animal from which it was taken was alive during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad or shortly afterwards,” University of Birmingham Professor Nadir Dinshaw defiantly stated. “These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Quran read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration and that it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed.”
Despite reality slapping them right across their faces, Muslims will simply write off this new historic discovery as some sort of insult to their religion.
When Marla Stout put up a new swing set in her family’s backyard, her two daughters pleaded with her to paint it the color of bubblegum. Marla wasn’t a fan of the pink swing set idea, but she agreed to paint it purple.
Now, she and her husband have been threatened with jail time because of it.
According to Fox News, the Stouts painted the swing set two years ago, but it wasn’t until this summer that the Raintree Lake Subdivision Homeowners Association (HOA) decided to make a stink about it.
While there are no distinct rules about swing set colors, the HOA dictates that they must be “harmonious with the community and with nature.” In the HOA’s opinion, the purple swing set wasn’t “in harmony” with the others in the community.
“We got very frustrated,” Marla said. “There’s somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 homes in our community. There’s all kinds of colors. There’s people with bright purple doors. There’s trees that are the color of this swing set.”
Marla and her husband were told that if the swing set wasn’t removed, they would be fined or jailed.
The HOA claimed that the Stouts were in the wrong for not getting their swing set color pre-approved. They tried to dissuade the Stouts from filing a lawsuit, claiming that the costs would be “far greater than any principle [they] are trying to prove.”
But after an initial hearing on August 21, a Missouri judge ruled a week later that the swing set can stay purple. While the Stouts are thrilled with the judge’s decision – they had a barbecue Friday to celebrate – they believe that the HOA should apologize to the entire community.
“It’s been very embarrassing for our community and it’s cost every resident in this community a lot of money and reputation,” Marla said.
There isn’t an ounce of humanity in these things.
More than 100 girls were taken to hospital from their school in western Afghanistan on Monday after breathing in toxic gas, officials said, and police were investigating whether the incident was deliberate.
Elements of Afghanistan’s ultra-conservative society oppose education for girls and schools have periodically come under attack.
As many as 124 girls were hospitalized in Herat province, officials said. Most were discharged the same day.
The district governor of Enjil, where the poisoning took place, blamed it on enemies of the government who opposed education for children. Police promised to track down those responsible.
During Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, girls and women were banned from education and the workplace. The Islamist group was ousted by a U.S.-led coalition and is now waging an increasingly violent insurgency against the foreign-backed government.
Taylor Street and Delvin Trusty began dating in high school after he sent her a message on social media. They attended prom together, and three years later were expecting their first child.
When she gave birth this month, she was surrounded with support, including Trusty’s parents and brother, and her mother, sister and cousin – but not Trusty.
Their daughter, a 9-pound, 11-ounce girl named Avah, was born one month to the day that Trusty was gunned down in Northeast Baltimore. “I text his phone still,” Street said. “I send pictures of the baby.”
Trusty was among 45 people killed in Baltimore in July, a toll that matched the deadliest month in the city’s modern history and came amid a surge in violent crime surge that followed Freddie Gray‘s death. The last time 45 people were killed in one month was in August 1972, when the city had about 275,000 more residents.
The deaths occurred across the city, overwhelmingly in historically impoverished neighborhoods. All but one of the victims were male, all but two of them black. Many had serious criminal records. The victims also included a 5-month-old boy and a 53-year-old grandmother, a teen stabbed to death in a dispute over a cell phone and a carryout deliveryman killed in a robbery.
They left behind scores of grieving relatives, including dozens of children and stepchildren who will grow up without fathers – a city’s deadly legacy.
The Baltimore Sun sought to profile each of the victims, through interviews with relatives, friends, neighbors and police, as well as information on social media – and to chronicle the impact on those left behind.
Tamara Stokes hasn’t been able to break to her young children what happened to their father, Robert Lee Jackson, 33, who was killed July 13 in East Baltimore.
“She doesn’t even know that he’s G-O-N-E,” Stokes says, spelling out the word as her 3-year-old – one of two children they had together – babbles in the background at her home. “She doesn’t know what’s going on. She doesn’t know that he was K-I-L-L-E-D.”
Dechonne McNair, 22, tattooed a cross onto his arm in honor of his father, John F. Davis. The 48-year-old mechanic, who went by the nickname “Lucky,” was gunned down near his Cherry Hill home on July 6. He had eight children.
“I still feel like he’s still here sometimes. But he’s gone,” McNair said. “I miss my father.”
The daughter of Damon Tisdale, 33, who was killed July 15 in West Baltimore, wrote a message in the program for his funeral at Perkins Square Baptist Church: “I miss you so much and I just can’t take all this with me being so young Daddy. I love you so much.
“It hurts that you’re not here to see me grow-up.”
Dr. Geoffrey Greif, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, said growing up without a father can cause children to have questions about their identity, and seek out other role models. In many cases, they may find that in another relative, a coach, or pastor.
“But when positive role models are not there, sometimes it puts them at risk for getting involved with people that are not looking out for their best interests,” Greif said. “Communities have to come together and help the children to realize that while this is a significant and very upsetting and huge loss, there are people in that child’s life who are going to step up and try to support them.”
Jahi Faw, an uncle of victim Shyteak Lawrence, said he’s trying to be that role model for Lawrence’s children, who came to his home on a recent weekend for a sleepover and to make S’mores. He wants to take them camping as often as possible, “just to get them outside of the asphalt living of the city, to give them another perspective on life.”
“It’s important to understand, we have to pay more attention to the people who are alive,” Faw said. “I love [Shyteak] with all my heart, but I believe he’s in a better place. If we’re not telling people that we love them today, you may not have that chance tomorrow.”
Myron Higgins grew up without a father but said he had filled that void with uncle Gregory Tavon Higgins, who, despite being incarcerated for 20 years, was always there for him.
“I just latched on to him. Even though he wasn’t there physically, he was always there,” Myron said. “He helped me change my life.”
Gregory Tavon Higgins was released last year, and together they began pursuing business ventures including a trucking company, as well as producing music. During the protests over Gray’s death, they grabbed a video camera and filmed a video for one of Myron’s songs, a black power anthem called “Set It Off.”
Higgins, 40, was fatally shot July 11 in East Baltimore.
“We were like one person,” Myron said, “and I’m really trying to find my way, by myself.”
The spike in violence began soon after Gray died in April from an injury sustained in police custody. In May, Baltimore recorded 42 homicides which at the time was the highest monthly total since 1972. That was surpassed by July’s toll, and in August there has been an average of about one homicide per day. Already, the city has recorded more homicides this year than in all of 2014, when 211 people were killed.
In discussing the violence, city officials and police leaders have offered several theories. Among them: a dispute within the Black Guerrilla Family gang and the possible fallout in the illegal drug trade after pharmaceutical drugs were looted during the April riot.
A review of the July cases with police shows mostly petty disputes and cases being investigated as drug-related.
Capt. Donald Bauer is commander of the city homicide unit, which has handled more than 215 cases so far this year. He sits in a tidy corner office on the fifth floor of police headquarters, a stack of case folders piled neat and high on his desk. As he flips through them, he notes the long criminal records of many victims, and says police are working diligently to solve the cases.
“We take every case on its merit, and continue to investigate individually,” Bauer said. “We’re drawing some connections, using science and technology with our federal partners, and hopefully additional cooperation from the community will help us put these down.”
He notes that amid a sharply increased workload, police have solved more cases than at this point last year. Still, 11 of July’s 45 cases have been solved, and the closure rate for the year stands at 33 percent.
Fifteen-year-old Josh Burnett was one of the youngest victims in July, and the person suspected of killing him was even younger – 13.
Burnett’s parents said he was a hard worker who washed cars, cut grass and sold water to make money, and he was constantly engaged in youth sports.
He confronted the younger boy for stealing his cell phone on a Northwest Baltimore playground, and was stabbed in the heart, police say. The suspect, charged as a juvenile, has not been identified publicly.
“This, to me, is big boy stuff,” said father Remus Burnett, who thinks the suspect should be charged as an adult. “He went straight to the heart, a decision you might look at as an adult decision. If you can make an adult decision, you can do adult time.”
Bauer points to the July 24 killing of Daquan Mason, 20, as an example of another “innocent victim.” Though his family could not be reached for comment, they recalled in his obituary that he enjoyed skateboarding, playing video games and making music. They also recalled his “protective spirit.”
Police believe Mason was killed when he stood up for a relative who was getting picked on. “He steps in and intervenes, and winds up getting shot,” Bauer said. The case is unsolved.
Then there is Marcus Downer, a 23-year-old who was gunned down in Northwest Baltimore on July 26 outside a relative’s home. Downer, a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts, had performed in plays such as The Wiz and The Lion King as a youngster. Now, he was hoping to move to California with his mother to pursue an acting career, relatives said. Police said an argument led to his shooting death, but have yet to make an arrest.
Police attribute other homicides to drug-related issues. They are investigating whether Donte Dixon Jr., a 29-year-old rapper known as G-Rock, was killed over a drug dispute. Lamont Randall, 39, killed in a quadruple shooting that left two others dead, was a ranking member of the Black Guerrilla Family, according to police, who say at least three victims in other cases were members of the Bloods gang.
While the some of the victims’ criminal pasts were believed to be tied to their deaths, for others it was only a footnote. Eric Renard Forrester had been charged with and acquitted of murder in 2002. But the reason for his death on a basketball court in Southwest Baltimore is believed to be a robbery of a dice game, police said. Raja’ee Sincere served more than 20 years for murder, but police believe he was killed because he stepped into a dispute at a bar.
The effect on families, many of whom relied on the victims to make ends meet, has been devastating.
Dante Barnes, who was killed July 11 in East Baltimore, was the breadwinner of the family, and fiancee Andrea Young said his death forced them to move out of their home and into hotel rooms and a relative’s house, before finally finding a new residence.
Young is disappointed Barnes didn’t get to continue on his second chance after spending 14 years in prison for assault and a gun crime. He was working a janitorial job and had just gotten an HVAC certification, while serving as a mentor to her four children.
Phyllis Poole, 59, has a large photo of her youngest son, Tyrone Johnson, from his funeral hanging on the wall of her living room. Poole said authorities haven’t told her if they’ve made an arrest in his murder or what the motive was. She prays every night that the killer will turn himself in.
“This space is really empty in my heart right now,” she said. “I think that’s the only way I’ll be able to rest, is that his killer be caught… I need to ask this person in court: ‘Why did you take my child from me?'”
Poole said she is one of too many grieving mothers in Baltimore experiencing “a parent’s worst nightmare.”
“The murder rate in this city is terrible. It’s sad in my heart to see all these young men getting killed down here,” she said. “This is hurting a lot of mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers.”
Tona Burrell’s boyfriend of 11 years, Steven Justin Lewis, was killed July 12 in Northeast Baltimore.
“When I see something on the news about the amount of people, homicides for that month, I always think, ‘My baby is a part of that number…” said Burrell. “He is not just another number added to the countless homicides, he was a wonderful person with a huge heart and his family meant everything to him.”
An 80-year-old Venezuelan woman died, possibly from trampling, in a scrum outside a state supermarket selling subsidized goods, the opposition and media said on Friday.
The melee at the store in Sabaneta, the birthplace of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, was the latest such incident in the South American nation where economic hardship and food shortages are creating long queues and scuffles.
The opposition Democratic Unity coalition said Maria Aguirre died and another 75 people were injured – including five security officials – in chaotic scenes when National Guard troops sought to control a 5,000-strong crowd with teargas.
“Due to the shortage of food… the desperation is enormous,” local opposition politician Andres Camejo said, according to the coalition’s website. It published a photo of an elderly woman’s body lying inert on a concrete floor.
Camejo said thieves had also attacked the crowd, members of which were seeking to buy cheap food on offer at an outlet of the state’s Mercal supermarket chain in Barinas state.
There was no confirmation of the incident by authorities.
El Universal newspaper reported that Aguirre was knocked to the ground during jostling in the crowd, while the pro-opposition El Nacional said she was crushed in a stampede.
Another person was killed and dozens detained following looting of supermarkets in Venezuela’s southeastern city of Ciudad Guayana earlier this month.
President Nicolas Maduro accuses opponents of deliberately stirring up trouble, exaggerating incidents, and sabotaging the economy to try and bring down his socialist government.
Critics, though, say incidents of unrest are symptoms of the increasing hardships Venezuela’s 29 million people are facing due to a failed state-led economic model. Low oil prices are exacerbating economic tensions in the OPEC nation.
Environmentalist George Monbiot has sparked debate by skinning, butchering, cooking and eating a squirrel on live TV.
The Guardian columnist attracted criticism after revealing that he had eaten a roadkill squirrel, and later wrote a 2,360-word piece in the newspaper justifying his actions.
“There are millions of squirrels, rabbits, pigeons, deer that are killed every year, and a lot of them are landfilled,” Monbiot said on the BBC’s Newsnight as he butchered a squirrel bought from a farm shop.
“It doesn’t have to be. It’s not very nice! But meat production isn’t. But at least there’s no further ethical problem here.”
He continued: “I’m just cutting through the tail vertebrae – the tail bone in other words – but not the skin. It’s quite a delicate operation, that. A super-sharp knife, by the way.
“The cutting along a little bit each leg. This is a rather fat old squirrel – a lot of meat on it, but the older they are the tougher they get, so they do have to be marinated.”
It’s not the first time Monbiot has controversially grabbed the headlines, having had to make a £25,000 charity settlement with the late Lord McAlpine after wrongly implicating him in the North Wales child sex abuse scandal.
Monbiot issued a full and unreserved apology over a tweet sent to his 56,000 followers, which said: “I looked up Lord #McAlpine on t’internet. It says the strangest things. I can confirm that Lord #McAlpine was Conservative Party Treasurer when Mrs Thatcher was prime minister.”