THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Praise The Lord, And Pass The Ammunition: New Bethel Church, an Assemblies of God church in Louisville, KY, held an “open-carry service" Saturday evening – a year and a day after the Supreme Court’s landmark Heller ruling. The event, which was the brainchild of Pastor Ken Pagano, a former Marine and a volunteer chaplain with the Louisville Metro Police Department, was meant as “a show of support” for the Second and First Amendments, reports Time magazine:
He repeated a number of the talking points that he's honed while being interviewed by journalists from
Fast-forwarding through the hour-and-a-half service, the congregants sang patriotic songs; watched a video clip of late comedian Red Skelton deconstructing the Pledge of Allegiance and two clips of the magicians Penn and Teller who analyzed the punctuation of the Second Amendment and performed a magic trick designed to illustrate the enduring principles espoused by Bill of Rights; and participated in a raffle in which the included a free NRA membership, a pistol and a video of Lee Greenwood singing “God Bless the USA.”
Despite difficulty finding an insurance carrier willing to cover the service – eventually Pagano found a one-day rided for $700 – the pastor is so pleased with the “bring your gun to church day” event, he plans to make it a yearly celebration of responsible gun ownership.
† Madoff’s Victims: Gullible Or Greedy?: At the time he confessed to pulling off one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history, Bernard Madoff put his household net worth at between $823 million and $826 million. But businessman Jeffry Picower and his family – who claim to be among Madoff’s victims – withdrew $5.1 billion more than they invested with Madoff between December 1995 and December 2008, reports ProPublica via MSNBC. After Madoff trustee Irving Picard filed a federal lawsuit against Picower, ProPublica looked into his relationship with Madoff and Picard’s allegations:
The complaint is larded with the legal catch-all phrase, "knew or should have known," to describe Picower's cognizance of Madoff's fraud, but the intricacies of the relationship are left to the imagination. …
If Picower withdrew $5.1 billion in "profit" from Madoff, where did all the money go? … If someone needed the skills to hide billions of dollars, few would be better equipped than Picower, an attorney and accountant who has been described as a "tax shelter expert." … [O]
The court-appointed trustee makes a powerful, albeit still largely circumstantial, case in court filings that Picower knew Madoff's fund was illegitimate. Although Madoff ostensibly produced eerily consistent 10-12 percent annual returns for his clients, the returns he provided Picower were other worldly …
Picower belonged to a select group of Madoff investors who received souped-up returns. A Wall Street Journal story published in May cited unnamed sources saying that prosecutors were looking into eight investors who appear to have received special treatment from Madoff. Among the eight named, Picower seems to have withdrawn the most money, with the bulk of it coming from an account called "Decisions, Inc."
At the beginning of each quarter, the Picowers received sums that grew from an annual total of $330 million in 1996 to $1 billion in 2003. These withdrawals were divided into odd numbers spread over various accounts. Added together, they usually equaled large even sums. For example, on Jan. 2, 2003, Picower withdrew $1,378,852 from his account Jln Partnership. Yet when withdrawals across all accounts were totaled for that day, they amounted to precisely $250 million.
† Media Irrelevancy – A Self-Inflicted Wound: Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten asks, “Too much Michael Jackson?” and explores the reasons behind “the saturation media coverage of Jackson's death - coverage that crowded out virtually every other news story since midday Thursday”:
Whatever they say, many newspaper editors and TV news producers have begun to allow website hits and social media volume to function as a kind of sub
So … it’s our fault that editors and TV news producers are unable to determine what is newsworthy, and how much play to give a story.
† Updates To Previous Posts (Deconstructing Obama’s Cairo Speech): The Washington Post reports that the prominent role that Iran’s women are playing in anti-government protests is inspiring Muslim women throughout the Middle East:
In a region that reveres men who die in battle, some of the major icons to emerge from the Iranian demonstrations have been women. Neda Agha Soltan, the music student whose bloody death on June 20 was videotaped and broadcast around the world, became an instant symbol of the opposition movement and sparked widespread outrage. Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi 's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, has also taken on a prominent role as she accompanied her husband on the campaign trail and more recently spoke out against an election result that the opposition says was fraudulent.
"This is our time, women's time," said Khoulod Al Fahed, a Saudi businesswoman and blogger. "It is the time for women to speak up and demand the rights that have been stolen from us in the name of religion and culture." …
"Everyone is so shocked to see that beautiful young girl dying and looking so modern and secular," said Azar Nafisi, author of "Reading Lolita in
"What's happening in
"The world there looked at women here as if they are all under the Taliban rule. For the first time, they are seeing that the Muslim woman is also a leader and a partner," said Sawsan Zakzak, head of the League of Syrian Women, in
Perhaps because they have far fewer freedoms than Muslim men – subjugated not only by repressive regimes but also by their own fathers and husbands, who at least have the freedom to be omnipotent within the confines of their homes - the women have more reason to fight and to fight hard, according to New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who notes that the subjugation of women “became a pillar of the Islamic state”:
In a way it is simple: laws that can force a girl into marriage at 13; discriminatory laws on inheritance; the segregated beaches on the Caspian; the humiliation of arrest for a neck revealed or an ankle-length skirt (a gust of wind might show a forbidden flash of leg); the suffocation that leads one artist I know to raise her hands to her neck.
Yes, it’s simple. From the outset, the regime targeted women, calculating that the patriarchal culture of the country would embrace the idea of an Islamic diktat that “put women in their place.” …
Women are angry with the state, of course. But they are also angry with the passive way men have accepted discrimination. Be strong! Fight harder! These are immediate messages summoned from old frustrations. …
Curiously, after cautioning, “I don’t want to suggest that
I asked one woman about her fears. She said sometimes she imagines an earthquake in
Clearly, Cohen – along with other male editorial writers (second item) and President Barack Hussein Obama, who insist that wearing a hijab or chador represents “freedom” for Muslim women – does not understand.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, 10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador focuses on the community of New Bedford, MA, who pitched in to help Eddie Kramer, who lost his arm and leg 19 years ago when he was hit by a truck and dragged for miles, reports WPRI (Channel 12- East
Eddie Kramer left his wheelchair on the back porch, the next day, it was stolen. …
Kramer purchased an electrical wheelchair for 7 thousand dollars, with the help of insurance and Medicare. …
Without his chair, simple tasks are now difficult and that's why friends and family are helping Eddie buy a new chair, but what he wants is written on a sign by his house ..."please return my wheelchair."
According to WPRI, “total strangers” also contributed money towards the purchase of a new wheelchair for Kramer.
[Hat Tip: The Heel, an Ivy-educated attorney with a prestigious