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Tags: Trump | Unlikely | to-Get | Buffalo-Bills | Laura Ingraham Political Run | Detroit Rail Boondoggle | Iraqs Christians Need Urgent US Response

Trump 'Unlikely' to Get Buffalo Bills; Laura Ingraham Mulling Political Run; Detroit Rail Slammed as 'Boondoggle'

By    |   Sunday, 03 August 2014 02:58 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obama in 2007: Iraq's Christians Need 'Urgent' US Response
2. Laura Ingraham Mulling Political Bid
3. Donald Trump: 'Very Unlikely' I'll Buy Buffalo Bills
4. Three Cities Have Dominated as US Murder Capital
5. Hollywood in Deal to Save Kodak's Movie Film Business
6. Detroit's Rail Project: America's 'Greatest Boondoggle'?


1. Obama in 2007: Iraq's Christians Need 'Urgent' US Response

As a U.S. senator and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2007, Barack Obama wrote to the secretary of state urging U.S. action on behalf of persecuted Christians in Iraq.

But now that he is in the White House, Obama has ignored calls for the administration to take steps to protect those Christians.

Obama's letter, addressed to Condoleezza Rice and dated Sept. 11, 2007, asserted that Iraq's Christians "appear to be targeted by Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish militants," and said the situation requires "an urgent response."

Christians and their churches came under attack in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. But the situation has worsened recently with the rise of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS), which has seized control of large portions of the two nations.

The group captured the city of Mosul in June, and ordered Christians who had not yet fled to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. Those who did flee had to leave behind most of their possessions.

"The impossible ultimatum from the merciless Islamists has forced those who had tried to stay in Mosul after it was taken over last month to flee," said Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of the Barnabas Fund, which supports minority Christians in Muslim countries.

"The militants took everything from them, leaving them destitute."

Despite many years of persecution of Christians in Iraq, "the Obama administration repeatedly has ignored recommendations by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent statutory body, for Iraq to be designated a 'country of particular concern' (CPC) for religious freedom violations," CNS News reported.

A CPC designation empowers the administration to impose sanctions or take other measures to "generate improved behavior from governments which either themselves violate citizens' religious freedom, or allow others to do so," according to CNS.

The USCIRF has also raised concerns about persecution of other Iraqi religious minorities.

President Obama, then, might reread his 2007 letter, which stated in part: "The severe violations of religious freedom faced by members of these indigenous communities, and their potential extinction from their ancient homeland, is deeply alarming in light of our mission to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. "These crises demand an urgent response from our government."

Editor's Note:


2. Laura Ingraham Mulling Political Bid

Conservative talk radio host and frequent Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham says she has an "open mind" about running for political office.

"I've been approached by various people to get involved," Ingraham, a former speechwriter in the Reagan administration, told London’s Sunday Times newspaper.

"I'm keeping an open mind about running for office in the future."

She gave no hint as to what office she might seek, or where she might run. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.

A staunch opponent of amnesty for illegal immigrants, Ingraham has gotten involved in several political campaigns this election cycle. She headlined a rally that helped anti-amnesty candidate Dave Brat to a stunning primary victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia.

She recently attended a rally in Tennessee supporting state Rep. Joe Carr, another anti-amnesty candidate, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander in the Aug. 7 primary. Alexander has backed a compromise deal that could grant a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Ingraham, 50, whose radio show is heard on more than 300 stations, "is fast becoming the most powerful conservative voice denouncing any compromise on immigration and calling for the deportation of the Latin American children who are amassing on the southern border of the United States," the Times' Toby Harnden observed.

At the Carr rally, Ingraham charged that President Barack Obama is "fomenting a crisis at our border that seeks to undermine the very fabric of American rule of law, our sovereignty, our national identity."

Carr said Ingraham's endorsement of his campaign is "huge" and "real important."

Editor's Note:


3. Donald Trump: 'Very Unlikely' I'll Buy Buffalo Bills

Billionaire Donald Trump has submitted a bid to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills, but he's not very confident that he will win the bidding and purchase the football team.

"We'll see what happens. Everybody knows I'm bidding," he told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren on Monday. "But many other people will be bidding.

"I would say the chances are very, very unlikely because I'm not going to do something totally stupid — maybe a little stupid, but not totally stupid."

Trump added that he is someone who “likes to buy for the right price, and right now you're seeing pricing of certain types of assets, including real estate, that are going through the roof."

Michael Cohen, executive vice president and special counsel to Trump, said in comments reported by the Buffalo News: "He's referring to the crazy-number bid on the L.A. Clippers ($2 billion). His thought is that somebody may come in with some stupid number. Donald Trump is not going to chase stupid."

Trump submitted his bid on Tuesday to Morgan Stanley. The firm is handling the sale for the estate of Ralph Wilson, who founded the Bills in 1960 and died in March at age 95.

A group that includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi and Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, also submitted a bid before the Tuesday 5 p.m. deadline. Tanenbaum's company owns the NBA's Toronto Raptors and the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs.

Pennsylvania fracking mogul Terry Pegula, who owns the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, submitted a bid as well. Forbes recently valued the Bills at $870 million, but the Buffalo News cited a report that Pegula's bid was $1.3 billion.

Bidders submitted to Morgan Stanley a "first letter of indication," which includes their initial and non-binding bid to buy the team, the New York Post reported.

Bidders will now be granted further access to the Bills' financial data before they submit further bids. According to the Post, an owner could be chosen as early as late August.

Editor's Note:


4. Three Cities Have Dominated as US Murder Capital

Between 1985 and 2012, three U.S. cities have most often had the highest murder rate for the year — New Orleans, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. — but the most recent murder capital is Flint, Mich.

After a shocking spate of 82 shootings recorded in Chicago over the July 4 weekend, including 16 shooting deaths, the Pew Research Center examined murder over the years and found that Chicago has not once led the country in murders per capita during the 28-year period.

In 2012, Chicago had 500 murders, the most in the country, according to the FBI. (The 2013 figures have not yet been released.) But the city's population, 2.7 million, is the third largest in the country after New York and Los Angeles.

So Pew calculates that Chicago had 18.5 murders per 100,000 population, the 21st highest rate among cities with a population of at least 100,000 in 2012.

In contrast, Flint had 62 murders per 100,000 that year. Next was Detroit with 54.6 murders per 100,000, followed by New Orleans (53.2), and Jackson, Miss. (35.8).

The national murder rate was 4.7.

New Orleans has most often been cited as the nation's murder capital since 1985 — 12 times.

Detroit had the highest rate from 1985 through 1987. In 1998, Washington was at the top of the list, a position it held for the next four years as well. Then in 2003, 2004, and 2005, New Orleans led the nation.

Washington took over the top spot again in 1996. The next year, Richmond, Va., was the leader, and Washington regained the top spot the following two years.

From 2000 through 2004, New Orleans had the highest murder rate. In 2005, Birmingham, Ala., was at the top — although New Orleans did not report data in 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina struck. Detroit was the capital again in 2006, New Orleans from 2007 through 2009, and Flint in 2010.

After New Orleans returned to the top in 2011, Flint regained that position in 2012.

The highest rate recorded over the period that Pew studied was 94.7 murders per 100,000 population, in New Orleans in 2007.

Editor's Note:


5. Hollywood in Deal to Save Kodak's Movie Film Business

A group of Hollywood studios has worked out a deal to save Eastman Kodak Company's motion-picture film business in the wake of plummeting film sales in recent years.

The deal, first disclosed by The Wall Street Journal, would have the studios promise to buy a set quantity of film for the next several years, even though most movies and television shows are now shot on digital video and do not require film.

Kodak's movie film sales have fallen 96 percent since 2006, from 12.4 billion linear feet to an estimated 449 million feet this year. Fujifilm Corp. discontinued movie film production last year, and Kodak is the only major company still producing the film.

Before negotiations with the studios began, Kodak was seriously considering shuttering its Rochester, N.Y., film manufacturing plant, according to The Journal.

Several big-name directors lobbied the heads of Hollywood studios to keep Kodak from shutting down production.

Among them is Quentin Tarantino, whose directorial works include "Pulp Fiction" and "Inglourious Basterds." He shoots his movies on film.

"I believe that digital format represents the death of cinema as I know it," he said at this year's Cannes Film Festival. "Screening in digital format is like turning on the television. That's not what film is about."

Judd Apatow, director of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and other hits, said, "It would be a tragedy if suddenly directors didn't have the opportunity to shoot on film." He is shooting his latest movie, "Trainwreck," on film.

The first movie shot entirely digitally was "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones" in 2002. But J.J. Adams, who is directing "Star Wars Episode VII," is shooting the movie on film.

The studios involved in the deal include Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Wall Disney Studios.

Kodak, which emerged from a 20-month bankruptcy reorganization last year, confirmed on Wednesday that it was working on the deal.

The company was founded by George Eastman in 1888, and in 1976 accounted for 90 percent of all photographic film sales in the United States.

But The Journal cautioned that "it remains to be seen whether film will find enough adherents to remain economically viable in the years to come."

Editor's Note:


6. Detroit's Rail Project: America's 'Greatest Boondoggle'?

Detroit is bankrupt. The city has lost a quarter of its population in 10 years and is blighted by more than 70,000 abandoned buildings.

So what the Motor City needs the most is . . . a brand-new $137 million light rail line?

Detroit is breaking ground on the 3.3-mile line that is scheduled for completion in 2016.

In an article headlined "Is Detroit's New Light Rail Line America's Greatest Boondoggle?" Jim Epstein of Reason.com points to the "twisted logic behind one of the most confounding urban development projects of our time."

He asks how "sane people" could think that "a bankrupt city should build a wildly expensive rail line on a partially deserted avenue in a neighborhood awash in cheap parking."

The federal government is contributing more than $41 million to build the line, including $25 million in cash and $16 million in tax incentives, and supporters have asked for another $12 million. The Kresge Foundation, which is headquartered in nearby Troy, Mich., has pledged about $35 million.

Epstein notes that Detroit extends over 139 square miles, but the rail line will serve only those riders traveling from one spot to another along a three-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue.

"Buses, on the other hand, have the capacity to weave through neighborhoods, giving commuters what they most desire, which is to move as quickly as possible from one location to another with the least amount of hassle," Epstein writes.

Buses are also less expensive to operate and maintain than a rail line.

Epstein asserts that even if every car on the train line is filled to capacity, the line's proposed $1.50 fare wouldn't come close to paying its operating expenses.

Detroit already has one money-losing rail line, the "People Mover," which has been running near-empty trains in a three-mile loop since it opened in 1987.

Detroit's population fell 25 percent between 2000 and the 2010 Census, and its 713,000 population is far less than half its 1950 peak of 1.8 million. The city filed for bankruptcy in July 2013, and in December a judge declared the city bankrupt, citing $18.5 billion in debt.

Yet Epstein adds that "light rail is destined to become another monument in Detroit's graveyard of failed renewal projects."

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Editor's Note:


Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Obama in 2007: Iraq's Christians Need 'Urgent' US Response 2. Laura Ingraham Mulling Political Bid 3. Donald Trump: 'Very Unlikely' I'll Buy Buffalo Bills 4. Three Cities Have Dominated as US Murder Capital 5....
Trump, Unlikely, to-Get, Buffalo-Bills, Laura Ingraham Political Run, Detroit Rail Boondoggle, Iraqs Christians Need Urgent US Response, Three Cities Have Dominated as US Murder Capital, Hollywood in Deal to Save Kodaks Movie Film Business
Sunday, 03 August 2014 02:58 PM
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