A young Iranian soccer star died in a car crash over the weekend.

23-year-old Melika Mohammadi played for Iran's national women's soccer team. She was born in Iran but grew up in Bethesda, Maryland.

Mohammadi played soccer at Emory University in Atlanta before moving to Iran to play for the national women's team.

Iranian soccer star dies

She was returning from training with some teammates when their car flipped over, killing Mohammadi instantly. Zahra Khajavi and Behnaz Taherkhani were also injured and treated at the hospital.

The accident occurred near Bam, a city in southern Iran.

23-year-old Iranian soccer player Melika Mohammadi has died in a car accident near the city of Bam in southern Iran.
Melika lived with her parents in Bethesda, Maryland, in the US and played for the @EmorySoccer team of @EmoryUniversity where she received her Bachelor of Science… pic.twitter.com/qS6Momsyki

— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) December 24, 2023

Mohammadi played for the Bam Khatoon Women's Football Club and the national women's team in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC.) The president of the AFC, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, shared his condolences.

“On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to convey my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Melika Mohammadi," he said.

“Her contributions as a key player of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s women’s national team will be long remembered. We join the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in mourning this great loss."

Iran ratches up tensions

Mohamaddi used her role to advocate for women's rights in Iran, a tightly controlled theocracy that is governed under Islamic law.

A small group of women was allowed into Iran's biggest soccer match, the Tehran Derby, for the first time in history this month. Women's rights advocates praised the development after decades of restrictions on women attending sporting events.

“Historical day for women’s rights activists and the fight for equal access to public spaces will continue,” the group Open Stadiums said.

Iran was rocked by major protests last year after a woman died in custody of the morality police, sparking popular anger with Iran's theocracy.

The United States has had hostile relations with Iran since the current regime took power in 1979.

The war in Israel has brought fresh tensions between Washington and Tehran as Iranian-backed forces bombard U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria.

Iran-backed rebels in Yemen have also been menacing shipping lanes in the Red Sea with drones.

The cause of death for actor Ryan O'Neal has been released two weeks after his passing at the age of 82.

The Love Story actor died of congestive heart failure. According to his death certificate, he also suffered from cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle that makes it hard for the heart to pump blood.

Ryan O'Neal dies

The actor was laid to rest in Los Angeles next to his longtime love Farrah Fawcett, with whom he had an on-and-off relationship. They initially dated from 1979 to 1997 and were later reunited until Fawcett's death from cancer in 2009.

O'Neal had a child with Fawcett, whom he never married, and three other children from two marriages that both ended in divorce.

In his 1970s heyday, O'Neal was one of the most in-demand leading men in Hollywood.

The handsome actor had an Oscar-nominated star turn in Love Story, appeared alongside his daughter Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon, and butt heads with legendary director Stanley Kubrick during the filming of his three-hour epic Barry Lyndon, in which O'Neal played the roguish title character.

His other notable roles of the decade include the war epic A Bridge Too Far, crime thriller The Driver, and the screwball comedy What's Up Doc?, in which he shared the screen with Barbara Streisand.

Before movies, he became known to TV audiences in the soap opera Peyton Place.

Difficult family life

O'Neal was known for his active love life, and he had difficult relationships with his children.

He publicly reconciled with his daughter Tatum after she accused him of physical and emotional abuse.

“He meant the world to me," she told People following her father's death on December 8.

"I loved him very much and know he loved me too,” she added. “I’ll miss him forever. and I feel very lucky that we ended on such good terms.”

O'Neal was diagnosed with cancer twice in his life - first with chronic leukemia in 2001 and prostate cancer a decade later.

"I'm proud of them, I've survived them. I thought I was gone. And suddenly I come back. Not the same man I was, but I'm back," he told People in 2021.

Despite his health issues, O'Neal kept busy in his later years, appearing in the TV show Bones as a recurring character from 2006 until the show's last season in 2017.

A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed an attempt to block the state's assault weapons ban on Friday, asserting that the law aligns with recent Supreme Court precedent that has significantly impacted gun control measures nationwide.

District Judge Dennis Saylor emphasized that the state ban adheres to a "historical tradition" of regulating firearms, referencing the Supreme Court's landmark decision in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case from last year.

A federal judge denies request to block Massachusetts assault weapons ban https://t.co/hjdbUPhmVb pic.twitter.com/qxqCv2VZy3

— The Hill (@thehill) December 23, 2023

The decision

In that decision, the high court established that all gun control legislation must maintain consistency with historical traditions.

Saylor stated, "The relevant history affirms the principle that in 1791, as now, there was a tradition of regulating 'dangerous and unusual' weapons – specifically, those that are not reasonably necessary for self-defense."

The judge further argued that the identified assault weapons are "not suitable for ordinary self-defense purposes" and present significant dangers beyond those inherent in typical firearms.

The Second Amendment loss

The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) had sought a preliminary injunction against the law to halt its enforcement during the legal challenge.

The 1998 law in question prohibits assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, resembling the federal assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004.

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell welcomed the ruling, stating, "Gun safety laws work, and they can be enforced consistent with public safety and the Second Amendment."

She characterized the decision as a crucial victory for public safety and Massachusetts' commitment to preventing gun violence.

Appeal expected

NAGR expressed its intention to appeal the ruling, indicating an ongoing legal battle.

The Bruen decision from the previous year has reshaped the landscape of gun control legislation, prompting gun rights groups to challenge state laws by invoking the "historical tradition" standard.

Throughout this year, courts have either struck down or curtailed gun control measures in New York and Maryland, while also upholding similar laws facing challenges in Oregon and Illinois, leaving mixed outcomes as legal challenges have grown under the Biden administration.

The legal battles continue to unfold as Second Amendment advocates continue to fight to protect the constitutional freedoms of Americans against the attacks of the left. The latest ruling signals a loss against American freedoms in the courts that will continue to face additional battles through an appeal process that could head to the Supreme Court in the days ahead.

President Joe Biden just pardoned 11 drug dealers. 

The White House announced Biden's clemency actions in a statement that it released on Friday.

The statement reads:

First, I am commuting the sentences of 11 people who are serving disproportionately long sentences for non-violent drug offenses. All of them would have been eligible to receive significantly lower sentences if they were charged with the same offense today.

The details

Fox News provides the details about the 11 drug dealers to whom Biden granted clemency.

The outlet reports:

The individuals receiving clemency include: Felipe Arriaga of Sunnyside, Washington; Earlie Deacon Barber of Dothan, Alabama; James Michael Barber of Gastonia, North Carolina; Anthony Ewing of Union City, Georgia; Quittman Andre Goodley of Austin, Texas; Deondre Cordell Higgins of Kansas City, Missouri; Leroy Lymons of Pensacola, Florida; Angel Rosario of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Esaias Tucker of Tallahassee, Florida; Darryl Allen Winkfield of Augusta, Georgia; and Kenneth Winkler of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Fox adds, "Two of the individuals were charged related to distribution of methamphetamine, while the other nine were convicted on charges related to distribution of cocaine or crack."

Biden, however, did more than just pardon these 11 individuals.

Biden's proclamation

In addition to pardoning these 11 individuals, Biden also announced a proclamation pardoning other drug-related offenses.

The White House's statement reads:

Second, following my pardon of prior federal and D.C. offenses of simple possession of marijuana, I am issuing a Proclamation that will pardon additional offenses of simple possession and use of marijuana under federal and D.C. law.

According to the Associated Press, this proclamation will result in the pardon of thousands of people. Per the outlet:

President Joe Biden pardoned thousands of people who were convicted of use and simple possession of marijuana on federal lands and in the District of Columbia . . .

Making America "safer and stronger"?

Biden claims that the pardons were necessary to promote "the principle of equal justice under the law," adding that America's "criminal justice system can and should reflect this core value that makes our communities safer and stronger."

How exactly these pardons make American communities "safer and stronger" is unclear.

Biden wrote:

Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana.  It’s time that we right these wrongs.

Fox reports: "Biden has issued a total of 12 pardons as president, and offered 114 commutations."

Law enforcement is investigating death threats to the judges who kicked Donald Trump off the ballot in Colorado.

The court narrowly ruled that Trump is ineligible to be president because he caused an "insurrection" on January 6th.

While partisan Democrats have celebrated the ruling as a victory for "democracy," many have criticized it as undemocratic and divisive.

Threats to Colorado court

Three of the judges on the all-Democrat court dissented, calling the ruling a "procedural Frankenstein" that ignored due process.

The court's unprecedented ruling has encouraged partisan operatives to target the ballot in states like Michigan, a pivotal battleground.

Trump's defenders note that he has not been convicted of insurrection or even charged with that crime by Jack Smith, the federal prosecutor seeking to convict Trump over January 6th.

But Democrats have argued, more and more earnestly, that extreme measures may be necessary to prevent Trump from being able to win a democratic election.

Trump has furiously blasted efforts to prosecute him and remove him from the ballot as an attempt to interfere with the will of the people. Anger toward the judges and prosecutors involved is widespread.

"This ends when we kill these f--kers," read one threat to the Colorado judges.

Another user wrote, "What do you call 7 justices from the Colorado Supreme Court at the bottom of the ocean?" to which another replied, "A good start."

America unravels...

Law enforcement went to the home of one of the judges on Thursday but found that an alleged threat to the residence was bogus.

Threats against public officials have become more common in America's increasingly polarized and violent political climate.

A man was arrested last year for plotting to assassinate conservative Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh, and just this week a man pled guilty to trying to kill Chief Justice John Roberts, another conservative.

It is widely expected that the Supreme Court will overturn Colorado's ruling if the opportunity arises. That would likely engender harassment and potential violence toward the justices from the far left.

The Supreme Court is also going to come under pressure as the justices wade into Trump's criminal trials.

The court rejected a request from Smith on Friday that would have sped up Trump's January 6th prosecution.

Former attorney general Ed Meese has filed a Supreme Court brief arguing that Jack Smith has no legal authority to prosecute Donald Trump. 

Meese, who served under President Reagan, argues that attorney general Merrick Garland was not authorized by law to appoint a private citizen, like Smith, with the sweeping prosecutorial power Smith has been given.

As such, Smith's current petition for the Supreme Court to fast-track Trump's January 6th immunity claims should be ignored.

Jack Smith has no authority...

The amicus brief from Meese runs over 30 pages and includes a lot of legal jargon, but it has a couple of key points.

First, all federal offices not listed in the Constitution must be created by Congress - and Congress has not created any position like the one Smith currently holds.

Meese emphasized that Smith is a private citizen, but he has been given the power of a full-fledged U.S. attorney.

The law does permit special counsels in some limited roles as assistants, but not with the sweeping authority Smith has received - which is equal to or even exceeds that of a Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney, Meese said.

A position similar to Smith's, called an "independent counsel," previously existed but the authorizing statute expired in 1999.

The naked emperor

Even if Smith's position were lawful, he was not lawfully appointed.

Meese noted that Smith does not answer to Garland - in fact, Garland specifically said so, to instill confidence that Smith's probe was independent. As such, Smith counts as a "superior officer."

"He is prosecuting a former President, the first time that has happened in our Nation’s history. Smith is purporting to exercise at least as much power as a U.S. Attorney, and arguably more. That is the hallmark of a superior officer, who must be appointed as such."

Smith is thus so powerful that he must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate to lawfully hold his position.

Emperor with no clothes

Meese likened Smith to the proverbial emperor with no clothes.

"Not clothed in the authority of the federal government, Smith is a modern example of the naked emperor. Improperly appointed, he has no more authority to represent the United States in this Court than Bryce Harper, Taylor Swift, or Jeff Bezos," Meese concluded.

"That fact is sufficient to sink Smith’s petition, and the Court should deny review."

The question is whether the Supreme Court will consider Meese's carefully considered arguments.

Even if Smith does not lose his job, his plan for prosecuting Trump before the election is starting to unravel - with the Supreme Court possibly playing a role. Stay tuned.

Zahara, a South African pop singer famous throughout the African continent, has died. She was just 36. 

The "Afro-soul" singer died from complications of the liver stemming from an alcohol addiction.

Her sisters are having difficulty coping with her tragic death, which came as the singer was looking forward to new opportunities.

Her sister Bandezwa Mkutukana said they remained hopeful she would recover until the end.

"We had a lot of plans during her time in hospital and we really had hoped she was going to recover."

“She was just signed up by a new recording company and was planning to go overseas in February. Her future was promising and I can say her future was too bright, she was favored by God."

South African singer dies

The singer passed away Monday in Johannesburg weeks after her family said she was admitted to the hospital for an undisclosed issue.

"She was a pure light, and an even purer heart, in this world. A beacon of hope, a gift, and a blessing to us and countless people around the world," her family said.

The self-taught singer-songwriter and "country girl" was a beloved figure in South Africa, with numerous best-selling and award-winning albums under her belt. She became an African pop sensation with the 2011 album "Loliwe," which means "train."

“She inspired us with Loliwe,” South African Music Awards spokesperson and former music journalist Lesley Mofokeng told TV channel Newzroom Afrika. "You could not ignore Loliwe. Her voice could reach the heavens.”

The record became the second-fastest selling album in South African history, behind “Memeza” by Brenda Fassie, known as the "Madonna of the Townships."

Whole nation mourning

Zahara's songs were full of her Christian faith and the memory of apartheid - she performed for Nelson Mandela at his home before he died.

She was also known as a critic of violence toward women, which she described as widespread throughout South African culture.

The South African parliament said it "was difficult to accept the news of Zahara’s passing," while Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa said Zahara "made an incredible and lasting impact in South African music."

Born into rural poverty, Zahara sang in English and in her native language, Xhosa - the indigenous tongue famous for its clicking sounds.

Music came naturally to her.

"All along I was just using my ears,” she said.

The Supreme Court's decision to consider the appeal of a January 6th protester could fuel Donald Trump's efforts to delay his 2020 election trial, Newsweek reported.

The high court has agreed to weigh the appeal of Joseph Fischer, who like hundreds of others was charged with "obstruction of an official proceeding" for his involvement in January 6th.


The obstruction charge is also implicated in two of the four counts in Jack Smith's January 6th indictment, which charged Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Fischer's case in March or April, and a decision wouldn't come until months later.

The legal timeline could jeopardize the March 4 trial date in Trump's case.

Smith may wait for clarity on whether the obstruction charges will stand, or he could consider dropping them, liberal legal expert Barbara McQuade said.

"Even though he has two other counts in the indictment, convictions on the obstruction counts could jeopardize the whole case on appeal if a court were later to find that the jury may have relied on evidence of the obstruction in reaching its decision," McQuade said.

"Other options are to drop the obstruction counts now and proceed on the other two counts or take his chances with all four counts and move forward."

Trial delayed?

Separately, Trump is appealing a ruling on the question of whether he has presidential immunity. The anti-Trump judge in the case, Tanya Chutkan, has paused the case pending Trump's appeal.

The developments have raised speculation that Trump's trial will be delayed past the 2024 presidential election.

Smith has asked the Supreme Court to fast-track the immunity question. Trump promptly blasted the request as a blatant attempt to ensure Trump goes to trial before the election, with a view to helping Biden win a second term.

But with the obstruction issue in the mix, a trial on Smith's timetable appears less likely.

The Supreme Court ordered Trump to respond to Smith's demand by Wednesday.

Although Smith has not charged Trump with causing the "insurrection," he has signaled he plans to lodge those accusations during the trial.

Trump's team has objected to this maneuver, calling it an effort to prejudice the case against Trump.

Everyone has heard about Hunter Biden's legal woes, but now Joe Biden's daughter Ashley is coming under scrutiny for failing to pay her taxes.

The 42-year-old daughter of Jill Biden and Joe Biden owes $5,000 in taxes to the government.

Ashley Biden cheating taxes

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s Philadelphia County put a lien on her property for unpaid taxes going all the way back to 2015.

To her credit, Ashely Biden's tax bill is a lot smaller than her half-brother's. Hunter Biden was recently charged with dodging over $1 million in taxes.

Biden instead spent the money on prostitutes, drugs, girlfriends, expensive cars - "in short, everything but his taxes," the indictment reads.

The Biden family's international business deals brought millions in dubious foreign income through Hunter. House Republicans have opened an impeachment inquiry on the matter.

Hunter Biden is the president's only surviving child from a previous marriage. Ashley Biden is the only child of Joe and his current wife Jill Biden.

Ashley is married to an ear, nose, and throat doctor and plastic surgeon, Howard Krein, who was accused of potentially benefiting off of Biden's COVID pandemic response through his investment firm.

Biden's other child...

While she hasn't received as much media attention as her degenerate half-brother, Ashley has had her own brushes with the law.

During her college days, she was arrested for marijuana possession but never charged. Her cocaine abuse also became an issue during her dad's vice presidency.

More recently, Ashley Biden's diary has been a source of rumors about her father. Ashley allegedly wrote that she took showers with her dad that made her uncomfortable.

The conservative news outlet Project Veritas bought the diary, which was stolen, but did not publish it. A 2021 FBI raid of the home of Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe was condemned by many as an attack on press freedom.

Ashley studied social work in college, following her parents' advice to "follow your passion."

“There was never any pressure to go into service, but I saw my mother — a teacher — and my dad, who was working on issues Americans care about," she said in March.

All Joe Biden wants to do is spend, spend, spend the hard-earned money of Americans while his own family cheats taxes on their ill-gotten wealth.

The corruption runs deep, very deep with this family.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Audrey Skwierawski title has been changed from an interim role, angering conservatives over the controversial move.

The judge's official appointment to the role is effective Dec.32, according to a new announcement.

She's not just "acting" any more: Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Skwierawski will serve as Wisconsin director of state courts, despite rift that her interim appointment in August caused among Supreme Court justices: @wispolitics. https://t.co/Q04qUaO3YH

— Larry Sandler (@larrysandler) December 17, 2023

The situation

"Conservative Chief Justice Annette Ziegler accused the liberal majority of 'nothing short of a coup' in August for firing Randy Koschnick, who had served in the post since 2017. She also argued Skwierawski was 'unlawfully appointed' and ineligible to serve in the interim role while still an elected member of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court," Wisconsin Politics reported.

"State law states sitting judges can’t accept a position of public trust during their term other than another judicial office, though liberals argued the post didn’t qualify," it added.

Audrey Skwierawski brings a prosecutor's eye to her new job as Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge.https://t.co/CLvefUUJTQ pic.twitter.com/l3qBVOKdJr

— WI Justice (@WI_Justice) August 6, 2018

Her background

"Served as Milwaukee County and state prosecutor for a combined total of more than 20 years. Has conducted more than 100 jury trials and 50 court trials. Prosecuted a double homicide and sexual assault, along with traffic, general misdemeanor and juvenile court cases," according to the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.

"[She] has special expertise in domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault cases. Job duties also include providing ongoing training and technical support statewide to prosecutors handling domestic violence and sexual assault cases," it continued.

The complaints say,

“Upon information and belief, on August 3, 2023 Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Audrey Skwierawski assumed the position of Director of State Courts by virtue of an appointment made by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet,…

— Wisconsin Right Now (@wisconsin_now) August 15, 2023

The complaint

"Upon information and belief, on August 3, 2023 Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Audrey Skwierawski assumed the position of Director of State Courts by virtue of an appointment made by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet, Jill Karofsky and Janet Protasiewicz," Wisconsin Right Now reported.

"Said conduct by Judge Skwierawski in assuming the position, as well as the conduct of the four above-named justices in making the appointment, are contrary to, and in violation of, the Wisconsin Constitution, Article VII, sec. 10, and sec. 757.02(2), Wis. Stats., both of which prohibit a sitting judge from assuming another office of public trust except a judicial office," it noted.

The situation appears to be a political move by Democrats in the state, according to conservatives opposing the effort.

The appointment may also be illegal, an action challenged legally by Republican leaders.

For now, the appointment is moving forward, but the issue could arise again as a legal matter in 2024.

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