Should Donald Trump Apologize For Telling The Truth About Islamic Relations?

Should Donald Trump Apologize For Telling The Truth About Islamic Relations?
(THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON MARCH 11th OF 2016)
Israel & the Region   (This information is from the Times of Israel and from the Associated Press)

Muslim group to Trump: Apologize for saying ‘Islam hates us’

Civil rights organization says candidate’s rhetoric ‘reflects a bigoted mindset that only serves to divide our nation and the world’

March 11, 2016, 1:54 am 30

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Fayetteville, NC, on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (AP/Gerry Broome)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Fayetteville, NC, on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (AP/Gerry Broome)

FAYETTEVILLE, NC — A leading Muslim civil rights group is calling on GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump to apologize for his claim that “Islam hates us.”

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that aired Wednesday night, Trump was asked whether he thinks Islam is at war with the West.

“I think Islam hates us,” Trump responded. “There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us.”

The statement drew swift condemnation from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which called on Trump to apologize for the comment, as it has in response to other comments Trump has made.

 

“Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric does not reflect leadership, but instead reflects a bigoted mindset that only serves to divide our nation and the world,” Nihad Awad, the group’s national executive director said in a statement. The group suggested Trump could do so at Thursday evening’s GOP debate.

Executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad. (screen capture: YouTube)

Executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad (screen capture: YouTube)

Trump’s statement also became an issue for Florida’s Republican Governor, Rick Scott, who repeatedly sidestepped questions in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Scott, who says he will not endorse in the primary but is friends with Trump, was asked whether he thinks “Muslims in the state of Florida hate America.”

Scott instead shifted his answer to more general themes, calling Florida “the best melting pot in the world” and saying: “We love everybody coming to our state.” The avoidance prompted host Mika Brzezinski to suggest ending the interview early.

 

The questions come as Trump continues to dominate the Republican presidential contest, locking up delegates, despite a series of controversial statements.

Trump has called for a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the US and has advocated “going after” the wives and children of suspected Islamic jihadists in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. Critics have argued that Trump’s plans would only exacerbate problems by alienating more moderate Muslims.

Trump and other Republicans have criticized President Barack Obama and the Democratic candidates for failing to use the term “radical Islamic” when referring to Muslim jihadists or attacks by them.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton once explained she avoids the term because it “sounds like we are declaring war against a religion.”

Asked by CNN’s Cooper whether he thought there was a “war between the West and radical Islam” or “war between the West and Islam itself,”Trump replied: “It’s radical, but it’s very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.”

Trump was also pressed on his vow to work to “broaden” laws restricting waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques if he’s elected president in order to level the playing field between militants and the US.

Trump ruled out the US beheading Islamic State militants, but again did not provide additional specifics when pressed on what he’s envisioning when he says, “we have to play with a tougher set of rules.”

CAIR claims that the rhetoric of Trump and other Republican officials is at least partially to blame for a spike in anti-Muslim incidents across this country in recent months.

 

CREATED BY

 Wibbitz.com

 

11 Foot Alligator Went for a Swim in a Florida Family’s Pool

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

By ALIX LANGONE

10:48 AM EDT

An 11-foot-long alligator went for a night-time swim in a family’s pool in Sarasota County, Fla.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s office responded to a late night call Friday from a family in Nokomis, Fla. who needed help getting the animal safely out of their pool.

“The 11-foot intruder didn’t gracefully make his way through an open door,” the Sarasota Sheriff’s office tweeted. “He decided instead, to bust right through the screen.”

A professional trapper was able to safely remove the reptile from the pool and release it. No one, including the alligator, was hurt during the trapping process. The sheriff’s office had a sense of humor about the alligator situation, tweeting out the caption “Just no” with the hashtags #onlyinflorida and #neveradullmoment, along with video footage of the gator being captured.

The alligator video has been viewed over 78,000 times on Facebook already and more than 4,000 times on Twitter. The sheriff’s office also posted photos on Facebook of the alligator as he was heading back into the wild from his quick trip to the suburbs.

https://www.facebook.com/v2.12/plugins/post.php?app_id=&channel=http%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2Fr%2FFdM1l_dpErI.js%3Fversion%3D42%23cb%3Df28040f693b42b8%26domain%3Dtime.com%26origin%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Ftime.com%252Ff21bc51431b424%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=688&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FSarasotaCountySheriff%2Fposts%2F2155466174465263&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&width=500

There are over 5 million alligators in the Southeastern U.S. and around 1.25 million alligators in Florida alone, according to Defenders of Wildlife.

10 year-old girl successfully fended off an alligator attack in Florida last year by sticking her fingers up the animal’s nostrils. She said she learned the survival tactic at an alligator theme park. Doing so prevented the animal from breathing, so it was forced to open its mouth for oxygen and released her from its bite in the process.

More than 16,000 complaints about alligators on the loose were received by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2016. The alligator who went swimming in the pool Friday was large in comparison to most trouble-making alligators in Florida —according to the most recent data, the average size of alligators causing a nuisance in 2016 was 6 feet, 7 inches long.

Ship That Washed Up on Florida Beach Could Be From 1700’s

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

March 29, 2018

(PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.) — A 48-foot section of an old sailing ship has washed ashore on a Florida beach, thrilling researchers who are rushing to study it before it’s reclaimed by the sea.

The Florida Times-Union reports the well-preserved section of a wooden ship’s hull washed ashore overnight Tuesday on Florida’s northeastern coast.

Researchers with the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum have been documenting the artifact and say it could date back as far as the 1700s.

Museum historian Brendan Burke told the newspaper that evidence suggests the vessel was once sheeted in copper, and that crews found Roman numerals carved on its wooden ribs.

Researchers rushed to photograph and measure the wreckage. The photos will be used to create a 3-D model.

Multiple people killed in pedestrian bridge collapse at university in Miami

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Multiple people killed in pedestrian bridge collapse at university in Miami

(CNN)Multiple people have died as a result of a pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University in Miami, according to a spokesman with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Multiple agencies have responded to the scene.
Lt. Alejandro Camacho, the Florida Highway Patrol spokesman, said “five to six vehicles” were crushed underneath the bridge. A spokeswoman with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue told CNN there were multiple injuries.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is being briefed on the incident by Miami-Dade County Police Chief Juan Perez, according to a schedule released by his office.
Ricardo Dejo, an FIU civil engineering student, told CNN he saw cars pinned beneath the bridge. “I can’t describe it,” Dejo said. “We were really excited about the bridge. Everything looked fine. I went underneath it with my own car and it looked great.”
In a statement, the university said it was “shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwater pedestrian bridge.”
“At this time we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information,” the statement continued. “We are working closely with authorities and first responders on the scene.”
The bridge was just installed Saturday. According to a fact sheet about the bridge on FIU’s website, it cost $14.2 million to build and was funded as part of a $19.4 million grant from the US Department of Transportation.
It was designed to withstand the strength of a Category 5 hurricane, the fact sheet said, and was supposed to last for more than 100 years.
This is a developing story.

Americans Own Nothing We Are Only Serf’s And Sharecroppers At Best

Americans Own Nothing We  Are Only Serf’s And Sharecroppers At Best

I can see a lot of folks reading this title and thinking that this dude is smoking something. I can especially see the indignation on the faces of a lot of the folks who have worked their hearts out to be able to have titles to land, houses, stocks and bonds, lot of toys and a lot of cash. I can understand why some folks would get upset  with me for making such a statement, and they have a right to be upset. But, don’t be upset with me for speaking the truth. I do agree with these folks, if I am speaking the truth then they and indeed all of the people, even us poor folks should be angry. In this article I will explain my position as to why I believe the way I do about this issue. If you are mad at what I am going to say, you need to direct that anger at the people who make this title and honest and correct statement, not me, I didn’t write any of these laws.

Now I am going to open up my side of this thought for you. I want you to think about this question please, but before you come to an unmovable state of mind please concentrate on what is being said first please. Now, if your possessions can be legally taken away from you, are your possessions ever really ours? I am going to use the house we call home and our cars we drive to push across a plain picture of how we are all being cheated and stolen from. Friends, we are only leasing “our” possessions, in this (our) country, we can never completely totally own them.

I’m pretty sure that you are not surprised that I am going through the tax venue to show you why it is that the governments (city-county-state-federal) that owns absolutely everything. From being a long haul truck driver for about 30 years and logging a little over 3.75 million miles about 3.5 of that in the States the rest in Canada you get to see and hear a lot of changes occurring all around our country. All these things that I would not ever have seen or noticed or known about if I had remained in a factory or law enforcement type of careers. One of the things that you notice is just how much land the Federal Government owns especially in the West. You can drive for many, many miles at a stretch and all the land you see on both sides of the road is Government land. I am going to start east and then go west because a good example to start off with would be the city of Detroit Michigan which is on the border with the beautiful country of Canada and with the city of New Orleans Louisiana which sits as a southern border at the Gulf of Mexico.

Detroit and New Orleans got to where they are from different paths, but still, they are where they are, which is sad and horrible for so many people. Detroit got into the financial possession they are in because of hundreds of thousands of jobs that disappeared during the latest depression. New Orleans got into their current possession because of Hurricane Katrina. In both cities there are massive amounts vacant homes. In Detroit the homes are still there, quickly becoming slums, in New Orleans a lot of the houses were destroyed by wind and water and if they are still physically on the land they are long since condemned. One of the things they do have in common, the people do not own those properties, nor anything that was left in them anymore. This is true even if your property was 100% owned by the tenant. What I am saying is the truth if the owner didn’t keep the property in good condition and of course, if they did not keep up with all of the property taxes. If you didn’t do these things a government agency now own’s (your) paid off property.

Florida would be good place to look at housing issue also but in a lot of cases for different reasons, sort of. As most Americans probably know that Florida is a place were a lot of retired folks from the northern states move to once they have retired. A whole lot of these people who came down there from places like Illinois and Ohio sold their homes and bought a home there. I lived there from  July 1, 1997 till December 15, 2000 and I still have several good friends living there. I put that last sentence in so you would know that I have some knowledge on this issue there. I heard several local area people as well as others on the radio talking about the hard spot they were now in and were going to have to move out of Florida. The reason people kept using was that they no longer had the income to overcome the State’s constantly raising the taxes. I really felt bad for these older people as many didn’t have anywhere they could go to. Some will say well, they can always move in with their kids. There are many who had no one they could move in with. They couldn’t go back to their other house up north because they sold it so that they could buy the home in Florida. If these people were not able to sell their Florida home it will come a time in their near future that one government taxing agencies or another will scoop that property up. There is also the problem down there where the parents have died and the kids who are still up north have a property they cannot afford so they dump it on the market. The problem is when the taxes on that property come due and the kids can’t or won’t pay it the government whom the taxes were owed to now own the property. There is another taxing issue also, it is called the inheritance tax the people who simply don’t have the money to pay the tax or they are not willing to pay it, the Government will take it off your hands for you.

I have now given you three of the four scenarios I am going to give on how and why. You know that once in our recent past when people talked about small town America they had a smile in their eyes because many were born there and raised there but had left. Many small country towns around America are just a ghost of what they were back before, let’s say 1980. A lot of people, especially the younger, and especially the higher educated moved out of small town America and swore that they would never live in that environment again. Many kids cant wait to get to 18 yrs old so that they can go to bigger cities where there is nightlife and better jobs than back in the country. In a lot of cases the industries in these small towns dried up because they couldn’t compete with their bigger better financed competitors who are on the good trade routes into the bigger cities. As I have driven around  our country I have seen so often, especially out west, homes that are being overcome by  grass and weeds. A lot of these homes I have seen look like they are or were nice looking homes, quite often brick homes. There is always a reason for each situation, but for now I would like you to think of a situation as if it were you in the picture. You bought a home for you and your bride out in the country away from the cities and the masses of people, you have kids and raise them and they move away. You and your wife grow old and die. If you are one of the kids the property is given to you, but you don’t want it, you have a job and a life in a city far away. Well for one, you could now have to pay an inheritance tax on the property. You decide you will just sell it before it is taken away from you and hopefully you can make a nice piece of change from the sale. Eventually you start lowering the price of it until you realise that you are not the only one who doesn’t want to live out in the sticks, you can’t sell the house, so the government takes it for taxes due.

I know that there are folks who still think such things could not be possible in our Country, all I can say to that is, O’ really. Do you remember back about 25 yrs ago a Country Singer that most Americans know named Willie Nelson got into hot water with the IRS? Well it seems that the IRS wasn’t very happy with him to put it kindly. Evidentially the IRS said that Willie owed them a lot of money. To make a long story short, Willie had a lot of land and many other possessions, the IRS took just about everything the man owned. Now there is one other case involving a Country Singer named Dottie West, she was nowhere near as well-known or nearly as wealthy as Willie so the government boys really messed with her life. Well, it seems that Ms Dottie got herself in a whole lot of trouble with the IRS also. Ms Dottie did not have the wealth and the possessions that Willie had so the IRS boys showed up at her house one morning with a moving van, they cleaned her out of everything. Now to give the Tax boys some credit, they as far as I know always give you a few notice letters before they come after you. You know, the kind of letters aimed at scaring your shadow right off of your body. When they got to her house, excuse me, to their house and they took absolutely everything, and I do really mean everything, inside and out on the property. Seriously now they not only took the clothes in her closets they took every piece of furniture. They took all of her jewelry even taking the rings and necklace she had on. There is one other thing, before they took her telephones she had to call her neighbor to get a dress to put on because they even took the dress she had on. They left this woman with just the panties and bra that she was wearing. I know several are chuckling at what I just wrote thinking there is no way that she was treated that way. Friends  I would not have ever believed it if I hadn’t heard her on one of those Country talk shows telling this story out on the air waves. If it wasn’t true she was sure taking a big chance that there were no IRS or other government people listening to her on the program. I don’t remember how much time she was given to vacate her/their house, I am pretty sure she said but I just don’t remember what she said.

Back in the mid 1970’s I was only making about seven or eight thousand dollars a year and I started getting very unfriendly letters from the IRS. Back then I just used the W-2 forms to file taxes at the end of the year and when you only worked at one job it should have been pretty much nothing to worry about, I was wrong. Six years after that tax year is when I started getting notices that I missed claiming $400.00 that one year and now, after penalties and interest I owed them $2,200.00. I knew it wasn’t possible being I had only had that one job. The real kick in the butt was that when I called them at the number given I got to speak with a man who was having a really bad day I guess. I asked the man to tell me about this four hundred dollars I had earned and not claimed. You know, on that four hundred dollars, what would the tax have been, maybe $75.00, and now I was supposed to pay them twenty-two hundred. The part that I will always remember to the day I die is the answer he gave me it was “we don’t have to tell you anything, just pay the money you owe”. I have to admit that when people who have the power to rub your butt in the dirt and they have no Spiritual conscience they can really put a hurt on us, the little people.

We all know that when we purchase any item we have to pay the taxes on that item at the store register. About eighteen months ago my wife and I bought a 2005 Chevy so we could have a “back up car”  paying cash at that time. Now we have this piece of paper in our safe that says we own it. Now by law no one can take this car from us legally correct? The problem here is that this answer is wrong. The Courts can take it from you, the Police can physically remove it from you and of course there is a plethora of taxing agencies that can take it for all different kinds of different taxes within the  different Government Agencies. If it can be legally taken from you, is it really yours? Courts even have the authority to freeze all of your banking accounts and disallow you from selling any of your properties.

We all have the Federal income taxes we have to pay on all of our earnings. The last I heard there are six states that do not have a State income tax so that leaves forty-four that still have to pay that also. Then of course we all have taxes on every item that can be construed as income, even gifts. The Federal folks get you, then we have the State taxes on everything we buy and of course we can’t forget the County and City taxes. I guess the biggest gripe I have with our Governments taxing arrangements is the personal property taxes we have to pay. You know, we already bought and paid the taxes at the store, then each year we have to pay the taxes on our possessions year after year. The other big problem the tax system should have to stop doing is their so-called “Death Tax”. Why does any one government or person have any right to tax a person or family after their loved ones just died? Now you have to pay this huge tax bill to the Federal Government, that is just plain wrong. Many people are put into a position of having to sell what you just inherited or the Federal Boys will simply take it from you. When we moved to the state of Tennessee about ten years ago I learned of a tax they have here that I had never heard of before. This is a $25.00 Wheel Tax, it is a tax that you have to pay every year on every vehicle that uses a license plate. There are many other taxes and fee’s, heck, you can’t even go fishing without buying a permit first. We could probably between us name off at least a half a page more, we all know that this system is way broke, but how do we the people change anything when the “Public Servants” control almost everything we own, use or see? These bloated Government Agencies would probably tax our used toilet paper if they could find a way to do it. Heck why not, they tax the not yet used product at the stores.

I think I have made my point about why I used the title I did, that we don’t really own anything, we are just renting it paying on the same things every year. Remember some of the people will stoop so low that they will even take the wedding rings off you and your wife’s hand. You know something, now I love the people of this country, it is the people that make what a country is, not the Governments. When a Government stoops so low as to put a Death Tax on their own people they are sinking so low they are raking hot coals out of Hell. We are all in the end game of our lives, but all our hard work, if we were lucky we rented a piece of land. To the money people at the top of the human chain of life all of us little people are no better than Serf’s and Sharecroppers at best. When we die, none of us can take anything with us, all of our possessions are now gone onto someone else who has to keep on paying and paying and paying. If anyone quits paying for any reason they will lose what they thought they had. I believe that is why every person needs to get in touch with your inner self and attach ourselves toward our Creator. There is a calmness then within you that is not like our hard-earned and worked for possessions, this is a calmness that no one can take from you. You can give it away but not any Government or even the Gates of Hell can take this away from you.

My Take On Guns In The U.S.

MY TAKE ON GUNS IN THE U.S.

 

As most folks probably know there was another mass shooting here in the U.S. this week. Once again it was a coward who chose a very ‘soft’ target, a school. This disgusting piece of human flesh shot and killed 17 high school students and wounded another 14 before leaving the scene. It is my belief that he should be chained against a rock wall and machined gunned to death asap. I believe that if a person commits premeditated murder that they should be put to death in the same manner that they chose to kill.

 

Now that I got my rant out, I would like to speak with you about why I do believe that the people in every country have the absolute right to have firearms. Here in the U.S. this ‘RIGHT’ is GUARANTEED to the people through the Second Amendment of the Constitution. There are several simple reason why the Founding Fathers wrote this into Law and that is so that the citizens of our Country could have the possibility of self-protection and for the protection of our families. The main reason the Founding Fathers wrote this RIGHT into law was so that the citizens could protect themselves from the Government when and if the Government became abusive in their ‘powers’. These Founding Fathers had come from Europe and they had experienced first hand the over reach of ‘Royalty’ and of the Wealthy Land Barron’s. When a government disarms their citizens they know that they can run them over like mange dogs and there is nothing that the people can do about it. As long as the ‘elite’ have to fear a lone gunman putting a bullet between their ears they tend to be at least a little bit tempered in their illegal inhumane acts toward the poor. Another reason that the Second Amendment was written into law was for making it possible for people to be able to hunt for food. Then of course there is the reason of people being able to protect themselves and their families from gangsters and evil people who might break into their homes or rob them while they are out and about in their daily lives.

 

Let me make this clear, I do have several firearms, pistols and long guns yet in my 60+ years of life I have never shot any living thing. I do on occasion do some target practicing in my back yard but I have never ever even aimed a firearm at another living person and I pray that I will never have to. Yet I have a concealed carry permit and in my State I can ‘open carry’. In this State ‘Kentucky’ if I go down to the very busy corner convenience store and I decide that I want to rob them, the people that work at the store most likely have their own guns on premise plus, lets say there are 10 other people in the store most likely at least three or four of them are carrying a gun also. So, there is the reality that if I want to act a fool and pull my weapon, I am going to be filled full of holes, only an idiot would try to rob any business here in Kentucky. Back in 1981 I moved to the state of Texas and within the first two or three years there were at least three mass shootings in fast food restaurants, then the state made it legal for people to get concealed weapons permits, I never heard of another one of those mass shooting in Texas again.

 

What I am getting at is the fact that these ‘shooters’ like the one at the Florida High School this week, are cowards! Taking guns away from people like me only makes it more likely of their being even more mass shootings by these cowards, lot less of them. These cowardly scum bags want to go into places where they can get the highest ‘body counts’ possible and they do not want to get shot themselves. They choose these ‘soft targets’ because there are no guns there to shoot back at them. When is the last time here in the States that you heard of a gunman going into a police station or a military check point and start shooting? When was the last time you heard of a Donuts Shop being robbed? Do you notice that it is people like Hillary Clinton who yell and scream about how we the people should not be allowed to have guns to protect ourselves with while they are guarded 24×7 by small police forces themselves.

 

I don’t like it but I do believe that because all schools are such soft targets where the body counts can be racked up very quickly that every school needs to be guarded by at least 6 armed police or military personnel. This would be two on the inside watching monitors and one on each side of the school. I say two on the inside because if something odd is noticed on a monitor one could go check it out while one continues to watch the monitors. I know it is an expense, but aren’t our children worth it? Think about how schools like in Russia where armed groups of Jihadists have stormed schools and killed hundreds of kids at one time, how are we going to handle this when it happens here in the States? Do not be foolish, such things are going to happen here, it is only a matter of when.

 

There are some things that I believe do need to be changed in our National gun laws though. To me the biggest one would be the shutting down of the ‘Gun Show’ loopholes. The one I am talking about is it must be made totally illegal for anyone to buy or to sell any firearm outside of the ‘Show’ floor. The way things are now I can buy pretty much anything I want out in the parking lot of these Shows, as long as I have the cash. I could be a member of a well-known street gang or a member of a Jihadist terrorist cell and I could load my SUV down with weapons, with no paper work, no paper trail at all.

 

Five members of Jewish community among 17 killed in Florida massacre

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Five members of Jewish community among 17 killed in Florida massacre

Deaths of Jamie Guttenberg, Alyssa Alhadeff, Meadow Pollock, Alex Schachter, Scott Beigel announced by families, local community

Students grieve outside Pines Trail Center where counselors are present, after Wednesday's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Thursday, February 15, 2018. (AP/Joel Auerbach)

Students grieve outside Pines Trail Center where counselors are present, after Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Thursday, February 15, 2018. (AP/Joel Auerbach)

Four Jewish students and a teacher were confirmed Thursday to be among the 17 victims killed during a massacre at their Florida high school the day before.

The dead included four students — Jamie Guttenberg, Alyssa Alhadeff, Alex Schachter, Meadow Pollack — and teacher Scott Beigel, heralded for putting himself in the line of fire to save others.

The five deaths were reported by family members, friends, and community members. Rabbi Mendy Gutnick of Chabad of Parkland, who has been in touch with many of the families of those killed and injured, confirmed the five deaths to The Times of Israel.

This video screen grab image shows shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, at Broward County Jail in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on February 15, 2018.(Miguel GUTTIEREZ/AFP TV)

A former student, identified as Nikolas Cruz, armed with an AR-15 rifle, opened fire at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, officials said, in a harrowing shooting spree that saw terrified students hiding in closets and under desks as they texted for help.

Broward County officials said they would release a full list of victims later Thursday.

The Jewish community in Parkland was reeling over the massacre at the large school, with many members of the community belonging to the student body.

Rabbi Melissa Stollman, a rabbi at Congregation Kol Tikvah, a reform temple in Parkland, spent Thursday meeting with students and their families. “One student expressed how she heard something and she ran. She got out really fast and she ran far away. But other students were locked in closets for two and a half hours, not knowing what was going on,” she told The Times of Israel.

Rabbi Bradd Boxmann, also a rabbi at Kol Tivkah, said a “huge number” of congregants attended the school.

Guttenberg’s mother, Jennifer Guttenberg, was a specialist teacher in the synagogue’s pre-school, working with children to develop handwriting skills. Stollman’s two twins are in her class.

Guttenberg’s father announced her death in post to his Facebook page in which he wrote “My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school.”

Jamie’s own Facebook page was changed to “Remembering.”

The death of Alhadeff, 15, was announced by her mother Lori, in a post to her Facebook page. “My daughter Alyssa was killed today by a horrific act of violence,” Lori Alhadeff wrote.

Just two weeks ago, the Alhadeff family celebrated Alyssa’s brother’s bar mitzvah, which Gutnick officiated. The rabbi said that Alyssa had attended the local Chabad’s Hebrew School and teen programs. She flew to Israel in 2015 to have her bat mitzvah at the Masada desert fortress.

“It’s absolutely shocking,” Gutnick said. “I’ve been with that family most of the day today. No words really to say to them. There are no mechanisms we have to process this.”

On Thursday night, the families of children who were missing were told to wait at a local Marriott while more information came to light. Gutnick was there with some of the Jewish families who had not gotten in touch with their kids.

“Families obviously began to fear the worst as no news was coming about their children. Twenty families and their friends were gathered in one big room for seven hours while they waited to hear confirmation,” he said. “Finally, one by one, they were all told the worst news. You can imagine just the absolutely gut-wrenching feeling and emotional numbness that was taking place. It was devastating.”

On Wednesday night, Rabbi Jonathan Kaplan of nearby Temple Beth Chai described the scene at the hotel as “chaos and devastation.”

“Everyone is just waiting and praying. No words can describe what happened here,” he told JTA.

Medical personnel tend to a victim following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Flordia, on February 14, 2018. (John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

The parents of Pollack, 18, said Thursday morning that their daughter too was a victim, the Palm Beach Post reported. The night before, her father Andrew had spoken to the press of his harrowing search for his daughter.

Congregation Beth Am, in Longwood, Florida, in a post to its Facebook page, wrote that Alex Schachter was also killed in the shooting.

Beigel, a geography teacher, was also confirmed killed in media reports. Camp Starlight, a camp where he had worked, called him a “beloved friend and a hero.”

Students said Beigel tried to lock the door to the classroom where students were hiding to prevent the shooter from entering, but was gunned down.

Rabbi Shuey Biston of Chabad of Parkland said rabbis have coordinated with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel to ensure that the bodies of any Jewish victims be released for burial as soon as possible, in keeping with Jewish tradition.

According to the rabbis, several teens who were in the school and survived the shooting came to the Thursday morning prayers to recite a traditional blessing giving thanks for salvation from a life-threatening event.

“This is a very close-knit community,” Gutnick said. “It’s a very high-density Jewish community, as well. Demographically, it’s one that always felt very pristine and sort of protected from any bad news or any crime or anything like that. It’s one of the safest cities in America. And this has changed the whole city. We’ve lost our innocence.”

He went on, “There is just a feeling of absolute numbness. Kids don’t know what to do, they don’t know what to think. Every single kid is traumatized. The emotional scarring on this city is absolutely devastating and people are hoping that we can come together and we can show solidarity and somehow manage to move on. But the truth is this city will never be the same.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

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Florida Minimum wage workers get 1.85% hourly raise

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MIAMI HERALD)

 

Minimum wage workers get 1.85% hourly raise

DECEMBER 31, 2017 09:27 AM

Video Shows Florida Deputy Stealing From Dying 85 Year Old Man

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Video shows Florida deputy accused of stealing from dying man

Cop accused of stealing from dying man’s home

Story highlights

  • A surveillance camera allegedly catches a sheriff’s deputy going through a home
  • The deputy has been arrested and placed on administrative leave

(CNN)A sheriff’s deputy is accused of stealing from the empty house of a dying man while Hurricane Irma put south Florida in a state of emergency. The incident was caught on security video.

Jay Rosoff called the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on September 12 and requested a welfare check for his 85-year-old father. Rosoff, who lives in North Carolina, told deputies the indoor surveillance camera in his father’s Boynton Beach home did not detect any movement, according to a document obtained by CNN. His father, Moe Rosoff, had remained alone during the hurricane.
Three deputies responded and found Rosoff, who family members say had fallen and hit his head during a power outage, on the floor of the master bathroom. He was transported to a nearby hospital, and the deputies left the home. Rosoff died the same day.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Deputy Jason Cooke, who was not involved in the initial call, later came to the home and was shown on video going through the house. Police say Cooke has confessed to taking drugs from the home. He was arrested on October 19 on several charges, including burglary and larceny.

Incident recorded on security video

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Here is how the affidavit describes the incident:
Cooke, in uniform, arrived at Rosoff’s home about an hour and a half after the other deputies left.
The home’s surveillance camera alerted Jay Rosoff and his brother Steven that there was movement inside their father’s home. They immediately watched the footage, and said they saw Cooke enter the home through the garage. The deputy learned the entry code by listening to the initial call, officials said.
The video shows Cooke go into the master bedroom, the documents say, but it is unknown what he did there because the camera is in the common area. He reappears a couple of minutes later as he walks from the bedroom to the kitchen. Cooke picks up an item that seems to be a container and empties it on his hand before putting it in his pocket, the documents say, adding that he does this again with a second item and proceeds to inspect the kitchen cabinets and drawers.
Cooke disappears as he goes to the rooms in the front of the house. He later reappears walking back to the garage and is seen holding his hand on his mouth as if he were consuming something, the documents say.
The deputy left the home minutes after he entered it. The Rosoff brothers reported the incident, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation.
“We were outraged and disgusted when we viewed this,” a Rosoff family statement said.

‘A bad decision’

Another deputy identified Cooke on the video during the investigation. He was questioned and confessed to taking Tramadol from the home. It is a pain reliever that is a Schedule 4 controlled substance. Cooke also admitted taking some other medications from a death investigation and not submitting them to evidence, police said.
Teri Barbera, public information officer for Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, said the department “never forgets about its duty to preserve the public’s trust.”
“Unfortunately, sometimes an employee makes a bad decision, which leads to misconduct,” Barbera said. “We investigated and determined his actions were criminal in nature, resulting in the charges.”
Cooke was released on October 20 on $28,000 bond and is on administrative leave from the sheriff’s office.
The conditions of his release include receiving substance abuse treatment, random drug tests at least once a week, and the surrender of his firearms to the sheriff’s office. Cooke is due back in court on November 20.

‘A perfect example of the opioid epidemic’

Cooke’s attorney, Stuart Kaplan, told CNN this case is “a perfect example of the opioid epidemic, with respect to medication.”
The attorney said his client has faced “traumatizing” circumstances in both his personal life and in his job as a police officer.
Kaplan said he understands the gravity of the situation but that he hopes people are “compassionate” when someone steals medication for personal use because of an addiction.
“The video speaks for itself, and it highlights the epidemic we’re dealing with,” Kaplan said. “People who have good intentions, good people, can get hooked on these medications.”
The attorney would not comment on the criminal proceedings against his client.

Puerto Ricans scramble for food and water 3 weeks after Maria !!!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Puerto Ricans scramble for food and water 3 weeks after Maria

Weeks after Maria, survivors scramble for food and water

Story highlights

  •  Ninety-one percent are without power on US commonwealth
  • More than 36,000 Puerto Ricans have gone to Florida since October 3

(CNN)Thousands have fled Puerto Rico in the three weeks since Hurricane Maria hit, but for the millions remaining the struggle for life’s basic necessities seems to be never-ending.

Many travel hours in search of food and bottled water, only to find empty shelves at most grocery stores.
“I’ve never seen this in my life, never in my life,” Emma Ramirez told CNN affiliate WAPA.
Fuel shortages made it difficult to deliver food in the first days after the hurricane, forcing many stores to close. They have since reopened, but supplies of food remain low.
The food supply chain has emptied, and “resupplying it (will) take some time,” Manuel Reyes, vice president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Marketing, Industry and Distribution of Food, told the TV station.
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Still no power, no water

Food shortages are among the myriad challenges facing Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents in Maria’s aftermath.
Power outages and a shortage of drinking water have plagued the US commonwealth as well. Many communities remain cut off from the world, with no phone service and roads blocked.
Ninety-one percent of Puerto Ricans were without power Friday, rising from 83% the previous day. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, attributed the drop of those with power to a failure in the central system. There is no Internet, no way to get cell phones working, and limited ways to communicate or get information.
More than 1.2 million people are without potable water. Some people line up daily to fill up buckets with water from tank trucks, while others collect water from mountain streams.

Dead animals in Puerto Rico water, mayor says

Dead animals in Puerto Rico water, mayor says 01:27
The US Environmental Protection Agency recently revealed that some desperate Puerto Ricans are trying to break into wells at hazardous waste sites just to get water, even though it’s unsafe to drink.
Two people have died of leptospirosis, a disease that spreads when the urine of infected animals gets into drinking water. This public health threat won’t be fully mitigated, the EPA said, until waterways and infrastructure are repaired and power is restored.

What is the government doing?

The US House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion disaster aid package Thursday for victims in Puerto Rico as well as resources for those in Texas, Florida and the US Virgin Islands still recovering from Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.
On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan will lead a bipartisan delegation visiting Puerto Rico, according to the speaker’s office.
Some 19,000 civilian and military personnel are supporting the federal relief mission, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Army Corps of Engineers is installing power generators and temporary roofs to damaged structures.
This week, FEMA also approved a $70 million assistance package for the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority for emergency repairs.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, the target of President Donald Trump’s ire after she complained about the federal response, told CNN on Thursday she doesn’t still have all the help she needs but that recovery has improved.
“Ever since last week when a new chain of communication was given to us by Homeland Security, accountability has improved and things are starting to improve,” Cruz said. “I can now see the light. Imagine the light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t see it yet, but I can imagine it.”

Thousands flee to Florida

More than 36,000 Puerto Ricans have arrived in Florida since October 3, the state’s Division of Emergency Management said.
Representatives of FEMA and local charities as well as loved ones are welcoming evacuees at airports.
The state has set up disaster relief centers to help evacuees get medical attention, shelter, clothing and food.
Authorities have estimated that 100,000 Puerto Ricans will arrive in Florida in the storm’s aftermath, Ana Cruz, a coordinator with the Orlando’s Hispanic Office of Local Assistance, told CNN affiliate WKMG.
“I know what they’re going through. That’s why we’re here — to help, to assist and to guide,” Cruz said.
High unemployment, along with better job opportunities on the US mainland, already had pushed Puerto Ricans to pick up their bags and move, mainly to Florida and Texas, according to the Pew Research Center.
The island’s population declined to 3.4 million last year from 3.8 million in 2004.
Florida schools are already seeing an influx of students.
At least 90 students have enrolled in Miami schools, while about 128 students have done so in the Fort Lauderdale area, CNN affiliate WPLG reported.
“They’ve been quickly adapting to our schools,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told WPLG. “We are working to transition the kids into the South Florida community.”
Damian Daily

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