A top State Department official said Thursday that Congress doesn’t have much of a role to play while officials negotiate a nuclear agreement with Iran, and that Congress would only have a role late in the process when it’s time to lift U.S. sanctions against that country.
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken also repeated the administration’s line that Congress needs to stop interfering with the process as it continues, a reference to possible threats of new U.S. sanctions, and last week’s critical letter from dozens of Senate Republicans.
Comedian Will Ferrell’s “Tonight Show” appearance to promote his new movie “Get Hard” started on a strange note and just got “curiouser and curiouser.”
Just a day after appearing on David Letterman’s show dressed as a leprechaun, Ferrell walked on stage for an appearance with Jimmy Fallon dressed exactly like “Little Debbie,” the iconic character seen on the boxes of the popular snack cakes.
Ferrell insisted that Fallon not refer to him as “Will” but as “Little Debbie.”
Over the course of the 7:30 interview, Ferrell’s movie was barely mentioned. Instead, viewers were treated to a strange series of events, including Fallon being goaded into reading some sketchy promo copy the snack cake company would probably never approve.
Ferrell also sang something he claimed to be the “Little Debbie” jingle.
And then, there was the very odd, blindfolded taste-test challenge that Ferrell put on himself.
“I love them so much, if I close my eyes and eat something, I can tell you if it’s a tasty ‘Debbie Delight’ or a plain baked potato.”
Fallon was ready for the challenge and produced a plate with a baked potato and a snack cake.
Spoiler alert: Ferrell succeeded in identifying the Little Debbie cake.
Watch Ferrell’s bizarre Tonight Show appearance:
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The U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York has brought charges against a Bronx man who allegedly used a laser pointer to blind pilots of commercial airlines coming to and from LaGuardia Airport in Queens.
But the story of how the police eventually nabbed the suspect, Elehecer Balaguer, gets even better.
A key House Republican said Wednesday that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs to fire two top officials responsible for being hundreds of millions of dollars over budget for major construction projects run by the broken agency.
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) said Glenn Haggstrom of the VA’s Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction, and Stella Fiotes of the VA’s Office of Construction and Facilities Management need to go.
While you watch tonight’s episode of For the Record, “Without Warning,” all about cyberwar involving the U.S., join the conversation here with producers and reporters at TheBlaze. We’ll have behind-the-scenes pictures and details, related links, polls and much more.
The live blog begins at 8 p.m. ET:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking whether the U.S. Marshals Service is abusing the assets it seizes to pay for things like plush office furniture and renovations.
In a letter to the Marshals Service, Grassley said his committee has information suggesting that seized assets were abused in this way, and demanded that the agency answer questions about this information. Most questions surrounded the agency’s Asset Forfeiture Division (AFD).
Senate Democrats on Wednesday voted again to block a bill to help victims of human trafficking, a move that seems likely to further delay a Senate vote to confirm Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch.
Democrats continue to oppose language in the trafficking bill that prevents money from being spent on abortion services for trafficking victims. Democrats have said that language must be removed before they can allow the bill to advance and ultimately be passed.
The State Department said Wednesday that it remains committed to finding a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, even though Israel has decided to re-elect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said at the end of his election campaign that he no longer favors creating a Palestinian state as a way to bring peace to the Middle East.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki acknowledged that Netanyahu’s new position is a hurdle to the administration’s preferred way of getting a peace deal, but said the Obama administration still believes a two-state solution is the best way forward. As a result of this split, Psaki could only say that the administration would have to start “evaluating” how to move its idea forward without Israel’s support, a seemingly impossible task.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday rejected the notion that America is in decline and needs to pursue a foreign policy to manage that reality, and instead argued that America is only in decline if it believes it is.
“Retreat is a political choice. It’s not dictated by resources or capabilities,” he said in a discussion at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.
A Senate Democratic leader seemed to imply on Wednesday that Republicans are delaying a confirmation vote on Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch because she’s black.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) noted that Lynch is the first black woman to be nominated as attorney general, but said she is being “asked to sit in the back of the bus,” a reference to the Jim Crow laws that forced segregation between blacks and whites decades ago.
Ten House Republicans introduced new legislation on Tuesday that would shut down the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point, a program many have criticized as an attempt to shut down gun makers, gun retailers and other businesses across the country.
The Firearms Manufacturers and Dealers Protection Act, from Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), would completely eradicate the funding for Choke Point, and prevent any similar programs from emerging in the future.
A whistleblower who helped reveal visa fraud at an Indian tech firm with more than a dozen U.S. locations warned Congress on Tuesday that American workers are routinely being displaced by foreign workers, often with the help of companies who are abusing the visa system.
“They call it knowledge transfer, but we all know that’s an illusion,” Jay Palmer, a who worked at Infosys, warned the Senate Judiciary Committee today. “It’s all about cheaper labor.”
Two House Republicans introduced legislation on Tuesday that would eliminate all U.S. taxpayer subsidies for foreign diplomats who work in the United States and buy health insurance under Obamacare.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proposed the No Healthcare Subsidies for Foreign Diplomats Act. It’s a continuation of their work from last year, when they were asking the Obama administration if reports were true that U.S. taxpayers are helping diplomats foot the bill for their insurance.
The State Department said Tuesday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t sign a “separation form,” which would have certified that she was not in possession of any government documents, when she left the government in 2013.
The question of whether Clinton signed one of these OF-109 forms has come up after it became clear that she forwarded some work emails to State last year, more than a year after she left the department. Some said that if she had signed the separation form, she could be penalized for failing to adhere to her pledge.
Starbucks’ plan to start a national conversation on race appears to have backfired.
Within minutes of the news of Starbucks’ promotion hitting the web, #RaceTogether was trending near the top of the social media charts. Reaction to the idea of encouraging a conversation on race between customers and baristas was met with opposition from people of all backgrounds.
While there were some tweets supporting Starbucks, the majority seem to be mocking the coffee shop’s plan to deliver a shot of race into the beverage orders of customers at the 12,000 stores around the country.
Presented without comment, a random selection of tweets responding negatively to the promotion:
— Peter S. Dee (@PeeteySDee) March 17, 2015
— black power alt bro (@vidalwuu) March 17, 2015
Being a barista is hard enough. Having to talk #RaceTogether with a woman in Lululemon pants while pouring pumpkin spice is just cruel.
— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) March 17, 2015
"Welcome to Starbucks. We'd like to discuss race with you." "Gotta be honest, I don't know what it's going to be like without Jeff Gordon."
— Matthew (@Matthops82) March 17, 2015
The funny thing is that Starbucks brought folks of all races and political views together in opposition to #RaceTogether
— Ben Walters (@TheBenWalters) March 17, 2015
Starbucks is where I go to get what I need so I can have the patience for race convos at work. Please cut the #RaceTogether stuff please
— W.E.B.B.I.E DuBois (@fivefifths) March 17, 2015
"It's a Venti Mocha Frappachino but they spelled Kaitlyn as Race Together on the cup." – Teenage girl at Starbucks #RaceTogether
— Blaise Miller (@BlaiseInKC) March 17, 2015
I, for one, would love to see Starbucks' clientele discuss how Elizabeth Warren posed as Native American for her own advantage #RaceTogether
— Will Antonin (@Will_Antonin) March 17, 2015
— Cirque du SoBae (@brownandbella) March 17, 2015
— April (@ReignOfApril) March 17, 2015
If I get #RaceTogether’d at Starbucks, I’m just going to teach them how to pronounce my name and let them high five me in victory.
— Imani ABL (@AngryBlackLady) March 17, 2015
— Mohammed (@think_B1G) March 17, 2015
As a former Barista, I think #RaceTogether is a *terrible* idea. My thoughts are with the baristas being pressured into bad situations.
— Michael R. Underwood (@MikeRUnderwood) March 17, 2015
I see the malevolent Bright Idea Fairy has visited Starbucks with this #Racetogether hashtag. Good luck with that.
— Vincent (@VinShu_ESQ) March 17, 2015
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.
Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a bipartisan bill to help victims of human trafficking due to their opposition to anti-abortion language in the bill, a move that once again showed the unwillingness of Democrats to allow any bill to move ahead unless it’s free of language they oppose.
The Senate needed 60 votes to advance one version of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, but fell short in a 55-43 vote. A few Democrats voted with Republicans, but not enough to reach the 60 votes needed.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi has given Hillary Clinton another two weeks to collect her work-related emails from her time as secretary of state, after Clinton asked for more time to meet the terms of a subpoena that the committee issued on March 4.
The committee’s subpoena initially asked Clinton turn over all her Benghazi-related emails by March 13. But before that deadline, Clinton’s team asked for more time, and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) agreed to extend the deadline for another two weeks, until March 27.
Last year we wrote about Liberty Island, a publishing house created by longtime industry executive Adam Bellow to help independent authors see their conservative and libertarian-themed fiction titles come to life. The broader mission of the company as we noted is to help foster the right-oriented counterculture, in an effort to compete against the left in the war of ideas.
The fruits of the efforts of Liberty Island are beginning to come to fruition, with one of its new titles Roy Griffis’ “The Big Bang,” a post-apocalyptic thriller in which America is under attack by an unholy alliance of jihadists and the Communist Chinese, and a man known as “Lonesome George” rises from the ashes to lead the resistance.
Below is a Blaze Books exclusive excerpt from the book for your reading pleasure:
A hooded man carrying a sword approached the kid. Whistler couldn’t figure it out. Back when there was a local government, his county had a hell of a time getting people to show up for jury duty. Yet, somehow, the Mullahs never had any problem recruiting Soldiers of Allah, brave lads all, who were happy to chop the head off a defenseless human being.
The kid…ah, the MinuteMen had said his name, but there had been so many names, Whistler lost track of them. He remembered the boy, though. The Apache Scout was how his memory was stored in Whistler’s mind. The Apache Scout looked up at the approaching executioner, then spat on the ground at the Mullah’s feet. He shouted something, and even though two other Soldiers of Allah were on either side of him, he shrugged them off like a bull shaking a rat from its haunches and climbed to his feet. The Scout said something very clearly, directly to the Mullahs.
Of course, the Mullahs had killed the audio, but the MinuteMen had gotten lip readers on the video. Even now, Whistler could hear the slight Texas accent of the female American who relayed the Scout’s words. “I rode with President Bush, and a bunch of you bastards got an express ticket to Allah. Let me show you how an American dies, you pigs.”
The Scout turned and faced his executioner. He spat again and contemptuously turned his back to the man with the sword.
Whistler reckoned Lonesome George had seen too many of his men die that way. It didn’t stop him, but it cost him. George’s hair was dead white now, at least in the last picture Whistler had seen.
Vibrations under his feet pulled Whistler back to the present, rumbling through the road, through the buildings. Once they would have been lost in the flurry of pounding commuter traffic. Now the vibrations were solitary, distinctive; there was no competition from other automobiles.
Then he could smell them. Not the soldiers, although on a warm day you could always smell the Yemeni recruits. They hadn’t gotten used to the abundance of running water in the larger cities, and still relied on traditional desert methods of hygiene (or the lack thereof). No, what Whistler smelled was the diesel. Straight-up, glow-plug burnin’, dead dinosaur juice. That was almost always the tip-off. Resistance machines used bio-diesel; usually they smelled like deep fryers. It was a hell of a thing to be in the middle of a fire fight, a s**t-storm of blood and bullets, and find yourself briefly above it all, musing, “God damn, I miss McDonalds’ fries.”
Title: The Big Bang
Author: Roy M Griffis
House Republicans on Tuesday will introduce a budget plan that eliminates the budget deficit within 10 years, repeals Obamacare, and gives more power to states to make choices about issues such as education.
The introduction of the GOP’s ‘balanced budget for a stronger America’ will mark the start of budget season in Washington, that time of the year when several factions will lay out competing visions of what the next fiscal decade should look like for Washington. Several Democratic versions of a budget will also pop up, as will a proposal from the conservative Republican Study Committee, which will likely call for steeper cuts to get to balance more quickly.
In honor of President Obama’s visit to his show, Jimmy Kimmel sent his camera crew out to Hollywood Boulevard to ask people their opinions on recent actions taken by the president.
There was just one small problem with the list of things people were questioned about: President Obama never did any of them.
From Obama’s decision not to circumcise his newborn son Marcus, to the appointment of Dennis Rodman as America’s ambassador to North Korea, people were willing to share their thoughts on a wide array of things that never happened.
Jimmy Kimmel’s “Lie Witness News, President Obama Edition”:
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.
Officials at the Social Security Administration reported to Congress Monday that hundreds of people each month and several thousand each year are considered as “dead” by the federal government, even though they’re alive.
“There are less than 1,000 cases each month in which a living individual is mistakenly included on the death master file,” Patrick O’Carroll, Jr., SSA’s Inspector General told a Senate hearing.
Senate Republicans on Tuesday morning will dare Democrats to vote against a bill to help victims of human trafficking, something Democrats seem likely to do because of their opposition to anti-abortion language on the bill.
The bill is the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, and the two parties fought all last week about abortion-related language in the bill. Democrats don’t like the language saying a victims compensation fund can’t be used for abortion, but Republicans say the language was in the bill from the start, and mirrors other limits on abortion spending with the use of public funds.
Four days after it was first asked, the State Department still can’t say if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a “separation form” certifying that she handed over all her work-related documents to the government before leaving in 2013.
The issue of whether she signed the so-called OF-109 form is potentially important, since could still be discovered that Clinton kept some documents in her personal email, which she only gave back to the State Department last year. Republicans suspect she has yet to hand over all her work documents even today.
In this week’s episode of The Church Boys, we have a serious, news-making interview with Gordon College President Michael Lindsay. Don’t miss it.
But as good as that is, it might not be the best part: While examining the Hillary Clinton email scandal, we uncover what may actually be the most disturbing part of the most recent Clintonian stain on America — beyond the lies and possible security breaches.
Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch is facing a new obstacle to being confirmed by the Senate, as Republicans say they won’t set up a vote for her until Democrats first agree to finish up work on legislation that they have opposed because it includes anti-abortion language.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said initially that he would allow a vote on Lynch this week. But on Sunday, he said those plans have changed, and that instead he would look to force the Democrats to accept anti-abortion language in a bill aimed at helping victims of human trafficking.