Thirteen-year-old Brenna Strong is just your average middle schooler. What makes her family unique, though, is that Brenna's parents lawfully open-carry guns for self defense.
This is the premise of the new picture book My Parents Open Carry, which was written by Brian G. Jeffs and Nathan R. Nephew, the co-founders of gun-rights group Michigan Open Carry. The picture book chronicles the Strongs as they have a "typical Saturday running errands and having fun together."
After searching in vain for a pro-gun children's book, Jeffs and Nephew decided to write their own. "We fear our children are being raised with a biased view of our constitution and especially in regards to the Second Amendment," they say on the book's website. "Our goal was to provide a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people."
They continue: "If you open carry and have a difficult time explaining why to your family and friends, or if you want to learn about the open carry of a handgun, or if you've wondered if open carry is right for you, then this book is what you need."
In a fitting promotion, for a limited time, purchases of My Parents Open Carry will come with a free copy of Doug Giles' book Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate. Samantha Rollins
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev criticized the West for worsening relations with his nation over conflict in Syria, USA Today reports.
"NATO's attitude toward Russia remains unfriendly and opaque, and one could go so far as to say we have slid back to a new Cold War," he said at a high-level security conference Saturday. "Sometimes I wonder if it is the year 2016 or 1962."
Medvedev disputed a widely held belief that Russian planes have bombed civilians in Syria, The Guardian reports. At the same conference, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the importance of a political solution to Syria's five-year civil war, rather than resorting to violence. Julie Kliegman
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) will testify before a congressional committee on the Flint water crisis, the Detroit Free Press reports his office said Friday. In the hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, Snyder is expected to speak to what has happened in the city since it switched to lead pipes for tap water in 2014 and what reforms he recommends.
"The people of Flint have suffered because they were failed by all levels of government, and so it is understandable that there are questions at all levels of government," Snyder said in a statement. "In Michigan we are learning a great deal from this crisis and I am hopeful the federal government also will use this as an opportunity to examine health and safety protections in place, assess infrastructure needs, and avoid this type of crisis in the future."
On Thursday, Snyder had called U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and asked to testify. Julie Kliegman
On Friday, New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia made Major League Baseball history by becoming the first player to be permanently banned from the league for using performance-enhancing drugs. This marks Mejia's third positive test for PED use in a single calendar year, after he failed a drug test in April 2015 and then another three months later. The Mets said in a statement they were "deeply disappointed" in Mejia, who can apply for reinstatement to the MLB in one year, but would have to sit out a minimum of two years before returning to major league action. Kimberly Alters
On Friday afternoon, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore announced the suspension of his campaign for president. Although, one could be forgiven forgetting he was even in the race — the long-shot Republican candidate's decision comes after dismal performances in both the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucus, where he received the support of a measly 12 caucusgoers.
Gilmore's fellow GOP hopefuls Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina also dropped out of the race earlier this week after poor showings in New Hampshire.
And then there were six. Stephanie Talmadge
A Pennsylvania judge posted a sign outside his courtroom reminding citizens that pajama bottoms should not be worn in court. Judge Craig Long said that too many people have been appearing before him without bothering to put on a proper pair of pants. "We have a growing problem of people not dressing appropriately," Long said. "It's just there as a reminder."
With House Republicans still divided on how to move forward with plans to pass the budget, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) reminded lawmakers Friday that there's always the option to just skip the budget altogether. "It would be a shame, but the sky won't fall if we don't do a budget," Ryan said to members at a closed-door meeting. Because of a two-year deal struck last fall between then-Speaker John Boehner and the Obama administration, Ryan contends Congress is not "staring down a cliff" that would force them to make a final call.
However, Ryan warned members, this choice would not come without repercussions. If House Republicans decided against doing a budget, Ryan said the Republican Party would essentially be missing out on a chance to "do big things" in 2017. The GOP would not be able to present their fiscal solutions to the public ahead of the presidential election, nor would they be able to pass all 12 appropriations bills, essentially forcing Congress back into its "crisis-driven cycle of passing spending bills" that Ryan has been trying to avoid, The Hill reports.
Republicans are at an impasse over the prospect of passing a budget that sticks to the previously agreed upon $1.07 trillion spending level. Others are pushing for increased military spending, which Ryan pointed out could only increase by $40 million within current spending levels. "Are House Republicans willing to give up appropriations bills, a balanced budget, entitlement reform, and reconciliation for $40 million?" Ryan asked Friday.
House Republicans have until the beginning of March to reach a decision on how to proceed with the budget plan. Becca Stanek
On Friday, Donald Trump threatened fellow GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz with a lawsuit over Cruz's eligibility to run for president:
If @TedCruz doesn’t clean up his act, stop cheating, & doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2016
Though Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father, has maintained that he is a natural-born citizen and thus eligible to run for office, the constitutionality of his presidential run has been challenged — particularly by Trump.