A current events round-up for conservatives

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Turning back the tide of information overload with a digest of the latest developments in news conservatives need to pay attention to:


Media Irrelevancy – A Self-Inflicted Wound (Part II): The New York Times described the "presidential forum" that aired this week-end on former AR Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's eponymous FOX News show as “policy-heavy” and noted that the candidates faced “a gantlet” of conservative Attorneys General Pam Bondi (FL), Ken Cuccinelli (VA) and Scott Pruitt (OK) who “peppered” them with “sharp questions”:


It was one of the more substantive television events in the Republican contest so far, set up as a forum where candidates faced the panel solo and did not directly interact, leaving the intraparty politics largely out of it. …


The attorneys general, new to presidential debate-style politics, were hardly cowed by their appearance on national television. Nor did they let their own general ideological agreement with the candidates get in the way of tough questions about how they would carry out their proposals.


The candidates who took part in the forum were: Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.


In case you missed it, here is the video of the proceedings in their entirety, courtesy of The Right Scoop:



Living In These Mad, Mad, Madoff Times: Local hotels that serve free continental breakfasts are being overrun by freeloaders posing as guests. Hotel managers try to walk the fine line between compassion and the bottom line, alternative paper Miami New Times reports:


"It is what it is, bro, times are tough and they're hungry," says [Hampton Inn manager front desk clerk Alfonso Tobenas]. "They're just trying to beat the system and save a buck. The first time you're going to get away with it, the second and third time I'm going to ask you to leave." …

Tobenas says some people even regularly rotate hotels for their free breakfasts, but he recognizes their faces after a while. When he spots them, he lets them eat freely so they let their guard down. Then he confronts them and asks for their room number. At that moment, they realize they've been found out and generally leave without incident.

If they keep coming back, he either charges $7.50 – the estimated cost of the breakfast per person for the hotel – or calls the cops and have them charged with trespassing, though not usually with theft.


Obama Is Just About Every U.S. President All Rolled Into One!: The Obama presidency, which began with lofty comparisons to Abraham Lincoln and other illustrious predecessors, has now congealed into the Second Coming of Carter (related articles, fourth item and sixth item on these pages). The Washington Times reports:


"Obama's America - Malazy," trumpets a new ad by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, combining Mr. Carter's "malaise" speech with Mr. Obama's recent characterization of America as "lazy" in the pursuit of foreign investors. The ad is titled "Two presidents, one excuse." …


"President Obama's poll numbers are worse than Jimmy Carter's poll numbers. For the first time in his presidency, he's waking up this morning wishing that his poll numbers were as good as Jimmy Carter's," Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."


Former GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, now co-chairman of Mitt Romney's campaign, last week called Mr. Obama's performance "stumbling, bumbling, ineffective" and reminiscent of the nation's 39th president.


Mr. Carter is generally recognized as one of the worst presidents of the past half-century, hence the GOP's eagerness to promote the comparison.


"Barack Obama is the Barney Fife of presidents," Mr. Pawlenty said.


Editorial Note: Click here to see the “Malazy” video.


The TSA Emperor Wears No Clothes: Part II: Lenore Zimmerman, a 4-foot-11, 107-lb 85-year-old Long Island grandmother who winters in Coconut Creek, FL, claims that when she refused to go through the full body scanner in the JetBlue terminal at JFK Airport because she has an implanted defibrillator (related article, fifth item on the page), she was taken to a room and strip-searched, New York Daily News reports:


She said she normally gets patted down. But this time, she says that two female agents escorted her to a private room and began to remove her clothes. …


As she tried to lift a lightweight walker off her lap, she says, the metal bars banged against her leg and blood trickled from a gash. …


She says the TSA agents showed no sympathy, instead pulling down her pants and asking her to raise her arms. …


Zimmerman says a medic arrived to treat her injury. The process took so long that she missed her 1 p.m. flight and had to catch a later one. …


Zimmerman, who takes blood thinners, later had a tetanus shot for fear of infection from the walker wound.


The TSA denies that the incident occurred, however a second elderly woman has now come forward with a similar story:


Ruth Sherman, 88, of Sunrise, Fla., said she was mortified when inspectors pulled her aside and asked about the bulge in her pants as she tried to board a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Nov. 28.


"I said, `I have a [colostomy] bag here,'" she said on Monday, pointing to the bulge, which is bigger or smaller depending on what she eats. "They didn't understand."


They escorted her to another room where two female agents "made me lower my sweatpants, and I was really very humiliated," she said. She stood with her arms and legs outstretched, warning the agents not to touch her colostomy bag. Touching the bag can cause pain, she said.


"It's degrading. It's like someone raped you," Sherman said. "They didn't know how to handle a human being."


Zimmerman, who plans to sue the agency over the humiliating incident notes sarcastically, “I walk with a walker – I really look like a terrorist.” Unfortunately, to the TSA she does look like a terrorist (“Terrorists and their targets may also range in age," the agency argued in a post on its blog after Zimmerman’s complaint was reported in the media.) – because if a Muslim woman would have been subjected to this kind of treatment, CAIR would have alleged a Muslim backlash, the ACLU would have sued and TSA agents would have lost their jobs right before the Christmas holiday.


College Diploma Not Worth The Paper It's Written On: Occupy Wall Street protesters saddled with humongous college loans have been trying to get traction on a new initiative, Occupy Student Debt, The New American reports:


[The] national initiative directed at recruiting student loan borrowers and requesting that they willfully default on their loan payments. The campaign consists of three pledges:


1. A refusal to make loan payments. This pledge will take effect after a million debtors have signed on to the campaign.

2. A faculty pledge of support for the "refusers."

3. A general, non-debtors' pledge of support for parents, the students and other public sympathizers.


The thing is, they willingly attended pricey private colleges instead of more affordable public colleges, and willingly entered into loan contracts to pay for their educations. The OWSers should take their protest to the source of the untenable tuitions that require taking on a higher level of debt than buying a home – their alma maters. The New York Times reports that college presidents at some schools are compensated as highly as Wall Street executives:


Presidents at 36 private colleges earned more than $1 million in 2009, up from 33 the previous year, according to a study by The Chronicle of Higher Education.


The annual study, using data from federal tax documents, found that the median compensation — including salary and benefits – was $385,909, a 2.2 percent increase from the previous year. The median base salary increased by 2.8 percent to $294,489. …


In the decade from 1999-2000 to 2009-10, average presidential pay at the 50 wealthiest universities increased by 75 percent, to $876,792, while professorial pay increased 14 percent, to $179,970.


What Freedom Of Speech Means To Muslims (The U.S. Edition): Next week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host a conference in Washington, D.C., to which she invited the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This group has been pressuring the U.S. and other Western governments to restrict speech about Islam for more than 20 years, note Nina Shea and Paul Marshall, authors of "Silenced: How Apostasy & Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide" (Oxford University Press, 2011). In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, they ask why President Barack Hussein Obama has partnered with “an organization trying to undercut our freedoms” by equating freedom of expression with "Islamophobia":


Its charter commits it "to combat defamation of Islam," and its current action plan calls for "deterrent punishments" by all states to counter purported Islamophobia.


In 2009, the "International Islamic Fiqh [Jurisprudence] Academy," an official OIC organ, issued fatwas calling for free speech bans, including "international legislation" aimed at protecting "the interests and values of [Islamic] society," and for judicial punishment for public expression of apostasy from Islam. OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu emphasizes that "no one has the right to insult another for their beliefs."


The OIC does not define what speech should be outlawed, but its leading member states' practices are illustrative. Millions of Baha'is and Ahmadis, religious movements arising after Muhammad, are condemned as de facto "insulters" of Islam, frequently persecuted by OIC governments, and attacked by vigilantes. Those seeking to leave Islam face similar fates.


Muslim reformers are widely and specifically targeted for supposedly anti-Islamic speech.


Affirmative Action Is Antithetical To A True Meritocracy: High-performing Asian-American students are to thwart race-based admissions policies at top universities that make room for less qualified black and Hispanic students at their expense, The Associated Press reports:


For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it's harder for them to gain admission to the nation's top colleges.


Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges' admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination.


The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots.


Now, an unknown number of students are responding to this concern by declining to identify themselves as Asian on their applications. …


Asian students have higher average SAT scores than any other group, including whites. A study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it's 2400). Espenshade found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have an equal chance of getting into an elite college as white students with a 1410 or black students with an 1100.


All The News That’s Fart To Print: Josh Flannery-Stewart, an employee at the Burgers, Dogs and Wings felt something was hinky with three men who entered the Albuquerque restaurant, because “their eyes were all messed up and droopy and dilated." Sure enough, a few minutes later, the trio come out of the bathroom carrying about a dozen rolls of toilet paper, KOAT-TV (Channel 7, Albuquerque, NM) reports:


"They got in their car and all of a sudden APD (Albuquerque Police Department) was surrounding them," Flannery-Stewart said.


Officers said the men were already under surveillance by police.


Flannery-Stewart said the men were suspected of having a mobile heroin rig.


Yeah, The Stiletto couldn’t figure out the heroin-TP connection, either. According to some Websites she hopes never to have to visit again, she found out that a toilet paper roll is used to smoke the junk.


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