Friday, February 22, 2013

Oakland rapper 'Kenny Clutch' killed in Las Vegas strip shooting. The world 'has lost a good man.'

Kenny Clutch
One of the victims in a spectacular predawn shooting and crash on the Las Vegas Strip has been identified as Kenneth Cherry Jr., an aspiring rapper known as Kenny Clutch.
His attorney, Vicki Greco, said his death was shocking.
"Out of everyone I know in the rapping industry, there is no way I would have ever, ever expected to find that he was shot on the Las Vegas Strip in such an aggressive manner," Greco said.
PHOTOS: Shots fired on the Las Vegas strip
"He didn't have a [criminal] record or a history. He was just a good kid trying to make it and be a good father." Cherry had two children, she said.
According to his Facebook page, Cherry is from Oakland and lived in Las Vegas.
He died early Thursday morning when bullets fired from a black Range Rover peppered his Maserati, authorities said.
They said Cherry and the occupants of the Range Rover had left the Aria resort hotel and were heading north on Las Vegas Boulevard at 4:20 a.m., an hour when the casino marquees shine brightly but the gambling thoroughfare is largely empty. At Harmon Avenue, occupants inside the Range Rover opened fire on the Maserati, police said.
Interactive map: Shooting in Las Vegas
The silver-gray sports car, which was struck several times, sped into the intersection at Flamingo Road, ramming a Yellow cab, officials said. The taxi exploded, killing the driver and a passenger. Four other vehicles in the intersection were also involved in the crash and explosion, but police offered no details.
Cherry died later at a hospital.
Police had more questions than answers.
"It began with a dispute at a nearby hotel and spilled onto the streets," said Capt. Chris Jones of the Las Vegas Police Robbery and Homicide Division.
Cherry's aunt, Pat Sims of Oakland, told the Oakland Tribune that her nephew was a kind soul.
"I can tell you this ... the world has lost a good man," Sims said. "I'm not saying he didn't have his faults, but he was very kind, especially to older people. Whatever happened in Vegas, I don't know about, but he was a very kind soul."
The newspaper reported that Cherry had several arrests in Oakland and Berkeley, many for gun charges. He was convicted on a gun charge in 2007, stemming from an arrest in Berkeley, sources told the Tribune, although details on that conviction weren't immediately available.
In 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and killed two blocks from Thursday's accident scene, at the intersection of Flamingo Boulevard and Koval Lane, as he rode in a car driven by Death Row Records Chairman Marion "Suge" Knight.

What WRAL isn't telling you about BlueprintNC. 'All the news we care to share!'

  Verne Strickland Blogmaster / Feb. 22, 2013

  WRAL 2003


By | Posted in Legislative Activity, Politicians & Politicking |

CIVITAS REVIEW Feb. 22, 2013
While the media is reporting on an important political story, WRAL is leaving out key information about its deep connections to the group at the center of the story . The Charlotte Observer posted a story on BlueprintNC, a liberal group responsible for coordinating activities on the left, after a ”confidential” 38 page strategy memo was leaked. Wral picked up on the story and posted the memo on line. But what has WRAL left out of the story?
The WRAL reporter left out the very deep connections WRAL has with BlueprintNC through its owner Jim Goodmon, donations and former employees. The AJ Fletcher Foundation has given $35,000 to BlueprintNC and $380,000 to the NC Justice Center which initially housed BlueprintNC when it was formed (the foundations 990 IRS reports are not current so there may be more) . The Goodmon family which owns WRAL has 4 family members on the board of the Fletcher Foundation including Barbara the President and Jim the chairman of the board. The Executive Director was formerly the head of the NC center for Voter Education, one of the original members of BlueprintNC. In addition Chris Fitzsimon, former WRAL reporter,  is head of the liberal NC Policy Watch, the original lead attack group in the Blueprint coalition. Fitzsimon is also provided free airtime on Goodmon owned WRAL-FM from which he launches daily attacks on political opponents. The Fletcher Foundation has been a long time funder of Policy Watch is now housed in the Justice Center.
Wral is also actually doing one of the items in the strategy memo. The memo on page 3 calls for tracking McCrory “Campaign Promises” and “slam him when he contradicts his promise.” WRAL appears to have taken that for action by launching their “Promise Tracker“, complete with cute little ”Skull & Crossbones” symbols.
Civitas has previously written about BlueprintNC including this chart back in January 2010 (this contains a handy list for “legislative leaders” who might be interested in groups wishing to “eviscerate” or “cripple” them) . It played a key coordinating role leading up to the 2008 election and its extensive network became evident while investigating the role of ACORN in North Carolina. We also wrote about its role in the news you are getting.
It should also be noted that the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation which has given $425,000 to Blueprint and $2.7 million to the Justice Center which housed Blueprint, was headed succesively by Tom Ross the current UNC system President and Leslie Winner a former Democratic state senator and UNC VP.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Verne Strickland / February 21, 2013:

Sure, Mr. President -- go ahead and cut my legs off. It will allow me to be buried in a shorter casket, and save the U.S. government a little cash, freeing up some expenses for your next golf junket.

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 23:  U.S. President Bara...

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 23: U.S. President Barack Obama signs the payroll tax bill in the Oval Office December 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. Payroll taxes fund Social Security and Medicare. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Though Democrats denied it during the 2012 campaign, Obamacare cut Medicare by $716 billion in order to partially fund $1.9 trillion in new entitlement spending over the next ten years. A big chunk of those Medicare cuts came from the market-oriented Medicare Advantage program. Cleverly, the Obama administration postponed the Medicare Advantage cuts until after the election, so as to persuade seniors that everything would be just fine. But the election is over. On Friday, the administration announced that it would be significantly reducing funding for the popular program. Obama’s proposal, according to one analyst, “would turn almost every plan in the industry unprofitable.”

Democrats have long been hostile to the Medicare Advantage program, which allows seniors to get their Medicare coverage through plans administered by private insurers. Today, more than a quarter of retirees get their coverage through Medicare Advantage, and the program has experienced rapid growth over the past decade. Richard Foster, the recently-retired chief actuary of the Medicare program, has projected that Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage would force half of its current enrollees to switch back to the old, 1965-vintage Medicare program. Robert Book and James Capretta estimate that this will cost enrollees an average of $3,714 in 2017 alone.

New rates to be ‘enormously disruptive’

The new rates proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a.k.a. CMS, will have the net effect of reducing payments to Medicare Advantage plans by 7 to 8 percent in 2014, according to Citi managed care analyst Carl McDonald. “This includes the 2.3% reduction in per capita growth rate announced by CMS on Friday, and estimated 2-3% drop as rates move to parity with fee for service…a 1.5% reduction associated with the change in coding intensity adjustment” and the 2% health insurance premium tax. “These negatives are partially offset by an estimated 1% benefit from improved Star quality ratings, re-basing, better risk scores, and fee for service normalization, resulting in an overall decline of 7-8%,” wrote McDonald yesterday in a note to clients.

Because the typical for-profit managed care plan targets profit margins of only 5 percent, and non-profits even less, the net consequence would “turn almost every plan in the industry unprofitable,” according to McDonald, unless CMS changes its proposal. “If implemented, these rates and the program changes CMS is suggesting would be enormously disruptive to Medicare Advantage, likely forcing a number of smaller plans out of the business and creating disarray for many seniors.”

Could CMS bend the rules again?
CMS didn’t issue these rates because they’re mean. Obamacare requires these rate cuts; indeed, as I noted above, they were supposed to have been implemented before the election. “We appreciate that plans are facing several legislatively mandated changes affecting payment for 2014,” CMS’ Jonathan Blum and Paul Spitalnic write in their 199-page report. “We solicit comment on suggestions to address these challenges within the parameters of current law.” The final rates are to be issued on April 1.

CMS is likely to come under pressure to once again postpone the cuts, by engaging in rule-bending or accounting gimmicks. If CMS assumes that Congress passes a “doc fix” by the end of the year, in order to avoid a 25 percent reduction in physician reimbursement rates, plans could benefit from a 4 percent increase in government reimbursements. Understandably, CMS normally doesn’t incorporate the “doc fix” into its calculations unless one has been actually passed by Congress. CMS could also decline to implement a recalibration of its risk adjustment formula, something that would ease the pressure on insurers.
2014 will be the year when reality hits

It’s important to reduce the amount that the government spends on Medicare, and to do so in a way that minimally affects the care that seniors receive. The simplest way to do this is to gradually raise Medicare’s eligibility age by three months each year. Now that we have Obamacare’s insurance exchanges to support lower- to middle-income seniors, it’s not necessary to force Americans to pay taxes in order to subsidize health insurance for wealthy seniors like Warren Buffett and Mitt Romney.

But Obamacare chose a different path, one that will force more Americans into creaky, out-of-date programs like Medicaid and Sixties-era fee-for-service Medicare. The law will dramatically increase the cost of privately-purchased health insurance, something that Obamacare supporters are only now starting to admit.

There will be much more to talk about as the Obama administration issues the rates, regulations, and mandates that the “Affordable Care Act” requires. Stay tuned.

Follow Avik on Facebook and on Twitter at @aviksaroy.
INVESTORS’ NOTE: Among publicly-traded insurers, Universal American (UAM), Humana (HUM), WellCare (WCG), Cigna (CI), and UnitedHealth (UNH) garner the largest proportion of their revenue from Medicare Advantage.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

USA Dot Com: Brent Bozell: Your news is being censored in an outrageous way!

USA Dot Com: Brent Bozell: Your news is being censored in an outrageous way!

Brent Bozell: Your news is being censored in an outrageous way!

Media Research Center. America's Media Watchdog
Dear Verne,

Your news is being censored in an outrageous way. Just look at what happened (yet wasn't reported!) last December in Michigan. The pro-union broadcast networks deliberately censored footage of thuggish union violence directed at conservatives.

Union thugs, enraged over passage of a right-to-work law, physically attacked a Fox News contributor and destroyed a massive tent erected by a conservative group at the rally. This was all captured on videotape, but neither ABC, CBS, nor NBC covered the story or showed the documented violence.

What hypocrites! If a Tea Party activist had punched a network reporter and trampled on a news tent, it would be headline news 24/7. ABC, CBS, and NBC have a responsibility to the American people to expose what's really happening in our country. Their double standard is absolutely outrageous.

Furthermore, now that these thugs have been caught on tape perpetrating vicious physical assaults, President Obama has an even greater responsibility to denounce them swiftly, publicly, and severely.

But President Obama didn't say a word. ABC, CBS, and NBC stayed silent.

Do you see what's happening? The American media have adopted the tyrannical tactics of leftist nations where the public is shielded from actual news stories through censorship. It's a gross manipulation of the First Amendment.

BUT—the Media Research Center has the strategy to put a stop to journalistic censorship. Learn more here, and find out what you can do. Americans cannot allow this extreme liberal bias to continue. It's dangerous to our country, and it must be stopped.

Find out how you can help the MRC put an end to media censorship once and for all. We can't do it without you.

Thank you for standing up for the truth.


L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President
Media Research Center

Monday, February 18, 2013

New York City advances mentally ill "roundup plan". Gonna be trouble.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / February 18, 2013

I don't have the solution, and I don't know who does. But if New York expects to reduce lawsuits by what they are calling "Scoop Up the Nuts", they are going to be sadly disappointed. Ever try dealing with blacks and illegal immigrants miffed by the practice of rounding up drivers who "look suspicious"? Can you spell "RIOT"? Although this is somewhat different, it's close enough to "profiling" to be a very touchy and problematic subject. By the way, with an insensitive slogan like that, they're off to a poor start. Under the right circumstances, this idea has been floated as a way to keep guns out of the hands of troubled individuals. I could buy into that. But walk softly, fellas. You'll still be on shaky ground.

Posted: 2:12 AM, February 18, 2013

The city is making a major push to sweep the streets of dangerous, mentally ill New Yorkers — and has even compiled a most-wanted list, The Post has learned.
The measure follows a pair of high-profile subway-shove fatalities from December allegedly involving mentally ill individuals.
The city has already drawn up a list of 25 targets, sources said.
“After the Queens subway attack [of immigrant Sunando Sen], the [city] decided to take a proactive approach to track down the most dangerous mental-health patients that currently have mental-hygiene warrants” out for them, a law-enforcement source said.

TRACKING ’EM: The city, fearing liability following splashy front-page subway-shove tragedies — like those involving suspects Erika Menendez (above) and Naeem Davis — is looking to get the mentally ill off the streets.
Paul Martinka
TRACKING ’EM: The city, fearing liability following splashy front-page subway-shove tragedies — like those involving suspects Erika Menendez (above) and Naeem Davis — is looking to get the mentally ill off the streets.
Naeem Davis
Steven Hirsch
Naeem Davis
Those warrants mean that the patients are not wanted for a crime but instead are being sought because they are not getting their court-ordered treatment.
There are a handful of cops assigned to the detail, which began working in the past few weeks, the source said.
Cops in the NYPD’s Real Time Crime Center are using high-tech methods to first track down the individuals, and detectives on the street have been assigned to then go after them and take them to hospitals, law-enforcement sources said.
In the past, the city Department of Health would ask cops for help finding mentally ill people who aren’t taking their court-mandated meds so they could be taken to clinics. But that only applied to those who had known addresses — and patients who went off the grid were rarely pursued, the sources said.
The city is now concerned it could be liable if one of those people goes off the rails and hurts someone — or themselves, the sources said.
And that’s prompted the Health Department to seek more help from the NYPD. These patients could, of course, be dangerous, health officials noted.
Now, “you have a family member who goes to the Department of Health and gives them the information. Then they go to the Police Department, and together, the DOH person and the police go out and try to track down these people,” said a city official. “They’re just trying to get these people help.”
“All of these patients are receiving treatment for mental-health conditions,” said Department of Health spokesman Sam Miller. “If they do not receive sustained treatment . . . they could pose some risk to themselves, family members or others.”
But tracking them down won’t be easy. “There’s no rhyme or reason to their craziness,” said a law-enforcement source.
“You might find yourself looking all over the place for one of these kooks who rides the subway back and forth.”Such craziness includes homeless man Naeem Davis’ alleged Dec. 3 fatal subway push of a Queens father — Davis has claimed voices guided his deadly act — and the horrifying shove of Sen allegedly by accused Muslim-hating maniac Erika Menendez.
Menendez told The Post in a rambling jailhouse interview that she likely would not have killed the hard-working man had she smoked weed that day — she uses it to self-medicate for bipolar disorder.
She also has allegedly told authorities that she killed Sen, a Hindu, because of 9/11 — not because so many people died, but because of the destruction of the buildings.
She has been found fit to stand trial.

John McCain: Background checks will get broad support in Senate.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / February 18, 2013

John McCain-JKZ-002495.jpg

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted:   |  Updated: 02/17/2013 12:47 pm EST
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that he expects bipartisan legislation expanding background checks on gun purchases to have broad support in the Senate.
"There's some senators, bipartisan, again, Senator Coburn and Senator Manchin and some others who are working on a package that I think that most of us will be able to support," McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I applaud their efforts."
McCain continued, "Obviously, we want to do everything we can to prevent guns from falling into the hands of people who are mentally unbalanced or criminals."
The bipartisan plan touted by McCain is currently under negotiation. Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) have met to discuss the proposed legislation, which would close loopholes in the current background check system.
"It's coming along pretty well," Schumer said after a meeting on the plan last Wednesday. "We're hopeful."
Recent surveys have shown overwhelming public support for expanding background checks. A Quinnipiac poll released earlier this month found that 92 percent of voters are in favor of universal checks on gun buyers.
McCain has previously signaled his support for strengthening background checks for gun purchases. However, he has criticized other gun control proposals, including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
“I’ve not seen how that would improve the situation at all,” McCain said on CNN last month. “I think the burden of proof has to be on those who want such a thing.”