Archive for September, 2011

Few people would mourn the passing of radical U.S. cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi. However, his reported death from a U.S. air strike raises the long-standing question over President Obama’s insistence that he can unilaterally label a citizen as a terrorist and order his killing. It is one of the policies (of many) that Obama continued from his predecessor, George W. Bush, and was one of the subjects of my column yesterday in the Los Angeles Times.

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Awkward. Primera (Texas) Police Chief Joe Rodriguez recently sent his opponent for the office of constable, Robert Lopez, text that contained transgender porn. Oops.
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A new study from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has identified an area of young adults who have been overlooked by prior campaigns: young evangelicals. The study found 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults have had sex. That is virtually the same (8 percent below) the national average. With a campaign infused with religiosity this year and all of the talk of “real America” versus urban America, the study challenges stereotypes.
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In New York, Clyde Gardner, 57, hatched a unique plan to kill his ex-girlfriend that involved skinning a bear, hiding among garbage cans, and walking on all fours. After the plan proved a bit too complex, he returned to that old favorite: the car crash. It all ended without an injury when Gardner was accused by the would-be hit man. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced this week.

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Earlier today, I posted another case out of Illinois where an officer arrested a citizen for recording him in public — only to have the charges later dropped without any disciplining of the officer. Now in New York city we have another alleged case where an officer detains a citizen over public videotaping — not of him, mind you, but of ground zero. Meredith Dodson of Georgia says that Officer Mark DeSimone not only detained her but became threatening with her and other citizens who objected to his arbitrary action over her taking a photo of the famous site.
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A family in Pakistan is living in poverty and avoiding neighbors calling for their deaths. Their offense? The oldest daughter was raped and the family did not kill her as demanded as a matter of honor. Unlike hundreds of such girls killed in honor killings each year, Kainat Soomro, 17, is being supported by her family and refuses to back down in demanding justice for her kidnapping and gang rape.
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We have yet another person arrested for recording a police officer in public. Louis Frobe felt he was wrongly stopped for speeding and decided to use his phone to videotape and record the stop and its surroundings. When he held the phone outside of the window to videotape the surrounding area, the officer proceeded to arrest him and charge him with a felony in Illinois. The arresting officer is identified in a lawsuit as Ralph H. Goar of the Village of Lindenhurst.
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Saudi King Abdullah has again taken a step toward modernity. Yesterday, he revoked a sentence of 10 lashes imposed on a woman who drove a car. This follows his earlier decision to allow women to vote. The problem is that there is no law criminalizing driving by women. It is a religious edict which continues to apply to citizens with the same force of the law.
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Below is today’s column in The Los Angeles Times on the record of Barack Obama on civil liberties and his impact on the civil liberties movement in the United States.

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When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed doubt over the official account of the 911 attacks and accused the U.S. government, he has been condemned by other leaders and countries. However, it turns out that the most aggrieved party may be . . . al Qaeda and its allies and sympathizers. Inspire Magazine, a publication founded by Anwar al-Awlaki and often tied by the U.S. to Al Qaeda figures, has come out with a cover story attacking Ahmadinejad for suggesting that al Qaeda was not responsible or someone used in the attacks by U.S. intelligence. It appears that al Qaeda views this “truther” account as nothing short of defamation or at least product disparagement.

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In the high-pressure competition to ranking colleges, Sam Eshaghoff, 19, was a solution for those who long for high scores but lack of the ability or time to secure them. Eshaghoff and six students were arrested on criminal charges for a scheme in which Eshaghoff pretended to be other people to take the SAT exam for them — at the cost of $1,500 to $2,500.
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German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble left little question about his view of the wisdom of the economic policies of the Obama Administration. Schauble called the U.S. plan to pour trillions of dollars into the bailout fund “stupid” and said it would destroy the AAA ratings for the members — precisely what occurred to the U.S. this year. There is rising criticism of the economic views of Timothy Geithner, who some view as steering the U.S. into massive and unproductive spending.

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Now this is an interesting lawsuit. In Massachusetts, Marlboro Airport wants payment of $676,048 for damage caused by “negligent” use of its facility, including unauthorized vehicles that tore up its field. The problem is that the culprit is the U.S. government. In 2010, President Barack Obama descended on the airport and brought with him a huge entourage, including a massive vehicles that were too heavy for the tarmac. After trashing the field, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security refused to compensate the company that runs the field.
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Just after we ran a rare congratulatory piece on the Saudi King giving the right to vote to woman, the Saudi courts gave a chilling reminder of the plight of women in the Kingdom by sentencing Shaima Ghassaniya to be flogged for driving.
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Just when you thought flying could not get more stressful . . . ABC has learned of a secret White House report alerting U.S. officials of the theft of an estimated 20,000 portable, heat-seeking missiles from an Army warehouse in Libya.
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