Thursday, January 31, 2013

How Did This Tiny American Flag Land a Military Veteran in Trouble?

How Did This Tiny American Flag Land a Military Veteran in Trouble?
by Jason Howerton
Tyler Barge describes himself as a proud military veteran. He was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months in 2011 where he served in the U.S. Army National Guard. He just returned home in March of 2012.

So, you can imagine his disgust when management at his apartment complex ordered him to remove the small American flag he had stuck into a pot of dirt on his patio.
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“I like to keep a flag on display in honor of those who have died fighting for our freedom,” Barge, 22, told TheBlaze in an exclusive interview on Thursday. “I had the privilege of coming home and they didn’t. I try to do what I can to keep their memory alive.”

“I saw the flag flying in Afghanistan, it’d be nice to see it flying here too,” he added.

Barge said he received a notice from Riverwalk Apartments in Salem, Va. on Wednesday ordering him to remove the American flag, trash items, a broom and even a glass table from the patio.

“We need your help to keep our community one of the best in Salem! We need for you to remove the following items from your patio,” the notice read. It then listed the previously mentioned items. The notice went on:

Per our lease agreement we only allow the following times on your patio/balcony:

1. Patio furniture

2. Up to (3) working bicycles

3. Plants

The complex is giving Barge until Monday to remove the flag and other items.

(Credit Tyler Barge)

As a veteran, Barge said he wanted to honor the flag, even if in a small way. He says he was well aware his lease prohibited him from hanging an American flag, so he opted to put out a small version of the flag in a pot of dirt instead. But the apartment complex is saying even that is unacceptable.

“Being a veteran and growing up with good patriotic parents, I’ve always had a flag out,” Barge told TheBlaze. “I didn’t think anything of it.”

Barge says he has served in the National Guard for nearly five years as an infantryman and is currently an E4 Specialist. He and 41 other soldiers from Virginia were deployed in June of 2011 to Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan to provide security for a multinational provincial reconstruction team.

Given the fact that the complex has only given him until Monday to comply, Barge said his wife has been trying to get in touch with the property manager to work something out so they can leave the flag on the patio. However, the property manager, identified as Tristan Byrely by the apartment complex, was “unavailable” on Wednesday and again on Thursday.

Byrely was also unavailable when TheBlaze called the Riverwalk Apartments on Thursday.

Senate Votes on Paul Amendment to Prevent Sale of F-16s to Egypt

Senate Votes on Paul Amendment to Prevent Sale of F-16s to Egypt

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate today voted on a series of amendments to H.R.325, the debt limit bill. Included in the amendment votes was one introduced by Sen. Rand Paul that would prohibit the U.S. government from selling F-16 military aircraft, M1 tanks, and similar military weapons to the Egyptian government. The amendment failed, 79-19.

Prior to the vote, Sen. Paul took to the Senate floor to discuss his amendment. Below is video and transcript of his speech.

TRANSCRIPT:I rise today to present legislation that would stop the transfer of F-16s and Abrams tanks to Egypt. I think it particularly unwise to send tanks and our most sophisticated fighter planes to Egypt at a time at which many are saying the country may be unraveling. Ironically, a year ago the Arab spring occurred. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Tahrir square to protest a government that was instituting martial law. Ironically the current President now has instituted martial law and once again the dreaded indefinite intention is threatened to citizens in Egypt. As the writing expands, many see Egypt descending into chaos. What is President Obama's response to this? To send them some of the most sophisticated weapons we have: F-16 fighters and Abrams tanks. I think this is particularly unwise, and this legislation will stop it. I think this is particularly unwise since Egypt is currently governed by a religious zealot, a religious zealot who said recently that ‘Jews were bloodsuckers and descendants of apes and pigs.' This doesn't sound like the kind of stable personality we would be sending our most sophisticated weapons to. I think it is a grave mistake to send F-16s and tanks to a country that detained American citizens on trumped up political charges. On a country that currently is still detaining Egyptian citizens on trumped-up political charges. I think it is a blunder of the first proportion to send sophisticated weapons to a country that allowed a mob to attack our embassy and to burn our flag. I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16s and tanks, to a company that allowed a mob chanting "death to America" to threaten our American diplomats. I am concerned that these weapons, some of the most sophisticated weapons in the world, someday may be used against Israel. I'm concerned that these weapons threaten Israel's security and that sending weapons to a country with a president who recently was seen to be chanting "amen" to a cleric that was saying "death to Israel and death to those who support Israel." I think it's foolhardy to support and send arms to both sides of an arms race. We send 20 F-16s to Egypt which already has 240 F-16s. We send 20 in addition. What does Israel feel? They've got to have two for every one Egypt has. It escalates an arms race. It makes it more difficult for Israel to defend herself. Today we have a chance to stop this folly. I urge my Senators to instruct the President that we will not send any more F-16s and any more Abrams tanks to the current government of Egypt. Thank you, Mr. President, and I yield back my time.


Al Gore book tour of shame - former VP hammered over Al Jazeera sale

CAINTV.COM 2 Hours Ago
Al Gore book tour of shame - former VP hammered over Al Jazeera sale
by Robert Laurie
By ROBERT LAURIE - Even left-wing media stalwarts can see the hypocrisy

When Al Gore sold Current TV to Al Jazeera for half a billion dollars, eyebrows were raised. After all, Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar - among the biggest of the "big oil" nations. The fact that Gore was amassing such profit by selling his environmentalist network to a major oil producer was an irony not lost on conservatives.

The assumption was that those on the right would be the only ones who cared. It was easy to imagine that the usual left-wing media allies would ignore the hypocrisy and move on. Gore would sell out, collect his cash, and no one would notice.

However, it's starting to look as though the former Vice President may not be enjoying the kind of fawning support to which he's grown accustomed. Over the last few days, he's appeared on multiple democrat-safe shows, only to face intense questioning over the cable TV deal. If he was expecting to walk in, sell some books, and move on, he's got to be disappointed with the results.

The fact that this video appeared on The Politico should serve as an indicator that the sale of Current TV is not going over particularly well. If a guy like Gore can't hold the allegiance of Matt Lauer, David Letterman, or even John Stewart, things have gotten ugly....

Be sure you're following Robert Laurie on Twitter @RobertLaurie

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Are you ready for Senator Geraldo

HOTAIR.COM 2 Hours Ago
Are you ready for Senator Geraldo?

posted at 4:31 pm on January 31, 2013 by Allahpundit

Boy, I sure am. If there’s one thing the GOP needs now, it’s another senator who’s famously soft on immigration. Imagine these words ringing off the walls in the Senate chamber: “[A]ny Latino who votes for a Republican or a Democrat who opposes rational immigration reform is an Uncle Tom.” He’ll make a fine third in the McCain/Graham alliance.

“I mention this only briefly, fasten your seatbelt,” Rivera said on his radio show. “I mentioned this only briefly to my wife … but I am and I’ve been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker.”…

“I’m not going to drill this out, because obviously I’ve got commitments to Fox and to here at the radio program and I’m really having a great time,” Rivera added. “But I figure at my age, if I’m going to do it I’ve got to do it. And there doesn’t seem to be any Republicans ready to work against or run against Corey Booker, the popular Newark mayor.”

Rivera could face a tough primary challenge, however, with reports suggesting that Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick of Westfield, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno are all weighing bids for the GOP ticket.

No, the part about him running as a Republican is no typo:

Wondering how folks feel about me running in N.J. under GOP banner against either Lautenberg or Booker for U.S. Senate?

— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) January 31, 2013

To give you a sense of the trouble he’ll have being taken seriously, CNN’s headline for this story is “Geraldo Rivera has campaign plans in the vault.” Two things here. One: Isn’t he a little old to break into politics? He’ll be 70 on election day. I realize we’ve nominated guys older than that for president, but McCain had spent decades in the Senate and could at least boast that age in his case came with experience. As it is, if you’re an independent in Jersey and inclined to roll the dice on a “new guy,” why not roll it on the much younger, charismatic Cory Booker? And if you’re of the mind that age doesn’t matter at all, why not send Lautenberg back for his thousandth term? He’s a state institution and has a winning reelection pitch as the New Jersey senator who hasn’t been linked to underaged hookers.

Two: What’s the case for Geraldo over either of those two? The issue he’s most closely associated with is immigration and that’s likely to be done with, one way or another, by the time he’d enter the Senate. It’s not impossible to win statewide office in Jersey as a Republican but it’s hard: Christie’s cruising along to reelection only because of his surge in popularity after Sandy. Geraldo’s one big advantage is name recognition, but not all of that recognition is good — re-read that CNN headline — and Democrats will work overtime to boost Booker’s profile ahead of the election given his national potential. So how does he win? A massive self-funded campaign a la Bloomberg circa 2002, who also avoided the difficulties of a Democratic primary by running as an, ahem, “Republican”?

One way or another, I’m curious to hear if the candidate’s finally reached any firm conclusions about what brought down WTC 7. Here’s the audio, via Mediaite.

Rand Paul planning Round 2 against TSA

Rand Paul planning Round 2 against TSA

Sen. Rand Paul is not giving up his fight to get the government off the front lines of airport security.

The Kentucky Republican said in an interview that he plans to refile legislation that would drastically scale back the Transportation Security Administration’s reach by privatizing security screening operations at airports and creating a series of passenger protections.

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“I think we are going to,” Paul said when asked if he would take another crack at the oft-criticized agency. “We have two different bills, one to privatize the TSA and then we have another one which is a passenger bill of rights.”

As a policy, the TSA does not comment on proposed legislation. It declined to comment on Paul’s plans.

For Paul, TSA reform is personal. He drew viral media attention for resisting a TSA pat-down in 2012, which caused him to miss a speech at the March for Life rally. Following that incident, Paul introduced TSA privatization and flier bill of rights legislation last summer.

One bill would have ended the TSA screening operation and required airports to select companies from the private sector to do screening — a growing practice already used at a handful of airports, though one dealt a blow after Sacramento’s airport recently reversed its steps toward privatization. The other bill would have allowed some people to opt out of pat-downs, required distribution of a list of fliers’ rights and vastly expanded an expedited screening program for frequent fliers, a movement also embraced by new House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas).

Both of Paul’s bills died in the Commerce Committee last year after a cool reception from Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.). Only the bill of rights legislation attracted a co-sponsor, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), though a companion bill in the House drew the support of eight Republicans.

Paul said his efforts in the new Congress would be “similar” to those two bills “unless we get some suggestions on changes.”

The senator also admitted it’s hard to effect the change he’d like to see in the upper chamber, though he suspects there are Democrats who are on the same page.

“I really think there is some bipartisan support for reforming the TSA,” he said. But he added, “It’s hard to move anything around here.”

This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 3:25 p.m. on January 31, 2013.

Dumb Decisions

Hannity's Headlines

Thursday, January 31st

Dumb Decisions
"We've done a lot of dumb things over the course of history as a nation," Sean said kicking off Thursday's show. "The government borrowing 46 cents for every dollar, not tapping into our oil resources in this country - politicians are dumb. They're power hungry," said Sean. "I wouldn't say everyone is dumb, but there are certainly people who are not aware. There are people in this country who are in a hypnotic trance who are unaware of events around them. There are people who are suseptible to propaganda, distortion and misinformation. The Muslim Brotherhood leader of Egypt is getting 20 of the greatest fighter jets ever put together in human history - the F16. Plus 200 Abrams tanks and $1.5 billion in U.S. aid. And on top of all of this, we're paying for those jets and tanks! We are paying to give this radical, extremist leader all of these things! It's just stupid! There is no other word for it!" Sean said angrily.

The Cold, Hard Truth About The Obama Economy
The Commerce Department announced yesterday that our economy shrank at a rate of .1 percent in the last quarter of 2012. That is the first time a contraction has happened in more than three years. With the unemployment rate still high at 7.8 percent and consumer confidence now in decline, there was only one way for the Democrats to react - by blaming Republicans. It all started with Jay Carney during the White House press briefing when he said the economy was facing a major headwind and that headwind being the Republicans in Congress. Moments later, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi released the statement saying, "Today's disappointing GDP report is a direct result of the economic uncertainty created by the House Republicans' strategy of obstruction and manufactured crises." "When will they ever going to take blame? When will Nancy Pelosi, Jay Carney wake up and realize Obama now has been in office for more than four years? Unbelievable," said Sean. GOPAC President David Avella and the former Clinton economist at the Harvard Kennedy School, Jeffrey Frankel joined Sean with reaction to this news. To watch the entire discussion, please click here.
Malkin On F16/Tank Delivery To Egypt
Sean has been a very vocal critic of President Obama's plan to send F16 fighter jets and 200 Abrams tanks to Egyptian Brotherhood leaders. Sean sat down with Michelle Malkin to discuss this plan. "How wrong has this President been about what was going to happen with the Arab Spring," began Hannity, "Do we even know who will have control of these weapons we're sending over?" "For Americans, we remember this is the second anniversary of Obama basking in the praise of this transition," quickly replied Malkin, "But the truth is that this dictatorship looks a lot like the last one." "We pretty much know where these weapons will go and what they'll do," added Malkin, "The young freedom fighters in Egypt are holding signs that said "Obama, you jerk, the Muslim Brotherhood is killing Egyptians" and I'm not sure why this cry isn't being heard around the world!" "This is either willful blindness or a tacit hope for the exact kind of consequence we end up wi th, either way this is a horrible position for America to be in." "This is not going to end well," a somber Hannity predicted, "This is really the height of irresponsibility." Sean will continue to monitor this story but it doesn't look like the mainstream media is very interested in stopping this crazy move. You can watch Sean's interview with Michelle Malkin by clicking here.

Today's "Hot Topic" On The Hannity Forums:
Do You Believe the Constitution is Outdated... - BasicGreatGuy

I have read numerous posts over the years, where many members have expressed the opinion, that the Constitution (having served a rightful purpose at one time) is outdated. And as such, is not a prudent or practical foundation to properly address today's so-called challenges and wants of the populous at large.

>> TV Tonight (Hannity FoxNews at 9pm ET):
Senator Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing gets ugly on Capitol Hill. Does he have enough support to get confirmed as secretary of defense? Plus, on a day when jobless claims surge, the White House moves to shut down its jobs council. But where are all the jobs?
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News Alert: Congress approves plan to temporarily suspend debt limit

Breaking News from The Washington Post
Congress approves plan to temporarily suspend debt limit
The Washington Post Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:11:41 PM

National News Alert


Congress approves plan to temporarily suspend debt limit

Congress gave final approval Thursday to a plan to temporarily suspend the legal cap on the $16.4 trillion national debt, lifting the threat of a government default until early August. The measure, approved by the Senate 64-34 Thursday, now goes to President Obama for his signature. Without congressional action, the administration had predicted that the Treasury would run out money to pay the nation's bills by early March.
The House passed the bill last week.

Read more at:


NRO Digest: The GOP should speak up about women in combat

NRO Newsletters . . .
NRO Digest

January 31, 2013
Today on National Review Online . . .

THE EDITORS: The GOP should speak up about women in combat. AWOL Republicans

: The bipartisan agreement about America's role in the world is coming to a close. War Is Like Rust.    


CONRAD BLACK: Some thoughts on Inaugural Week. The Obama-Clinton Credibility Gap. 


ARTUR DAVIS: Republicans need to make the case to Americans that conservatism advances their interests. Reaching the Valleys.

: The New York senator uses a dreadful analogy to advance his gun-control argument. Schumer's False Fire

: What a middle ground on abortion could look like.  Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.

ANDREW STILES: The defense secretary nominee will face some tough questions. Hagel vs. the Committee

JIM TALENT: If the former senator thinks we should change our Israel policy, he should say so. Chuck Hagel, Israel, and American Power.

JOHN FUND: Detroit is dying, but refuses to take its medicine. America's Suicidal Cities 


MICHAEL BARONE: A comprehensive immigration bill might work this time around. Why This Is Not 1986.

JILLIAN KAY MELCHIOR: The agency's push to artificially create a market for cellulosic biofuel is out of control. The EPA vs. Reality.

BETSY WOODRUFFWhat the GOP should do to keep Texas red. Purple Texas. 


CLIFFORD D. MAY: An Israeli city in Hamas's crosshairs. Under Fire.

JOSHUA R. HENDRICKSON: Bankers need better incentives -- ones that limit risk, not encourage it. Reshaping Bank Incentives.

INTERVIEW: Mitch Pearlstein discusses ways to support a marriage culture. Family Ties.

JASON EPSTEIN: It's a little early to assume accusations will taint the Yankees World Series record. A-Rod May Have Lied? So What?

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Politics Afternoon Edition: Hagel defends record at confirmation hearing; Sen. Menendez quietly reimbursed donor for trips

Politics Afternoon Edition from The Washington Post
Did you miss something on the campaign trail today?
View on the Web.
The Washington Post Thursday, January 31, 2013
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  1. Hagel defends record at confirmation hearing

    The former Republican senator provided a detailed rebuttal to criticism that he has faced in recent weeks, including allegations that he is too dovish on Iran and eager to slash defense spending.
    » Read full article

  2. Sen. Menendez quietly reimbursed donor for trips

    Sen. Robert Menendez's (D-N.J.) office says he reimbursed a prominent Florida political donor on Jan. 4 for the full cost of two of three trips Menendez took on the donor's plane to the Dominican Republic in 2010.
    » Read full article

  3. Hagel asked to explain why Iran is 'legitimate'

    Pressed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to explain statements earlier in his confirmation hearing that the Iranian government is "legitimate," defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel clarified what he meant.
    » Read full article

  4. THE FIX: 4 reasons Scott Brown should pass on the Senate special election and run for governor

    The Massachusetts Republican may well run for the Senate again. But the governor's race looks like the better way to go.
    » Read full article

  5. IN THE LOOP: Irony at the nuclear agency

    A meeting to discuss public engagement by the NRC isn't available online, thanks to a glitch.
    » Read full article


White House Press Secretary Jay Carney when asked by a reporter whether the White House was planning a concerted effort on job creation just as it has on immigration reform and gun control. :

"I know you're kind of new to the beat, but this president has been focused on this issue more than any other, and that will not change"


Video: Inhofe grills Hagel on Senate votes

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) asked former Sen. Chuck Hagel about several votes and petitions that he did not sign during Hagel's confirmation hearing for secretary of defense.

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