The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Saturday, April 07, 2012

War on Women: Palin Vindicated As Obama Pals Around With Terrorists

Talk about a "War on Women": this past week, the White House welcomed members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the radical Islamist organization whose Freedom and Justice Party won the largest number of seats in that country's parliamentary elections and which may take the Egyptian presidency as well.

The Brotherhood remains staunchly anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Christian, anti-Jew -- and anti-woman. In an interview posted today by Kerry Picket of the Washington Times, a member of the Brotherhood's delegation confirmed that sharia, or Islamic law, would guide all lawmaking in Egypt under his party's rule.


Record 87,897,000 Americans Not in the Labor Force

Amid disappointing unemployment numbers that fell 80,000 jobs short of projections, another number is raising eyebrows: the number of Americans not in the labor force has hit a record high 87,897,000.


NBC News Reportedly Fires Producer of Edited George Zimmerman Tape

NBC News has fired a producer who worked on a 'Today' show segment that featured a heavily edited 911 recording in which George Zimmerman appears to racially profile Trayvon Martin before the teen's shooting, accounting to The New York Times.

The name of the Miami-based producer who was fired was not released, according to the Times report, which does not refer to any disciplinary action that may have been taken against other NBC staffers.

Continue this story Here

Sound bite can be heard Here

Women to White House: You Don't Speak For Us

At the same time that the White House is hosting a forum to congratulate itself on its work for women’s causes, one group of ladies has organized a video campaign to expose the administration’s “political manipulation” and “pandering,” arguing that the real “war on women” isn’t coming from the right.

Business and education leaders, as well as activists and cabinet secretaries are gathering today for White House Council on Women and Girls, a day of speeches and panel discussions culminating in a 55-page report detailing all the ways the Obama administration has implemented policies it says benefit women.


Iran Lawmaker: Country Can Produce Nuclear Weapons But Will Never Do So

A prominent Iranian lawmaker says Iran has the knowledge and scientific capability to produce nuclear weapons but will never do so.

Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam says Iran can easily produce the highly enriched uranium that is used to build atomic bombs but it is not Tehran's policy to go that route.

Iowa Republicans Blast Law School Over Refusal To Hire Conservative Professor as Faculty

Iowa Republicans are taking aim at the state's top law school for denying a faculty position to a conservative law professor, who an assistant dean once said embraces politics the rest of the faculty "despises."

Teresa Wagner, who works as an associate director of writing at the University of Iowa College of Law, is suing former dean Carolyn Jones for employment discrimination, claiming she was not hired for a professor position because Jones and other law faculty disapproved of her conservative views and activism.

Obama: Women Are Not An Interest Group

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama on Friday showered attention on helping women yet warned in the same motion that they should not be reduced to a uniform political bloc, declaring they are not an interest group and "shouldn't be treated that way."

"When we talk about these issues that primarly impact women, we've got to realize that they are not just women's issues," he said at a White House forum on women and the economy. "They are family issues. They are growth issues. They are issues about American competiveness. They are issues that impact all of us."


Rash Of Burglaries In Berlin

BERLIN -- A recent rash of residential burglaries in Berlin, including three in the span of eight days and another last weekend, has local residents on edge and law enforcement seeking the public’s help.

The latest, which occurred at a residence on Washington Street sometime last weekend, was particularly troublesome because of the extensive amount of senseless damage the suspect or suspects caused on the property. Last week, Berlin Police issued a plea to local residents to be extra vigilant after three break-ins in eight days. The message was reinforced this week.

“We had three in eight days,” said Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing this week. “Three in a month is the norm, and they’re usually along the lines of a boyfriend trying to break into a girlfriend’s house. This is a little different. This is an individual or group of individuals preying on residences.”


Resort Still Expecting Dew Tour

OCEAN CITY -- As far as Ocean City is concerned, the Dew Tour is still planning to return to the resort in August as planned.

Ever since the Ocean City Mayor and Council selected Coca-Cola as its new official beverage franchise, rather than renewing with Pepsi, unconfirmed reports have been circulating that Dew Tour officials were reconsidering returning to Ocean City for the second consecutive year. Mountain Dew is a Pepsi product.

If that’s true, Ocean City officials are unaware of any change of heart. Acting Tourism Director and Communications Manager Donna Abbott said talks are continuing with Alli Sports, organizer of the Dew Tour, and took place as recently as last week.


Dollar Store Deals Can Have Hidden Dangers

WASHINGTON - Not everything at dollar stores is worth the price. Some products should be avoided, and pack some serious warnings.

Consumer Reports warns against buying medicines or vitamins at dollar stores, and the FDA has issued a warning about the dangers of toothpaste from China, which is carried at the discount retailers.


Prosecutor: No Charges In Death Of Elderly Woman

The Baltimore County State's Attorney has decided that the 92-year-old husband of an 86-year-old woman from Catonsville will not be facing any charges in her death.

The State Medical Examiner ruled the woman was the victim of a homicide.

According to police in early March the woman was worried about her husband who wanted to walk alone to church and stood in front of him to stop him from leaving.


House Approves Septic Ban; Bill Goes Back To Senate

Members of the House of Delegate have signed off on a measure to limit where residential septic systems can be installed.

The House voted 93-45 Friday to approve the bill, which creates a four-tiered system that limits where new residential subdivisions can be located, especially in the state's most rural areas.


Plans Underway For Three New North OC Events

OCEAN CITY – The North Ocean City Business Alliance held its third meeting yesterday at the Carousel Hotel where progress was made in planning new events for the northern part of the resort.

With events continually being requested and approved in the downtown area of Ocean City, a coalition of northern business owners formed the alliance to ensure the north end is getting its fair share in terms of marketing and promotion.

Owner of the Greene Turtle on 116th Street, Steve Pappas started off by saying the group is well on its way in accomplishing its early goals.


Md. Slot Machines Hit it Big in March

WASHINGTON - Slot machines in Maryland raked in about 25 percent more revenue in March 2012 than last year.

The Maryland Lottery, which administers the games, says the slots at Hollywood Casino Perryville brought in $12.2 million in March, while the slots at Casino at Ocean Downs near Ocean City generated a little more than $4 million.

The two casinos will soon have competition when Maryland Live! at Arundel Mills Mall open in June.


The Governor's Great Land Grab: SB-236

SB236: The “Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012”

- Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 - passed out of the House with a vote of 93-45. Already passing in the Senate, this bill will go to the governor’s desk for a signature. Effective in July 2012, SB236 establishes numerous restrictions on septic systems by creating a “tier system” which will hinder residential development in rural Maryland and all but eliminate septic systems for residential subdivisions. Essentially, this bill will take away local planning and development decisions with regards to decisions about future development. By taking away the power from the local government, the State of Maryland will assume greater and greater autonomy with decisions about future septic systems.

“The title, Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012, seems to say one thing while actually doing another. It is a far cry from preserving agriculture and farming in Maryland. This is the great land grab by Maryland - hurting farmers in the name of preserving them.” replied Delegate Michael A. McDermott.

In a statement made by Delegate McDermott, he stated “It is reasonable to draw conclusions from this bill that this spells the end of rural development in Maryland. It will devalue farmland and place farmers who must borrow against their land for the next planting season to have land that is not worth anywhere near what it is in today’s market. This destructive bill is the camel’s nose under the tent.”

Forget credit -- shop online with a phone number

WASHINGTON - Consumers who don't want to pull out their credit cards to make minor purchases online have another option: They can use a phone number.

It's a popular trend among buyers who are wary of entering credit card information online and with those who just want to save some time checking out.


Sobo's Easter Menu

Click on image to enlarge.

The Unseen Titanic: Photos Reveal Life Aboard Doomed Ship

The photographs of a single camera enthusiast who traveled aboard the Titanic before its fatal voyage have resurfaced for the 100th anniversary of the sinking, revealing a remarkable glimpse at what life was like for passengers of the ill-fated ship.

The Rev. Francis Browne, a Jesuit priest, sailed the first leg of the Titanic’s maiden voyage, between Southampton, England, and Cobh, Ireland -- taking a series of black-and-white photos of life onboard the luxury liner. He planned to stay on the ship to New York but was ordered by his superior to return home instead.

What Every Women Should Tell Their Daughter

Please Pass The Shrimp

Say goodbye to Martha Johnson. This week she was forced to resign as chief of the General Services Administration, the federal agency that manages real estate for the government.

Somehow Martha managed to spend an incredible $820,000 for a conference outside of Las Vegas. Among the expenditures she okayed: $31,000 for a "networking reception," $146,000 for catered food and drinks, as well as $130,000 in expenses to "scout" the conference's hotel location. Apparently, Martha's advance team had to travel to Vegas six times to get a handle on where was best to discuss GSA business. Somebody had to do it.

In her resignation letter, Ms. Johnson acknowledged "a significant misstep."


President Obama's Chief of Staff, Jacob Lew, says Mr. Obama "was outraged by the excessive spending."

Oh, yeah? Has he seen the federal budget lately?

This all ties in together. Federal bureaucrats well know that tax dollars roll in no matter what. It's the law. If you don't want to wind up in the penitentiary like Wesley Snipes, you pay what the feds tell you to pay. And Martha Johnson gets a taste.

After all, what's the big deal? The Obama administration is the biggest spending outfit in the history of the country. Why shouldn't federal employees eat shrimp at $4 apiece at a cocktail party? If the rich guys would only pay their fair share in taxes, they could even swallow more shellfish.


Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Get A Dog

If you're thinking about bringing a dog into your life, you've got some homework to do to make sure you set yourself up for success. Before you choose your new best friend, it's a good idea to take an inventory of your lifestyle to determine the traits you're looking for.


Banish Boomerang Kids And Reclaim Your Home

Banish Boomerang Kids And Reclaim Your Home
Last week we talked about reasons twentysomethings don't need to be afraid to live at home for a few years before they launch their careers. Now we'll to look at the other side of the coin, at long-suffering parents who aren't happy that their grown children still live with them.


Even Congress Is Making Cuts, Big Deal!

Congress isn't immune from the budget cuts hitting the rest of the government. USA Today reported that one in 10 House members are making "sizeable cuts" at the office for the second year in a row. The average House member's budget was nearly $1.5 million last year. A 6 percent cut equals the salary of one or two staff members. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) said last year's cut was "skin deep." More cuts would be "sawing at the bone."

Here We Go Again

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he paid the government $630 for the weekly commute from his home in Northern California. But each round-trip flight costs the Pentagon $32,000. Panetta made it clear he would visit his family on the weekends when he took the job, be he has been doing that ever since he came to Washington as a lawmaker in the 1970s. He pays the normal government rate for a commercial airliner flight, but as Defense Secretary, he has to travel on secure military planes.

GSA Laughing Stock Video

At first it was a scandal. Now the infamous GSA conference in Las Vegas has become a laughing stock. A video from the conference shows a GSA employee singing a parody of a Bruno Mars song. In it, the employee mocks President Obama, agency spending and IG investigations. The video was shown at the conference award ceremony. It was posted by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The inspector general's report on the conference led to the resignation of GSA administrator Martha Johnson.

IRS: Next Year's Filing Season Could Be A Disaster

IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman warned Congress if it doesn't deal with expiring tax cuts and other tax laws, next year's filing season could be a disaster. He said if Congress doesn't resolve tax questions early, total confusion would prevail among taxpayers. That could cause the agency to delay the opening of the filing season.

Speaking at the National Press Club, Shulman said he would step down when his term expires in November. He was appointed by President Bush in 2007.

In The Great Recession, Even Death Is Too Expensive For The Poor

Rita is only in her 30s, but she knows all about death. What she didn't know until recently is how expensive it is, especially now in the Great Recession, for the poor to die.

Rita's parents, her only relatives in the U.S., died in a car crash during her sophomore year in community college. Rita dropped out of school to earn a living as a shipping coordinator at a Bay Area package company. A few years later, she found herself coughing and coughing. She was always short of breath. Tests revealed that Rita had a rare and fatal disease of unknown origin--one that leads to the slow closure of the blood vessels feeding the lungs. She will suffocate to death before the age of 40.

“I know the end is coming,” she tells her doctor and nurses; after many meetings with her chaplain, she is, she says, "at peace." At the medical clinic in San Francisco’s General Hospital, Rita tells anyone who will listen that she has two goals. She wants to continue living with her cat in her one bedroom apartment in the Mission District of San Francisco. And she hopes to continue receiving the few medications that mitigate her symptoms.


The US Has Made No Progress On College Graduation Rates In 30 Years

Both the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Jared Bernstein and University of Missouri-St. Louis political scientist Kenneth Thomas flagged some data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showing that America’s college graduation rate hasn’t improved in 30 years. “Not only are the US attain levels now behind those of 12 other countries, but we’ve made no progress in a generation,” Bernstein noted.

On the chart, the blue square represents college attainment of 55-64 year olds, while the triangle represents 25-34 year olds. For the U.S., the percentages attaining a degree are nearly identical, which is clearly not the case for a host of other countries.


Bees: The Threatened Link In Food Security

Honey bees help pollinate 1 in every 3 bites that we eat… They are vital in our agricultural industry and essential for the survival of the almost 7 billion people who inhabit this planet. And, as the world’s population continues to grow, so does our reliance on honey bees. Unfortunately, most pollinating insects throughout the world are endangered today, including the honey bee. On this edition, we’ll discuss the honey bee’s fight to survive amidst a rapidly changing landscape filled with pesticides and parasites. We will also learn the latest about colony collapse disorder and hear from beekeepers, researchers, and gardeners who are trying to protect them.


Twinkies Workers Get Screwed

The corruption of American capitalism by Reaganomic deregulation is on full display at Hostess Brands company. According to a court filing reported on by Dow Jones – Hostess may have violated Bankruptcy laws by looting its corporate treasury to pay executives massive bonuses just before their company went bankrupt. Apparently knowing that the company was about to go under – the Twinkie makers paid out all the company's remaining cash to their top executives - like CEO Brian Driscoll, who ran off with a 300% salary increase to $2.5 million while running his company into bankruptcy. At the same time – Hostess demanded its workers take drastic pay and benefit cuts – and reneged on its obligations to fund retiree pensions. This is what deregulated capitalism is all about – not running a business in the best interest of the workers, the community, or even the business itself – but instead running it like a personal ATM machine for a handful of fat-cat executives. This is a crime; unfortunately it's a crime that never goes punished in today's 1% economy.

Federal Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Is Being Challenged In A US Appeals Court

The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston is hearing a case to determine the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. President Obama decided his administration would no longer defend the law in court – so House Republicans used taxpayer money to hire a high-priced lawyer to prevent gays and lesbians from having the same rights as straight Americans. The showdown in the First Circuit Court means that the DOMA case will likely head to the Supreme Court next year for a final ruling.

Considering that the high court has been busy stripping rights away from actual people – and giving them to so-called corporate people – champions of human rights should be cautious. Then again – if two corporations asked the Supreme Court for the right to be married – then something tells me the high court would oblige. Then again – courts shouldn't have any power at all to determine whether or not laws are constitutional.

That should be left up to the people and the Congress.

Proof Of Trailer Parks On Mars?

A Martian dust devil roughly 12 miles (20 kilometers) high was captured winding its way along the Amazonis Planitia region of Northern Mars on March 14, 2012 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Despite its height, the plume is little more than three-quarters of a football field wide (70 yards, or 70 meters). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA


Sequel To SOPA Could See NSA Spy On Journalists, Media Pirates

If you download and distribute copyrighted material on the Internet, or share any information that governments or corporations find inconvenient, you could soon be labeled a threat to national security in the United States.

That’s the aim of a bill in Congress called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which some have labeled in recent weeks as a type of sequel to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a highly controversial series of proposals that were utterly destroyed by an online mass work-stoppage protest earlier this year.

CISPA, however, is nothing like SOPA, despite its recent association in the media. While SOPA included provisions that would have essentially broken the Internet by allowing the U.S. to delete domains from a central registry system, CISPA does nothing of the sort, and aims more at “cyber threat intelligence” gathering than censorship and piracy prevention.

The bill presents itself as a simple enhancement of America’s cyber-security that would amend the National Security Act to include “cyber threat intelligence” gathering. To those ends, it would tear down the firewall between private corporate networks and the National Security Agency [NSA], enabling corporations to share data with the world’s most sophisticated spy apparatus.


“The Great Depression II: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”

“Human history seems logical in afterthought but a mystery in forethought. Writers of history have a way of describing interwar societies as coursing from postwar to prewar as though people alive at the time knew when that transition occurred.” – Strauss & Howe, "The Fourth Turning"

"Watching pompous politicians, egotistical economists, arrogant investment geniuses, clueless media pundits, and self- proclaimed experts on the Great Depression predict an economic recovery and a return to normalcy would be amusing if it wasn’t so pathetic. Their lack of historical perspective does a huge disservice to the American people, as their failure to grasp the cyclical nature of history results in a broad misunderstanding of the Crisis the country is facing. The ruling class and opinion leaders are dominated by linear thinkers that believe the world progresses in a straight line. Despite all evidence of history clearly moving through cycles that repeat every eighty to one hundred years (a long human life), the present generations are always surprised by these turnings in history. I can guarantee you this country will not truly experience an economic recovery or progress for another fifteen to twenty years. If you think the last four years have been bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet.


And They Wonder Why Voters Are Angry

As Mitt Romney assumes the role of presumptive Republican nominee, polls suggest a competitive general election matchup between the former Massachusetts governor and President Obama. Typically, both candidates poll in the mid-40s, while 10 to 12 percent remain uncommitted to either side.

Among these uncommitted voters, Rasmussen Reports polling shows that just 22 percent approve of the way the president is handling his job. Seventy-two percent (72 percent) disapprove. As for intensity, just 2 percent strongly approve, and 40 percent strongly disapprove.

At first glance, this seems like good news for Romney. These uncommitted voters will be difficult for the president to win over. But it raises another question: If these uncommitted voters are so unhappy with the president, why aren't they already Romney supporters?

The data suggest that voters are less than thrilled with the choices they'll have in November. The lack of enthusiasm for Romney among GOP voters has been well documented. Among Democrats, enthusiasm for their candidate is noticeably down, as well. Among young voters, for example, just 20 percent strongly approve of the job the president is doing.

Most young voters, of course, will still end up voting for the president just as most disgruntled Republicans will end up voting for Romney. But neither candidate connects well with white working-class voters. Romney has struggled to win over these voters in his primary contests, and Obama lost them to Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries. For many, Election 2012 is shaping up to be another choice between the lesser of two evils.


News Busted

Marion Barry And The Left’s Hatred Of Asian Entrepreneurs

Marion Barry’s mouth set him up. The disgraced former mayor of Washington, D.C., who was caught on tape in a 1987 crack cocaine sting, made an even bigger disgrace of himself and his city on Tuesday. Celebrating a Democratic primary victory, the city councilman attacked small businesses owned by “Asians” in his district. Then the race-baiting clown doubled down.

Barry told supporters in D.C.’s Ward 8: “We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go.” Once pushed out, Barry promised, he would replace the foreign invaders with “African-American business people.” Barry then took to the social networking platform Twitter to expound on the perils of “dirty” Asian shops in his neighborhood.

As documented by my Twitter curation start-up, Barry posted photos of supposedly hazardous stores — including Chinese restaurants surrounded not by trash or toxic waste, but by Plexiglas barriers and reinforced doors. Barry explained that Asian-owned businesses that had the audacity to protect themselves from crime were “lowering standards” in his constituents’ communities.

In Barry’s bizarre world, law-abiding entrepreneurs who take steps to prevent robberies are the ones who threaten Ward 8′s quality of life — not the armed thugs who threaten honest livelihoods in the first place. Vigilant wealth creators taking care of their families? Scourge of D.C. Profanity-spewing drug addicts inciting hatred against successful achievers of the American Dream? Model citizens!

Crazy Barry doesn’t just need another round of rehab. He needs a reality check.


Cool Tip




Artist Thomas Kinkade dies in California at age 54

Artist Thomas Kinkade, whose brushwork paintings of idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches have been big sellers for dealers across the United States, died Friday, a family spokesman said.

Kinkade, 54, died at his home in Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area of what appeared to be natural causes, David Satterfield said.

Kinkade's sentimental paintings, with their scenes of country gardens and churches in dewy morning light, were beloved by middlebrow America but reviled by the art establishment. He claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist, and his paintings and spin-off products were said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales, and to be in 10 million homes in the United States.