By Heather Wilhelm http://www.realclearpolitics.com
A few years ago, when my husband and I lived in the Chicago area, we joined a Bible study group through our church. It was a nice, well-mannered, cordial collection of eight couples who met monthly for dinner and discussion. Upon reflection, our approach was a little unorthodox. After about five to 10 minutes of valiant attempts to stay on topic, we would inevitably drift into wild conversational territory light-years away from the Bible passage at hand. Did I mention we served wine with dinner?
One particularly memorable session, hosted at our house, involved my husband demanding an up-or-down vote on whether or not America was becoming “a fascist police state.” Some people laughed. A few looked horrified. I think I reached for more wine. But as I recall, two voters at that table shot their hands up, ramrod straight, smiles absent, within milliseconds.
ARTURO GARCIA http://www.rawstory.com/
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio downplayed his department’s impending loss of military-grade weaponry that he was defending just last month, KTVK-TV reported.
“It really doesn’t mean anything,” Arpaio said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Look at the handguns. They probably don’t work anyway. We have plenty of our own.”
Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department have four months to return about 200 weapons, including M-16 and M-14 rifles, as well as two armored vehicles, five helicopters, and 158 pairs of night vision goggles they have acquired through the Defense Department’s Excess Property Program, commonly known as the “1033 program.”
The department will reportedly ask for an extension on one of the helicopters, saying that one they ordered as a replacement will not be ready until March 2015.
Overall, 100 departments around the country were suspended from the program, which provided local law enforcement agencies with surplus military equipment. Arpaio defended the initiative in an interview with The Arizona Republic last month.
“We want this military surplus so we have enough firepower to protect ourselves and the public,” Arpaio was quoted as saying.
However, his department was “terminated” from the program after reportedly losing nine weapons since 1993. Arpaio said last month that between internal audits found between 20 and 22 firearms had “vanished” from his department, with several of them being taken home by officers after they retired.
Arpaio said on Tuesday that his department has replaced most of the weapons it received through the 1033 program with more modern firearms, and plans to buy new night-vision goggles, as well.
“We were buying those anyway,” he said. “We have the money.”
The House Committee on Homeland Security heard testimony today from intelligence apparatchiks Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, FBI Director James Comey, and Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olson concerning potential “threats to the homeland”—with ISIS, naturally, at the center of attention.
The witnesses reminded the committee several times during the proceedings that, in the words of Olson, the intelligence community has “no information that ISIL is plotting an attack against the United States.” Nor, once again, does the intelligence community have any specific evidence that ISIS is trying to ooze through the “porous southern border.” Cue Johnson:
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Ann Arborites probably remember Martavious Odoms, Vincent Smith and Denard Robinson for their fast footwork in the Big House. But these days the former football stars are developing their green thumbs.
Odoms created the #EATING Project in 2012 to establish a community garden in his and Smith’s hometown of Pahokee, Fla., and he and Smith are currently preparing to start a new garden back in southeast Michigan. Odoms says the idea came from “just wanting to get back to people.”
“As I got older I realized that if I could give back my time and effort, it would mean more than just giving back money or stuff like that,” he says.