The Stiletto

If you’re black, Obama does not have your back

THE DAILY BLADE: Even before the 2008 election The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley predicted that because of then-candidate Barack Obama’s “liberal leanings” – specifically, favoring minimum-wage laws and opposing school choice – “current obstacles to black progress will remain in place.” Riley added that Obama’s own political success may not “translate into black upward mobility” because “the only "change" [he] would be bringing the Oval Office is the color of the person perpetrating bad policies.”

Well, it’s five years later and Obama has done nothing to mitigate Riley’s pessimism. Riley now also takes issue with the Obama administration suing companies for using criminal background checks to screen job candidates despite “empirical research showing that employers who check criminal backgrounds are more likely to hire blacks [as well as] people with spotty work records – a disproportionate number of whom are minorities.”  

Black Americans Are Thrown Under The Bus

A new study by the Urban Institute found that the recession has hit black families far worse than white families, more evidence that blacks are worse off now than when Obama was elected.

As Gary Younge, a columnist for The Guardian (London) put it, “You can argue about the degree to which the relationship between Obama's presidency and that reality is causal. But you can't contest that it is factual. Obama's meteoric rise has coincided with black America's precipitous economic descent.” Just as Riley feared from the start.

In a Philadelphia Tribune op-ed titled, “A president for everyone, except Black people,” Philadelphia pastor Kevin Johnson observes, “At the end of January 2009, unemployment for African-Americans was 12.7 percent. Four years later, the situation is worse, and unemployment is higher at 13.8 percent.”

And it’s about to get worse. For years, black Americans have been at odds with their political and community leaders about the effect of illegal immigration on their employment prospects. The prospect of an immigration bill landing on Obama’s desk that gives provisional citizenship to millions of illegals – which Democrats have pushed for from the start – has revived the debate.

Last week the bi-partisan Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) sponsored a “March for Jobs” rally near the U.S. Capitol, that made “the impact of immigration on working black Americans [a] focal point,” The Washington Times reports:

Mary Bargerstock, a 58-year-old small business owner who made the trip to the District from Atlanta, was disappointed the debate has partly fallen along racial lines.

"We feel that they're trying to pit black people against white people," Ms. Bargerstock said. "They're trying to create a race war ... [Immigration reform] means we're going to lose jobs."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), AL Repubs Sens. Jeff Sessions and Mo Brooks and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) were amongst the speakers who addressed a crowd of roughly 1,200, according to various news reports. As expected, black Congressional leaders and leading black pastors gave short shrift to BALA’s concerns, though the facts are on BALA’s side.

In April Vice Chairwoman Abigail Thernstrom of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Commissioners Peter Kirsanow and Gail Heriot sent a letter to Rep. Marcia Fudge, who heads the Congressional Black Caucus warning that granting legal status or amnesty to illegals already in the country “likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment, and depressing their wages when they do obtain employment.”

Research bears this out. A 2009 study analyzing Census data from 1960-2000 concluded that “that a 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 2.5 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 5.9 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by 1.3 percentage points.”

This is not surprising, considering that several lawsuits have been filed alleging that farmers preferentially hire Mexican guest workers and illegals instead of black Americans, The New York Times reports. Cindy Hahamovitch, a history professor at College of William and Mary in VA, tells the Times that until 1970s two out of three farm workers were Americans, but now two out of three are immigrants – many of them here illegally.

Kevin Johnson asks in his Philadelphia Tribune piece why blacks are “so loyal to a president who is not loyal to us”; why blacks continue to vote for candidates solely because they are also black; and why they remain loyal to a Democratic Party that often ignores us and takes our votes for granted.” Good questions, all.

This question also applies to the unquestioning loyalty blacks show to civil rights leaders who “live off the fumes of moral authority that linger from its glory days in the 1950s and '60s,” writes Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Shelby Steele in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, and use[d] their “greatly depleted moral authority to support Trayvon Martin [who was] no Rosa Parks—a figure of indisputable human dignity set upon by the rank evil of white supremacy … to keep alive a certain cultural "truth" that is the sole source of the leadership's dwindling power”:

Put bluntly, this leadership rather easily tolerates black kids killing other black kids. But it cannot abide a white person (and Mr. Zimmerman, with his Hispanic background, was pushed into a white identity by the media over his objections) getting away with killing a black person without undermining the leadership's very reason for being. …

Today's civil-rights leaders swat at mosquitoes like Zimmerman when they have gorillas on their back. Seventy-three percent of all black children are born without fathers married to their mothers. And you want to bring the nation to a standstill over George Zimmerman?

Despite not having been invoked in his defense, the Zimmerman acquittal also gives Obama and other Democrat politicians, as well as civil rights leaders, another opportunity to ensure that black-on-black crime continues unchecked by mobilizing opposition against Stand Your Ground laws.

Forget that that Obama was for Stand Your Ground before he was against the law. Also forget his assertion that “If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different” had already been proven demonstrably false in a 2009 trial in which a black shooter of a white 16-year old also ended with his acquittal on self-defense grounds. And whatever you do, don’t bring up the fact that even in FL, the outcome would have been no different if Martin had been a black Neighborhood Watch volunteer and Zimmerman had been the teenage thug trying to kill him. According to an analysis of nearly 200 such cases by Tampa Bay Times, whites invoking the law were charged and convicted at the same rate as blacks; there were similar outcomes in cases where the defendant was black and the person killed was white, as when the reverse occurred; and that blacks and whites have comparable success rates when arguing "Stand Your Ground'' in hearings before a judge.

Nothing in Obama’s remarks about the Zimmerman trial jibed with the facts or with the grim realities blacks face daily, or offered evidence-based solutions.

Africans Wish Obama Was Bush III

It may gall Johnson, Younge and other anguished black thought leaders even further that Obama’s indifference is not limited only blacks in this country. His record in Haiti and Africa is, if anything, even more abysmal.

The Washington Post reports that “many Africans wish Obama was more like Bush in his social and health policies, particularly in the fight against HIV/AIDS.” No doubt, because instead of building upon Bush’s the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, Obama has slashed funding – “the first time an American president has reduced the U.S. commitment to fighting the epidemic since it broke out in the 1980s during the Reagan administration”:

“Knowing that Africa has many challenges, with fighting AIDS being one of the biggest challenges, we were really expecting President Obama to continue where President Bush had left off,” said Hilary Thulare, country director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit group that works in 26 countries providing medical care to people with AIDS. “But it’s been a disappointment. Obama is retreating on AIDS and, by this, retreating on Africa.”

The Associated Press notes that Obama “has yet to leave a lasting policy legacy for Africa on the scale of his two predecessors,” which has “disappointed those who were expecting more from the first African-American president.” But what Africans will get is less. Obama’s “Power Africa” initiative to develop a “sustainable” energy strategy across the continent depends on Africans lowering their aspirations for the many luxuries large and small that Westerners take for granted, reports:

 “[I]f everybody is raising living standards to the point where everybody has got a car and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over — unless we find new ways of producing energy.” …

Obama implied several times that the U.S. would only encourage growth in Africa should it be grounded in “clean energy strategies” and not in “corrupting” energy economies that gave rise to unprecedented levels of health and prosperity among Western nations.

So busy touting green energy, Obama has spared not a moment of thought to the “lawless Sinai Peninsula,” which has become “a living hell” for Christians from the sub-Saharan African countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Hundreds of African Christians are being kidnapped and tortured by a network of Rashaida and Bedouin human traffickers, The Washington Times reports. Immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa turn to friends and neighbors to scrape together exorbitant ransoms after hearing the sounds of their kinfolk being tortured during cell phone conversations with their Arab kidnappers. Thus far, the Obama administration has said nothing about the barbarism of the kidnappers, or the criminal extortion of the victims' struggling relatives here in the U.S.

Haitians Have No Friend In Obama

If Obama is retreating on Africa, he’s completely run away from the pledges made to Haitians after the magnitude 7 earthquake that killed an estimated 316,000 in 2010. A report  by the Government Accounting Office finds that “USAID not only been slow to spend money, it's cutting back on its original promises,” Washington Guardian reports:

The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, was placed in charge of $651 million for Haiti relief efforts. Three years after the earthquake, the oft-criticized agency spent less than half of that.

USAID not only been slow to spend money, it's cutting back on its original promises.  The original plan was to build 15,000 houses for those people displaced by the earthquake.  But now, USAID has had to revise that number and expects to complete 2,600 houses - just 17 percent of the original goal.  

The number of people being helped has also dropped dramatically.  The houses were suppose [sic] to shelter between 75,000 and 90,000 people.  Now they're going to help just 13,000 to 16,000 people.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) of New York, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee tells Washington Guardian that the GAO report “shows a significant and sobering disconnect between what was originally promised for the Haitian people, and what it appears USAID is now prepared to deliver. The Haitian people, as well as the US taxpayer, deserve better answers about our assistance than we have received to date.”


A week before the march, Obama met with the Congressional Black Caucus – the first such meeting since May 2011 – to discuss his policies to lower black unemployment, which rose in June to 13.7 percent from 13.5 percent a month earlier. But the meeting was not likely to be productive because the CBC agrees with Obama’s failed policies, notes Riley.

Having become inured to benign neglect by Democrats, blacks expected their plight to matter when Obama was elected, but they have been more marginalized than ever by Obama’s disinterest and cold political calculus.

A current events round-up for conservatives

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: News developments of note for conservatives:

† A polite handshake could have saved Trayvon Martin’s life: George Zimmerman’s defense attorneys released a statement on President Barack Hussein Obama’s observation that “Trayvon Martin could’ve been me 35 years ago”:

We acknowledge Mr. Obama’s remarks regarding the frustration felt by some when viewed in context of our nation’s history, which includes racial insensitivities spanning generations, and existing even today, including within our criminal justice system.

While we acknowledge and understand the racial context of this case, we challenge people to look closely and dispassionately at the facts. We believe those who look at the facts of the case without prejudice will see that it is a clear case of self-defense, and we are certain that those who take a closer look at the kind of person George Zimmerman is – something we understand the Department of Justice is currently doing – we are confident they will find a young man with with [sic] a diverse ethnic and racial background who is not a racist, a man who is, in fact, sensitive to the complex racial history of our country. …

We would like to stress that the verdict was reached fairly and justly and that it reflects the letter of the law and represents the law’s proper application to the facts. While we acknowledge the racial context of the case, we hope that the President was not suggesting that this case fits a pattern of racial disparity, because we strongly contend that it does not.

Meanwhile, FOX News commentator Bill O’Reilly seized the opening created by Obama’s remarks to initiate a “race conversation” that the president, Attorney General Eric Holder, and racialists like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson – who are accustomed to delivering one-sided haranges in which they accuse white people and of bad faith or worse – have never been on the receiving end of. CNN’s Chris Matthews flatters himself that he speaks “for all white people,” but last night, O’Reilly spoke for Americans who agree with jury’s findings in the Zimmerman case.

For its part, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder advising him that it believes bringing federal civil rights or hate crimes charges against Zimmerman would violate the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution, which “protects someone from being prosecuted in another court for charges arising from the same transaction.” The ACLU added, “A jury found Zimmerman not guilty, and that should be the end of the criminal case.”

† Depends what the meaning of the word “liar” is: Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), who was officially rebuked by his colleagues for shouting his "You lie!" from the House floor after President Barack Hussein Obama claimed that “the [healthcare] reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally” during a speech to a joint session of Congress in September 2009. Fast-forward four years and now members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are complaining about “a pattern of misleading testimony by senior Obama administration officials,” which has “left some lawmakers with the impression that the government was conducting only narrow, targeted surveillance operations” and “weakened Congress’s ability to rein in government surveillance,” The Washington Post reports.

Obama and his cabinet were criticized for “excessive secrecy”; making public statements “designed to mislead Americans and avoid congressional scrutiny”; and providing inaccurate assessments of the effectiveness of intelligence programs so that Congress is now “skeptical of claims about the value of the bulk phone records collection program.”

Former vice president Walter Mondale, who was a member of the Church Committee when he served in the Senate, tells the WaPo there is no longer any “accountability” and asked, “What is the consequence of fibbing to the American people?” For his part, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) complained that the Obama administration’s habitual fibbing, misleading – whatever euphemism for “you lie” you prefer – have made it “impossible for the public or Congress to have a genuinely informed debate” about government surveillance.

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Republicans and Democrats alike protested that the Obama administration “had exceeded the surveillance authorities granted by Congress, and warned that they were unlikely to be reauthorized in the future.”

† Egypt erupts: Against the backdrop of pitched battles between Muslim Brotherhood vigilantes and protesters in the streets of Cairo and throughout Egypt that left more than 30 people dead and 1,400 injured, just hours after interim president Adli Mansour appointed Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister, the ultraconservative Salafist Al Nour party – which had backed the coup – refused to work with him because of his liberal views. After several more rounds of negotiation the Nour Party and secular leaders agreed to Paris-educated economist Hazem el-Beblawi as Prime Minister. The interim cabinet, which met for the first time on Saturday, includes three Christians, three women (one of them Christian), 11 officials who served in the Mubarak regime – but no Islamists.

Interim President Mansour is working apace to amend the suspended constitution that Morsi drafted, and to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in roughly six months. The 10-member committee of legal experts, which also convened its first meeting Saturday, has 30 days to present proposed amendments to a second committee for consideration.

As these political machinations played out, violence continued unabated, with a pro-Morsi mob, some of whom are carrying the black Al Qaeda flag, pushing two teenaged boys off the roof of a building; Coptic priest Father Mina Aboud Sharween shot to death in Al Arish the same day that a pipeline in the city that supplies gas to Jordan was blown up; the Egyptian military and police shooting at Morsi supporters, killing 51 and injuring more than 400; Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with Morsi opponents and security forces the day the new cabinet was sworn in, leaving seven dead and 261 injured.

When elections are finally held, former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who came in second to Morsi in a runoff presidential election last summer with 48.7% of the votes, is expected to run again. With some protesters hankering for another Gamal Abdul Nasser, Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabbahy will be a strong candidate as well. But because of the Obama administration’s confused and conflicted foreign policy, the U.S. will have little influence on events in the crucial months leading to elections, and can only hope that Egypt will be able to navigate the rocky road between chaos and a new constitution that preserves secularism and protects individual liberty.

Critics of Obama’s Middle East policies have abandoned any pretense that he is leading the process of democratization in Egypt – not even from behind. In an understatement as massive as recent events in Egypt are momentous, New York Times columnist David Brooks noted, “[t]he Obama administration has not handled this situation particularly well” with its “undue deference to a self-negating democratic process” that created the perception that the U.S. was “unprepared for and hostile to the popular movement that has now arisen.” Unfortunately, Obama’s insistence on the release of jailed Muslim Brotherhood members who have been fomenting violence only serves to remind Egyptians which side he was on when they were in the streets demanding freedom from Islamist tyranny.

In a New York Times op-ed Egyptian writer and journalist Youssef Rakha also makes this point:

The legacy of the Morsi episode may sadly be that in the Middle East, democracy and political Islam “don’t mix.”

They don’t mix not only in theoretical terms – the Umma (or community of believers) vs. the modern nation state; the sect vs. the citizen; Islamic morality vs. individual liberties – but also because political Islam gives political cover to all that is undemocratic in an Arab society. …

What is no longer an open question is how Washington’s role in propping up political Islam is more likely to result in the death and discontent of Muslims. The Obama administration, which has largely stayed on the sidelines as our crisis has unfolded, must recognize that Islamic fundamentalism will always be more of a problem than a solution.

† Obama is just about every U.S. president all rolled into one!: Richard Milhous Nixon was famously paranoid, but at least he didn’t order government employees to spy on each other as Richard Milhous Obama. After Army Pfc. Bradley Manning gave hundreds of thousands of documents from a classified computer network to WikiLeaks in 2011, Obama initiated the “Insider Threat Program,” which McClatchy News describes as “an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for ‘high-risk persons or behaviors’ among co-workers”:

Federal employees and contractors are asked to pay particular attention to the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors – like financial troubles, odd working hours or unexplained travel – of co-workers as a way to predict whether they might do “harm to the United States.” Managers of special insider threat offices will have “regular, timely, and, if possible, electronic, access” to employees’ personnel, payroll, disciplinary and “personal contact” files, as well as records of their use of classified and unclassified computer networks, polygraph results, travel reports and financial disclosure forms. …

But even the government’s top scientific advisers have questioned these techniques. Those experts say that trying to predict future acts through behavioral monitoring is unproven and could result in illegal ethnic and racial profiling and privacy violations.

Government employees who fail to turn in co-workers suspected of leaking could face criminal liability.

Prediction: Christians will be “extinct” in the holy land within 60 years (click here for related article): A recent Pew survey that received only a glancing notice from the MSM, and absolutely none from the State Department, finds that both before and after the Arab Spring, government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion were higher in the Middle East and North Africa than in any other region of the world – and that the political uprisings caused “pronounced increases in social hostilities involving religion, while government restrictions on religion remained exceptionally high.” In other words, it got worse:

Among countries where Arab Spring uprisings occurred, government restrictions took various forms. In Egypt, for instance, the government continued to permit people to convert to Islam but prohibited them from abandoning Islam for another faith. In Bahrain, the Sunni-dominated government used high levels of force against Arab Spring demonstrators, most of whom were Shia Muslims. And in Libya, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, then chairman of the National Transitional Council, declared in October 2011 that Libya in the post-Moammar Gadhafi era would be run as an Islamic state with sharia law forming the basis of legislation. …

During the period of the Arab Spring, social hostilities involving religion increased markedly in the Middle East and North Africa. The region’s median score on the Social Hostilities Index (SHI) rose from 4.3 as of mid-2010 to 5.4 at the end of 2011, a five-year high.

Pew’s definition of “social hostilities” includes: crime and malicious acts motivated by religious hatred; violence or public tensions between religious groups; religion-related terrorist activities or violence; and violence or the threat of violence to enforce religious norms.

Even after Egyptians ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi from power and are trying to feel their way towards a government and constitution that respects individual liberties and minority rights, The Associated Press reports that supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are blaming Coptic Christians for Morsi’s ouster (“to hard-liners, it smacked of Christians rising up against a Muslim ruler”). Mobs of Muslims are rampaging through Christian villages burning down homes and businesses, and murdering residents and Coptic priests. Christian activist Nirvana Mamdouh, 22, tells AP that Christians will no longer remain silent about the injustices they have suffered for decades, adding, "We cannot have our freedom without blood. It is the price, what can we do?"

† Turkey is devolving: Part II: It’s been nearly two months since urban, well-educated and secular Turks – and their motherstook to Taksim Square to demonstrate against the increasingly heavy-handed authoritarianism of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Islamist Justice and Development Party (or AKP), and the government’s brutal response and mass detentions  have failed to suppress the protest completely, as protesters continue to try to take over Taksim Square – the latest clash between protesters and police occurred over the week-end and show no signs of abating any time soon.

In a recent New York Times op-ed Edhem Eldem, a history professor at Istanbul’s Bogazici University points out the irony of Erdoğan using the police to impose Sharia law the way his predecessors used the army to guarantee continued secularism. 

On that topic, The American Spectator points out that the Egyptians were able to send their authoritarian Islamist president packing by using the Turkish model of a “recall election” – having the military overthrow an Islamist or failed government and holding new elections. Ironically, Turks can no longer rely on this method because their authoritarian Islamist president “neutered the military and staffed it with loyalists”:

He has also arrested and tried military personnel involved with the ‘97 coup and as well as the 1980 coup, including General turned President Kenan Evren. So when protests took place in Turkey last month there was no doubt as to who would prevail. ... Erdogan sought to amend the charter of the Turkish Armed Forces to prevent any future coups which could be undertaken against him. Erdogan might very well be Prime Minister for Life. 

It should come as no surprise that Erdoğan not only condemned the Egyptian coup, but castigated world leaders for not doing so themselves: “The West has failed the sincerity test. No offence, but democracy does not accept double standards.”

But it’s Erdoğan who has the double standard, because “democracy” and “liberty” are not the same things. As Benjamin Franklin observed, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch.” Without freedom of the press (Erdoğan has jailed more journalists than China and Iran put together), freedom of religion (Erdoğan’s government is prosecuting secular Muslim Turks for blasphemy, and Christian minorities are dhimmis with no legal rights), the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances (scores of demonstrators were detained without due process) and other constitutional safeguards to protect minority rights from majority rule Turkey is just the sort of “democracy” our Founding Fathers warned about.

This is not to say that the Obama administration’s foreign policy has not been hypocritical and unfaithful to American ideals. Just as Egyptian protesters blamed Obama (this video is an eye-opener for Americans who are not likely to have seen these images on the news)for feeding ex-president Mohamed Morsi’s overweening Islamic ambitions, Turkish protesters are also blaming Obama and Erdoğan’s other “international cheerleaders … who led him to believe that anything he did would get a free pass,” Commentary reports:

[W]hile the protests forced many journalists and governments to finally recognize the truth about Erdogan, there’s been one glaring exception: America. As Berlinski noted elsewhere, other embassies in Turkey tweeted regularly about the protests, but the U.S. mission stuck to fatuous irrelevancies like “#SecKerry on #LGBT Pride Month: No matter where you are, and no matter who you love, we stand with you.” Worse, at the height of the crackdown, U.S. Ambassador Frank Ricciardone even lavished praise on Erdogan’s government, declaring, “There is no difference between us and the government of Turkey” regarding “the principles that we share of freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly” (if that were true, American citizens should worry).

The message was clear: As far as the leader of the free world is concerned, Erdogan still has a free pass: His government is free to continue using massive violence against his own citizens, and free to spout anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against American citizens.

Ultimately, Obama did Erdoğan no favors by allowing him to give free reign to his Islamofascist id. In addition to individual liberty and secularism, Turkey’s accession to join the European Union may be a casualty of Erdoğan’s Islamic ambitions.

Anthony Weiner doesn't care what everyone thinks

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: Anthony Weiner doesn't care what everyone thinks

-  The New York Times, June 30, 2013

If you're inline skating

IF THE SHOE FITSIf you're inline skating

- HealthDay News, July 4, 2013

Nun with gambling habit behind bars for embezzlement

WHAT A HEEL: Sister Mary Anne Rapp admitted to embezzling $128,000 from St. Mark's Parish in Holley, NY, and St. Mary's Parish in Kendall, NY, from 2006 to 2011. The 68-year old Roman Catholic nun of Lewiston, NY, was sentenced to 90 days in Orleans County Jail. She was also ordered to repay the two parishes during her five-year probation and perform 100 hours of community service, ABC News reports:

"Not only was she taking from cash proceeds from the weekly passing of the plate, but also checks that were coming into the church and depositing them into her account," said Orleans County District Attorney Joseph Cardone. …

She pleaded guilty to grand larceny in Orleans County Court in April, Cardone said.

"She was well-liked by the parishioners," Cardone said. "At some point, unfortunately, she developed this gambling habit and she was siphoning off funds to support it."

Rapp's attorney, James Harrington, told Rapp would often gamble the money at Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

"She was a terrific nun, other than this problem she had," he said. "She was really well-loved by the parishioners."

Harrington said that due to her age and her vow of poverty Rapp “has no means” to make full restitution to the two parishes. Her order, The Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, has offered by pay $10,000 during each year of her probation to help fulfill her obligation.

A polite handshake could have saved Trayvon Martin’s life

THE DAILY BLADE: President Barack Hussein Obama turned the heat up on the racial resentment that race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson keep at a low boil by declaring that Trayvon Martin could have been his son. For its part, the MSM salted the toxic stew by reporting that George Zimmerman, a FL Neighborhood Watch volunteer in fear of his life when he fatally shot the taller, stronger black teenager was a “white Hispanic.”

But by the time Zimmerman’s trial got under way – after local police and prosecutors refused to indict him on what seemed like a straight-up case of self-defense to them, and a special prosecutor parachuted in to charge him with second-degree murder and manslaughter in response to intense pressure by the MSM, Sharpton and other professional racial agitators – the Newtown school shootings had occurred. Obama and the MSM realized the bubbling pot was big enough for them to throw in indictments of concealed carry gun permits and “Stand Your Ground” laws enacted in FL and 24 other states.

Sure enough, after the jury confirmed the initial assessment of the shooting by local law enforcement officials by acquitting Zimmerman, Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wasted no time in trying to revive federal gun control legislation “to honor Trayvon Martin” and to delegitimize “Stand Your Ground” laws, even though Zimmerman’s defense didn’t invoke FL’s law and was based on a person’s Constitutional right to self-defense. For his part, Attorney General Eric Holder synergized “racial profiling” – though an FBI investigation found no evidence of racial bias on Zimmerman’s part, and he was not charged with a hate crime – and “Stand Your Ground” laws to feed into the hysterical liberal narrative that acquittal by a jury meant it was “open season on young black men.”

Holder has promised an “investigation” into whether Zimmerman could be indicted for violating Martin’s civil rights and retried under federal law, and has set up a tip-line to gather information about Zimmerman having a history of racial animus that the FBA had been unable to find. But these cases have less of a chance of succeeding than the state’s criminal trial. For one thing, state prosecutors were unable to prove that Zimmerman killed Martin because of his race, and the Justice Department has a higher burden of proof in a federal hate crime prosecution.

Martin’s parents are also weighing a civil wrongful death suit, but while Zimmerman’s lawyers presented a self-defense case in the criminal trial, they are not precluded from seeking immunity from civil suits under “Stand Your Ground.” But should Zimmerman decide not to invoke “Stand Your Ground,” evidence about Martin’s (alleged) history of petty theft, drug use, attempts to obtain an illegal gun and brawling – some of which is are first-person accounts by Martin himself via text messages, depicted in photos on his cell phone, You Tube videos and social media posts, and augmented by testimony from school police officers – would not be withheld from the jury, as it was the case in the criminal trial. Zimmerman won’t be able to assert the Fifth Amendment in a civil trial, but Martin’s own words and photos will be as helpful to Zimmerman’s defense as a parade of prosecution witnesses were helpful to his defense in the criminal case.

In fact, all of the arguments that liberals and race-baiters (forgive the redundancy) give for the putative violation of Martin’s civil rights and the “unfairness” of the jury’s verdict are based on media-generated myths:

1. The “all white” jury: The WaPo explains that the protesters believe that “a racially biased criminal justice system was slow to charge Zimmerman and quick to believe a white man’s version of events.”

Jesse Jackson was among those complaining that, “Trayvon was a black boy – there was no man, no black on the jury. So at least the idea of jury of your peers was a stretch all the while,” obviously unaware that the Constitution requires a jury of the accused peers. But how can anyone be sure of the racial make-of the jury since, as The Associated Press explains, "the court did not release the racial makeup of the jury”? AP notes that “the panel appeared to reporters covering jury selection" to be made up of five white women and a sixth who may be Hispanic." In other words, they "looked white."

The make-up of the jury provides Holder the excuse he needs to scrutinize the state trial for bias, but as it happens, the prosecution repeatedly used its prerogative to strike one white woman after another as a potential juror until the defense asked for a race- and gender-neutral explanation for their unsuitability. The judge denied two of the four strikes when the prosecution could provide a satisfactory (that is to say, nondiscriminatory) explanation.

Two black jurors could have been empaneled, but the defense had no choice but to give the thumbs down to one black woman who knew someone involved in the case and had posted her jury summons on Facebook, and prosecutors struck a black man from the jury because he watched FOX News – which means the prosecution, not the defense, preferred a jury with no blacks or men. Tough luck, Holder.

2. The case was about racial profiling: Defense attorney Mark O’Mara “complained that some in the public and the media turned Zimmerman into a civil rights cause — and a monster,” according to The Washington Post. That effort began early on, with NBC Universal editing the recording of Zimmerman’s 9-1-1 call to report seeing someone suspicious in the neighborhood to make him come off as a racist. The dispatcher asked for a description and Zimmerman said he was wearing a hoodie. The dispatcher asked for the suspect’s race and Zimmerman said, he wasn’t sure (“I don't know maybe black?”). In NBC’s doctored version, the dispatcher asked for a description, and Zimmerman answered, “Black.” Other media reports had Zimmerman saying, “f*cking coons” under his breath just before pulling the trigger; an audio expert determined that Zimmerman said “punks” not “coons.”

So Zimmerman hadn’t profiled Martin, but on the witness stand, Martin’s girlfriend Rachel Jeantel testified that Martin had profiled Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker.” Neither prosecutors nor the defense asked her why Martin described Zimmerman using the anti-white pejorative “cracker,” but she explained the “creepy ass” part to CNN’s Piers Morgan: Martin thought Zimmerman could be a gay rapist, and was “freaked out” by being followed by him.

As Al Sharpton put it after the verdict, “Trayvon Martin had the civil right to go home.” So why didn’t he? Jeantel told Morgan that she advised Martin to run away from the creepy-ass Zimmerman – to retreat – but instead, Martin stood his ground and attacked Zimmerman so viciously that when Martin spotted Zimmerman’s gun and told him, “You're going to die tonight mother*cker,” Zimmerman knew that he was seconds away from being killed if he didn’t get to the gun first.

Sharpton also said the verdict sent the message that  “Any child can be interfered with going home for committing no crime. That’s the bottom line here that must be answered.”

Well, Ann Coulter answers him:

The Justice-for-Trayvon crowd keeps pretending there hasn’t been a trial where the evidence overwhelmingly showed that Trayvon committed the first (and only) crime that night by assaulting Zimmerman. Instead, the race agitators are sticking with the original story peddled by the media, back when we had zero facts. To wit, that Zimmerman had stalked a young black child and shot him dead just for being black and wearing a hoodie.[Emphasis, The Stiletto]

3. Martin was unarmed: Like many media outlets and commentators, The WaPo and New York Times insist on describing Martin as “unarmed.” He was, in fact, armed with his youth and strength, and was an experienced street fighter. More people are killed with hands, fists and feet than by a rifles and shotguns combined.

The corollary to this myth is another myth that “if Zimmerman hadn’t been armed, nobody would have died.” If Zimmerman hadn’t been armed, he would have died at Martin’s hands. A forensic pathologist testified that having his head banged against the concrete over and over by Martin caused injuries serious enough that the police should have taken him to the hospital instead of questioning him at the station. Martin’s assault could have caused a fatal bleed in Zimmerman’s brain – recall that actress Natasha Richardson died a few hours after falling and hitting her head while skiing.

4. Martin was “stalked and killed for no reason”: Two more myths are reflected in statements by a protester at the Seminole County (FL) Criminal Justice Center, who told the crowd, “It’s not legal to hunt and stalk black men in America and be justified in killing a young black male for no reason. For no reason, because he looked suspicious.”

The “stalking charge” is based on the widely-held, yet mistaken belief that the 9-1-1 operator ordered Zimmerman not to get out of his vehicle and follow Martin. And the jury believed that Zimmerman did have a reason to shoot – he was convinced he was about to die at Martin’s hands. As Coulter advises black liberals “bemoaning the danger to their own teenage sons”:

To avoid what happened to Trayvon Martin, their boys need only follow this advice: Don’t walk up to a stranger and punch him, ground-and-pound him, MMA-style, and repeatedly smash his head against the pavement.

5. Martin was blameless in the tragedy: The Stiletto took a slightly different tack than Coulter in a series of Facebook posts and comments prompted by a protester at a rally Harlem who declared, “We're all Trayvon Martins today.” Here is The Stiletto’s take, redacted and slightly edited for clarity and accuracy:

If Zimmerman had asked me what I was doing in his neighborhood, I would have told him I was staying with my father [and his girlfriend, who lives on Such-and-Such street], introduced myself, asked for his name and shook hands. Handshakes put people at ease, and Zimmerman would have explained that he's on the Neighborhood Watch and had to make sure everything was OK. I would have responded that I completely understood and thanked him for volunteering to keep the area safe for everyone. I would have gone home, and he would have gone home.

I am not Trayvon Martin because my parents raised me to mind my manners, and because my first instinct is to be friendly, not hostile. … [I]t would never occur to me to react violently and try to kill Zimmerman for asking a question he had every right to ask in his role as a Neighborhood Watch volunteer.

If Trayvon Martin had not been Trayvon Martin – in other words, if his behavior had been like mine would have been – he would be alive today.

In “A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding,” satirist Jonathan Swift makes the case that manners are based on common sense, and that one of the best arguments in favor of practicing good manners is to prevent violence-provoking offense. Others are of the same mind:

“Manners are of more importance than laws. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us.” 

~ Edmund Burke

“There can be no defense like elaborate courtesy.”
~E.V. Lucas

“It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire.” 

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

“I have always been of the mind that in a democracy manners are the only effective weapons against the bowie-knife.”

~ James Russell Lowell

“I defy anyone to assign an incident wherein reason will not direct us what we are to say or do in company, if we are not misled by pride or ill nature.”

~ Jonathan Swift

A simple display of good manners on Martin’s part would have informed him that Zimmerman was not a pedophile stalking him, would have informed Zimmerman that he was living in the complex and hadn’t come there to commit a robbery, and would have put both of them at ease. Instead of smoothing over the awkwardness of being challenged by Zimmerman, Martin chose instead to escalate the confrontation from verbal unpleasantness to physical violence. And when he declared his intention to kill Zimmerman, it became a zero-sum situation: One of them was not going to be alive at the end of it.

Obama has personalized the tragic situation by observing, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” and added that the incident should be viewed through the lens of past discrimination. This is exactly the wrong way to think about what happened that dark and stormy night, because it is guaranteed to cause more discrimination and distrust. Rather than asking white Americans to “do some soul-searching” about whether they are “wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?,” Obama should do his own soul-searching to consider how his behavior as a teenager – and, by extension, the behavior of Martin and other young black men – can get them jailed or killed. Instead of pointing fingers, the black community must look inward – the refusal to “air dirty laundry” is a luxury that is being paid for by the blood of its young men on a daily basis.

Though purely unintentional, former Obama czar of something-or-another Van Jones was on to a germ of a solution when he suggested that the Zimmerman verdict means that “you have to dress your kid in a tuxedo to send them out the door to buy Skittles, because somebody might confront them.” Black parents trying to find a constructive, proactive takeaway from the Zimmerman-Martin tragedy would do well to dress their teenage kids in the metaphorical tuxedo of good manners:

As he walked down the street in rubber sandals on Wednesday afternoon, Rashaun Cohen, 17, said he carried himself differently since the shooting. His gray sweat shorts hung well past his knees, but he said he tended not to let his pants sag anymore. His mother also offered some advice, he said.

“Just, like, don’t walk into any neighborhood like I’m hard,” he said. “Just always be respectful and humble.” …

Shannon Merritt, 35, said the Martin case provided a larger teachable moment for her 19-year-old brother and 18-year-old daughter. One of the first things she did after the verdict, she said, was to tell her brother: “Please stay in school; just work, try not to be a statistic.”

Those who would accuse The Stiletto of suggesting that young black men become unctuously deferential around whites should keep in mind Theodore Roosevelt’s universally applicable observation that “politeness [is] a sign of dignity, not subservience.” Comedian and social commentator Bill Cosby has made this point himself numerous times (“Good manners show strength of character that encourages an atmosphere of mutual respect”). By being respectful when Zimmerman questioned him, Martin would have disarmed Zimmerman – in both senses of the word – and would have encouraged Zimmerman to treat him with respect rather than with suspicion.

Egypt erupts

THE DAILY BLADE: With the help of the military, the Egyptian people have rid themselves of the autocratic Mohamed Morsi and the Islamist Constitution he rammed down their throats.

In a televised news conference  Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi outlined the details of a “road map” for a post-Morsi government developed by civilian, political and religious leaders, and promised that for parliamentary and presidential elections would occur without delay. Chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, was sworn in as the interim president and will work with the constitutional court to establish the rules for these elections.

What Just Happened, Here?

The Washington Post’s Max Fisher characterizes Morsi’s ouster as “both a coup and a popular movement, both the expression and subversion of Egypt’s democratic experiment,” and makes the case that the duality of these events must be acknowledged by pro- and anti-Morsi factions so that Egyptians can elect a leader everyone can live with:

If Egypt is going to deal with this transition much better than 2011, it might well require both sides of this week’s stand-off to acknowledge the full extent of July 3 and how the country got to that point. The Muslim Brotherhood, which is influential enough that it will likely remain a real political force, has some significant lessons to learn about political inclusion and legitimacy; it would not be easy for the group to ask itself if it really did squander its presidency, but they’ve endured much harder times than this.

A lesson for opponents of the Brotherhood, though, may be that the Islamist group didn’t get to the presidency by accident and will not disappear. The Muslim Brotherhood has proven one of Egypt’s most organized and effective political organizations. For the military and other to treat a coup that deposed the Brotherhood’s president as a non-coup and democratic event leaves the Brotherhood little real space in Egyptian politics. That would seem to risk a repeat of the same problem that plagued and ultimately ousted Morsi – except instead of an Islamist ruler acting as if non-Islamists had no right to participate, it would be the other way around.

Obama Is On The Wrong Side Of History – Again

On Facebook, Middle East analyst Walid Phares quotes “an observer in Washington”: “[W]e're glad to see on our 4th July, the appointment of a top jurist at the position of head of state in Egypt to serve the cause of democracy, freedom and justice. Above all President Mansour will have to clean up the Muslim Brotherhood legacy of extremism, Jihadism and fascism."

In keeping with his unconditional support of Morsi (more on this, later) Obama released a statement Wednesday evening that questioned the legitimacy of Morsi’s ousting:

 [W]e are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters. Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.

This statement can only be interpreted as pro-Morsi, since the Obama administration flouted a law requiring the secretary of state to certify that the Egyptian government "is supporting the transition to civilian government, including holding free and fair elections, implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion, and due process of law" when Secretary of State John Kerry waived the requirement and released $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid.

As Daily Beast columnist Kirsten Powers tartly noted on Twitter:

Obama’s also disingenuously stated that “The United States does not support particular individuals or political parties, but we are committed to the democratic process and respect for the rule of law.” In fact, the Obama administration has been silent about the escalating persecution of Egypt’s Copts and U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Morsi since he assumed office, Foreign Policy reports:

Patterson … resisted opportunities to criticize the Morsy government as it implemented increasingly authoritarian policies. In a memorable May interview with the Egyptian English-language news sit Ahram Online, she repeatedly dodged pointed questions about Morsy's leadership. "The fact is they ran in a legitimate election and won," she said. "Of course it is challenging to be dealing with any new government. However, at the state institutional level, we are for instance still liaising with the same military and civil service personnel, and thus have retained the same long-established relations."

As Human Events points out, “the human rights abuses Egypt’s Coptic Christians have been suffering under Muslim Brotherhood rule are significantly worse than the human rights abuses that the average Egyptian suffered under Mubarak – making the Copts’ right to protest even more legitimate, and, if anything, more worthy of U.S support.” But the Obama administration wanted Copts to sit down and shut up – on June 18 Patterson made a speech discouraging anti-Morsi protests (“Some say that street action will produce better results than elections. To be honest, my government and I are deeply skeptical.").

Obama’s Tacit Approval Of Religious Persecution

That speech gave Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood minions a green light to explicitly menace Christians in the hours before the June 30 protests, Human Events reports:

In Minya, Upper Egypt, where millions of Christians live, letters addressed to the Copts threatened them not to join the protests, otherwise their “businesses, cars, homes, schools, and churches” might “catch fire.” The message concluded by saying “If you are not worried about any of these, then worry about your children and your homes. This message is being delivered with tact. But when the moment of truth comes, there will be no tact.” It’s signed by “People zealous for the nation.”

A prominent imam, Wagdy Ghoneim (who, by the way, served as the imam at the Islamic Institute of Orange County, CA, until he was deported on an immigration violation) posted a video, “A Notice and Warning to the Crusaders in Egypt,” that included a chilling threat:    

The day Egyptians – and I don’t even mean the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafis, regular Egyptians – feel that you are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the earth. I’m warning you now: do not play with fire!… What do you think – that America will protect you? Let’s be very clear, America will not protect you. If so, it would have protected the Christians of Iraq when they were being butchered!

Ghoneim lived in America long enough to discern that our foreign policy has never been predicated on preventing the genocide of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa. And with Obama consistently supporting Islamists in every Muslim country – from Egypt and Libya to Syria and Turkey – Egypt’s Islamists have been killing Christians, raping Christian girls, forcing Christians to convert to Islam and burning down Christian churches with impunity.

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius writes, “the Obama administration has been Morsi’s main enabler”:

Probably thinking he had America’s backing, Morsi overreached on Nov. 22 by declaring that his presidential decrees were not subject to judicial review. … [A]s members of Morsi’s government resigned in protest, thousands of demonstrators took the streets and, ominously, Muslim Brotherhood supporters began counterattacking with rocks, clubs and metal pipes.

Through this upheaval, the Obama administration has been oddly restrained. After the power grab, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said: “We call for calm and encourage all parties to work together and call for all Egyptians to resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue.” Not exactly a thundering denunciation.

For this reason, Morsi and Obama were joined at the hip in the eyes of Egyptian protesters:

In a Washington Times op-ed Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, framed the events in Egypt the way Obama should have:

For the second time in as many years, Egypt finds itself at a pivotal crossroads. What has become clear by recent events is that millions of Egyptians believe that the Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood project has failed to live up to the goals and aspirations of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. …

We usually don't get many second chances to support democratic movements in the Middle East, but this is an opportunity for the United States to push for true democratic reforms and a vibrant civil society for all Egyptians. … [We] support the Egyptian people as they strive to implement real changes. Democracy need not come to Egypt through bloodshed and civil war.

Obama flattered himself that his Muslim upbringing made him uniquely qualified to guide U.S. foreign policy to a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” as he put it in his June 2009 speech in Cairo. But his philosophy to dialogue with instead of “dictate to” the Muslim world (click here, second item; and here, third item) has led him to support behind Islamists, insurgents and terrorists with aid and arms throughout the Middle East.

In short, Obama’s foreign policy can be reduced to this: “I refuse to dictate to dictators.”

Happy Independence Day!

Here are two great infographics from the blog:

Independence Day
The Complete Guide to July 4th Fireworks

Morsi’s ouster spells trouble for region’s other Islamist movements

- The Washington Post, July 4, 2013

Proud - And Grateful - To Be An American

IN MY SHOES: Every July 4th, The Stiletto says a special prayer of thanks that her mother and father chose to make their lives in this country.


The Stiletto’s well-educated parents spoke nearly a dozen languages between them – half fluently, half conversationally – so they could easily have applied for citizenship in any number of Western European or South American countries, Canada or even one of the far-flung nations comprising the British Commonwealth. But they were determined to become Americans, because this country offered a degree of personal and economic freedom unattainable even in other democracies. They wanted to give the children they hoped to have a birthright that ensured freedom from religious or ethnic persecution – no small concern in their case, as Christians in the Muslim country they grew up in are being killed in churches as they pray and Christian women are forced to wear the hijab so they can better blend in – as well as freedom from the despair of having their talents, drive and ambitions repeatedly stymied by a socioeconomic or gender-based caste system that keeps people “in their place.”  

The Stiletto got all that – and more. Having been imbued with the go-getting confidence of this always-striving nation, which shrugs off failure as a bump in the road while lavishly rewarding success, The Stiletto has an unshakable faith that the best is yet to come for her country, and for her. Next to life itself, this is the greatest gift The Stiletto’s parents could have bestowed.

A current events round-up for conservatives

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: News developments of note for conservatives:

There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and lip: Companies with 50 or more full-time workers have gotten a one-year reprieve from an ObamaCare provision that would subject them to pay a penalty of at least $2,000 per employee if they did not provide health coverage by January 1, 2014, The Wall Street Journal reports:

The delay is the latest snag to hit the Affordable Care Act, the biggest transformation in U.S. health care since the introduction of Medicare in the 1960s. New insurance exchanges designed to allow smaller businesses with as many as 100 workers to shop for coverage have faced difficulties getting off the ground in time for open-enrollment season this fall.

The Government Accountability Office, Congress's watchdog, has expressed concern that the exchanges selling coverage to individuals may not be ready in time to open on Oct. 1.

The Washington Post notes that “This latest delay is the most consequential in a series of setbacks for the president’s signature law, which has shown signs of fragility as the initial deadline for full implementation approaches at the end of the year.” “Fragility” must be WaPo-speak for “failure.”

While employers are off the hook for now, workers are still subject to tax penalties for not having health insurance, The New York Times reports. If the state insurance exchanges aren’t ready to enroll people who want health coverage in October, this provision of the “fragile” law will have to be postponed as well. As The Journal puts it:

The employer requirements are just one of several unpopular parts of the law that will test the administration's resolve. The law is also expected to raise premiums for some workers, mostly younger, healthy employees, and small businesses that hire them. It will cut funding for safety-net hospitals, impose taxes on medical device firms and other health care businesses, and tax individuals who opt not to buy coverage.

Resolve is a luxury Obama can’t afford as the midterm election approaches. It’s a sure bet that compliance will be suspended across the board until 2015, lest voters who’ve been hit by its financially punitive burdens take it out on Dems at the polls. Nonetheless, as Human Events warns, “Shots to the body won’t drop the ObamaCare zombie; only a repeal bullet to the head will put it down for good.”

† Never mind Marxism. Will an Obama administration be totalitarian? (click here for related article): Though his administration is beset by scandal and accused of abuse of power, The Washington Post scoffs at the idea that President Barack Hussein Obama is Richard Milhous Nixon, and seized on an IRS report indicating that the keyword “progressive” also appeared on the agency’s “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) list:

[N]ew evidence suggest[s] not only that there was no political conspiracy to punish Mr. Obama’s enemies but also that the IRS’s targeting may not have been aimed only at the right. …

A variety of terms, in fact, ended up on BOLO warnings, including “occupy” and “Israel.”

The IRS also released the results of a preliminary internal review, finding that “current fact gathering has found no evidence of intentional wrongdoing” and finding “no evidence of involvement from anyone outside of the IRS.”

Republicans still insist that the balance of available evidence suggests that tea party groups were scrutinized with greater regularity and intensity than progressive ones.

Leaving aside that all but seven of the 298 groups the IRS singled out for additional scrutiny had a conservative agenda, and that all seven progressive groups quickly received tax exempt status, it apparently doesn’t occur to The WaPo that:

Conservatives are strong supporters of Israel and groups with the word “Israel” in their names were likely critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East;

The many and disparate Occupy protest groups were united by their disapproval of Obama failing to hold Wall Street bankers accountable for their role in tanking the economy while continuing their high-risk, high-rolling ways; or

That the keyword “progressive” may not have been used to target liberal groups for intense scrutiny, but to shield them from it. In other words, conservative groups were put on a “black list” that got invasive questions about their donors and the content of their prayers, while liberal groups were whitelisted and their applications were given a pro-forma once-over – when anyone at the IRS even gave them a second look.

Increasing numbers of Americans across the political spectrum believing that the White House was giving orders to the IRS to neutralize Obama’s political enemies during the 2012 campaign, and a new analysis of the results of the 2010 and 2012 elections suggests that Obama owes his re-election to the systematic efforts of the IRS:

Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes – more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012. The data show that had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 - 8.5 million votes compared to Obama's victory margin of 5 million. …

As a consequence [of IRS harassment], the founders, members, and donors of new Tea Party groups found themselves incapable of exercising their constitutional rights, and the Tea Party's impact was muted in the 2012 election cycle.

These grassroots groups were unable to challenge or stop abusive IRS practices because abuse, because unlike § 501(c)(3) groups, § 501(c)(4) groups do not have the right to petition the United States Tax Court.

Does the U.S. need an election monitor? (click here for related article): The MSM – and even publications geared to lawyers – uniformly characterized the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act ruling as having  “gutted” and “crippled.” A more judicious, reading is that the high court has determined that the anti-discrimination remedies mandated by the law do not reflect current conditions in the states covered by its provisions, and therefore impose unconstitutional burdens in those states. As Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. explains in the majority opinion:

The coverage formula and preclearance requirement were initially set to expire after five years, but the Act has been reauthorized several times. In 2006, the Act was reauthorized for an additional 25 years, but the coverage formula was not changed. Coverage still turned on whether a jurisdiction had a voting test in the 1960s or 1970s, and had low voter registration or turnout at that time. …

In 1965, the States could be divided into two groups: those with a recent history of voting tests and low voter registration and turnout, and those without those characteristics. Congress based its coverage formula on that distinction. Today the Nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.

In the wake of its Voting Rights Act ruling, Supreme Court also reversed lower court rulings that blocking a voter ID law in TX and the state’s redistricting plans from going into effect.

And now that they don’t have to crawl over broken glass to beg Attorney General Eric Holder to approve even the slightest changes to their election laws, Republican officials throughout the South plan to implement laws that have been in legal limbo as fast as they can, The Associated Press reports:

Officials in Texas and Mississippi pledged to immediately implement laws requiring voters to show photo identification before getting a ballot.

North Carolina Republicans promised they'd quickly try to adopt a similar law. Florida now appears free to set its early voting hours however it pleases. And Georgia's most populous county likely will use county commission districts that Republican state legislators drew over the objections of local Democrats.

This is bad news for Democrats because, as The Wall Street Journal put it, “[w]hat most concerns liberals these days is not ballot access but how to use the Voting Rights Act to get certain election results”:

Today, Section 5 is used to block voter ID laws, which help ensure ballot integrity, or to justify racial gerrymandering that's intended to secure the election of black and Latino candidates.

This is why the left is wedded to a provision of the Voting Rights Act that has so clearly outlived its original purpose. And it's why President Obama is so "deeply disappointed" with Tuesday's decision.

Abigail Thernstrom, vice-chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the author of "Voting Rights—and Wrongs" (AEI Press, 2009) thinks the ruling “will benefit black America”:

Enforcement of the statute – including the imposition of "safe" black (and Hispanic) legislative seats as a remedy for discrimination – has herded black voters into what even North Carolina Democrat and Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Mel Watt once called "racial ghettos." Rep. Watt was referring to race-based districts that have generally rewarded minority politicians who campaign (and win) by making the sort of overt racial appeals that are the staple of invidious identity politics.

The black candidates who ran in such enclaves never acquired the skills to venture into the world of competitive politics in majority-white settings. They were thus thrust to the sidelines of American political life—which is precisely what the statute did not intend. In this sense the law became a brake on minority political aspirations.

For his part, The Washington Post’s Charles Lane argues that fewer “opportunity districts” for minority candidates will enable more moderates to get elected.:

Although hugely successful at securing the franchise for individual black voters, the Voting Rights Act has had corrosive unintended consequences, including, ironically, greater political polarization along racial lines.

As construed by courts, modified by Congress and enforced by the Justice Department, the act all but requires covered jurisdictions to maximize the concentration of African American and other minority voters in legislative districts.  …

[This] divides many states into a small number of majority-black districts, which usually pick liberal African American Democrats, and a larger number of overwhelmingly white districts, which choose conservative white Republicans. Moderates get squeezed out.

† The sounds of silence? (related article, second item on the page): The University at Buffalo Students for Life are suing the school for being forced to pony up nearly $650 in fees to cover the cost of “security” for a pro-life debate, FOX News reports:

UB Students for Life, an official student organization at the school since 2012, held a pro-life abortion debate on April 18 and were instructed by school officials to hire university police to attend the event since it involved “controversial” expression.  School officials later charged the group $649.63, or $150 more than the group’s entire annual Student Association funding even though one of the officers sat outside and read the newspaper.

“A public university is commonly known as the ‘marketplace of ideas,’” according to the 33-page lawsuit, which was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. “That marketplace depends on free and vigorous debate between students – debate that is silenced when university policies regulate speech based on content and viewpoint and vest administrators with unbridled discretion to impose fees for the exercise of speech.”

More than 200 people attended the debate and no major disruptions were reported. At the same time, however, two other student groups – the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and UB Freethinkers – hosted a debate between a Christian and an atheist and were not levied security fees by university officials.

A statement released by Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the group and two of its members, pointed out that the university has “failed to establish narrow, objective, and definite standards governing the imposition of security fees on student organization events” and is “arbitrarily” deciding that an event is controversial, which creates “a substantial risk that UB officials will engage in content and viewpoint discrimination.”

What’s good for Obama is bad for America: At the end of March there were already signs that the catastrophic predictions President Barack Hussein Obama made about the $85 billion in automatic across-the-board sequester cuts – which were parroted by his minions in the media without fact-checking – were a tad exaggerated.

In the beginning of June, The Wall Street Journal waggishly asked, “What if the federal government had a sequester and nobody was adversely affected?” At the end of the month, The Washington Post found that’s pretty much what happened:

The Washington Post recently checked 48 of those dire predictions about sequestration’s impact. Just 11 have come true, and some effects are worse than forecast. But 24 predictions have not come to pass. In 13 cases, agencies said it is too soon to know.

So many predictions fell short because, in recent months, the administration and Congress did what was supposed to be impossible: They undid many of sequestration’s scariest reductions. In the process, this supposedly ironclad budget cut — ostensibly immune to political maneuvering — became a symbol of the reality that nothing in Washington is beyond politics.

In some cases, politicians transferred cuts from high-value programs to lower-value ones. Employee travel was limited. Maintenance deferred.

But in other cases, they found “cuts” that didn’t cause much real-world pain. The Justice Department, for instance, prevented furloughs by “cutting” $300 million in money that had already legally expired, as well as $45 million meant to house detainees who didn’t exist. …

So this is how Washington took the scare out of the sequester: In some cases, agencies dug into their budgets and found millions they could spare. In other cases, Congress passed a law that allocated new funds or shifted money around. In others, lawmakers signed off on an agency’s proposal to “reprogram” its money.

The Wall Street Journal reports that even when cuts in federal funding did have a significant impact, non-government sources of funds made up the shortfall. For instance, after The Washington Post ran an article about a Methodist church in MD planning to discontinue  its 30-year old Meals on Wheels program when its federal funding was cut from $1,200 a quarter to $1,100 for the entire year, “the church was flooded with donations.”

The sequester wasn’t the crisis that Obama hoped to use to his political advantage, but he still found petty ways to make it sting a bit: Fourth of July fireworks shows have been cancelled at several U.S. military bases in the U.S. and the White House remains closed to tours.

† They’re Not Working On The (Long Island) Railroad All The Live- Long Day (related article, penultimate item on the page): Nearly 600 Long Island Rail Road retirees will lose their fraudulently obtained disability benefits, The Wall Street Journal reports:

The decision to cut off the benefits was made last week at a U.S. Railroad Retirement Board meeting in Chicago, said Martin Dickman, inspector general for the board. The action follows last month's sentencing of a physician who admitted inventing "narratives" to justify claims for hundreds of corrupt Long Island Rail Road workers trying to retire on disability.

It's complicated: Lots to sort out on gay marriage

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: It's complicated: Lots to sort out on gay marriage

-  The Associated Press, July 1, 2013

State Department had to pay people to pretend to “like” them on Facebook

NOT THE SHARPEST KNIVES IN THE DRAWER: During a debate just before the 2008 NH primary, Barack Obama dismissively opined that Hillary Clinton was “likeable enough.” Clinton was likeable enough to give Obama a longer, harder race than he ever imagined, but she apparently wasn’t likeable enough for Facebook during her tenure at the State Department.  According to the State Department’s Inspector General, officials spent $630K to buy Facebook "likes" to make it appear that the agency’s pages were more popular than measurable metrics showed,The Washington Examiner reports:

The department's Bureau of International Information Programs spent the money to increase its "likes" count between 2011 and March 2013. …

The spending increased the bureau's English-language Facebook page likes from 100,000 to more than 2 million and to 450,000 on Facebook's foreign-language pages.

Despite the surge in likes, the IG said the effort failed to reach the bureau's target audience, which is largely older and more influential than the people liking its pages. Only about 2 percent of fans actually engage with the pages by liking, sharing or commenting.

The IG criticized the social media outreach program for lacking an overall strategy, which resulted in a mismatch between resources and public diplomacy priorities and overlap between the 150 social media accounts maintained by various State Department bureaus.

Considering an oral piercing?

IF THE SHOE FITSConsidering an oral piercing?

- HealthDay News, June 28, 2013

Manager arrested for getting her paws on animal shelter kitty

WHAT A HEEL:  Denise McCoy Manger, 40, director of a non-profit animal rescue shelter in Belle Chase, LA, was arrested after she confessed to stealing fees and donations to support her prescription drug addiction, WVLA (Channel 33, Baton Rouge) reports

An investigation against manager was launched after PAWS board members became aware of the possible theft. They contacted authorities and two detectives decided to set up an undercover operation. …

On Sunday, June 23, the two undercover detectives adopted two dogs from the PAWS shelter in Belle Chase. They paid $260 in cash. The money from the adoption was placed into safekeeping for future deposit by Manger. However, the money never ended up in the shelter’s account. Rather, it was spent at a local business. …

Investigators have worked with PAWS board members to determine exactly how much money went missing. They say nearly $40,000 is missing from 2013 alone. Manger has been in charge of the funds for the shelter from April 2012 until the conclusion of the investigation.

Manager was arrested and arraigned on charges of felony theft.

A current events round-up for conservatives

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: News developments of note for conservatives:

† Obama is just about every U.S. president all rolled into one! (click here for related article):  Libertarians have long complained that President Barack Hussein Obama was no better – and perhaps worse – than his predecessor when it came to protecting the civil liberties of Americans.

With all the scandals swirling around his administration coalescing into a miasma of malevolence, the MSM is starting to give Obama the Bush treatment – and, coincidentally (or not) a Gallup survey shows Bush’s favorability ratings are higher than his favorability ratings (49 percent to 46 percent). By way of comparison, Obama’s job approval average during his first term was also 49 percent, and his latest job approval rating is 48 percent.

Noting that as a presidential candidate in 2008 Barack Obama “ran as the anti-Bush candidate who would get the U.S. out of Iraq, put an end to torture and redefine U.S. policies abroad,” The Associated Press tsk-tsked over Obama’s continuing “the counterterrorism policies that caused [President George W. Bush] to run afoul of civil libertarians.”

National Journal’s Ron Fournier became positively unhinged over the idea that Obama broke his campaign promises to undo everything Bush had done:

Welcome to the era of Bush-Obama, a 16-year span of U.S. history that will be remembered for an unprecedented erosion of civil liberties and a disregard for transparency. On the war against a tactic—terrorism—and its insidious fallout, the United States could have skipped the 2008 election.

It made little difference.

Patterico put it more judiciously: “It sounds like the upshot of this is that Obama is not doing anything different in kind, but is doing something different in scope.”

In his last article for BuzzFeed before he died in a car crash, Michael Hastings hit the nail squarely on the head:

The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems – including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry – have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008.

The NSA is not just spying on Americans, but also on citizens in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Spain and UK and on EU embassies on both sides of the Atlantic. “It is beyond comprehension that our friends in the United States see Europeans as enemies,” said Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger of Germany.

So Obama isn’t Bush III. When it comes to civil liberties and transparency, Obama is worse. Far worse.

Oh, and while Obama got us out of Afghanistan and Iraq, he is moving steadily towards embroiling the U.S. in Egypt and Syria. Bush’s wars were fought to disrupt al Qaeda’s terror operations and to liberate the people in these countries from tyranny. In contrast, Obama will be helping al Qaeda by providing the arms with which they will commit atrocities against Christians, and thwarting people who are putting their lives on the line trying to save themselves from tyranny. It’s very telling that, even as he is supporting Islamists in Egypt and Syria, Obama has not provided any assistance to dissidents in Tunisia who want a secular state.

† The sounds of silence?: Earlier this year, in what may have been the first of several stinging rebukes of her sister liberals that followed (see second, third posts), political analyst Kirsten Powers told Bill O’Reilly that, “Liberals, because they are used to controlling all the media, pretty much, academia … when they hear things that don’t jibe with what they want to hear, it’s very disconcerting and unsettling to them.”

And when liberals get disconcerted and unsettled, they either try to shut you up or retaliate. Examples buttressing Powers’ point about the near-total control liberals have in academia at all levels – and their heavy-handedness in wielding it – have been piling up like wet towels at the gym:

‡ A political science professor at WV’s West Liberty University forbade her students from using FOX News as a media or research source.

‡ A devout Mormon at Florida Atlantic University faced charges of academic misconduct and expulsion for refusing to participate in a class exercise requiring him to stomp on the  name “JESUS” written on a piece of paper, then received an apology from university officials after nationwide protest.

‡ A 15-year-old high school freshman wrote a blog post about how the teachers at his public middle school and high school in Appleton, WI, harassed and bullied him for years because of his conservative political beliefs. In an interview about the post, he told FOX News’ Megyn Kelly that “It’s scary to stand up to a teacher because they can judge you and they’re ultimately in charge of your future” but that he’s speaking out on behalf of other young conservatives who are too intimidated to share their beliefs. His ultimate goal is to get politics out of the classroom.

‡ Pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, MD, was forced to withdraw as a speaker from the Johns Hopkins University's medical school convocation after protests by the faculty and students. Similarly, district officials cancelled a speech by former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) at Grosse Pointe High School after some parents objected – but then reversed course after other parents and students objected, though students had to get parental permission to be exposed to his subversive traditional views.

And when you control academia and the media, it’s a short leap to attempt to control the marketplace of ideas. David Harsanyi recently noted that “the Internal Revenue Service scandal isn’t just about the abuse of power; it’s a byproduct of an irrational fear of free speech, which seems to permeate much of the left these days.”

The Board of Regents at the University of Colorado-Boulder seemed to buck the trend when it agreed to consider a resolution to amend CU regent laws to prohibit discrimination based on "political affiliation or political philosophy" so as to ensure more diversity of intellectual thought, and a second resolution to conduct a survey to determine how effectively its campuses implemented a previous resolution requiring the institution to "respect diversity in all of its forms, including diversity of political, geographic, cultural, intellectual, and philosophical perspectives." Although Republicans are a 5-4 majority on the board, it was a split decision. The regents unanimously supported the survey of students – after it was watered down with amendments to include questions about questions about gender, ethnicity other kinds of diversity. The resolution on intellectual diversity was tabled, pending further evaluation by the board's law and policy committee.

† The magic is gone: The Washington Post reports that “a segment of South Africa that is not happy to see Obama visiting their country and are planning several protests, some of which have already begun”:

There’s been such an outcry within the University of Johannesburg at Soweto, where Obama will visit to receive an honorary degree, that university officials have defended the move by saying that the degree will recognize only Obama’s personal merit and not necessarily endorse his leadership of U.S. foreign policy. …

A senior member of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (sometimes called Cosatu) said, according to the New York Times, that Obama’s election had signaled “promise for change of policy” but that the U.S. president “continues to be arrogant, and his policies continue to entrench American power to the whole globe without any change.” A Times story noting the protests called them another sign that “the country’s longstanding skittishness about American foreign and trade policies has overridden its brief elation over the election of the first black president in the United States.”

Given the slow pace of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) disbursing the $651 million Congress authorized for Haiti earthquake relief efforts three years ago, Haitians aren’t too thrilled with Obama, either. A report  by the Government Accounting Office finds that “USAID not only been slow to spend money, it's cutting back on its original promises,” Washington Guardian reports.

Obama has also lost the goodwill of members of his own party. Protesters across the political spectrum demonstrated against President Barack Hussein Obama outside a May fundraiser he attended for the DCCC in Chicago.

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard, made the case that this broad-based dissatisfaction with Obama indicates the beginning of the end of his legacy.

† Living in these mad, mad, Madoff Times: The Labor Department’s annual American Time Use Survey finds that the average American aged 15 or older spent less time working last year than in 2011 (three hours, 32 minutes vs. three hours and 34 minutes) and more time in front of the TV (two hours and 50 minutes a day vs. two hours and 44 minutes in 2010) or sleeping (eight hours and 44 minutes, from eight hours and 40 minutes in 2010). Collectively, the gain or loss of these few minutes on work-related activities is an indication of the health of the economy, The Wall Street Journal reports:

"The recovery has basically been a recovery for a tiny fraction of the population," said Geoffrey Godbey, professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and co-author of "Time For Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time." "What you're seeing is people who might want more work but aren't getting it," he said. The survey, which has been conducted annually since 2003 and includes both employed and unemployed persons, suggests America's sluggish recovery continues to hamper workers. While the U.S. unemployment rate fell last year from 8.3% to 7.8% — it is now at 7.6% — other trends are likely holding down average hours spent at work. The number of part-time workers was higher in 2012 than the year before, for example.

Meanwhile, the share of the population working or looking for a job dropped to 63.6% at the end of last year, compared with 64% in December 2011. That number, known as the labor force participation rate, has been falling as a result of a combination of discouraged workers dropping out of the workforce and baby boomers retiring.

† BHO blooper reel: It turns out that a fort on Gorée Island off the coast of Senegal that President Barack Hussein Obama visited during the Obama family’s vacation in Africa did not play a significant role in the African slave trade, The Telegraph (London) reports:

[A]s the president toured the 18th century building and later spoke of how the visit had allowed him to "fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade", historians pointed out that it was probably never used for that purpose at all.

Pictures on Thursday showed Mr Obama standing with his wife Michelle at Gorée's so-called Door of No Return, a dark passageway from where the fort's human cargo is said to have been loaded via gangplanks onto ships.

However, despite the claims that millions of slaves passed through the door, its most likely use is now thought to have been for disposing of rubbish. Likewise, the waters it overlooks are too rocky and shallow for a slave ship to have used it as a loading bay.

"There are literally no historians who believe the Slave House is what they're claiming it to be, or that believe Goree was statistically significant in terms of the slave trade," said Ralph Austen, a professor at the University of Chicago who has researched the subject.

Historian Ana Lucia Araujo told The Associated Press that, “No slaves ever boarded a ship through it. It’s not a real place from where real people left in the numbers they say.” This inconvenient fact

notwithstanding, The Washington Post reports that the truthiness of the claim that the fort was a major transfer point for slaves trumps the actual truth for many:

Historians first uncovered the apparent truth about Goree in the 1990s. But almost 20 years later, the site’s emotional power is still strong – as is its prominent place in a history that it actually had very little to do with. But that might be about something much bigger than just the persistence of myth or the challenge in overturning a too-good-to-be-true story. …

Historians, since realizing the banal truth of Goree Island in the 1990s, have been struggling with how, or whether, to reconcile their accounting with the island’s power today, how to square what actually happened at this house in Senegal with the Door of No Return as it is today felt and perceived by visitors from Nelson Mandela to Obama. If no slaves ever actually stepped through the door, can it still be a symbol of the slave trade, which did in fact reshape entire continents? Of slavery’s still-unfolding legacy? At what point does the symbolism overshadow the reality?

In 1995, as an early iteration of this still-going debate raged on an e-mail listserv for Africa scholars, the scholar John Saillant, then of Brown University, argued that Goree could still matter, even if it turned out that millions of slaves hadn’t really moved through it. “We can understand Goree as important & interesting without extravagant claims about numbers,” he wrote.

Obama, who often accuses conservatives of “ignoring science,” wasn’t at all concerned that a speech on slavery by the first biracial American president would perpetuate a myth.

A current events round-up for conservatives

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: News developments of note for conservatives:

† Never mind Marxism. Will an Obama administration be totalitarian?: Part II: President Barack Hussein Obama’s omnipresence, as depicted in a September 2009 article in New York Magazine, which attempted to make the case that his “ubiquitous appearances as professor-in-chief, preacher-in-chief, father-in-chief, may turn out to be the most salient feature of his presidency” – an image that caused alarm bells to go off in The Stiletto’s mind:

Obama’s omnipresence, as depicted in a Columbus Dispatch cartoon by Nate Beeler about the Obama administration’s pervasive, unpopular and possibly unconstitutional domestic spying program that has covertly surveilled the phone calls, e-mails, social media posts and Internet usage of tens of millions of law-abiding American citizens who have no ties to a terrorist organization:

† A Jihadi Who Represents Himself Has A Fool For A Client (last item on the page): Col. Tara Osborn, the military judge presiding over Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s capital trial in connection with the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage, granted his petition to represent himself, ruling that he was mentally competent to represent himself and understands "the disadvantage of self-representation.

One of those disadvantages became apparent when she rejected his planned defense strategy that the 13 murders and 32 attempted murders he (allegedly) committed were necessary to protect Taliban leaders in Afghanistan from immediate danger or death.

When Osborn asked Hasan to provide evidence to support his defense, he responded that Taliban leader Mullah Omar and the "leadership of the Taliban in general" were in immediate danger from American troops who hadn’t yet been deployed to Afghanistan, because "the U.S. has attacked and continued to attack the Taliban." Osborn ruled there was no evidence to support an immediate threat by anyone at Fort Hood to anyone in Afghanistan, thus Hasan’s "defense of others" defense “fails as a matter of law.” She also ruled that as a uniformed Soldier in the U.S. Army, Hasan had no justification to kill other U.S. Soldiers. 

"A 'defense of others' strategy is not going to work when you're at war and the 'others' are enemies of the U.S.," Jeff Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University in San Antonio explains.

Despite Osborn not allowing Hasan to present any evidence or argument relating to the defense of others in court, Hassan has given the lie to the Obama administration’s characterization of his (alleged) crime as “workplace violence.” The victims should be awarded the Purple Heart for being killed or wounded in the line of duty, so they and/or their can receive combat-related special compensation.

† Let them eat steak!: Part VIII: The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel recently observed that while the IRS scandal has registered with the average American, it’s the Obama administration’s targeting of the media that will ultimately give him the most grief:

For years, much of the Washington press corps has served as this White House's front-line defense. As recently as a month ago, the press was still playing no-see-um with Benghazi.

Yet since the AP story broke, the Beltway media have been doing a passable impression of a credible Fourth Estate. White House press secretary Jay Carney's daily briefings now resemble "Survivor" episodes, with journalists firing off questions, rejecting answers, and even rolling their eyes at responses. The White House's evasiveness on the press scandal has suddenly got the press corps wondering what else this administration isn't being straight on. …

Will it last? That may depend on how many more revelations about press intrusions come to light. But the notable thing is that Mr. Obama has lost the media's loyalty at this critical moment of his presidency, as other scandals over the IRS and Benghazi continue to swirl.

Case in point: It took nearly five years, but The New York Times finally took a page from Judicial Watch and acknowledged that Obama’s jet-setting ways are extravagant and demoralizing to government workers facing unpaid furloughs:

Perhaps it is nothing more than an accident of timing that as federal workers brace for a summer filled with unpaid furlough days, their leaders are traveling the nation and globe on trips that exude luxury. …

For a leader presiding over automatic budget cuts and a slow-moving economic recovery, there are growing political costs to presidential travel. Every move a president makes costs money, and in an era when money is in short supply, that means heightened scrutiny. Vacations are especially touchy. …

Almost by definition, Mr. Obama lives a life foreign to most Americans, with the big white house and the ushers and chefs and the airplane fueled and ready to go. When he wants a weekend away, he can fly to Florida to golf with Tiger Woods. When his daughters take spring break, they head to Aspen to ski. He winters in Hawaii and summers on Martha’s Vineyard. …

Many workers are canceling summer vacations of their own. Across the government, cutbacks are everywhere. The Blue Angels did not fly at the Naval Academy commencement, Head Start programs are turning away children, and there are no summer jobs for college students to cut the grass at Antietam.

Mind you, this was before details of the logistical difficulties – military cargo planes airlifting 56 support vehicles, truckloads of bulletproof glass, a medical trauma center aboard a Navy ship, and hundreds of Secret Service agents – and costs – an estimated $60 million to $100 million – of the Obama family’s planned weeklong trip to Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa became public.

After the details of Obama’s excellent adventure were widely reported, the White House found itself in the unaccustomed position of having to defend the eye-popping expense while "sequestration" budget cuts are being made, explaining it is "great bang for our buck." The “our” wasn’t referring to any of the bucks in Obama’s wallet, but to the bucks taken from the paychecks of struggling Americans, which the Obamas feel extraordinarily entitled to spend on their personal pleasure. The Washington Times reports:

"There will be a great bang for our buck for being in Africa because when you travel to regions like Africa that don't get a lot of presidential attention, you tend to have very longstanding and long-running impact from the visit," said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to President Obama.

On Obama’s agenda is “emphasizing the importance of global health programs, including HIV/AIDS prevention” – as if his predecessor hadn’t saved millions of lives with his historical commitment to HIV/AIDS prevention (an effort that deserved being recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize, but never will be).

The old ditty,“You Better Get It While You Can,” best explains why Obama is spending taxpayer money like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

† The magic is goneProtesters across the political spectrum demonstrated against President Barack Hussein Obama outside a May fundraiser he attended for the DCCC in Chicago:

[P]ro-life groups lined Michigan Ave. with giant images of aborted children, standing alongside protesters from the Sierra Club against the Keystone Pipeline, illegal aliens calling for open borders, anarchists against the police state, communists against freedom, independent veterans who are fed up with the Obama regime, and even a group of Native Americans singing and chanting.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard, makes the case that this broad-based dissatisfaction with Obama indicates the beginning of the end of his legacy:

Mr. Obama's re-election stirred grand expectations. The vote heralded a new liberal era, or so it was claimed. His victory was said to reflect ideological, cultural and demographic trends that could keep Democrats in the majority for years to come. His second four years in the White House would be just the beginning.

Now, six months later, the Obama administration is in an unexpected and sharp state of decline. Mr. Obama has little influence on Congress. His presidency has no theme. He pivots nervously from issue to issue. What there is of an Obama agenda consists, at the moment, of leftovers from his first term or proposals that he failed to emphasize in his re-election campaign and thus have practically no chance of passage.

Barnes writes that Obama is “paying the price for a re-election campaign that was based on attacking his opponent, Mitt Romney, and not much else” and that the IRS, Justice Department, Benghazi scandals “worsened his plight and made recovery next to impossible.”

† When kindness kills (third item on the page): Back in January a video showing what happened when a soft-hearted headed man released a mouse he had captured in his home into the wild went viral, providing the perfect illustration of a phenomenon one researcher terms “pathological altruism” – which conservatives colloquially refer to as “liberal cluelessness.” 

In her meta-analysis of research on the psychological, biological and evolutionary foundations of altruism, "Concepts and Implications of Altruism Bias and Pathological Altruism," Barbara Oakley, an associate professor in engineering at Oakland University (Rochester, MI), offers a scientific explanation of “pathological altruism”:

Pathological altruism can be conceived as behavior in which attempts to promote the welfare of another, or others, results instead in harm that an external observer would conclude was reasonably foreseeable. More precisely, this paper defines pathological altruism as an observable behavior or personal tendency in which the explicit or implicit subjective motivation is intentionally to promote the welfare of another, but instead of overall beneficial outcomes the altruism instead has unreasonable (from the relative perspective of an outside observer) negative consequences to the other or even to the self. This definition does not suggest that there are absolutes but instead suggests that, within a particular context, pathological altruism is the situation in which intended outcomes and actual outcomes (within the framework of how the relative values of “negative” and “positive” are conceptualized), do not mesh.

A working definition of a pathological altruist then might be a person who sincerely engages in what he or she intends to be altruistic acts but who (in a fashion that can be reasonably anticipated) harms the very person or group he or she is trying to help; or a person who, in the course of helping one person or group, inflicts reasonably foreseeable harm to others beyond the person or group being helped; or a person who in reasonably anticipatory way becomes a victim of his or her own altruistic actions. The attempted altruism, in other words, results in objectively foreseeable and unreasonable harm to the self, to the target of the altruism, or to others beyond the target.

[Hat Tip: OpinionJournal]

Drunk driver having sex while speeding crashes, hides in cactus to evade police

NOT THE SHARPEST KNIVES IN THE DRAWER: Arizonan Luis Briones was arrested for aggravated DWI and several other moving violations for (allegedly) running a red light on an Albuquerque street and crashing his Ford Explorer into another car while he was engaged in a sex act with a naked woman on his lap, The Raw Story reports:

 “Mr. Briones was observed to be having sexual intercourse with the passenger and sped off… at a high rate of speed,” a criminal complaint obtained by Albuquerque Journal said. “Their activities presented a danger to others in the roadway as exhibited by the accident.” …

Briones tried to flee but a witness took his car keys. Police later found Briones hiding in cactus with his shorts inside out. The complaint stated that he refused to cooperate with police and became hostile with paramedics. Police said that he also refused to wear his pants while inside the patrol car.

Briones is facing at least eight charges, including aggravated DWI, reckless driving, running a red light, possessing an open container (of vodka) and refusing to obey an officer.  A caller to 9-1-1 before the crash reported that the 25-year-old was driving at high speed while having sex. It is unclear whether the infractions Briones is charged with were committed in one of NM’s dozen “safety corridors,” where penalties are more severe.

Briones was booked into the Bernalillo County jail, where he is being held in lieu of $22,000 bond, The Smoking Gun reports.

Neither Briones nor his passenger, Natasha Carroll, were wearing seat belts. The force of the impact ejected the 21-year old from Briones’ vehicle, and she was taken to a local hospital for treatment of facial lacerations.

Sen. Coburn: Holder investigating DOJ a ‘total conflict of interest’

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: Sen. Coburn: Holder investigating DOJ a ‘total conflict of interest’

-  The Western Center for Journalism, May 27, 2013

If you have neck pain

IF THE SHOE FITSIf you have neck pain

- HealthDay News, May 29, 2013

Judges gone wild: Part II

WHAT HEELS:  What’s up with all the substance-abusing jurists in St. Clair County (IL)? County probation worker James Fogarty was arraigned for (allegedly) selling cocaine to St. Clair County Circuit Judges , Joseph Christ and Michael Cook on numerous occasions. In March, the day before Christ and Cook travelled to a hunting lodge owned by Cooke’s family, Fogarty reportedly snorted coke with them, before selling the rest of the “eight ball” (1/8 ounce) to them for $140 each. During the hunting trip,, Christ, a prosecutor who had been was sworn in as a judge just 10 days earlier, died of cocaine intoxication, Legal Blog Watch reports.

While Cook has not been charged in connection with Christ's death, he was arrested last week on charges of heroin possession and using a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Cook resigned shortly after his arraignment, at which he wore cut-off jean shorts and a T-shirt with the message “Bad is my middle name” – the outfit he was in when he had been arrested several evenings earlier at the home of a former client who was also charged with heroin possession and intent to distribute.

Cook, who is also contending with ethics complaints  filed by the state's attorney, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the weapons charge, and a year behind bars and a $100,000 fine for the heroin possession charge.

St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic – who got his job when his predecessor pleaded guilty to illegally transporting alcohol in connection with a DUI incident – is conducting a review of the criminal cases handled by Cook and Christ to determine whether their drug use affected the outcomes of the trials.

A current events round-up for conservatives

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: News developments of note for conservatives:

† Obama is just about every U.S. president all rolled into one!: Richard Nixon famously declared, "The press is the enemy," and some 40 years later the Obama administration seems determined to continue his efforts to muzzle the media (AKA the “nattering nabobs of negativism”) by waging an all-out war – or “jihad,” as one journo termed it – against the Fourth Estate in general, and FOX News in particular.

At first, journalists and pundits – some of them his own colleagues at The Washington Post –  felt that veteran reporter Bob Woodward jumped the shark when he accused the Obama White House of using Nixonian threats and strong-arm tactics to dissuade him from writing about the sequestration debacle. But then other journalists came forward to reveal that they, too, felt bullied by top administration officials and the list of those who have been the targets of intimidation and surveillance has been growing daily – and now includes CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson (see also second item on the page); Christian Broadcasting Network White House correspondent David Brody; former Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter; FOX News reporters James Rosen and William La Jeunesse; and as many as 100 Associated Press reporters and editors.

When it comes to political scandals, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein remain the ultimate arbiters of which rise (sink?) to Nixonian-level. Having observed three months ago that the Obama administration is acting with “a kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time,” Woodward has since likened the still-unfolding Benghazi scandal to Watergate because of the efforts of the Nixon and Obama administrations to withhold key information from the public. For his part, Bernstein deemed the Department of Justice’s spying on AP reporters “outrageous” and “totally inexcusable,” adding, “This is intimidation, it’s wrong, the president of the United States should’ve long ago put a stop to this in his presidency.”

The MSM is often exasperating (see next item), but an attack on their First Amendment protections is also an attack on all of ours. As Daily Beast columnist and FOX News analyst Kirsten Powers put it:

First they came for Fox News, and they did not speak out – because they were not Fox News. Then they came for government whistleblowers, and they did not speak out – because they were not government whistleblowers. Then they came for the maker of a YouTube video, and – okay, we know how this story ends. 

What all of us in the media need to remember—whatever our politics—is that we need to hold government actions to the same standard, whether they’re aimed at friends or foes. If not, there’s no one but ourselves to blame when the administration takes aim at us.

When news of the DOJ’s secret subpoenas of AP phone records surfaced, 52 media organizations sent a letter of protest to Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney James M. Cole. And to their credit, individual journalists,  news organizations and The Committee to Protect Journalists also condemned the DOJ’s investigating  Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act involving alleged leaks of classified information about North Korea for which a State Department analyst  has been indicted.

Media irrelevancy – a self-inflicted wound: The Kermit Gosnell murder trial was every bit as gruesome as the Jody Arias murder trial, yet the MSM considered his “a local crime story” while hers was deemed worthy of wall-to-wall national coverage.

The testimony should have merited screaming 72-point front page heds: Clinic employees described “beheading” newborns; a “screeching” baby who survived the abortion only to have a pair of scissors plunged into the back of his neck; women delivering babies into toilets – one tried to swim out of the bowl; the janitor routinely pulling body parts of aborted babies from the plumbing system when the toilets backed up; and STDs spread from patient to patient by reuse of disposable, single use curettes .

Indeed, media coverage of the Gosnell trial was as shocking as the testimony – but not because editors decided to publish the gut-wrenching photos of dead babies or the graphic testimony (“[I]t would rain fetuses and blood all over the place.”) – a discussion that routinely occurs in newsrooms worldwide. The MSM behaved deplorably by censoring the entire trial by not reporting any of the “stomach-churning testimony that would normally attract headline coverage.” Syndicated columnist Mark Steyn was not along amongst conservatives in wondering, “So how many dead American babies does it take to make the news?”

Outraged readers and viewers took to social media and raised a stink, but the MSM were finally shamed into covering a story they would have much preferred to ignore when liberal commentator Kirsten Powers wrote a column excoriating the MSM for ignoring the trial:

This should be front page news. When Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, there was non-stop media hysteria. The venerable NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams intoned, "A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh," as he teased a segment on the brouhaha. Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed – a major human rights story if there ever was one – doesn't make the cut. …

The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.

But even when the MSM got around to reporting on the trial, reporters were uncharacteristically circumspect. For instance, The New York Times soft-pedaled the details of the crimes committed by “The physician, Dr. Kermit Gosnell” (redundant, except to The Times’ copy editor). Here is the opening graf of the article with The Stiletto’s correx in bold:

In opening statements in court on Monday, prosecutors charged that a doctor an abortionist who operated a women’s health clinic an abortion abattoir and pill mill here killed seven viable fetuses newborn babies by plunging scissors into their necks and “snipping” their spinal cords and was also responsible for the death of a pregnant woman in his care in the care of untrained, unlicensed employees using cheat sheets and working in filthy conditions.

The Times repeatedly referred to the newborns Gosnell and his staff murdered as “fetuses” – which is both medically and legally inaccurate, otherwise Gosnell would not have been convicted of capital murder.

The Gosnell trial isn’t the only time the MSM has been MIA on a major news event.

For instance, The Washington Post's Marc Thiessen chided the MSM for taking no notice of Planned Parenthood lobbyist Alisa LaPolt Snow twice condoning infanticide while testifying against a proposed FL bill requiring abortionists to provide emergency medical care to a neonate who survives an abortion and is “struggling for life.” Thiessen  writes, “the fact that most major media outlets –  including The Post – all but ignored her comments is distressing.”

The Washington Times also points out that the DOJ’s recent report about annual firearm-related homicides and nonfatal firearm crimes declining 39 percent and 69 percent, respectively between 1993 and 2011 received scant coverage – which explains why 82 percent of Americans erroneously believe gun crimes is the same as, or higher than, 20 years ago. The paper blames the MSM’s “anti-gun bias” for perpetuating misconceptions that allow gun-grabbers like NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg (D-R-I) operate unchallenged.

And for his part, Human Events’ John Hayward envisioned an alternate universe:

A veteran career diplomat testified a Republican administration told him not to cooperate with Democrat congressional investigators, shook him up with a menacing phone call from the top political ‘fixer’ for a Secretary of State widely viewed as a leading 2016 presidential candidate, demoted him under cloudy circumstances so they could portray him as ‘disgruntled,’ and then spent eight months loudly boasting of their enthusiastic, transparent cooperation with Congress. …

The MSM would promote Gregory Hicks as “a new whistleblower demigod in the pantheon of good-government heroes … the media would never have stopped asking why [Ambassador Christopher Stevens] was so poorly defended, and why there was no plan in place to mount an effective rescue operation … [and] there’s no way the media would accept the Obama Administration’s patented ‘Incompetence Defense’ from a Republican team” – especially when the president didn’t bother to attend briefings.

But in our universe  things were different. New York Post was taken aback that The New York Times’ public editor suggested readers complaining about the paper’s dearth of coverage on the Benghazi hearings was politically motivated and “fomented by Fox News” and by this extraordinary admission:

The Times has had a tendency to both play down the subject, which has significant news value, and to pursue it most aggressively as a story about political divisiveness rather than one about national security mistakes and the lack of government transparency.

In other words, The Times has substituted breaking news coverage with analysis and opinion about how Republicans are using the Benghazi hearings for political gain.

During a recent appearance on FOX News Watch, Kirsten Powers said, “There is something just fundamentally really, really wrong with our media. They need to take a look at themselves and do some accounting.” This isn’t likely to happen, since the MSM has ideological – and genetic – bonds with the Obama administration.

It will be interesting to see whether any of these stories will be included in Project Censored’s annual list of stories the media intentionally overlooked.

Philly Abortionist Charged With Murder Of Seven Newborns (related article, sixth item on the page): The Abortionist-Media Complex has strenuously insisted that late-term abortions resulting in live births are rare; that baby killer Kermit Gosnell is an aberration; and that abortion facilities do not need any regulatory oversight to ensure that women’s health and safety are not at risk. But every one of these assertions is a lie – and editorial writers, politicians (including the president and first lady), academics and pro-abortion advocacy groups know it.      

Live births are not an uncommon occurrence when abortions are illegally performed close to full-term, and a series of undercover videos by pro-life group LiveAction suggest that  murdering neonates and/or withholding emergency medical care to babies who survive an abortion is Standard Operating Procedure at clinics providing late-term abortions.

Another pro-life group, Operation Rescue recently released video interviews with three employees of TX abortionist Douglas Karpen who used Gosnell’s preferred method of murdering newborns – raising the disturbing question how many serial killers like Gosnell have yet to be discovered and prosecuted

And as the Gosnell trial was playing out a slew of clinics were shut down nationwide for providing substandard – and potentially fatal – care to women. But the Abortionist-Media Complex dedicates its energies to protect Gosnell and his ilk from bothersome regulations that would force them out of the shadows and put them out of business – and is usually successful in finding a friendly judge to issue an injunction against a state law or successful ballot initiative that “threatens a woman’s right to choose.” Incredibly, The Washington Post regards abortion clinics as victims of health and safety regulations rather than the women  who fall prey to conscienceless abortionists like Gosnell.

Calling abortion rights advocates and their MSM mouthpieces “the NRA of the left,” Daily Beast columnist and FOX News analyst Kirsten Powers – who was pro-abortion rights “for most of my life” – flatly states, “Gosnell was not forced to operate in the dark because of anti–abortion rights regulations. It’s the opposite: he was able to flourish – pulling in $1.8 million a year –because multiple abortion rights administrations decided that to inspect his clinic might mean limiting access to abortion. Powers adds, “What we need to learn from the Gosnell case is that late-term abortion is infanticide. Legal infanticide.”:

That so many people in the media seem untroubled by the idea that 12 inches in one direction is a “private medical decision” and 12 inches in the other direction causes people to react in horror, should be troubling.

[M]edical advances since Roe v. Wade have made it clear to me that late-term abortion is not a moral gray area, and we need to stop pretending it is. No six-months-pregnant woman is picking out names for her “fetus.” It’s a baby. Let’s stop playing Orwellian word games. We are talking about human beings here.

The Washington Post’s Melinda Henneberger also points out that “criminal clinics” in MD , ME  and elsewhere “have only made the news as local stories, while most mainstream abortion coverage details threats to abortion rights rather than to women themselves”:

Even when a New York woman died after a third-trimester abortion performed in Maryland in February, the coverage questioned not the care that led to her death, but the breach of privacy she suffered when antiabortion activists publicized the case.

Though I do not support a “personhood” amendment, neither am I okay with the Orwellian dodge that it’s not a baby unless and until we say it’s a baby.

During the Gosnell trial, The Wall Street Journal drily observed that “[s]afety is one of the most potent defenses” of Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand, because “restrictive laws forced [women] to go to back-alley quacks” but the Gosnell trial became “a cautionary tale about illegal, not legal, abortion”:

The grand jury's account suggests that other abortionists treated him less as an outlaw than as a niche player in the abortion market. He earned a bad reputation in Philadelphia but received referrals from across the Eastern Seaboard. …

"[L]egitimate" abortionists routinely availed themselves of Gosnell's services to help their patients evade legal and ethical limits on late-term abortion. This may be a fruitful subject for legislative investigation, either in Harrisburg or Washington. …

The grand jury's report should also be seen as an indictment of America's post-Roe abortion industry. Its indifference – at best – to legal limits made possible the deaths of untold numbers of babies, lending credence to the argument that legal abortion is a slippery slope to infanticide.

Meanwhile, the claim that Roe v. Wade made America safe from back-alley abortion stands exposed as a cruel hoax, and a deadly one for women and children alike.

It remains to be seen how much longer the Abortionist-Media Complex will be able to maintain the cruel hoax that has doctors in Neonatal Intensive Care Units make heroic efforts to save the life of a 1.5-pound preemie while abortionists are dismembering a baby the same size and gestational age, or pulling it out of the womb to shove a pair of scissors in the back of its neck to kill it.

One liberal pro-choice reporter reportedly became pro-life after covering the Gosnell trial, but it’s not just the few liberals in the media like him, Powers and Henneberger who are now unwilling to go along with the Big Lie that is late-term abortion. Even with the MSM downplaying the Gosnell trial and just 1 in 4 adults seeing news coverage of it, a  Gallup poll of 1,018 adults surveyed between May 5 and May 8 found that by a margin of 61-37 percent respondents preferred that abortion all or most abortions be illegal, reports:

As is the case with most national surveys, a majority of Americans all say abortion is “morally wrong” — something the Gallup poll has shown since 2001.

“Just over half of Americans, 51%, believe abortion is “morally wrong,” while 39% say it is “morally acceptable.” Americans’ views on this have been fairly steady since 2002, except for 2006, when they were evenly divided,” [Gallup analyst Lydia Saad ]indicated.

Breaking down that question further, men and women are united, at 51 percent, in saying abortion is morally wrong. Younger and older Americans (53 percent and 51 percent, respectively) agree while middle aged Americans agree on a 48 percent clip. Some 74 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents, and 36 percent of Democrats say abortion is morally wrong.

At the least, the Gosnell trial should motivate more states to increase regulation and oversight of abortion clinics and personnel, as well as to enact legislation requiring ultrasound examination before abortion to determine gestational age – and an in-person review of the scan with a woman seeking an abortion 24 hours before the procedure is performed to explain fetal development at that stage of pregnancy and the specific abortion procedure that will be used to terminate the pregnancy and extract the fetus.

Government-funded video on water recycling mocks Japanese-Americans

NOT THE SHARPEST KNIVES IN THE DRAWER: Remember that six-minute Internal Revenue Service’s “Star Trek” employee training video that was so “Herbert” William Shatner panned it on Twitter as an “utter waste of US tax dollars”? Even the agency agreed with his thumbs-down review, admitting that it did not appear to have “any training value.”

 Well, CBS Los Angeles found another government-produced video – this time, from the Los Angeles Department of Public Works –that is not only a waste of taxpayer funds, but is racist:

The video, shot at the Japanese Garden at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, showed a non-Asian man dressed as a geisha girl who talked with a mock Japanese accent.

“The Japanese water park is a beautiful, beautiful site [pronouncedbeaulifulbeauliful” in the video], with blooming, blooming lotus and water lilies,” the actor said.

The short was apparently meant to teach viewers about recycled water, which is what they use at the Japanese Garden.

Greg Kimura, the head of the Japanese American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles, was outraged by the film.

“It’s just awful…it’s absolutely offensive. I find it personally offensive and in poor taste. It’s embarrassing, it’s embarrassing to even watch it,” he said.

Kimura continued, “It brings back all the worst stereotypes. The accents, the whiteface. I’m embarrassed for everybody who is involved in this.”

Asian activists were particularly put-out by the fact that a rap video used black actors rather than white actors in blackface. Guy Aoki with Media Action Network for Asian Americans, told CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein that “There is a certain kind of taboo where, ‘Oh no, we can’t do a blackface, but it’s okay to pretend to be Asian.’ ”

After the brouhaha caused buy the news report, the video – which a government spokesperson called “an attempt at humor that failed” –  was removed from YouTube.

Anthony Weiner isn't Mark Sanford. He's much weirder.

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: Anthony Weiner isn't Mark Sanford. He's much weirder.

--, May 22, 2013

Possible causes of dry eye

IF THE SHOE FITSPossible causes of dry eye

- HealthDay News, May 21, 2013

Special ed school fined for violating Americans With Disabilities Act provisions

WHAT HEELS:  The Learning Clinic, a private boarding school for special education students, settled a Department of Justice investigation by agreeing to pay $35,000 to a family whose child and his service dog were denied equal access to the campus, Hartford (CT) Business Journal reports:

The school failed to provide reasonable modifications to permit the unidentified minor who has bipolar disorder and other mental disabilities to attend school accompanied by his service dog and to live with the animal in his campus room, federal authorities said.

Barbara DuCharme, the school's treasurer, said Tuesday The Learning Clinic is happy to have the matter behind it.

"Our main concern is balancing the needs of all of our students,'' DuCharme said.

As part of the settlement, the Learning Clinic also agreed to adopt new policies to ensure compliance with applicable Americans with Disabilities Act provisions, and to train its employees.

A current events round-up for conservatives

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: A digest of the latest developments in news conservatives need to pay attention to:

† Never mind Marxism. Will an Obama administration be totalitarian? (click here for related article): In an attempt to tamp down the bipartisan outrage over his political enemies being singled out for punishing tax audits, President Richard Milhous Obama forced the resignation of acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller – who was already scheduled to vacate the position in less than a month – and appointed senior budget adviser Daniel Werfel to replace him, effective May 22nd. Joseph Grant, commissioner of the agency's tax exempt and government entities division has also announced plans to retire on June 3rd.

FOX News host Eric Bolling, is amongst a growing number of individuals who say they were subjected to retaliatory IRS audits after criticizing Obama. Conservative filmmaker Joel Gilbert (“Dreams from My Real Father”) claims that in early 2012, the IRS reviewed his 2009 tax return and denied all of his business expenses. 

Franklin Graham has also revealed that two charities he runs, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, were audited by the IRS after the BGEA ran ads urging NC voters to support a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In all, nearly 500 conservative groups are now known to have been in the IRS’ crosshairs.

A New York Times op-ed by former Obama Car Czar Steven Rattner maintains that the real scandal is that “our campaign-finance system is in desperate need of overhaul.” Wrong. The proctologic IRS audits of conservative groups are violations of the Constitutional rights of free speech, free association and due process. Cases in point:

The Biblical Recorder, a newspaper published by the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, was audited for the first time since it first rolled off the press in 1833 after publishing an interview with Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy and the BEGA ads in support of traditional marriage.  Editor Allan Blume tells FOX News Radio that “It took some of our staff literally several weeks of doing nothing but that (the audit).”

Washington Examiner reports that IRS officials refused to grant tax exempt status to Coalition for Life of Iowa until the group provided a letter signed by its entire board of directors stating that – under perjury of the law – they “do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood.” The group reportedly was also asked for the content of the prayers of its members (emphasis, The Stiletto).

The IRS swiftly granted tax-exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation – and made the designation retroactive to 2009, when the charity founded President Obama’s half-brother, Abon’go Malik Obama, began fundraising.

Further, with the IRS and EPA harassing conservatives and the CIA and State Departments repeatedly tweaking the Benghazi messaging, in 2011 and 2012 the entire machinery of government was put into the service of securing Barack Hussein Obama’s re-election, instead of doing the people’s business. This is the abuse of office and the high crime from which all the other civil rights abuses and Constitutional violations arose – the central impeachable offense.

He’s So Tired, He Hasn’t Slept A Wink; He’s So Tired, His Mind Is On The Blink (related article, sixth item on the page): After the "Underwear Bomber" tried to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin wondered if President Barack Hussein Obama and his aides “will ever wake up." Now with Obama and key members of the executive branch claiming to know nothing about what the people who report to them were up to, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer wants to know: “Is anybody home?” For his part, Charlie Rose‘s observed that Obama “seems like a bystander in his own government” – and a couple of days later The Washington Post’s often droll but not always original (last item) Dana Milbank had a similar thought: “President Passerby needs urgently to become a participant in his presidency.”

Obama isn’t even leading from behind anymore. He’s now, apparently, being led around by the nose. Granted, governing is hard but if Obama’s not in charge, then who is?

So easy, a conservative can do it: Most “scientific” research on the cognitive differences between conservatives and liberals typically conclude that conservatives are proto-humans, as opposed to highly evolved liberals. A new study by Danish and American researchers is no exception – but this one is actually flattering to conservatives. Girlie-men tend to be liberal, while men who are physically strong are more likely to be conservative, The Daily Mail (London) reports:

The researchers collected data on bicep size, socio-economic status, and support for economic redistribution from hundreds of people in the United States, Argentina and Denmark.

In line with their hypotheses, the data revealed that wealthy men with high upper-body strength were less likely to support redistribution, while less wealthy men of the same strength were more likely to support it. …

[Professor Michael Bang Petersen, of Aarhus University in Denmark] said: ‘Despite the fact that the United States, Denmark and Argentina have very different welfare systems, we still see that - at the psychological level - individuals reason about welfare redistribution in the same way.

‘In all three countries, physically strong males consistently pursue the self-interested position on redistribution.’

Men with low upper-body strength, on the other hand, were less likely to support their own self-interest.

Wealthy men of this group showed less resistance to redistribution, while poor men showed less support. …

[T]he researchers found no link between upper-body strength and redistribution opinions among women.

Based on her own observations, The Stiletto believes these findings can also explain why single career women living in large urban areas keep meeting passive-aggressive jerks. A man who is physically weak tends to define his manhood by his brainpower. An accomplished, intelligent woman is emasculating to a 98-pound weakling who has a high-IQ, and he will try to assert his dominance over her with subtle put-downs or jokes at her expense. But a manly man who does manly things who has an IQ of 98 will be flattered that a smart woman finds him interesting and fun to be with – “I must be smarter than I thought, because she laughs at my jokes.” – and will appreciate the very qualities that his brainiac competitors in the dating pool find threatening.

Besides, isn’t a man who can protect and provide for his family a much better choice than someone who’s all talk and no action?

Single writer Sarah Z. Wexler picked up and moved from NYC to Portland, OR, when “[i]t suddenly became easy to imagine myself at 40, still utterly single, still waiting an hour for brunch, still not able to scrape together enough money for an apartment with a backyard...or even one without a basement rat colony.” She has been chronicling her culture shock – the shock being how much better her life is now – in the pages of Cosmopolitan.

In Part III (published in the current issue of the print edition of Cosmopolitan, but not yet online), she scopes out the singles scene in Portland and admits she is dating the type of guys she never would have considered – much less met – in NYC.

Some 13 years earlier, freelance writer Lily Burana was lured from NYC to Cheyenne, WY – by a cowboy.

Kondrake: Hillary’s Foreign Policy Record Isn’t Much to Crow About

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: Kondrake: Hillary’s Foreign Policy Record Isn’t Much to Crow About

-- Roll Call, May 16, 2013

Keep nails trim and clean

IF THE SHOE FITSKeep nails trim and clean

- HealthDay News, May 16, 2013

A current events round-up for conservatives

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: A digest of the latest developments in news conservatives need to pay attention to:

† Never mind Marxism. Will an Obama administration be totalitarian?The Stiletto first asked this question in October 2008 when three OH state employees leaked information about Samuel Wurzelbacher (AKA “Joe The Plumber”) from state databases to the media after he had the temerity to characterize Barack Obama’s (he wasn’t using his middle name back then; only “racists” were) tax proposals as income redistribution.

Well, as The Wall Street Journal puts it, “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the IRS isn't out to get you” and this willingness – no, eagerness – of “public servants” to put the machinery of government in the service of Dear Leader was just a harbinger of civil rights and Constitutional abuses to come.

At a meeting of American Bar Association tax lawyers in Washington, DC, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner disclosed that “low-level workers in Cincinnati” – what’s up with government employees in OH cavalierly violating people’s Constitutional rights? –  had flagged tax-exempt 501(c) groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names for auditing, and that their actions were carried out “without any direction from Washington.”

Within a couple of days, Lerner’s modified limited hangout was proved false by a suddenly invigorated media, who smelled the strong aroma of Nixon in the air and – for once – didn’t pull their punches and called it an abuse of power:

A flurry of reports revealed that IRS officials in DC were involved or knew about the burdensome audits; the IRS targeted a wide variety of conservative groups, including those opposing various Obama policies or promoting measures to thwart voter fraud; and that the IRS scrutiny of these groups has been going on for some two years.

KMOV anchor Larry Connors, conservative talk show host Mark Levin and sociologist Anne Hendershott are amongst the individuals who came forward to reveal that they had also been subjected to IRS harassment. 

The IRS also improperly  provided documents and confidential information to selected news organizations,  administration officials and Democrat operatives which were used in public attacks on prominent conservatives, particularly those associated with Mitt Romney’s campaign – and even the rival candidate himself.

The onerous queries from the IRS required truckloads of documents to satisfy, and an allocation of personnel and resources that crippled many fledgling groups. More chilling, the IRS “even seemed curious what members were thinking,” Politico reports:

Several of the groups were asked for résumés of top officers and descriptions of interviews with the media. One group was asked to provide “minutes of all board meetings since your creation.”

Some of the letters asked for copies of the groups’ Web pages, blog posts and social media postings — making some tea party members worry they’d be punished for their tweets or Facebook comments by their followers.

And each letter had a stern warning about “penalties of perjury” – which became intimidating for groups that were being asked about future activities, like future donations or endorsements (emphasis, The Stiletto).

Intimidated and/or unable to comply, half of these conservative groups folded their tents. Others waited years for their tax-exempt status to be approved – and in many cases the designation was not retroactive to the year the application was filed. Meanwhile, applications for tax-exempt status from liberal groups and those supporting Obama’s agenda sailed through.

The IRS wasn’t the only government selectively and punitively enforcing regulations. The EPA routinely waived fees for Freedom of Information Act requests from for media and liberal or “green” watchdog groups, including Natural Resources Defense Council, EarthJustice, Greenpeace, and Southern Environmental Law Center. But when conservative groups such as Conservative Enterprise Institute, Judicial Watch and Institute for Energy Research asked for fee waivers they were typically turned down. 

These agencies were fulfilling Obama’s promise that, “We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”

The Washington Post fulminates against the “appalling” abuse of power and demands an “unimpeachably independent inquiry” to determine what, how and why it happened:

A bedrock principle of U.S. democracy is that the coercive powers of government are never used for partisan purpose. The law is blind to political viewpoint, and so are its enforcers, most especially the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. Any violation of this principle threatens the trust and the voluntary cooperation of citizens upon which this democracy depends.

For this reason, politicians on both sides of the aisle and across the ideological spectrum have denounced the partisan weaponizing of the IRS (though some of them appear to have ulterior motives). Cracks are beginning to appear in the stonewall erected by Dems and the MSM to protect Obama from his incompetence and excesses all these years, Politico reports:

The town is turning on President Obama – and this is very bad news for this White House.

Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama – and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.

Buy-in from all three D.C. stakeholders is an essential ingredient for a good old-fashioned Washington pile-on – so get ready for bad stories and public scolding to pile up. …

Republican outrage is predictable, maybe even manageable. Democratic outrage is not.

The dam of solid Democratic solidarity has collapsed, starting with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s weekend scolding of the White House over Benghazi, then gushing with the news the Justice Department had sucked up an absurdly broad swath of Associated Press phone records.

It remains to be seen whether all the investigations and hearings into the scandals swirling around the White House culminate in impeachment – recall that one of the Articles of Impeachment against Richard M. Nixon concerned “violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations … initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”

But with Obama and his top lieutenants tied up in knots, his second term agenda is effectively dead in the water for the foreseeable future. And with the IRS having repeatedly leaked confidential information from tax filings to administration officials and media henchmen, people have suddenly become very concerned about the agency having access to medical records in order to enforce ObamaCare’s coverage mandate, putting the viability of Obama’s sole legislative “achievement” into question.

Living in these mad, mad, Madoff Times: The suicide rate amongst adults aged 35 to 64 has soared since the economy went South, and is now the fourth most common cause of death behind cancer, heart disease and unintentional injury such as drowning. The uptick is being attributed to “the worst recession in decades,” which “wiped out stock-market wealth, home equity, college savings and retirement funds for many workers – in addition to the heavy job layoffs,” The Wall Street Journal reports:

The number of suicides in a year rose 31% to 38,364 in 2010 from 29,181 in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. …

Suicide rates for youth and elderly remained steady. But suicide rates for working adults were double that of the other demographics, with people in their 50s showing the highest numbers. That is troubling to public health officials, since most of the resources targeted at preventing suicide have traditionally been earmarked for students and senior citizens.

Downturns in the economy have been correlated with rises in suicides, according to CDC research. As people lose their jobs or work part-time, many struggle to make ends meet and go without health insurance, adding to stress and turmoil in households. States reduce mental-health services to balance budgets.

Boobs and brains not mutually exclusive (related article, seventh item on the page): In the latest example of "boobism" - the last acceptable form of anti-woman bias - The Careerist blog asks, "Is Cleavage the New Power Tie?": 

I've always thought that only bimbos show cleavage at work. According to one of my Wall Street friends, though, I'm seriously misinformed.

"Don't you know cleavage is the power tie for women?" asked my private equity investor friend, over drinks at an Upper East Side restaurant. "If you're at a meeting and you want to get people's attention, you wear something that shows cleavage." …

Elisabeth Squires Dale, the author of Boobs: A Guide to Your Girls … preaches that mammary glands should be deployed responsibly.

When it comes to lawyers and cleavage, Dale is fairly conservative. "Cleavage can sidetrack your legal career," she says. "It's not that the men in the room will see you as a sexual object—they might do that without any cleavage on display." The risk, she explains, comes from your "fellow female lawyers and/or [female] clients who may find it annoying and distracting." Plus, she adds, they might "assume you are playing the 'cleavage card' for advancement or favoritism."

† All the news that’s fart to print: Life imitated “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” but with potentially fatal consequences. Willie Butler, 53, purposely farted in the general direction of his girlfriend Deborah Ann Burns, 37, who got pissed off enough to hurl an eight-inch kitchen knife at him, causing a minor laceration to his stomach that was treated at the scene by EMS, The Smoking Gun reports.

Burns was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and held in lieu of $50,000 bond. No stranger to violent crime or to prison, Burns spent 21 months in the slammer for aggravated assault with a weapon and battery on a law enforcement officer.

A recent UN study found more people around the world have access to a cellphone than to a working toilet, but this presumably isn’t the case even in Immokalee, FL. Knowing his girlfriend’s propensity for assaulting people with weapons, Butler should have known better than to provoke her by farting in the living room instead of in the bathroom.

Copper thief’s plan to shoot down power lines backfires

NOT THE SHARPEST KNIVES IN THE DRAWER: Dalton Newhouse and Charles Norris, two 22-year olds from Oak Hill, WV, had the bright idea of using their rifles to shoot down high-tension power lines in the Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area so they could strip them of their copper wiring to sell as scrap metal. Newhouse was instantly electrocuted when he picked the live cable off the ground. Fayette deputies and rangers from the National Parks Service found his body tangled up in downed lines, Daily Mail (London) reports.

Norris was arraigned in Fayette Magistrate Court on charges of attempt to commit a felony, conspiracy to commit a felony and disruption of a public utility, Daily Mail (Charleston, WVA) reports.

[Hat Tip: Lemonfemale, a contributor to this blog.]

New Yorker: Talking point edits 'seriously undermines White House credibility'

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: New Yorker: Talking point edits 'seriously undermines White House credibility'

-- The New Yorker via, May 11, 2013

Treating aching feet

IF THE SHOE FITS:  Treating aching feet

- The Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2013

The wit and wisdom of Richard Milhous Obama

WHAT A HEEL:  With the IRS caught red-handed auditing his political enemies, the Justice Department caught red-handed spying on Associated Press reporters and the media asking “what did the president know and when did he know it” about the September 11, 2012 attack on the Benghazi consulate, a collection of sound bites that encapsulate the tenure of the increasingly beleaguered Richard Milhous Obama curated by The Stiletto on Twitter:

#RichardMilhousObama: "What are our schools for if not for indoctrination against capitalism?" 10:43 PM - 13 May 13 

#RichardMilhousObama: "I don't want any women around. Thank God we don't have any in the Cabinet."10:40 PM - 13 May 13

#RichardMilhousObama: "You can't trust the MSM bastards. They turn on you. Am I wrong or right?" 10:38 PM - 13 May 13

#RichardMilhousObama: "Stonewall it, plead the Fifth, cover up or anything else. We're going to protect our people on Benghazi if we can." 10:34 PM - 13 May 13

#RichardMilhousObama: "I am now a Keynesian in economics." 10:30 PM - 13 May 13

#RichardMilhousObama: "Do you want to make a point or do you want to make a change?" 10:27 PM - 13 May 13

#RichardMilhousObama: "Voters quickly forget what a man says." 10:17 PM - 13 May 13

#RichardMilhousObama: "I can take it. The tougher it gets, the cooler I get." 10:16 PM - 13 May 13

#RichardMilhousObama: "I played by the rules of politics as I found them." 10:13 PM - 13 May 13 

#RichardMilhousObama: "The press is the enemy." 10:11 PM - 13 May 13

#RichardMilhousObama smears Sheriff Arpaio: "Prisoners in Maricopa County jails are pink right down to their underwear" 10:07 PM - 13 May 13

Man arrested for a felony while wearing a T-shirt that says “Jail Sucks!”

NOT THE SHARPEST KNIFE IN THE DRAWER: Don Castner  was amongst dozens nabbed in“Operation Meal Ticket,” for (allegedly) selling Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to an undercover agent with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, The Smoking Gun reports.

As evidenced by the T-shirt he was wearing at the time of his arrest, Castner had developed an intense antipathy for confinement during his various brushes with the law for various drug-related and violent crimes that include assault on a law enforcement officer and domestic battery by strangulation. The shirt said, “Jail Sucks!” and included a drawing of an inmate in prison stripes behind bars.

The 39-year-old Castner was charged with felony welfare fraud and is in custody in lieu of $5000 bond.

U.S. policy on Syria still lacks coherence

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: U.S. policy on Syria still lacks coherence

- The Washington Post, May 2, 2013

Understanding heel pain

IF THE SHOE FITS: Understanding heel pain

- HealthDayNews, April 22, 2013

Woman lured into a date with a carjacker

WHAT A HEEL:  Roses are red, violets are blue. Your ride is sweet, and I’m carjacking you.

Though Floridian Nimeha Milien just turned 21 years old, she decided she’s done with romance for a good long time to come. Her last date started with a romantic walk on the beach, and ended with her beau jacking her car, The Daily Mal (London) reports.

Milien says she had never met Donald McGee, 19, when he started to send her text messages about meeting for a date.

Within a few hours McGee had convinced her to drive to meet him at the intersection of Sheridan Street and 68th Avenue in Hollywood, Florida. ...

[At the end of the evening] Milien agreed to drop McGee at a Wendy's parking lot on Boynton Beach Boulevard, where she thought his brother was going to collect him.

Instead McGee pulled out out a .380-caliber Kel Tec handgun and told her to get out of the car.

As McGee sped off, Milien ran to a gas station across the street and got into customer’s car to call the police while he tracked McGee’s movements. After an eight-mile chase on I-95, McGee lost control of the car on an exit ramp and got stuck in the dirt and grass.

McGee was arrested held at Palm Beach County Jail on charges of armed carjacking, robbery with a firearm, possession of marijuana, driving without a license, and fleeing police.

Penetrating Insights: “Attack on Boston puts Obama’s anti-terrorism policy to the test”

Penetrating Insights: “Attack on Boston puts Obama’s anti-terrorism policy to the test

- The Washington Times, April 22, 2013

Drug dealer loses bid to overturn conviction after narcs knocked on his door and he answered while smoking a joint

NOT THE SHARPEST KNIFE IN THE DRAWER: The NJ Supreme Court ruled that police officers can enter your home without a warrant to search for drugs if you answer the door while toking. The 6-0 ruling, reversed an appellate decision, The Star-Ledger (Newark) reports:

Four Newark cops, working on a tip from a confidential informant in 2008, were planning to go undercover to nab a drug dealer at the Riverview Court public housing projects. But they quickly blew their cover once the dealer, Rashad Walker, answered the door with a burning marijuana joint, according to the court record.

"Defendant appeared at the door smoking a marijuana cigarette," the court said. "Thus, a disorderly persons offense was being committed in the presence of police officers in the hallway of a public housing building, where the officers have a right to be."

The cops pushed their way in, arrested Walker and seized packs of marijuana, cocaine and "27 envelopes of heroin stamped ‘Horsepower’" from the living room, according to the court record.

The court explained that neither the tip from the informant, nor the smell of pot wafting into the hallway, would have justified forced entry into Walker’s home, but that his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure were not violated when he “tried to flee after being caught red-handed.”

Walker was paroled in 2012 after serving half of his six-year sentence.

Schools push a curriculum of propaganda

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: Schools push a curriculum of propaganda

- The Washington Post, April 3, 2013

Packing food for a road trip

IF THE SHOE FITS: Packing food for a road trip

- HealthDay News, April 17, 2013

Shirtless sexting Detroit judge in hot water again

WHAT A HEEL:  Last year, Judge was McCree received a public censure from the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission over flippant responses he made during a WJBK-TV interview in his chambers about a shirtless photo he had sent to the cellphone of a married female court bailiff (“Hot dog. Yep, that's me. No shame to my game.”) that “brought shame and obloquy to the judiciary.”

Now, the disciplinary arm of the state’s Supreme Court has charged McCree (AKA “McCreep”) with 21 ethics violations stemming from his 2012 sexual affair with a woman who was suing the father of her children for overdue child support payments. In his answer to the charges, McCree admits that he “made the unfortunate decision to engage in a sexual relationship” with the woman, Geniene La'Shay Mott – whom he reportedly impregnated – and that “on a few occasions, the relationship took place in his chambers.” But that’s not the worst of the professional misconduct allegations against him, Legal Blog Watch reports:

McCree allegedly sent text messages to Mott from the bench, including a much-reported text cited in the complaint, which read: "C'mon, U'r talking about the 'docket from hell, 'filled w/tatted up, overweight, half-ass English speaking, gap tooth skank hoes ... and then you walk in." McCree states in his answer that the message "was sent in an effort to flatter Ms. Mott and was not intended to demean any person who had appeared in [McCree's] courtroom." Jonathan Turley writes: "I cannot imagine anyone feeling demeaned by a judge calling them "tatted up, overweight, half-ass English speaking, gap tooth skank hoes." In McCree's world, that appears to be terms of endearment." The complaint and answer include a number of other text messages and emails of note, none of them particularly printable.

According to the complaint against McCree, he had also sent “[n]umerous text messages” to Mott “from the bench” that “contained inappropriate and/or derogatory references to defendants, litigants, or witnesses appearing before him.” One of these texts involved the nephew of Monica Conyers, former Detroit City Councilwoman and wife of Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who is finishing up a 37-month sentence on corruption charges under home confinement.

For her part, Mott did not take it lying down (so to speak) when McCree wanted to break off their relationship after she informed him that she was carrying his child. In December 2012 she divulged steamy details of her affair with McCree to WJBK-TV reporter Charlie LeDuff, telling him that they had sex “[o]n his desk, in the chair, the couch, you name it.”

McCree has been suspended without pay. The formal hearing on the latest charges against McCree is scheduled for May 20, 2013 in the Washtenaw County Courthouse.

In addition to his sexting, McCree, who was appointed to the Wayne Circuit bench by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI), is famous for sentencing men who were behind on their child support payments to watch the Maury Povich TV show. He is the son of Wade H. McCree Jr. – U.S. Solicitor General under President Jimmy Carter and the first black judge appointed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals – but is certainly not his father’s judicial heir.

A current events round-up for conservatives

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: A digest of the latest developments in news conservatives need to pay attention to:

He’s so tired, he hasn’t slept a wink; he’s so tired, his mind is on the blink (related article, fourth item on the page): After the "Underwear Bomber" tried to blow a U.S. airliner out of the sky, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin wondered if President Barack Hussein Obama and his aides “will ever wake up” and warned: "If America gets hit again, it's on him. All of it."

And that’s pretty much how The Telegraph of London sees it:

In his State of the Union address to the American people earlier this year, Barack Obama declared that he was "confident" of achieving "our objective of defeating the core of al-Qaeda".

Although he acknowledged the need to pursue the "remnants" of the terrorist group and its affiliates, the overall message was clear – al-Qaeda was badly degraded, the tides of war were receding and the US was winning this fight that was no longer even officially a war.

The Boston bombings would appear to present a fundamental challenge to that assessment and once again bring the nagging uncertainty of terrorism back on to the American main street. …

They bring home the complexity of the global Islamist threat and the fact that it cannot be confined to wars in distant lands, or fought at arm's length using drones, as the Obama administration has quietly yet insistently led America to believe.

Mr Obama and his intelligence community know the threat from al-Qaeda affiliates, but have chosen to downplay it to the US public.

For years, U.S. counterterrorism experts held their breaths waiting for terrorists to deploy IEDs in a major American city, and their worst fears came to pass, The Wall Street Journal reports:

Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, said the Boston attack was likely a harbinger. "We are likely to see this as the future face of terrorist threats to the United States," he said, adding that the case of a small number of radicalized participants who have lived in the U.S. and execute a plot is "the counterterrorist community's worst nightmare, homegrown, self-radicalizing terrorism that learns its skill set off the Internet." …

U.S. counterterrorism officials have in recent years intensified warnings about the homegrown threat, though the threat has gotten less public attention because most of those plots, with the exception of the 2009 Ft. Hood shooting in Texas, have been disrupted or botched.

At an assessment in March of the threats facing the U.S., Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he expected al Qaeda-inspired homegrown threats to continue at a rate of fewer than 10 a year. Meanwhile, al Qaeda's core leadership, he said, was probably unable to carry out large-scale attacks in the West.

National Journal observes that Obama “seemed like a man ready to exhale after the surviving Boston Marathon bomber suspect was captured, but he shouldn’t breathe too easy” because the bombings have complicated efforts to reach bipartisan agreement on new immigration legislation – at the first Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) urged careful deliberations “given the events of this week”; have reignited the controversy over whether homegrown jihadis should be treated as enemy combatants; and, perhaps most troubling, provided fresh evidence that the FBI’s counterterror intelligence gathering and analysis operation remains a work in progress nearly a dozen years after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

And one more thing: If Obama wants to forcefully demonstrate that he is genuinely troubled by the prospect of 10 Bostons a year, he should force the resignations of Clapper, National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, because they allowed the unthinkable – and now, unstoppable – to happen on their watch.   

Dispatch from Bizzaroland: In an interview on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is demanding that President Barack Hussein Obama lead from behind on immigration reform, The Washington Times reports:

"The moment for the president to be the sole leader on immigration that moment passed. He had four years. The moment is passed. The moment today is for all of us in the House and in the Senate, in collaboration with this president."

Mr. Gutierrez said the White House should allow the process to play out in the Senate, where negotiators unveiled their bill this week, and in the House, where Mr. Gutierrez is part of a bipartisan group working on what is likely to be a more conservative plan.

"Look, there's going to come some hard times and we're going to need him to use that bully pulpit, I believe, in the future," he said. "It's going to get stymied, there's going to be hiccups, you guys have been around long enough, we're going to need him there, so he is critical and essential to this process."

Only the little people pay taxes (related article, eighth item on the page): Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) sponsored two bills to penalize federal employees and contractors for being tax scofflaws, The Washington Post reports:

[One bill] would require federal agencies to fire employees and reject potential hires with “seriously delinquent” tax debt, meaning those who have been hit with a tax lien. Democrats opposed that bill when it was considered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last month.

[The other bill] would prohibit federal agencies from awarding large contracts and grants to contractors who are not tax-compliant.

Chaffetz won one and lost one:

The House … unanimously backed legislation to bar federal funding for contractors who fall behind on taxes, but ultimately rejected a proposal to prohibit tax-delinquent individuals from working for the federal government. …

The House voted 250 to 159 in favor of the measure to prohibit federal employment for tax-delinquent federal workers and job candidates, but the bill did not garner enough votes for the two-thirds approval needed for passage. Seven Republicans voted against the bill, joining 152 Democrats, while 35 Democrats supported the legislation.

Last year, the House approved a similar bill by a vote of 263 to 114. The Senate did not act on the proposal.

In 2011, about 3.6 percent of the nation’s 3 million federal civilian employees owed back taxes totaling more than $1 billion, according to Internal Revenue Service data.

What it's like to be Sheriff Joe: Sheriff Joe Arpaio gets lots of packages, many of which he opens himself. Some of them contain cookies from his fans. A package en route to his Phoenix office near Flagstaff contained an explosive device that “would have exploded if opened, leading to serious injuries or death,” The Associated Press reports:

U.S. Postal Inspection Service spokesman Keith Moore said a courier called his supervisor after noting it was suspicious, and the package was eventually brought into the main Post Office in Flagstaff. An X-Ray showed what appeared to be bomb-like components, including wires and a container, and authorities used a water cannon to neutralize the package, Sheridan said.  

Though Mexican drug cartels have a $4 million bounty on his head, Arpaio vows, “I’m not going to be intimidated by anyone.”  Well, at least a Democrat Elvis impersonator hasn’t sent him any letters tainted with ricin.

Never mind Marxism. Will an Obama administration be totalitarian?: Part II (click here for related article): More than 30 labor disputes are in limbo until the Department of Justice decides whether to challenge a January ruling by federal appeals court that President Barack Obama exceeded presidential authority with three “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board made when Congress was still in session. Meanwhile, the House voted 219 to 209 to suspend the NLRB until the five-member panel has a quorum, or until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of Obama's appointments, The Washington Times reports:

Mr. Obama [has] nominated three candidates … for full terms to the board. The president has urged the Senate to quickly vote on the nominees, along with two other Democrats he nominated in February.

Despite the House action, the bill almost certainly die in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But Republicans said the vote sends an important message to the White House to respect the rules – and the spirit – of appointment procedures.

In a post on RedStateNews, LaborUnionReport argues that “a world without the NLRB may not be a bad thing–for unions” (emphasis in the original):

Union bosses may soon be facing a labor relations climate not seen in nearly 80 years–a world where there is no government agency for union bosses to run to. …

Labor leaders like Samuel Gompers knew that, with government involvement comes government control and, all-to-often, that pendulum would swing both ways. At times, The State would be for “the working man” and, at other times, the state would be against “the working man.”

Today’s union bosses – those who have embraced the tenets of socialism that Gompers fought so hard against – should learn from Gompers philosophy of voluntarism and self-reliance.

Financial watchdogs in the doghouse after GAO report finds lax controls

NOT THE SHARPEST KNIVES IN THE DRAWER: An audit of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s books for the fiscal years 2011 and 2012 has found  two "serious deficiencies," according to a Government Accountability Office analysis. Internal controls were so lax that $42 million in available funds allocated by Congress weren’t recorded in the watchdog agency’s ledgers, and $5 million in equipment was neither capitalized nor expensed on the books – as required by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) – until a year after it had been purchased and placed into service, The Washington Guardian reports:

"These errors were not detected because SEC did not require routine, such as monthly reconciliation of its budget execution module and the related general ledger account balances," said a report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' watchdog arm.

The SEC also has no definitive count of how much property it has, investigators said, since reviews of equipment are often incomplete. …

Investigators found problems with the SEC's handling of "downward adjustment transactions," essentially returning money it received from Congress that it doesn't need. The returned money can help officials get a better sense of the resources that are needed, and may affect the agency's funding the next fiscal year.

The GAO noted that "until these deficiencies are corrected, SEC remains at risk of misstatements in its property and equipment reporting and possible theft or misuse of its assets."

Steyn: Media will downplay Boston bomber-Muslim link, same as Ft. Hood, underwear bomber

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: Steyn: Media will downplay Boston bomber-Muslim link, same as Ft. Hood, underwear bomber
- Syndicated columnist Mark Steyn guest-hosting Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, April 19, 2013

Boston Marathon amputees face new reality

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: Boston Marathon amputees face new reality
- The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2013

Terror attack proves we’re still vulnerable

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: Terror attack proves we’re still vulnerable
- Human Events, April 16, 2013

Krauthammer: Boston bombing a reminder of the threat of terrorism

PENETRATING INSIGHTS: Krauthammer: Boston bombing a reminder of the threat of terrorism
- Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer on FOX News’ “Special Report,” April 15, 2013

Work your muscles while gardening

IF THE SHOE FITS: Work your muscles while gardening

- HealthDayNews, March19, 2013

Texas professor uses students as props in anti-gun propaganda campaign: complaint

WHAT A HEEL: Jennifer Yucus, a graphic design professor at Midwestern State University in TX, allegedly gave her class an assignment to create posters protesting pending legislation that would allow conceal carry on campus, telling those who were “uncomfortable with the assignment” to pretend the work had been commissioned by a client or employer.

According to a complaint filed by one of the students, she also photographed them while they were working on the project and posted the pictures and their artwork on a website she had created to promote a petition urging Gov. Rick Perry and the state legislature not to pass the bills, higher education watchdog Campus Reform reports. The student’s complaint adds that the photographs were used to create “the illusion of youth support,” and that their posters were “hung in the hallways of the Fain Arts building, giving the impression of student support.”

According to state law, “a state officer or employee may not use official authority or influence … to interfere with or affect the result of an election or nomination of a candidate or to achieve any other political purpose.”

Midwestern State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Betty Stewart tells Campus Reform that the school is investigating the incident, and that the professor will remain in the classroom during the inquiry.