10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:
AP Wire
Mar 25, 2014


More than two weeks after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, searchers are racing to locate the jet's black boxes before the battery-powered ping they emit fades.


That's how volunteer searcher Cory Kuntz describes the Washington state mudslide that claimed the lives of at least 14 people and left some 100 others unaccounted for amid piles of debris.


Russia's foreign minister pushes for constitutional changes that would give more autonomy to Ukraine's regions.


The operator of the train that jumped the tracks and scaled an escalator at one of nation's busiest airports could have dozed off, the transit union says.


The suspected Morsi backers, accused in a deadly police station attack, represent the biggest batch of death sentences in the world in years, Amnesty International says.


In the weeks before Oscar Pistorius fatally shot her, Reeva Steenkamp texted him to say: "I'm scared of u sometimes."


It's the first state to withdraw from the education program that sets the bar for what students should be learning in math and reading in each grade.


Sixth-grader Katie Francis of Oklahoma City has sold 18,107 boxes this season, besting the previous mark of 18,000 boxes.


The new "Tonight" show host has consistently topped 4.1 million viewers, well ahead of competitors Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman.


Kentucky and Louisville, two of college basketball's fiercest rivals, will meet Friday in the Sweet 16.



7. Good for Indiana to have the nards to be the 1st to drop common core. Have you seen that math???

11. W. MI. company to promote US hemp production for medicines http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr...


7. Right. Indiana has recently been downgraded in K-12 rankings. I think they are now around 30th. Hmmm - how come Maryland, which is #1, is not dropping Common Core??


Common Core is simply another leftist attempt to nationalize education and give more control to federal bureaucrats in Washington. It is unduly intrusive gathering information about students and parents, that had been banned under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. As noted by bigdeal, many of the methods of teaching under Common Core are just plain incomprehensible and dumb.

Having personal experience with the education provided in the state of Maryland, I can assure you it is not No.1 unless, like the Education Week survey, you measure Orwellian things like whether the state is spending money on students and identifies funding inequality.

"The Quality Counts report has weighed inputs much more heavily than outputs i.e., student achievement. Only one component of the Quality Counts Index (7 percent of the total) actually measures student achievement.

It should be no surprise that the state ranks first in the nation for spending and centralized control — two areas in which Maryland's one-party Democratic machine excels."

"Last fiscal year, the state spent $6 billion on K-12 education, up from $2.9 billion in 2002.

A three-year study of Thornton by an independent consultant found that 53 percent of the increased spending went not to the classroom but toward increased teacher salary and benefits." http://articles.baltimoresun.com...


Common Core is an expansion of No Child Left Behind. Presumably you consider Bush's education initiative as a "leftist", "Orwellian" program designed to create a national registry of the mindspace of our innocent children. Oh wait! It's the NRA that has a secret "Orwellian" registry on millions of non-member citizens!

Ok then. Maryland is #2, and Massachusetts is #1. More to your liking?


12. A few weeks ago, a piece of legislation that would affect 22 million veterans was blocked in the Senate by all but 2 Republican Senators. "The vote sidetracking the bill was 56-41, with supporters falling four votes short of the 60 they needed to prevail. Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Dean Heller of Nevada were the only Republicans voting to keep the legislation alive and the only lawmakers crossing party lines on the vote".

Sanders' legislation addressed everything from making more veterans eligible for in-state college tuition to providing fertility or adoption services for some wounded troops left unable to conceive.

The VA would have been given more tools to eat into its backlog of 390,000 benefit claims that have been awaiting action for more than 125 days. The bill also would have bolstered programs for veterans who suffered sexual abuse, and would have increased dental care and provided more alternative medicine, such as yoga for stress. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Lat...

You might be wondering, as I am, why Republicans, who voted in lockstep to send our soldiers to two wars, wars that were unfunded and never a part of a Federal budget, and put on the US credit card, which have contributed over $7 Trillion to the Federal debt,- and they did this without a single voice of Republican dissent - now block legislation that benefits US veterans as being "too costly".

In October, 2013, Republicans voted unanimously to shut down the government for 16 days. This exercise, which was based on a failed premise, and indeed did not accomplish a single thing - except to cost the taxpayers $24 billion+.

Let's think about this for a moment. A $21 billion legislation package to benefit 22 million veterans and their families, many of whom were deployed into combat 2-3-4-5+ times, was blocked by 41 Republican senators, who approved the shutting down of government that cost the US $24 billion, - and I won't even start with the approved legislation that benefits Corporate America - because the veteran legislation "costs too much".


Left out of your explanation is that the bill proposed by Socialist Bernie Sanders would have added $21 billion to the national debt in contravention of the budget agreement reached by Paul Ryan (R) and Patty Murray (D) and signed by President Obama only 3 months ago.

Bi-partisanship to agree on a budget = Good

Voting to uphold the Bi-partisan agreement = BAD

“I don’t know why we have a Congress, why we pass laws that say we’re only going to spend so much money and then we waltz in a few weeks later and spend billions more than we agreed to and, oh, we’ll just waive the budget we just passed,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who led the Republican resistance."

It's not like Democrats couldn't find any wasteful spending to cut in order to pay for the expanded Veterans Benefits, especially after they just voted to reduce the benefits as part of the Budget Deal - I guess by signing the budget compromise they simply took a page from Obama's book - they lied.

Barry Soetoro

"Let's clear the fog of Lanivan"....LOL.


You're all over the place Barry. I guess this means our beer summit has been called off. And I just typed it into my calendar....


Barry aka Barack Obama, you are all over the place, and rather funny, but I don't understand the choice in names. Could it be that you are a secret Obama supporter?

Barry Soetoro

When Lani finally sets up the Beer Summit we can talk about it! I actually do regret assuming the handle Barry S. The smartass in me was giddy with excitement when I signed up and discovered it was available. Looking back, a more appropriate handle would have been "Captain Happy". I guess I could change but it just wouldn't feel right - especially since I was called out as a troll last evening.

Barry Soetoro

Sorry, L. I'm still upset about those jailbirds that got hurt in that wreck. I don't know what I was thinking. I read that quote a few days ago and got a good chuckle out of it but then again, I am pretty easily amused.


Bingo Barry! Your new online moniker.....EasilyAmused!


No, no, no...that's too close for comfort.

Signed, LessThanAmused




This bill passed 99-0 to begin debating the legislation. Sanders’ bill would be paid for mostly with money left unspent from the end of U.S. fighting in Iraq and the phase-out of American forces in Afghanistan.

There was a good chance it would have passed, except for the insertion of Heritage Action - the newly-born-in-2010 baby brother of the Heritage Foundation, made up of some young punks fresh out of elitists colleges that have assumed remarkable power and control over conservative politicians, that keeps a scorecard on legislators to grade them on their adherence to "conservative issues" (read: as dictated by one of many secret brotherhoods -the Council for National Policy, started by Paul Weyrich, a cabal of far-right extremists).

Big problem. It's election year, and who shows up to threaten Republicans with a very poor score, i.e., the possibility of being primaried not to mention getting campaign funds cut off - Heritage Action!

"Heritage Action urged lawmakers to vote ‘no’ on the bill, saying it “fails to make necessary reforms to the VA system that is already overburdened and flawed, harming both veterans truly in need of assistance and taxpayers in the process.”

The measure, solidly supported by more than two dozen veterans groups, would have authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs to open or expand more than two dozen medical centers across the country. It also would extend the life of a program that offers care for veterans with mild to severe brain injuries and make more veterans eligible for in-state tuition at public universities.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/20...

I know how they could fund the bill - DON'T SHUT DOWN GUBMINT TO THE TUNE OF $24 BILLION.

Tri-cities realist

Holy ping pong balls batman! In one breath you rail about the "unfunded" wars, and then you state "paid for mostly with money left unspent from the end of U.S. fighting in Iraq and the phase-out of American forces in Afghanistan."

No contradiction there, move along comrade.

And I seem to keep missing your outrage at the democrat lawmakers who also voted to authorize the use of force, I'll keep looking.


The law was to be funded from the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund over the next 10 years. However, maybe Halliburton/KBR (Ceo Dick Cheney's old job prior to VP) would kick in a few billion:

"The accounting of the financial cost of the nearly decade-long Iraq War will go on for years, but a recent analysis has shed light on the companies that made money off the war by providing support services as the privatization of what were former U.S. military operations rose to unprecedented levels.

Private or publicly listed firms received at least $138 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for government contracts for services that included providing private security, building infrastructure and feeding the troops.

Ten contractors received 52 percent of the funds, according to an analysis by the Financial Times that was published Tuesday.The No. 1 recipient?Houston-based energy-focused engineering and construction firm KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR), which was spun off from its parent, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL), in 2007.The company was given $39.5 billion in Iraq-related contracts over the past decade, with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms, such as a $568-million contract renewal in 2010 to provide housing, meals, water and bathroom services to soldiers, a deal that led to a Justice Department lawsuit over alleged kickbacks, as reported by Bloomberg. http://www.ibtimes.com/winner-mo...

Apparently you are not a veteran, a disabled veteran, know a veteran, or care about veterans. And, sorry, I'll move along when I feel dam good and ready, and not a moment sooner.

Tri-cities realist

Thank you for your typical haliburton rant and not commenting on your contradiction. I found it interesting that you complain about the cost of the wars, and then want to use "left over" money. I thought these were "unfunded" wars. Which is it?

Nowhere in my previous reply will you find anything that could be construed as not supporting veterans, yet you still attempted to do so. I was merely pointing out what I considered to be a contradiction in your logic.

I support our veterans (in more than just taxes), but shouldn't our support be "balanced", isn't that what you support in other govt spending? And then there is that inconvenient budget agreement that was recently reached, but that democrats apparently feel they can disregard whenever they want to. No wonder we don't trust them.

And how did Hillary vote on the authorization of force in Iraq? Crickets...


Thank you for your typical screed that tends to veer away from reason and a refusal to acknowledge the facts. The money proposed to be used is from a Contingency Fund that is filling up now that Obama is ending the Bush $7 Trillion wars.

But at your urging, I turn to the private companies that made billions off the wars, many profiting off no-bid contracts, being paid for work left undone with little to no oversight or accountability. It just so happens parent company Halliburton enjoyed the greatest profits, so I selected it. This was used as an example of how callous and wasteful Republicans are when it comes to war, the budgeting and managing of war. There is no limit to the spending, regardless of the yearly budget.

I then proceeded to use a Cato Institute study that shows the Federal government spends $100 billion on corporate welfare A YEAR. To be more specific, a great deal of that money is given to wealthy, mature global transnational corporations who enjoy unprecedented record profits, some of the lowest tax rates in US history, and have sent, or are in the process of sending, thousands of jobs and investment overseas, but are still enjoying $100 billion A YEAR in corporate welfare.

Surely, a line item could be scratched that could instead be utilized for a $21 billion OVER 10 YEAR bill for our highly used veterans.

The issue of the budget is irrelevant when alternatives within the budget for monies to be redirected to an important and urgently needed Veteran's bill are clearly defined.

Don't kid yourself: The Republicans knew that politically it would look bad if they blocked the vote, but when Heritage Action stepped in and "advised" them to vote no, they looked at the Heritage Action scorecard (yes - a real scorecard) being kept on them, thought about the election year primary and subsequent campaign money that will be needed, and voted no.

It's that simple.

Hillary, and many other Democrats, voted yes because they believed the lies coming from the White House; in Hillary's case, she was the Senator from the state that suffered the most from the 9/11 attacks, and could hardly vote no; and let's remind ourselves Obama voted no for the Iraq War, calling it the 'stupid' war. The very fact that you argue in support of the Republican block of this very much needed veteran post-war support after all they have sacrificed with such venal and flip comments shows you are willing to sacrifice our vets for your ideological beliefs.

Barry Soetoro

We're up to 7 trillion now? That's quite a jump since last report.


In addition to busting the budget, Sanders' VA-reauthorization bill would have vastly expanded the number of veterans eligible for VA health care including high-income vets and non-disabled vets. According to the Concerned Veterans of America this would make the VA total healthcare load jump from 6 million beneficiaries to upwards of 20 million.

As Senator Coburn, a long standing champion of veteran's rights and healthcare noted:

“[The] system today can’t keep up,”

We have 600,000 people waiting for a disability determination. . . . It’s shameful that Congress now is trying to claim credit for providing new benefits while our old promises are forgotten. And our heroes — our heroes — are literally dying at the hands of malpractice, incompetency, and delay. . . . Veterans seeking mental-health treatment still experience weeks-long delays scheduling appointments. The epidemic of overprescription of opiates — let me say that again — there is an epidemic of overprescription of opiates for those people who served our country, making them dependent addicts because we give them the wrong treatments. There’s avoidable veterans’ deaths at the VA. In a recent story by CNN on misdiagnosis and improper care — just gastrointestinal conditions — there were two-year consultation delays. Two years? To get in to see a specialist at the VA. When you’re losing blood? How do we explain that? Who’s accountable?"

Of course, the liberal answer is to throw more money at the problem, even though they had just solemnly agreed less than three months ago to limit government spending in a budget deal that this ill-considered legislation would break. Their attempt to claim that it would be paid for from savings from not having to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq is risible - no one expected we would be still waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan, based on the commitments of none less than Barack Hussein Obama. If there were such savings, they would be better used to staunch the cuts Obama has made and is making to our armed forces.

Happy to see that you now question the power of "young punks fresh out of elitists colleges" like Barack Obama, Van Jones, and the rest of the Obama Administration:

"A National Journal survey last year of 250 decision-makers in the Obama administration found that no fewer than 40 percent of them held Ivy League degrees. Moreover, just one-quarter of those officials held graduate degrees from a public university. In fact, more Obama administration officials secured advanced degrees from Oxford—you know, in England—than from any American public school. And more than 60 either attended Harvard as an undergrad or a grad student." http://www.nationaljournal.com/w...

I completely agree with you that had Harry Reid not caused the government partial shutdown, there would be more money available for worthwhile causes, although $24 Billion is a made-up figure.


Cry me a river. The money is there to be had - just follow the paper trail.

The Cato Institute estimates the US government spends about $100 billion a year on various means of corporate welfare. http://www.cato.org/publications...

Furthermore, Taxpayer subsidies to banks when they borrow are about $83 billion a year.

And then there are corporate tax subsidies totaling about $181 billion a year. http://billmoyers.com/2013/09/24...

The omnibus bill would also permanently remove the 1% cut in inflation-adjusted retirement benefits - something I recall you railing about a while back.

And don't forget Ted Cruz! He's a big Hawvaad grad, too!


Hey, we agree - let's cut Government waste:

Obamacare Website - $1 BILLION

Obamacare - "$27.2 BILLION in total private sector costs, $8 billion in unfunded state burdens, and more than 159 million paperwork hours on local governments and affected entities."

Wasted on Green Energy - $21.3 BILLION in 2010 alone

Wasted fighting global warming: $106.7 BILLION (2003-2010) (Maybe not "wasted" since global warming has stopped)


Vlad. Repeat after me: We never agree. Ever. On anything.

I would suggest you follow my lead and supply some substantiation in the form of sources for your random costs, especially in lieu of the fact I purposely chose a Cato Institute study just to please you. Another wasted effort.


Oh my, not even on the recent survey that confirmed Grand Haven is a great place to live?

I had a link to each figure but the Tribune informed me that I had triggered the spam filter. I appreciated the Cato link, and noted all of the Green Energy giveaways as well as those under the Reagan Administration (Sam Pierce - who I regularly had libations with, but a story for another day). I'll try again, in order:

Nope - still spam blocked first is Bloomberg; Second is American Action Forum; Third is Institute for Energy Research; Last is Forbes


Well, I suppose just that once.

Spam Filter activation from links? Now what kind of trouble are you getting into? I will check out your list, such as it is.

I hope someday you go deeper into your Sam Pierce story (were you a beneficiary of alleged political favoritism, or "just a friend"?). You know I'm a sucker for any story having to do with libations....;-/

Barry Soetoro

Try dailykos.

Tri-cities realist

Notice how Lanny side steps the point about the bill increasing the load on the VA from 6 million to 20 million veterans. For all of the liberal talk of sustainability, apparently it doesn't apply to the VA. Just say that people are covered, throw some money at it, and then be "shocked" when the results are miserable. That is the liberal way... Cheers!


no, but I (we) do notice how you (rightwingers) respond to treatment of our vets now don't we?


I answered directly and succinctly; nothing was sidestepped. What is your definition of sidestep? Not sharing the same opinion as you? Did you even read the bill? Anything - anything at all? No? I didn't think so.

A veteran is a veteran is a veteran. Either they served their country in the Armed Services or they didn't. As a civilized society, not to mention the wealthiest country, perhaps in the whole of the history of the world, surely we can scrape up $21 billion OVER 10 YEARS, to address the health needs of our soldiers.

Surely we can.....No you say? Shame on you.

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