THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Obama Administration Christmas Bomber Missteps Worse Than You Think: The Associated Press gives a blow-by-blow account of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s questioning from the time he was taken off Northwest Airlines flight 253 by Customs and Border Protection officers and taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center to be treated for burns by local police officers and an ambulance crew, to the time he was read his Miranda rights. He was a Chatty Cathy with the EMTs and healthcare providers and with both sets of FBI agents who questioned him. The first FBI interview ended after 50 minutes when he was given medication prior to surgery. Five hours later, when he was re-interviewed, he did not provide any new information and – without anyone contacting the federal High-Value Interrogation Group - Abdulmutallab was told of his right to remain silent and to have an attorney. He exercised his newly granted rights.
Based on testimony of Obama administration national security officials before the Senate Homeland Security Committee last week, a Washington Post editorial concludes that “the decision to try Mr. Abdulmutallab turns out to have resulted not from a deliberative process but as a knee-jerk default to a crime-and-punishment model,” and slams the handling of Abdulmutallab as “myopic, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.” The WaPo adds that despite administration claims that Abdulmutallab didn’t know anything more about other al-Qaeda plots than he told the FBI before being Mirandized, “we may never know whether the administration made the right call or whether it squandered a valuable opportunity.”
For instance, is Abdulmutallab boast that “there are 20 more like me” linked to officials in the U.K. raising the terror threat level after noticing an “unusually high” number of people on the no-fly list trying to board U.S.-bound planes over the past week?
You know who else wasn’t in the loop when the decision was made to bypass the High-Value Interrogation Group or turn Abdulmutallab over to military interrogators? Our commander-in-chief, who was golfing in Hawaii at the time (sixth item).
Editorial Note: There seems to be some confusion over whether the High-Value Interrogation Group - which Obama said would be set up a year ago – is operational or exists in name only. Blair and FBI Director Robert Mueller disagree on this point. Which means we have bigger problems than the administration’s knee-jerk decision to question Abdulmutallab to build a case against him as opposed to questioning him to find out everything possible about al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula and any terror plots in the offing.
† Netanyahu Is Bush III: You heard of shuttle diplomacy? President Barack Hussein Obama’s naïve expectations of achieving peace in the Middle East have fallen victim to scuttle diplomacy. As in: Shortly after meeting with Middle East envoy George Mitchell, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scuttled hope for change in the relations between Israelis and Palestinians by vowing that his country is here to stay in the West bank “for eternity,” reports The Associated Press:
"Our message is clear: We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here, this place will be an inseparable part of the state of Israel for eternity," Netanyahu proclaimed at a tree-planting ceremony celebrating the Jewish arbor day at a settlement just south of Jerusalem.
Netanyahu's participation Sunday in tree-planting ceremonies in two West Bank settlements were an apparent attempt to soothe Jewish settlers who vehemently oppose his decision - taken under intense U.S. pressure - to slow West Bank construction. Both settlements lie within areas Israel wants to keep in any final agreement with the Palestinians. …
The Palestinians claim all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, for a future independent state and say settlements undermine this goal. They have refused to resume peacemaking until all settlement construction stops, something Netanyahu has refused to do. …
Last year, President Barack Obama took office with the ambitious aim of putting Mideast peacemaking on a fast track. Instead, the peace mission has stalled over Israel's settlements on occupied lands and the refusal by the Palestinians to return to peace talks.
Obama acknowledged last week that he underestimated the domestic political forces at play in the region and overreached in expecting a quick breakthrough.
† Gifted Children Left Behind (second item): Last year, 82 percent of students taking the Advance Placement chemistry class at Berkeley High School passed the exam that awards them college credit, and students taking the AP biology and physics classes beat the national 55.2 percent pass rate by an even bigger margin. So how will the school reward these high-achieving students and keep them motivated to excel? They won’t. Instead, the school wants a redistribution of funds from before-and-after school science labs for scientifically gifted students to classes for academic laggards, reports the Los Angeles Times:
Response to the proposal was swift. A group of science teachers sent a letter to Berkeley residents protesting the move and seeking support. More than 250 people have signed an online petition in support of the labs. The story ricocheted around the Internet with headlines like, "Berkeley High may drop 'white' science labs."
In this famously liberal college town, which prides itself on having one of the highest concentrations of PhDs in the country, the debate has revealed deep disagreement over how best to help underachievers, pitting haves against have-nots, whites and Asians against blacks and Latinos. …
In Berkeley's 10 square miles, multimillion-dollar hillside homes with sweeping views rise above working-class bungalows and apartments in the flatlands. The percentage of adults with at least a bachelor's degree is more than twice as high as in the state as a whole, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, while the percentage of residents living in poverty is nearly 1 1/2 times the statewide level. …
Only 30.8% of African American students at Berkeley High are proficient in English and 31.3% in math, according to the state Department of Education. Just over 90% of white students are proficient in English, 87.1% in math. …
Berkeley residents voted for a parcel tax in the 1980s to shore up funds for education and help erase the gap. Two-thirds of the money is used to reduce class sizes, but much of the remainder goes to enriched science and arts programs and academic support such as tutoring.
But the extra money has done little to help narrow the difference.
† Virtual March For Life: Organizers of this year’s March for Life to protest the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion estimated the crowd at 200,000. The "virtual" march numbered 74,925 "avatars" by late Friday afternoon. New avatars continue to be added, and there are 82,209 as of this posting.
† "Sicko" Healthcare Prescription Causes Adverse Side EffectsFor Dems (second item): UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar’s description of the medical care he received in Canada when he became seriously ill with what turned out to be diverticulosis on a hunting trip was eerily similar to The Stiletto’s experience in Norway where ER doctors were more concerned about not reducing their rationed supply of X-ray films than determining whether her friend’s arm was seriously fractured and whether The Stiletto’s ribs were broken:
"They couldn't do nothing for me," he noted in a later media conference call Wednesday. "It was like I was in a Third World country." …
They had some machinery that wasn't working that couldn't do its job. And I needed to have it done. So we went to where we could have it done."
Lesnar said his wife “got me out of there and drove 100 miles an hour to get me down to Bismarck, North Dakota.” He added:
"The only reason I'm mentioning this is I'm mentioning this to the United States of America because President Obama is pushing this health-care reform. And obviously I don't want it. I'm a conservative Republican … I'm speaking on behalf of Americans, I'm speaking on behalf of our doctors in the United States that don't want this to happen and neither do I."
† Updates To Previous Posts (Red Is The New Blue (Dog): Q: How do you know when a Democrat is throwing in the towel? A: His lips are moving. On the heels of Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Little Rock) announcing his retirement comes word that Rep. Marion Berry (D-Gillett) will also call it a day. Meanwhile, there’s talk that Rep. John Boozman (R-Rogers) is thinking of running against incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who is on particularly shaky ground.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau, has decided against seeking election to the people’s seat in DE that his father occupied from 1973 to 2009. His disinclination to run against Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE At Large) puts another Dem Senate seat in play, and proves that even “preordained” victories – Joe Biden’s former Senate chief of staff, Ted Kaufman, had been appointed by the state’s governor to keep the seat warm until the mid-term elections – can no longer be taken for granted after Scott Brown’s "upset" victory in MA.
† Updates To Previous Posts (eleventh item, Life Imitates “A Law Abiding Citizen”): The Associated Press reports that “[n]early six weeks after Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) halted an early prisoner release program that set free hundreds of potentially violent inmates, his administration is still struggling to identify which criminals - or even how many - got out. … The administration also acknowledged MGT Push started … Sept. 11, five days earlier than the announced date of Sept. 16.” Quinn’s early release program (AKA “MGT Push”) credited convicts up to six months of good-conduct on their first day of incarceration, and dropped a 61-day minimum stay. According to AP while the program was in effect, prisoners spent 26 days in the state penitentiary on average.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, Drug-Stealing Surgery Tech Exposes Thousands Of Patients To Hepatitis): Federal District Court judge, Robert E. Blackburn rejected a plea agreement in which former CO hospital technician Kristen Parker would plead guilty to exposing hundreds of patients to hepatitis C in exchange for a 20year sentence, because he was not persuaded that the DA had given victims’ views short shrift, reports The New York Times:
Ms. Parker, 27, admitted to the police on videotape that while working at Rose Medical Center in Denver in 2008 and 2009, she stole pain-medication syringes from operating room trays, replacing them at times with needles she had already used to inject herself with heroin.
Seventeen Rose patients have so far been found to have a strain of hepatitis C linked through genetic sequencing to the strain in Ms. Parker’s blood, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Hepatitis C affects liver function and can have lifelong consequences.
Ms. Parker’s lawyer, Gregory C. Graf, said he had not consulted yet with his client but expected she would probably persist with her guilty plea, giving the judge discretion as to her sentence when the case reconvenes next month. Ms. Parker could also change her plea to not guilty and insist on a jury trial, or try to reach another plea agreement with prosecutors.
Judge Blackburn warned Ms. Parker in the brief hearing in before a courtroom packed with former Rose patients and their families, that if she chose to continue with her guilty plea, the sentence could be stiffer.
† Updates To Previous Posts (tenth item, Extradite Polanski To Poland): Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza rejected Roman Polanski’s request to be sentenced in absentia: "I choose to insist in defense of the integrity of the judicial system. He needs to appear," Espinoza said. "I've made it clear he needs to surrender … Motion is denied."
† 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 11-year-old Dayton Webber, whose legs were amputated at the knees and his arms, just above the elbows, before his first birthday when he developed a raging streptococcal bacterial infection that almost killed him because doctors discovered that he had been born without his spleen. The Washington Post reports:
Here's the scouting report on: No arms. No legs. Huge heart.
Whether he's wrestling, playing football, go-karting or ice skating, Dayton doesn't just participate - he competes.
"I just like to do sports," Dayton said. "I feel like I can play sports and kind of show people what I can do - that I can do sports just as good as them. I feel like I can do anything if I just put my mind to it." …
Dayton not only skateboards but also does tricks - the equivalent of handstands on his arm stumps. He races go-karts, with the help of Velcro-outfitted gloves that help him control the steering wheel with the insides of his biceps. He plays video games, such as "Madden NFL 10," balancing the controls on his lap and pecking at the buttons.
He ice-skates. "We just stick his legs in the skates and tie them real tight," said his mother, Natalie Webber, 37. …
When he was 8 and 9, Dayton played on a youth football team, which had an "A" squad for the better players and a "B" team. Dayton played for the "A" team. He has prosthetic legs, but he eschewed them on the gridiron. On his stumps, he played on the defensive line, usually lining up in a four-point stance, sometimes standing upright like a linebacker.
Before long, his teammates and coaches were calling Dayton "the Vacuum" because he was so good at recovering fumbles - at least four in one game.
"He has a nose for the football you wouldn't believe," said Rich Brenner, one of Dayton's football coaches.