Beltway Insider: Obama/Trickledown Agenda; Students/Journos Murdered; Flint; Killer Winter Storm

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President Barack Obama met this week, for last time as he embarks on his end of term duties, with America's Mayors hoping to motivate them to see beyond the chronic challenges that may not present solutions under their term.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, increased one percentage point to 48% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased two percentage points to 47%.

Obama Meets with U.S. Mayors

President Obama has begun his end of term schedules, hoping to motivate and encourage those civil servants and elected leaders to see beyond the chronic challenges faced within American Cities.

"Mayors can't wait for Congress.  Mayors can't get stuck in partisan gridlock. If you're a mayor, nobody cares what your party is, they care what you're getting done.  Your constituents expect results," the President said in his opening remarks.

President Obama appears to be setting his own agenda for the remaining days of his terms. His efforts over the past seven years have seen great change, large gains, some efforts that didn't pay off and others performed beyond expectations.

His agenda that directly effects the people that he can implement without bi-partisan debate, stall, breakdown and political hostage leveraging, he will.

"And that's why I think on so many issues -- from fighting for working families to combatting climate change, to expanding high-tech jobs, to increasing the minimum wage -- we have been able to work together to get a lot of things done.  In fact, about 40 cities and counties have taken action to raise the minimum wage.  Forty have taken action on paid family leave and paid sick leave," the president said.

Flint, Michigan mayor Karen Weaver, newly elected, facing her first U.S. Mayor conference was called out by President Obama as one who inherited an intolerable situation, and her city is not the only city in America where the towns and townships could benefit from the water infrastructure package the president announced.

With pictures of lead laden rust water released around the world, the President made his agenda for Flint, Michigan clear. Clean it up and you can count on this administration for assistance.

Violence, and the impact of violence in American cities dominate the U.S. Conference. Mass Killing, Shooting and wounds to the American psyche are weighing heavily on the electorate.

Taliban Fringe Group Claims Responsibility for Pakistan University Attack; Kills Journalists

Members of Pakistan's Taliban fringe Terrorists organization, Tehrik-i-Taliban, have claimed responsibility for the recent attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, Pakistan, that left 20 students, teachers and security guards dead and sixty more injured.

"We offer our deepest condolences to the victims of the attacks and to their families, and we stand with the people of the region against all forms of extremism and terrorism," said Ned Prince NCS Spokesperson.

Reports indicated several gunmen, some equipped with suicide vest opened fire on Bacha Khan University. It was reported that more than 200 students were rescued from the buildings. Four of the attackers were also killed in the cross fire.

Know terror groups loyal to the Taliban, al-Qaida, Boko Haran, al-Shabaab and The Islamic State fighters are responsible for 31 of the recorded 56 terror attacks that have occurred as of January 24, 2016. . The others are fringe groups related to specific conflicts including the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Over the course of this week, a media van owned by Moby Media Group was targeted in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing seven of the company's local journalist's including two women and injuring 25 more.

The suicide car bomb detonated close to the Russian embassy where the journalists were convening.

"These reprehensible attacks, against students and teachers in Pakistan and members of the media in Afghanistan, underscore the ongoing threat that terrorists pose to the region and to the peaceful and prosperous future we seek to build together," Price said.

Also Beltway Insider: Obama/State of the Union, US/Iran, ISIS Strikes; Election 2016, Penn/El Chapo

Politicians Caught in Flint, Michigan Contaminated Water Crisis

President Obama recently signed legislation at the request of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, declaring "an emergency exists in the State of Michigan" making the state eligible for federal assistance in handling the water contamination crisis.

Flint, Where?

Flint, Michigan, once synonymous as the home to American automobile manufacturing picturesque booming suburbs, blue collar, middle income workers earning a solid six, and overtime, living the American dream.

Soon the city nicknamed "Vehicle City" was suffering in a domino effect as city after city throughout the steel belt, the Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, tri-state region, was dying a slow painful death. Pink slips, massive lay-off, unheard of news, rumors surely, General Motors would not be closing the plant.

It was the 1980's and the once bright future dimmed as manufacturing died. The Buick and Chevy's both manufactured in Flint were gone. Plant not only closed, they were demolished. It was as if someone somewhere wanted to wipe off the American made automobile off face of the map. The cities that a nation was built on the manufacturing cities by the Lakes. Not even shopping for a buyer for the cavernous buildings, turnkey for manufacturing or stripped for movie soundstages.

Now the once vibrant city has another title and is known as one of the Most Dangerous cities in America. The decay and crime of course go hand in hand, as the residents were left to their own end. Homes bought and invested in during the boom were the only safe reminder of the past. Leaving wasn't ever an option.

Flint, Michigan, for all intents and purposes, has been ignored like an amputee whom everyone knows the war, which brought on the catastrophe, could have been prevented.

Of course, with a new title comes new opportunity. And as one understand in good days, when everyone shared the wealth, now in bad times the crime wave shakes every hand including those at city hall and determines who is expendable.

Those who once bore the burdens of the manufacturing revolution now bear the brunt of the extinguished flame.

How Could This Happen

The Flint Water Crisis has its beginnings in a transfer of water source, originally planned for April 2014, from the local Flint River to a regional water system. A cost saving measure, the local government believed, although no precautionary test results has been released, the water was safe. At least safe enough for the short term plans.

Complaints began immediately as resident noticed discoloration, smell, and taste issues.

Beginning in the summer of 2014 residents understood an issue was developing. Three separate "boil water" advisories were issued in twenty-two days after positive tests for coliform bacteria.

Residents obviously concerns adhere to impending health related issues and take precautions. Politicians however didn't have the same level of concern. One of the remaining General Motors engine plant stops using Flint River water as its use rusts parts.

The exposure rate and long term effects are, unfortunately, not at this time available or accurate. Approximately 8,567 children, who are most susceptible for Lead Poisoning, have been exposed. That figure is based on census data of children registered in the community. Total number of exposed children have yet to be determined.

Unborn children, fetal contamination or exposure has yet to be measured or included. With the population predominately expendable, no longer the backbone of the manufacturing industry, the truths may never be known.

Disaster Relief Efforts

Specific to the water contamination crisis and the federal government's active involvement authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.

For the citizens and residents effected, this action is too little too late. Fortunately it brings the situation into the national conversation and hold those politicians once thought impenetrable, to task on the specifics which caused the disaster.

Financially it also frees up 5million dollars immediately to be utilized in the community. Which may very well be another avenue for corruption to come between relief and resident.

The efforts by FEMA and Homeland are time sensitive allowing state leaders to get a handle on the issue and manage it. Residents are encouraged to be completely aware of the services available to them through this declaration.  It is necessary for any resident of Flint who believes they have been adversely affected to maintain specific records and file those disaster claims on a timely basis.

 "Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.  This emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days.  Additionally, the President offered assistance in identifying other Federal agency capabilities that could support the recovery effort but do not require an emergency declaration under the Stafford Act."

Missing Marines

A dozen Marines who disappeared on night maneuvers over the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii have remained been declared dead after remaining unaccounted for over the last ten days after they did not return from the night exercises.

"As we mourn the loss we are reminded of the sacrifice and the willingness of our troops to complete dangerous training to prepare for any mission our nation asks of them will not be forgotten" the president said in a statement to the families.

The Marines belonged to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group, 24, 1st marine Aircraft Wing. The dozen, ranging in age from 21 to 41 were split between two CH-53E helicopters.

Witness indicated they saw two fireballs erupt when apparently the two helicopters crashed into each other.

The twelve killed were Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas, Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia, Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis, Missouri, Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, Florence, Alabama, Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24, Chaska, Minnesota, Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, Gardners, Pennsylvania, Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, Woodruff, South Carolina, Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, Florala, Alabama, Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, Aumsville, Oregon, Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, Spring Texas, Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, Fort Meyers, Florida, Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, Hingham, Massachesetts

Massive Winter Storm Jonas Brings Washington, East Coast Corridor to a Standstill

A deadly winter storm, that eventually affected 21 states, 85 million people, brought the nation's capital to a standstill as prognosticators proved correct and the center of the Winter Storm Jonas paralyzed Washington D.C. and the surrounding area with historic snowfall totals.

The District of Columbia which at 28.3 inches escaped within atmospheric inches of receiving the 30 to 40 inches totals that five states received as Jonas barrled his way up the eastern seaboard.

Nearby Glengary, WV., 87 miles northeast of the Capital, a small intersection of a town, received more than 40 inches from the two day perfect storm. Glengary's inhabitants were as stunned over the amount of snow as they were when the media showed up measure it.

West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York State and North Carolina are among the six states that received more than 30 inches of snow from Winter Storm Jonas. West Virginia and Maryland topped 40 inches of snow. Mount Mitchell, North Carolina topped all records accumulating a total of 66 inches.   

Jonas Turns Deadly

Weather modules predicted a killer storm. The public was warned of the potential treacherous conditions. Travel bans enforced the severity as Jonas barreled up the coast unleashing unprecedented and historic conditions.

To date at least 48 deaths have been attributed to the killer storm including the heartbreaking death of Briahna Gerloff, 18 and her unborn daughter, Kayliana of Pottstown, PA where 18" of snow left everyone snowbound. 

Days away from a scheduled Cesarean Section, Briahna felt she had to shovel the family's driveway and was found unconscious by her brother. The teen also suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a rare heart condition that affects only 3% of the population.

Carbon Monoxide, the silent killer, is also being blamed for multiple fatalities as motorists caught in sudden whiteout conditions, ill-prepared for roadside emergencies or stuck due to chain reaction traffic hazards attempted to keep warm while riding out the storm.

In hard hit New Jersey, a woman and her one year old son were overcome by Carbon Monoxide poisoning as they tried to keep warm while riding out the worst of it. A 78 year old female, so concerned over the road conditions decided to wait out the storm in a Burger King parking lot. She was found dead the next day.

Modules has predicted the intensity, and trajectory, at the point when it was expected to weaken it gain strength and barreled into Manhattan and New York State virtually shutting down the city that never sleeps.

Financial Toll

In addition to the human toll, the rough economic losses estimates indicate Jonas could cost between 500 million and 3 billion dollars in damages. Jonas ranks Number 4 on the worst and most economic crippling storms.

Governors issued travel bans in 21 states and mandated all residents to stay off the roads risking arrest and high fines. Upward of 13,000 flights had been cancelled as far west as Los Angeles experiencing delays and cancellation.


Digging out may take some time although forecasters are calling for temperatures in some areas in the high 40's, almost balmy.

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