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Colorado kids, church raise thousands to provide safety gear for local police

Caleb Landrum and Andrew Deeds, two elementary school students, recognized the danger law enforcement officers face every day. So they partnered with a Christian nonprofit to do something to protect the officers.

The kids partnered with the nonprofit Shield 616 to raise more than $14,000 to pay for helmets and protective vests for officers from two departments in Colorado, KCNC-TV reported.

“Cops should be saved, because they’re the ones that protect you,” Andrew said. “If there aren’t any cops, then you’re not safe, and then you can’t play at school.”

What’s the story?

Shield 616 is a nonprofit organization that has two primary goals:

First we want to equip every first responder with necessary, advanced active shooter/crowd control gear. Second, we want to provide a support group for that first responder who will pray for the first responder and his or her family on a daily basis and shower the first responder with support and encouragement throughout the year.

Shield616 raises funds to donate safety gear to financially struggling departments and replaces that gear every five years. The organization collaborates with local individuals, churches, and businesses to support this mission.

The organization’s name draws on Ephesians 6:16, which reads: “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

What did the kids do?

Caleb and Andrew answered the call. They raised the $14,000 by asking for donations door-to-door, reaching out to local businesses, and hosting bake sales.

According to KCNC, the two kids were motivated by the terrible thought that some families might not see their loved one return home from work one day.

“We both feel officers should come home safe and not be harmed because they also deserve to see their families,” Caleb told KCNC. “Now we know they’re safe. Now they can come home.”

A local church, Living Word Chapel, raised another $17,000 for police gear. In total, the donations paid for helmets and vests for 20 officers.

Teen could win $10,000 for patriotic prom tux made from duct tape. The back story is so inspiring.

A Brick, New Jersey, teen could win $10,000 for his prom tuxedo — which is made from duct tape and has a decidedly patriotic theme.

What are the details?

Nicholas Matawa, 18, reportedly spent 34 hours creating the tux, using 29 rolls of duct tape in the process.

He entered the design in the “Stuck at Prom” scholarship contest by Duck Brand for a chance to win $10,000 — which his mother says he plans to use for college, should judges select his tux as the winner.

Fox News reported on Wednesday that Matawa’s design is one of five finalists. You can see the other finalists here.

About his entry, Matawa says, “My prom’s theme was ‘Around the World’ so the first thing I thought to myself was that ‘Hey, I love my country, how do [i]ncorporate that into my project’ and I think that from head to toe I hit that feeling of patriotism that I was aiming for.”

“The hardest part of the project wasn’t working with the material, but rather locating the specific color or design of tape needed to complete the project,” he added. “Not every store stocks up with all the shades and prints that are available. A great example is when I was creating the shoes I wanted them to have a little more contrast so I decided I wanted to use a white sparkle duct tape, which took me trips to four different stores just to locate a single roll of it.”

“What surprises me the most is that whenever I mentioned to somebody that it (the tuxedo.) is made out of duct tape they are flabbergasted and amazed that such a feat can be achieved with duct tape and duct tape alone,” Matawa added in his entry.

What will he do if he wins?

He told Fox News that if he wins, Matawa wants to use the money to put toward tuition at Marshall University in West Virginia.

According to Fox, Matawa plans to study radio and television production, if he can afford to go.

Matawa’s mother, Renee Nitti, told NJ.com that his winning the contest is a deciding factor in if her son will be able to attend Marshall.

Nitti told the outlet that his financial aid assistance simply isn’t enough to cover the tuition, and that is why she and her son were seeking out scholarship opportunities through contests.

Matawa did wear the tux to prom in May.

The winner of the competition will be announced July 9.

What did the mayor say?

Last week, the mayor of Brick tweeted about Matawa and his desire to win the scholarship.

He wrote, “Ok Brick. Let’s support Nicholas Matawa. He’s up for a $10,000 scholarship. Prom tux out of duct tape. He’ll be going to Marshall Univ where the National Autism Training Center is licated [sic].”

Nitti told NJ.com that the family’s income is limited because she is a single mother who receives disability benefits.

What else?

Matawa also revealed that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s and cerebral palsy as a child.

A doctor once reportedly told Nitti that her son would be lucky if he even graduated from high school.

According to the outlet, Matawa is drawn to the school for its reputation of resilience — specifically after the 1970 jet crash that killed most of the university’s football team.

“It shows that they can overcome,” Matawa explained. “That perseverance is embodied in the student body there. … That really synchronized and was relevant to me as a person.”

Socialists descend upon DHS Secretary Nielsen’s dinner at Mexican restaurant: ‘The f***ing gall!’

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen got treated to number of uninvited guests at her dinner out in Washington, D.C. — Democratic Socialists who showed up to chant their displeasure over illegal immigrant children being separated from their parents at the border.

What happened?

The secretary was eating Tuesday evening at MXDC Cocina Mexicana when a group of 10 to 15 protesters entered the restaurant, Politico reported, citing the Washington Post.

Here’s the clip: (Content warning: Expect at least one F-bomb side with your order of Cuatro Quesos Fundidos):

“How dare you spend your evening here eating dinner as you’re complicit in the separation and deportation of over 10,000 children separated from their parents?” one protester hollered at the outset of the demonstration. “How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting and imprisoning tens of thousands of people who come here seeking asylum in the United States? We call on you to end family separation and abolish ICE!”

The group’s protest was streamed live on the Facebook page of the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America, Politico reported.

The message with the video noted, “We’re in downtown DC disrupting DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s dinner at MXDC. The irony isn’t lost on us that this is a Mexican restaurant. Nielsen has led the program to tear apart familes [sic]. We are here to tell her to put an end to separating families, to step down as head of the department, and that ICE and CBP must be abolished.”

Image source: Facebook video screenshot

Nielsen has become a focal point in the controversy over the administration of President Donald Trump to prosecute all illegal border crossers, which has forced the separation of children from their parents per federal law and longstanding DHS policy.

But Nielsen didn’t acknowledge the group.

Image source: Facebook video screenshot

Undeterred, the demonstrators hurled the following at her:

  • “End Texas concentration camps!”
  • “What’s your salary, Kirstjen? How much do you make locking up children?”
  • “Kirstjen Nielsen, you’re a villain, locking up immigrant children!”
  • “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace!”
  • “Do you hear the babies crying?”
  • “In a Mexican restaurant of all places! The f***ing gall!”
  • “No human being is illegal!”

A handful of other diners in the restaurant clapped along with the protesters, who remained inside for 10 to 15 minutes until Nielsen paid her check and left with her Secret Service detail, Politico said.

The secretary on Sunday pointed out how groups like the one that disrupted her dinner aren’t looking at some crucial facts:

A DHS spokesman offered the following statement to Politico about the protest:

“While having a work dinner tonight, the secretary and her staff heard from a small group of protesters who share her concern with our current immigration laws that have created a crisis on our southern border,” the spokesman told the outlet. “The secretary encourages all — including this group — who want to see an immigration system that works, that contributes to our economy, that protects our security, and that reflects our values to reach out to members of Congress and seek their support to close the terrible immigration loopholes that have made our system a mess.”

Texas billboard directs liberals to keep driving until they leave the state. It’s coming down soon.

A Texas billboard, which gained national attention for its message that directed liberals to keep on driving until they’ve left the state, will come down soon, according to USA Today.

“Liberals please continue on I-40 until you have left our GREAT STATE OF TEXAS,” the billboard says, as shown in a photo taken by Kyle Mccallie, who noticed the sign while driving to work.

It’s unclear who purchased the sign, but Randy Burkett, owner of Burkett Outdoor Advertising, which owns the billboard, told the newspaper that it would be taken down.

“I was shocked that it traveled that fast,” Burkett told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I believe in free speech, but this country is divided enough as it is. I’ve spoken with the client, and he’s agreed that it should come down. We’ll be reimbursing him.”

The sign sits along Interstate 40 just a few miles from Vega, which is about 35 miles west of Amarillo and 35 miles east of the New Mexico border.

What happened?

Mccallie posted the photo on Facebook Tuesday, and it quickly went viral.

The 25-year-old told TheBlaze that he supported the messaging on the sign and that he was unaware of plans to remove it.

“I absolutely think it should stay up! People shouldn’t be such snowflakes and get offended,” Mccallie told TheBlaze.

What else?

In protest, Roman Leal created a GoFundMe account on Tuesday to raise money for a billboard to counter the sign’s message to liberals:

We need a sign that represents the true, hospitable spirit of the great state of Texas. “Texas is for Everyone — Except Bigots” will go up on the Lamar digital billboard at I40 and Coulter. It will be visible to travelers and commuters driving along the interstate in Amarillo, giving us a chance to put our best boot forward. Meeting the campaign goal will keep the billboard up for 4 weeks. Any contributions exceeding the goal will be used to pay for a longer duration.

At the time of this writing, the fundraiser had already exceeded its $1,800 goal.

Senate rejects spending cuts proposed by Trump administration

The Senate voted 48-50 to reject a spending cuts bill proposed by the White House. Two Republicans crossed the aisle and voted with Democrats to kill the measure.

What was in the bill?

The Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act proposed $15 billion in cuts between 2018 and 2028. The money would be cut from a number of different departments, including Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development.

However, the Washington Post noted that most of the spending would involve funds that the government could not spend anyway, including $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program that mostly came from an expired and unusable account. When these programs are factored in, the total amount of budget cuts to be spread over the 11-year time period comes to around $1 billion.

How did the senators vote?

Senate Democrats did not have the numbers to kill this bill without help from their Republican colleagues. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted against the bill, as did Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who typically supports Trump’s policies.

Burr’s office told the Washington Post that he was concerned about $16 million in cuts to the U.S. Forest Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund projects. Burr has called for the extension of the fund, which is set to expire in September.

Had it already passed the House?

The bill, which was requested by the Trump administration, was sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and  co-sponsored by 16 Republican members of Congress. It narrowly passed the House of Representatives 210-206 on June 7.

What did the White House say?

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney called the vote “disappointing.” He added:

The American people should be asking their representatives in Washington one simple question: If they cannot pass good-government legislation to recapture unnecessary funds, how can we ever expect them to address Washington’s staggering debt and deficit problem?

What else?

This failed spending cuts bill was dwarfed in comparison to the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed in March.

While Congress and the Trump administration have implimented tax cuts, they have not cut spending to match the decrease in revenue. In May, the U.S. federal government had the largest deficit for that month in any year since 2009. Bloomberg predicted that, if current trends continue, the deficit could pass $1 trillion by 2020.

TN-Sen: Alabama’s Doug Jones explains how Democrats can steal Senate seat from GOP in Tennessee

Is Tennessee, a southern state that is becoming more conservative, a lock for Republicans in 2018?

Given that Republican Sen. Bob Corker currently holds the very important seat, conventional wisdom says the GOP should have no problem maintaining control of it.

However, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who won a very hotly contested race against Roy Moore in December, believes the seat isn’t a lock for Republicans. He was in Tennessee over the weekend to remind voters that Democrats, via former Gov. Phil Bredesen, have a serious chance to take control of the seat.

What did Jones say?

“I don’t think Alabama and the South are ruby red,” Jones said during the Tennessee Democratic Party’s statewide fundraising event over the weekend, according to the Tennessean.

“This is time to elevate good people to our state offices and Washington. There can be a state of change in Tennessee,” he added.

Jones later explained that for Bredesen to win, he and the Democratic Party will need to adopt an anti-tribal attitude, which should be easy for Bredesen, who is seen as a pragmatic leader willing to cross party lines.

“Our opposition shouldn’t be our enemy. People all over the country want to see their elected officials working together. His opponent isn’t going to do that,” Jones said.

“Today, as the senator of Alabama, I ask my staff who have we heard from and what can we do for them. That’s how you get elected in Alabama. That’s how you get elected in Tennessee, even if you don’t have all the answers,” he reiterated.

Is Jones right?

If anyone would know about change, it’s Jones. He defeated Moore, a Republican in a strongly Republican state for a seat previously held by a Republican; it was vacated by Jeff Sessions, who is now the U.S. attorney general.

Jones knows firsthand the great possibilities that come with being a moderate Democrat with crossover appeal who isn’t afraid to reach across the aisle for the sake of the greater good.

Who’s another politician with those exact same qualities? Bredesen, of course.

What about Bredesen’s opponent?

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who’s heavily favored to win the GOP primary on Aug. 2 and challenge Bredesen, is taking a slightly different approach to the race than what Jones suggested.

Instead, Blackburn — who is seen as an ultra-Trump supporting Republican ideologue — is turning the heat up on Democrats. In a statement Tuesday, Blackburn single-handedly blamed liberals and “liberal judges” for the separating of families at the U.S. border.

TheBlaze has reached out to Blackburn’s campaign for comment on Jones’ remarks, and will update when we receive a response.