National papers react to the developing conflict between the Associated Press and the Department of Justice, which secretly obtained phone records of AP reporters and editors in 2012, supposedly for national security purposes… New York Times : “We are not convinced. For more than 30 years, the news media and the government have used a well-honed system to balance the government’s need to pursue criminals or national security breaches with the media’s constitutional right to inform the public. This action against The A.P. … ‘calls into question the very integrity’ of the [Obama] administration’s policy toward the press.” Washington Post : “Whatever national-security enhancement this was intended to achieve seems likely to be outweighed by the damage to press freedom and governmental transparency.” USA Today : “Another day, another excessive use of government power by the Obama administration. … At first blush, seizing reporters’ records might sound too arcane to be of much public interest. But that’s far from the case. When the Justice Department grabs reporters’ phone records, it insulates the administration from the scrutiny that a free press is supposed to provide. … This administration needs some hard thinking about abuse of power.” The Wall Street Journal, another national publication, has yet to editorialize on the issue. @eScarry Follow Eddie Scarry on Twitter Read more stories from TheBlaze German Homeschooling Family’s Request for Asylum Denied by the U.S. Government White Family (Including 14-Year-Old Daughter) Reportedly Attacked for Being in the ‘Wrong Neighborhood’ of Baton Rouge Another Teen Atheist Successfully Gets 10 Commandments Removed at His High School Gay Gym Teacher Continues Fight After Being Fired by Catholic School Over Revelations of Her Same-Sex Relationship Here’s Why This NAACP Official Thinks It’s Good the IRS Targeted Tea Party Groups (Hint: It Involves the Taliban)
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‘Abuse of power’: NY Times, Wash. Post, USA Today come down on Justice Dept. for AP scandal
Who is the real hero in the Cleveland kidnapping case? As Charles Ramsey was finding every TV camera crew in the Cleveland area to tell his story about the rescue of the three women held captive in a house for almost a decade, another man was quietly saying that he was first on the scene and the real hero. NewsChannel 5 Angel Cordero lived across the street from Ramsey and the house that held the three women. Local news reports are saying that this 32-year-old man — who does not speak English — is claiming to be the first person to respond to Amanda Berry’s screams for help. Cordero told NewChannel 5 reporter Stephanie Ramirez (in Spanish): “I helped her. And I was first.” “Ramsey arrived after she was outside with the girl,” Cordero said. “But the truth who arrived there, who crossed the street, who came and broke the door, it was me.” Meanwhile, Charles Ramsey is still the face associated with the rescue of the women. In fact, last night he appeared on CNN’s AC360 and spoke with Anderson Cooper about the incident. And for the first time, he mentioned that he had help from another person – naming Cordero. Aside from this mention of Angel Cordero’s participation, Ramsey managed to surprise everyone with a few more details about the startling case and how it was finally exposed. Ramsey actually spoke with one of the suspects, Ariel, just a short time before he rode his bicycle to McDonald’s to get his lunch. He considered his neighbor to be “cool…like me and you.” He thought the small children seen playing in the yard next door to him were the grandchildren of the homeowner. Both Ramsey and Amanda Berry both called 9-1-1 from different phones – but the operators were not responding quickly enough for him. Cooper asked him, “Do you feel like a hero?” “No, no, no, bro…I’m a Christian, I’m an American, I’m just like you. We bleed the same blood. We put our pants on the same way.” Cooper pressed Ramsey on the possibility of cashing in on any rewards that might be waiting for someone who helped solve these cases, asking, “Has the FBI said anything about a reward?” Ramsey didn’t blink. He responded: “I’ll tell you what you do, give it to them (the victims). ‘Cause, if folks been following this case since last night, and you’ve been following me, you know I got a job anyway.” After giving that answer, Ramsey pulled his paycheck from his pants pocket and showed it to Cooper. Watch the entire Anderson Cooper interview here. Which man do you believe? Participate in our Blaze Poll below. Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter Read more stories from TheBlaze Biden Wants Pastors, Rabbis and Nuns to Tell Their Flocks: Enacting More Gun Control Is the Moral Thing to Do Grammy-Winning Singer Headed to Prison for Failing to Pay $1 Million Owed in Taxes Ted Cruz Vs. Harry Reid on Senate Floor: ‘My Friend From Texas Is Like a Schoolyard Bully’ Female Egyptian TV Host Removes Headscarf, Berates Cleric Who ‘Peddles’ Islam in Explosive Interview Police Face Tough Questions on Handling of Case Involving 3 Ohio Women Rescued After 10 Years (Plus — See Chilling Photos Taken Inside the House)
Michael Barone, always an insightful analyst of election data, has an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal where he talks about vote “clustering” – that is, the tendency of Democrats to accumulate immense political strength in urban areas. Barone sees this giving the Democrats an advantage in presidential and Senate races, but handicapping them in the House, which explains much of the current executive and Congressional landscape: What helped the Republicans more than redistricting was the tendency of Democratic voters to be clustered in black, Hispanic and “gentry liberal” neighborhoods in major metropolitan areas. This clustering has produced huge majorities that have made many large and medium-size states safely Democratic at the presidential level. Barack Obama won 56% or more in 13 states and the District of Columbia with 179 electoral votes, leaving him only 91 votes short of a majority. Mitt Romney, in contrast, won 56% or more in states with only 125 electoral votes. But clustering works against Democrats in the House. According to figures compiled by Polidata Inc. for National Journal and “The Almanac of American Politics” (of which I am a co-author), Mr. Obama won 80% or more of the vote in 27 congressional districts and between 70% and 79% in 34 more. Mr. Romney won 80% in only one district and between 70% and 79% in 18 more. That left enough Republican votes spread around in the other 355 districts to enable Mr. Romney to carry 226 congressional districts to Obama’s 209. All of the Democrats’ House popular-vote margin came from the 36 black-dominated and 31 Hispanic-dominated districts. Democrats carried the popular vote in black-dominated districts 80%-17% in 2012. They made significant gains in Hispanic-dominated districts, which George W. Bush lost by 11% but Mitt Romney lost by 32%. Mr. Bush’s “Family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande” is a more attractive message than Mr. Romney’s “self-deportation.” The clustering phenomenon is obvious to anyone who watches election results arrive in real time. Urban areas in state after state detonate like blue mushroom clouds, wiping out the sea of red counties surrounding them. Those big-city political machines are very good at both organizing Democrat political strength, and getting voters to the polls. One conclusion we might draw from this is a substantial advantage for Democrats in “meh” elections where the voters aren’t thrilled about either candidate, as in the 2012 presidential race, where enthusiasm on both sides flagged. The Republican candidate will most likely have more to fear in such low-voltage races, because his voters are more likely to yawn and stay home… while the urban political machines grind relentlessly onward, pumping out busloads of votes. (None of which should be inferred as inherently unscrupulous activity – I’m talking about generally above-board political organizing. It’s a lot easier to run “get out the vote” operations in densely populated urban areas with long-established political machinery. Ballot-box scams are a topic for another day.) Barone sees something of a stalemate, or political “continuity” as he describes it, from these forces. Contrary to talk of massive political realignments over the past few decades, both parties orbit 49 or 51 percent levels of overall support; it’s the distribution of such support across urban and rural areas that produces electoral drama. After digesting Barone’s analysis, I wonder if this equilibrium will remain so durable in years to come. Amnesty for illegal aliens, coupled with a continuing influx of illegal immigrants – because nothing in the current “comprehensive immigration reform” proposals will do anything practical to stop it, but they offer a great deal to encourage it – is likely to turn a couple of red states blue, and not just in clustered urban areas. The future of those big cities is difficult to predict. Will they continue to accumulate population – and Big Government policies that make the populace more likely to vote Democrat? Or will people flee from decaying cities… and if they do, will they bring their Democrat voting habits with them? Rather than bolstering the electoral strength of red suburban and rural counties, they might be just as likely to spread a blue virus, especially if they tend to “cluster” again, in exurban areas that offer the kind of development that appeals to former city dwellers. It’s not surprising to find the longtime residents of large cities tend to accept high taxes, active government, centralized planning, and extensive regulation, to a greater degree than those who live in rural areas. Barone’s prognosis finds the Republicans more aware of their electoral difficulties: Neither party is doomed; both face challenges. Republicans have a clear problem with Hispanic voters, and many Republicans, including several with presidential aspirations, are addressing it by supporting immigration reform. House Republicans, only two of them from Hispanic-dominated districts, seem less interested. Democrats have a clear problem with clustering. They cannot expect to improve on their performance with black voters in the two Obama elections, and they need to expand their appeal beyond their clusters of support to win congressional majorities. That may be difficult since their party tends to be defined, as it was not in the breakout years of 2006 and 2008, by a liberal incumbent president. Republicans are trying to do something about their problems. Democrats, with their man in the White House, seem more complacent. But both parties have reason to feel insecure. I wonder if he’s right about that. Do the Democrats really need to change strategies to “expand their appeal beyond their clusters of support to win congressional majorities?” Even if the equilibrium Barone describes persists for decades to come, Obama’s imperial presidency has gone a long way toward reducing the role of the House. He might one day be succeeded by a better tactician, who can point to more “popular support” from those big electoral clusters, and have more success at stampeding House Republicans. (Which is not to say that Obama has been without his successes.) And even if that Republican effort to draw Hispanic voters with immigration reform succeeds – a highly dubious proposition – is that really a strategy that will break the stalemate in their favor? It sounds like they might be better advised to direct their efforts at winning support from urban voters, rather than specific racial demographics. A successful effort along these lines would bring support from many demographics at once, it wouldn’t seem like racial pandering, and it could have the great virtue of remaining fully consistent with conservative values. After all, city dwellers have seen generations of unbroken Democrat governance lead to disaster. Approached properly, they might be willing to consider alternatives. The post Vote clustering and political equilibrium appeared first on Human Events .
Vote clustering and political equilibrium
If Mark Sanford succeeds in his improbable comeback tomorrow, a lot of people will be asking, “How did he do it?” A serious answer will be: “He just outworked his opponent.” Earlier today, Dave Weigel tweeted , “Sanford has 5 campaign stops today — one avail already — before Colbert Busch’s first event.” Sanford has eleven public events scheduled today; Colbert Busch has five. The week of April 22, he did 15 public events. She did six in those five days, according to her campaign’s web site . He did three public events Wednesday; she did one. He did three public events Thursday; she did none. He did ten events public Saturday, she did five. He did take Sunday off; she did three events that day. Sanford’s campaign just announced he’s doing 10 events tomorrow, before his Election Night party: 7:45 AM — Pages Okra Grill, 302 Coleman Blvd, Mt. Pleasant 8:30 AM — Huddle House, 261 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt. Pleasant 9:15 AM — Brown’s Court Bakery, 199 St. Philip Street, Charleston 10 AM — Vote — 75 Calhoun Street, Charleston 11 AM — Pep Boys, 1550 Savannah Highway, West Ashley, Charleston 11:45 AM — Moe’s Southwest Grill, 1812 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., West Ashley, Charleston 12:45 PM — Cookout Restaurant, 8968 University Blvd., North Charleston 29406 1:30PM — Alex’s Restaurant, 309 St. James Avenue, Goose Creek 2:30 PM — Piggly Wiggly, 9616 Highway 78, Suite 1, Ladson 4 PM — Farmer’s Market Mt. Pleasant, Moultrie Middle School, 645 Coleman Boulevard, Mt. Pleasant 7:30 PM — Watch Party — Liberty Tap Room & Grill, 1028 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt. Pleasant A busy campaign schedule can’t completely change the dynamics of a race, but it certainly can’t hurt, as long as the candidate can keep the energy and enthusiasm up.
Mark Sanford's 10-Event Campaigning Days
TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — When poison-laced letters were sent to President Barack Obama and two other officials, it didn't take long to track down a suspect based on a phrase in one of the letters often used by a 45-year-old Elvis impersonator named Kevin Curtis: “I am KC and I approve this message.”
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Tests link deadly ricin to Obama letter suspect
It is well known that most college students engage at one time or another in what is known as a “hookup” — an emotionless, commitment-less sexual encounter. Yesterday, I interviewed Donna Freitas, author of “ The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy .” In our dialogue, we agreed that her book subtitle was accurate, but we disagreed as to the cause. Freitas, who holds a Ph.D. in religious studies, blamed it on peer pressure, the sex-drenched social media of young people and the ubiquity of pornography. I blamed three other culprits: feminism, careerism and secularism. I was in college and graduate school during the heyday of modern feminism. And the central message to women was clear as daylight: You are no different from men. Therefore, among other things, you can enjoy sex just like they do — just for the fun of it and with many partners. The notion that nearly every woman yearns for something deeper when she has sexual intercourse with a man was dismissed as patriarchal propaganda. The culture might tell her to restrict sex to a man who loves her and might even marry her, but the liberated woman knows better: Sex without any emotional ties or possibility of future commitment can be “empowering.” Feminism taught — and professors on the New York Times op-ed page continue to write — that there are no significant natural differences between men and women. Therefore, it is not unique to male nature to want to have sex with many partners. Rather, a “Playboy culture” “pressures” men into having frequent, uncommitted sex. And, to the extent this is a part of male nature, it is equally true of women’s natures. Another feminist message to women was that just as a woman can have sex like a man, she can also find career as fulfilling as men do. Therefore, pursuing an “M-R-S” at college is just another residue of patriarchy. Women should be as interested in a career as men are. Any hint of the notion that women want, more than anything else, to marry and make a family is sexist, demeaning, and untrue. One result is that instead of trying to find a potential husband, young women are under feminist pressure to show that they couldn’t care less about forming an exclusive, let alone permanent, relationship with a man. And this provides another reason for her to engage in non-emotional, commitment-free sex. The third reason for the hookup culture is the radical secularization of the college campus. The concept of the holy is dead at American campuses, and without the notion of the holy it is very difficult to make the case for minimizing, let alone avoiding, non-marital sex. Sex, which every great religion seeks to channel into marriage, has no such role in secular thinking. The only issues for students to be aware of when it comes to sex are health and consent. Beyond those two issues, there is not a single reason not to have sex with many people. That’s why colleges — secular temples that they are — throughout America reinforce the centrality and importance of sex as a mechanical act. There are “sex weeks” at many of our institutions of higher learning that feature demonstrations of sex toys, S&M seminars, porn stars coming to speak, etc. Feminist teaching about male-female sameness; feminist teaching that women will derive their greatest meaning from career, not from marriage and family; and the complete removal of religious values and teaching from the college campus are, indeed, “leaving a generation unhappy, sexually unfulfilled [certainly most of the women] and confused about intimacy.” But this is not how Dr. Freitas sees it. As Esfehani Smith wrote in her review of the book for the Wall Street Journal : “In the book’s conclusion, Ms. Freitas says that she wants young adults to have ‘good sex,’ a category that can include, she suggests, hooking up — as long as students recognize that casual sex is ‘just one option among many.’ Yet this jars with the nearly 200 preceding pages on the corrosive effects of casual sex.” Kudos, then to Dr. Freitas for delineating the tragedy. But I suspect that it is her very Ph.D. that prevents her from understanding either the roots of this human tragedy or its solution. Both would involve the moral and intellectual rejection of the very institution that granted it to her. Dennis Prager’s latest book, “ Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph ,” was published April 24 by HarperCollins. The post Why Is There a Hookup Culture? appeared first on Human Events .
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Why Is There a Hookup Culture?
“The worst mistake of my presidency,” said Ronald Reagan of his decision to put Marines into the middle of Lebanon’s civil war, where 241 died in a suicide bombing of their barracks. And if Barack Obama plunges into Syria’s civil war, it could consume his presidency, even as Iraq consumed the presidency of George W. Bush. Why would Obama even consider this? Because he blundered badly. Foolishly, he put his credibility on the line by warning that any Syrian use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and be a “game changer” with “enormous consequences.” Not only was this ultimatum unwise, Obama had no authority to issue it. If Syria does not threaten or attack us, Obama would need congressional authorization before he could constitutionally engage in acts of war against Syria. When did he ever receive such authorization? Moreover, there is no proof Syrian President Bashar Assad ever ordered the use of chemical weapons. U.S. intelligence agencies maintain that small amounts of the deadly toxin sarin gas were likely used. But if it did happen, we do not know who ordered it. Syrians officials deny that they ever used chemicals. And before we dismiss Damascus’ denials, recall that an innocent man in Tupelo, Miss., was lately charged with mailing deadly ricin to Sen. Roger Wicker and President Obama. This weekend, we learned he may have been framed. It is well within the capacity of Assad’s enemies to use or fake the use of poison gas to suck us into fighting their war. Even if elements of Assad’s army did use sarin, we ought not plunge in. And, fortunately, that seems to be Obama’s thinking. Why stay out? Because it is not our war. There is no vital U.S. interest in who rules Syria. Hafez Assad and Bashar have ruled Syria for 40 years. How has that ever threatened us? Moreover, U.S. intervention would signal to Assad that the end is near, making his use of every weapon in his arsenal, including chemical weapons, more — not less — likely. U.S. intervention would also make us de facto allies of Assad’s principal enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida. As The New York Times reported Sunday, “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.” Do we really wish to expend American blood and treasure to bring about a victory of Islamists and jihadists in Syria? If Assad’s chemical weapons threaten any nation, it is Israel. But Israel knows where they are stored and has an air force superior to our own in the Med. Israeli troops on the Golan are as close to Damascus as Dulles Airport is to Washington, D.C. Yet Israel has not attacked Syria’s chemical weapons. Why not? Israel is well aware that Syria’s air defense system is, as The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, “one of the most advanced and concentrated barriers on the planet.” And if Israel does not feel sufficiently threatened by Syria’s chemical weapons to go after them, why should we, 4,000 miles away? Then there is Turkey, with three times Syria’s population, NATO’s second-largest army and a 600-mile border. Why is ridding the Middle East of Assad our assignment and not Ankara’s? Surely the heirs of the Ottomans have a larger stake here. And if we get into this war, how do we get out? For the war is metastasizing. Hezbollah is sending in fighters to help the Alawite Shia. Other Lebanese are assisting the Sunni rebels. The war could spread into Iraq, where the latest clashes between Sunni and Shia are pulling the country apart. Young Muslims are coming in from Europe. Iran and Russia are aiding Damascus. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are aiding the Islamists. The United States, Jordan and Turkey are aiding the secularists. Syria could come apart, and a sectarian and ethnic war of all against all erupt across the region. Do we really want the U.S. military in the middle of this? Because his “red line” appears to have been crossed, Obama is being told he must attack Syria to maintain his credibility with Iran and North Korea. Nonsense. To attack Syria would compound Obama’s folly in drawing the red line. Better to have egg on Obama’s face than for America to be dragged into another unnecessary war. Obama would not be alone in having his bluff called. George Bush proclaimed that no “axis of evil” nation would be allowed to acquire the “world’s worst weapons.” North Korea now has those weapons. Congressional war hawks, led by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are cawing for air strikes and no-fly zones, which would mean dead and captured Americans and many more dead Syrians. Time for Congress to either authorize Obama to lead us into a new Middle East war, or direct him, in the absence of an attack upon us, to keep America out of what is Syria’s civil war. Before we slide into another war, let the country be consulted first. Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” The post Buchanan: Their War, Not Ours appeared first on Human Events .
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Buchanan: Their War, Not Ours
BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — An ex-martial arts instructor made ricin and put the poison in letters to President Barack Obama and others, the FBI charged Saturday, days after dropping similar charges against an Elvis impersonator who insisted he had been framed.
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Miss. man charged in suspicious letters case