Here’s How Sheriff Joe Could Use A Drunk-Driving Case To Kill Obama’s Executive Amnesty

Photo Credit: Flickr (Gage Skidmore)

Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio has already acted to strengthen his lawsuit challenging President Obama’s executive action on amnesty — he’s already filed court papers citing Tuesday’s surprise ruling by a federal judge in Pennsylvania that Obama’s amnesty order is unconstitutional.

As Western Journalism reported yesterday, a federal court has determined that Obama’s unilateral action to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation violates the Constitution.

While that finding doesn’t mean that Obama’s controversial order is invalidated, it does provide powerful ammunition for others who want the courts to stop the president’s action from taking effect.

As reported at, the ruling is reverberating through court cases currently in process, including the multi-state challenge led by Texas as well as Sheriff Joe’s anti-amnesty fight:

Both Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed papers late Tuesday night in their respective challenges to Mr. Obama’s amnesty, saying the Pennsylvania judge’s ruling adds heft to their own attacks.

The D.C. court that’s considering Sheriff Joe’s case has scheduled a hearing for next week on the possible issuance of a preliminary injunction to halt the president’s amnesty order.

Curiously, the blockbuster opinion issued by the Pennsylvania federal judge was tucked in his findings regarding the drunk-driving case of an illegal immigrant.

National Journal notes that in researching the case, the court requested information from the federal government over whether Obama’s executive action applied.

…in [Judge] Schwab’s opinion, the first priority is to “determine whether the Executive Action is constitutional.” And he determined that it wasn’t.

“The Court holds that the Executive Action is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution,” he wrote.

This is reportedly the first federal court ruling on Obama’s executive action and the first new opinion that gives opponents of the president’s order a significant boost in their challenges.

There are currently 24 states suing the president over his executive action on amnesty.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

US And Cuba To Normalize Relations

Photo credit: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador (Flickr)

The US and Cuba have agreed to normalize relations and open economic and travel ties, American officials said Wednesday.

The US and Cuba have long had an adversarial relationship with each other, stretching back to the Cold War.

The announcement of the agreement came after the release of US prisoner Alan Gross and a US spy held in Cuba. Also, three Cubans held in US jails were released.

President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro spoke by phone for more than 45 minutes Tuesday, marking the first substantive presidential discussion between the two countries since 1961.

Obama and Castro both addressed their countries at noon EST.

The announcement Wednesday followed secret talks held for more than a year between the US and Cuba. The talks were held in Canada and the Vatican. Pope Francis is said to have been a key player in the talks and sent letters to both Obama and Castro, urging them to normalize relations.

The US will soon open an embassy in Havana as part of the process of normalization of relations. The US is easing travel bans to the country, allowing for family visits, educational activities, and US governmental business–although tourist travel remains banned.

Furthermore, licensed American travelers will be allowed to return with goods valued at $400 or less, including $100 or less for alcohol and tobacco products. This means the ban on Cuban cigars is over, although there is still the $100 limit.

Obama does not have full authority to lift the economic embargo on Cuba, due to that being enacted by Congress. Officials said that he would welcome Congress taking action on it, though.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) criticized the deal, saying it did nothing to fix Cuba’s political system or human rights record. He stated: “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.”

What do you think? Is the Obama decision on Cuba a positive or negative step forward?


h/t: Associated Press

Photo credit: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

244 Years Ago Today, A Musical Genius Was Baptized


He was a peer of Mozart and a pupil of the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn.

He encouraged the young Hungarian pianist Franz Liszt and the young Austrian composer Franz Schubert.

He met with German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

This was Ludwig van Beethoven, baptized DECEMBER 17, 1770, in Bonn, Germany.

He was first taught to play by his harsh father, who became an alcoholic.

After his mother died, Beethoven took responsibility to support the family.

Beethoven fell in love with the daughter of a Hungarian Countess to whom he was giving piano lessons, but since he was a commoner, she was not allowed to marry him.

He later dedicated his “Moonlight” Sonata No. 14 to her.

Beethoven started going deaf at age 28.

In 1801, he wrote:

“No friend have I. I must live by myself alone; but I know well that God is nearer to me than others in my art, so I will walk fearlessly with Him.”

Beethoven spent a small fortune caring for his brother, Carl, who had tuberculosis.

When Carl died, Beethoven became part-guardian of his son.

Beethoven appealed to his other brother, Johann, to marry the woman he was cohabitating with.

In 1811, a failed attempt at performing his Piano Concerto No. 5 resulted in him never performing publicly again.

He continued writing, and produced some of the world’s most beautiful symphonies, concertos, and sonatas.

He planned to dedicate his Third Symphony to Napoleon, but when it became clear Napoleon had imperial plans to usurp power, Beethoven scratched his name off the title page so violently a hole was made in the paper.

When Napoleon bombarded Vienna in 1809, Beethoven thought the cannon noise would destroy what was left of his hearing, so he hid in his brother’s basement with pillows over his ears.

Beethoven finished his famous Ninth Symphony when he was completely deaf.

At the conclusion of its first public performance, he turned around to see the audience applauding tumultuously, but could hear nothing, and wept.

In his Ninth Symphony, Beethoven included a 4th movement, which was a choral setting of Friedrich Schiller’s poem, “Ode to Joy”.

Beethoven fell ill, and during a storm, March 26, 1827, he died when there was a peal of thunder.

He was 56 years old.

President Jimmy Carter noted while visiting Bonn, July 14, 1978:

“As the world’s people speak and work and live together, we all could well remember the poem of Friedrich Schiller, immortally put to music by the great Beethoven, a son of Bonn, the ‘Ode to Joy’:

“‘Alle Menschen werden Bruder Wo dein sanfter Flitg el weilt.’ [‘All mankind shall be brothers where thy gentle wings abide.’]”

Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is also used as the tune of Princeton professor Henry Van Dyke’s hymn “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.”

A few years before Beethoven died, a traditional Christmas carol, “The First Noel,” was published in Carols Ancient and Modern (1823), edited by William Sandys.

“The First Noel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from country far
To seek for a King was their intent
And to follow the star wherever it went.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest
O’er Bethlehem it took its rest
And there it did both Pause and stay
Right o’er the place where Jesus lay.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then entered in those wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee
And offered there in His presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!”

Supreme Court Justice Jackson wrote in McCollum v. Board of Education, 1948:

“It would not seem practical to teach…the arts if we are to forbid exposure of youth to any religious influences. Music without sacred music…would be…incomplete, even from a secular point of view.”


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Photo Credit: New Visions (Flickr)

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

WATCH: What Made ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson Cry Could Make You Do The Same


It was an epic act of kindness and generosity — an awesome show of support for a family friend.

The Robertson clan of “Duck Dynasty” fame opened their hearts and their wallets recently to surprise an elderly woman with a Christmas gift that certainly wouldn’t fit under the tree…at least not the indoor variety.

Riding in her son’s car, Theressa Lewis arrived at a house in front of which the Robertsons and members of Theressa’s family were excitedly gathered. That’s when she learned that the house was hers — the Robertsons gave it to her.

Via, we learn what Robertson patriarch Phil said as the group prayed together inside Theressa’s new home:

“Father, we just give you a great big thank you for Theressa and all of her family,” he began, his voice shaking with emotion.

“Father, as you know, I don’t cry that much, but on behalf of my sister and her kids and her grandkids, just hard to stop the tears.”

By clicking on the video above, you can watch the moving moment from “Duck Dynasty” when the spirit of an unforgettable Christmas filled hearts of the show’s cast, crew and fans with joy.


H/T:      Image Credit: youtube|A&E

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Ex-CIA Official: Democrats Were Fully Aware Of Interrogation Methods


On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace interviewed the former director of the National Clandestine Service of the CIA, Jose Rodriguez, who oversaw the agency’s interrogation program.  Rodriguez said that Rep. Nancy Pelosi “knew every one of our enhanced interrogations” and was briefed on specific methods like waterboarding, sleep deprivation, pushing, and slapping just after Congress’ summer break.

“We briefed her specifically on the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubayda.  So she knew, back in September of 2002, every one of our enhanced interrogation techniques.”

The former CIA Director told the Fox News host:

“These people were fully aware of all of the techniques that were given to us and approved by the Office of Legal Counsel at Justice.”

Rodriguez added that Nancy Pelosi “never objected to the techniques at all.”

He said that California congresswoman Jane Harman (D) was the only person who ever objected to the CIA’s practices when she cautioned the director in 2003 that “the perception will be in the future that you did this to hide something.”

Rodriguez went on to say that Jay Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was well-informed with the Agency’s tactics and requested specific information from the 2004 Inspector General’s report.

“So, all of these people knew exactly what we were doing.”

(h/t: Townhall)

Image credit:  Fox News Sunday screenshot

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom