Friday, August 08, 2014

Inspectors general say Obama aides obstruct investigations: Examiner Editorial

Source: http://washingtonexaminer.com/inspectors-general-say-obama-aides-obstruct-investigations-examiner-editorial/article/2551805

August 7, 2014
Washington Examiner

Billions of tax dollars are being lost every day to waste, fraud and corruption in the federal government, but President Obama’s administration is blocking inspectors general — the officials who are most likely to find and expose such wrongdoing — from doing their jobs. That’s the disturbing message given to Congress and the American people this week from a majority of the federal government’s 78 IGs. The blocking occurs when agency lawyers deny the authority of IGs to gain access to relevant documents and officials.

The 47 IGs minced no words: “Each of us strongly supports the principle that an inspector general must have complete, unfiltered, and timely access to all information and materials available to the agency that relate to that IG’s oversight activities, without unreasonable administrative burdens. The importance of this principle, which was codified by Congress in Section 6(a)(1) of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended (the IG Act), cannot be overstated. Refusing, restricting, or delaying an IG's access to documents leads to incomplete, inaccurate, or significantly delayed findings or recommendations, which in turn may prevent the agency from promptly correcting serious problems and deprive Congress of timely information regarding the agency’s performance.”

Three specific examples were described in the IGs' letter, including blatant obstruction of important investigations at the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice and the Peace Corps. But many other IGs have “faced similar obstacles to their work, whether on a claim that some other law or principle trumped the clear mandate of the IG Act or by the agency’s imposition of unnecessarily burdensome administrative conditions on access. Even when we are ultimately able to resolve these issues with senior agency leadership, the process is often lengthy, delays our work, and diverts time and attention from substantive oversight activities.”

The experience of Justice Department IG Michael Horowitz is especially outrageous. In a Senate hearing in April, Horowitz said his office must go through Attorney General Eric Holder to gain access to DOJ documents and officials. Giving Holder the power to veto an IG’s access in that manner egregiously violates the 1978 law and other statutes. Obstruction like Holder’s risks “leaving the agencies insulated from scrutiny and unacceptably vulnerable to mismanagement and misconduct – the very problems that our offices were established to review and that the American people expect us to be able to address,” the IGs said in their letter to Congress.

It is impossible to know exactly how much the federal bureaucracy loses every year to waste, fraud and corruption. Credible estimates put the total at more than $200 billion, but in a $3.5 trillion budget it could easily far exceed that amount. Every time an IG is barred from gaining access to vital documents or officials, it encourages even more wrongdoing. Congress must get tough with people in the executive branch who obstruct IGs from doing their jobs. And when it’s the attorney general doing the obstructing, it’s time to bring back independent prosecutors.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Obituary - Blasucci


Daniel Thomas Blasucci of Cinnaminson passed away suddenly Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. He was 34.

Daniel was the beloved son of Robert and Marjorie (Hahnan) Blasucci; loving brother of Adam Robert Blasucci; dear grandson of Harold Hahnan. He also is survived by many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.

Daniel attended the Githens Center and Burlington County Special Services.

He will be sadly missed by his family, friends, nurses, and fellow students.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend Daniel's life celebration and gathering from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, at Snover/Givnish of Cinnaminson, 1200 Route 130 North, and from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, at St. Charles Borromeo Church, where his funeral Mass will begin at 11 a.m. Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Daniel's name may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, www.mda.org.

To share your fondest memories and condolences with Daniel's family, please visit the funeral home's Web site below. Snover/Givnish Funeral Home,

Cinnaminson

http://www.snovergivnish.com/obituaries/Daniel-Blasucci/#!/Obituary

Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/obituaries/bct/daniel-thomas-blasucci/article_a9c03b13-e281-5760-b241-43662689a492.html

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Carl Willers, Vice president

40 Under 40 Carl Willers

Carl Willers works for TD Bank and has been selected for the Burlington 40 Under 40 class of 2014.

Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/tabs/40under40/carl-willers-vice-president/article_9e167f10-d6de-545f-8e4e-95c3673c547e.html



What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

Delran High School & Greensboro College, Economics and Marketing

What community organizations to you spend time on/with?

YMCA & United Way

What single characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

A great leader must be a visionary.

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

My growth with TD Bank. TD Bank has given me the opportunity to grow into my current position of vice president store manager and the resources to further develop my career.

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

Thomas Jefferson, because of my love of history and his vision to create something new.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

I had three beautiful girls in 18 months and I am better person for it more and more everyday.

Advice for future community leaders?

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur

Tell us your own personal mission statement.

It is not a tragedy to die without dreams unfilled, but it is a tragedy to live without dreams.

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Fiction. You cannot deepen you mind when your imagination is out of focus.

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

”Lead By Example”

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Being a great father/husband and helping my customers and teammates fulfill their dreams


Noelle Roberts, Owner, Noelle Roberts Photography

Noelle Roberts

Noelle Roberts, 40 Under 40 honoree.


Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/tabs/40under40/noelle-roberts-owner-noelle-roberts-photography/article_a3fda34c-edcd-50ab-a440-f6c398aee51a.html

What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

Graduated from Delran High School and attended community college and Liberty University for nursing.

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

I enjoy serving at Feeding 5000. Feeding 5000, a non-profit organization started by Fellowship Alliance Chapel members, travels to Philadelphia every Saturday and the fourth Sunday of each month to provide food, clothing, toiletries, love, care, and prayers to the needy, hungry, and homeless in the city. I’ve donated my photography services to David Akers’ Kicks for Kids auctions, the Anna Foundation BUDDY walk, the JDRF, and more recently the Sean Fischel Connect helping to raise awareness and a cure for HLH. As a family, we also love to volunteer yearly at the Birchwood Triathlon held on July 4th

What single characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

Personal example.

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

I think as a whole, starting my business 10 years ago and seeing how it has evolved. I’m self taught in photography and my business has grown solely by word of mouth. Also, providing the gift of tangible, lifetime memories for people. There is nothing like it!

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

Well that’s easy ... Elvis Presley

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

While the camera is around my neck I’m pretty outgoing, but I can tend to be shy and a bit of a homebody.

Advice for future community leaders?

Be excellent in all you do and remember having good character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.

Tell us your own personal mission statement.

This hangs in our home on a large canvas as a daily reminder ... Love Jesus, encourage your siblings, be considerate, respectful, and grateful.

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Non-fiction. I enjoy Christian, photography and work-out books because it is in these areas that I focus my time and energy on.

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

The movie would be a documentary called “Darkroom: Chronicles of a Portrait Photographer”

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I’m starting to dabble in filmmaking which is exciting and I’d like to be doing more commercial work.


Christopher Ralph, Patrolman, Delran Police Department

40 under 40 Officer Chris Ralph

Officer Chris Ralph has been selected for the Burlington 40 Under 40 class of 2014.

Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/tabs/40under40/christopher-ralph-patrolman-delran-poice-department/article_433d1fc4-6497-5d59-82e1-d99757a999c8.html



What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

Delran High School and then the US Army.

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

I spend time with my kids at their school events.

What single primary characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

Humility and narcissism may get you to the top but won't keep you there. Work for others not your ego.

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

Assisting in saving lives and watching them be able to return to their families

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

My grandfather George who passed away. I enjoyed spending time with him as a child and wish I could as an adult.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

I enjoy taking vacations with my family.

Advice for future community leaders?

Remember that your responsibility is to the people, not yourself or political pressure.

Tell us your own personal mission statement.

We have one life. Make it worth something

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Fiction. The things I have seen on the job or otherwise. The way people act. You can only hope they aren't for real.

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

"Carwash"

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Happily living in Arizona with my family and still serving there as a police officer.


Amy Lynn Hullings, Delanco Emergency Squad Treasurer

40 under 40 Amy Hullings

Amy Hullings is a EMT worker and has been selected for the Burlington 40 Under 40 class of 2014.

Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/tabs/40under40/amy-lynn-hullings-delanco-emergency-squad-treasurer/article_f85953e5-c2bd-518f-b4fc-fd2f66bf2be9.html


What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

Delran High School, Burlington County College, studied Psychology

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

Delanco Emergency Squad

What single characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

Patience

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

(I) had the opportunity to assist in the delivery of a baby girl.

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

My father. He has passed in 2001 and was a volunteer firefighter. Would have loved for him to see all that I have accomplished.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

My initial aspiration was to become a nurse. In doing this I started volunteering and became an EMT. Found this to be fulfilling so I continued to volunteer instead.

Advice for future community leaders?

Being a volunteer you should allow your happiness to come from your accomplishments and the smiles you put on others faces in the time of need.

Tell us your own personal mission statement?

I will try the best I can to assist people in need until I am unable to do so any longer

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Non-fiction, I like to learn of peoples achievements and struggles and grow my knowledge to be able to be understanding during any situation.

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

”A Volunteers Juggling Act”

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

In 10 years I hope my health and physical ability allows me to continue to volunteer and assist my community and others.


Jason Scott Hohenstein, Owner, Jay's Landscaping

Jay Hohenstein One of 40 Under 40

Jay Hohenstein, owner of Jay's Landscaping in Delran, donates to local charities and stay involved with local children's sports teams.

Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/tabs/40under40/jason-scott-hohenstein-owner-jay-s-landscaping/article_2f284e18-f2a1-5b4f-9d84-9b42cc3409b8.html



What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

Delran High School Class of 1994, Monmouth University Class of 2000, bachelors in business management/administration

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

Delran Business Association, NJ Adopt a Highway

What single characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

Equality.

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

The success in the growth of my business.

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

Rocky. He started from nothing like myself and continued to try and make it to the top.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

In my free time I enjoy thoroughbred horse racing.

Advice for future community leaders?

Work hard and be productive. Always hold your head up high and stay positive.

Tell us your own personal mission statement.

Continue to work until everything that needs to be done gets done, no matter what hour of the day.

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Non-Fiction.

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

"Work Hard" "Play Harder"

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I see myself continuing to make person achievements as well as working hard within my business.



Brian Milhouse Donnelly, Attorney a.k.a. Brian William Donnelly

40 under 40 Brian Donnelly

Brian Donnelly has been selected for the Burlington 40 Under 40 class of 2014.

Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/tabs/40under40/brian-milhouse-donnelly-attorney/article_5ae8cae3-cd54-578d-9d8e-7dd0b6139063.html



What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

Delran High School and on to the School of Hard Knocks-Parris Island, South Carolina. Major: Stand Up Philosophy.

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

Head Curator of the Liberace Museum; Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker; Bass River Township Committee to Establish a Statute for Wendell Wilkie; Preservationist of the original lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s unrecorded single “Why oh Why oh Why oh, did I ever leave Ohio?”

What single primary characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

Height. It takes a big man to admit when he is wrong, but an even bigger man to stand there and laugh at him.

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

Winning the Burlington County Times 40 under 40. Yup, it is THAT bad folks ...

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

I will be maudlin and say my old man. If that is not acceptable I would love to play poker with Abraham Lincoln, Vlad the Impaler, Lyndon LaRouche and Ron Jeremy.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

I am actually 41 and do not live in New Jersey.

Advice for future community leaders?

Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

Tell us your own personal mission statement.

DECLARE VICTORY AND DEPART THE FIELD.

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Apparently Congress can’t tell the difference between the two, so why should I?

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

”B’s and C’s Get Degrees: One Man’s Epic Journey from Delran to Moorestown With His Pet Dachshund Lucy” Written, directed and produced by Ethel Merman.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Ummmm, mathematically I guess “50 under 50”….


Frank John Camardo, Assistant principal, Riverside Elementary School

40 under 40 Frank Camardo

Frank Camardo is an Assistant Principal and has been selected for the Burlington 40 Under 40 class of 2014.

Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/tabs/40under40/frank-john-camardo-assistant-principal-riverside-elementary-school/article_72a2cee1-2a63-56c1-8d7c-cb22fa85cbe4.html



What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

I attended Delran High School. Undergraduate at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, North Carolina where I studied Elementary and Special Education. I did my graduate work at the College of NJ where I studied to be a reading specialist and I attended The University of Pennsylvania in their Educational Leadership program for Aspiring Principals.

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

During my time at Riverside Elementary I have worked on numerous school community projects such as a clothing drive that provided parents with new clothes for their children. I have been involved with starting Parent Empowerment Nights that are held monthly to educate parents on topics such as cyberbullying, literacy skills at home and understanding students with ADHD. Also, every holiday season I have worked with the school to help families in need give their children a nice Christmas with new clothes and toys.

What single primary characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

Accountability.

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

As a school administrator I have to made decisions on a daily basis and when I get an email or a thank you from a student or a parent because of something that I helped them with (no matter how small) — that is all the fulfillment I need.

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

My “Nannymom” because as a child we were very close and I would love to share my accomplishments in my career and my life with her because I know she would be thrilled.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

Even though I love what I do — I have always dreamed of becoming a commercial airline pilot and traveling around the world as my job.

Advice for future community leaders?

Always believe in what you do and know that it does make a difference.

Tell us your own personal mission statement.

No matter what the circumstance — always do what is right for kids.

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Realistic fiction because as a former language arts teacher this genre was one that always grasped students interests as well as mine.

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

”Never Stop Believing”

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

As a school principal continuing to advocate for students and looking to become a Superintendent of Schools.


Kevin Scott Briggs, 911 dispatcher

40 under 40 Kevin Briggs

Kevin Briggs of Delran is a 911 dispatcher and has been selected for the Burlington 40 Under 40 class of 2014.

Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/tabs/40under40/kevin-scott-briggs-dispatcher/article_7d6c1b13-8950-5394-954d-8a069f9fd134.html


What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

Delran High School/ College Prep Classes

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

Delran Fire Department Station 231.

What single characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

Honesty.

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

The fulfilling part of my professional life is being able to help and serve the people of Burlington County working for the county 911 system.

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

Governor Christie. I would want to tell him enough is enough, it is time to stop blaming all the public employees for the problems of the State of NJ. It is time to put the blame where it is suppose to be, on the politicians that have created this problem, and not the hard working police officers, firefighters, EMS, dispatchers, and the teachers. The people who risk their lives everyday and that are responsible for teaching the children who are our future. It's time to really look at the problems that surround us everyday and how things are so backwards. How people who play sports are making millions of dollars and the people that are responsible for teaching are children and protecting us from the bad things in the world are making next to nothing and we keep trying to take more from them.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

I love the beach but hate the ocean.

Advice for future community leaders?

Always be honest and do the things that you promise you are going to do. Always remember no one does anything on their own, there is always someone there backing them up and helping along the way. Use these people and make sure that you give credit where credit is do and when something fails don't try to blame someone else for the failure.

Tell us your own personal mission statement.

To always finish everything that I start and to do everything to the best of my ability.

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Fiction. With fiction you can do and be anything that you ever wanted at least for a little while.

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

"9-1-1: You Can't Make This Stuff Up"

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Still married to my beautiful awesome wife. A couple of kids and still living the dream.


Denise Begley, EMT, Delran Emergency Squad

40 Under 40 Begley

Denise Begley of Delran is a EMT for Delran Emergency Squad and has been selected for the Burlington 40 Under 40 class of 2014.


Source: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/tabs/40under40/denise-begley-emt-delran-emergency-squad/article_4ff51c49-cb49-5a81-b301-b602a1abd647.html

What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

Delran High School, Class of 1994, Rowan University, Bachelors in Communications 1998

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

I am a Life Member of Delran Emergency Squad, having been a member for 21 years. I have been a full time career EMT since 2000. I also work part time as an EMT for Medford EMS since 2000.

What single characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

Good listening skills. “When you talk you are only repeating what you already know; But when you listen, you may learn something new,” Dalai Lama.

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

I obtained Life Membership of the Delran Emergency Squad in 2013 after 20 years of membership and almost 9000 calls.

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

I would like to spend a day with any of my grandparents, all of whom are deceased. They all passed away before I was old enough to appreciate the time I spent with them.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

Even though a large part of my job is talking to people, I am actually quite shy.

Advice for future community leaders?

Anything can be accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit for getting it done.

Tell us your own personal mission statement.

My personal mission is to live a positive, inspired and purposeful life; to use my knowledge, talents, skills and empathy to earn: the love of my family; the companionship of my friends; the respect of my peers; and to help others help themselves.

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Fiction because there is too much “reality” in my career and sometimes it’s nice to be able to step into another world for a little while.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

In 10 years, I would hope that my husband and I have retired and/or relocated to Tennessee.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Delran High School Alumni Among 2014 Burlington County Times 2nd Annual Forty Under 40 Winners By Joyce Kavitsky

40 Under 40 Banquet

Denise Begley, Kevin Scott Briggs and Christopher Ralph all of Delran talk at the 40 Under 40 banquet at Indian Springs Country Club in Marlton Monday evening.


July 29, 2014

After a shut-out in Burlington County Times 2013 Inaugural Forty Under 40, Delran High School made a big comeback last night at the 2014 2nd Annual Forty Under 40. At least 12 winners were alumni from the high school - including 10 alone from the Class of 1994. The nine published Class of 1994 winners: Denise Begley, Kevin Briggs, Frank Camardo III, Brian William Donnelly, Jason Hohenstein, Amy Hullings, Christopher Ralph, Noelle Roberts, and Carl Willers. Dave Graver is listed among the previously announced winners, but does not appear in the published supplement nor at the dinner. In attendance at the dinner were Begley, Briggs, Camardo, Donnelly, Hullings, and Ralph.

Olympic Soccer back-to-back gold medalist and 2000 Delran High School alum Carli Lloyd did not attend the dinner but was among those nominated by Joyce Kavitsky - who herself is an alum of Delran High School Class of 1994. Tyler Seville, who attended the dinner, was also nominated by Kavitsky, and is a Delran High School 2008 alumnus who is a newly elected member of the Delran Board of Education and young rising star in the Republican party.

Rabbi Benjamin David of Adath Emanu-El in Mount Laurel and Phillips Philes' own Erin Reilly were also nominated by Kavitsky and honored at the event. In all, Kavitsky nominated 20 deserving people - 14 of whom were selected - 13 actually appear in the published supplement.


Rabbi Benjamin David, Adath Emanu-El Rabbi




What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

I attended Cherry Hill East High School and Muhlenberg College from which I graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

I spend the most time at our synagogue, Adath Emanu-El, in Mt. Laurel. I am also a strong supporter of the Katz JCC.

What single characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

I believe a leader needs vision, patience and a substantial amount of belief in oneself.

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

Nothing is more fulfilling to me than working with our youth and teens, and helping them to see their own sacredness and self worth.

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

I’d love to spend a day with such early Zionists, Theodor Herzl and David Ben Burion. These were figures of remarkable courage and conviction.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

Many people don’t know that I am a competitive marathon runner. I’ve run fifteen marathons all over the country. In the fall I hope to run my first sub three hour marathon when I race at the Philadelphia Marathon. I am also the co-founder of an initiative that seeks to use running as a force for change.

Advice for future your future community leaders?

I would advise future leaders to stay true to their vision.

Tell us your own personal mission statement.

My own mission statement: Work hard, remember what’s most important, and always be kind.

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

As a former English major, I am somewhat partial to fiction.

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

‘The Running Rabbi’

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Ten years from now, I hope to continue to be a good dad, husband, and rabbi.


Phillips Philes' Own Erin Reilly Honored In Burlington County Times 2014 Forty Under 40 By Joyce Kavitsky


Erin Reilly, Phillips Philes newest contributor, was among those honored for Burlington County Times 2nd Annual Forty Under Forty during an awards dinner at Indian Springs Country Club in Marlton, New Jersey on Monday, July 28, 2014.

Erin currently works at Evesham Mortgage following over a decade as a successful family-oriented real estate agent in Atlantic County. She was among 20 nominated by fellow Phillips Philes contributor Joyce Kavitsky - 14 were selected, including Erin. Her profile follows:


Erin Reilly, Evesham Mortgage Agent




What high school/college did you attend, and what did you study?

Shawnee High School, Burlington County College for psychology

What community organizations do you spend time on/with?

The Camden Rescue Mission Holiday Toy Drive, Relay for Life and various other events and school programs all through my employer, Evesham Mortgage Company and the owners, Rick Brown Jr., Robert Kelley and Joseph Cordova. It feels really great to be part of a working family so dedicated.

What single characteristic do you feel every leader should possess?

Patience

What is your most fulfilling professional experience or accomplishment?

I was an active Realtor for the better part of 10 years. The very first time I sold a house was one of the most exhilarating experiences. To know that I was a key player in the future of another family was so unreal.

What one person, living or dead, would you want to spend a day with and why?

My grandfather. I never met him because he passed before I was born. I know that I can see him through my own dad by the stories told around the dinner table. It really gives me a sense of who he was.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

I’m not afraid to get old.

Advice for future community leaders?

There must always be a sense of balance with everything, especially when you have opposing sides. If everyone can come to agreeable terms with whatever the situation is, a stronger foundation will be built. I know it’s easier said than done.

Tell us your own personal mission statement?

You earn respect. Don’t assume it.

Fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Fiction. There’s enough reality already.

If there was a movie being produced about you, what would the title be?

”Cybil” Just kidding! Either of my two favorite sayings, ”Seriously?” or “Really?” With the dramatic deadpan stare of course.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Preparing myself for an empty nest. My son will be off to college and daughter graduating high school. I hope that the crib notes of life I outlined would have sunken in a bit and that they evolve into caring, respectful and unique adults. I would get working on the book I’ve been putting off writing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Who’s To Blame For The Border Crisis? By Hal Hawkins


Source: http://www.hardhatters.com/2014/07/whos-blame-border-crisis/
July 2014

An overwhelming surge of tens of thousands of illegal alien children crossing our southern border has been happening in the past few months, everyone is looking for a scapegoat. Rather than seeking out a solution to end this surge, most would prefer to just point fingers. The blame game is a lot like sex. It sells. Unfortunately, most are rather biased in how they point fingers. Democrats blame Bush. Republicans blame Obama. Libertarians blame our open border as not being open enough. It’s never really that simple; however, as there are many areas to place blame, so we’re going to play this “game” right. What’s causing all these illegal alien children to come here so suddenly?

Obama and DACA

In all fairness, Obama is the chief executive of this country and oversees all border security and immigration departments. On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announced rule changes called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As you can see in the video below, Obama made the announcement publicly in the White House Rose Garden. According to him, the children brought here against their will are Americans “in every, single way but one, on paper.” The rule applies to nearly every illegal alien who was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, was under 16 when they came to America, and has resided in America continuously since 2007. While the last exception should rule out the thousands of illegal alien children that have come across the border over these past few months, this rule, when reaching the ears of Central Americans, could be easily misinterpreted as a free pass.

However, it’s very likely that most will receive a free pass, even those who do not qualify for DACA. Some are even celebrated. On June 17, 2014, the White House held a “Champions of Change” ceremony for 10 illegal aliens who received deferred action under DACA. They were proclaimed as “success stories” and “role models.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

Johnson has been very ambiguous in statements on whether or not DHS will deport the illegal alien children that have arrived here. On Meet the Press, Johnson stated that everyone crossing illegally was administered deportation proceeding, but he emphasized that he wanted “additional options for dealing with the children”.

Bill Clinton and Congress

Just before Bill Clinton left office, Congress, with near unanimity in both Houses (one Representative voted no), passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. This bill was designed to assist illegal immigrant children who were trafficked here. To qualify, one must be under 18, claim to be a victim of human trafficking, and be willing to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the traffickers. In return, they automatically qualify “for benefits and services under any Federal or State program or activity” funded by the Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Labor, and Legal Services Corporation. Essentially, this law protects the illegal alien children who are not from Mexico or Canada, roughly 39,000, from being quickly deported.

George W. Bush and Congress

Bush has been falsely attributed as the creator of the above law by many media outlets, thus the person to blame. As shown above, it was actually under Bill Clinton’s watch that the original bill passed, BUT Bush did sign the renewal of the bill on 3 separate occasions: 2003, 2005, and 2008.

Obama and Congress

Under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, the above law was most recently renewed and signed by Obama.

Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress

In 1965, the Hart-Celler Act was passed and signed by LBJ, which ended the program of immigration quotas by country. Instead, it placed preference towards family reunification (aka chain migration). Under this law and if the illegal alien children qualify to stay under the above trafficking law, this would allow the children’s parents to legally migrate to the U.S. Otherwise, if the order had been reversed, the parents would have been deported. It could be assumed that the parents of the illegal alien children are using them as the chain in order to come here without going through proper channels.

Central American Media

Media outlets in Central America might be encouraging people to come here or misleading them about our laws. The Huffington Post found that “the region’s newspapers often failed to emphasize the June 2012 cutoff date” for DACA. Newsmax reported that several Central American outlets were promoting the idea that accommodation would be found for illegal alien children.

Obama and the Deportation Deception

The Obama Administration continues to tout its toughness on immigration by citing its high deportation numbers. Unfortunately, this is not exactly true. While the number of forced removals is all-time highs, this, historically, is not the majority of deportations. As we’ve shown in the past, total deportations per year, including voluntary/self-deportations, are at 40 year lows. Deportation is not a deterrent to these crossings.

Supreme Court

There have been numerous decisions relating to immigration, but the biggest of all relating to these children is arguably Plyler v. Doe. In a 5-4 vote in 1975, the Supreme Court ruled that illegal aliens and their children were to be given 14th Amendment protections and had a right to free, public, K-12 education. Since many public schools in the U.S. are much better than those in Central America, this award to illegal alien children would definitely incentivize more to come.

Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature

Plyler v. Doe did not extend the education rights of illegal aliens to in-state tuition for state universities, so the Texas Legislature did that for them in 2001 with HB 1403 and was signed by Gov. Rick Perry. This law granted illegal alien students access to in-state tuition at Texas public institutions of higher education and state financial aid. All they have to do is prove their residence of three years in Texas, graduate or get a GED from a Texas public or private high school, and announce their intent to apply for permanent resident status. Rick Perry, during his 2012 presidential run, famously stated that anybody who opposes these education policies for illegal aliens don’t “have a heart.”

California

California has gone above and beyond Texas in the race to accommodate illegal aliens. Starting in 2015, illegal aliens will be eligible for state driver’s licenses. They are able to collect welfare, such as food stamps and cash assistance, and can use Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid. Illegal aliens are also now eligible to apply for law licenses within the state. The group FAIR recently estimated that California spends $25.3 billion on services for illegal aliens. In Los Angeles County alone, $650 million was estimated by the Department of Public Social Services to have been distributed by illegal aliens. Additionally, California law prohibits landlords from asking an applicant or tenant about their immigration status.

Mexican Drug Cartels

The drug cartels are actually assisting the illegal alien children to cross, according to Texas DPS director Steve McCraw. Why? Essentially, these children are being used as decoys to distract and overwhelm the Border Patrol. With this system in place, narcotics can flow practically unimpeded into the U.S. Total drug seizures have dropped 34%, meaning the drug cartels are banking heavily on the continued flow of illegal aliens.


 

The list could go on and on, but the causes listed above show the three main causes/incentives for these illegal alien children to cross as being a porous, unenforced border, a welfare state, and politicians with open arms.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Judicial Watch Smoking Gun Busts Open IRS Scandal, Again By Tom Fitton

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/06/17/Judicial-Watch-Smoking-Gun-Busts-Open-IRS-Scandal-Again

June 17, 2014

The news just keeps going from bad to worse for President Obama and disgraced former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner, thanks in large part to Judicial Watch’s investigative work. 

JW has been instrumental in uncovering evidence of Lerner’s role in the IRS “Tea Party” scandal, obtaining records even Congress could not get – documents proving the nation’s tax collecting agency attempted to silence conservative organizations through abusive practices. 

And these discoveries led the Congress to push for more accountability. 

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, the House of Representatives voted 231-187 to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups. Moments after the contempt vote – and arguably more importantly – the House passed a separate resolution asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint a special counsel to probe the IRS over the scandal by a vote of 250-168, with 26 Democrats joining Republicans. 

And previously, on April 9, 2014, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to refer Lerner to the DOJ for criminal prosecution for alleged actions relating to the IRS’s targeting scandal. 

And now this, as reported by Townhall.com’s Katie Pavlich

Back in April, Judicial Watch released documents showing IRS officials, including former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner, discussing the possibility of bringing criminal charges against tea party groups for engaging in “political activity.” In fact, the documents showed Lerner wanted to make an example out of someone with charges in order to chill all of the groups in the tea party movement… 

Now according to a release from House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Lerner had a database of tax exempt organizations sent to the FBI just before the 2010 midterm elections. That database included legally protected taxpayer information. Emails show Lerner and DOJ Election Crimes Branch official Richard Pilger discussing what format the FBI prefers when it comes to receiving information for their investigation. 

“Thanks Lois – FBI says Raw format is best because they can put it into their systems like excel,” Pilger wrote in an October 6, 2010 email to Lerner. 

So the Obama IRS worked with the FBI to advance a scheme to criminally prosecute conservative organizations in the final weeks of the campaign season! 

While at first the DOJ said the 1.1 million pages of records included only publicly available tax information, Justice officials ultimately reversed course, admitting that some confidential information was released as well. 

According to Reps. Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan in a letter to IRS commissioner John Koskinen: “This revelation that the IRS sent 1.1 million pages of nonprofit tax-return data — including confidential taxpayer information — to the FBI confirms suspicions that the IRS worked with the Justice Department to facilitate the potential investigation of nonprofit groups engaged in lawful political speech.” 

“[T]his revelation likely means that the IRS — including possibly Lois Lerner — violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department in 2010." 

From the very beginning of the IRS scandal, Judicial Watch has been unearthing the truth about Lerner’s efforts to harass and hamstring conservative organizations. 

JW’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and lawsuits resulted in revelations of Lerner’s collusion with the DOJ and the Federal Election Commission, as well as her spearheading efforts within the IRS to delay or block applications from Tea Party groups for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status. 

Judicial Watch’s leadership led Congress to uncover that the FBI is now part of the IRS abuse scandal. Where will it end? And when will someone be held criminally accountable? Eric Holder’s DOJ and the FBI are now supposed to be investigating themselves? This is untenable. 

In addition to Judicial Watch’s independent investigation, we need a special counsel – who isn’t a stooge of Obama or of Eric Holder – to investigate this administration, an idea with which even twenty-six House Democrats already agree.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Newly-released WH email shows Rice talking points on Benghazi politically motivated By Ed Morrissey

Source: http://hotair.com/archives/2014/04/29/newly-released-wh-email-shows-rice-talking-points-on-benghazi-politically-motivated/
April 29, 2014

If this isn’t a smoking gun on Benghazi, at least on the controversy over the talking points that blamed a YouTube video rather than the terrorists who plotted and then conducted the attack, then it’s not clear what would qualify. Judicial Watch forced the release of additional White House e-mails relating to the evolution of the talking points and finds a rather bald-faced admission of Obama administration interests in Susan Rice’s television appearances the following Sunday. The YouTube story was designed to distract from “policy failures,” according to Barack Obama’s aide Ben Rhodes:

rhoades-email

Judicial Watch announced today that on April 18, 2014, it obtained 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents. They include a newly declassified email showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials attempting to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”  Other documents show that State Department officials initially described the incident as an “attack” a possible kidnap attempt.

The documents were released Friday as result of a June 21, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Department of State (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00951)) to gain access to documents about the controversial talking points used by then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice for a series of appearances on television Sunday news programs on September 16, 2012.  Judicial Watch had been seeking these documents since October 18, 2012.

The Rhodes email was sent on sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 8:09 p.m. with the subject line:  “RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.”  The documents show that the “prep” was for Amb. Rice’s Sunday news show appearances to discuss the Benghazi attack.

The document lists as a “Goal”: “To underscore that these protests are rooted in and Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”

Rhodes returns to the “Internet video” scenario later in the email, the first point in a section labeled “Top-lines”:

[W]e’ve made our views on this video crystal clear. The United States government had nothing to do with it. We reject its message and its contents. We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence. And we are working to make sure that people around the globe hear that message.

Among the top administration PR personnel who received the Rhodes memo were White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest, then-White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, then-White House Deputy Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, then-National Security Council Director of Communications Erin Pelton, Special Assistant to the Press Secretary Howli Ledbetter, and then-White House Senior Advisor and political strategist Davie Plouffe.

That’s a rather extensive distribution list, and that prompts another question:

Didn’t the White House insist that they’d offered complete transparency to Congress and the public on the talking points? It was just eleven months ago that the White House claimed to have released their whole archive on the development of those talking points and accused the GOP of “doctoring” them to make their critical response look political. The Washington Post gave White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer three Pinocchios for that claim. Hopefully, Glenn Kessler has a few more Pinocchios in reserve, now that this bombshell has hit.

It’s possible to read this as an extension of a sincere belief that the video caused a riot which led to the attack. By the time this e-mail was written, there was plenty of evidence — even in the e-mail chain itself — to show that wasn’t the case, but let’s say for argument’s sake that Rhodes actually thought this argument was valid. The flip side of it is that, since it wasn’t an ad-hoc demonstration that turned into a riot, the takeaway should be that this was the result of “a broader failure or policy” from the Obama administration. Right?

Update: Fixed a couple of typos, thanks to an e-mail from the indispensable Jeryl Bier. (Took a couple of tries, though.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Out of LinkedIn Invites? 3 Ways to Get More By Asia

Source: http://www.sociablesales.com/out-of-linkedin-invites-3-ways-to-get-more/

One way to build your LinkedIn network is to send out invitations to everyone you meet, speak to and do business with. This works really well, until you run out of invites to send out. LinkedIn allows you to send out 3,000 invites. If you have used them all, you have 3 options.

This article outlines the three ways you can continue to grow your network after you run out of invitations to send out.

Most people have to learn the hard way that the limitation for the number of invites you send sent out on LinkedIn is 3000. Luckily, there are a few ways to get more invites, even if you have already reached the limit here are your options:

  • 1. Withdraw Requests From Your Sent Box

    This is a manual process and takes quite a bit of time. However, it’s worth it to “free up” those invitations that aren’t being accepted.

    To do this: Go to Contacts > My Connections. Then at the bottom right hand corner of your connections box, you’ll see a link for “unsent invitations”. Click on the subject line of any invitations that have not been accepted and that are more than 1 month old. You can then “withdraw” the invite and thereby add them back into your pool. Do not Delete as that does not Withdraw. You have to do this manually – tedious, I know.

    Click here to watch the video instructions.

  • 2. Contact LinkedIn Customer Support To Request More.

    This can take up to 2 – 3 days if your not a premium account holder. Duncan Work from LinkedIn explained this really well on Dave Taylor’s Blog:

    Here’s an explanation of LinkedIn’s policies regarding invitation limits for those who haven’t seen them before.

    Because of complaints from members who were receiving multiple invitations from people they didn’t know we now have a default limit of 3000 invitations that a member can send. Before the limit we had a couple of thousand users who regularly sent thousands – or even tens of thousands of invitations – with very low acceptance rates and lots of abuse reports. The limits have helped stop most of that — but not all.

    When you get close to the limit and send new invitations you’ll see a message on the site telling you that you’re close and that you can request more.

    The best way to request an increase is to log in to your LinkedIn account and use the Contact Customer Service form on our site.

    As with all inquiries to customer service, they give fastest turnaround to paying customers and using the form above will get the quickest response. If you’re not a premium account holder your request will still get answered but it could take 2 to 3 days, depending on how busy customer service is.

    If the positive feedback from the people you’ve recently invited is high you’ll get an increase of 500 additional invitations; and you can request additional invitations 30 days after your limit was last increased.

    The threshold we use for giving a full increase is first, that the member’s recent invitations resulted in acceptance rates that are at least average compared to the norms for LinkedIn members who have sent several hundred or more invitations; and second, that the complaints and abuse reports they’ve received must also be low compared to the norm. For people who are regularly inviting people who know them or who are inviting self-declared “open-connectors” (people who are open to connecting to most LinkedIn members) this isn’t a particularly difficult threshold to get above.

    If the positive feedback from the people you’ve invited since your last increase (or recently if a first-time increase) is below the threshold for getting a full increase of 500, you will initially get at least some additional invitations, often 100, so that you can establish a positive feedback score needed to get higher increases. People who repeatedly get below average positive feedback scores may not receive any additional invitations and will then have to wait a longer period before requesting more.

    You can insure that your acceptance rates stay high by only sending invitations to people who know you, or to people who have indicated that they’re open to invitations coming from people they don’t know. Instead of using invitations to reach out to new people or others you’ve had little interaction with, we suggest using InMails, OpenLink messages and Introduction Proposals for LinkedIn members. And in general we recommend finding other ways to get to know better the people you want to meet before inviting them to connect.

    Of course, whenever there are limits, some people will try to get around them. For example a few have tried to get good feedback scores by sending a small number of invitations in a month and following the rules for whom to send them to. Then they hope that they can store up large increases and send them all at once to whomever they want, not caring so much about getting a full increase the next time. We’ve had to make our rules a tiny bit more complex to prevent these kinds of games, but those rules affect really only a handful of people.

    No rules are perfect. But by using feedback from the people whom users themselves choose to invite, and by regularly giving increases to people who consistently get good feedback, the system seems to be working fairly well.

  • 3. Ask Other People To Invite You

    It’s not as effective as sending an invitation to connect, since it’s not as easy to just “accept”, but it’s still better than nothing. You can ask people to send you an invitation to connect and provide them with your LinkedIn link and email address. A few places you could add this to are your out going emails, on your business cards, and on your website.

Do Not Spam

Do not use these tips to start spamming other LinkedIn members. As always, when sending invitations to other people, make sure your first intention is to build a relationship and offer something of value.

In any case, be a little cautious with your invites since you only have so many, and LinkedIn is constantly changing their policy regarding invites!

Atlas Shrugged...U.S. Patent And Trade Office Cancels Six Redskins' Trademarks


Source: http://kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com/2014/06/u-s-patent-and-trademark-office-cancels-six-redskins-trademarks.html
June 18, 2014

Dan Synder can boast all he wants of the proud tradition underpinning the use of the Redskins’ name, but the minute he can’t make money off of it, you best believe that name is going away with the quickness. And so those who would like to see the Redskins name get changed must be hearted by this ruling by the Patent and Trademark Office that the name is offensive.

The U.S. PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a ruling in the case, brought against the team by plaintiff Amanda Blackhorse, Wednesday morning.

“We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” the board wrote in its opinion.

“The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks disparage Native Americans. The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place,” Jesse Witten, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, said in a press release. “We presented a wide variety of evidence – including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups – to demonstrate that the word ‘redskin’ is an ethnic slur.”

Dan Snyder will most certainly appeal. The Redskins’ name was previously rejected by the same board in 1999 based on a 1992 lawsuit, only for a federal court to overturn that ruling due to “a technicality that the plaintiffs say has been fixed in this most recent case”. Should the ban hold up on appeal, the Redskins would be forced to change the name or face a situation where they’d have no control over their brand. There’s no way the NFL would accept a name that they don’t have the trademark for. All that supposedly proud tradition team personnel has spoken of disappears in a hurry if the money does as well.

Not that Dan Snyder doesn’t have a contingency plan. Snyder had the name “Washington Warriors” trademarked almost 15 years ago.