THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Has Obama Been Humbled?: Despite the best efforts of Dems and their MSM army of winged monkeys to create a cult of personality around Obama, American voters have seen through the relentless propaganda campaign and focused on results. Obama, on the other hand, is narcissistic enough to believe his own hype (“Well, the big difference here and in '94 was you've got me. We're going to see how much difference that makes now.").
As Wesley Pruden, editor emeritus of The Washington Times puts it, “[T]he current president imagines that his talent is the size of his ego and he's big enough to speak things into existence. (Whether he's an authentic Bible scholar is open to argument but he has clearly read the Book of Genesis.)”
But enough about Obama – after all, he’s the first to tell you that “[Insert topic] isn't about me." But it’s always about him, because “he can't keep himself out of the spotlight,” gripes David Limbaugh:
When someone says that one time or a few times, you might believe him. But when he says it repeatedly … you have to conclude he is protesting too much and means just the opposite.
Given what we've learned about Obama's self-absorption, it's not a stretch to infer that when he says "it's not about me," he wants to project an air of humility while receiving personal credit for that which he denies seeking credit. What he really means is, "The causes I am working on are greater than self, but - wink, wink - I darn well expect you to applaud me anyway, not just for my transcendent accomplishments but also for my being humble and selfless about it."
† The Right To Bear Arms Belongs To Us All: Part II: The Supreme Court “granted a motion by the National Rifle Association for argument time March 2, when the justices will consider whether the Second Amendment individual right to bear arms applies against state and local restrictions on firearms,” reports The Blog of LegalTimes:
The NRA will take an unspecified number of minutes from the plaintiffs who are challenging Chicago's gun restrictions, and who are represented by Alan Gura of Gura & Possessky of D.C. and Virginia. The case is McDonald v. City of Chicago. …
The NRA made its request for argument time in a Jan. 5 motion by its lawyer, former solicitor general Paul Clement, now at King & Spalding. Clement indicated the request was driven in part by the fact that the brief by Gura emphasizes the "privileges or immunities clause" argument in favor of applying the Second Amendment to the states, whereas the NRA wants to advance a more traditional "due process clause" argument for incorporation. Clement noted that the due process argument occupied only 7 of 73 pages in the petitioners' brief. Gura, in his reply, said the due process argument "will be presented fully" at oral argument without the NRA intervening.
The BLT speculates that justices who favor incorporation want to see how the privileges or immunities argument “will play out.” The Stiletto’s friend, The Heel - an Ivy-educated attorney with a prestigious New York firm, and occasional contributor to this blog – is taking this development as a hopeful sign. He says that the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling shows that the Supreme Court is putting the Constitution above social policy.
† Living In These Mad, Mad, Madoff Times: It’s one thing to economize by clipping coupons and foregoing pricey lattes. But when mama can’t buy a new pair of shoes, there’s just no more fat left in the budget to squeeze out! The Boston Globe reports on how the recession is affecting shoe-lover Melissa O’Shea (she is “slowing down spending on her own collection of 200 shoes”) and the Hello Stiletto Shoe Club, a social club she founded for like-minded women:
About 40 women - whose professions ranged from construction to personal health - crowded into a small room at the Capital Grille in Burlington. They sipped wine, admired each other’s fancy footwear, and lamented what they could no longer afford. The women took a break to strut down a short red carpet and show off their Christian Louboutin espadrilles and Jimmy Choo patent leather boots - almost all bought during better times.
In the corner, longtime club members Sheila Richards and Ali Santarlasci refused to hit the runway for the first time. Two or three years ago, they would buy shoes just to debut at Hello Stiletto gatherings.
Now, Richards, who does interior design work and historical reconstruction, is browsing consignment shops and searching websites to swap shoes with other women. Santarlasci was wearing the $39 black suede Bandolino mules she bought at Marshalls a few weeks ago.
“I won’t walk that runway in Bandolinos,’’ Santarlasci said. “I’ll just look at the nice shoes from here.’’
If Martha Coakley's defeat in Massachusetts was a political earthquake, most journalists were slow to hear the tremors. …
The Times didn't run a piece saying that Coakley's candidacy was in trouble until Jan. 8; The Post didn't do so until Jan. 11; the Los Angeles Times until Jan. 14. …
Even the Boston Globe seemed caught by surprise. To the paper's credit, it asked on Dec. 17: "Can Scott Brown actually win this thing?" while quickly adding that he was still "considered a long shot."
A Jan. 7 editorial said that even with polls tightening, "Scott Brown still needs a political miracle to win." And a Jan. 10 Globe poll seemed to seal the deal, giving Coakley a "solid" 15-point lead among likely voters.
Frank Phillips, the Globe's state house bureau chief, says he missed the last few days of the campaign by taking a personal trip with his wife that he finalized a couple of weeks earlier. "I made a decision at Christmas that this was not going to be an important race, others could handle it, I could be out of town," Phillips says.
But he says Brown was going nowhere earlier in the campaign: "What would you have written? 'Things were heating up'? Things weren't heating up. It would be unfair to say we had missed it because it wasn't there."
While the Globe gradually reported signs of a closer race, it wasn't until Jan. 16 that Phillips definitively signaled the shift. He wrote that Coakley's strategy of ignoring Brown "turned out to be a major miscalculation" and that national Democrats were "now panicked about a neck-and-neck race."
† Marketing To Muslims (second item): In its print circulars and on its Web site, Best Buy wished its Muslim customers "Happy Eid al-Adha," which didn’t sit too well with infidels (that is to say, Christians and Jews) who have long been wished “Happy Holidays” by retailers, reports the Los Angeles Times:
"You insult all of the heros and innocent who died 911 by celebrating a holiday of the religion that said to destroy them!" wrote one [on Best Buy's website]. Many others said they would no longer shop at Best Buy.
The controversy underscores the continuing obstacles that retailers and other companies face in marketing to a U.S. Muslim population estimated at more than 2.3 million by the Pew Research Center.
Even an advertising-industry study three years ago that urged companies to cash in on what was then the community's estimated $170-billion purchasing power got little traction.
Best Buy is believed to be the first major retailer to market to Muslims nationwide, and only a few are even dipping their toes into direct ethnic local advertising [contextual link added by The Stiletto].
Rather than pave the way for more national advertising, the Best Buy ad seems to have reinforced the pariah status that Muslims have in mainstream marketing. …
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and with more recent incidents, such as the Ft. Hood shooting and attempted Christmas Day plane bombing, the word "Muslim" for some Americans is synonymous with terrorism. And that's an image that corporations don't want attached to their brand names.
A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 35% of Americans have a negative view of Muslims and 45% believe Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence.
† It’s Not News If It Happens To A Journalist: On her top-rated eponymous show, CNN's Nancy Grace grills guests until they squirm, cry – or in one case, allegedly commit suicide. Yet she wants to bar cameras when she is deposed in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the estate of Melinda Duckett alleging "intentional infliction of emotional distress" that led to the mother of missing 2-year-old boy Trenton Duckett killing herself after being interviewed by Grace, reports ABC News:
By keeping video cameras out, Grace's lawyers argue they would avoid "annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, and undue harm should the videotape be released prior to trial for purposes unrelated to the litigation," according to the motion obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
"It is indeed ironic," Kara Skarupo, one of the attorneys who represent Duckett's estate, her parents and sister, told ABCNews.com. "They allege we've been courting the media, which is completely ridiculous. The irony is she is out there on TV every day."
In a written order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Jones ruled that Grace will be videotaped during her scheduled deposition, but that prior written permission from the court is required to disclose portions of the tape.
† Updates To Previous Posts (sixth item, Take The Veil Off, Or Go Home): After studying the impact of face-covering burqas and niqabs on French legal and social traditions for six-months, a 32-member French parliamentary panel issued a 170-page report that recommends condemning - but not banning them, reports The New York Times:
The commission called on 180 people to testify - including senior politicians, women’s rights activists and Muslim representatives. …
Critics of the veils have described them as a facilitator of extremism, a hindrance to women’s rights and an affront to France’s cherished secularity.
Others have raised concerns about the constitutionality of state mandates on dress and have pointed to the possibility of aggravating tensions among France’s Muslims, many of whom feel socially alienated and excluded from social and economic progress.
A French judge, Marc Trévidic, warned in an interview this month with the Journal du Dimanche that a law banning veils could provoke terrorist attacks.
“I don’t think an ideology should be fought through constraining measures but through ideas,” Mohammed Moussaoui, the head of a national coalition of Muslim organizations, told The Associated Press on Monday. “It’s very difficult to talk about the liberation of women through a law that constrains.”
He said, however, that it was legitimate to ask women to remove their veils in all “public services” like post offices and schools “where identification is necessary.”
If a Muslim woman can remove her veil to claim benefits for new mothers and other cradle-to-grave government welfare payments it proves that she is not wearing the face covering for religious reasons - otherwise she would not compromise her “modesty” for a few French francs.
† Updates To Previous Posts (fourth item Mortgage Loan Modification Less Than Advertised): Sales of existing homes plunged 16.7 percent in December, the steepest drop in more than 40 years, according to National Association of Realtors – even after Congress extended a tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homeowners an additional five months until April 30, 2010, and threw in a new $6,500 credit for homeowners who move to another home, reports The Associated Press:
The big question hanging over the housing market this spring is whether a tentative recovery will stumble after the government pulls back support. The Federal Reserve's $1.25 trillion program to push down mortgage rates is scheduled to expire at the end of March - a month before the newly extended tax credit runs out.
“Keeping the mortgage rates at historic lows, which required a commitment of more than $1 trillion, was viewed within the administration as a central plank of the economic strategy last year,” reports The Washington Post, adding, “If the market again falls into a tailspin, homeowners could face another wave of trouble, and it would deal a body blow to President Obama's efforts to get the economy on track.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (Paula Abdul: The New Lily Ledbetter?): ABC will give “American Idol” alum Paula Abdul a $1,000,000 development deal if she appears on the network’s "Dancing With The Stars," reports TMZ. The proposed deal does not preclude Abdul from also signing up as a judge on Simon Cowell’s new show, "The X Factor."
† 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 Isa D'Arleans – a Seattle artist by way of France – who gathered together neighborhood volunteers to spruce up a homeless shelter. The Seattle Times reports:
Kenny Taylor stopped in his tracks after entering his home Saturday morning.
"Wow, what a change," said Taylor, 53, gesturing to the commotion in the lobby of the "supportive housing" facility at the Union Hotel on Third Avenue in downtown Seattle. "This is too cool."
Two dozen people he didn't know were painting the lobby's pale tan walls peach pink, smoky blue and butter yellow. Volunteers ranging from a 5-year-old girl to men in their 60s participated in the painting, which began Saturday and will continue next Saturday.
It's part of a project called "Live in Colors." Volunteers plan to paint all eight Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) supportive housing sites this year, says the project's coordinator, Madison Park artist Isa D'Arleans. …
The goal of the project is to use color to change the buildings' institutional feel to a more homelike appeal, said Mary Ann Millican, DESC's director of development. …
DESC paid for the paint out of its maintenance budget.
D'Arleans said she hopes to involve schools in the future and make enough noise with the project in Seattle that it will become a national trend.
DESC officials, who serve 7,000 people every year, including 700 in supportive housing units, chose the Union Hotel as the first site for the project. The downtown Seattle building, which now serves 52 disabled and formerly homeless tenants, became the organization's first supportive housing unit in 1994.