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Thu, 2017-06-01 05:00

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Memorial Day 2017

Fri, 2017-05-26 05:00

A cartoon with questions requiring the student to demonstrate understanding of the cartoonist's intended meaning.

News quiz for week ending 5/26/17

Fri, 2017-05-26 05:00

A quiz with questions relating to the week's Daily News Articles.

How to commemorate Memorial Day 2017

Fri, 2017-05-26 05:00

The following is from

Memorial Day started off as a somber day of remembrance; a day when Americans went to cemeteries and placed flags or flowers on the graves of our war dead. It was a day to remember ancestors, family members, and loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

But now, too many people “celebrate” the day without more than a casual thought to the purpose and meaning of the day. How do we honor the 1.8 million that gave their life for America since 1775? How do we thank them for their sacrifice? We believe Memorial Day is one day to remember.

We can do so by:

  • visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes
  • visiting memorials
  • flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon
  • flying the ‘POW/MIA Flag’ as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act)
  • participating in a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played
  • renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the disabled veterans

USMemorialDay .org has received many emails from people expressing their thanks for those who have served and gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country. The following, received in 1999 and used with the author’s permission, sums up all the emails USMemorialDay .org has received very elegantly, and is true to the original spirit and meaning of Memorial Day:

This weekend I am going to do something different. I am going to buy some carnations each day and go to one of the nearby cemeteries and walk through the sections for soldiers. When I find a grave that has no flowers, I’ll leave one and say a prayer for the family of that person, who for some reason could not bring their soldier flowers. I will pray for our country and all who serve or have served. For their families, who also serve by losing precious days, weeks and months spent with their loved ones who are off serving, preserving peace and the freedom we have in this country. I’ll pray for the families who paid the ultimate price, who’s loved ones died, or were taken captive and never returned. I’ll pray for anyone who may still be held in captivity and thinks perhaps they are forgotten. I do NOT forget. I’ll say a prayer for every person on the Internet who takes a moment from their time to come to sites like yours and be reminded of what this holiday really means. And I’ll say a prayer of thanks and ask God’s richest blessings on you.

Thank you again…. and God bless!
Sylvia Mohr

Families brave the rain and visit the graves of their U.S. serviceman and women on Memorial Day at the Houston National Cemetery, Monday, May 26, 2014, in Houston.

In fact, wonderful people in other nations sometimes show more of the true spirit and mission of the U.S. Memorial Day than we do here. For example, a 2001 USMemorialDay .org Guestbook entry from a citizen of the Netherlands states:


In 1999 I laid flowers at the grave of a young U.S. fighter pilot who was KIA in my village in 1945. In the Netherlands I know of schools ‘adopting’ graves of Allied servicemen, keeping those graves in excellent condition ! Does anybody know of adopting graves in the U.S. by schools?

Paul Patist Castricum, The Netherlands – Tue May 15, 2001.

More schools in the U.S. could follow the lead of the Netherland schools. Let us take a few moments this Memorial Day to reflect on the meaning of the day, to observe the day and be mindful of the sacrifices of others before we go and enjoy the freedoms they bought for us.

Reprinted from For educational purposes only.

Thousands flee Philippine city after rampage by Islamic State

Thu, 2017-05-25 05:00

(by Romeo Ranoco, Reuters and Raul Dancel, StraitsTimes) PANTAR, Philippines — Thousands of Filipino civilians fled fighting on Wednesday as troops tried to fend off Islamist militants who took over large parts of Marawi city, capturing Christians, seizing and torching buildings and setting free scores of prisoners.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the rampage.

The terrorist attacks on Tuesday in Marawi in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao forced President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law across the island, which is home to some 20 million Filipinos.

About a hundred extremists from the Maute group mounted attacks across Marawi, a mainly Muslim city in the southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday, after after a botched raid by security forces on a hideout of the Maute, a militant Islamist group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State. The operation was aimed at capturing Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf group notorious for piracy, banditry and for kidnapping and decapitating Westerners. Abu Sayyaf is a Jihadist militant group that follows the Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam based in and around Jolo and Basilan islands in the southwestern part of the Philippines. It is one of the smallest and most violent jihadist groups in the southern Philippines.

Hapilon was designated by ISIS last year as its top man in Southeast Asia. He is designated a terrorist by the US State Department, which has a bounty of up to $5 million for his arrest. Security analysts say Hapilon has been trying to unite groups in the Philippines that have professed allegiance to ISIS. These include the Islamist terrorist Maute group, which is based near Marawi.

After the failed attempt to capture Hapilon, more than 100 Islamic fighters quickly dispersed, torching buildings and taking over bridges, a hospital, two jails, a church and a college.

Soldiers and guerrillas set up rival checkpoints and roadblocks on routes in and around Marawi as civilians fled the city of 200,000 in droves, leaving behind what one official described as a ghost town.

Long lines of pickup trucks and jeeps crammed full of people and loaded with belongings crawled along roads into nearby towns as troops searched vehicles for weapons and bombs.

The military said it had rescued 120 people from a school and a hospital and was trying to isolate Maute fighters while awaiting reinforcements that were being blocked by rebels.

Maute snipers and booby traps were hampering operations, which the army said could last three more days.

The Catholic church said militants were using Christians and a priest as human shields and had contacted cardinals with threats to execute hostages unless government troops withdrew.

Thirteen militants and seven security personnel have so far been killed and 33 troops wounded, the army said.

Mujiv Hataman, governor of the Autonomous Region in Mindanao, said the terrorists freed 107 prisoners from the local prison, among them Maute rebels.

Duterte said martial law would mean checkpoints and arrests and searches without warrant, and it would go on for as long as necessary – that Islamic State must be repelled from the Christian-majority Philippines and he would use all means possible to crush the Maute group and the allied Abu Sayyaf.

“Anyone now holding a gun, confronting government with violence, my orders are spare no one, let us solve the problems of Mindanao once and for all,” said Duterte, who is from the island, after cutting short a visit to Russia and returning to Manila.

“If I think you should die, you will die. If you fight us, you will die. If there’s an open defiance, you will die, and if it means many people dying, so be it. That’s how it is.”

“I made a projection, not a prediction, that one of these days the hardest things to deal with would be the arrival of ISIS,” Duterte said, referring to Islamic State. “The government must put an end to this. I cannot gamble with ISIS because they are everywhere.”

Duterte said he would not tolerate abuses of power by security forces under martial law, but critics said the military rule in all of Mindanao, an island the size of South Korea with a population of 22 million, was an overreaction.

Referring to Senior Inspector Freddie Solar, the police officer who had been murdered by the terrorists, President Duterte said,

“Things like this the government cannot allow… Government must put an end to this… I will not allow the country to go to the dogs.”

Compiled and adapted from news reports at Reuters and StraitsTimes. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission.

Lessons From the Battle of Midway

Thu, 2017-05-25 05:00

(by Victor Davis Hanson, RealClearPolitics) – Seventy-five years ago (June 4-7, 1942), the astonishing American victory at the Battle of Midway changed the course of the Pacific War.

Just six months after the catastrophic Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. crushed the Imperial Japanese Navy off Midway Island (about 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu), sinking four of its aircraft carriers.

“Midway” referred to the small atoll roughly halfway between North America and Asia. But to Americans, “Midway” became a barometer of military progress. Just half a year after being surprised at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy had already destroyed almost half of Japan’s existing carrier strength (after achieving a standoff at the Battle of the Coral Sea a month earlier).

The odds at the June 1942 battle favored the Japanese. The imperial fleet had four carriers to the Americans’ three, backed up by scores of battleships, cruisers and light carriers as part of the largest armada that had ever steamed from Japan.

No military had ever won more territory in six months than had Japan. Its Pacific Empire ranged from the Indian Ocean to the coast of the Aleutian Islands, and from the Russian-Manchurian border to Wake Island in the Pacific.

Yet the Japanese Navy was roundly defeated by an outnumbered and inexperienced American fleet at Midway. Why and how?

American intelligence officers — often eccentric and free to follow their intuitions — had cracked the Japanese naval codes, giving the Americans some idea of the Japanese plan of attack at Midway.

American commanders were far more open to improvising and risk-taking than their Japanese counterparts. In contrast, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto created an elaborate but rigid plan of attack that included an invasion of the Aleutian Islands as well as Midway.

But such impractical agendas dispersed the much larger Japanese fleet all over the central and northern Pacific, ensuring that the Japanese could never focus their overwhelming numerical advantages on the modest three-carrier American fleet.

The U.S. Navy was also far more resilient than its Japanese counterpart.

A month earlier at the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese suffered damage to one of their carriers and serious aircraft losses on another. The American carrier Lexington was sunk, and the Yorktown was severely damaged.

But whereas the Japanese took months repairing the bombed carrier Shokaku and replenishing the lost planes of the Zuikaku, the crippled Yorktown was made seaworthy again at Pearl Harbor just 72 hours after limping into port.

The result of such incredible adaptability was that at Midway the Americans had three carriers (rather than two), against four for the Japanese (instead of a possible six).

Midway was probably the best chance for Japan to destroy U.S. naval power in the Pacific before America’s enormous war industry created another new fleet entirely.

Just months after Midway, new American Essex-class carriers — the most lethal afloat — would be launched. Before the war ended, 17 of the planned 24 carriers would see action.

In contrast, Japan launched only four more fleet carriers to replace its growing losses. Japanese naval aircraft — the best in the world in 1941 — were becoming obsolete by mid-1942.

In contrast, in the months after Midway, tens of thousands of new and superior Hellcat fighters, Avenger torpedo bombers and Helldiver dive bombers rolled off American assembly lines in numbers unmatched by the Japanese.

During the Battle of Midway itself, Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo fatally hesitated in launching his air fleet. He was wedded to rigid doctrine about prepping his planes with the proper munitions.

In contrast, American Admirals Raymond Spruance and Frank Jack Fletcher gambled and sent most of the planes they had at the first inkling of the approaching Japanese fleet.

Japan could not equal American industrial strength, but American aviators and seamen could certainly match the Samurai courage of their Japanese counterparts.

At Midway, 37 of the 41 slow-flying and obsolete American Devastator torpedo bombers lumbered to their deaths, as they were easily picked off by Japanese air cover.

But such heroic sacrificial pawns drew off critical Japanese fighter protection from the fleet. In its absence, scores of high-flying Dauntless dive bombers descended unnoticed to blast the Japanese carriers with near impunity.

Americans took chances to win an incredible victory. The Japanese command chose to play it safe, trying not to lose advantages accrued over the prior six months.

Midway was not the beginning of the end for Japan. Just five months later off the island of Guadalcanal, only one American fleet carrier was left undamaged in the Pacific after a series of brutal sea battles. Instead, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, the victory at Midway was the end of the American beginning.

Before Midway, the Americans had rarely won a Pacific battle; afterwards, they seldom lost. America’s culture of spontaneity, flexibility and improvisation helped win the battle; Japanese reliance on rote probably lost it.

We should remember those lessons 75 years later.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His latest book is The Savior Generals. You can reach him by e-mailing

Published May 18, 2017 at  Reprinted here on May 25, 2017, for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from RealClearPolitics.

Trump’s speech to Israel in Jerusalem

Wed, 2017-05-24 05:00

President Trump is on a 9 day trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican and Brussels. He traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday and Sunday spoke to 55 leaders from Muslim-majority countries. From there he traveled to Israel and met with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, visited the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to Holocaust victims. He then gave his main speech at the Israel Museum before meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In place of a news report on the speech, read the text of President Trump’s speech and answer the questions. (Watch the video of the speech under “Resources” below.)

President Donald Trump address in Israel on May 23, 2017:

Thank you very much.  It’s very nice.   And thank you to Prime Minister Netanyahu.  And I also want to thank Sara for hosting us last night in really a very unforgettable dinner.  We had a great time.  We talked about a lot of very, very important things.  And thank you to Ambassador David Friedman and Mrs. Friedman for joining us, along with a number of very good friends who have come from our country to yours, as we reaffirm the unshakable bond between the United States of America and Israel.  Thank you.

I’d like to begin my remarks today by sending the thoughts and prayers of the entire American people to the victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester.  You know — you’ve all been watching.  You’ve seen just a horrible thing going on.  I want to send our condolences to the many families who lost their loved ones.  Horrific, horrific injuries.  Terrible.  Dozens of innocent people, beautiful young children savagely murdered in this heinous attack upon humanity.  I repeat again that we must drive out the terrorists and the extremists from our midst, obliterate this evil ideology, and protect and defend our citizens and people of the world.

All civilized nations much be united in this effort.  This trip is focused on that goal:  bringing nations together around the goal of defeating the terrorism that threatens the world, and crushing the hateful ideology that drives it so hard and seems to be driving it so fast.

It is a privilege to stand here in this national museum, in the ancient city of Jerusalem, to address the Israeli people and all people in the Middle East who yearn for security, prosperity and peace.

Jerusalem is a sacred city.  Its beauty, splendor, and heritage are like no other place on Earth.  What a heritage.  What a heritage.  The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal.  They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel’s white and blue flag.

Yesterday, I visited the Western Wall, and marveled at the monument to God’s presence and man’s perseverance.  I was humbled to place my hand upon the wall and to pray in that holy space for wisdom from God.  I also visited and prayed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a site revered by Christians throughout the world.  I laid a wreath at Yad Vashem, honoring, remembering, and mourning the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.  I pledged right then and there what I pledge again today:  the words “never again.”

Israel is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.  From all parts of this great country, one message resounds, and that is the message of hope.  Down through the ages, the Jewish people have suffered persecution, oppression, and even those who have sought their destruction.  But, through it all, they have endured and, in fact, they have thrived.  I stand in awe of the accomplishments of the Jewish people, and I make this promise to you:  My administration will always stand with Israel.  Thank you very much.

Through your hardships, you have created one of the most abundant lands anywhere in the world — a land that is rich not only in history, culture, and opportunity, but especially in spirit.  This museum where we are gathered today tells the story of that spirit.  From the two Holy Temples, to the glorious heights of Masada, we see an incredible story of faith and perseverance.  That faith is what inspired Jews to believe in their destiny, to overcome their despair, and to build here — right here — a future that others dared not even to dream.

In Israel, not only are Jews free to till the soil, teach their children, and pray to God in the ancient land of their fathers — and they love this land, and they love God — but Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience, and to follow their dreams, right here.

Today, gathered with friends, I call upon all people — Jews, Christians, Muslims, and every faith, every tribe, every creed — to draw inspiration from this ancient city, to set aside our sectarian differences, to overcome oppression and hatred, and to give all children the freedom and hope and dignity written into our souls.

Earlier this week, I spoke at a very historic summit in Saudi Arabia.  I was hosted by King Salman — a very wise man.  There, I urged our friends in the Muslim world to join us in creating stability, safety and security.  And I was deeply encouraged by the desire of many leaders to join us in cooperation toward these shared and vital goals.

Conflict cannot continue forever.  The only question is when nations will decide that they have had enough — enough bloodshed, enough killing.  That historic summit represents a new opportunity for people throughout the Middle East to overcome sectarian and religious divisions, to extinguish the fires of extremism, and to find common ground and shared responsibility in making the future of this region so much better than it is right now.

Change must come from within.   It can only come from within.  No mother or father wants their children to grow up in a world where terrorists roam free, schoolchildren are murdered, and their loved ones are taken.  No child is born with prejudice in their heart.  No one should teach young boys and girls to hate and to kill.  No civilized nation can tolerate the massacre of innocents with chemical weapons.

My message to that summit was the same message I have for you:  We must build a coalition of partners who share the aim of stamping out extremists and violence, and providing our children a peaceful and hopeful future.  But a hopeful future for children in the Middle East requires the world to fully recognize the vital role of the State of Israel.   And, on behalf of the United States, we pledge to stand by you and defend our shared values so that together we can defeat terrorism and create safety for all of God’s children.

Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence.  Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs.  Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities where schoolchildren have to be trained to hear the sirens and run to the bomb shelters — with fear, but with speed.  ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues, and storefronts.  And Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction.  Not with Donald J. Trump, believe me.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  I like you too.  (Laughter.)

Despite these challenges, Israel is thriving as a sovereign nation, and no international body should question the contributions Israel makes to the region and, indeed, the world.  Today, let us pray for that peace and for a more hopeful future across the Middle East.

There are those who present a false choice.  They say that we must choose between supporting Israel and supporting Arab and Muslim nations in the region.  That is completely wrong.  All decent people want to live in peace, and all humanity is threatened by the evils of terrorism.  Diverse nations can unite around the goal of protecting innocent life, upholding human dignity, and promoting peace and stability in the region.

My administration is committed to pursuing such a coalition, and we have already made substantial progress during this trip.  We know, for instance, that both Israelis and Palestinians seek lives of hope for their children.  And we know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis, which has dragged on for nearly half a century or more.

As I have repeatedly said, I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement, and I had a meeting this morning with President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace.  I know you’ve heard it before.  I am telling you — that’s what I do.  They are ready to reach for peace.

In my meeting with my very good friend, Benjamin, I can tell you also that he is reaching for peace.  He wants peace.  He loves people.  He especially loves the Israeli people.  Benjamin Netanyahu wants peace.

Making peace, however, will not be easy.  We all know that.  Both sides will face tough decisions.  But with determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal.

But even as we work toward peace, we will build strength to defend our nations.  The United States is firmly committed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias.  (Applause.)  So we are telling you right now that Iran will not have nuclear weapons.

America’s security partnership with Israel is stronger than ever.  Under my administration, you see the difference — big, big beautiful difference — (laughter and applause) — including the Iron Dome missile defense program, which has been keeping the Israeli people safe from short-range rockets launched by Hezbollah and Hamas, and David’s Sling, which guards against long range missiles.  It is my hope that someday, very soon, Israeli children will never need to rush towards shelters again as sirens ring out loud and clear.

Finally, the United States is proud that Israeli Air Force pilots are flying the incredible, new American F-35 planes.  There is nothing in the world like them to defend their nation, and it was wonderful to see these mighty aircraft in the skies over Israel recently as you celebrated the 69th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

But even as we strengthen our partnership in practice, let us always remember our highest ideals.  Let us never forget that the bond between our two nations is woven together in the hearts of our people, and their love of freedom, hope, and dignity for every man and every woman.  Let us dream of a future where Jewish, Muslim, and Christian children can grow up together and live together in trust, harmony, tolerance, and respect.

The values that are practiced in Israel have inspired millions and millions of people all across the world.  The conviction of Theodor Herzl rings true today:  “Whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will rebound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind.”

As we stand in Jerusalem, we see pilgrims of all faiths coming to this land to walk on this hallowed ground.  Jews place the prayers from their hearts in the stone blocks of the beautiful Western Wall.  Christians pray in the pews of an ancient church.  Muslims answer the call to prayer at their holy sites.  This city, like no other place in the world, reveals the longing of human hearts to know and to worship God.

Jerusalem stands as a reminder that life can flourish against any odds.  When we look around this city — so beautiful — and we see people of all faiths engaged in reverent worship, and schoolchildren learning side-by-side, and men and women lifting up the needy and forgotten, we see that God’s promise of healing has brought goodness to so many lives.  We see that the people of this land had the courage to overcome the oppression and injustice of the past and to live in the freedom God intends for every person on this Earth.

Today, in Jerusalem, we pray and we hope that children around the world will be able to live without fear, to dream without limits, and to prosper without violence.  I ask this land of promise to join me to fight our common enemies, to pursue our shared values, and to protect the dignity of every child of God.

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the State of Israel.  And God bless the United States.  Thank you very much.

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, arrive for a speech at the Israel Museum, May 23, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after Trump’s address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)


Harvard Study reveals media bias

Wed, 2017-05-24 05:00

A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzed news coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in office.

The report is based on an analysis of:

  • news reports in the print editions of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post
  • the main newscasts of CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC
  • and three European news outlets – the UK’s Financial Times and BBC, and Germany’s ARD

To arrive at the percentages, Harvard obtained data from Media Tenor, which “codes” media according to its topic, source, and tone. The broadcast portion of the study accounts for reporting on CNN’s The Situation Room, CBS Evening News, Fox’s Special Report, and NBC Nightly News, but does not represent talk show coverage. Newspaper analysis incorporates all sections but obituaries, sports, and letters to the editor.

Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days set a new standard for negativity. Findings include:

  • President Trump has received unsparing coverage for most weeks of his presidency, without a single major topic where coverage, on balance, was more positive than negative, setting a new standard for unfavorable press coverage of a president.
  • Every news outlet in the study was negative more often than positive.
  • Fox was the only news outlet that came close to giving Trump positive coverage overall – though they did not – 52% of news reports on Fox were negative towards President Trump. Only 48% were positive. (There was variation in the tone of Fox’s coverage depending on the topic. Trade and terrorism were news categories where Fox’s coverage was starkly different from that of the other outlets. Whereas their coverage in these areas tipped strongly in the negative direction, Fox’s coverage tipped strongly positive. This just shows that those are two areas where Fox executives agree with Trump’s position. Thus the positive coverage.)

The study also divided news items across topics. On immigration, healthcare, and Russia, more than 85% of reports were negative. (Consider the fact that on illegal immigration, President Trump has broad public support in his effort to crack down on sanctuary cities.)

On the economy, news reports were still negative, but less negative than other topics – 54% negative to 46% positive.  It should be difficult to publish negative stories about the economy when it is improving.

The study highlighted one exception: Trump got overwhelmingly positive coverage for launching a cruise missile attack on Syria.

Around 80% of all reports were positive about that.

A third major part of Harvard’s study compared coverage of President Trump to that of the three previous presidents – Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clintons’ first 100 days.

Trump received 80 percent negative coverage, with only 20 percent of news reports were positive. Compare that to:

  • President Obama, who received 41 percent negative coverage and 59 percent positive coverage.
  • President Bush’s news coverage was 57 percent negative – 43 percent positive
  • President Clinton, 60 percent negative, 40 percent positive

“The media needs different narrative frames [when reporting on President Trump] – not just an antagonistic one,” said Nicco Mele, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

(Compiled from reports at: Harvard’s, and

Israel releases 1967 recordings from Six-Day War

Tue, 2017-05-23 05:00
[June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War (June 5-10, 1967) between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries.

With Israel’s miraculous victory in defense of its homeland, the war was a pivotal event in the history of the Middle East and of the Jewish people.

Many of the issues featured in the news today trace their beginnings to the Six Day War—the “two state solution”].

Fifty years after the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel’s military archives have released a partial soundtrack — the IAF’s (Israel Air Force) realtime communications — of the opening, decisive airstrikes in which the Israeli air force destroyed over 400 Egyptian and Syrian planes on the ground, and put 20 Arab airfields out of action. Almost the entire Israeli air force was involved, with just 12 Mirage jets kept back to protect the country.

Operation Focus began at 7.45 on the morning of June 5, 1967; by noon that same day, the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces had been destroyed, the IAF had almost complete control of the skies in Israel’s pre-emptive resort to force, and the war was essentially won.

The operation is regarded as one of the most successful air strikes in military history. In all, Israel lost 24 pilots in the war, seven were injured and 11 were taken captive.

In the Hebrew recordings, made public by the IDF archive, the IAF’s command and control officers are heard overseeing a series of critical developments in those opening hours.

One recording begins with complete air silence as the pilots head to their first targets, flying low to evade enemy radar, in the first wave of attacks on the Egyptian air fields. The silence is broken by reports of the initial successful attacks: Eleven Egyptian air fields are targeted in these first strikes, and 101 minutes and 183 bombing runs later, some 200 planes, half of the Egyptian air force, is destroyed on the ground.

Another recording focuses on pilot Danny Manor, who has been hit by a missile fired by an Egyptian fighter jet during a strike on the Abu Suweir airfield between Cairo and Ismailia. The command and control officers attempt to establish whether Manor managed to eject, and where he may have gone down. Manor survived, was taken prisoner, and was released weeks after the war in a prisoner exchange.

A third recording details the fatal shooting down of pilot Yoram Harpaz over Dimona in southern Israel, after he was misidentified as an enemy intruder — apparently because he had lost his communications systems when his plane struck electricity cables during an air strike in Jordanian territory.

Mordechai Lavon bailed out of his fighter jet after it was hit and damaged by an ejecting Egyptian pilot during another strike whose soundtrack was released. Lavon fell into the sea off Gaza, and the recordings feature the search for him and the news that he has been picked up by a UN vessel. He was brought back to Israel days later, via the offices of the International Red Cross. Nine years later, Lavon was killed during active reserve service.

Reprinted here for educational purposes only, from The Times of Israel. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission.

Turkish president’s bodyguards beat up protesters in D.C.

Tue, 2017-05-23 05:00

(by Chuck Ross, The Daily Caller) – Bodyguards working for Turkey’s authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were involved in a massive brawl that left nine people injured outside of the residence of Turkey’s ambassador in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, May 16.

The melee, which was caught on video, occurred just after President Erdogan met with President Trump at the White House.

Protesters critical of the Turkish government claimed that Erdogan’s bodyguards or security staffers working for the Turkish embassy launched the attack. Video of the fight showed men in suits kicking people, including women, some while they were on the ground. The footage shows some victims covered in blood.

Aram Suren Hamparian, the president of the Armenian National Committee of America, filmed some of the incident and says he believes that the instigators were Erdogan bodyguards or security personnel working for the Turkish ambassador.

“They just literally broke through the [police] line, crossed the street, and stopped the protesters [by attacking them],” Hamparian told The Daily Caller by phone
(See map of Turkish Embassy and location of protestors)

Hamparian, who is highly critical of Erdogan, said that two dozen anti-Erdogan protesters, mostly Armenian and Kurdish, were protesting peacefully across the street from the residence. He said that the onslaught broke out suddenly. He says the videos show that the pro-Erdogan fighters appeared to be professionals of some sort. He also said they outnumbered the protesters.

“It all took place at once. It was by very capable people. It felt to me, it looked to me like a highly orchestrated attack,” he added.

Hamparian said that some Erdogan supporters were not violent. He said that he spent most of the night at the hospital with some victims of the attack. One man who Hamparian helped received between 10 and 15 stitches, he said. Another woman underwent a CT scan.

Halil Mutlu, a cousin of President Erdogan’s and a board member of the Turkish American Steering Committee, was spotted on the sidelines of the fray. At one point he was seen leading a pro-Erdogan chant aimed at the government critics.

Tuesday’s brawl harkens back to Erdogan’s visit to Washington, D.C. in March 2016. During a visit to the Brookings Institution, Erdogan’s bodyguards verbally and physically assaulted a group of protesters.

Washington, D.C. police appeared to struggle to contain the incident. According to The Guardian, two arrests were made. [Specifically, two protesters were arrested. No bodyguards who attacked the protesters were arrested.]

After the battle subsided, Erdogan appeared outside of the ambassador’s residence to speak with supporters. [Later news reports state that President Erdogan was outside the embassy before the brawl and it is possible (it appears) that the bodyguards took orders from President Erdogan to attack the peaceful Kurdish-American and Armenian-American protesters.] [From UK Guardian and Daily Telegraph reports:

“All of the sudden they just ran towards us,” Yazidi Kurd demonstrator Lucy Usoyan told ABC, adding that she was attacked by a pro-Erdoğan supporter.

“Someone was beating me in the head nonstop, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m on the ground already, what is the purpose to beat me?’”

Tensions between Mr. Erdogan’s government and the Kurdish minority in the country are high.

Erdogan met with Trump amid disagreements over Washington’s decision to arm the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia that Ankara regards as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).  Washington does not agree. The PKK has fought an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984 and is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe.

A ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK ended last year and clashes have since claimed hundreds of lives on both sides.

Mr Erdogan’s government has been carrying out a broad crackdown on political opponents, including among the Kurds, in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in July, arresting or firing tens of thousands of people (including teachers and other professionals) from their jobs.]

Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the The Daily Caller. 

Students left pineapple in exhibition and people mistook it for art

Mon, 2017-05-22 05:00

(by Roisin O’Connor, May 8, 2017, The UK Independent) – Students claim they managed to pass off a pineapple they bought for £1 at a supermarket as a work of art, after leaving it in the middle of an exhibition at their university.  Ruairi Gray, a student at Robert Gordon University in Scotland, and his friend Lloyd Jack, reportedly left the fruit at the Look Again exhibition at RGU’s Sir Ian Wood building, hoping that it might be mistaken for art.

When they returned four days later he found that the pineapple had been put inside its own glass display case at the event.

Gray, 22, told the MailOnline: “I saw an empty art display stand and decided to see how long it would stay there for or if people would believe it was art.

“I came in later and it had been put in a glass case – it’s the funniest thing that has happened all year. My honours supervisor saw it and asked an art lecturer if it was real because he could not believe it.”

Natalie Kerr, a cultural assistant for the festival who organised the display, said she wasn’t the one who included the fruit as an artwork because she is allergic to pineapple.

“We were moving the exhibition, and came back after 10 minutes and it was in this glass case,” she told the Press & Journal.

“It’s a bit of a mystery – the glass is pretty heavy and would need two or three people to move it, we have no idea who did it. But it’s still there now, we decided to keep it because it’s keeping with the playful spirit of this commission.”

The incident recalls a similar prank last year when a 17-year-old placed a pair of glasses on the floor at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Apparently unimpressed with some of the work on display and wanting to test the theory that people will try to interpret any object provided it is in a gallery setting, TJ Khayatan placed the glasses on the floor and walked away.

Soon after, visitors to the gallery surrounded them and began taking pictures.

Khayatan, who had previous success with a baseball cap and a bin, was keen to defend modern art despite the joke.

“I can agree that modern art can be a joke sometimes, but art is a way to express our creativity,” he said at the time.

U.S. Dairy Cows Get Water Beds, Country Tunes and Backscratchers

(by Benjamin Parkin, The Wall Street Journal) – Scott Beyer and his farmhands spend mornings scraping manure off the milking-parlor floor. In the nearby climate-controlled barn, cows are sleeping on water beds and munching on nutritionist-crafted meals while high-tech tags on their legs help monitor their health.

“We try to make them live the high life,” said Mr. Beyer, manager of Kelsay Farms outside Greenwood among the corn and soybean fields of central Indiana.

Cow Waterbeds: Advanced Comfort Technology sold a crazy idea to farmers.

Many of America’s dairy farmers have decided that a happy cow is a cash cow—that treating their cattle like dairy queens yields more milk. They are playing soothing classical music in milking rooms, firing up fans and sprinklers to mimic spring breezes and treating their cows to robotic back-scratching sessions.

American dairy cows are among the world’s most productive. They produced 10.3 metric tons of milk per animal, on average, in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That is enough for about 150 people for a year, and an almost 40% larger yield than two decades ago.

While operational efficiency and selective breeding play a big part, farmers and some researchers believe cow-coddling also is critical.

“Cow comfort is one of the main driving forces of our existence,” said Mike McCloskey, chief executive of Select Milk Producers Inc., a cooperative that includes around 100 farms. “We have to keep them fine-tuned. They can’t get stressed.”

Homestead Dairy in Plymouth, Ind., is installing automated backscratchers and memory-foam mattresses in its new high-tech barn. The cows “are free to do whatever they want, when they want to do it,” says partner Brian Houin. The farmers say there is nearly always a line at the backscratcher.

At Valsigna Farms in Hilmar, Calif., managing partner Aaron Wickstrom sends Juno, a R2-D2-like robotic assistant, on laps around the barn delivering food to ensure his cows have something to eat at all times. Next on his wish list: the backscratchers. “A lot of it is just common sense,” he says. …

At Tony Bos’s farm in Fair Oaks, Ind., the cows go for milking when they feel like it, thanks to a squad of robotic milkers. When a cow is good and ready, she enters a pen in which self-guiding mechanical arms set to work cleaning, massaging and milking her udders using lasers and brushes. The robot distracts the cow by dolloping out fresh feed. The process is over in a few minutes.

Each cow is milked about three times a day. If one tries to sneak in an extra session, the robot catches on and turns her away. A mechanical contraption scrapes away manure.

The robotic milkers allow the 700 or so cows more time for eating and taking siestas on their water beds. Farmers want their cows lying down a minimum of 12 hours a day, saying that maximizes milk output. The water beds protect their legs far better than hard floors.

…Most dairy cows still end up in slaughterhouses and become ground beef once their milk-production cycles are over, usually after three to seven years.

These days, most of them don’t have access to pasture, and many spend the majority of their lives indoors. A growing body of research shows that improved living conditions can reduce health problems and, by extension, improve productivity. Proper air circulation and drainage reduce sickness. Open-plan barns permit more movement and socializing among animals, reducing stress.

…Conventional dairies say they would go out of business if their cow indulgence went that far. Just how far to go, however, is subject to debate.

Maurice Loehmer of Loehmer Dairy in Monterey, Ind., says he is all for making cows more comfortable, but he isn’t going to be buying water beds anytime soon. When it comes to cows, he says, there is nothing more comfortable than sand. Many veterinarians agree.

Steve Maddox of Maddox Dairy near Fresno, Calif., ended up imposing silence in his milking parlor after employees fought over what music to play for the cows. Mr. Maddox prefers country, while his employees bickered over rock and Latin music.

The only thing they agreed on—no politics, which he says agitated man and beast alike. “Doesn’t matter if you’re listening to MSNBC, Fox News or Glenn Beck,” he says. “They just don’t need it.”

The Happy Cow back scratcher:

Coach’s viral response when asked why star missed game for child’s birth

(By NY Post, Sports Desk, May 21, 2017) – Sarunas Jasikevicius was stunned but firm, speaking in a stern, serious voice that might have known that he was speaking to more than a “youngster” reporter.

The coach of Zalgiris, a Lithuanian basketball team, defended his center, Augusto Lima, after Lima missed a playoff game for the birth of his daughter. Zalgiris won the semifinal game Friday, but an inquisitive reporter, who is not a father, wanted to know how Jasikevicius felt about Lima being absent from the team.

Here’s the exchange, which quickly has made its way around the internet:

Reporter: Coach, what do you think about Augusto Lima going away in the midst of a series to attend the birth of his child?

Jasikevicius: What do I think about it? I allowed him to go.

Reporter: But is it normal for a player to leave the team during the semifinals?

Jasikevicius: Do you have kids? When you have kids, youngster, you’ll understand. Because that’s the height of a human experience. Wow, that’s a good question, really. Do you think basketball is the most important thing in life?

Reporter: No, but a semifinal is important.

Jasikevicius: To whom is it important?

Reporter: The team.

Jasikevicius: Which one?

Reporter: Zalgiris.

Jasikevicius: Did you see the number of fans at the game? Important? When you see your first child, you will understand what the most important thing in life is. Because nothing can be more majestic in the world than the birth of a child. Not titles, not anything else. Augusto Lima is now in heaven emotionally. I’m really happy for him.

As for Lima, he posted on Instagram on Sunday welcoming his daughter, Alba, to the world.

“It is undoubtedly the best gift of my life,” Lima wrote in Spanish.

Watch the video:’s-viral-response-when-asked-why-star-missed-game-for-childs-birth.mp4

Trump exhorts leaders from Muslim countries to confront terrorism

Mon, 2017-05-22 05:00

President Trump is on a 9 day trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican and Brussels. He traveled to Riyadh on Saturday and Sunday spoke to 55 leaders from Muslim-majority countries. In place of a news report on the speech, read the President’s actual speech and answer the questions.

President Donald Trump address in Saudi Arabia on May 21, 2017:

I want to thank King Salman for his extraordinary words, and the magnificent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting today’s summit. I am honored to be received by such gracious hosts. I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place and the incredible hospitality you have shown us from the moment we arrived.

You also hosted me in the treasured home of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Kingdom who united your great people. Working alongside another beloved leader—American President Franklin Roosevelt—King Abdulaziz began the enduring partnership between our two countries. King Salman: your father would be so proud to see that you are continuing his legacy—and just as he opened the first chapter in our partnership, today we begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to our citizens.

Let me now also extend my deep and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of the distinguished heads of state who made this journey here today. You greatly honor us with your presence, and I send the warmest regards from my country to yours. I know that our time together will bring many blessings to both your people and mine.

I stand before you as a representative of the American People, to deliver a message of friendship and hope. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith.

In my inaugural address to the American People, I pledged to strengthen America’s oldest friendships, and to build new partnerships in pursuit of peace. I also promised that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust.

Our vision is one of peace, security, and prosperity—in this region, and in the world.

Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.

President Donald Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

And so this historic and unprecedented gathering of leaders—unique in the history of nations—is a symbol to the world of our shared resolve and our mutual respect. To the leaders and citizens of every country assembled here today, I want you to know that the United States is eager to form closer bonds of friendship, security, culture and commerce.

For Americans, this is an exciting time. A new spirit of optimism is sweeping our country: in just a few months, we have created almost a million new jobs, added over 3 trillion dollars of new value, lifted the burdens on American industry, and made record investments in our military that will protect the safety of our people and enhance the security of our wonderful friends and allies—many of whom are here today.

Now, there is even more blessed news I am pleased to share with you. My meetings with King Salman, the Crown Prince, and the Deputy Crown Prince, have been filled with great warmth, good will, and tremendous cooperation. Yesterday, we signed historic agreements with the Kingdom that will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.

This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase—and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies. This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations.

We have also started discussions with many of the countries present today on strengthening partnerships, and forming new ones, to advance security and stability across the Middle East and beyond.

Later today, we will make history again with the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology—located right here, in this central part of the Islamic World.

This groundbreaking new center represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combatting radicalization, and I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership.

I have had the pleasure of welcoming several of the leaders present today to the White House, and I look forward to working with all of you.

President Donald Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership—based on shared interests and values—to pursue a better future for us all.

Here at this summit we will discuss many interests we share together. But above all we must be united in pursuing the one goal that transcends every other consideration. That goal is to meet history’s great test—to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism.

Young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence, and innocent of hatred. And young Muslim men and women should have the chance to build a new era of prosperity for themselves and their peoples.

With God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed. At the same time, we pray this special gathering may someday be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East—and maybe, even all over the world.

But this future can only be achieved through defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it.

Few nations have been spared its violent reach.

America has suffered repeated barbaric attacks—from the atrocities of September 11th to the devastation of the Boston Bombing, to the horrible killings in San Bernardino and Orlando.

The nations of Europe have also endured unspeakable horror. So too have the nations of Africa and even South America. India, Russia, China and Australia have been victims.

But, in sheer numbers, the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations. They have borne the brunt of the killings and the worst of the destruction in this wave of fanatical violence.

Some estimates hold that more than 95 percent of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim.

We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading across the planet. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. No description of the suffering and depravity can begin to capture its full measure.

The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.

The Middle East is rich with natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and massive amounts of historic treasures. It should increasingly become one of the great global centers of commerce and opportunity.

This region should not be a place from which refugees flee, but to which newcomers flock.

Saudi Arabia is home to the holiest sites in one of the world’s great faiths. Each year millions of Muslims come from around the world to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Hajj. In addition to ancient wonders, this country is also home to modern ones—including soaring achievements in architecture.

Egypt was a thriving center of learning and achievement thousands of years before other parts of the world. The wonders of Giza, Luxor and Alexandria are proud monuments to that ancient heritage.

All over the world, people dream of walking through the ruins of Petra in Jordan. Iraq was the cradle of civilization and is a land of natural beauty. And the United Arab Emirates has reached incredible heights with glass and steel, and turned earth and water into spectacular works of art.

The entire region is at the center of the key shipping lanes of the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, and the Straits of Hormuz. The potential of this region has never been greater. 65 percent of its population is under the age of 30. Like all young men and women, they seek great futures to build, great national projects to join, and a place for their families to call home.

But this untapped potential, this tremendous cause for optimism, is held at bay by bloodshed and terror. There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it.

Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.

Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.

If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen. Terrorism’s devastation of life will continue to spread. Peaceful societies will become engulfed by violence. And the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered.

If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing—then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God.

This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations.

This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.

This is a battle between Good and Evil.

When we see the scenes of destruction in the wake of terror, we see no signs that those murdered were Jewish or Christian, Shia or Sunni. When we look upon the streams of innocent blood soaked into the ancient ground, we cannot see the faith or sect or tribe of the victims—we see only that they were Children of God whose deaths are an insult to all that is holy.

But we can only overcome this evil if the forces of good are united and strong—and if everyone in this room does their fair share and fulfills their part of the burden.

Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land.

America is prepared to stand with you—in pursuit of shared interests and common security.

But the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children.

It is a choice between two futures—and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you.

A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and


For our part, America is committed to adjusting our strategies to meet evolving threats and new facts. We will discard those strategies that have not worked—and will apply new approaches informed by experience and judgment. We are adopting a Principled Realism, rooted in common values and shared interests.

Our friends will never question our support, and our enemies will never doubt our determination. Our partnerships will advance security through stability, not through radical disruption. We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes – not inflexible ideology. We will be guided by the lessons of experience, not the confines of rigid thinking. And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms – not sudden intervention.

We must seek partners, not perfection—and to make allies of all who share our goals.

Above all, America seeks peace—not war.

Muslim nations must be willing to take on the burden, if we are going to defeat terrorism and send its wicked ideology into oblivion.

The first task in this joint effort is for your nations to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil. Every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.

Many are already making significant contributions to regional security: Jordanian pilots are crucial partners against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and a regional coalition have taken strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen. The Lebanese Army is hunting ISIS operatives who try to infiltrate their territory. Emirati troops are supporting our Afghan partners. In Mosul, American troops are supporting Kurds, Sunnis and Shias fighting together for their homeland. Qatar, which hosts the U.S. Central Command, is a crucial strategic partner. Our longstanding partnership with Kuwait and Bahrain continue to enhance security in the region. And courageous Afghan soldiers are making tremendous sacrifices in the fight against the Taliban, and others, in the fight for their country.

As we deny terrorist organizations control of territory and populations, we must also strip them of their access to funds. We must cut off the financial channels that let ISIS sell oil, let extremists pay their fighters, and help terrorists smuggle their reinforcements.

I am proud to announce that the nations here today will be signing an agreement to prevent the financing of terrorism, called the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center – co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and joined by every member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is another historic step in a day that will be long remembered.

I also applaud the Gulf Cooperation Council for blocking funders from using their countries as a financial base for terror, and designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization last year. Saudi Arabia also joined us this week in placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hezbollah.

Of course, there is still much work to do.

That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.

Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and YOUR SOUL WILL BE CONDEMNED.

And political leaders must speak out to affirm the same idea: heroes don’t kill innocents; they save them. Many nations here today have taken important steps to raise up that message. Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030 is an important and encouraging statement of tolerance, respect, empowering women, and economic development.

The United Arab Emirates has also engaged in the battle for hearts and souls—and with the U.S., launched a center to counter the online spread of hate. Bahrain too is working to undermine recruitment and radicalism.

I also applaud Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees. The surge of migrants and refugees leaving the Middle East depletes the human capital needed to build stable societies and economies. Instead of depriving this region of so much human potential, Middle Eastern countries can give young people hope for a brighter future in their home nations and regions.

That means promoting the aspirations and dreams of all citizens who seek a better life—including women, children, and followers of all faiths. Numerous Arab and Islamic scholars have eloquently argued that protecting equality strengthens Arab and Muslim communities.

For many centuries the Middle East has been home to Christians, Muslims and Jews living side-by-side. We must practice tolerance and respect for each other once again—and make this region a place where every man and woman, no matter their faith or ethnicity, can enjoy a life of dignity and hope.

In that spirit, after concluding my visit in Riyadh, I will travel to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and then to the Vatican—visiting many of the holiest places in the three Abrahamic Faiths. If these three faiths can join together in cooperation, then peace in this world is possible – including peace between Israelis and Palestinians. I will be meeting with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Starving terrorists of their territory, their funding, and the false allure of their craven ideology, will be the basis for defeating them.

But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.

From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.

It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes, and the United States has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad Regime—launching 59 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated.

Responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, eradicate ISIS, and restore stability to the region. The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.

Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.

The decisions we make will affect countless lives.

King Salman, I thank you for the creation of this great moment in history, and for your massive investment in America, its industry and its jobs. I also thank you for investing in the future of this part of the world.

This fertile region has all the ingredients for extraordinary success – a rich history and culture, a young and vibrant people, a thriving spirit of enterprise. But you can only unlock this future if the citizens of the Middle East are freed from extremism, terror and violence.

We in this room are the leaders of our peoples. They look to us for answers, and for action. And when we look back at their faces, behind every pair of eyes is a soul that yearns for justice.

Today, billions of faces are now looking at us, waiting for us to act on the great question of our time.

Will we be indifferent in the presence of evil? Will we protect our citizens from its violent ideology? Will we let its venom spread through our societies? Will we let it destroy the most holy sites on earth? If we do not confront this deadly terror, we know what the future will bring—more suffering and despair. But if we act—if we leave this magnificent room unified and determined to do what it takes to destroy the terror that threatens the world—then there is no limit to the great future our citizens will have.

The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance. Just imagine what tomorrow could bring.

Glorious wonders of science, art, medicine and commerce to inspire humankind. Great cities built on the ruins of shattered towns. New jobs and industries that will lift up millions of people. Parents who no longer worry for their children, families who no longer mourn for their loved ones, and the faithful who finally worship without fear.

These are the blessings of prosperity and peace. These are the desires that burn with a righteous flame in every human heart. And these are the just demands of our beloved peoples.

I ask you to join me, to join together, to work together, and to FIGHT together—BECAUSE UNITED, WE WILL NOT FAIL.

Thank you. God Bless You. God Bless Your Countries. And God Bless the United States of America.

The Party List

Fri, 2017-05-19 05:00

A cartoon with questions requiring the student to demonstrate understanding of the cartoonist's intended meaning.

Police officer accidentally overdoses on fentanyl after making drug arrest

Fri, 2017-05-19 05:00

(WCPO9 Cincinnati, by staff reporters) EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – An East Liverpool, Ohio police officer is recovering after authorities said he accidentally touched and overdosed on fentanyl seized during an arrest.

East Liverpool patrolman Chris Green pulled over 25-year-old Justin Buckle’s vehicle Friday after he spotted someone in the car perform a drug transaction, police told reporters at WKBN.

That’s when Green noticed there was white powder on the car seat and floor, as well as on Buckle and another passenger’s shoes and clothing, East Liverpool Captain Patrick Wright said.

Green arrested the two men – Buckle and 24-year-old Cortez Collins. He then followed protocol by putting on gloves and a mask to search the car, Wright told WKBN.

When Green got back to his police station, another officer noticed he had some of the white powder on his shirt, Wright said. Green instinctively brushed at the powder while not wearing gloves.

“Just out of instinct, he tried to brush it off — not thinking,” he said.

An hour later, Green passed out at the station after contact with the powder – which was later determined to be fentanyl. The drug can get into the body just through contact with the skin.

“He’s an ex-MMA fighter, 220 pounds, solid muscle and it overtook him,” said Wright.

Police Chief John Lane told CBS Pittsburgh, “One of the officers had to catch him. He started collapsing. This stuff is very dangerous.”

Emergency workers gave Green a dose of Narcan (an opiate antidote) at the station and three more doses at the hospital.

Captain Wright said Sunday Green was in good shape.

He told WKBN the incident was a scary example of how the drug epidemic has forced police officers to change aspects of their job.

“We changed our procedures to where we used to field test-drugs,” Wright said. “We don’t do that any longer because of accidental exposures.”

Green, who is back on the job this week said of the accidental overdose,

“I started talking weird. I slowly felt my body shutting down. I could hear them talking, but I couldn’t respond. I was in total shock.”

Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Just a quarter of a milligram — a few granules — can kill you.

Experts say the effects of fentanyl can be felt when absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled, making the drug hazardous to anyone who comes into contact with it.

From WCPO9 Cincinnati Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission.

News quiz for week ending 5/19/17

Fri, 2017-05-19 05:00

A quiz with questions relating to the week's Daily News Articles.

Tennessee makes community college free for all adults

Thu, 2017-05-18 05:00

Please Note:  Daily posting and “Answers” emails will end for the school year on Friday, May 26th.

(by Katie Lobosco, CNN Money) – Lawmakers approved legislation Wednesday that will expand the Tennessee Promise program that launched in 2014. It made tuition and fees free for recent high school graduates enrolled in a community college or technical school. Now, adults who don’t already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can go for free, too, starting in the 2018 fall semester.

[Republican] Governor Bill Haslam is expected to sign the bill into law. He proposed the legislation in his State of the State address earlier this year. It’s a cornerstone of his initiative to increase the number of residents with a college education to 55% by 2025. Last year, less than 39% of residents had gone to college.

“If we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseans, we have to make sure that Tennesseans are ready for jobs, and there is no smarter investment than increasing access to high-quality education,” Haslam said in a statement.

To be eligible, students must have been a state resident for at least a year before applying, maintain a 2.0 GPA, enroll in enough classes to be a part-time student, and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Expanding the free-tuition program will cost about $11.2 million once fully implemented. But it will be funded by the state’s lottery account, just like the rest of Tennessee Promise. [An estimated 20,000 are expected to enroll in the first year, said Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.]

Students will save about $3,700 a year, which is the average cost of tuition and fees at Tennessee’s 13 community colleges. If they already receive a need-based Pell Grant from the federal government, Tennessee will cover any remaining cost.

Should states be in the gambling business?

Since Haslam, a Republican, pushed for the Tennessee Promise program in 2014, the idea of tuition-free college has gained some traction. Oregon has made community college free for recent high school grads and GED recipients, too. San Francisco will make community college free for all residents starting this fall.

In April, New York made tuition free at two- and four-year colleges for students whose families earn no more than $125,000 a year. Lawmakers in Rhode Island are also considering a proposal to make two years of college tuition-free.

More than 33,000 students have benefited from the Tennessee Promise program in its first two years, raising enrollment among first-time freshmen by 30%, according to the governor’s office. The first group of eligible students are graduating this year.

CNNMoney (New York) First published May 11, 2017. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from CNNMoney. For the original article, visit

What do you know?

Thu, 2017-05-18 05:00

What do you know?
(by Pete Du Pont, – If you’re an American college student, probably not [a lot about civics].

“I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

Thomas Jefferson
letter to William Charles Jarvis
Sept. 20, 1820

So how is America’s modern education system doing in this regard? Are our citizens enlightened enough to exercise the powers of our democracy? Do our colleges and universities provide their students the American history and constitutional understanding needed to make them strong and responsible citizens?

A study released [in 2005] by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute– –demonstrates that the answers to both questions are no. The study concludes that:

“America’s colleges and universities fail to increase knowledge about America’s history and institutions.”

In a 60-question multiple-choice quiz ,”college seniors failed the civic literacy exam, with an average score of 53.2 percent, or F, on a traditional grading scale.” And at many schools, “seniors know less than freshmen about America’s history, government, foreign affairs, and economy.”

In the fall of 2005 ISI worked with the University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy to ask “more than 14,000 randomly selected college freshmen and seniors at 50 colleges and universities across the country”–an average of about 140 each of freshman and seniors on each campus–what they knew about America’s constitutional and governmental history and policies.

The colleges ran from state institutions – the University of New Mexico and the University of California at Berkeley, for example – to Ivy League schools like Yale, Brown and Harvard, and less-well-known institutions like Grove City College and Appalachian State University.

Some colleges did better than others, but few of them added very much to students’ knowledge of America’s history or government. College freshmen averaged 51.7%, and the seniors averaged 53.2%, so there was a slight gain in knowledge. But the average senior scored only 58.5% on American history questions, slightly above 51% on government and America-and-the-world questions, and 50.5% on market economy questions. By every college’s grading system those are failing grades.

Among college seniors, less than half–47.9%–correctly concluded that “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal” was from the Declaration of Independence. More than half did not know that the Bill of Rights prohibits the governmental establishment of an official religion, and “55.4 percent could not recognize Yorktown as the battle that brought the American Revolution to an end” (more than one quarter believing that it was the Civil War battle of Gettysburg that had ended the Revolution).

The questions about more recent matters produced more accurate answers. More than 80% of students could identify Franklin D. Roosevelt’s programs as the New Deal, 79% knew that Brown v. Board of Education ordered an end to racial segregation, and 69% were aware that GDP was the best measure of output of our economy.

But the responses to the survey’s 60 questions reflect the students’ poor understanding of America’s history and our institutions.

As for the 50 colleges that participated in the program, the best-scoring students were not from the institutions one might expect. Rhodes College, Colorado State University and Calvin College were the top three, with senior students averaging between 9.5 and 11.6 percentage points higher than freshmen.

At the other end of the scale were 16 schools that showed “negative learning”–that is, seniors scored lower than freshmen. Cornell, UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins were the worst three, their seniors scoring between 3.3 and 7.3 percentage points worse than their freshmen. And on the negative list were some other very prestigious universities: Williams, Georgetown, Yale, Duke and Brown.

How did these educational failures come to pass? ISI concludes that “students don’t learn what colleges don’t teach.” In other words, in colleges where students must take more courses in American history they do better on the test, outperforming schools where fewer courses were completed. Seniors at the top test-scoring colleges “took an average of 4.2 history and political science courses, while seniors at the two lowest-ranked colleges . . . took an average of 2.9 history and political science courses.” Similarly, higher ranked colleges spent more time on homework, 20 hours a week at fourth-ranked Grove City College and 14 or 15 at low-ranked Georgetown and Berkeley.

Parental education and family discussions of current events contribute to better civic learning as well. The study found that “73 percent of seniors’ families at Grove City and Harvard [ranking 4th and 25th, respectively] discussed current events or history on a weekly or daily basis,” whereas only half did at low ranked Berkeley and Johns Hopkins.

So what should be done about our colleges’ failure to offer sound educational courses on America’s constitutional republic? Obviously they must improve the quantity and quality of their teaching, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute recommends building “centers of academic excellence on college and university campuses for the teaching of America’s history and institutions.”

That would help people become, as Jefferson put it, “enlightened enough to exercise their control” over governmental matters. Many constitutional policy issues are before the Congress, from adding a line-item veto to the president’s powers (a proper constitutional question) to regulating how many dollars a candidate for federal office may spend in a campaign or guaranteeing everyone a right to a home (improper ones).

Such issues must be understood by our citizens, for as Thomas Paine said after the original constitution was ratified by the states, “Government is only the creature of a Constitution. The Constitution of a country is not the act of its Government, but of the people constituting a Government.”

Mr. du Pont, a former governor of Delaware, is chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis.  (Disclosure: [Mr.Dupont is] a member of the ISI’s Civic Literacy Board, though [he] was not involved in preparing this survey.)

Published Sept. 27, 2006 at The Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal. First re-posted at StudentNewsDaily on October 5, 2006. Reprinted here May 18, 2017 for educational purposes only. Visit the website at wsj .com.

Healthy teen died from too much caffeine

Wed, 2017-05-17 05:00

(Compiled from reports by Jamiel Lynch and Debra Goldschmidt for CNN and from CBS News) – Too much caffeine caused the death of a 16-year-old high school sophomore from South Carolina who collapsed during class last month, according to the county coroner.

Davis Allen Cripe died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts announced in a news conference Monday. During an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body, and lack of blood flow affects the brain, heart and other organs.

The teen consumed three caffeine-laden drinks — a cafe latte, large Diet Mountain Dew and an energy drink — in a two-hour period before collapsing in his classroom at Spring Hill High School on April 26, Watts said. A classmate who was with Davis the day he died, said he loaded up on caffeine — and “basically chugged” an energy drink during class.

Among those at the news conference Monday was the teen’s father, Sean Cripe.

“He was a great kid, he didn’t get mixed up in the wrong things — he loved music,” Mr. Cripe said. “Like all parents, we worry about our kids as they grow up. We worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving. But it wasn’t a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink.”

Watts said Davis had purchased the latte at McDonald’s around 12:30 p.m. After that he consumed the Diet Mountain Dew and the energy drink.

Davis collapsed at the school in Chapin, near Columbia, just before 2:30 p.m. and according to Watts, was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m. Davis had an abnormal reaction to the caffeine, Watts said:

“You can have five people line up and all of them do the exact same thing with him that day, drink more, and it may not have any type of effect on them at all.  These drinks, this amount of caffeine, how it’s ingested can have dire consequences and that’s what happened in this case,” Watts said.

“You know it when it happens. You start to feel dizzy. You can feel it in your chest,” said CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus. Agus says energy drinks send more than 20,000 people to the emergency room annually.

“The problem that we’re learning is that it’s not just caffeine, it’s the other stimulants that are in there.  In a cup of coffee, you may [drink it] over 45 minutes or 60 minutes. These energy drinks you’re [drinking] all at once. And so all the caffeine give this big peak in the body and that’s when bad things happen.” Agus said.

Davis’ autopsy showed no undiagnosed heart conditions and that Davis was healthy and had no conditions that could have been triggered by the caffeine intake. Also, no other drugs or alcohol were found in the teen’s system, according to Watts.

“This was not an overdose. We lost Davis from a totally legal substance,” Watts said. “Our purpose here today is to let people know, especially our young kids in school, that these drinks can be dangerous, and be very careful with how you use them, and how many you drink on a daily basis.”

Mr. Cripe said he hopes that if nothing else comes out of this, parents and kids will realize the dangers of caffeinated beverages.

“Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks,” he said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adolescents, age 12 to 18, should not consume more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day. The AAP also says energy drinks usually contain additives not tested on children and advises against children and teens drinking energy drinks of any kind.

The American Beverage Association, which represents the makers of almost all energy drinks sold in America, did not return a request for comment. The trade group says their energy drinks can be safely consumed in moderation.

CNN’s Jacqueline Howard and Jen Christensen contributed to this report.

Compiled from news reports at CNN and CBS News. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission.

The big story the media ignored

Wed, 2017-05-17 05:00

Mexico’s was the second deadliest conflict in the world last year, but it hardly registered in the international headlines.

As Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan dominated the news in 2016, Mexico’s drug wars claimed 23,000 lives during 2016 — second only to Syria, where 50,000 people died as a result of the civil war.

“The death toll in Mexico’s conflict surpasses those for Afghanistan and Somalia. This is all the more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths are nearly all attributable to small arms. Mexico is a conflict marked by the absence of artillery, tanks or combat aviation,” said Dr. John Chipman, chief executive and director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which issued its annual Survey of Armed Conflict on Tuesday.

Anastasia Voronkova, the editor of the IISS survey noted:

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan claimed 17,000 and 16,000 lives respectively in 2016, although in lethality they were surpassed by conflicts in Mexico and Central America, which have received much less attention from the media and the international community.”

There were 17,000 conflict deaths in Mexico in 2015 and 15,000 in 2014 according to the IISS.

Voronkova said the number of homicides rose in 22 of Mexico’s 32 states during 2016 and the rivalries between drug cartels increased in violence.

“It is noteworthy that the largest rises in fatalities were registered in states that were key battlegrounds for control between competing, increasingly fragmented cartels,” she said.

“The violence grew worse as the cartels expanded the territorial reach of their campaigns, seeking to ‘cleanse’ areas of rivals in their efforts to secure a monopoly on drug-trafficking routes and other criminal assets.”

Mexican drug cartels take in between $19 billion and $29 billion annually from US drug sales, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Rivalries between the cartels wreak havoc on the lives of civilians who have nothing to do with narcotics. Bystanders, people who refused to join cartels, migrants, journalists and government officials have all been killed.  (Adapted from a CNN report).

China clamps down on online news with new security rules

Tue, 2017-05-16 05:00

PLEASE NOTE: Daily posting and “Answers” emails will end for the school year on Friday, May 26th.

(by Associated Press at New York Daily News) BEIJING — China is tightening rules for online news as censors try to control a flood of information spread through instant-messaging apps, blogs and other media sources that are proliferating across the country.

The rules announced May 2nd will require online publishers to obtain government licenses and block foreign or private companies from investing in online news services or directly disseminating news.

Chinese news outlets will have to undergo a security review before working with foreign companies, according to a statement from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), [China’s internet regulator], which take effect June 1.

The move follows a crackdown on dissent under Communist Party leader President Xi Jinping that has led to tighter controls on what can be published online.

China’s President Xi Jinping is the current General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

With the latest rules, the government will require internet companies to censor what their customers see or risk losing their right to distribute news, Chinese media expert Qiao Mu said.

“This is aimed at the companies rather than the individual users,” he said. “It’s not only to ideologically control information, but also to control the source of the information.”

There are more than 700 million internet users in China. Authorities have long sought to block material considered subversive by erasing objectionable items off news sites and microblogs. …[China is notorious for its tight grip on online content. It put in place a censorship firewall, commonly known as the Great Firewall, which blocks popular sites such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia, leaving Chinese internet users only with Chinese duplicates of the services such as Baidu and Weibo. The mainland is also set to release its version of Wikipedia in 2018. Today, the country ranks fifth from the bottom on the World Press Freedom Index, as compiled by Reporters without Borders.]

Many internet users in China regularly circumvent (find a way around) that system by using virtual private networks, or VPNs. Those offer encrypted connections intended to thwart censorship and allow access to banned sites.

The new rules adopt a more proactive approach, placing restrictions on news site ownership and funding – and targeting companies or individuals that violate them. News services will face penalties such as criminal prosecution if they fail to “persist in … serving socialism,” promote a “benign online culture,” and “safeguard the national interest.”

Qiao said three of China’s biggest internet companies — Baidu, Tencent, and NetEase — could be affected. Each provides access to news: Baidu via its popular search platform, Tencent through the WeChat messaging app and NetEase through its Mobile News app.

Numerous smaller news providers that use the larger companies’ platforms also would fall under the new rules, Qiao said. …

The rules target Chinese internet services and seem unlikely to affect foreign news organizations and websites based overseas, many of which are already blocked in China.

How much information gets filtered out will be determined by how forcefully agencies including the Cybersecurity Administration enforce the new rules, said Zhan Jiang with the Department of International Journalism and Communication at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

The official Communist government’s Xinhua News Agency characterized the rules as a security measure intended in part to protect the privacy of users. …

Reprinted here for educational purposes only from an Associated Press story. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the New York Daily News.