Jason Pye

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Chicago Cubs already awful season made even worse by Obamacare

Wrigley Field

The Chicago Cubs are having a pretty awful season. Well, they’ve had a string of pretty awful seasons, actually. The Cubs are staring down their fifth consecutive losing season. They’re currently in last place in the National League’s Central Division. Oh, and they haven’t won a pennant since 1908 — since Theodore Roosevelt was president.

The good news for Cubs’ fans is that their farm system is probably one of the best in baseball, and team’s future does look bright, though that isn’t going to help this season. But the Cubs still have some problems, and not all of them are related to the team they’re putting on diamond in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball was forced to suspend the game between the Cubs and the San Francisco Giants before the bottom half of the 5th inning due to a torrential downpour made worse by grounds crew that had a difficult time covering the field with the tarp in a timely fashion.

The Cubs had a 2-run lead when the game was delayed, and won the game when it was completed the following day. But, as you can see in the video below, the grounds crew struggled to cover the field, making it completely unplayable:

Flip-flopper-in-chief: Barack Obama was against the crony Ex-Im Bank before he lobbied for its reauthorization

President Barack Obama used his weekly address to make a sales pitch for the Export-Import Bank, the New Deal-era agency that has come under fire from conservatives in Congress because of its taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to large corporations. Congress will take up the reauthorization of the Bank at some point next month, which could lead to a showdown between conservatives and the Washington political establishment:

President Barack Obama urged the owners and employees of businesses that rely on Export-Import Bank financing to tell members of Congress to “quit treating your business like it’s expendable” in his Saturday morning address.
[…]
Obama took aim at that characterization of the bank on Saturday.

“Its sole mission is to create American jobs. That’s it,” Obama said. “It helps many American entrepreneurs take that next step and take their small business global.”

The bank has been reauthorized 16 times before, “always with support from both parties” and under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the president said.

“This time around shouldn’t be any different,” he said. “Because the bank works. It’s independent. It pays for itself. But if Congress fails to act, thousands of businesses, large and small, that sell their products abroad will take a completely unnecessary hit.”

Boom: Government Accountability Office says that Obama’s Taliban prisoner exchange broke federal law

The Obama administration broke two laws when authorized a trade for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban detainees who were being held at Guantanamo Bay, according to a report released late last week by the Government Accountability Office:

President Obama’s decision to exchange captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Guantanamo Bay detainees violated federal law, according to a legal opinion the Government Accountability Office sent to Congress Thursday.

That’s because the administration failed to notify Congress at least 30 days before the transfer, as required under a law passed in February. The Pentagon notified Congress of the deal on May 31, the same day the transfer was made.

And because Congress did not authorize spending for the exchange, it also violated the Antideficiency Act, a law intended to protect Congress’s power of the purse.

The Department of Defense spent $988,400 on the transfer, the Pentagon told the GAO.

An intentional violation of the Antideficiency Act is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison, but those criminal penalties are rarely enforced.

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act of requires the administration to notify Congress of a prisoner exchange at least 30 days before the transfer takes place. President Obama believes that this law is unconstitutional because he believes that it violates the separation of powers. He issued a signing statement making his objection clear when he signed the measure into law.

Watch MSNBC’s Chris Matthews blast Barack Obama over his response to ISIS

Chris Matthews, the MSNBC talk show host who once said that Barack Obama gave him a “thrill up [his] leg,” isn’t happy with the President’s response to the brutal execution of James Foley in Iraq at the hands of Islamic militants.

In a segment on Wednesday evening, Matthews blasted President Obama’s statement on Foley’s death and his promise to see his killers are brought to “justice.”

“I don’t know why he used the word ‘justice.’ It’s not appropriate here. This is an attack on our country, we have to react to it,” said Matthews, according Newsbusters. “This is our country versus this group that’s declared war on us. What’s justice mean in this con— I don’t know why the word’s used, like we’re going to go to the World Court with this?”

Just after he gave the statement on Foley’s death, The Hill reported that President Obama, who returned to Martha’s Vineyard to finish his vacation on Tuesday after a two-day visit to Washington, “hit the golf course” with former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, among others.

Federal judge orders Eric Holder to turn over a list Fast and Furious documents to a House committee

A federal judge has delivered a blow to the White House and the Justice Department’s attempt to keep information related to Operation Fast and Furious out of the hands of members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Although she didn’t order the release of the documents themselves, Judge Amy Berman Jackson did order Attorney General Eric Holder’s department to send a list of the documents to the committee:

Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the Justice Department must provide the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with a list of documents — but not the documents themselves — withheld on the gunrunning operation.

The agency has until Oct. 1 to turn over the documents, Jackson said during a status hearing.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight panel, cheered the ruling.

“This administration has been so intent on hiding the contents of these documents that it allowed Attorney General Holder to be held in contempt instead of just turning them over to Congress,” Issa said. “The privilege log will bring us closer to finding out why the Justice Department hid behind false denials in the wake of reckless conduct that contributed to the violent deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens.”

Venezuela’s socialist government is now rationing food after prices controls proved to be a miserable failure

Venezuela food shortages

The socialist government of Venezuela is, basically, rationing food. With food shortages a concern, one that’s been around for some time and was one of the issues at the center of protests earlier this year, its implementing a biometric system that will track how much people buy to stop them from overbuying:

The Venezuelan Executive Office is to implement a biometric system for the purchase of food in private supermarkets, for the purpose of controlling the sale of staples per individual. Authorities have outlined the move seeks to “collect data on Venezuelans’ purchases, included items and frequency” in order to tackle food smuggling.

With the mechanism, customers’ identity card numbers and fingerprints will be recorded, so as to prevent them from buying the same product more than once during the same week.

The current Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, has continued the most of Hugo Chavez’s policies and announced the biometric food rationing system in the spring. Maduro, who’s led the country since March 2013, has blamed hoarders, smugglers, and the Central Intelligence Agency for the food shortage.

Hilarious: “Air Mary” taunts vulnerable Louisiana Democrat at a Baton Rouge event

The Louisiana Republican Party is trolling Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) over her use of public funds to fly to campaign fundraisers. A group of protesters, dressed in flight uniforms, followed the vulnerable Senate Democrat to an event in Baton Rouge on Wednesday where the held up “Air Mary” signs.

Here’s the video via America Rising:

Landrieu isn’t just under fire for taking at least four trips to campaign fundraisers on the taxpayer dime, but also her excessive use of charter planes. In 2013 alone, for example, Landrieu’s Senate office dropped $47,000 on charter flights for visits to her home state.

Kroger is standing up for its customers in the face of intimidation from a Michael Bloomberg-backed anti-gun group

Kroger

Since more restrictive gun control measures are a nonstarter in Congress, Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense, an organization supported by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been on a crusade in recent months to pressure retailers and chain stores into banning firearms from their properties.

Many of the anti-gun group’s targets — including Chipotle, Starbucks, and Target — have acquiesced to their demands. But Kroger, one of the United States’ largest groceries stores, isn’t bending to the pressure, according to this recent story from the Wall Street Journal:

“When a company like Kroger doesn’t have a policy around guns, it seems to send a signal to gun extremists that they tacitly support or even endorse things like open carry,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.
[…]
A spokesman for Kroger, which also owns chains including Harris Teeter and Fred Meyer, said corporate policies abiding by state and local laws are sufficient to protect customers. “Millions of customers are present in our busy grocery stores every day and we don’t want to put our associates in a position of having to confront a customer who is legally carrying a gun,” said Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey. “We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.”

Keep in mind that many states in which Kroger has stores allow residents to carry, provided they’re properly licensed or in compliance with state and local regulations.

Common Core support is crumbling: Opponents still have a long way to go, but they’re shifting the narrative

There is a growing movement inside Congress and states legislatures to fight back against the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and it looks like it’s beginning to bear some fruit. Over at Reason, Robby Soave reports on a new poll showing the tide turning against the the college- and career-ready standards:

The numbers come courtesy of an Education Next poll. In 2013, 65 percent of people supported Common Core. That number fell to a slim 53 percent majority this year—much of that support coming from Democrats, who remained largely unchanged in their overall opinion.

The results for both Republicans and teachers are even more staggering, however. The Republican numbers changed from 57 percent in favor to just 43 percent in favor and the teachers changed from 76 percent in favor to 46 percent.

These results are significant, since they chip away at key assertions made by the backers of Common Core. The backers have often maintained that opposition to Common Core stems from misinformation and that those who understand the new standards best—i.e., teachers—liked them just fine. That is clearly no longer true.

The premise of Common Core is that the same education standards would be applied across the United States. States that participate in Common Core are allowed to develop their math and language arts curricula.

There’s at least one Democrat who wants Barack Obama to help out his campaign, and here’s why he may regret it

Charlie Crist is bucking the trend. While most Democrats running competitive races in purple and red states don’t want to come anywhere near President Barack Obama and his administration, Crist, who is running for governor of Florida as a Democrat, isn’t exactly shying away:

While some high-profile Democrats are distancing themselves from President Obama on the campaign trial, Florida gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Crist isn’t one of them.

When asked Tuesday if would welcome the president’s campaign help, Crist responded, “I hope so,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“I hope everybody does,” said the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat.

It’s almost like Crist hasn’t learned from that ill-advised hug he gave President Obama in 2009 when the commander-in-chief visited Florida to promote the stimulus bill. Crist was a Republican governor at the time who was also seeking the state’s open Senate seat.

The hug Crist shared with President Obama as well as his general squishiness on issues turned out to be a boon for Marco Rubio. Crist left the Republican Party and became an independent, though one seeking Democrat support. Rubio won the race. Crist decided that he’d give electoral politics another go, this time as a full-fledged Democrat.

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