Would You Really Trust This Person Out On Bail?

Yesterday CNBC posted an article about Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers negotiating bail for their client. Jeffrey Epstein is willing to post bail as high as $100 million. Would you take that deal?

The article notes a few things that might cause someone to hesitate before agreeing to the deal:

“We know they have found photos of young women in his home,” Farmer (Annie Farmer, one of his accusers) noted, referring to what prosecutors have said was a “vast trove” of lewd photos of young women or girls that investigators discovered in Epstein’s New York residence.

Before the accusers spoke, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller said that a number of other witnesses contacted authorities after Epstein was recently indicted, and that prosecutors are trying to corroborate their allegations against him.

Rossmiller also revealed that investigators found in Epstein’s $77 million Manhattan townhouse a locked safe containing “piles of cash” and “dozens of diamonds,” as well as an expired passport dating to the 1980s from another country that has Epstein’s photograph on it — but with a different name and a stated residence of Saudi Arabia.

Rossmiller also said that “many, many photographs” of young-looking girls were found in the safe, and that the prosecutors have identified at least one person among them who claims to be a victim of Epstein’s.

Fake passports, diamonds, piles of cash…would you trust this person out on bail?

Received in my email today:

The United States’ Founders created the
Electoral College to ensure the STATES and ALL AMERICANS  are FAIRLY represented.

Why should one or two densely populated areas speak for the whole of the Nation?  Do they truly represent all states and our entire Nation?

There are 3,141 counties in the United States.

Trump won 3,084 of them.
Clinton won 57.

There are 62 counties in New York State.

Trump won 46 of them.

Clinton won 16.

Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 1.5 million votes.

In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan,
Richmond & Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes
than Trump. (Clinton won 4 of these counties; Trump won Richmond)

Therefore these 4 MEGA counties in New York City alone, more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country.

These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles.

The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles.

Should a Nation that encompasses almost 4 million square miles,

be ruled by those who live in one small corner of the vast nation–a mere 319 square miles?

Should this small section of the country dictate a National Election?

Should large, densely populated Democrat cities (NYC, Chicago, LA)  speak for the entire Nation?

 

Toll Wars

We occasionally drive north to visit grandchildren (and their parents). It’s a great drive through Delaware (and sometimes even into central New Jersey), but when you get near New York City, it’s a mess. At one point it took us three hours to go from the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to the middle of Long Island. Traffic in and around New York City is always a mess. So what is the solution?

One America News Network posted an article today about one ridiculous idea.

The article reports:

A mayor in New Jersey is suggesting a commuter tax on New York City residents in retaliation for the Big Apple imposing fees on drivers coming from his state.

This week, Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop suggested implementing a commuter tax on New York City residents leaving the city. This appears to be a rebuttal to New York approving plans to use automated license plate readers to impose fees on drivers entering Manhattan from New Jersey during rush-hour traffic.

The article concludes:

“We don’t see any incentives there for drivers,” explained Robert Sinclair, spokesman for the American Auto Association. “They’re still punishing their vehicles on bad roads and yet being asked to pay for the bulk of the funding to fix the subways and the commuter railroads.”

Fulop said both states should have a “regional conversation” to work out a long-term transportation agreement.

In the meantime, lawmakers are still working out how much money to tax commuters in New York City, with the policy expected to take affect by 2021.

You can’t force people to take public transportation, but you can make public transportation so attractive, convenient, and affordable that people will want to take it. That might be a better solution.

Facing A Real Problem In New York City

Recent mayors of New York City have been concerned with such things as decreasing the size of soft drinks, taking salt shakers off the table at restaurants, and taking the carriage rides out of Central Park. Generally they have been involved in trivial pursuit instead of dealing with some of the major problems the city has. Well, now they have a genuine problem to deal with.

The New York Times reported yesterday that Craig Spencer, a doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders.

The article reports:

While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges involved in containing the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis. Dr. Spencer, 33, had traveled on the A and L subway lines Wednesday night, visited a bowling alley in Williamsburg, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.

If the Center for Disease Control is correct and the Ebola virus cannot be contracted from anyone until they start having symptoms, the virus may be contained at this point. Hopefully that is the case.

I hope that the mayor and public officials of New York City will give this situation the attention it deserves. It is frightening to think of the consequences of an Ebola epidemic in New York City.

Ignoring The Obvious Threat

Mona Charen posted an article at National Review Online today about President Obama’s understanding of the national security threats to America. While speaking at a Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama stated, “I continue to be much more concerned, when it comes to our security, with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.”

The article reports:

The president was speaking at a meeting of the Nuclear Security Summit, a conclave of nations who agree to certain worthy actions such as converting their reactors from the use of highly enriched uranium to newer versions using low-enriched uranium, beefing up security at nuclear facilities, improving radiation detection at air and sea ports, and so forth. Fifty-seven nations and entities (the EU and U.N. included) participate in this process. But the Islamic Republic of Iran is not on the list.

The article reminds us that the most likely way for terrorists to obtain a nuclear weapon would be from Iran.

The article states:

While we are clinking glasses with Iran in negotiations in Vienna, the U.S. State Department continues to list Iran as a state sponsor of terror. In 2012, Iran participated in planned terror attacks in India, Thailand, Georgia, and Kenya. It provided aid and training to the Taliban, Shiite groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and continues to cooperate in various ways with al-Qaeda. The president should curl up some evening with the State Department’s country reports. They’re not beclouded by wishful thinking.

President Obama has made numerous attempts to make friends with Iran. Iran has used these attempts to have sanctions lifted and continue its nuclear program. The sanctions that were in place were seriously hurting the Iranian economy. Unless the economy improved, it was going to be difficult for the current mullahs to stay in power–they needed the sanctions lifted. Had the sanctions stayed in place, there might have been a chance for a regime change in Iran. Now that the sanctions have been lifted, that opportunity has passed.

The article concludes:

If Obama does lose sleep worrying about nuclear terrorism, he should drop his naïve parlay with Iran. He may fondly envision a new cordiality between old foes. That’s not what they see.

Naivete is not an attractive trait in an American President.

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Does Marriage Have Value?

Yesterday the New York Daily News reported that a Manhattan judge has given a couple who are just friends the green light to become legal co-parents to an adopted girl. What happens to that child if one of the friends meets someone and gets married? Who gets custody of the child? Is it possible to divorce a friendship?

The article reports:

The pals identified, only as LEL and KAL, met in 2000 and have been close friends since, according to court papers.

Several years ago, KAL decided she wanted to become a mom, and LEL offered to be her sperm donor.

But when she couldn’t get pregnant, they “decided to instead adopt a child together,” the court papers say.

“They spent years planning and hoping” for a child, and their dream came true in 2011, when KAL was able to adopt a child — identified as G. — from Ethiopia.

They traveled to Africa together to bring the baby home, but because they weren’t married, only KAL was able to adopt, filings say.

When they returned to the U.S., the pair petitioned Manhattan Surrogate’s Court to have LEL named as a second legal parent, even though they don’t live together and are not romantically involved.

In a landmark ruling, Judge Rita Mella did so.

“From the moment they met G,, more than two years ago now, KAL and LEL have functioned as her parents,” the judge wrote in a decision from last month.

It’s not a puppy–it’s a child. What example of a loving family will this child grow up with? If the family is one of the building blocks of our society, then what impact does this ruling have on the foundation of our society?

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For Your Consideration…

On July 10, the Daily Kos (yes, you read that right) reported that the trial began in Manhattan this week for fourteen veterans who were arrested for reading the names of American soldiers killed in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan at New York City’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The soldiers had not finished reading the list when the police asked them to leave, and when they continued reading, they were arrested. One of those arrested was an 85-year-old Word War II Army combat veteran.

I have very mixed emotions about this. Yes, it is within their First Amendment rights to assemble and read the names (this was part of a gathering to ask that all troops be immediately withdrawn from Afghanistan), but if there is a valid curfew, they are also required to respect that.

The article reports:

The defendants are being represented by attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild-NYC, who argue in a brief that “the memorial is in constant use by pedestrians, dog walkers and other people after 10 p.m.,” and that the veterans “were in fact singled out for arrest precisely because of their First Amendment-protected activities.”  

Defense attorney Martin R. Stolar characterized the police behavior as “morally outrageous” and has stated, “Legally, we believe [the defendants’ actions] will be protected by the First Amendment.” Another lawyer for the defendants, Jonathan Wallace, called the event at the veterans memorial “the core of what the First Amendment was designed to protect.”

I think it would have been nice if they had left when asked and continued reading the names when the park opened the next day. There may be more to this story than is immediately obvious.

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The Question Of Access

CBN News posted a story today about the ongoing battle some New York City churches are fighting to continue to meet in public schools. The New York Senate passed a bill yesterday to reverse the New York City school district’s ban on worship services inside its schools. Unless this bill quickly passes the House and is signed by the Governor, all New York City churches that meet in the city schools will be evicted after their February 12 services.

The article reports some of the discussion:

“It would open up the schools to anybody. It might include the Klu Klux Klan,” the New York Times quoted Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, Democrat of Manhattan.

But the bill’s supporters said the churches pose no threat and are beneficial to the community.

“The fact of the matter is these are real lives that these institutions are helping and saving,” said Sen. Malcolm A. Smith, D-Queens. “All they are saying is, ‘Give us the opportunity to help.'”

I belong to a church that has met in schools at various times. Allowing a church to meet in a school generates income for the school. It also provides an opportunity for school employees (janitors and sometimes kitchen help) to work overtime and earn extra income.

There was a time when churches were considered an asset to the community. We seem to have lost that sense. Churches provide guidance for youth, many of them sponsor food pantries, meals for the needy, various support groups, and other services that benefit the community. It benefits churches and the city to allow the churches to meet in the schools.

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The Wall Street Journal’s View Of The Wall Street Protesters

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted an article on the ongoing Wall Street protests. There were some interesting points:

In the matter of Occupy Wall Street, the allegedly anticapitalist movement that’s been camped out in lower Manhattan for the past few weeks and has inspired copycat protests from Boston to Los Angeles, we have some sympathy. Really? Well, yeah.

OK, not for the half-naked demonstrators, the ranting anti-Semites, Kanye West or anyone else who has helped make Occupy Wall Street a target for easy ridicule. But to the extent that the mainly young demonstrators have a valid complaint, it’s that they are trying to bust their way into an economy where there is one job for every five job-seekers, and where youth unemployment runs north of 18%. That is a cause for frustration, if not outrage.

That’s editorial speak for “I feel their pain.” I think everyone can identify with the struggles of young people trying to get jobs in a miserable economy, but the protesters need to rethink some of their protest targets. On Wednesday, they marched on J.P. Morgan Chase’s headquarters. J.P. Chase did not take excessive mortgage risk and did not need or receive TARP money. So why are they being protested?

Something else the protesters might consider when complaining that they cannot find jobs:

Now move from words to actions. Want a shovel-ready job? The Administration has spent three years sitting on the Keystone XL pipeline project that promises to create 13,000 union jobs and 118,000 “spin-off” jobs. A State Department environmental review says the project poses no threat to the environment, but the Administration’s eco-friends are screaming lest it go ahead. 

The article concludes:

This probably won’t do much to persuade the Occupiers of Wall Street that their cause would be better served in Washington, D.C., where a sister sit-in this week seems to have fizzled. Then again, most of America’s jobless also won’t recognize their values or interests in the warmed-over anticapitalism being served up in lower Manhattan. Three years into the current Administration, most Americans are getting wise to the source of their economic woes. It’s a couple hundred miles south of Wall Street. 

The easiest way to revive the stalled economy is the develop America’s fossil fuel energy sources. Unfortunately, under this administration, that will not happen.

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