Author Archives: CDN Editorial Staff

Mortgage Rates Show Little Change

NEW YORK, April 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Fixed mortgage rates were unchanged this week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate remaining at 3.79 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.2 discount and origination points.

To see mortgage rates in your area, go to http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/mortgages/

The average 15-year fixed mortgage also held steady, at 3.03 percent, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage reversed last week’s move and settled at 3.92 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were slightly higher, with the 5-year ARM inching upward to 3.09 percent and the 7-year ARM now at 3.29 percent.

Mortgage rates remained at a 23-month low on a slow week for economic data, and mixed economic data at that. With the 10-year Treasury yield approaching the 2 percent mark, mortgage rates may move a touch higher ahead of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting. But any confirmation of a slow economic start to 2015 or any delay in the Fed’s timetable for interest rate hikes would most likely bring bond yields and mortgage rates back down. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

One year ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.48 percent. At that time, a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,011.00. With the average rate now at 3.79 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $930.78, a savings of $80 per month for anyone refinancing now.

SURVEY RESULTS

30-year fixed: 3.79% — unchanged from last week (avg. points: 0.20)
15-year fixed: 3.03% — unchanged from last week (avg. points: 0.18)
5/1 ARM: 3.09% — up from 3.08% last week (avg. points: 0.19)

CenturyLink acquires Orchestrate to enhance cloud platform with new database capabilities

CENTURYLINK, INC. LOGOMONROE, Louisiana. and PORTLAND, Oregon, April 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) today announced the acquisition of Orchestrate, a company that offers a fully managed database service for rapid application development. The acquisition enhances the CenturyLink Cloud platform with new Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) capabilities and adds Orchestrate’s experienced data services team to CenturyLink’s Product Development and Technology organization.

“CenturyLink’s customers, like most enterprises, are expressing interest in solutions that help them meet the performance, scalability and agile development needs of large-scale big data analytics,” saidGlen F. Post, III, chief executive officer and president of CenturyLink. “The Orchestrate database service’s ease of use and ability to support multiple database technologies have emerged as key differentiators that we are eager to offer our customers through the CenturyLink Cloud platform.”

With the advance of mobile, real-time and Internet of Things applications, companies need scalable, flexible databases. In many cases, they need more than one database to provide the social, mapping and messaging features users expect. Orchestrate provides multiple flavors of well-tuned, managed NoSQL databases, to save organizations the headaches of running their own instances. Orchestrate provides full-text search, time series, graph and key-value storage through a single, simple API that combines the developer-friendliness and ease of use of NoSQL databases with the reliability of distributed databases.

Orchestrate co-founders Antony Falco, chief executive officer, and Ian Plosker, chief technology officer, as well asDave Smith, vice president of engineering, are among those joining CenturyLink.

“CenturyLink Cloud features one of the most sophisticated service infrastructures in the market, with a great interface and lots of options for managing complex workflow and third-party applications in the cloud,” Falco said. “Orchestrate’s database service takes the same approach to delivering cost efficiency and ease of use. Enterprise customers are increasingly expecting one global platform to provide these services.”

Earlier this year, Orchestrate’s service became deployable via CenturyLink Cloud. CenturyLink’s other recent big data analytics moves include the acquisition of Cognilytics, a leading provider of advanced predictive analytics and big data solutions; the launch of Hyperscale high-performance cloud server instances designed for web-scale workloads, big data and cloud-native applications; and the availability of automated cloud-based Hadoop solutions. Other recent additions to the CenturyLink Cloud ecosystem include the acquisition of DataGardens for disaster recovery services.

Blue Bell Creameries Voluntarily Expands Recall To Include All Of Its Products Due To Possible Health Risk

BRENHAM, Texas, April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Blue Bell Ice Cream of Brenham, Texas, is voluntarily recalling all of its products currently on the market made at all of its facilities including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president.“We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers. Our entire history has been about making the very best and highest quality ice cream and we intend to fix this problem. We want enjoying our ice cream to be a source of joy and pleasure, never a cause for concern, so we are committed to getting this right.”

The products being recalled are distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts, convenience stores and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas,Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma,  South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.

Today’s decision was the result of findings from an enhanced sampling program initiated by Blue Bell which revealed that Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons produced on March 17, 2015, and March 27, 2015, contained the bacteria. This means Blue Bell has now had several positive tests for Listeria in different places and plants and as previously reported five patients were treated in Kansas and three in Texasafter testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

“At every step, we have made decisions in the best interest of our customers based on the evidence we had available at the time,” Kruse said. “At this point, we cannot say with certainty how Listeria was introduced to our facilities and so we have taken this unprecedented step. We continue to work with our team of experts to eliminate this problem.”

Blue Bell is implementing a procedure called “test and hold” for all products made at all of its manufacturing facilities. This means that all products will be tested first and held for release to the market only after the tests show they are safe. The Broken Arrow facility will remain closed as Blue Bell continues to investigate.

In addition to the “test and hold” system, Blue Bell is implementing additional safety procedures and testing including:

  • Expanding our already robust system of daily cleaning and sanitizing of equipment
  • Expanding our system of swabbing and testing our plant environment by 800 percent to include more surfaces
  • Sending samples daily to a leading microbiology laboratory for testing
  • Providing additional employee training

Blue Bell expects to resume distribution soon on a limited basis once it is confident in the safety of its product.

UN Human Rights Council Condemns Israel, Absolves Hamas

AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE LOGO

NEW YORK, July 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC is dismayed by the adoption of a UN Human Rights Council resolution that sharply criticizes Israel, while totally absolving Hamas of any role or responsibility in the current conflict.

The vote took place in Geneva today. The resolution was adopted with 29 nations voting in favor, the United States opposed, and 17 countries, primarily from Europe and Africa, abstaining.

“For anyone interested in knowing what’s wrong with the UN’s preeminent human rights watchdog, today’s vote is the perfect illustration,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

“Because of the ‘automatic majority,’ Israel can’t get a fair hearing,” Harris continued. “Instead, Israel is held responsible for a conflict solely triggered by Hamas. That Hamas is a terrorist group that fires hundreds, if not thousands, of deadly missiles into Israel, that it seeks Israel’s annihilation, and that it uses its civilian population as human shields are all deemed immaterial. Shame on the UN Human Rights Council! Bravo to the United States for standing up for principle and integrity.”

The resolution describes Israel as the “occupying power,” though Israel left Gaza in 2005 and gave local residents their first chance in history – something no other nation had ever done – to chart their own destiny. It also calls for establishing a “commission of inquiry,” reminiscent of the ill-fated and one-sided Goldstone Commission created after the Israel-Hamas war in 2008-9, whose report was eventually repudiated in large part by Judge Richard Goldstone himself.

“Fact: The UN Human Rights Council has focused more on Israel than any other nation on earth,” Harris added. “Fact: The UN Human Rights Council has blithely ignored egregious human rights violations in those parts of the world that don’t suit the interests of the ‘automatic majority.’ Fact: The UN Human Rights Council discredits itself by this selective and skewed focus. And fact: The UN Human Rights Council has set back the cause of Arab-Israeli peace by empowering Hamas, an avowedly terrorist group.”

NASA’s ‘Flying Saucer’ Readies for First Test Flight

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WASHINGTONJune 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA’s flying saucer-shaped test vehicle is ready to take to the skies from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, for its first engineering shakeout flight.

The first launch opportunity for the test vehicle is June 3, when the launch window opens at 8:30 a.m. HST. The test will be carried live on NASA TV and streamed on the Web. The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) will gather data about landing heavy payloads on Mars and other planetary surfaces.

“The agency is moving forward and getting ready for Mars as part of NASA’s Evolvable Mars campaign,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We fly, we learn, we fly again. We have two more vehicles in the works for next year.”

As NASA plans increasingly ambitious robotic missions to Mars, laying the groundwork for even more complex human science expeditions to come, accommodating extended stays for explorers on the Martian surface will require larger and heavier spacecraft.

The objective of the LDSD project is to see if the cutting-edge, rocket-powered test vehicle operates as it was designed — in near-space at high Mach numbers.

“After years of imagination, engineering and hard work, we soon will get to see our Keiki o ka honua, our ‘boy from Earth,’ show us its stuff,” said Mark Adler, project manager for the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “The success of this experimental test flight will be measured by the success of the test vehicle to launch and fly its flight profile as advertised. If our flying saucer hits its speed and altitude targets, it will be a great day.”

The way NASA’s saucer climbs to test altitude is almost as distinctive as the test vehicle itself.

“We use a helium balloon — that, when fully inflated, would fit snugly into Pasadena’s Rose Bowl — to lift our vehicle to 120,000 feet,” said Adler. “From there we drop it for about one and a half seconds. After that, it’s all about going higher and faster — and then it’s about putting on the brakes.”

A fraction of a second after dropping from the balloon, and a few feet below it, four small rocket motors will fire to spin up and gyroscopically stabilize the saucer. A half second later, a Star 48B long-nozzle, solid-fueled rocket engine will kick in with 17,500 pounds of thrust, sending the test vehicle to the edge of the stratosphere.

“Our goal is to get to an altitude and velocity which simulates the kind of environment one of our vehicles would encounter when it would fly in the Martian atmosphere,” said Ian Clark, principal investigator of the LDSD project at JPL. “We top out at about 180,000 feet and Mach 4. Then, as we slow down to Mach 3.8, we deploy the first of two new atmospheric braking systems.”

The project management team decided also to fly the two supersonic decelerator technologies that will be thoroughly tested during two LDSD flight tests next year.

If this year’s test vehicle flies as expected, the LDSD team may get a treasure-trove of data on how the 6-meter supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator (SIAD-R) and the supersonic parachute operate a full year ahead of schedule.

The SIAD-R, essentially an inflatable doughnut that increases the vehicle’s size and, as a result, its drag, is deployed at about Mach 3.8. It will quickly slow the vehicle to Mach 2.5 where the parachute, the largest supersonic parachute ever flown, first hits the supersonic flow. About 45 minutes later, the saucer is expected to make a controlled landing onto the Pacific Ocean offHawaii.

NASA TV will carry live images and commentary of LDSD engineering test. The test vehicle itself carries several onboard cameras. It is expected that video of selected portions of the test, including the rocket-powered ascent, will be downlinked during the commentary. Websites streaming live video of the test include:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

and

http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

Dr. Ben Carson Takes 2nd Place in 2016 Presidential Straw Poll

Dr. Ben Carson Scolds Obama about his failings as president

MERRIFIELD, Va.June 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, a political action committee formed to draft Dr. Ben Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is proud to announce that Dr. Carson made a strong showing in the 2014 National Republican Leadership Conference (NRLC) presidential straw poll, coming in 2nd place in a crowded field of twelve contenders.

“Dr. Ben Carson continues to prove he is a strong presidential contender for 2016 taking top spots in poll after poll,” said Vernon Robinson, the Committee’s campaign director. “Dr. Carson continues to say that if enough Americans clamor for him he will run for president, and a strong showing in the NRLC straw poll clearly shows that the grassroots are clamoring for him.”

The NRLC poll was conducted over the three-day conference May 29-31 in New Orleans, and surveyed 1500 attendees. Dr. Carson was in a dead heat with Sen. Ted Cruz, narrowly coming in 2nd place with 29.38 percent of the vote to Cruz’s 30.33 percent. The next closest contender was Sen. Rand Paul who came in a distant 3rd with 10.43 percent of the vote.

Dr. Carson’s strong showing in the straw poll is the latest in a series of polls showing that the American people are clamoring for him to run. In January, Dr. Carson overwhelmingly won the Linn County, Iowa, midterm caucus straw poll with 87 percent of the votes. And 77 percent of respondents to a poll of Tea Party activists said they support Dr. Carson.  Dr. Carson went on to take top spots in both the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in New Hampshire and the Conservative Political Action Conference Straw Poll in Washington DC.

“Dr. Carson’s seems to be noticing the groundswell of support for his candidacy demonstrated by thousands of Committee volunteers around the country, and hundreds of thousands of petitions urging him to run,” said John Philip Sousa IV, national chairman of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. “Dr. Carson is the potential candidate best suited to heal our nation and put America back on the path to prosperity, and wins like the NRLC straw illustrate that conservatives stand behind him.”

Americans Clamoring for Ben Carson in 2016

Dr. Ben Carson Scolds Obama about his failings as president

MERRIFIELD, Va.May 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, a political action committee formed to draft Dr. Ben Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has announced a video contest to spread the word about why Dr. Carson should run for the 2016 Republican nomination. There will be three winning videos, chosen based on the number of Facebook “likes” they receive. Winners will receive their choice of a Silver iPad Air™ or a Microsoft Surface™.

“We’re excited to launch this video competition to let the American people make their voices heard in clamoring for Dr. Carson to run for president,” said Vernon Robinson, the Committee’s campaign director. “We need a principled leader in the White House in 2016, and these videos will let the world know Americans believe Dr. Carson is that leader.”

Participants are encouraged to create their video, upload it to YouTube and send the URL to [email protected], to be uploaded to the Committee’s Facebook page. Contestants must gather as many “likes” as they can by spreading the word to family and friends. All videos will be posted to the Facebook page between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET once they have been submitted. The three submissions that garner the most Facebook “likes” will win. All entries must be submitted by midnight onFriday, May 30. Winners will be declared on Monday, June 9.

The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee delivers roughly 4,000 petitions to Dr. Carson each week from Americans who want him to run. In January, Dr. Carson overwhelmingly won the Linn County, Iowa, midterm caucus straw poll with 87 percent of the votes. He also finished strong in the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and Northeast Republican Leadership Conference straw polls. In a recent poll of thousands of Tea Party activists, 77 percent of respondents said they support Dr. Carson.

Since its founding in August 2013, the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has raised more than $5 million – outpacing the fundraising efforts of the Ready for Hillary PAC. Nearly 75,000 individuals have contributed to the campaign and more than 10,000 volunteers have joined the effort.

About the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee

The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee is a political action committee formed to draft Dr. Ben Carson into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. It was founded by John Philip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson, and works to raise awareness of Dr. Carson’s qualifications and to engage grassroots conservative activists in clamoring for Dr. Carson to run for president.

Chris Christie Further Complicates 2016 Presidential Ambitions

Bob Jagendorf (CC)

WASHINGTONMay 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Statement by from Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network concerning the renomination of Judge Rabner by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:

“Judge Rabner is the ringmaster of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s activist circus, a court that has wrecked the state’s economy and its legal culture by imposing its will instead of faithfully interpreting the law. By reappointing Rabner, Governor Christie has made it clear that he has no interest in keeping his promise to remake the New Jersey Supreme Court.  Christie is hanging his hat on the fact that he also nominated Lee Solomon, a Republican.  But Solomon is just the latest in a string of Christie nominees with no discernible judicial philosophy.  This isn’t compromise; it is total surrender.

“The next President could replace as many as three justices on the U.S. Supreme Court and countless appellate judges, shaping the federal judiciary for a generation.  Republicans who like the idea of a Christie presidency should ask themselves whether they can trust him to fill those seats with true constitutionalists.  If you want a Court full of Souters and Stevens, then Christie is the candidate for you.”

Dem Lobbyist: GOP Will Control House and Senate in Mid-Term Elections

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WASHINGTONApril 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — APRIL 24, 2014-WASHINGTON, DC—The Republican majority in the House will rise to its largest margin in history and the Senate will transfer from Democratic control to Republican come the November mid-term elections, says Neil Dhillon, a Democratic lobbyist and former senior congressional aide.  It’s inevitable with the President’s approval rating at a record low 37% plus the traditional gains for a President’s opposing party in mid-terms that it will be an historic night for Republicans in November.

Even with 6 months out it’s an easy call to make now, says Dhillon.  There’s an added clincher that a large population of newly registered Republican voters are Asian and Hispanics and that will further propel the Republicans in November.   The President’s pressure on Congress on Immigration Reform, Energy Dependence, Federal Deficit, and Health Care will continue to determine whether his approval rating will rise or lower over the next few months.

The only good news for Democrats is that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised close to $3 million more than Republicans in the last quarterly report.  The Democrats will need to raise at least $20 million more each quarter to have any chance of forgoing full Republican control.  And that is a tough road to climb.

The Senate presently has 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and two Independents.  The Republicans need a net gain of 6 seats out of 36 Senate races with Democrats fighting to retain 21 seats that include 6 races in states that Governor Mitt Romney won big in 2012.   President Obama should do everything he can do now to forge some type of relations with the Senate Republicans to help ease the pain of his final two years in office.  This will not be an easy task as the President and Congress barely talk as it is.

The House presently has 233 Republicans, 199 Democrats, and 3 open seats. Historically, the President’s opposing party makes big gains in mid-terms election plus the President’s approval rating is a low 37%.  It appears that the Republicans will gain close to 10 seats and get over a 242 seat majority.  If this occurs, this would the largest majority ever by Republicans.  Republicans held a 239 seat majority in 1949 and a 242 seat majority in 2010.

Libertarian Party of Texas Poised for Largest State Convention in its History

Libertarian_Party_of_Texas_logo

AUSTIN, Texas, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — With Generation Liberty! as its theme, the Libertarian Party of Texas will host its 2014 state convention April 11-13 at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center in Temple.

The party will nominate candidates for statewide office and elect new state party officers. The convention will feature an exciting lineup of speakers and events supporting Libertarian goals of peace, liberty and justice for all.

While national trends show declining party registration for Republicans and Democrats, since November 2012 the Libertarian Party has shown 11.4 percent growth (Ballot Access News).

The Libertarian Party of Texas has enjoyed growth as well. “Our growth has come from a wide variety of Texans, but we especially see interest among young people,” reports Patrick Dixon, Chair, Libertarian Party of Texas. “I am very encouraged to see future generations of Libertarians getting involved.”

The Libertarian State Convention will see over 200 delegates, with 25 candidates seeking nomination for 15 offices, and, what is tracking to be the largest number of non-delegates, in attendance.

Friday events are free and open to the public while Saturday and Sunday includes meal and speaker events that require registration.

With a 1 p.m. kick-off, Friday’s first session will provide important training for delegates to learn mechanics of the procedures observed during convention business sessions. A 3:30 p.m. “Come and Take It” rally in the Mayborn Center parking lot will feature speakers including C.J. Grisham discussing the importance of defending Second Amendment rights. Candidate debates for statewide offices are scheduled from 6 – 9 p.m.

Saturday business sessions will address state rules and nominations while break-out sessions will address topics like, “The Libertarian Message and Drugs, Data and the Dominatrix: Civil Liberties in Texas.”

Saturday’s lunch will feature Students for Liberty (SFL) founder Alexander McCobin discussing how the young generation can carry the Libertarian message.

The dinner banquet will include speakers Wes Benedict, Michael Cloud and Ben Swann. Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, and Cloud, president and co-founder of the Center For Small Government, will talk on effectively spreading the party’s message. Swann, a broadcast news journalist known for creating “Reality Check” and his own media company, the Truth in Media Project, will deliver the keynote address.

On Sunday, 2013 SFL Student of the Year award winner, Noelle Mandell will discuss why young people matter and how Libertarians can work to attract/engage the next generation, and will also facilitate a hands-on exercise in activism.

A Sunday break-out session, “Free Beer: Liberating our favorite libations,” will highlight the challenges of small business owners in a highly regulated environment while lunch speakers will discuss “Bitcoin, Banks and Bailouts: How do Bitcoin, the Federal Reserve System, and crony capitalism affect the economy.”

Full convention schedule:
https://www.lptexas.org/2014-schedule

Registration information:
https://www.lptexas.org/convention-registration

Singer Bret Michaels visits Wounded Warriors in San Antonio

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bretmichaelsSAN ANTONIO, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Singer Bret Michaels (center left) met with wounded warriors at Operation Homefront Village in San Antonio this week. The legendary musician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist visited the transitional housing facility to thank, support and provide a voice for our wounded warriors.  (Also pictured, left, Operation Homefront Vice President Dino Sarracino; center right, wounded warrior Kenny Walker; right, wounded warrior Stephen Jackel.)

With Village communities in the San Antonio, Oceanside, Calif. and the Washington, D.C. areas, transitional housing through Operation Homefront Villages constitutes a vital program for wounded warriors and their families as they undergo rehabilitation and transition from military to civilian life.  Each furnished apartment – including the cost of financial counseling and other transition programs for residents – costs more than $15,000 per year.  This program is made possible by generous contributions from individual donors, corporate foundations and partners. No federal money supports the Village program.

operationhomefrontOperation Homefront Village allows these service members to live rent-free with their families while they go through the transition and rehabilitation process. Upon placement in OH Village, Operation Homefront counselors will set up a schedule that includes support groups, workshops, benefits briefings, and resume-writing classes. Once they have become self-sufficient, Operation Homefront will help them find suitable housing in the area they intend to live on a permanent basis.  Michaels’ visit was on Sunday, March 9, 2014.

Texas is the latest victim of a judicial free-for-all

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Texas Ruling Striking Marriage Amendment is Attack on Rule of Law

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, Federal Judge Orlando Garcia, a President Clinton appointee, struck down the Texas constitutional marriage amendment which had been approved by 76 percent of the state’s voters.

Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

“The state of Texas is the latest victim of a judicial free-for-all in making a lawless mockery of the ideals that our Founding Fathers stood for.

“A court-imposed redefinition of marriage strips away the fundamental right to self-governance. This is not just an attack on marriage, but an attack on the rule of law. It is not the role of judges to redefine our most fundamental societal institution which has such far-reaching implications for society at every level.

“While these activist judges appear to be rolling out a rainbow colored aisle runner leading the way for a nation-wide redefinition of marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide on the redefinition of marriage. Hopefully, the Court will refrain from repeating the disaster of Roe v. Wade by imposing a radical minority view on the nation. Instead, we would expect the Supreme Court to restore order by returning to the people and their elected representatives the right to decide the future of marriage,” concluded Perkins.

FBI Report Once Again Confirms What We Already Knew About Guns

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BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The FBI’s semi-annual uniform crime data for the first half of 2013 confirms once again what the firearms community already knew, that violent crime has continued to decline while gun sales have continued to climb, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.

The report, issued last week, says murders declined 6.9 percent from the first half of 2012, while aggravated assaults dropped by 6.6 percent nationwide and robberies were down 1.8 percent. Forcible rapes declined 10.6 percent from the same period in 2012 and overall, violent crime fell by 10.6 percent in non-metropolitan counties and 3.6 percent in metropolitan counties.

“This new information reinforces the notion that not only do guns save lives, their presence in the hands and homes of law-abiding citizens just might be a deterrent to crime,” observed CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “The National Shooting Sports Foundation has been reporting a steady increase in firearm sales for the past few years. Taken as a whole, one cannot help but conclude that the predictions from gun prohibitionists that more guns leads to more crime have been consistently wrong.”

Gottlieb said the tired argument from the anti-gun lobby that more firearms in the hands of private citizens would result in sharp increases in violence have run out of traction. Not only has the decline in crime corresponded with an increase in gun sales, it also coincides with a steady rise in the number of citizens obtaining concealed carry licenses and permits, he noted.

“The FBI report says burglaries and auto theft have also decreased,” Gottlieb said, “and it is impossible to look at this pattern and not suggest that increased gun ownership just might be one contributing factor. Gun prohibitionists would, of course, dismiss that suggestion as poppycock, but you can bet your life savings that if the data was reversed, and violent crime had risen, the gun control lobby would be rushing to every available microphone declaring that guns were to blame.

“This continuing pattern brings up a pertinent question,” he concluded. “If the gun ban lobby has been so wrong about more guns resulting in more crime, what else have they been wrong about? The word ‘everything’ comes to mind.”

With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms  is one of the nation’s premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.

Iconic Goodyear Blimp Retires after Daytona 500

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goodyearDAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — After 14 years of filling the skies, the “Spirit of Goodyear” airship retired after the Daytona 500.  The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s (NASDAQ: GT) longest continuous operated airship was overhead to provide aerial coverage for its final events this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

Goodyear’s “Spirit of Innovation” joined the “Spirit of Goodyear” in a rare appearance by two Goodyear airships at the same event. The “Spirit of Goodyear” will be decommissioned with a very special retirement gift: a GUINNESSS WORLD RECORDS® achievement for the “Longest Continuous Operating Airship.”

“The ‘Spirit of Goodyear’ has provided captivating aerial coverage of the biggest televised events in its 14-year history including many prominent NASCAR races,” said Paul Fitzhenry, senior vice president, global communications. “Sports fans around the globe have seen the ‘Spirit of Goodyear’s’ aerial coverage and Daytona was an ideal venue to recognize those contributions.”

Since its launch on March 15, 2000, the “Spirit of Goodyear” covered NASCAR races, as well as some of America’s biggest events including the NFL playoffs, MLB All-Star Games, NBA Finals, Preakness, Belmont States, U.S. Opens, and NCAA football games.

As the “Spirit of Goodyear” retires, Goodyear is finalizing construction of an all-new airship at the company’s Wingfoot Lake Hangar in Suffield, Ohio. Training flights on the new state-of-the-art airship are expected to commence in the near future. The new airship will begin a new chapter for Goodyear, which has provided television networks with industry-leading aerial coverage since 1955.

Goodyear began providing tires to NASCAR in 1954 and both companies are celebrating the 60-year relationship this year.

About The Goodyear Airship Fleet

Goodyear’s blimps have adorned the skies since 1925 and are among the most recognizable brand icons, representing the largest tire company in North America. Today, the fleet consists of three North American airships – “Spirit of America” inCarson, Calif.; “Spirit of Goodyear” in Akron, Ohio; and “Spirit of Innovation” in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Could Expats Decide the 2016 Presidential Election?

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NEW YORK, Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — In past years, the Democratic party had a virtual stronghold on the expat community vote in presidential elections. This year may be different. The Republican National Committee (RNC) is making a strong case for US expats living abroad to vote Republican. The party has begun a campaign to repeal FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which is causing an uproar throughout the world.

FATCA was originally created in 2010 to uncover tax cheats who are hiding funds in overseas accounts. The Act requires individuals to report on their assets abroad if they exceed certain thresholds, and is also now requiring foreign banks and financial institutions to report on the accounts of their American clients. This has been an uphill battle for the US, as many overseas financial institutions pride themselves on their banking secrecy laws. The additional reporting requirements of FATCA have prompted many foreign banks to refuse new American clients, and even close the accounts of the existing ones.

The RNC believes FATCA violates American citizens’ right to privacy. The resolution to repeal FATCA gained full support of the RNC Resolution Committee, as well as 26 co-sponsors, which virtually guarantees it will pass when voted on at the party’s winter meeting later this month.

According to a Washington Times article, Solomon Yue, a prominent RNC member from Oregon who is leading the charge on the issue, said “The law as it stands forces US citizens to make a modern day’s ‘Sophie’s choice’ between their love for their country by not renouncing citizenship and their love for their families by continuing to provide for them without banking services.”

The RNC believes the privacy rights infringed upon by FATCA is unfairly targeting innocent expats, not tax dodgers as the bill is designed to catch. The hope is that American expats feel strongly enough about this issue that they will be inclined to change their vote to possibly improve their lives abroad.

Democrats Abroad, the official arm of the Democratic Party for US citizens abroad, have traditionally won the support of expats. With offices in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the support of the presidential office, their extensive presence has helped them solidify the expat vote.

Republican Senator Rand Paul led the charge against FATCA when he introduced legislation to repeal certain parts of FATCA. The RNC is taking it one step further and attempting to eliminate it altogether. If the RNC is successful in gaining the expat community vote, it very well may have a significant impact on the 2016 presidential election.

“FATCA is a major issue for expats and it is quite possible that they would be willing to change their vote in the hopes that FATCA will be repealed,” commented David McKeegan, co-founder of Greenback Expat Tax Services. “Our past surveys reveal that expats feel like they lack a significant voice in the US government, and this may be the perfect opportunity for them to take a stand and be heard.”

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