Unions Love This New Version of No Child Left Behind. That Should Worry Conservatives.

Lindsey Burke /

The Senate has begun floor consideration of a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

This congress has the opportunity to consider conservative policy reforms that would genuinely restore state and local control of education, yet the proposal as it currently stands has a long way to go before it could be considered to be on a path toward achieving that goal.

Notably, the version that made its way out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee has received praise from the National Education Association, which said it “has a lot of things going for it,” and the American Federation of Teachers, although both groups would like to see the proposal move further left.

The AFT applauded the bill for “maintaining the formula that concentrates funding for poor children, by not including portability or block grants, and by keeping maintenance-of-effort requirements.”

Translation: Union special interest groups like the proposal because it keeps spending high, doesn’t include school choice options and maintains super-sized federal intervention in education.

But there is room for improvement. As the legislative process proceeds over the next few days (the House will also consider its reauthorization proposal), members of Congress have the opportunity to advance provisions that would restore state and local control of education and empower parents. Those provisions include:

On a final note, proponents of the current reauthorization proposal often suggest that it ends Common Core. It does not.

The proposal adds yet another prohibition on the secretary of Education mandating or incentivizing Common Core, but prohibitions already exist in three federal laws, making another prohibition redundant and largely meaningless.

Moreover, it is up to states – governors and legislatures – to exit Common Core. The onus for withdrawing from Common Core falls to state leaders, and indeed, they should fully exit the national standards and tests in order to reclaim control over the content taught in their states.

But those considering the impact of an additional prohibition against Common Core in Elementary and Secondary Education Act should be aware that it would do nothing to untangle states from the effort; that must be done by states.

How San Francisco Aided and Abetted the Murder of Kate Steinle - The Daily Signal

How San Francisco Aided and Abetted the Murder of Kate Steinle

Lindsey Burke / Hans von Spakovsky / Rachel S. Landsman /

After admitting to shooting and killing 32-year-old Kate Steinle, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal alien, was asked why he had come to San Francisco.

He responded that “he knew San Francisco was a sanctuary city where he would not be pursued by immigration officials.”

“Sanctuary cities” are cities within the United States that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws and authorities – similar to the defiance of Southern states to federal law during the civil rights era.

By some estimates, there are more than 150 U.S. cities that are endangering the safety of their citizens by refusing to turn over dangerous, criminal aliens to the Department of Homeland Security or inquiring about the immigration status of suspects when they are arrested.

So when Juan Francisco Lopez- Sanchez, seven-time convicted felon and five-time deportee, arrived in San Francisco, authorities were none too concerned with complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Although ICE had Lopez-Sanchez in custody in March 2015, the agency transferred him to local authorities in San Francisco to be prosecuted on a drug-related charge.

ICE filed an “immigration detainer,” and requested that the San Francisco authorities notify them before releasing Lopez-Sanchez after his prosecution.

For reasons unknown, San Francisco authorities decided not to prosecute Lopez-Sanchez on the drug charge and then blatantly ignored the detainer and the prior request by ICE to return Lopez-Sanchez to its custody.

Instead, they let this killer walk free. Now, Kate Steinle is dead, and her family is left to grieve.

While it was Lopez-Sanchez who pulled the trigger, it was the city council of San Francisco and its mayor who aided and abetted her murder through their defiant, reckless, and dangerous sanctuary policy.

There is no question that this tragedy could have been avoided if not for the San Francisco policy, particularly given that even ICE characterized Lopez-Sanchez as an “enforcement priority,” according to a spokeswoman for the agency.

But San Francisco’s policy is to refuse to “honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers unless they are supported by a judicial determination of probable cause or with a warrant of arrest.”

What should really infuriate the family of Kate Steinle is that this horrible, tragedy could have been prevented.

Not the First Time

It is not the first time convicted felons have been shielded from deportation by sanctuary cities, only to commit violent crimes following their release from prison. It is not even the first time it has happened in San Francisco.

In 2008, the Bologna family suffered the same tragedy. Edwin Ramos, a member of the notorious MS-13 gang, cold-bloodedly murdered three innocent residents, Tony Bologna and his two teenage sons, Michael and Matthew Bologna, on the streets of San Francisco as they came home from a family barbecue.

Like Lopez-Sanchez, Ramos was an illegal alien who took full advantage of San Francisco’s sanctuary policy.

Prior to committing the triple murder, Ramos had been convicted of two violent felonies as a juvenile: a gang-related assault and the attempted robbery of a pregnant woman.

But because the city’s policy is to ignore immigration status, federal immigration authorities were never informed that two-time felon Ramos was in the country illegally.

If San Francisco had informed federal authorities of Ramos’s presence and if ICE had picked him up, the murders of three innocent people could have been avoided, just as the murder of Kate Steinle could have been avoided.

Instead, San Francisco along with other cities have created sanctuaries for criminal conduct by aliens, shielding them from the federal government, and enabling them to continue to victimize innocent Americans.

San Francisco and Other Sanctuary Cities Are Breaking the Law

San Francisco is directly violating federal law, as are all of the other sanctuary cities. Under Section 642 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. §1373), it is a violation of federal law for any state or local government to “prohibit, or in any way restrict” law enforcement or other government officials from sending or receiving information from the federal government on the “citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”

Instead of comforting the bereaved Steinle family in the wake of this terrible tragedy, President Obama has sought to shift the blame for this incident.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest blamed Republican lawmakers for Kate Steinle’s death. “It’s because of the political efforts of Republicans that we have not been able to make the kind of investment that we would like to make in securing our border and keeping our communities safe,” he said.

However, it is the Obama administration that announced in 2010 that it would not sue sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with the federal government on immigration enforcement.

It was the Obama administration that axed a program that made it easier for immigration authorities to find and deport illegal immigrants who had committed local crimes.

Under the Secure Communities program, local jurisdictions had the ability to check whether individuals they arrested were illegally in the U.S. or were “otherwise removable due to a criminal conviction.” If an individual was found to be illegally present, “ICE [would take] enforcement action—prioritizing the removal of individuals who present the most significant threats to public safety.”

But in 2014, the Obama administration got rid of the Secure Communities program, making the bizarre claim that the program’s “very name ha[d] become a symbol for general hostility toward the enforcement of [the nation’s] immigration laws.”

It put in a new, much more limited program, the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which only allows ICE to ask local jurisdictions for “voluntary” notification or detainment.

Under the Priority Enforcement Program, ICE has much narrower enforcement priorities and reasons for removing an illegal alien.

In fact, ICE’s enforcement priorities are so narrow today that it has released tens of thousands of dangerous, violent, criminal aliens, from murderers and drug dealers, to kidnappers and robbers, onto the streets – almost 70,000 in just the past two years.

Yet, even with this weakened standard, ICE still issued a detainer for Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, recognizing that he posed a threat to public safety if he remained in the United States.

San Francisco disregarded that detainer, washing its hands of a seven-time felon, and releasing him into an unsuspecting populace.

It seems San Francisco and other sanctuary cities are more concerned with protecting illegal aliens, even those with criminal records, than with protecting innocent citizens like Kate Steinle or Tony, Michael, and Matthew Bologna.

Oregon Becomes First State to Try Taxing Drivers By Miles They Drive - The Daily Signal

Oregon Becomes First State to Try Taxing Drivers By Miles They Drive

Lindsey Burke / Hans von Spakovsky / Rachel S. Landsman / Chelsea Scism /

Last week, Oregon became the first state in the U.S. to give drivers the option to be taxed by the mile instead of by the fuel they use.

The idea is that as cars become more fuel efficient, drivers spend less money on gas, resulting in less money for the Oregon Department of Transportation to spend on improvements for roads and bridges.

This new tax treats all cars the same, regardless of their fuel efficiency, and charges drivers based on the wear and tear they put on the road.

Under the new program, called OReGO, drivers will only pay for the miles they drive.

“It’s a fair and sustainable way to fund road maintenance, preservation and improvements for all Oregonians,” according to a statement on the OReGO program website.

Oregon’s new pay-per-mile roads fee requires volunteers to install a device on their car that collects data on how much they drive.

Using OReGO, drivers will pay one-and-a-half cents per mile they drive. Then, drivers will receive a credit to offset the 30 cents per gallon gas taxes they pay at the pump.

The state is in the trial phases of this voluntary tax initiative and the transportation department has recruited 5,000 volunteer drivers to try the program.

Oregon aims to eventually replace gasoline gallon taxes with per-mile taxes.

“If you look at your water, power and other utility bills, you pay by how much you use. Transportation funding should operate the same way,” Art James, a volunteer in the program testified on the OReGO website.

Oregonians can use the OReGO calculator to discover if this new tax would save or cost them money. For example, a driver who drives 700 miles a month with a car that receives 25 miles per gallon would see a monthly increase of $2.10 with OReGO compared to the state gasoline tax.

“It’s not necessarily designed to save people money,” explained Michael Sargent, a research associate at the Heritage Foundation who specializes in transportation and infrastructure.

Rather, Oregon is trying out a new method to see if there is a better way to tax everybody who uses the road.

“Each state has their own unique needs and they should be able to experiment with ways to fund their own transportation systems free from burdensome federal mandates,” Sargent said.

While the new tax aims to implement a more equitable method of collecting taxpayer dollars for roads based on usage, it comes with some privacy and security concerns.

Two of the three devices that transportation department offers to drivers, made by Verizon and Azuga, are GPS systems and have the ability to track a car’s location and a driver’s exact movements. The third option, the ODOT Account Manager, only tracks miles driven and fuel consumed.

Chief Justice Roberts Receives Low Approval Ratings From Republicans, Conservatives - The Daily Signal

Chief Justice Roberts Receives Low Approval Ratings From Republicans, Conservatives

Lindsey Burke / Hans von Spakovsky / Rachel S. Landsman / Chelsea Scism / Diana Stancy /

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling, conservatives aren’t John Roberts’ biggest groupies.

Half of Republicans and 55 percent of self-identified conservatives disapprove of Chief Justice John Roberts’ job in the Supreme Court, according to a recent Morning Counsel poll.  Only 29 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of conservatives approve of his job performance.

Roberts, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2005, has written two major opinions concerning the Affordable Care Act, including the recent King v. Burwell decision, which established that states with federal exchanges could legally offer Affordable Care Act subsidies.

Since this decision, Roberts has openly faced criticism from conservatives including columnist George Will and radio show host Rush Limbaugh. Will said Roberts’ decision ““facilitates what has been for a century progressivism’s central objective, the overthrow of the Constitution’s architecture.”

The poll revealed that 45 percent of registered voters approve of the Supreme Court’s decision on the case.

Although many Republicans currently do not view Roberts favorably, Democrats have a different perspective. According to the poll, 51 percent of self-identified Democrats and 57 percent of liberals approve of his job performance. Approximately 20 percent of Democrats and liberals disapprove of Roberts’ performance.

Roberts wasn’t always received well by Democrats. As a junior senator in 2005, President Obama voiced his concerns about Roberts on the Senate floor.

“I ultimately have to give more weight to his deeds and the overarching political philosophy that he appears to have shared with those in power than to the assuring words that he provided me in our meeting,” Obama said. “I hope that I am wrong.”

Ultimately, Roberts won the Senate confirmation in 2005 by a margin of 78-22. The 22 senators who voted against Roberts were all Democrats.

Morning Counsel polled 1,976 registered voters from June 26 through June 29 to compile these results with a margin of error of two percent.

Congress Questions Obama Administration’s ‘Anemic’ Training Program to Defeat ISIS - The Daily Signal

Congress Questions Obama Administration’s ‘Anemic’ Training Program to Defeat ISIS

Lindsey Burke / Hans von Spakovsky / Rachel S. Landsman / Chelsea Scism / Diana Stancy / Chelsea Scism /

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this morning, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey outlined and defended the Obama administration’s strategy against ISIS.

While Dempsey believes the U.S. military response to defeat ISIS is “appropriately matched to the complexity of the environment,” Carter conceded that the execution of the Defense Department’s strategy “can and will be strengthened.”

But lawmakers are critical of U.S. training programs in the region meant to bolster Iraq’s security forces and help local Syrians join the fight.

By June 30, the U.S. had trained about 8,800 Iraqi soldiers.

In Syria, on the other hand, only 60 fighters have been trained in this program.

Carter claims that stringent U.S. vetting standards for fighters can be blamed for the low turnout of eligible locals.

Participants must pass counterintelligence screenings, have no history of committing atrocities and possess a willingness to engage in the military campaign in a way that is compliant with the law of armed conflict.

Regardless of the reasons for a lack of Syrian participants, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the train and equip program “anemic and suffering.”

Carter defended the administration’s efforts by describing the three components of the administration’s plan to beat ISIS.

The first priority is on the diplomatic front, with the State Department taking the lead on compelling the Iraqi and Syrian governments to become more inclusive and better support its citizens.

McCain criticized the administration for not putting a greater emphasis on military strategy.

“Security on the ground is a precondition to political reconciliation, not the other way around,” McCain said.

The administration’s military strategy centers around beating back ISIS’ attempts at having a safe haven in the region, and simultaneously building local partnerships in Iraq and Syria to enable locals to wage their own war against the terrorist group.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter testifies during a hearing on "Counter-ISIL Strategy" on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter testifies during a hearing on “Counter-ISIL Strategy” on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)

“Enduring stability in the Middle East cannot be imposed by the outside in,” Dempsey said.

The other way the U.S. military is engaging in the conflict with ISIS is through a series of airstrikes, a tactic that has had varying levels of success.

McCain cited the statistic that of the 5,000 attempted airstrikes against ISIS, 75 percent of American pilots return to their base without ever dropping a weapon.

He sees this as a waste of resources and as a missed opportunity in pushing back the terrorist group throughout the Middle East.

Carter clarified that of the deliberate airstrikes—that is, the raids where one knows what the target will be when the aircraft embarks—there is a 93 percent success rate in achieving the objective.

However, when the airstrikes are dynamic and the aircraft is deployed without the assurance of a target, the success rate moves down to 37 percent.

McCain urged Dempsey and Carter to install U.S. air controllers on the ground in order to increase accuracy of targets hit.

“We’re not winning,” McCain said. “And when you’re not winning in a war, you’re losing.”

A member of ISIS waves its flag in Raqqa, Syria. (Photo:Stringer/Reuters/Newscom)

A member of ISIS waves its flag in Raqqa, Syria. (Photo:Stringer/Reuters/Newscom)

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., followed up by attesting that even though Iraqi armed forces outnumber ISIS fighters, Iraqis still struggle to win contested battles.

He specifically mentioned Ramadi, a key Sunni city in Iraq that has been seized by ISIS.

“[We have to be] making sure the Iraqi forces know that there’s no back door anymore,” Donnelly said, suggesting that Iraqis must commit their own citizens to the fight against ISIS, rather than depend on the U.S.

Although senators on the committee and representatives of the Obama administration disagreed on many aspects of the ISIS strategy, everybody at the hearing agreed that American leadership in the Middle East is a necessity.

“The global security environment is as uncertain as I’ve ever seen it,” Dempsey said.

Ben Carson: Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Are ‘Ridiculous’ - The Daily Signal

Ben Carson: Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Are ‘Ridiculous’

Lindsey Burke / Hans von Spakovsky / Rachel S. Landsman / Chelsea Scism / Diana Stancy / Chelsea Scism / Kate Scanlon /

BEDFORD, N.H.—Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate, called the concept of sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants “ridiculous” during a campaign stop today at the Bedford Village Inn.

Carson was referring to a recent murder in San Francisco, where an alleged killer was released from custody despite having been deported from the U.S. five times due to criminal acts.

San Francisco officials have said they did not turn over the illegal immigrant to federal authorities because of the city’s status as a “sanctuary city” for people in the country illegally.

Carson said that presidential candidates should be discussing how to address illegal immigration, rather than using “the words Donald Trump used” to describe the problem, which were “perhaps a little inflammatory.”

“I learned several months ago to tone my rhetoric down so that people could actually hear what I was saying,” Carson said.

In order to contain illegal immigration, Carson said, “you’ve got to seal the border.”

Carson suggested using a “host” of options to monitor the border including technology such as drones.

“I’m not just talking about fences and walls, that’s old school,” Carson said.

Carson said that sealing the border is only the first step towards preventing illegal immigration.

“That’s part one,” Carson said. “Part two is, you have to turn off the spigot that dispenses the goodies.”

Carson said that those who seek to build a better life in America should know that they can only do so through hard work.

He suggested reforming the guest worker program, and allowing those seeking work to come into the country provided that they are registered and paying taxes.

Carson also rejected the notion that he is not qualified to speak on foreign policy because he hasn’t held a political office.

“A lot of people say, ‘but you’re a neurosurgeon, you couldn’t possibly know anything about foreign policy,’” Carson said. “What imbeciles … If you have a brain, and you have the ability to talk to people, and you have the ability to listen, and you have the ability to read, you can learn stuff. Believe me.”

9 Foreign Policy Highlights of Hillary Clinton’s Secret Emails - The Daily Signal

9 Foreign Policy Highlights of Hillary Clinton’s Secret Emails

Lindsey Burke / Hans von Spakovsky / Rachel S. Landsman / Chelsea Scism / Diana Stancy / Chelsea Scism / Kate Scanlon / Ken McIntyre /

A fondness for iced tea and a struggle with a fax machine figure in much of the media attention to newly released emails sent and received by Hillary Rodham Clinton during her first year as secretary of state.

Serious foreign policy questions, however, also crop up in the 3,000 pages of Clinton emails. They are the first of monthly batches of the approximately 55,000 pages to be released by the State Department under court order.

Here are just nine of the policy questions raised in official messages released last week that, rather than on a government email system, were sent over Clinton’s personal email account and stored on a private server:

Warning of trouble in Afghanistan. One of Clinton’s former campaign aides, Mark Penn, writes her in September 2009 about the danger of what he calls President Obama’s “lack of a clear Afghanistan policy.”

Penn urges that a Clinton speech not minimize the strength of the Taliban, arguing that the idea of letting up on the Islamic radicals militarily “defies the imagination.” It would make the Obama administration “vulnerable to losing moderate support and seeming weak and indecisive,” he adds.

Penn also writes:

I can’t tell if anyone is listening to Obama at [the United Nations], but the lack of clear Afghanistan policy is unwinding the [anti-terrorist] coalition and threatens to cause a massive deer in headlights problem for [the] administration if not resolved soon.

Clinton passed along Penn’s remarks to aides, suggesting that they “overlook the source” but concluding Penn’s “idea that I should do a topper on timely events and make [the] case is probably right.”

In other emails related to turmoil in the Middle East, The New York Times report noted, Clinton asked aides whether the State Department could assist in such individual cases as Christians threatened by Islamic extremists in Iraq; a 10-year-old girl in Yemen who said she was oppressed; and a Turkish Kurd fearful of being sent home to be tortured.

Wariness of Biden’s role in Iraq. Aides filled in Clinton after Obama chose to spotlight Vice President Joe Biden’s contributions to Iraq policy.

When reporters inquired whether Biden had overshadowed the secretary of state, Clinton aide Jake Sullivan assured a department spokesman in an email that Clinton would be “back in Iraq before long.”

Top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills quickly forwarded the exchange to the boss, Politico noted.

“Read traffic all the way down,” Mills writes, directing Clinton to the bottom of the email thread and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ statement that Biden would “oversee” Iraq policy.

A strained relationship with Britain. One of of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s longtime confidants, former journalist Sidney Blumenthal, was not an employee of the U.S. government. However, Blumenthal emailed observations to the secretary of state on topics ranging from Iran, Afghanistan, and Libya to China’s role in global warming and the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques.

One of Blumenthal’s most impassioned emails, however, was devoted to concerns over what he describes as the “shattered” condition, under Obama, of the long-standing “special relationship” between America and Great Britain. Passing along sources’ opinions to Clinton, The Guardian notes, he argues:

Consensus across the board in Britain—center, right, left—is that the Atlantic alliance—the special relationship—the historic bond since World War II—is shattered. There is no dissenting voice, not one, and there are no illusions. Opinion is unanimous. The bottom line is that the Obama administration’s denigration of the U.K. is seen as the summation of the Bush era.

Speaking of Britain. Cherie Blair, the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, misspells Clinton’s first name as ‘Hilary’ in a partially redacted email with the subject line “Confidential.”

In it, Blair seeks to arrange a meeting between the secretary of state and persons in Qatar with whom she has “built up a good relationship.” Blair writes:

[Redacted] has approached me privately saying they are keen to get their relationship with the USA onto a more positive footing and she was hoping for a ‘women to women’ one to one private meeting with you. She is happy to come to Washington if you could make some time available.

Is this something you would be prepared [t]o do. [Redacted] is someone who has real influence and she has made a lot of difference already with her [redacted] and with the [redacted] in which I am involved as the [redacted]. I am sure the conversation would not be confined to these issues but would be about the U.S./Qatar relationship generally.

Striking the right themes in Germany. The Wall Street Journal reports that Blumenthal also informally advised Clinton in November 2009 on what to say in speeches during a trip to Berlin:

The themes I stress are these: the importance of Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate as symbols of freedom; the weight of history (always felt by Germans); the contribution of the U.S. and the salience of the Western alliance; the meaning of [the fall of the Berlin Wall in] 1989 to today and especially the continuity of the Western alliance; and segue from past to future.

Getting personal advice on Israeli relations. The Guardian’s Washington bureau chief, Dan Roberts, singles out an email from an old friend of Bill Clinton’s who appears to urge the secretary of state to take a meeting with Israel’s ambassador to the U.S.

Brian Greenspun, college roommate of Bill Clinton, lobbies Hillary hard: “Israeli ambassador has been trying to meet with you to no avail.”

— Dan Roberts (@RobertsDan) July 1, 2015

In the email, former Clinton roommate Brian Greenspun writes:

I trust I am not violating a protocol, but word has it that the [I]sraeli ambassador has been trying to meet with you to no avail. I wanted to make sure you knew that was a belief being shared.

I can’t imagine why your folks would want to keep you two apart. I hear he is solid. So, that’s the heads up. I am always available if there is a problem with which I can be helpful.

Projecting toughness on Cuba. A senior Clinton aide, Philippe Reines, prepared the secretary of state on how to frame an expected vote by the Organization of American States to let Cuba resume its membership, which OAS had suspended decades before.

In late May 2009, Raines urges Clinton in an email that State “set the expectation now that the outcome is likely to not go our way,” so that any positive outcome would be seen in the media “as a significant victory.”

Clinton followed through after attending part of an OAS meeting in Honduras before the group voted to end Cuba’s suspension, writing aides on June 3: “CNN is reporting this as being done against my wishes. Any way to salvage?”

Reines responds that the outcome is not as “dire as it seems,” in part because reporters soon would be distracted by their “blanket coverage” of Obama’s speech the next day on the Middle East.

In an interview with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, Mother Jones reported, Clinton indeed went on to maintain that Cuba did not win immediate re-entry into the OAS. She said:

Unlike what some had hoped, to have a kind of fait accompli, we were able to create a consensus that the majority of countries in the OAS agreed with the United States.

How diplomacy works HRC-style: “Saud asked if we objected to their making a grant to Cuba for development in health. [please] run the traps”

— Dan Roberts (@RobertsDan) July 1, 2015

Just one more question. Clinton sometimes peppered aides with questions to help her grasp the gist of an issue at hand. In an email dated July 25, 2009, she asks:

Is the 50k figure State and AID?

Kurdistan election results?

Can you find out for me how many Nazi prison camps we had in US during WW2 and what we did w the detainees—did we ever try any? Did we deport them after war ended?

Re Sudan: how do you pronounce Abyei?

What is % and dollar increase in 2010 budget for ops and aid?

I don’t understand the answer to the prostitution policy question. What’s the simplest way to say it?

So, ‘what does it mean?’ In one April email, Clinton betrays a sense of humor about the shifting bureaucratic gobbledegook attached to some alliances. The Guardian recounts her exchange with Sullivan:

Sullivan: I’m being told—and still trying to verify—that as of last week, we’ve succumbed to the Europeans’ preferred term. That there was interagency discussion of this, and that going forward, we will join the rest of the world in calling the P5+1 the E3+3.

Clinton: What does it mean? What is the E and who are the three?

Sullivan: “E is Europe. E3 is UK, France, and Germany. +3 is US, China, Russia[.] So it’s the same 6 as the P5+1, just a different name.

Clinton: I already feel safer.

Sullivan: And I feel ashamed that I had to subject you to this.

Clinton gave an assurance earlier this year at a press conference that none of her emails contained classified materials. Nonetheless, the State Department withheld 25 emails from the initial batch as having sensitive content about U.S. diplomacy or foreign governments.

“The occurrence of a subsequent upgrade [to classified status] does not in itself mean that anyone did something wrong or violated the law when they sent or received this information,” State Department spokesman Alex Gerlach told reporters.

Hailey’s Harvest: How One 9-Year-Old Is Fighting Homelessness - The Daily Signal

Hailey’s Harvest: How One 9-Year-Old Is Fighting Homelessness

Lindsey Burke / Hans von Spakovsky / Rachel S. Landsman / Chelsea Scism / Diana Stancy / Chelsea Scism / Kate Scanlon / Ken McIntyre / Samantha Reinis /

One-person tents, men’s boxers and prepaid cell phones are not things you would normally find on a little girl’s wish list. But 9-year-old Hailey Fort is anything but ordinary.

At the age of just 6 years old, Fort began a fruit and vegetable garden after asking her mother how she could help a homeless man she saw on the street in her hometown in Kitsap County, Washington. The effort is now known as “Hailey’s Harvest.”

Throwback Thursday-This was my first donation I made. It was half a sandwich bag of carrots, beans, and peas. I was 6 years old.

Posted by Hailey’s Harvest on Thursday, August 21, 2014

In 2014, Fort’s original goal was to grow 55 pounds of fresh produce to give away to the needy. She has since donated an estimated 128 pounds of fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, berries, peppers, peas, beans and more.

This wasn’t the biggest harvest, but I have now doubled my goal for the year. My new goal is 150 pounds. Only 39 more pounds.

Posted by Hailey’s Harvest on Friday, September 12, 2014

“Hailey’s goals have grown for the 2015 season,” Hailey’s mother wrote on the Hailey’s Harvest Facebook page. “She hopes to grow 250 pounds of food, along with handing out 1,000 toiletries, 500 feminine hygiene products, 100 coats, and as many sleeping shelters as she can find space for.”

My goal for the year is 250 pounds of fresh food

Posted by Hailey’s Harvest on Saturday, May 9, 2015

Fort has substantially grown her charitable giving from a hobby to an organized cause. She continues to support the homeless in her neighborhood by partnering with existing organizations and coordinating donations of everything from toiletries to winter coats to portable showers.

Tomorrow I will passing out coats in Seattle. I have 40 coats wrapped and ready to give someone a warm Christmas.

Posted by Hailey’s Harvest on Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Today Hailey (Hailey’s Harvest) and her family dropped by Fishline with the following items for our homeless clients: a…

Posted by North Kitsap Fishline on Friday, June 12, 2015

Her next project to help the homeless focuses on providing portable living spaces to those in need of shelter. The first recipient is a man named Edward. Fort hopes to build 12 of these portable shelters by the end of the year.

This is Edward and he will be getting the mobile sleeping shelter when it is completed. Today when we talked he told me…

Posted by Hailey’s Harvest on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A lot of progress has been made on Edward’s sleeping shelter. Tonight the drip rail goes up on the roof. That will help keep everything dry.

Posted by Hailey’s Harvest on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fort has captured the attention and hearts of many, as donations pour in from across the nation. A GoFundMe page has also been set up in her name, which has surpassed its target goal of $40,000.

I am so overwhelmed by people’s generosity. This is just one of three deliveries from today. Most of this will be delivered to The Fishline on Thursday.

Posted by Hailey’s Harvest on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Although she couldn’t quite pronounce it, the 9-year-old told KOMO News that when she grows up she wants to be a “philanthropist.” When prompted by a journalist to explain what that means, she said she wants to be “someone that takes care of other people.”

Many of those she has helped and inspired believe she already is one.

Today I chopped off my hair to support my sister that is having brain surgery soon. We are going to be pixie cut twins….

Posted by Hailey’s Harvest on Thursday, July 2, 2015

Teen Model With Down Syndrome Lands First Campaign, Hopes to Bring Awareness to Disability Issues - The Daily Signal

Teen Model With Down Syndrome Lands First Campaign, Hopes to Bring Awareness to Disability Issues

Lindsey Burke / Hans von Spakovsky / Rachel S. Landsman / Chelsea Scism / Diana Stancy / Chelsea Scism / Kate Scanlon / Ken McIntyre / Samantha Reinis / Leah Jessen /

Madeline Stuart, an 18-year-old from Brisbane, Australia, is one step closer to achieving her dream of changing society’s perception of disability.

The teen, who has Down syndrome, was just tapped by body-positive fitness brand Manifesta to be their newest model. Manifesta’s website declares that the “only valid judge of a woman is herself,” and is known for it’s non-traditional sizing methods, using names like “Willow” and “Poppy” to denote measurements instead of numbers.

Stuart is herself no stranger to weight struggles. A social media phenomenon with over 384,000 Facebook fans, 39,000 Instagram followers, and 2,000 Twitter followers, Stuart also has a heart condition. She first made headlines in May of this year when she debuted the results of an 18-month-long commitment to a healthy lifestyle: a whopping 40-pound weight loss.

“The feeling of being healthy is so much better than the feeling of any really yummy food,” Stuart told The Daily Signal.

Posting photos of her progress online as well as impressive before and after shots, the aspiring model began to notice her social media presence growing earlier this year. She reportedly had offers from up to seven fashion brands this summer, but Manifesta seemed the natural fit.

“I am now a successful model … changing society’s view of people with Down syndrome,” Stuart, who frequently posts inspiring messages and photos, wrote on her Facebook page. “Exposure is creating acceptance in life and inclusion.”

Stuart models a Manifesta outfit. (Photo: Madeline Stuart/Facebook)

Stuart models a Manifesta outfit. (Photo: Madeline Stuart/Facebook)

Stuart joins the ranks of other models with Down syndrome like Jamie Brewer, an American who has walked in runway shows at New York Fashion Week.

Stuart, who says she first realized she wanted a be a model last July at a fashion show, maintains an active routine of swimming, hip-hop dancing, training to compete in cricket at the Special Olympics, gymnastics, basketball, and cheerleading. She hopes that her journey will inspire others to get healthy.

“[To reach your goals], be strong and don’t give up,” Stuart said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

According to her recently-launched website, where she plans to showcase her growing modeling portfolio, she wants to “change the way people discriminate against disability through gaining attention through social media.” She believes Down syndrome is a “blessing” and “something to be celebrated.”

The new Manifesta advertising campaign features photos of Maddy, as she is known, posing in vibrant leggings and tops, along with a big smile.

“People with Down syndrome can do anything, they just do it at their own pace,” Maddy’s mother Rosanne told the Daily Mail Australia. “Give them a chance and you will be rewarded beyond your greatest expectations.”

A Tale of Two Cities: Ukraine Wins One Back, But War Remains Close - The Daily Signal

A Tale of Two Cities: Ukraine Wins One Back, But War Remains Close

Lindsey Burke / Hans von Spakovsky / Rachel S. Landsman / Chelsea Scism / Diana Stancy / Chelsea Scism / Kate Scanlon / Ken McIntyre / Samantha Reinis / Leah Jessen / Nolan Peterson /

MARIUPOL, Ukraine—A thunderstorm loomed over Mariupol on the afternoon of July 6. To the north, the sky turned dark and a cool pre-storm breeze kicked up as the sounds of distant thunder began to roll in.

A waitress at the Natalka coffee shop on Prospekt Lenina smiled and said, “It’s only a storm. Not artillery.”

After a nearly five-month-long standoff, combined Russian-separatist forces announced on July 2 that they had pulled back from their positions in the embattled seaside town of Shyrokyne. Yet in nearby Mariupol, a city that has lived with war on its doorstep for more than a year, many residents are reluctant to believe that peace may be on the horizon.

“I hope, but I don’t know,” said Olga Murza, 23, manager of the Natalka coffee shop. “We’re tired of the fighting. People feel bad and lots of people have depression. We can hear the fighting every morning and every evening, and we don’t know when it will end.”

“The situation is very bad,” said Andriy Viktorovich, a 27-year-old bartender. “Sometimes when the explosions are close and the windows shake I get scared. It’s a crazy situation. Hope? I have little left.”

In Mariupol, people try to live normally. (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

In Mariupol, people try to live normally. (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

A July 3 post on the Ukrainian National Guard Azov Battalion Facebook page, which was attributed to the unit’s leader and Ukrainian MP Andriy Biletskiy, stated: “The enemy has left Shyrokyne. Shyrokyne is Ukraine!!!”

“We all have paid a price—more than 60 KIA’s and 200 WIA’s,” the post continued. “And there is less speculation about (a possible) invasion of Mariupol.”

On July 2, a separatist representative to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination announced the Shyrokyne withdraw. The Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination, which comprises representatives from Ukraine, Russia, separatist forces and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, was created to administer the September 2014 cease-fire and remained in place after the Feb. 12 truce.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine visited Shyrokyne on July 2 and confirmed the separatist withdrawal. In an earlier report, released on June 27, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe announced that no civilians were left living in Shyrokyne, which had a pre-war population of 1,347, and that 80 percent of its structures had been destroyed by the fighting.

Since July 2, the fighting around Mariupol has waned, leaving soldiers and civilians wondering what will happen next.

Ukrainian soldiers deployed to defend Mariupol largely view the combined Russian-separatist fallback with suspicion. According to Ukrainian soldiers in the area, the retreat was a tactical move to limit casualties or consolidate forces for a later offensive.

“The city is a zone of no control,” said Paul Moroz, a soldier with the Ukrainian National Guard Azov Battalion (recently upgraded to battalion from regiment), who is deployed to the area.

“We are still occupying our positions on the hill and waiting for the separatists to come back,” he added. “The separatists have pulled back to a hill, and Shyrokyne is free of separatists, but they can come back anytime.”

Battle damage on a building in Mariupol (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

Battle damage on a building in Mariupol (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

Ukrainian forces are mainly deployed along Shyrokyne’s beach and on a hill that overlooks the town to the east in the direction of Mariupol. Ukrainian troops on the hillside location live in a network of trenches, while soldiers along the coast mostly occupy abandoned homes and other buildings to shelter from artillery and sniper fire.

According to Ukrainian military reports, combined Russian-separatist forces have abandoned vulnerable positions in the town center to limit casualties, but still currently have artillery and infantry positioned two kilometers away and on higher ground.

If Ukrainian forces moved into Shyrokyne’s town center they would be vulnerable to artillery fire. The separatist fallback, therefore, has made Shyrokyne a ghost town with neither side willing to venture into no man’s land.

“Occupying the city itself would be ineffective because we would be shelled,” Moroz said. “And their infantry is only two kilometers from the city, and they can come back any minute.”

Another Azov Battalion soldier called Shyrokyne a “catastrophic wasteland.”

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recently urged Ukrainian and separatist forces to jointly work to clear Shyrokyne of mines and booby-traps, and some officials in Kyiv have suggested establishing Shyrokyne as a demilitarized zone.

Ukrainian troops deployed to the area, however, pushed back against the idea of demilitarizing Shyrokyne or cooperating with the separatists. Some soldiers claim the combined Russian-separatist forces may be concentrating manpower and equipment for an assault in another direction, possibly from positions to the north of Mariupol near Volnakhava in an attempt to encircle and cut off the city.

The Ukrainian Dnipro-1 Battalion recently released drone footage documenting the build up of a combined Russian-separatist base, including nine Russian T-72 tanks, near the village of Sontseve, about 40 miles northeast of Mariupol and along one of two main roads connecting the city to the separatist stronghold of Donetsk.

In Mariupol, life goes on despite the war. (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

In Mariupol, life goes on despite the war. (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

With the growing threat of a combined Russian-separatist offensive from the north, Ukrainian forces consider defending Shyrokyne to be a critical bulwark to protect Mariupol’s eastern flank and also deny a high ground from which to shell Ukrainian checkpoints on the eastern side of the city.

As of July 6, Ukrainian forces in Shyrokyne have held their positions. Five-day front-line rotations, divided between different National Guard Battalions, continue as before and no significant redeployment of equipment or personnel has been observed.

For the residents in Mariupol, the lull in fighting is a respite from the constant sounds of war that have tainted life in this city for more than a year. Heavy fighting in August and September 2014, which included tank battles on the city’s periphery, and a Jan. 24, 2015 Grad rocket attack on a residential neighborhood spurred many to flee.

And since February, the sounds of heavy weapons from the front lines, which are about 10 miles east of Mariupol’s eastern limit, have become part of the normal background din. Those who remained have adjusted to life lived under the constant threat of attack. And while some see the combined Russian-separatist fallback as a positive move, many doubt whether it is a true bellwether for peace.

“Future? What future? I have no money, and I can barely afford to survive,” Viktorovich said. “The war has ruined everything. I’m young, and I feel like I have no future. But what can I do? I have to learn to live on a couple dollars a day.”

One indication of the evolving security situation in Mariupol is the pervasive military presence, which is markedly different than it was in March and April, when soldiers inside the city center were still an uncommon sight. It is also much different than in September 2014, when the first cease-fire was signed. At that time the Ukrainian military restricted troop movements in the city to nighttime to limit interaction with civilians.

Everyday life in Mariupol (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

Everyday life in Mariupol (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

Downtown hotel lobbies and restaurants, which have been near empty for months, are now filled with Ukrainian soldiers on leave or pass. At the Hotel Spartak in central Mariupol, groups of soldiers prop their loaded Kalashnikovs up against the walls as they eat omelettes and drink coffee at the breakfast buffet.

In the evening at a nearby restaurant on Prospekt Lenina, a line of painted camouflage SUVs is parked out front and the restaurant is filled with soldiers eating steaks. There is a nearly constant stream of military vehicles up and down Prospekt Lenina, the city’s main thoroughfare.

The city’s civilians have also acclimated. While many residents are privately concerned about the war, life goes on. The city’s parks are filled with people, and beds of neatly planted flowers are blooming. Cafes and coffee shops are open.

The downtown movie theater is showing “Terminator Genisys” and “Jurassic World” told in Russian. Mothers push baby carriages on the sidewalks, and city benches are crowded with babushkas.

“People have lived with this for one year, and they have adapted,” Murza said. “You can get used to the shooting and the explosions.”

“But I feel like my life has stopped,” she added. Murza speaks fluent English and graduated last year from Mariupol State University with a degree in management and hospitality.

“I want peace because I have ideas and hopes for my future. I want to live my life and start a family, and I can’t do anything because I don’t know what will happen in a month or a year.”