Gun Sales Expected to Skyrocket on Black Friday, FBI Worried

From Cabela’s to Wal-Mart guns will be on sale a everywhere on Black Friday, and what better time is there to load up on a firearm? The manic shopping frenzy lands right before Christmas and right in the midst of deer hunting season.

With the expected increase in gun sales the Federal Bureau of Investigation is gearing up for a dense wave of background check requests. There are more than 48,000 gun retailers in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. For every sale, cashiers must call in a check to the FBI or to other approved agency to insure that the customer does not have a criminal record. When the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, was implemented in 1998, the FBI oversaw around 9 million checks. Last year that number inflated to more than 21 million.

“This Friday opens the busiest season for gun purchases, when requests for background checks speed up to nearly two a second, testing the limits of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS….

NICS did about 58,000 checks on a typical day last year. That surged to 145,000 on Black Friday 2013. They're bringing in 100 more workers than usual for the post-Thanksgiving rush this year.”

Seventy-one percent of background checks last year were instantly approved. According to Federal Law, a customer is disqualified from purchasing a gun if he/she is: underage, an illegal alien, a documented drug addict, a convicted felon, a fugitive from justice, underage, mentally ill, dishonorably discharged from the military, has renounced their U.S. citizenship, is subject to a court restraining order, or has a history of domestic violence.

Coming Soon to a Mall Near You: Obamacare

The holiday shopping season kicks off tomorrow with Black Friday, the annual mad-dash for good deals and early-morning sales. This year, shoppers in a few states will see something new this year at shopping malls--and its not exactly a hot new store. It's...Obamacare.

In an effort to boost floundering enrollment numbers, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken to partnering with retail stores, pharmacies and websites to promote the open enrollment period, which lasts until Feb. 15. Enrollment workers will be present on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday to tell shoppers about how to sign up for a plan on the exchange.

Westfield malls in New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, Florida and Washington will allow navigators and other enrollment workers to both hand out fliers and use other outreach approach methods.

The NCPA will be hosting calls with HHS officials to train pharmacists on how they can spread the word about open enrollment season, as well as using new tactics to share information with its 23,000 members.

[...]

Finally, the XO Group will be using its sites — such as The Knot and The Bump — to advertise to women who are set to experience a life changing events such as marriage or childbirth.

The "target" of expected signups has been ticked downward to about nine million.

I don't know about you, but when I go to the mall I make an effort to avoid the majority of the mall kiosks attempting to push products on me. I'm assuming this will be no different. How desperate is HHS getting to resort to invading shopping malls?

Rebuilding After The Riots: Ferguson Cake Shop Owner Grateful to Fellow Americans For Love and Support

Natalie Dubose is a single mother of two living and working in Ferguson, Missouri. Dubose runs her own cake shop in the city called Natalie's Cakes and More, a business she dedicated all of her resources to in order to make a living. Dubose started her cake business by renting out a booth at the local flee market every weekend, selling her product and eventually saved enough money to open up a store, which had it's grand opening in August.

Despite pleading with protestors, her store was severely damaged in riots Monday night, but thanks to the generosity of fellow Americans she'll be back in the kitchen in no time. After learning about the destruction, fellow citizens from around the country donated more than $140,000 to a crowdfunding site dedicated to getting her back on her feet. Hundreds of people have also placed orders for her baked goods.

"It's been amazing. I've been crying but these are tears of joy. I'm just so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from people across the country and I thank them," Dubose said during an interview on Fox News Wednesday. "This [the shop] is my baby." 

"I am so thankful and I'm so grateful. If I could have arms big enough I would just hug each and every last one of them but I just want to thank everyone that has contributed to helping me rebuild my shop to helping me live my dream and to helping for me to continue to be the mom that I've been to my children, to continue providing them with the support that they need," she said. 

All the best to Ms. Dubose, what a wonderful example of the American Dream she is and her cake looks really yummy too! Be sure to check out more about her story here.

Hunters Feed The Hungry This Holiday Season

Every year hunters from around the country feed the hungry by donating nearly three million pounds of meat and 11 million meals to those who are less fortunate. Just one pound of ground venison can feed four people. 

Hunters Feed Those In Need

Interested in donating? Watch the video below about how to get started and learn more about venison donation programs by visiting Nssf.org/Huntersfeed.

Author Documents 'The Pilgrim Chronicles'

You know the pilgrims traveled to the New World on the Mayflower, but did you know about the Steadwell? You know they ate turkey during their first feast, but did you know they also had baked beaver? These are just a couple of the little-known facts author Rod Gragg includes in his book, “The Pilgrim Chronicles,” an eyewitness account of the pilgrims’ journey to America and the first Thanksgiving, as well as what their lives looked like in England before stepping onto that famous boat. Gragg shared some insight with Townhall on the effort that went into compiling this information, as well as his passion for studying the pilgrims. Check out what else he had to say, then buy the book! You might just learn something new on this Thanksgiving about a few of America’s first settlers.

What made you want to write about the pilgrims? Is this something you’ve always been interested in?

“I’ve always found the pilgrims to be a fascinating group of people and I know that their influence on the development of our nation was tremendous. So, they’ve always had an appeal to me. But actually I had written a couple of books in this genre of eyewitness history. You write a narrative and it’s highlighted with the primary source materials, documents, letters, diary entries and so on that make up history to go and find. So I had done a couple of books like that and the publisher came to me and asked if I wanted to do something like that on the pilgrims and that was something I was interested in because I was familiar with it a bit. But my concern was there wasn’t enough primary source material to actually build an eyewitness history of the pilgrim experience. As it turned out, it was far more than I expected and as usual I only thought I knew the pilgrims – I knew far less about them then I thought I did and they really are extraordinary people who have tremendous impact on American history.”

Can you give us a small teaser, maybe share one of the little-known facts that you included in your book?

“The pilgrims traveled to America from the North Atlantic on the Mayflower, but there are actually two pilgrim vessels, two ships. The other one was called the Steadwell and it did not live up to its name. It sprung leaks repeatedly. When the pilgrims left with two ships from England and they went out into the English Channel and then into the open Atlantic, they made two attempts to travel with both ships. But, the Steadwell continued to leak, they brought it back into port and tried to do repairs and it just didn’t work. Finally, they brought it back to Plymouth and decided it was not seaworthy and so they moved everybody that they could onto the Mayflower. Some of them chose not to come. That’s why the Mayflower, which really was a pretty good size ship, was so packed across the Atlantic.”

Can you put into words what kind of faith and courage it took for the pilgrims to leave the Old World and sail toward the unknown?

“Well this book spends about half of its space dealing with the pilgrims in England. That’s the side of the story that most Americans don’t know. It’s really an extraordinary story, very remarkable. The pilgrims were a remarkable people who were extremely courageous and to do what they did took extraordinary heroism. And of course they made a major positive impact on America.”

Another interesting part of the book was when you talk about the first Thanksgiving feast – which didn’t really look like your typical Turkey Day dinner. Could you tell us what was on the pilgrims’ Thanksgiving table?

“Well the pilgrims were not the first to observe Thanksgiving in the New World. The Spanish settlers in New Spain did so, and so did the Jamestown colonists. But, it was from the pilgrims that we get our Thanksgiving tradition. Although, their Thanksgiving feast was probably not what we think it was. In some ways, it was very different from what we expect today. It was a 3-day event. It presumably featured a very joyful worship service, but what is also on record is that it also included recreations. Those were probably the field sports that were so popular to the English people of their day and that would have included wrestling, foot races, jumping contests - these are the kinds of activities that the English people loved at that time. We do know it also included what they describe as either a firearms competition, a shooting match, or some type of firearms demonstration. One of the sources says they exercised their arms and whether they were having a shooting match or whether they were having a firearms demonstration maybe for their invited guests, the Poconos Indians, we don’t know. But those are things we don’t normally associate with the pilgrims’ Thanksgiving. 

As far as what was on the menu, we know that they were on record as saying they served waterfowl, presumably duck or goose and we know that they served wild turkey, which is where we get our tradition, I guess. But they also had venison. The Poconos Indians, their guests brought three deer, which they butchered, and dressed and served. But they also probably had baked beaver. Yes, they were serving the items that they ate later at Plymouth colony and they would have had lobster, baked clams. We know they served fish, cod, bass. And they had Indian corn, they had peas from England, and also probably beans, cabbage, parsnips, onions, biscuits, probably English porridge or oatmeal and probably corn-based pasty pudding.”

Any thought on why it was the turkey that caught on and not the beaver?

“I don’t know why the turkey became the great tradition of Thanksgiving, but probably because it’s a lot easier today to have a turkey dinner then to have goose, duck, certainly baked beaver if they had – or baked venison which we know to have.”

There’s a lot of great imagery in the book. Did you have a say in what graphics were going to be included in the book?

“Yes, as a matter of fact this publisher is very strong on graphics and they designed two of the maps that are there. There’s one map that’s a traditional, historical map from an earlier era. As far as the images, this really is an illustrated book and I really tried to find as many authentic images as I could. Some are from that era but there aren’t many from that time period. Many of them came from the 19th century and the early 20th century and are authentic depictions of various events.

The star of the show, so to speak, of this book, are the eyewitness accounts. They began with an eyewitness account of the people who became the driving force of the pilgrims, the separatists, an account of their standing by the East Coast of England trying to board a ship to Holland to escape persecution and are caught by English soldiers who bear down on them. There’s also I think a very moving account by a young Puritan preacher who’s in the pilgrim tradition, a man named John Henry, who was executed for writing an unpublished theological manuscript. This letter is to his wife and daughters before he was executed, it’s a very touching letter to me. There’s also a behind-the-scenes account of some of the scandalous behavior that occurred at the court of King James I. There’s a description of the separatist worship service that was recorded secretly by a government agent who was sent to infiltrate the people who became the pilgrims and there’s descriptions of the voyage across the Atlantic. There’s a cargo manifest from a similar expedition. It’s probably typical of what the pilgrims carried and then there are period accounts of the pilgrims and when they reached America and New England and what they experienced there. Some of the most interesting eyewitness accounts are those earlier explorers from North America who recorded what they thought they saw and these were accounts the pilgrims probably read as they prepared to make their voyage to the New World. They would read that these folks saw and claimed that in America they would encounter everything from 3-headed snakes to unicorns to giant clams, all kinds of fanciful descriptions that the pilgrims probably wondered what are we going to see when we’re in this wilderness, this new home of ours?”

Some have criticized today’s classrooms for their curriculum as not accurately portraying the pilgrims’ experience and really highlighting their mistreatment of Native Americans. Do you agree that they’re not being taught as they should? What are a few of the worst misconceptions about the pilgrims?

“Well I would say that the history of the relationship between European Americans and later American authorities with the Native American peoples is certainly one of the saddest chapters of American history. But the pilgrims actually set a model of a much better relationship. They really developed a healthy, respectful relationship with the Poconos Indians and with some of the other tribes in the area. They were kind of a model of what those relationships should have been and could have been perhaps with European Americans and later American authorities so it’s really, I think, inaccurate and a lie that the pilgrims would be blamed for some of the terrible relationships that actually did exist later on. I think that, as far as the treatment of the pilgrims today that I hear in some cases, I think that probably reflects the bias of a contemporary American culture toward anything related to faith more than it reflects true accurate history. The pilgrims were a remarkable people who really are deserving of respect. They really probably deserved the tradition that has come down to us about them that is not totally inaccurate. These people came to a New World to try to establish a new home where they would exercise freedom of faith. They tried to establish a respectful relationship with the Native Americans, they were respectful of their environment. They did set up a remarkable legacy for us of how they influenced American culture, law and government based on the two pillars that were the pillars of colonial America and that freedom.”

Black Friday is quickly becoming Black Thursday, meaning families are going shopping as soon as they���re done eating turkey. Do you think our culture is in a sense forgetting the true meaning of Thanksgiving?

“I think Thanksgiving is really a great, really unique American holiday and it’s a time, if you follow that tradition that has come from the pilgrims, a time for us to really stop, step back and take account of the blessings we have in this country and to have an attitude of gratitude that God has blessed us. There is a reason why the national motto of the United States is ‘In God We Trust’ and it goes back to the States exhibited by people like these pilgrims and in other colonies in the very beginning, that you see reflected even in the language of the Declaration of Independence, this foundational Judeo-Christian worldview that American culture, law and government were founded on and this is a good time to think about that and to remember that despite all of our faults that we have all throughout our history, this is an exceptional nation and it has produced exceptional opportunity of freedom for generations of people throughout the world.”

DC Protestors Support Acts Of 'Communal Self-Defense' In Ferguson

Last night, Ferguson protests erupted in Washington D.C. and in other cities across the country. Needless to say, some on the left are very unhappy with the Grand Jury decision, but do they condemn the acts of vandalism and looting that occurred in city earlier this week?

[Warning: some strong language]

That was a question the Media Research Center’s Dan Joseph wanted to ask protestors; he even dressed up for the occasion in a suit and tie.

More than a few protestors said that they were supporting the acts of “communal self-defense” that are occurring in Ferguson.

One protestor had the racial composition of the Grand Jury on a sign; there were nine white and three black jurors. When asked by Joseph if she knew how the jurors voted–and if it was along racial lines–she admitted to not knowing the answer.

The Grand Jury vote is kept secret.

In all, Joseph got some great footage of left-wing extremism.

    

What We're Thankful For: Happy Thanksgiving from the Townhall Team

The editorial team here at Townhall would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Here's some of the things we're thankful for in 2014:

***

Another year has flown by and here we are again celebrating Thanksgiving, hopefully surrounded by family and friends. As cliche as it sounds, I am grateful for nearly everything in my life. It's the big things, the little things, the good things and even the bad things each day that remind me of just how blessed I am. I’m grateful for my health, my incredibly supportive family, loyal friends, life lessons, a warm place to go home to, my work, a good boss, my colleagues, plentiful food, my cell phone, the Internet, chapstick, my upcoming deer hunt, the opportunity I had to travel to Israel this year and so much more. I am thankful today and every day for many blessings, including the blessing of being born an American.

As you sit down with your families today, please remember the men and women serving in our armed forces who won't be at home with theirs, I am certainly grateful for their sacrifice and dedication to keeping us safe. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

-Katie Pavlich, News Editor

***

I am truly thankful for my loving family, my fantastic friends, my good health, my fulfilling job, and my wonderful colleagues, both at Townhall and Fox News. It's all too easy to lose sight of seemingly mundane blessings during our frenetic day-to-day shuffle, so I'm also thankful that we as Americans observe a holiday each year that encourages us to take a step back and reflect on our many causes for gratitude. Including, in my case, the Northwestern Wildcats' epic overtime upset at Notre Dame this month.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Guy Benson, Political Editor

***

I'm thankful to live in the United States. While the United States is not perfect, and we are working to improve it every day, our nation is without a doubt the greatest country in the world. The brave men and women who defend it deserve our eternal thanks.

I'm thankful for my amazing family, without whose love and support I would not be the same person that I am today. Not everyone is so blessed, and I wake up every day thankful for the people who love me. My wife, my parents, and my siblings are the greatest support network I have.

-Kevin Glass, Managing Editor

***

This year, as always, I am thankful for all of God’s blessings—my family, friends, health, job, and living in the greatest country in the world, which wouldn’t be possible if not for members of the military, past and present, and their families. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

-Leah Barkoukis, Managing Editor, Townhall Magazine

***

I am beyond grateful for many things: For my parents’ love, support and commitment to my education when I was younger. For my three siblings: Meaghan, Timothy, and Matthew. For such great friends who would (quite literally) give me the shirts off their backs. They know who they are. And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I am grateful to the men and women who defend our freedom. Their courage and sacrifice never ceases to amaze me. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

-Dan Doherty, Deputy News Editor

***

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it forces us to stop and reflect. This year, especially, I am incredibly thankful for my family. Even though hundreds of miles separate us they have been my support system and my biggest cheerleaders as I started this new adventure in DC. I am thankful for the friends I have made living here, and for a wonderful church family I can be a part of on a weekly basis. I am thankful for the freedoms that living in these United States gives us. And I am thankful for the men and women of our armed forces, and for the sacrifices they make to protect our great nation. As the new girl to Townhall, I am thankful for amazing colleagues and a team I love to work with. I pray that you and yours have a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

-Chelsea Courson, Office Coordinator

***

2014 was quite a year to be thankful for. I’m thankful for Charlie White and Meryl Davis and their gold medal. I’m thankful for the second Royal Baby. I’m thankful for the Hunger Games franchise. I’m thankful for successfully seeing only one Downton Abbey spoiler this year before it airs in America. I’m thankful for I Love Lucy reruns. I’m thankful for Nutella (which is a lifesaver for someone with a peanut allergy.) I’m thankful for Ted’s Bulletin pop tarts. On the political side of things, I’m thankful for the fact that pro-life women will be making history next year in Congress.

Now for my loved ones. I’m thankful for my friends, who make weddings way more fun than they ought to be. I’m thankful for my brother and sister-in-law and their stellar advice. I’m thankful for my parents, who always offer me their listening ears when I feel like venting. Most of all, I’m thankful for my faith in God, which has pulled me through trials I never thought would end.

Happy Thanksgiving, Townhall family!

-Cortney O’Brien, Web Editor

***

Like I said last year, I’m not the best at emoting via writing, so here’s an unordered list. I’m thankful for the Catholic Church. For my family, including my cousin’s unborn son whom I can’t wait to meet this April. My friends, both old and new, near and far. My amazing job and coworkers. For the fact that my flight was able to successfully make it from DC to Maine for the holiday before the snow hit. For being able to travel to London and North Dakota this past year. For free inflight wifi allowing me to type this (thanks, Verizon!). For the legislative and electoral victories this year, especially the re-election of Gov. Paul LePage. And, as always, I am forever thankful to be a citizen of the United States of America.

-Christine Rousselle, Web Editor

***

I am thankful for my parents, for my dear friends, and for all those in my life with whom I have loved, laughed and grown. I'm thankful for my very dedicated and hardworking coworkers at Townhall, every day I love working alongside of them and learning from them. I am thankful for being born in America, where people still value and fight for their religious freedom, free speech, and a free press. I am thankful for all those who fight for those rights. I am thankful for my wonderful roommate, and for the dinners we cook together. I am thankful for Taylor Swift, for acoustic guitars, and for my keyboard. I am thankful for technology, coffee and art museums. And I am thankful for all the opportunities I have each day to learn more about the world and those around me.

-Sarah Jean Seman, Web Editor

***

After lingering in unemployment and internship-land for almost two years, there’s a lot to be thankful for this year. I’m thankful for being raised by a loving and supportive family; my mom and dad, along with my brother and sister, have been my biggest supporters; for being an American, for having amazing friends and co-workers, for having a job, for being part of the amazing team at Townhall.com, and for our men and women serving in uniform at home and abroad.

I hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

-Matt Vespa, Web Editor/Community Manager

***

As a college intern at Townhall, I will not be making the trip back home (Reno, Nevada) for the holiday...It's a little too expensive for my budget. So from 2,000 miles away from home, I am thankful for my family, my dog, and my pickup truck waiting for me when I get back in mid-December. As for my current 'home' in D.C., I could not be more thankful for my experience in this fascinatingly robust city and for the wonderful people at Townhall.

-Ky Sisson, Editorial Intern

Report: Businesses Will Receive $3,000 Per Employee For Hiring Illegal Immigrants

As if President Obama’s executive amnesty wasn’t already a slap in the face to out-of-work Americans, thanks to a loophole in Obamacare, it looks like businesses will actually have a financial incentive for hiring illegal immigrants.

The Washington Times reports:

Under the president’s new amnesty, businesses will have a $3,000-per-employee incentive to hire illegal immigrants over native-born workers because of a quirk of Obamacare.

President Obama’s temporary amnesty, which lasts three years, declares up to 5 million illegal immigrants to be lawfully in the country and eligible for work permits, but it still deems them ineligible for public benefits such as buying insurance on Obamacare’s health exchanges.

Under the Affordable Care Act, that means businesses who hire them won’t have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage — making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover. [...]

A Department of Homeland Security official confirmed that the newly legalized immigrants won’t have access to Obamacare, which opens up the loophole for employers looking to avoid the penalty.

The Health and Human Services Department, which oversees Obamacare, referred questions to the White House, which didn’t reply to a request for comment.

“If it is true that the president’s actions give employers a $3,000 incentive to hire those who came here illegally, he has added insult to injury,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) told the Times. “The president’s actions would have just moved those who came here illegally to the front of the line, ahead of unemployed and underemployed Americans.”

Meanwhile, Obama maintains that bringing undocumented workers into the workforce is a good thing.

“Immigrants are good for the economy,” he said in Chicago on Tuesday. “We keep on hearing that they’re bad, but a report by my Council of Economic Advisers put out last week shows how the actions we’re taking will grow our economy for everybody.”

I’m sure those in the unemployment line would beg to differ. 

Mittmentum Continues: Romney Clears GOP Field in New Q-poll

Before you consume large portions of Thanksgiving deliciousness tomorrow, do check out the latest Quinnipiac poll surveying the crowded and presumptive 2016 presidential field. It may (or may not) give you heartburn:

Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's unsuccessful presidential nominee in 2012, leads the field for the 2016 election among Republican voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.

The former Massachusetts governor would have a slight edge over potential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by 45 percent to 44 percent in a general election, the poll found.

Amazingly, Romney leads all other Republicans surveyed, and is beating Hillary Clinton in a hypothetic head-to-head matchup. Perhaps, then, it's finally time to eschew the “loser for life” label.

It doesn't quite seem to fit.

2-Minute Thanksgiving NFL Ad Warns of Rogue President

This brilliant ad is coming to your televisions this Thanksgiving from Conservative War Chest.

ISIS Fighters Reach out to Ferguson Protesters, Offer Help In Exchange for Oath of Allegiance to Baghdadi

Protesters in Ferguson have been offered some help from none other than the Islamic State. In a clear attempt to take advantage of the growing unrest and ‘anti-authoritarian feelings,’ British jihadis have offered to send fighters to take on the police in the riot-plagued city. There is one condition, however: they must embrace Islam and pledge their allegiance to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The Daily Mail has the details:

Using the slogan 'From #IS 2 Ferguson', Birmingham-born jihadi Junaid Hussain, 20 - who has adopted the nom de guerre Abu Hussain al-Britani - this morning tweeted a photograph of a hand-written letter urging the Ferguson rioters to 'reject corrupt man-made laws like democracy' and declare their allegiance to ISIS' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The note Hussain posted on Twitter today is titled 'From #IS 2 Ferguson' and contains a promise to send militants to the Missouri city if protesters pledge allegiance to ISIS.

It reads: 'We hear you and we will help you if you accept Islam and reject corrupt man-made laws like democracy and pledge your allegiance to Caliph Abu Bakr and then we will shed our blood for you and send our soldiers that don't sleep, whose drink is blood, and their play is carnage.'

Underneath the picture Hussain tweeted: 'Accept Islam & give bayah [allegiance] to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi & then we will send u soldiers that don't sleep! - #IS #Ferguson'.

The note was accompanied by a photograph of a number of masked young men posing with assault rifles and mobile phone cases bearing the black and white logo of the Islamic State.

It is understood the men in the photograph are militants based in ISIS-held areas of Syria and Iraq, and that one of the men is 20-year-old Hussain.

Another militant, who uses the Twitter handle @Abu 3antar Britani and is also thought to be British, tweeted: 'From #IS to #Ferguson we heard your call and we are ready to respond! #FergusonDecision #BeLikeMalcolmX #FightBack'.

A third jihadi using the nom de guerre Abu Dujana subsequently posted a photograph of a large knife being brandished by somebody wearing a glove made by the American sports brand Nike.

'For how long will you let these govts oppress u. Draw ur knives and show them a response!! #FergusonDecision #IS,' he wrote.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen ISIS try to capitalize on the unrest in Ferguson. During a CNN news report in August, a sign could be seen in the background that read “ISIS is here.”

By invoking names of black civil rights leaders like Malcolm X, it seems the terrorist group is trying to attract new converts. After all, many of them, including Malcolm X, were Muslim.

Whether ISIS will successfully make inroads in Ferguson remains to be seen, but the thought alone is chilling. 

Watch: Congressional Hits and Misses, Thanksgiving Edition

You never know what you will hear on the Hill. According to Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) "turkey growers are finding it difficult to heat their barns, and therefore their turkeys." In the holiday spirit, Roll Call has compiled a special Thanksgiving edition for this week's 'Congressional Hits and Misses.' Be prepared, the congress members are "now in their eating time."  

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

McCain To Graham: You Should Run For President, My Friend

While John McCain will probably run for another term as Arizona Senator, he’s urging his friend and colleague, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), to run for president in 2016. ABC News mentioned Graham’s interview with the Weekly Standard last month where he said he might consider a 2016 run if no other candidate has a robust and aggressive foreign policy platform (via ABC News/Yahoo!):

“I think he is looking at it, and I am strongly encouraging him to take a look at it,” McCain, R-Ariz., told ABC News. “I know of no one who is better versed and more important on national security policy and defense than Lindsey Graham, and I don’t think these challenges to our security are going away.”

“He is eminently qualified,” McCain added

Yet, he also knows that this will be an exercise in the insane given the media scrutiny, traveling, and fundraising he would have to do if he tossed his hat into the ring:

On CNN's State of the Union Sunday, Graham said running for president is "the hardest thing one could ever do. You go through personal hell. You have got to raise a ton of money. I'm nowhere near there."

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said he expects a “very crowded field” in 2016 that will be compromised of both senators and governors.

“I think there's an old saying that if you are a United States senator that unless you are under indictment, or detoxification that you can automatically consider yourself a candidate,” McCain joked. “I think we should let a thousand flowers bloom. I think that the process is wide open right now, and I think not only will members of the Senate be considered, but I think some of our successful Republican governors will also be interested.”

Q-Poll: Obama Approval Back to 39 Percent, Americans Trust GOP More


Why don't you go ahead and consider Quinnipiac's latest numbers a continuation of these data points we highlighted last week.  The midterm elections were a rejection of the president, his party, and his agenda -- and non-voters are on board with that repudiation:

American voters give Obama a negative 39 - 54 percent approval rating, close to his lowest-ever 38 - 57 percent score in a December 10, 2013, Quinnipiac University poll. Democrats and voters under 30 years old are the only party, gender or age groups who approve of the president. Only 42 percent of American voters trust Obama more than Republicans in Congress to do what is best for the nation, while 47 percent trust Republicans more. It's good for the country that Republicans have taken over control of the U.S. Senate, voters say 51 - 37 percent, but 67 percent of voters expect more gridlock in the next two years. Gridlock will be Obama's fault, 44 percent of voters say, as 42 percent would blame Republicans. "American voters are happy the Republicans have the ball, but don't feel confident there will be a lot of scoring on the deal-making front," Malloy said. "If that's the case, the numbers say blame will fall on Obama as much as Republicans.

Americans are glad the GOP took the Senate, they trust Congressional Republicans more than Obama on pursuing our national interests, and they're poised to blame the president slightly more for the expected resulting gridlock. Obamacare support remains underwater by double digits (40/54), while a slim plurality (48/46) favors full repeal of the law.  Fully 75 percent of respondents say they expect the new Congress will attempt to repeal Obamacare.  Meanwhile, even as this polling series has consistently showed much stronger backing for fully or mostly legal abortion (compared to other pollsters' numbers on the question), the American people still overwhelmingly favor a ban on almost all abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy, with virtually no gender gap on the question:

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 11.32.24 AM

Barack Obama and his extremist party adamantly oppose this consensus, mainstream, humane measure.  And on the red-hot immigration issue, the White House can take solace in the fact that although Obama's executive order is underwater in this survey, it's a closer margin than previous polling has found.  Part of that may be a result of the question wording framing things as both (a) an issue of Congressional inaction, which is straight out of Obama's hymnal, and (b) a hypothetical scenario, which, um, it's not.  Nevertheless, the percentage of Americans who believe that most illegal immigrants should have access to a path to citizenship has fallen considerably, and is now tied with the combined "no path to citizenship" and "deportation" camps.  No worries, Emperor Barack can just continue to "take action to change the law," and make everything better.  Seems legit:



Ahead of Thankgiving Holiday, Obama Administration Quietly Submits New EPA Regulation Proposal

As millions of Americans get ready to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday ahead of a four-day weekend, the Obama administration has quietly issued a proposal for new EPA regulations.

Coming full circle on a campaign promise, the Obama administration will propose tightening the amount of a smog-forming pollutant in the air.

People familiar with the proposal tell the Associated Press that the EPA will recommend lowering the limit for ground-level ozone to 65 to 70 parts per billion, down from a 75 parts per billion standard set in the 2008.

The proposal will be announced Wednesday to meet a court-ordered Dec. 1 deadline. The stricter standard makes good a campaign promise Obama made during his first run for the White House. 

The EPA argues these new smog rules will make Americans healthier and the air cleaner, but job creators and business advocates are pushing back, saying the standards are unattainable, won't make much difference in air quality and will have a negative impact on the economy. 

Leaked details of the proposal drew sharp criticism from industry groups, which argue that tighter restrictions will lead to higher costs and losses in jobs and economic productivity. American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said air quality is already improving throughout much of the country, and many states are still struggling to adjust to the last change in ozone regulations six years ago.

Meanwhile, over the past 90 days the federal government has issued 6,000 new regulations for small businesses around the country. 

WaPo Flashback: DOJ Probably Does Not Have Enough To File Civil Rights Charges Against Darren Wilson

As Katie mentioned yesterday, the Department of Justice is still conducting an ongoing investigation of its own:

While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing. Though we have shared information with local prosecutors during the course of our investigation, the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now. Even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence. And although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions," Holder released in a statement.

DOJ is investigating whether Michael Brown’s civil rights were violated and whether there are discriminatory police practices happening in Ferguson.

Yet, on October 31, it was reported that federal officials probably don’t have enough evidence to file civil rights charges against Officer Darren Wilson, but a DOJ spokesperson called such assumptions premature (via WaPo):

Justice Department investigators have all but concluded they do not have a strong enough case to bring civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., law enforcement officials said.

“The evidence at this point does not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson,” said one person briefed on the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Justice Department officials are loath to acknowledge publicly that their case cannot now meet the high legal threshold for a successful civil rights prosecution.

Justice spokesman Brian Fallon said the case remains open and any discussion of its results is premature. “This is an irresponsible report by The Washington Post that is based on idle speculation,” Fallon said in a statement.

Other law enforcement officials interviewed by The Post said it was not too soon to say how the investigation would end. “The evidence we have makes federal civil rights charges unlikely,” one said.

H/T Dan McLaughlin.

This Just In: Tesco is Sexist

Tesco, a grocery retailer based out of England, has just offended little girls everywhere, according to a slighted mother and her 7-year-old daughter. It's offense? Claiming superhero action figures were "toys for boys."

Karen Cole brought her daughter to Tesco for a routine grocery trip, when her daughter Maggie noticed a sign that said Marvel superheroes were "Fun gifts for boys." Here was Maggie's best Mckayla Maroney-Grumpy Cat-like reaction:

Cole's post got over 10,000 retweets and BuzzFeed decided to run a story on it suggesting that this little girl had "schooled" Tesco. The photo gained more than just social media buzz, however. The picture gained Tesco's attention, prompting the company to remove the "sexist" sign from each of its stores.

In response to her picture going viral, Cole wrote a blog post entitled, "Maggie v. Tesco, our story." In the piece, she explains how she has taught her daughter that toys aren't exclusive to any gender and she was pleasantly surprised that Tesco realized its mistake.

But, was it really a mistake?

John Stossel had a great segment on parents and their decision to raise children in gender neutral homes on his Fox News show which aired Saturday night. During the program, Stossel questioned parents who let their children decide whether they want to be boys or girls. He determined that it was confusing for children, to say the least. 

Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, also tackled this issue in a piece for The Atlantic in 2012. After speaking with experts and studying research on the subject, here's what she concluded about children's play preferences:

"They are different, and nothing short of radical and sustained behavior modification could significantly change their elemental play preferences. Children, with few exceptions, are powerfully drawn to sex-stereotyped play. David Geary, a developmental psychologist at the University of Missouri, told me in an email this week, "One of the largest and most persistent differences between the sexes are children's play preferences." The female preference for nurturing play and the male propensity for rough-and-tumble hold cross-culturally."

Is it so mind boggling to suggest that boys and girls are programmed differently? Boys tend to want to pretend they're Iron Man, and girls tend to want to braid Elsa's hair. It's not sexist - it's basic science.

Presumably, Tesco also had Barbies or Easy Bake Ovens that were labeled "just for girls." I, for one, don't think the company would have to apologize for assuming that girls like playing with dolls and baking cookies - because they do! 

Instead of teaching our sons and daughters to be offended by false cases of sexism, why not teach them to embrace the differences between boys and girls? That is something to be thankful for.

New York Times Pretty Much Publishes The Address of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson

Yesterday in an attempt to report on the wedding of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, the New York Times published the street name and suburb where he owns a home with his pregnant wife outside of St. Louis. Breitbart's John Nolte was the first to report on the publication last night. 

Breitbart News will not link the story or give out the specific information, but the New York Times had no qualms whatsoever about publishing almost all the information needed for Officer Darren Wilson's enemies to track him and his wife down at home:

Officer Wilson and [his wife] own a home together on XXXXXXX Lane in XXXXXXXXXX, Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a half-hour drive from Ferguson.

The NYT published the information after a night of rage and violence across the country as rioters burnt business to the ground, called for Wilson's death, hurled rocks at police, smashed windows, turned over cops cars etc., putting the lives of Wilson and his wife further at risk. To make matters worse, the online publication Slate posted a photo of Wilson's home. 

Meanwhile, here's another egregious example of reckless media: 

Confirmed: Congress Can Defund Obama's Amnesty

Congress does have the power to defund any federal agency, even an agency funded through fees, the Congressional Research Service determined in a letter released last week.

The letter, requested by a Republican lawmaker, addressed an issue raised by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), who has claimed it is impossible for Republicans to defund Obama's amnesty since the agency in charge of issuing the work permits, the United Stated Citizenship and Immigration Services office, is almost entirely funded by user fees.

The CRS found that Rogers' claim was completely false. From the letter:

In light of Congress's constitutional power over the purse, the Supreme Court has recognized that "Congress may always circumscribe agency discretion to allocate resources by putting restrictions in the operative statutes." Where Congress has done so, "an agency is not free simply to disregard statutory responsibilities. Therefore, if a statute were enacted which prohibited appropriated funds from being used for some specified purposes, then the relevant funds would be unavailable to be obligated or expended for those purposes.

A fee-funded agency or activity typically refers to one in which the amounts appropriated by Congress for that agency or activity are derived from fees collected from some external source. Importantly, amounts received as fees by federal agencies must still be appropriated by Congress to that agency in order to be available for obligation or expenditure by the agency. In some cases, this appropriation is provided through the annual appropriations process. In other instances, it is an appropriation that has been enacted independently of the annual appropriations process (such as a permanent appropriation in an authorizing act). In either case, the funds available to the agency through fee collections would be subject to the same potential restrictions imposed by Congress on the use of its appropriations as any other type of appropriated funds.

Incoming-House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) is already laying the groundwork for Congress to defund Obama's amnesty sometime early next year. House Republicans would pass a long-term funding bill for most of the federal government this December, but would not include agencies that dealt with illegal immigration in that bill. They would then pass a separate bill that funded those agencies, but only on a short-term basis.

This would allow Republicans to fight Obama's amnesty early next year when they have control of both the House and the Senate. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Undergoes Successful Heart Surgery

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent heart surgery early this morning, and had a stent placed in her right coronary artery. She is reportedly doing well after surgery and is expected to be discharged in the next few days.

According to NBC, Ginsburg realized something was amiss during a workout session yesterday evening.

The blockage was discovered after she felt discomfort on Tuesday night, the court said. For the past few years, Ginsburg has been working out with a personal trainer at the Supreme Court gym, and a court official said she was there when she felt the discomfort.

Ginsburg, 81, is the oldest member of the Supreme Court and has been a member since 1993. She is part of the court's liberal wing.

Best wishes to Justice Ginsburg on a full and speedy recovery during the holiday season.

Schumer: In Retrospect, We Should Have Focused on the Economy, Not Obamacare


This from Senate Democrats' top strategist, whose budget-shirking, tough vote-blocking, rules-changing course of action -- carried out by Harry Reid -- still wasn't enough to salvage his party's upper chamber majority, which stood at a robust 20 seats as recently as early 2010.  He's right, of course, and now it can finally be spoken (all videos in this post via the Washington Free Beacon):


"Democrats should have continued to propose middle class-oriented programs, and built on the partial success of the stimulus. But unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity that the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem: Healthcare reform…it wasn't the change we were hired to make."

Several interesting bits in that clip -- from the qualified assessment of the wasteful, ineffectual stimulus program (which failed on its own terms), to the the frank admission of misplaced priorities, to the acknowledgement that the general public didn't want Obamacare (despite all of the overwrought promises and lies), to the almost jaw-droppingly candid political calculus about uninsured Americans as a voting bloc.  Also implicit in Schumer's analysis is a concession that Obamacare is not, and never was, the "jobs bill" Democrats spent so much time and effort arguing it was.  Empirical evidence has borne out that fact for years now, but it's rather striking hearing it straight from a ranking Democrat's mouth.  Schumer is obviously grappling with the political facts on the ground, as they actually exist.  President Obama was re-elected despite his signature "accomplishment" (a slim plurality of the electorate that granted him four more years favored repealing the law), and in the two election cycles that sandwiched 2012, Obamacare was a front-and-center issue.  The results horrific for Democrats.

In fact, since the infamous Christmas Eve 2009 Senate vote on the bill that would become Obamacare, 29 of the 60 Democratic Senators who lent decisive 'aye' votes will have left office by the time the new Congress convenes in January.  If I'm reading Philip Klein's rundown properly, Mary Landrieu's likely loss would make it a clean 30.  Fully half of Senate Democrats who passed Obamacare will be gone within five years of casting that vote.  It's true that a fair number of these departures had nothing to do with the law.  A few died, while others were from blue states and were replaced by fellow Democrats.  But roughly half of those who have left or are on their way out were defeated by, or replaced by, Republicans.  Democrats fought the 2010 and 2014 elections with Obamacare serving as a heavy albatross, and they were severely punished by voters who don't buy the feeble  "it's working" propaganda.  I'll leave you with two more excerpts from Schumer's speech at the National Press Club.  The first is his, er,  'solution' to Democrats' woes moving forward: Embracing big government even more.  Yes, really.  The second features his snide dismissal of the Keystone pipeline as a project that would 'only' create thousands of jobs, mostly in red states.  Cynical, cold-blooded calculation, thy name is Charles Schumer:




Absolute Chaos: 20 Year-Old Dies, Woman Gets Run Over Among Ferguson Protests

There's another family grieving the loss of their son today in Ferguson, Missouri. 

DeAndre Joshua, 20, was found dead Tuesday morning inside a parked car near the same apartment complex where Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown.

Monday night's chaotic demonstration of anarchy and lawlessness that flooded the streets of Ferguson is how family members say Joshua died, but they do not know the specifics. 

Police are investigating the death, but Joshua's grandmother, Renita Towns, said to USA TODAY regarding the investigation, "Police don't care — he's black."

Protests around the country that are meant to show solidarity with Ferguson are demonstrating barbaric and uncivilized behavior as well. 

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, a drive plowed through a crowd of protestors running over one women and hitting several others.

WATCH: 

(She lives.)

In Los Angeles, protestors ran onto the 101 Freeway near Downtown L.A. that blocked traffic and created a nightmare commute. They also threw trash onto the freeway and hit an LAPD officer with a frozen water bottle that was hurled into the air.

One more thing: Protestors were caught burning American flags in our nation's capitol. 

As many around the country act like complete animals burning down buildings, flipping over cars, yelling and screaming at...each other, I guess, I'm not sure, there are people getting hurt and even dying because of the message they are trying to communicate. It is a distortion to our Constitution's sparkling gem, the First Amendment, and I hope that people will take what the Constitution says seriously and peacefully protest until the cows come home (as they say).

PHOTOS: Ferguson Rioters Burn American Flags, Turn Over Cop Cars During Second Night of Violence

Protests turned violent again last night as rioters took to the streets burning American flags, shutting down traffic, smashing windows, throwing bottles filled with urine at law enforcement, hurling rocks and setting cop cars on fire in cities across the country. 

Ferguson: 

Washington D.C.: 

Oakland:

New York City: 

There were dozens of arrests and violent incidents across the country in other major cities, these are just a few examples. 

As a reminder, the step father of Michael Brown called for rioters in Ferguson to "burn this b*tch down" two nights ago. They listened. 

Obama to Illegal Immigration Hecklers: Settle Down, "I Just Took Action to Change The Law"

Speaking during an event in Chicago last night, President Obama was interrupted by hecklers who yelled at him about illegal immigration. Obama responded by telling them a month ago their concerns would have been justified, but now they're invalid because of his executive action to "change the law" on the issue.

"You're absolutely right that there have been significant numbers of deportations. That's true. But what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law," Obama said. 

The White House has repeatedly argued President Obama isn't changing the law, but is instead simply using his executive authority to change prosecutorial discretion and therefore the action is constitutional, legal and valid. 

"We’re not talking about whether or not the President is going to enforce certain laws," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday at the daily press briefing. "We’re talking about the Department of Homeland Security using prosecutorial discretion to sharpen the focus of enforcement on those who pose a threat to national security, and those who pose a threat to public safety."

Obama has received criticism about changing the law by executive fiat from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the legal field.

Schumer: "Democrats Must Embrace Government"

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on fellow Democrats to "embrace government; not run away from it" today at a press conference at The National Press Club in Washington, DC.

"As 2014 began," Schumer explained, "the parties were in stalemate. But, when government failed to deliver on a string of non-economic issues– the rollout of the Obamacare exchanges, the mishandling of the surge in border crossers, ineptitude at the VA and the government’s initial handling of the Ebola threat – people lost faith in the government’s ability to work, and then blamed the incumbent governing party, the Democrats, creating a Republican wave."

"In order to win in 2016," Schumer continued, "Democrats must embrace government; not run away from it."

Why is Schumer so sure that more government programs are the best message for Democrats in 2016?

"Ultimately, the public knows in its gut that a strong and active government is the only way to reverse the middle class decline and help revive the American Dream," Schumer claimed.

Unfortunately for Schumer, the exit polls from the last three elections show that a majority of Americans, even the majority of Americans that reelected President Obama in 2012, do not believe that more government is the way to get America back on track.

Yes, in 2008, the electorate that elected Obama in a landslide also said that the federal government should "do more" (51%-43%). But in 2010, 56% of voters said government was "doing too much" and just 38% said it should do more. Voters in 2014 also said government was doing too much by a 54% to 41% margin. Even in 2012, when voters gave Obama a 51% to 47% margin, those very same voters also said government was doing too much 51% to 43%.

There simply is no evidence that the American people's "gut" wants more government.

Instead, after more than six years of relentless government growth under Obama, a full 75% of Americans are "dissatisfied" with "the way things are going in the nation today."

Schumer did get one thing right. 

"One simple fact illustrates how stark this division is today," Schumer said. "The most conservative Senate Democrat, probably Joe Manchin, still believes more in government than the most liberal Senate Republican, Susan Collins. The belief in government – its size, its role, and its possibilities – is really what undergirds our politics and fundamentally divides our parties."

Schumer is right: Democrats want to expand the size and scope of the federal government at every turn, while conservatives want to shrink it.

Schumer believes that there is no agenda capable of both shrinking government and helping average Americans.

He is wrong