L.A. NAACP Head Resigns, GOP Benghazi Probe Continues, Prostitution Sting to Be Livetweeted: P.M. Links

  • Dude, that was two years ago.The head of the Los Angeles
    chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
    People (NAACP)
    has resigned
    following the controversy regarding Clippers owner
    Donald Sterling’s racist language and his proposed (second)
    lifetime achievement award from the organization.
  • House Republicans will
    convene a special committee
    to investigate the Obama
    administration’s handling of the attacks on the American consulate
    in Benghazi, Libya, says House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). House
    Oversight Chariman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has subpoenaed Secretary
    of State John Kerry to testify.
  • The family of the boy who nibbled his breakfast pastry into the
    shape of a gun is
    still fighting
    with his school a year later over their
    disciplinary action against him.
  • Two Alaska State Troopers who appeared on a National Geographic
    channel reality show have been
    shot and killed
    after responding to a call in the small village
    of Tanana.
  • The Prince George, Maryland, Police Department says it’s going
    to
    livetweet a prostitution sting
    .
  • The mayor of Seattle has announced a deal to raise the minimum
    wage there to
    $15 an hour
    , the highest in the nation.

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content.

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Rapper Meek Mill Loses Lawsuit Over 10-Hour Traffic Stop in Philadelphia

bobThe
rapper Meek Mill lost a civil lawsuit over a 10-hour traffic stop
in North Philadelphia in 2012, with a jury deciding his Fourth
Amendment rights were not violated. The jury also read a note that
explained they believed both sides “were in the wrong and made
mistakes.” The note didn’t explain how Mill was in the wrong, but
he was reportedly on probation at the time.

Cops said they stopped Mill’s car because it had tinted windows,
and they said they held him because they smelled marijuana. But the
cops didn’t find any. The New York Post‘s Page Six

reports
Mill’s reaction the jury verdict:

“They ain’t from where I’m from,” Mill said softly of
the jury after they reached their decision. “I [don’t] really
expect them to understand what I go through.”

Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams, grew up in North
Philadelphia, where the stop occurred.

“I respect their decision, though,” he said.

One of the officers involved in the stop, Andre Boyer, was fired
last year for lying about another traffic stop; he had more
complaints by residents filed against him than any other cop in
Philadelphia. Mill’s defense attorney describes the claim that cops
smelled marijuana as a “pretext” often used to conduct rogue
searches. Mill was seeking $400,000 in lost income because the
lengthy traffic stop prevented him from making a flight to Atlanta
to promote the debut of his album.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court,
meanwhile
, ruled this week to roll back restrictions on when
cops can search vehicles. Cops no longer need “exigent
circumstances,” for example. Before the ruling, Pennsylvania
residents enjoyed a stricter interpretation of Fourth Amendment
rights than the one used in federal courts.

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NYPD Cops Can’t Stop Drunkenly Shooting at People This Week

There’s a saying that if something happens once
it’s a fluke, twice it’s a coincidence, and three times it’s a
trend. It would seem, then, that the latest trendy thing for New
York City cops is to get drunk and shoot at people. Within a recent
span of seven days:

  • On Wednesday, April 23, NYPD Detective Jay Poggi got drunk and

    accidently shot his partner
    in the wrist with a .38 revolver.
    Instead of calling an ambulance, Poggi decided to personally drive
    his wounded partner to the hospital—netting him a DWI after he blew
    a .113 on a blood alcohol test. Investigators
    believe the shooting occurred
    when the on-duty
    officers, who had just consumed 11 beers apiece, were firing the
    gun in the air. 
  • On Tuesday, April 29, NYPD Officer Brendan Cronin got wasted,
    got behind the wheel of his car, and while stopping at a red light
    took the opportunity to
    fire 13 shots at a nearby car
     for no apparent reason. The
    man driving the other car wound up taking six of these bullets,
    with one just missing his head. (He is now in stable condition.) A
    witness called 911 as Cronin fled the scene with his hazard lights
    blinking. When cops caught up with Cronin not long after, he was
    still driving with the hazards on and said he didn’t remember
    firing his gun.  
  • On Wednesday, April 30, off-duty NYPD Sgt. Wanda Anthony

    drunkenly shot at a woman’s car
    outside of New Jersey strip
    club in what’s being labled a “domestic dispute.” 

The week before all these shootings,
another three off-duty NYPD officers
were charged with driving
under the influence. In a press conference this week, NYPD
Commissioner William Bratton admitted
that perhaps the department had a “problem of inappropriate use of
alcohol by members of the department.” 

Also last week—right around the time Detective Poggi was tying
one on and firing his gun in the air like some sort of old-timey
prospector—the NYPD’s social media team asked
people to tweet photos
of themselves with city cops, using the
hashtag #MyNYPD. They were surprised when the results weren’t
entirely positive.

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Tonight, on a Can’t Miss Episode of The Independents: Paul Wolfowitz, Tom Ridge, and John Bolton Get Interrogated on Foreign Policy

Friday’s theme episode of The
Independents
(Fox Business Network, 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. PT)
is titled “Mad World,” and it’s about the mixed-up, shook-up planet
we live on, and what the United States government should (or
shouldn’t) do about it. Almost accidentally, the show has morphed
into a vigorous debate over George W. Bush-era foreign policy with
some of the principals involved.

He's at the American Enterprise Institute these days. |||Former Bush deputy secretary of
defense Paul
Wolfowitz
defends the Iraq War, elevates his former boss over
his former boss’s father, and rejects the historical premises of
the co-hosts. Original Department of Homeland Security secretary
Tom Ridge
defends the DHS and the Transportation Security Administration, and
rejects the notion that threat alerts were ever politicized. And
former U.S.
ambassador
 to the United Nations John Bolton tussles with
the co-hosts (and former Reagan-administration deputy defense
secretary K.T.
McFarland
) over drones, nukes, and red lines. These segments
are not what you would describe as typical exchanges on cable
television.

What about China?
Fox Business Network reporter
Jo Ling Kent and author Gordon Chang
provide some welcome context and expertise. Three-war vet and radio
host Bryan
Suits
talks about how military deployment creates libertarians,
and (of course!) there is a game in the middle of the show called
“Name That Dictator,” featuring contestants Tracy Byrnes and
Ellis Henican.

Follow The Independents on Facebook at http://ift.tt/QYHXdB;
follow on Twitter @ independentsFBN, and
click on this page
for more video of past segments. And yes, I’ll bump this post
later, you demanding so-and-sos.

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Less Than Half of the States Met their Obamacare Enrollment Targets

In the press release accompanying the administration’s Obamacare
enrollment report yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius declared that the 8 million people who had signed
up for private health plans in the law’s exchanges had “exceeded
expectations.” 

That depends on which expectations you’re referring to. Looked
at nationally, it’s true enough, at least if you count sign-ups
rather than paid enrollments. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
had initially expected 7 million people to gain private coverage
through the law in 2014, an estimate it revised down to 6 million
after the botched launch of the exchanges last of October. As of
April 19, slightly more than 8 million had signed up, according to
yesterday’s report. If you’re looking at actual enrollments, on the
other hand, and you assume a 15 to 20 percent attrition rate due to
non-payment of premiums, then the coverage total drops to somewhere
between 6 and 7 million, meaning it beat the CBO’s revised
expectations but not the initial projection.

But it’s also worth remembering that Obamacare enrollment varies
quite a bit by state. And some states beat their enrollment
projections handily, while others lagged far behind initial
estimates. An analysis
released today by the health consultancy Avalere Health compares
enrollment projections in each state with total reported sign-ups,
as well as with a lower figure that factors in a 15 point drop as a
result of non-payment of premiums. 

According to Avalere, 22 states met or exceeded enrollment
expectations, with the biggest overages appearing in Florida and
California, which even after attrition for non-payment hit 199 and
186 percent of their projected sign-ups, respectively. Another four
states came reasonably close to hitting their estimates, reaching
at least 90 percent of their projected total. Here it is in map
form: 

The rest of the states all came in lower, in some cases much
lower, than expected. Attrition-adjusted enrollment in the
Distriction of Columnia came in at 40 percent of expected
enrollment. Hawaii came in at 46 percent. Wisconsin came in at 57
percent. The figure that stands out the most is New York’s
attrition-adjusted enrollment, which is just 49 percent of the
expected total. That’s a bit unexpected considering that New York’s
existing mess of insurance regulations had
decimated the individual market
, and that it was one of the few
states where Obamacare’s rules were almost certain to bring down
individual market premiums from their previous highs. (Granted, the
state still managed to sign up 370,500 people, more than all but
three other states.) 

The report is a reminder is that, especially at first, Obamacare
is going to look and feel very different depending on what state
you’re in. In some places, you’ll see robust sign-ups and insurers
responding accordingly. In other states, you’ll see tiny markets.
Health plan providers are just not going to care as much about
doing business in those areas. 

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Battlefield Ukraine: Separatists With Missiles Shoot Down Helicopters

Eastern regions of Ukraine are battlegrounds
today. The government in Kiev has launched a full-fledged offensive
against pro-Russian militants, and there are reports of heavy
casualties. President Barack Obama is meeting today with German
Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the situation. The Putin
administration has condemned the operation, saying Ukraine just
extinguished any chance of a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The
United Nations held an emergency
meeting
that included U.S. Ambassador Samantha Powers.

There is no official tally of casualties from the fighting in
Donetsk and Sloviansk, but Ukraine’s interim president, Oleksandr
Turchynov, says the
operation left “many insurgents dead, wounded and arrested” and
accuses them of using human shields. He also
claims
that “armed saboteurs” from the Russian government were
fended off at the border in the night.

Separatists,
reportedly
armed with surface-to-air missiles, shot down two
military helicopters, killing two soldiers and injuring others.

In Odessa, there are ongoing clashes between pro-Russian and
pro-Ukrainian protesters. Agence France-Presse reports
three deaths from these skirmishes, and the Kyiv Post
reports 20 injured. Moscow Times reporter Howard Amos is
tweeting live updates and
photos
 (images above and below) of additional injuries and
deaths.

A Kremlin spokesman has
stated
, “While Russia is making efforts to de-escalate and
settle the conflict, the Kiev regime has turned to firing on
civilian towns with military aircraft and has begun a punitive
operation, effectively destroying the last hope of survival for the
Geneva accord.” Yesterday Russia demanded that Ukraine remove any
military presence from its own eastern territories or else face
catastrophic
consequences
.” 

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry
counters
that “despite calls of the international community,
the Russian Federation has taken no steps to de-escalate the
situation and fulfill the Geneva agreements. Russia strongly
supports the terrorist groups that operate in the eastern regions
of Ukraine, endangering civilians, seizing hostages and building
the atmosphere of terror and violence.”

Obama and Merkel both are threatening new sanctions against
Russia,
according
to The Guardian.

Here’s a video of the action in Odessa

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Washington’s Marijuana Regulators Pick Retail License Finalists

Today the Washington State Liquor Control
Board (LCB), which has received more than 2,100 applications for
the 334 marijuana retailer licenses it plans to award, posted
the results of the lotteries it conducted to winnow down the list
for each locality. The applicants with the lowest lottery numbers
will be first in line for licenses, assuming they pass muster with
the state. In Seattle, for instance, the LCB ranked 58 applicants
(out of more than 400) by lottery. Since it plans to license 21
stores in Seattle, the 21 applicants with the lowest numbers will
receive licenses if they meet the state’s requirements. If any of
them don’t, applicants further down the list
will have a chance
.

Licensees will also need local approval before they can open
stores. Nearly 100 cities and counties have imposed
temporary or permanent bans on marijuana businesses. Washington
Attorney General Bob Ferguson
says
 those bans are permitted by I-502, the state’s
legalization measure. The jurisdictions with bans include Yakima,
where the LCB nevertheless picked seven finalists for five
licenses, and Walla Walla, where three finalists are vying for two
licenses that won’t be worth much. Fifty or so local governments,
including Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma, have approved
interim or permanent zoning rules for cannabusinesses.

One of the retail license finalists is Scott O’Neill, manager of
Pacific Northwest Medical, a dispensary in Spokane owned by Sean
Green, who
received
Washington’s first marijuana cultivation license in
March. O’Neill ranks eighth on the lottery list for Spokane, which
had been allotted eight cannabis outlets. He hopes to open a store
at at 1919 East Francis Avenue, which is also the home of
Green’s Kouchlock Productions. The Spokane Spokesman
Review
 reports
that O’Neil “hopes to open the store by July if he can secure
marijuana from growers who are slowly being licensed.” So far the
LCB, which received more than 2,800 applications for cultivation
licenses, has awarded 25. The LCB
plans
to “begin issuing retail licenses no later than the first
week of July.” As O’Neill tells The Spokesman Review, “The
big question in the beginning is going to be getting product on the
shelves.”

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David Harsanyi on John Kerry’s ‘Apartheid’ Myth

After The Daily Beast released
excerpts of his warning world leaders that Israel would devolve
into an “apartheid” state if it failed to agree to a peace deal,
Secretary of State John Kerry walked back his comments. “If I could
rewind the tape,” he explained, “I would have chosen a different
word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term
to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side
by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution.”

This shouldn’t make anyone feel better, argues David Harsanyi.
It’s not just Kerry’s incendiary use of “apartheid” that’s the
problem but the well-worn canard about Israel that Kerry rests his
position on.

View this article.

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Nick Gillespie Talking Donald Sterling, Brendan Eich, the “Politicization of Just About Everything,” and More

The
good folks at Ace of Spades HQ had
me on their podcast last night. It’s a fun, wide-ranging discussion
about libertarianism, racism, Donald Sterling, and “the
politicization of just about everything.”

Click here
to listen in.

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Washington’

Today the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB), which has
received more than 2,100 applications for the 334 marijuana
retailer licenses it plans to award, posted
the results of the lotteries it conducted to winnow down the list
for each locality. The applicants with the lowest lottery numbers
will be first in line for licenses, assuming they pass muster with
the state. In Seattle, for instance, the LCB picked 58 applicants
(out of more than 400) by lottery. Since it plans to license 21
stores in Seattle, the 21 applicants with the lowest numbers will
receive licenses if they meet the state’s requirements. If any of
them don’t, applicants further down the list will have a
chance.

Licensees will also need local approval before they can open
stores. Nearly 100 cities and counties have imposed
temporary or permanent bans on marijuana businesses. Washington
Attorney General Bob Ferguson
says
 those bans are permitted by I-502, the state’s
legalization measure. The jurisdictions with bans include Yakima,
where the LCB nevertheless picked seven finalists for five
licenses, and Walla Walla, where three finalists are vying for two
licenses that won’t be worth much. Fifty or so local governments,
including Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma, have approved
interim or permanent zoning rules for cannabusinesses.

One of the retail license finalists is Scott O’Neill, manager of
Pacific Northwest Medical, a dispensary in Spokane owned by Sean
Green, who
received
Washington’s first marijuana cultivation license in
March. O’Neill ranks eighth on the lottery list for Spokane, which
had been allotted eight cannabis outlets. He hopes to open a store
at at 1919 East Francis Avenue, which is also the home of
Green’s Kouchlock Productions. The Spokane Spokesman
Review
 reports
that O’Neil “hopes to open the store by July if he can secure
marijuana from growers who are slowly being licensed.” So far the
LCB, which received more than 2,800 applications for cultivation
licenses, has awarded 25. The LCB
plans
to “begin issuing retail licenses no later than the first
week of July.” As O’Neill tells The Spokesman Review, “The
big question in the beginning is going to be getting product on the
shelves.”

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