THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† BAM To DOJ: KSM In NYC Is DOA: New York Law Journal reports that “despite statements by some administration officials that a Manhattan trial [for KSM and four co-defendants] may still be on the table, the tension at the [Southern District] courthouse has visibly eased, with relief being the prevailing emotion”:
[S]everal people said they had been concerned that a proposed security lockdown extending outwards from the Worth Street side of 500 Pearl would make it increasingly difficult to conduct business as usual at the courthouse. …
More than one judge expressed surprise at how quickly the landscape shifted last week.
One supervisor said some employees had expressed concern about their physical safety in the belief … that a 9/11 trial would increase the likelihood of a terror attack at the courthouse.
For his part, liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen has courageously admitted what most Americans across the political spectrum have been thinking for quite some time now: “There is almost nothing the Obama administration does regarding terrorism that makes me feel safer” and “more is at stake here than America's image abroad”:
Whether it is guaranteeing captured terrorists that they will not be waterboarded, reciting terrorists their rights, or the legally meandering and confusing rule that some terrorists will be tried in military tribunals and some in civilian courts, what is missing is a firm recognition that what comes first is not the message sent to America's critics but the message sent to Americans themselves. …
Bush stands condemned by the facts for Sept. 11 - his watch, his responsibility - and in all likelihood he bent over backward to ensure that nothing like those attacks would happen again.
The Obama administration, on the other hand, seems to have bent over backward to prove to the world it is not the Bush administration and will, almost no matter what, ensure that everyone gets the benefit of American civil liberties. But the paramount civil liberty is a sense of security and this, sad to say, has eroded under Barack Obama.
† Felon Fingered For Terrorist Train Threat: CO prosecutors have declined to press charges against ex-con and self-described anarchist Ojore Nuru Lutalo, because further investigation did not corroborate the concerns of Amtrak passengers that he made a threat or acted in a suspicious manner.
† Not Your Father's (Or Your) Sex Education (second item): Sex education classes that encourage kids to remain abstinent “until they are ready” are effective in persuading sixth- and seventh-graders to put off sex for at least two years, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine involving 662 black students who were followed from 2001 and 2004, reports The Washington Post:
Over the next two years, about 33 percent of the students who went through the abstinence program started having sex, compared with about 52 percent who were taught only safe sex. About 42 percent of the students who went through the comprehensive program [combining abstinence and contraception] started having sex, and about 47 percent of those who learned about other ways to be healthy did.
The abstinence program had no negative effects on condom use, which has been a major criticism of the abstinence approach.
Sarah Brown, who heads the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, calls the study “game-changing," and John B. Jemmott III, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who led study noted that abstinence-only education had been “written off without looking closely at the nature of the evidence.”
The WaPo notes that the Obama administration eliminated more than $170 million in annual federal funding for abstinence programs in favor of a $183 million pregnancy prevention initiative that will pay for “only programs that have been shown scientifically to work.” If that is the case, and the administration does not have an ideological bias against abstinence only sex ed, these findings should restore funding to such programs.
† “Botched” Abortion Turns Into Infanticde: Remember Dr. Pierre Renelique – the FL abortionist whose unlicensed staff killed a baby born alive after a “botched” drug-induced abortion in 2006? Well, he was found guilty of medical malpractice a year ago and the FL Board of Medicine revoked his license a month ago. And he’s now employed by Clinton Place Medical Center in The Bronx (though it’s unclear whether the facility provides abortion services). Protesters are demanding that the New York State Medical Board get involved, because as Father Peter West of Priests for Life put it: “Apparently Dr. Renelique is not good enough for Florida but he is found good enough for the women of The Bronx.”
† Obama’s Family Values: Part V (second item): On Thursday, U.S. Immigration Court Judge Leonard I. Shapiro is expected to rule whether Zeituni Onyango, President Barack Hussein Obama’s aunt who has been living in the U.S. illegally for more than five years, can stay or must return to Kenya. The Boston Herald reports that the removal hearing – at which Onyango can call witnesses – is being held behind closed doors, “though it’s unclear why.” In 2004 Shapiro had ordered her to leave the country. As far as anyone can tell, President Barack Hussein Obama has not tried to influence the outcome of Onyango’s immigration proceedings.
† Living In These Mad, Mad, Madoff Times: A National Retail Federation/BIGResearch poll finds that for the second year in a row, sweethearts are shying away from showy (read: costly) expressions of love, planning to spend $63.34 on gifts for a significant other or spouse, compared to $67.22 in 2009, reports MarketingDaily:
[T]otal spending for the holiday - at $103 per person - is more or less in line with last year's total of about $14.1 billion.
Last year's drop was the doozy, when consumers said they planned to spend an average of $102.50, down from $122.98 per person the previous year. …
As is typical, men say they will spend about twice as much as women: $135.35 versus $72.28. And as was true last year, when consumers were still reeling from the recession, personal, creative or practical gifts are getting more attention. Many of the gifts are as predictable as ever, including greeting cards (which 54.9% plan to purchase), candy (47.2%), flowers (35.6%) and jewelry (15.5%). But others are losing favor: Only 35.6% plan an evening out, for example, compared with 47% last year.
† Updates To Previous Posts (sixth item, Obama Administration Christmas Bomber Missteps Worse Than You Think): Obama administration officials are claiming vindication in their handling of underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, saying that he’s resumed talking to the FBI about his training and contacts since last week, reports The Washington Post:
The disclosures that the Nigerian student is cooperating with criminal investigators come amid a fierce debate in Congress over the Obama administration's handling of the case and, more broadly, its approach to national security. …
The Obama administration asserts … however, that its approach is paying dividends. "It's been very successful as far as gaining his cooperation," a senior administration official told reporters late Tuesday, referring to Abdulmutallab. Officials have also said that the civilian legal system is more than capable of handling terrorism investigations and trials. …
U.S. investigators flew members of Abdulmutallab's family from Nigeria to the United States on Jan. 17, the senior administration official said. The family members have proved vital in getting Abdulmutallab to talk, he said - indicating that it would have been counterproductive to interrogate him under military rules, as some have suggested.
But administration critics are not mollified by this new development, reports The Wall Street Journal:
"There's no changing the fact that Mirandizing Abdulmutallab gave terrorists a six-week head start to cover their tracks," said Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, the top Republican on the Senate intelligence committee. "We will never know what life-saving information on co-conspirators and future plots we missed out on."
Coincidentally – or not – Abdulmutallab started talking when his attorney, public defender Miriam Siefer began negotiating a plea deal. Remember back when the U.S.A. did not negotiate with terrorists?
† Updates To Previous Posts (Obama’s One-Two Cha-Cha-Cha): Remember all those successful terrorist prosecutions Attorney General Eric Holder and other Obama administration officials keep touting to justify their handling of jihadis as common criminals? Leaving aside the fact that in many cases, convictions of high-profile terrorists like Richard Reid were obtained as a result of guilty pleas (which is the likely disposition of the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab prosecution), the case of al Qaeda operative Ahmed Ressam (AKA “The Millennial Bomber”) – which has gone from district court to the high court and to an appellate court – is not an example of a successful prosecution, even though he was convicted in a plot to detonate a bomb at Los Angeles International Airport.
A panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Ressam’s 22-year prison sentence on the grounds that the trial judge had improperly deviated from sentencing guidelines and had gone so easy on the terrorist as to imperil public safety, reports the Los Angeles Times:
U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour gave Ressam a lenient sentence, the appeals court found. The panel cited four procedural errors by Coughenour and ordered the case transferred to another judge for sentencing.
Coughenour had rejected the federal sentencing recommendation of 65 years in prison for the terrorism conspiracy offenses, noting that Ressam had provided U.S. intelligence with essential insights into the Al Qaeda network until he ceased cooperating with federal agents after solitary confinement and what he considered excessive interrogation.
Two years into his post-conviction agreement to cooperate in return for a reduced sentence, Ressam retracted statements key to prosecuting … Al Qaeda suspects [Abu Doha and Samir Ait Mohamed, who were in British and Canadian custody at the request of the U.S.] and undermining the conviction of a third.
The 9th Circuit panel cited Coughenour's failure to adequately explain why he deviated from federal sentencing guidelines and his disregard of prosecutors' concerns about potential security consequences if Ressam is released after 22 years at age 53.
The paper notes that – to little avail - First Assistant U.S. Atty. Mark Bartlett explained to Coughenour that because Ressam retracted his testimony, our government had to drop charges against Doha and Mohamed, and was put "in a horrible position" with two important allies.
American jurisprudence requires that foreign-born terrorists prosecuted in a civilian criminal court be accorded all the rights of a U.S. citizen to a fair trial, even if national security is compromised. But national security requires prosecution by a military commission with the accused granted only those rights necessary to ensure a fair trial. As a fair trial is the aim of both systems of justice, trying terrorists at Gitmo does not force “the false choice between our security and our ideals,” as President Barack Hussein Obama puts it, whereas trying terrorists in a criminal court does.
† Updates To Previous Posts (sixth item, Global Warming Is In The Eye Of The Beholder): When President Barack Hussein Obama called on Senators who oppose cap-and-trade legislation despite “overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change,” in his State of the Union address, the audience tittered, and Vice President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – and even the president himself – joined in on the laughter. If you look closely, their facial expressions are acknowledging, "I know that you know that I also think it's a bunch of BS, but I gotta do what I gotta do to satisfy the base":
With a spate of articles in British newspapers reporting new revelations of a cover-up of rigged temperature data (the latest involve moving the locatons of Chinese weather stations), the systematic shunning of scientists with contradictory findings or opposing viewpoints) and U.N. research reports based on anecdotal evidence (sixth item), the global warming jig is up – except amongst those who stand to gain politically (keeping the moonbats happy) or financially (carbon traders). And then there’s Usama bin Laden, who correctly figured out that cap-and-trade legislation would so hobble the U.S. economy that climate changeis jihad by other means. UBL’s endorsement may well be the final nail in the coffin of one of the biggest scientific frauds of all time (fourth item).
† Updates To Previous Posts (fourth item, Not Giving Credit Where Credit’s Due): A federal grand jury has charged Mohammed Wali Zazi with conspiring to obstruct a criminal investigation of his son, Najibullah Zazi, who was charged in September with plotting to attack NYC with homemade bombs. The father is accused of hiding and destroying liquid chemicals, glasses and masks.
† 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 multimillionaire Jim Ansara, founder of Shawmut Design and Construction and his wife, Karen, who “have become powerful forces in Haiti’s recovery and rebuilding,” reports The Boston Globe:
Ansara … made his way to the devastated main hospital in the Haitian capital four days after the earthquake and went to work amid piles of lifeless bodies.
He found small generators and got them working. He spliced wires to light the makeshift operating rooms. He helped move patients around. For 12 days, working with Americans and Haitians, doctors and nurses, and hospital maintenance workers, he helped bring some order to the turmoil. …
“Jim was saving lives on the ground and Karen was making sure we connected with the Haitian-American community here and getting the fund up and running,’’ said Kate Guedj, vice president for philanthropic services at the Boston Foundation who has worked with the Ansaras for a decade. “They are just incredibly genuine and incredibly engaged.’’ …
“If it weren’t for Jim’s involvement, we would not have accomplished what we did on the ground in the last two weeks,’’ said Dr. David Walton, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who arrived in Haiti just after the quake and worked side-by-side with Ansara. “He was so hands-on that he was taking things apart, and putting them back together.’’
Meanwhile, from their home in Essex north of Boston, Karen went to work the day after the Jan. 12 quake, creating a Haiti relief and development fund through the Boston Foundation. The Ansaras put up $1 million to match public gifts to the new Haiti recovery fund, with the goal of collecting $2 million in all.