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Mon, 18 Oct 2021
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Take 2

Tom Laughlin, of 'Billy Jack' fame, dead at 82

billy jack

Tom Laughlin as 'Billy Jack'
Actor and filmmaker Tom Laughlin, star of the Billy Jack films of the late '60s and early '70s, died Thursday at sunset near his home in Thousand Oaks, California. He was 82.

Laughlin first rose to fame with the character of the native American motorcycle vigilante and martial artist Billy Jack in the 1967 independent film The Born Losers, which went on to commercial and critical acclaim. Laughlin produced and starred in three sequels. The first of which, the morally-ambiguous Billy Jack, remains one of the most financially-successful independent films of all time.

He and his wife Delores Taylor had been out of the movie business for a few years, running a Montessori school, when they decided to make the Billy Jack films. The movies captured some of the zeitgeist of the late '60s sense of political protest and rebellion, and set Laughlin on a path as an activist. Laughlin sought the Democratic nomination for president three times - 1992, and 2008 as a Democrat, and 2004 as a Republican. He was an outspoken critic of the Iraq War, which he has said was worse than Vietnam.

Santa Hat

Teacher scolds black student for Santa costume because 'Santa is white'

santas
© AFP Photo / Fernando Veludo
What was supposed to be a cheerful day at a New Mexico high school quickly went downhill when a teacher told a black student that he shouldn't dress up as Santa Claus because the jolly old man is white.

Officials at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico say the unnamed teacher has been disciplined - though they won't say how. But the student's family is not satisfied; the boy's father, Michael Rougier, is calling for the teacher to be fired.

The incident occurred last week when ninth-grader Christopher Rougier came to school in a Santa costume. Although students were allowed to dress up as holiday characters, Christopher's father, Michael Rougier, told local KOB-TV that his son's teacher said, "Don't you know Santa Clause is white? Why are you wearing that?"

The student was reportedly crushed by the comments, and Michael Rougier says the teacher's question was unacceptable."There's no room for that in the classroom," he said. "Whether this teacher felt Christopher may have been wearing this out of context, there's no room for it. There's just no room for it."

Comment: 'Tis the season... to stick your foot in your mouth.


Gear

House Report: Poorly-trained Obamacare navigators encouraging fraud, jeopardizing private info

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© Breitbart
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
The Obama administration decided that Obamacare Navigators, tasked with helping Americans enroll in a health insurance plan, would not undergo mandatory background checks. Now, in the ten weeks since the launch of Healthcare.gov, the ill-trained Navigators have put Americans' sensitive health and tax information at risk.

Breitbart News has obtained a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report on the Obamacare Navigators that will be released Monday. It has found that Obamacare Navigators have been giving Americans misinformation and, in some cases, actively encouraging enrollees to commit fraud in order to raise their subsidies. To complicate matters further, there is no way for Americans to find out whether their Navigators are properly certified.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at a Congressional hearing that it was "possible" for convicted felons to become Navigators. The report, titled Risks of Fraud and Misinformation with ObamaCare Outreach Campaign: How Navigator and Assister Program Mismanagement Endangers Consumers, concludes that is only one of many worries Americans should have about Navigators.

The Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and HHS actually learned that "poorly-trained Navigators gave consumers incorrect information about the health care exchanges, violated HHS rules and procedures, and even encouraged applicants to commit tax fraud in some instances." Moreover, this was learned from various news reports due to the complete lack of any internal oversight.

Phoenix

Mail burns at NJ postal center

New Jersey

unknown
Some packages were damaged in a fire at a large U.S. Postal Service facility in Jersey City.

Postal Service spokesman George Flood says employees were evacuated when the fire began in a mail processing machine at the New Jersey International & Network Distribution Center at 4:22 a.m. Thursday.

Firefighters extinguished the fire and workers were allowed back into the building about an hour later.

Bad Guys

Highest-paid U.S. government climate change expert commits massive fraud by pretending to work for CIA

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© C-SPAN
Former high-ranking Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official John Beale testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Oct. 1, 2013.
The EPA's highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.

John C. Beale, who pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade, will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Wednesday. In a newly filed sentencing memo, prosecutors said that his lies were a "crime of massive proportion" that were "offensive" to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA.

Beale's lawyer, while acknowledging his guilt, has asked for leniency and offered a psychological explanation for the climate expert's bizarre tales.

"With the help of his therapist," wrote attorney John Kern, "Mr. Beale has come to recognize that, beyond the motive of greed, his theft and deception were animated by a highly self-destructive and dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior." Kern also said Beale was driven "to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives ... that are fueled by his insecurities."

The two sentencing memos, along with documents obtained by NBC News, offer new details about what some officials describe as one of the most audacious, and creative, federal frauds they have ever encountered.

Health

Oakland teen declared brain dead days after routine tonsil surgery

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© family photo
Jahi McMath
Family members of 13-year-old Jahi McMath are holding out hope for a miracle recovery after a routine procedure has left the girl brain dead. Last week, McMath went in to Children's Hospital Oakland to get her tonsils removed.

She was supposed to go home the next day, but her grandmother noticed severely bleeding from her nose and mouth after the procedure. She soon went into cardiac arrest.

The child is now hooked up to a ventilator and doctors are telling mother Nailah Winkfield she won't recover.

"At this point I'm just all cried out. I have no tears left, so the only thing I can do is stay here," said Winkfield. "I am not leaving unless she leaves with me because I will not let them pull the plug on my child."

Arrow Down

Report: Quantico Marine shooter had suffered brain injury; medical treatment was insufficient

lopez
© AP Photo/US Marine Corps, Lance Cpl. Antwaun L. Jefferson
Sgt. Eusebio Lopez, an Officer Candidate School instructor, during the Quantico Leadership Venture at OCS.
A military investigation has found that a Marine who fatally shot his ex-girlfriend and a colleague before killing himself at the Quantico Marine Corps base should have received better psychological care.

Sgt. Eusebio Lopez was receiving treatment in North Carolina after his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Iraq, but his medical care stopped abruptly when he was transferred to Quantico in 2012, according to the report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The reason appeared to be two-fold: His new doctors didn't know about his previous treatment and he didn't speak up.

The report also found problems with the response to the shooting and said Marines regularly flaunted regulations that required them to register personal firearms and store them in the armory.

Heart - Black

In West Bank, Arab home faces demolition while Jewish ones get stamp of approval

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© Gil Cohen-Magen
A neighborhood under construction in the West Bank settlement of Ofra.
Defense Ministry changes housing regulation according to whether the houses belong to Jews or Palestinians.

The Defense Ministry's Civil Administration on Tuesday rejected a request to legalize a Palestinian house, claiming it was too close to a main West Bank road. A day earlier, the administration approved the construction of homes in the West Bank settlement of Ofra, after revoking the very ban on which the Tuesday decision was based.

The administration's planning heads, architects Natalia Averbuch and Daniel Halimi, said their considerations were purely professional. But observers maintain that the administration's planning is politically motivated and aimed at pushing the Palestinians off their land.

The request that a retroactive bulding permit be issued for the Palestinian house in Beit Ummar, a village 11 kilometers northwest of Hebron, was rejected by the administration's planning and licensing committee, headed by Halimi, on Tuesday. The administration had previously issued a demolition order for the house, which was built without a permit.

Arrow Down

Student suspended for a year after hugging teacher

classroom
© Jose Cendon/AFP/Getty Images)
A high school senior won't graduate on time after being suspended for one year for hugging a teacher in November. Last week, a Duluth High School hearing officer found that Sam McNair violated the Gwinnett County Public Schools' rules on sexual harassment.

"Something so innocent can be perceived as something totally opposite," McNair told WGCL.

A surveillance camera captured when McNair entered a room, placing his arms around the back and front of the teacher and tuck his head behind her neck. The teacher alleged in a discipline report that McNair's cheeks and lips touched the back of her neck and cheek, according to WGCL.

The 17-year-old denied that he sexually harassed his teacher and that he kissed her. He said that he has never been disciplined for hugging teachers in the past.

Eye 1

Controversy over 5th-grader's religion speech

tampa school
© CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images
A 5th grade student won first place after he gave a speech about the history of people using religion to justify murder, but was stripped of his title the same day by a school official.

Zachary Golob-Drake gave the speech to his class at the Patel Partnership School in hopes that he would be chosen to represent the school at the regional 4-H Tropicana Public Speech Contest, WFLA-TV reports. He was to deliver the speech Thursday morning to the entire 4th and 5th grades classes and two winners, one from each grade, were to be chosen to represent the school.

Golob-Drake said the assistant principal told him his speech was inappropriate before school was dismissed.

"She started talking to me about how she thought my speech wasn't appropriate for 4th and 5th graders and she thought that probably I would have to rewrite my speech, take the religion out or not compete," Golob-Drake explained to WFLA.

Comment: "Take the religion out or not compete." The message seems pretty clear, even to a 4th or 5th grader.