Man Will Get Warning Instead Of Originally Issued $525 Citation For $.89 Drink Refill At VA Medical Center In SC


The cafeteria is heavily patrolled and secure


Officials with the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston say a North Charleston man who was initially federally charged with a $525 fine for an $.89 drink refill will instead be given a warning.

“In reviewing the case, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center has determined a warning in lieu of a citation is sufficient in this case,” a statement released by the VA stated on Thursday.

Christopher Lewis, an on-site construction worker, said he didn’t know refills at the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston came at a price, and Wednesday, during his lunch hour, he was originally slapped with federal charges. The ticket was issued by the Federal Police Force at the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston after Lewis refilled his soda without paying the $0.89. A hospital spokesperson on Wednesday called it a “theft of government property.”

“Every time I look at the ticket, it’s unbelievable to me,” Lewis said on Wednesday. “I can’t fathom the fact that I made a $0.89 mistake that cost me $525.”

Lewis is now out of a job. According to a hospital spokesperson, signs are posted in the cafeteria informing patrons that refills aren’t free. Lewis says he never noticed the signs and admits he had refilled his drink without paying on other occasions. He says after he went back for seconds on Wednesday, a man who identified himself as the chief of police, stopped him.

“As I was filling my cup up, I turned to walk off and a fella grabbed me by the arm and asked me was I going to pay for that, and I told him I wasn’t aware that I had to pay for that.”

Lewis says he tried to pay the $0.89 right there, but wasn’t allowed to. He says he wasn’t given the chance to pay the cashier either.

“I never had an option to make right what I had done wrong.”

He says he was taken to a room, given the $525 ticket for shoplifting and told not to return to the property.

“I’m done there, at the VA hospital. I’m not allowed to go on the premises anymore. I asked him can I still work on the job site and just bring my lunch and not got to the cafeteria and he said he wanted me off the premises.”

A hospital spokesperson says it was her understanding that Lewis was aggressive during the confrontation.

The medical center originally released the following statement on Wednesday:

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is fortunate to have a highly trained Federal police force to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and employees. As Federal police they are responsible for enforcing the law. Today a Federal citation was issued for shoplifting in the VA cafeteria to an individual who stated to VA police he had not paid for refills of beverages on multiple occasions, even though signs are posted in the cafeteria informing patrons refills are not free. Shoplifting is a crime. The dollar amount of the ticket is not determined by VA as it is a Federal citation. The citation may be paid or the recipient may choose to appear in Federal court to contest it.

Lewis and his fiancé have contacted the Internal Affairs Office in Columbia. He says he will contest the fine in federal court.

“It’s about pretty much I guess you would say getting your face back. I want everybody to know that I made a simple mistake, that I’m not a thief, that I’m not dishonest. I’m trying to do the right thing.”

Detroit Homeowner Shoots And Kills Suspect During Home Invasion

Detroit invasion

The tax payer relief shot is becoming a common occurrence in Detroit

Via Detroit FREEP

A man suspected of being a getaway driver is dead after being shot as burglary suspects fled a home this morning on Detroit’s west side and then drove into another house, injuring a woman there, police said.

It appears to be the latest example of Detroiters fatally shooting intruders.

After shots were fired this morning, the suspect’s Dodge minivan punched a large hole in the side of the second house on the southern corner of Glastonbury Avenue and Lancashire Street. Police arrived to find the driver dead on the scene, Detroit Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said.

Two other suspects fled, Woody said. The suspects had broken through a window on the side of the first home, also on Glastonbury Avenue, earlier.

The residents of the first home who had been playing video games in the basement shot at the suspects as they came downstairs, Woody said. The suspects ran to the front of the house to escape and kicked a locked security door off its hinges on their way out. When they got outside, they turned and fired shots at the residents before entering the van, Woody said.

The residents returned fire, hitting the van and its driver.

“The driver hit the gas and drove over the median into the house across the street,” Woody said.

Tracks could be seen this morning leading from a smashed yield sign through the yard into the second house.

Damon Bradley, 32, said his 29-year-old sister was inside that house when the van drove into it. His sister was injured and taken to a nearby hospital.

“It’s almost like a bad dream,” he said. “You don’t expect to be waking up to a call of this magnitude.”

The part of the home the van hit was a bathroom, Bradley said. He said his sister was near the bathroom when the vehicle plowed through a brick wall. Bradley grew up in the house, which belongs to his family.

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Hillary Clinton Tells Illegal Immigrant She Is “Incredibly Brave” For Being In This Country Illegally…


Via Mediaite:

At the same Clinton Foundation-sponsored event Thursday where Chelsea Clinton announced her first pregnancy to the world, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a question from a young, 19-year-old woman who chose to publicly reveal her status as an undocumented immigrant. “That was incredibly brave,” Clinton told the woman after she shared her story. [...]

She asked Clinton “what in your sense is essential for immigration reform” to help girls like her overcome this very different type of “glass ceiling.”

“Oh Nova,” Clinton responded as the audience applauded. “That was incredibly brave. And I thank you for doing that because it’s important to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. That’s one of the big hopes I have, is that we can get back to being a country where people can understand what others are going through and have empathy for it and really try to help each other.”

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Huffpo Writer Upset Over Dissenting Views


Follow up to a previous story. The “offending” comment mentioned in Weasel Zippers, was from a commenter that has only made 9 comments.

Via The News On Time

Sunday’s shooting at a Jewish community center in Kansas reminds us of the violent anti-Semitism that stubbornly persists. For people of Jewish ancestry, the news activated deeply-seated anxieties and fears – traces of the pogroms, genocide and everyday discriminations of the past. Even more troublesome for me, this disturbing event in the public eye coincided with threats and anti-Semitic insults that I received last week after writing about the September 11 Museum at the World Trade Center. As a person of Jewish ancestry, I received these threats, not from the Ku Klux Klan, but from popular anti-Islam websites such as “Bare Naked Islam.”

How did I find myself the target-of-the-day for the Islamophobic hate machine? As a student of New York City history, with degrees in international politics, I have followed the gradual formation of the September 11 Memorial Museum, which opens on May 21, with great interest and concern. The stories we tell about the past shape our perceptions of the present, and no other contemporary story – or “narrative” – has had more impact on our world than the events of September 11, 2001. September 11 was a most real event years ago, but still, as a story and as a memory, it remains quite present. The decisions made in its narration have, and will continue to have, serious consequences, including implications of life and death. And at a time when nearly all children and teenagers have no personal memory of September 11, society’s assignments of blame will increasingly be determined by institutional arbiters of collective memory, such the September 11 Museum.

The new institution has solemn and important responsibilities: It is tasked with honoring the victims and with depicting the horrors of what happened that day. The museum, further, has chosen to install an exhibition hall that offers a history of al Qaeda and presents its motivations and ideology. Yet, al Qaeda represents only a small group of people, and there are around 1.6 billion Muslims. It is crucial that the terminology the museum uses in this section not generalize and blame the world’s Muslims as a whole. We do not provoke Christians by calling the Kansas shooter a product of “Christian terrorism” and implicitly blaming the religion, so why do we continue to tolerate the term “Islamic terrorism?” Two weeks ago, I discovered that the September 11 Museum was using this term in its advance material, suggesting that similar language might be in the opening exhibition. On Thursday, April 3, I posted an article on that urged the reconsideration of the phrasing, as it could imply collective responsibility for the attacks, possibly distorting the cultural debate for decades to come, while causing massive offense to Muslims.

The museum, surely well-meaning, would not provoke and distort in a deliberate or blatant way. However, the words used to describe al Qaeda have been and will continue to be politicized by ideologues who smear Islam and its followers. In my article, when I argued that terrorism is not an inherent product of the religion itself, I challenged a fundamental assumption of the anti-Islam bigotry. As a result, I experienced an online onslaught of vitriol. I suspect that the authors of these websites were fearful that if the September 11 Museum rejects terminology that associates Islam and terrorism, it might undermine and discredit their entire worldview.

Indeed, these individuals went to great lengths to intimidate and to defend their warped perspective. Aggressive and tasteless websites such as “Bare Naked Islam,” “Weasel Zippers,” “iOwnTheWorld,” and “Patriot Update” attacked my article, as well as myself with my “Jewish-sounding name,” in an echo chamber of hatred and hostility. Several comments made subtle, and not so subtle, violent threats.

A comment on Bare Naked Islam stated: “People like Todd need to be removed from the public eye. I’m sure there must be some way of doing this.”

One on Patriot Update warned: “[i]f you keep this crap up you might be visiting those who were killed!”

And another on Weasel Zippers exclaimed: “You can only dispatch a politician with your vote, you can dispatch these cockroach journalists with relevant ease. DO IT…”

Needless to say, as a writer with primary interest in Arab-American literature and the history of ethnic immigration, I am not accustomed to receiving even indirect death threats. Unfortunately, these sorts of threats are ubiquitous online, and their targets usually ignore them so as not to give them credibility and attention. However, the existence of such hatred, with its desire to intimidate and control, calls for special awareness and sensitivity. While the museum obviously has no link to these noxious postings, which they would surely reject, it is obliged to take a leadership role in opposing inaccurate terminology that is the basis for this hateful discourse.

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HT Getaclue and BNI

MSNBC’s Ratings Continue To Tank, Lowest Weekly Prime Time Demo Rating Since 2007…

Via Mediaite:

After ending the first quarter of 2014 ahead of CNN in every major ratings category, MSNBC has had a rough start to the month of April. For the week of April 7th-13th, MSNBC averaged just 147K in the coveted 25-54 news demo in prime time, the network’s worst weekly figure since the week of May 21, 2007, when they averaged 142K.

Things were even worse when you factor in the rest of the day. In total day, MSNBC averaged 103K viewers in the demo, which hadn’t happened since the week of October 3, 2011. The last time the network dipped below that number was the week of May 7, 2007, when they averaged 100K in the demo.

Of MSNBC’s prime time hosts, Rachel Maddow was the only one of the three to break 200K in an evening in the demo as she did on Wednesday, April 9th. Every other broadcast of her 9pm show and those of All In with Chris Hayes at 8pm and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell at 10pm drew under 200K viewers in the 25-54 demo.

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Poll: 61% Say White House Covering Up Benghazi, 60% Want Congress To Keep Investigating…

Bad news for Pant Suits.

Via Fox News:

Most voters think the White House is trying to cover-up what happened in Benghazi and want Congress to continue to investigate the administration’s handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate there that killed four Americans.

That’s according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.

Sixty percent of voters want lawmakers to keep investigating what happened in Benghazi. That’s down from 65 percent who felt that way in November, and a high of 73 percent in early June 2013.

A third opposes Congress continuing to investigate the attack (34 percent).

U.N. Funding “Mr. Poo” Campaign In India…

Is it me or does Mr. Poo look vaguely like Obama?

Via Independent:

Meet Mr Poo: The lumpy, brown anthropomorphised faeces that is the face of Unicef’s latest public health campaign in India.

Accompanied by an insanely catchy techno-Bollywood-style anthem, Mr Poo features in a very silly and surreal new video aimed at raising awareness of the health dangers associated with public defecation in India. Though the video is light-hearted; the issue is a serious one.

Globally, India has the largest number of people, more than 620 million, still defecating in the open. Only about half the population of the country use toilets.

According to the Poo2Loo campaign, which is supported by United Nations Children’s Fund, 44 per cent of mothers in India dispose of their children’s faeces in the open, meaning there is an extremely high risk of microbial contamination (bacteria, viruses, amoeba) of water – which can cause diarrhea in children.

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Carney: We’re The Most Transparent Administration Ever…


You’re a funny guy, Jay.

Via RCP:

MAJOR GARRETT: The Obama administration came to Washington promising transparency. In your view, has the administration fallen short of this goal?

JAY CARNEY: I think there’s no question, I’ve covered the previous two administrations, and know a thing or two about ones before that, there has never been a more transparent administration. We provide more information about, for example, the WAVES [the White House "Workers and Visitors Entry System"] records, something that no administration has ever done. The WAVES records are collected by the Secret Service, individuals who are cleared in for White House access. Those have never been released before, no administration has ever released them.

And I think it’s fair to say that the release of that information has made this White House far more transparent than any other [administration]. That doesn’t mean it’s perfectly transparent. It creates headaches for us, and ridiculous stories on Fox News and elsewhere about, for example, saying Hillary Clinton was only in the White House five times, while Secretary so-and-so was there this many times.

Obama Denies Putin Is Mocking Him…

Obama Putin

Guess again, Barack.

During his interview with President Barack Obama that aired Thursday, CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin was mocking him and the U.S. military by having a Russian fighter jet buzz a U.S. warship.

Obama responded, “They are not interested in any kind of military confrontation with us understanding that our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians. We don’t need a war”

Video here…

British Government To Offer Sharia Loans To Muslim Students So They Can Attend College…


Only in the UK.

Via HuffPo:

The government is planning to introduce student loans which will be compliant with Sharia law in order to encourage more Muslims to attend university.

Concerns are bound to be raised as to whether they will end up paying less in tuition fees than non-Muslim students, who will continue to pay back their loans with interest.

Sharia law forbids Muslims from taking out loans that generate interest, and the new system is to be based on the Takaful structure adopted in Islamic finance. Takaful is a co-operative system of reimbursement which allows a group of people to provide financial assistance to each other.

The department for business, innovation and skills (BIS) released a document setting out the new proposal, which insisted both groups of students would be treated the same.

“The principles of Sharia law recognise the value of money over time. Given the long period over which most students would make repayments into the fund, the total contribution they would be obligated to make would be based on a benchmark.

Anti-NRA Protester: “No,” You Should Not Be Able To Defend Yourself With A Gun If Your Life Is In Danger…

Easy to say when your life isn’t in danger.


John Bolton: Obama So Blinded By Ideology “He Doesn’t Think Islamic Extremism Exists”…


Love the Stache.

BOLTON: He doesn’t think that Islamic extremism really exists. He thinks it’s not a problem. He thinks the Muslim Brotherhood is just fine. He wishes they were still in control in Egypt. He thinks you can talk to these fanatics and reason with them and negotiate with them.

He’s doing it not on the terrorist front but with the Ayatollahs in Tehran on the nuclear weapons program. and whether they’re Shia or Sunni religious fanatics, they look at this guy and say “we’re gonna take him to the cleaners” and they are.

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NBC Gushes Uncontrollably Over Obama And Biden’s Selfie: “They’re Just Like Us!”…

I take that as an insult.

Via Newsbusters:

The network morning shows on Thursday were thrilled by Vice President Joe Biden joining Instagram on Wednesday and posting a selfie of himself with President Obama. On NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie couldn’t contain her excitement: “Presidents and vice presidents, they’re just like us! The latest selfie racing around the web today.”

Poll: 49 Percent Think White House Ordered IRS To Target Conservatives…

Including 26% of Democrats.

Via Fox News:

Nearly half of American voters think the IRS targeted conservative groups at the request of the White House, and most want Congress to keep investigating the matter.

The latest Fox News poll also finds 69 percent don’t feel President Obama has followed through on his vow to “find out exactly what happened on this.”

By a 49-41 percent margin, voters believe the Obama administration “intentionally had the IRS target conservative political groups.” That includes 26 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, 67 percent of voters want Congress to keep investigating the IRS until “someone is held accountable.” An all-time high of 78 percent thought lawmakers should investigate the IRS in early June.

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Obama Admits His Policies Are Unpopular? It Would “Jam” Up Dem Nominee If I Said Candidate Would Be A Continuation of My Presidency…

So he’s at least mildly aware people can’t stand his administration?

Via The Hill:

President Obama said Thursday he does not want to “jam” up the 2016 Democratic nominee by saying the candidate would be a continuation of his presidency.

In an interview with CBS News, Obama described the presidency as a relay race and said the presidents tend to build off each other.

“I don’t necessarily want to jam them up,” he said. “We all are part of this relay race whether we’re vice presidents, presidents, the truth is we build off of what folks have done previously and some cases that includes Republican presidents.

“That’s the beauty of our democracy, it keeps on evolving and I’m sure that there are going to be some things that, whoever the next president is, want to continue, there are going to be some things that they’re going to want to do differently, but the trajectory is hopefully going to be one in which we’re broadening opportunity for every American.”

South Carolina Drops Out of Common Core Testing Group…


Another one bites the dust.

Via EAG News:

South Carolina’s top education leader announced on Monday that the Palmetto State is pulling out of the Common Core standardized testing group, Smarter Balanced.

Superintendent of Education Mick Zais sent a letter to state Board of Education members informing them of the move – after he learned he had the unilateral authority to do make it, reports.

Zais was spurred to action by bills in the state legislature that, among other things, would prevent South Carolina from using the Smarter Balanced tests in schools.

“My recommendation was to get ahead of these actions of the General Assembly and show the members of the General Assembly that we believe exploring assessment options is the most prudent course of action for South Carolina,” Zais wrote in the letter.

The state was expected to begin using the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced tests during the 2014-15 school year. South Carolina students will still be tested on the new, nationalized math and English learning standards next year, but they may be given a re-worked version of the current state test or an alternative Common Core-aligned assessment, such as the ACT Aspire test, reports

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Obama: GOP Going Through “Stages of Grief” After Realizing How Awesome Obamacare Is…

Barack Obama

Obama smoking weed again?

Via Washington Examiner:

President Obama mocked Republican opponents of his health care law on Thursday, saying that they were going through the “stages of grief” and that critics should accept that the law is here to stay.

“I recognize that their party is going through, you know, the stages of grief, right?,” said Obama during a press briefing at the White House. “Anger and denial and all that stuff and it — we’re not at acceptance yet — but at some point, my assumption is, is that there will be an interest to figure out how do we make this work in the best way possible.”

Obama announced Thursday that 8 million consumers had signed up for Obamacare’s insurance exchanges and said that the successful enrollment period should end the debate over the law’s future.

Republicans, though, say they will press ahead with efforts to undo his signature domestic initiative.

Obama said that he was open to changing parts of the law to make it work better, but said that would “require a change in attitude on the part of the Republicans.”

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Pic: BLM Leaves Behind Mass Grave For Cattle At Bundy Ranch…

BLM could not have screwed this up any worse if they tried.

Bunkerville, NEVADA, April 16, 2014 – Ben Swann interviewed Ryan Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, on his radio program Wednesday. Bundy spoke about the continuing battle over the grazing land, the next steps federal agents may take, and what has already taken place on the property so far.

Bundy told Swann that federal agents have fled the area and left a great deal of gear and equipment and that they aren’t likely to return any time soon for it. He also said that federal agents destroyed much of the grazing infrastructure on the land, including water lines, water tanks, troughs, corrals, and fences.

The damage didn’t stop at just destroying infrastructure: Bundy revealed that their cattle, about 40 or so, had been killed by federal agents and thrown into a mass grave.

In these photographs provided to from the Bundy family, you can see that so called mass grave which was dug out with the use of a backhoe. Already inside that dirt grave you can see the body of at least one of the cattle.

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Michelle Obama Wants You To Dance About A Tyrannosaurus Rex To Lose Weight…

Via Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Blog:

Yesterday, an exciting new addition to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History arrived: a 66.5 million year old Tyrannosaurus rex.

In honor of the T. rex’s arrival, the Smithsonian is encouraging people to get up and dance. They’ve teamed up with Alaskan artist and musician Ray Troll and his band, The Ratfish Wranglers, to create “National Rex,” an original song celebrating the dinosaur’s arrival and they want you to send in a 30 second video dancing to your own original “Rex Two-Step.”

To participate, all you have to do is listen to the song, get inspired, and start moving. Whether your dance involves classical steps or a modern flare, as long as you’re moving and having fun, you could be featured on Twitter (@NMNH) or FacebookCheck out all the rules, and follow along with the hashtag #rexstep!

Here at Let’s Move!, we’re all for getting active, and dancing is a great way to add activity to your daily routine. So why not grab a camera and show the T. rex how you move?


Harry Reid Calls Cliven Bundy Supporters “Domestic Terrorists,” Says Standoff Was “Domestic Terrorism”…

Harry Reid

Last time I checked it ended peacefully.


U.S. Sen. Harry Reid on Thursday called supporters of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy “domestic terrorists” because they defended him against a Bureau of Land Management cattle roundup with guns and put their children in harm’s way.

“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said during an appearance at a Las Vegas Review-Journal “Hashtags & Headlines” event at the Paris. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

The BLM shut down its weeklong roundup of Bundy’s cattle Saturday after an armed confrontation with militia members who had traveled to Southern Nevada.

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