McDonald’s Burger Survives 14 Years Without Deteriorating

ST. GEORGE, Utah, (UPI) —  A Utah man said a McDonald’s burger he bought to use as a demonstration item in 1999 has shown few signs of aging in 14 years.

David Whipple of St. George said he bought the hamburger — topped with a pickle, mustard and ketchup — July 7, 1999, at a McDonald’s in Logan and let it age for a month for a lesson on enzymatic action he gave to a group of weight loss advocates, KSL-TV, Salt Lake City, reported Wednesday.

“At the little meeting, I showed the hamburger and the pickle, which was just starting to disintegrate,” Whipple writes. “There was no decomposition to the meat or bun, nor any mold, fungus or smell. It had no bad odor at all.”

Whipple said he put the burger in his jacket pocket, where it spent a summer in the trunk of his car before being discovered in a closet a year or two later.

“It was purely a fluke about hanging on to it,” Whipple said.

Whipple said the burger has since survived without refrigeration or any other types of preservation and still looks like it did the day he bought it, sans pickle.

He said he does not know how the burger managed to survive for so many years without any signs of mold or decomposition.

“That’s the million-dollar question. They dig up things in King Tut’s tomb,” he said. “It’s going to take a smarter person than I am to figure that out.”

Man With Sword Comes To Neighbor’s Aid

SALT LAKE CITY, (UPI) —  A Salt Lake City woman being assaulted by a co-worker was rescued by a group of neighbors, including one wielding a sword.

Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said the 35-year-old woman was leaving her home just after 7 a.m. Tuesday when she was attacked by a 38-year-old man against whom she had obtained a stalking injunction after they ceased to be co-workers, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.

Hoyal said the man chased the woman down the street and she attempted to use pepper spray against him but failed.

Police said numerous neighbors came to help the woman, including a man wielding a sword.

Kent Hendrix, 47, a fourth-degree black belt in the martial arts known as Kishindo, said his son woke him and told him a woman was being attacked outside their home.

“I threw on some clothes and grabbed my sword,” he said.

Hendrix chased the man and was able to take down the man’s license plate number.

Volunteers Sought For One-Way Trip To Mars

NEW YORK,  (UPI) —  A Dutch non-profit called the Mars One Foundation announced in New York it is taking applications for volunteers willing to take a one-way trip to Mars.

The foundation announced at a New York news conference it is planning to send the first group of humans to Mars in 2022, with an aim to land in 2023 and establish the first permanent human settlement on the red planet, CNN reported Tuesday.

Bas Lansdorp, chief executive officer of Mars One, said “no new inventions are needed to land humans on Mars” and the largest obstacles facing the mission are financial. However, he said money will be saved by making the trip one-way, as new technologies would have to be developed before a return trip could be made possible.

Lasdorp said the idea is for the volunteers to live out the rest of their lives on Mars.

“It’s likely that there will be a crematorium,” Lansdorp said. “It’s up to the people on Mars to decide what to do with their dead.”

Grant Anderson of the Paragon Space Development Corp., which manufactures life-support systems and is a partner in the Mars One effort, said some technological obstacles still need to be cleared before the mission can proceed.

“Questions of reliability and robustness have to be answered before we leave Earth,” he said.

Lansdorp said anyone over the age of 18 can apply for the mission by submitting a video and a $38 application fee.

“We are very excited about launching the selection program. Round One is where we open the doors to Mars for everyone on Earth. This is an international mission and it is very important for the project that anyone anywhere can ask themselves: Do I want this? Am I ready for this? If the answer is yes then we want to hear from you,” Lansdorp said.

Teen Lands 759-Pound Marlin On Make-A-Wish Trip

HONOLULU, (UPI) —  A Texas teenager on a Make-A-Wish Foundation sponsored trip to Hawaii caught a 759-pound marlin with the help of a boat crew.

Sterling Ellis, 19, of Houston, who is in remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is scheduled to undergo a bone marrow transplant, was sent to Hawaii by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and spent the day fishing 15 miles off Kewalo Basin in Honolulu with the crew of The Wild Bunch, KHNL-TV, Honolulu, reported Tuesday.

“We just call it a blind strike. Just out of nowhere. We thought it was a tuna first. We really did.” captain Karl Adams said of Ellis’ unexpected catch.

“I was reeling it, and then I saw this big black fin and then it just started going the opposite direction, taking all my line,” Ellis said. “My arm hurt a little bit and he’s like just keep reeling and I’m like, I don’t think I can. Not that it’s like pressure on me, but my arm is like locked up and I can’t really reel.”

Ellis said it took more than an hour to reel in his catch with the help of the crew. The fish turned out to be an 11-foot-long, 759-pound marlin.

“He was a little tired and that was half the battle, bringing it back in the boat. We’re one of the few boats that don’t have a transom door but we do have a Jim pole to get him in. And it took all my deckhands and myself and two kids that are not that big to get it in the boat,” Adams said.

The captain said Ellis will get to keep the marlin’s bill as a souvenir of his catch. The rest of the fish will be sold by the charter boat to pay its fuel cost.

Obamas Caution Daughters With ‘Family Tattoo’

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  President Barack Obama told NBC’s “Today” show he and first lady Michelle Obama have a threat in place to keep their daughters from getting tattoos.

Obama said in an interview aired Wednesday with host Savannah Guthrie that he and Michelle have told their daughters,  Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, they are free to get tattoos — but there’s a catch, Politico reported Wednesday.

“What we’ve said to the girls is that ‘If you guys ever decide to get a tattoo, then mommy and me will get the exact same tattoo, in the same place, and we’ll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo,'” Obama said.

Group Says Mosque Accused Boston Bombers Attended Has Ties To Radicals

BOSTON, (UPI) —  The mosque attended by the two brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings is associated with other terror suspects, an interfaith organization said.

Several people who attended the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Mass., have been investigated for terrorism, while its sister mosque in Boston, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, has invited guests who have defended terrorism suspects, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev attended the Cambridge mosque and are accused of setting two bombs that killed three people and injured at least 260 others at the April 15 Boston Marathon. On Friday, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, later was captured.

Charles Jacobs, leader of the interfaith Americans for Peace and Tolerance that investigated the mosques, said the two mosques teach a type of Islamic thought that promotes grievances against the West, a distrust of law enforcement and opposition to Western government, dress and social values.

“We don’t know where these boys were radicalized, but this mosque has a curriculum that radicalizes people. Other people have been radicalized there,” Jacobs told USA Today.

Leadership of the two mosques is intertwined, and the ideology they teach is the same, Jacobs said.

Ilya Feoktistov, the Americans for Peace and Tolerance’s research director, said more than half of the $15.5 million used to found the Boston mosque came from Saudi source.

Yusufi Vali, executive director at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, said his mosque does not preach radical ideology and isn’t responsible for the acts of its worshipers.

“If there were really any worry about us being extreme,” Vali said, U.S. law enforcement agencies would not partner with the Muslim American Society and the Boston mosque to hold monthly meetings to reach out to the Muslim community.

The two mosques are both affiliated with the Muslim American Society, an organization that describes itself as an American Islamic revival movement, USA Today said. The society also has been described by federal prosecutors as the “overt arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi Seen As Most Polarizing Congressional Leader

PRINCETON, N.J., (UPI) —  Party leaders in the U.S. Senate and House are generally the most unpopular members of Congress, a Gallup poll released Wednesday indicated.

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was the most well-known and the least well-liked, results indicated. Thirty-one percent of Americans said they view Pelosi favorably and 48 percent said they viewed her unfavorably.

Pelosi’s net minus-17 image score compares with minus-11 image score for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, minus-10 for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, and minus-8 for Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said.

Americans also rated Pelosi as the most polarizing of the four congressional leaders, a view held the last time the four were rated in May 2010.

Gallup said Pelosi, when compared with Boehner, Reid, and McConnell, received the highest favorable reviews from members of her own party and the highest unfavorable reviews from members of the opposing party.

Results are based on nationwide telephone interviews with 1,012 adults conducted April 11-14. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

Man Cleared Of Ricin Involvement Says He Feels ‘Vindicated’

TUPELO, Miss., (UPI) —  A celebrity impersonator once accused of mailing ricin-laced letters to the White House said he feels “vindicated” after his release from a Mississippi jail.

Authorities dropped charges against Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, of Tupelo, Miss., saying they found no evidence he was behind the mailing of the poison to President Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and a Mississippi county judge, CNN reported.

“It’s like a train has been lifted off my shoulders,” Curtis told CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” Tuesday. “I’m overwhelmed. I’m extremely happy to be vindicated and out and able to see my kids.”

Lawyers for Curtis said he had been framed by J. Everett Dutschke, whom authorities said was a person of interest in the case. Dutschke is a martial arts instructor and is considered a longtime personal enemy of Curtis,’ Tupelo’s Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.

“I do believe that someone who was familiar and is familiar with Kevin just simply took his personal information and did this to him,” said Christi McCoy, Curtis’ lawyer. “It is absolutely horrific that someone would do this.”

“I think now, how many people are thrown in jail because of circumstantial evidence and someone can frame you that easily,” Curtis said

It isn’t immediately clear why the two men clashed but Curtis said they exchanged angry email messages to each other for years.

A law enforcement official told The Wall Street Journal the FBI wanted to find out if the alleged feud between the two men was behind the letters sent to Washington.

The National Guard searched Dutschke’s neighborhood and house Tuesday, though have brought no charges against him, the Daily Journal said.

Dutschke, 41, has denied involvement in the incident.

Dutschke attorney Lori Nail Basham was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying her client was “cooperating fully” and hadn’t been charged with any wrongdoing.

At a news conference after his release, Curtis, 45, a celebrity impersonator, said he had no ill feelings toward prosecutors or the president and was glad to be free.

“I respect President Obama,” he said. “I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official.”

Dutschke was arrested in January on charges of child molesting. He was released on $25,000 bond and is awaiting trial.

He ran for the lower house of the state Legislature in 2007 but lost to incumbent Steve Holland. Holland’s mother, Sadie Holland, is the county judge who received one of the letters.

Petraeus Named Visiting Professor At NYC Honors College

NEW YORK, (UPI) —  Former CIA Director David Petraeus was named visiting professor of public policy at Macauley Honors College at City University of New York, the school said.

The highly decorated four-star general’s position will begin Aug. 1, a release from the college said Tuesday.

“CUNY is profoundly honored to welcome Dr. Petraeus to our academic community,” CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said. “With his appointment, our students will have a unique opportunity to learn about public policy firsthand from a distinguished leader with extraordinary experience and expertise in international security issues, intelligence matters and nation building.”

“I am very pleased to have an opportunity to work with the talented students at Macaulay Honors College. Sixty percent of Macaulay students are the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves, and as the son of an immigrant who settled north of New York City, I identify with them and applaud their achievements in earning a place in CUNY’s honors college,” Petraeus said.

“Beyond that, I look forward to leading a seminar at Macaulay that examines the developments that could position the United States and our North American partners to lead the world out of the current global economic slowdown,” he added.

Petraeus resigned as CIA director Nov. 9 after admitting he had engaged in an extramarital affair.

Gay Paris, Washington Whitewashes Words, Acquittals For Gosnell, Wrong Guy In Ricin Case, And Pay Up, Mr. President: Wednesday Morning News Roundup 4-24-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Amid a highly charged and polarized atmosphere of vehement support and opposition, the French parliament legalized gay marriage Tuesday. Then, in the streets of Paris, things got ugly.
  • No more offensive words like “penmanship,” “freshman” or “fireman.” The Governor of Washington State has signed into law a bill that mandates words that could be construed as favoring one gender (the male one) be eradicated from all State legislation, both existing and in the future.
  • With more murder charges still pending, Pennsylvania abortion provider Kermit Gosnell was acquitted by a judge Tuesday on three murder counts, as well as one count of infanticide and five counts of abusing a corpse. There’s no reason to go into the grisly details of this man’s trial here, but the grand jury report describes more than you could ever want to know.
  • The Tupelo, Miss., man arrested last week for allegedly sending ricin-tainted letters to the President and some members of Congress has been set free and his charges dropped. The FBI says it can’t find evidence that Paul Kevin Curtis had any access to ricin after searching his home.
  • President Barack Obama was in the California town of Atherton a few weeks ago, attending a series of dinners to help raise funds for the Democratic National Committee. The visit, which had nothing to do with Obama’s job, required the town to commit its police services as supplements to the President’s already beefy retinue of Federal security guys. So the city council is sending him an $8,000 bill.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Pew Study: Nearly All Americans Lost Worth Under Obama-Led ‘Recovery’

According to a new statistical report, the only Americans who saw their money grow during the past two years of “economic recovery” touted by the Administration of President Barack Obama are those who weren’t hurting to begin with: the wealthy.

Everybody else? On the whole, they lost money. But who does that group include, exactly?

Why, nearly everyone.

According to the report, published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, 93 percent — that’s 93 percent – of the American population saw their households’ mean net worth fall by an average of 4 percent between 2009 and 2011.

Four percent isn’t negligible, but it’s at least small enough a number to defend rhetorically: “[W]e are poised to grow in 2013,” Obama dissembled in February, after a bad economic report indicated his spending-spree recovery policy might not be working.

But 93 percent isn’t negligible. That’s almost everyone — every household in the United States. Whether incomes in those households rose a little, stayed flat or fell, their net worth, on average, was less in 2011 than it was in 2009.

And here’s another number that isn’t negligible: 28 percent. That’s how much the net worth of the richest 7 percent of American households grew, on average, over the same time period.

In contrast with the unwashed masses, who got 4 percent poorer while the American Recovery and Investment Act went forward and the Federal Reserve printed money, the rich got 28 percent richer:

From 2009 to 2011, the mean wealth of the 8 million households in the more affluent group rose to an estimated $3,173,895 from an estimated $2,476,244, while the mean wealth of the 111 million households in the less affluent group fell to an estimated $133,817 from an estimated $139,896.

That’s because speculation under Obama is good business, while real goods keep seeing their worth shrivel. “Affluent households typically have their assets concentrated in stocks and other financial holdings, while less affluent households typically have their wealth more heavily concentrated in the value of their home,” the report notes.

Guess what the stock market’s done over the past two years? Now think about home values over the same time period. The money made by the richest 7 percent was still enough to lift the aggregate wealth of American households, both rich and poor, by $5 trillion, or 14 percent.

Rand Paul Says Gang Of Eight Immigration Bill Doesn’t Address System’s Failures

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote a letter Monday urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold up any action on proposed immigration reform until Congress better understands what’s actually broken with the immigration laws already in place — laws that failed to halt the immigration of the alleged Boston bombers from proceeding unchecked.

“Before Congress moves forward, some important national security questions must be addressed,” Paul said. “The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don’t use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.”

A coalition of Congressional leaders — you know them as the Democrats and RINOs of the “Gang of Eight” — are backing an immigration bill up for debate this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

That bill includes a number of new immigration enforcement provisions, including measures to tighten the U.S.-Mexico border, monitoring visa holders and adding more customs agents. And, in keeping with President Barack Obama’s immigration reform blueprint, the bill would set illegals on a 13-year track toward American citizenship.

Paul is arguing that these steps are borne more from concerns over illegal immigration originating from the southern U.S. border, but don’t do much to examine how the system as a whole fails to stop the entrance of Islamist terrorists who came here legally from across the Atlantic.

Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism? Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigration reform before us address this?

…In the wake of 9/11, there was a comprehensive reform of our intelligence gathering system, yet our improved intelligence gathering system did not adequately detect these extremists. We need to understand possible intelligence failures and craft solutions.

Paul is calling for hearings in the Senate Homeland Security and Government affairs committee to study ways that would-be immigrants hoping to enter the United States from “high-risk areas” can be vetted by a more thorough security screening process.

Other Republicans, like Senator John Conryn of Texas, have expressed similar security concerns with the Gang’s proposed reform.

Then there are real cops, who have to enforce whatever Congress passes. They think the proposed comprehensive reform bill stinks.

“Never before have I seen such contempt for law enforcement officers as what I’ve seen from the Gang of Eight,” Chris Crane, president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, said in testimony Monday. “Senators invite illegal aliens to testify before Congress… but American citizens working as law enforcement officers within our nation’s broken immigration system are purposely excluded from the process and prohibited from providing input.”

On the whole, Paul is voicing a conservative view shared by many who, in light of the Boston bombings, have reflected on just what the proposal before the Senate really accomplishes (amnesty) and what it can’t prevent (terrorism).

But with the proposal’s strong media play, as well as assiduous support from the Obama Administration, pointing out the other side of comprehensive immigration reform to average Americans, who are being sold the plan with every “click” of the TV dial, may prove too challenging for Paul and other conservative critics to overcome.

Islam And Immigration

Who is our enemy? President Barack Obama is convinced it is Americans that simply want to exercise their Constitutional right to bear arms. At the same time, the President refuses to condemn Muslims both foreign and domestic — religious fanatics, like the Boston bombers, who are part of a global jihad and have declared America the “Great Satan.”

For all his education, with all of the intelligence services at his fingertips and with nearly 12 years of attacks on American soil, our President remains willfully blind of what must be done to protect America when it comes to Islam and immigration. Instead, his focus is on guns. This was on display when the President railed the Senate for rejecting his gun-control legislation.

“I see this as just round one,” said the President, surrounded by relatives of the Newtown, Conn., victims as well as former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in Tucson, Ariz.

Obama said Senators are fearful that “the gun lobby would spend a lot of money,” accusing them of opposing the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

On Friday, shortly after the capture of the surviving Boston Marathon bomber, Obama went on television to tell Americans not to be quick to judge any one group of people. Translation: Don’t blame Muslims.

The President can tell that to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The surviving suspect in the Boston bombings posted links to Islamic websites calling for Chechnya’s independence.

Tsarnaev proclaimed his “world view” as Islam. Other posts from him include: “Salamworld, my religion is Islam” and “There is no God but Allah, let that ring out in our hearts.”

His dead brother, Tamerlan, said once said, “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.” He said that despite the fact that he trained almost daily to become a champion amateur boxer while living in Boston.

To this day, some of the best friends I have were people I met at the boxing gym. It seems impossible to me to work so hard for a boxing team with coaches and other fighters and not make friends. Then again, I boxed while in Spokane, Wash., when I was an immigrant from Canada — an immigrant who shared the same Christian and democratic values as my coaches and teammates.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Boston bombers rejected, rather than embraced, American values so much so that they sought to terrorize the Nation by killing and crippling women and children. I don’t see this type of behavior in immigrants to America or Canada who are Latino, Asian or Western European.

“Islam is not just a religion,” writes Mark Steyn in his book, America Alone: The End of the World as we know It. “Those lefties who bemoan what America is doing to provoke ‘the Muslim world’ would go bananas if any Western politician started referring to ‘the Christian world.’… So it’s not merely that there’s a global jihad lurking within this religion, but that the religion itself is a political project — in a way that modern Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism are not.”

Let me share something that happened at the Calgary airport shortly before my family was boarding a flight. My daughter’s friend is a petite and shy Lebanese young lady. We have known her for more than a decade.

As we headed for the gate, I noticed four women in full Islamic dress walking toward us. As I was lagging behind, I saw our young friend approach them and be rudely rebuffed. I then saw my wife hug her, and I noticed the girl was in tears. I wanted to know why. My wife told me that the women were her aunts and that because she had adopted a Western lifestyle (in part, probably because she was with infidels such as us) she was shunned.

Why Won’t Obama Suspend Islamic Immigration?

It is clear that the President is determined to neither limit nor — Allah forbid — restrict immigration of Muslims into the United States. There is no reason why the United States cannot implement serious restrictions on any or all peoples wanting to reside in America. Switzerland has been doing it for decades.

As Obama continues to respond to the Sandy Hook tragedy with gun legislation, you can bet he will resist any calls for immigration restrictions — especially if Muslims are the target. The only good news is that Obama may have a fight on his hands with the Senate because the Boston bombers came from predominantly Muslim Chechnya, a Russian-occupied nation in the Russian Caucasus.

Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said at a hearing on immigration reform last Friday that it would be prudent to review the process.

Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system.

How can individuals evade authority and plan such attacks on our soil?

Other leaders are grasping a fundamental truth about America’s real enemies. Last week, Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the Federal government needs to take its blinders off when it comes to immigration:

I do believe that whether it’s Chechnya or whether it’s really any countries from areas where there is fighting going on–particularly terrorist fighting–that we have to be extra careful, extra scrupulous. That would include, to me, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia [and] obviously …. somebody of a Chechnyan background. All of that, to me, we can’t afford to be politically correct and say that somebody coming from a country where there’s a Muslim war going on is the same as somebody … from Switzerland, for instance. There’s a difference.

Islam’s Growing Foothold

Pew Forum reports:

In the United States… population projections show the number of Muslims more than doubling over the next two decades, rising from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030, in large part because of immigration and higher-than-average fertility among Muslims.

In 2011, the National Post quoted Tarek Fatah, an outspoken secular Muslim leader living in Canada: “[W]hat is different from other immigrant groups is there is a subgroup among Muslims, I call Islamists, who come [to Canada] with the intention of destroying the social fabric of the country.”

As for the majority of Islamic immigrants, most refuse to become part of America’s melting pot. They cling to their unforgiving religion and medieval traditions. Among them are radicals who preach jihad against America. An even smaller minority will accept this call to arms, people like the alleged killer at Fort Hood, Texas, or the terrorists in Boston.

In Canada on Monday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested two apparent Islamic terrorists who were allegedly planning to derail a passenger train and kill Canadians.

I can already hear the outcry from liberals who will label me a racist. But, hey, I didn’t start this fight; the followers of Muhammad did that a decade before I was even born when the United States threw its economic and political might behind Israel.

In his best-seller The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright traced Islamic hatred of Westerners back to one man, an Egyptian dissident named Sayyid Qutb.

Qutb was an Egyptian author, educator and Islamist theorist who immigrated to the United States in 1948. (He later returned to Egypt.) He has been called “the man who inspired [Osama] bin Laden,” and it is not hard to see why he earned that reputation after you read his philosophy on infidels.

Wright wrote:

He also brought home a new and abiding anger about race. “The white man in Europe or America is our number-one enemy,” he declared. “The white man crushes us underfoot while we teach our children about his civilization…”

It may be that only two in 10,000 Muslims have bad intentions against the United States; but as the suspected Boston-bombing brothers from Chechnya proved last week, that is two too many.

Yours in good times and bad,

–John Myers
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report

House Votes To Legitimize More Government Computer Snooping

No amount of online spying is too much, said the criminal elected class in the House of Representatives, as it passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and (non)Protection Act (CISPA) yesterday over hollow veto threats by the Administration of President Barack Obama.

The bill will give the government access to online data — including financial data — from private computer networks. A proposal that would have prohibited the military from collecting data directly from industry was blocked from floor debates by Republicans. A compromise measure was passed that ensures companies must first go through the Department of Homeland Security before turning information over the military.

Privacy groups object to the bill because they said it would give the National Security Agency “a front-row seat in analyzing data from private computer networks.” The Associated Press reports that the bill doesn’t address NSA specifically, but “it’s presumed that the military intelligence agency would have a central role in the data-sharing because of its technical expertise in tracking foreign-based hackers.”

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who once lamented that the Internet had been created and longed to return to the days of pencil and paper, will take the lead in pushing CISPA through the Senate.

The proposal that puts DHS in charge of disseminating the information between corporations and the military was supposed to be comforting. But considering the DHS’s record regarding electronic privacy, it’s no comfort at all. Recall that for years DHS claimed the naked body scans taken by backscatter radiation emitters at airports were not stored, and the machines were not capable of storing images. Finally, after lawsuits filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center made their way through the courts, it was revealed that DHS did indeed store the images and that Transportation Security Administration agents used them for all sorts of nefarious purposes.

The Administration’s veto threats ring hollow because it has yet to find a liberty-reducing law it could oppose (see the National Defense Authorization Act). But we should be thankful, because our safety is of foremost concern among the criminal elected class.

Regulate The Environmental Protection Agency If You’re Really ‘Green’

Earth Day was celebrated throughout the Nation earlier this week with the routine tree-planting ceremonies, litter-cleaning outings and school lesson plans based on environmental stewardship. And, of course, there was the requisite alarmist shrieking from those Americans who believe the Presidential Administration’s hyped up warnings that the United States is on the verge of becoming a 3.8 million square mile garbage dumb — because of the sequester, of course.

Aptly timed with regard to the White House’s policy of making even the smallest cuts related to sequester as visible as possible, the Environmental Protection Agency began implementing furloughs that will affect its nearly 17,000 employees on April 21. With Earth Day on the brain, supporters of the agency’s continual red tape throttling of American industry took to the Internet in droves early this week to lament that cutbacks mean impending environmental doom for the United States.

The EPA does perform some rudimentary functions in the name of environment protection that all Americans should appreciate. After all, we all require clean water; and no one wants to breathe smog-ridden air or suffer health problems in the name of industrial profits.

But to suggest that the EPA has no room to make budget cuts if Americans aren’t willing to live in an industrial cesspool of hazardous waste is to suggest that the EPA could not have saved some money and continued reasonable environmental protection endeavors by cutting these items from last year’s budget:

  • A $141,450 grant under the Clean Air Act to fund a Chinese study on pig manure.
  • A $1.2 million gift to the United Nations for the “promotion” of clean fuels throughout the world.
  • A $67,926 poster contest at Syracuse University that had fewer than 10 entries.
  • Twenty EPA conferences costing an average of $182,847 for a total conference bill of $3.7 million.

The EPA may be dealing with some budget woes; but there is plenty of evidence that throttling down some of its more burdening regulations, especially those that heavily penalize coal-powered energy producers in the name of promoting yet-to-succeed green energy initiatives, could embolden the economy as a whole, thus increasing government revenues down the road.

A study conducted last year by the National Economic Research Associates examined the impact of seven EPA regulations on coal-fueled power plants. Researchers found that those regulations will ultimately be responsible for up to 887,000 yearly job losses in that industry alone in coming years. The study also indicated that compliance costs for the electric sector was around $16.7 billion per year.

There is currently a legislative movement to require the EPA to report the projected financial burden of new environmental regulation.

The examples of government wasteful spending and the costs of regulatory actions could go on ad infinitum — but the bottom line for many conservatives is that the EPA should back off on its assaults against coal power and industry until environmentalists have a better plan. Government-subsidized green-energy disasters like Solyndra provide evidence that fossil fuels are here to stay for at least a while longer.

Environmentalists commonly argue that the United States must be at the forefront of environmental protection, a shining example of a clean industrial nation for the entire world to see. But, if overbearing regulation chases industry from the Nation and puts more Americans on the welfare rolls, does it make sense that countries that have just recently pulled themselves from the pits of poverty with the help of industry (burdened by far less regulation than their American counterparts) will follow suit? It seems more likely to many observers that international interests will jump at the opportunity to welcome more industry and lure manufacturers with the promise of regulation-lite operating environments.

Unless the EPA can figure out a way to keep wind and water from moving fluidly across geographic borders, many would argue that they ought to lighten up on American industry and do their best to slowly coax those lesser-of-evil polluters to the side of clean, green environmental manufacturing with profit motives.

Disgraced Rangel Sues To Overturn House Censure From 2010

Comic-relief Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who last month told Americans that assault weapons are killing “millions of kids” in the United States, is suing seven lawmakers — including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — to have his House Censure from 2010 overturned.

You may remember that clownfest from three years ago. The House smacked Rangel hard, voting 333-79 in favor of the rebuke for Rangel’s admitted involvement in:

  • Dodging Federal income tax on money he made from rental property — for 17 years.
  • Filing purposely misleading documents with the Internal Revenue Service.
  • “Failing” to report $3 million in business dealings from 2002 to 2006.
  • Omitting the 2004 sale of a Harlem residence from his tax filing.
  • Lowballing his assets’ worth — by $780,000 — when reporting to the IRS in 2007.
  • Using Congressional letterhead to solicit donations for a monument to himself — literally — and receiving the money from companies and charities that had matters before Congress’ Ways and Means Committee, which Rangel chaired at the time.
  • Operating a campaign office out of a Harlem apartment he instead claimed as his residence.

A censure is a bad thing (in fact, the only worse thing Congress can do to one of their own is to expel him altogether), and it involves ceremony and public humiliation. Rangel had to stand in the well of the House while then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) read a House resolution telling him what a bad guy he’d been. It was great public theater.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDsRSSrnDR4&w=640&h=360]

 

But, in practical terms, censure is dreaded more for what it can do to a political career than for any legal teeth it has. In Rangel’s case, censure didn’t affect his career, other than his having to step down from his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. Rangel’s Harlem constituents have re-elected him consecutively and, usually, overwhelmingly to additional terms ever since he first took office in 1971, and they did it again in 2012.

Now 82 years old, Rangel, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, isn’t content with immunity from prosecution and sailing to re-election yet again. Five months into his new Congressional term, he’s going after history itself. He wants the censure gone.

He’s not proclaiming his innocence, though. Like any good lawyer, the former Federal attorney is trying to get off on a technicality. Rangel claims the House Ethics Committee knowingly deceived the full body by not revealing that it may not have followed procedural rules as it conducted the investigation.

Michelle Malkin noted Monday that Rangel might be courting disaster by asking for an examination of how the Ethics Committee did its investigative work. It’s possible, after all, it didn’t catch every crime and malfeasance the first time around.

No Place For Liberty In The Progressives’ Timid New World

The Founders’ vision of the United States as a beacon of liberty for the rest of the world grew largely from their desire to ensure that the Nation never resembled that from which they were forced to fight a bloody war to free themselves. The law of the land, in its original construct, was designed to protect personal freedom, privacy and the right to self-preservation against the malicious intent of both agents of the state and free-actors with equal vigor.

But, for busybodies and statists hell-bent on total control, the modern world is too different a place for Americans to value the historic advice — and legislation — of the Nation’s Founding Fathers. And every tragedy or event that has the potential to affront the hearts of Americans with the least bit of unease represents a new chance for the liberty-averse to make their case for less Constitutional consideration.

If you don’t believe the preceding statements coming from an average American peon who values his own naturally ordained and Constitutionally guaranteed rights, take it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Speaking in reference to the Boston Marathon bombing that occurred last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who has gone out of his way to make New York City as Constitutionally bereft as possible — had this to say: “The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry. But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”

Bloomberg said later in his remarks: “It really says something bad about us that we have to do it. But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks. We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection.”

Just outside of Bloomberg’s city in New York Harbor stands a world-famous neoclassical sculpture given to the people of the United States by France in 1886. Originally named La Liberté éclairant le monde, or Liberty Enlightening the World, the Statue of Liberty is representative of the Founders’ vision of an America known worldwide as a beacon of liberty. For more than a century, the colossal representation of the Roman goddess Libertas has watched over the city with her ever burning torch in one arm and tubula ansata, representative of the rule of law, in the other.

In the stairwell of Lady Liberty’s pedestal hangs a plaque bearing a slight variant of a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin circa 1755, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

It is duly noted that Franklin and, especially, the ancient Roman Libertas are undoubtedly not contemporary enough to be afforded the consideration of a man as progressive as Bloomberg. But one is forced to wonder how either of the advocates of liberty — real or imagined — from the “olden days” would feel about Bloomberg-era policy initiatives like big soda bans, stop and frisk, and universal surveillance.

Would they simply throw up their arms and mutter, “Times have changed; and the world is too dangerous a place for liberty”?

Post-Boston Gun Sales Offer More Proof That Gun Grabbers’ Agenda Is Backfiring

Every time there’s a highly publicized violent crime with multiple victims in America, liberals co-opt the tragedy to talk about updating the 2nd Amendment to make the country safer.

Meanwhile, normal Americans go to gun shops and arms themselves against the twofold — but strangely related — threat of domestic terrorism and government tyranny.

Breitbart recounted, on Tuesday, the devotion of attendees at the Syracuse, N.Y., gun show over the weekend. People had to wait two hours in nasty weather just to get inside.

According to one shop owner, the threat of additional terror attacks, combined with ongoing fears that Congress isn’t done with fiddling with Constitutional gun rights, had most attendees showing up not to just to browse or sell; they came to buy. The problem is demand is so high that gun selection is limited, and ammunition orders are so far behind that vendors have stopped taking new ones.

Chicago Tribune Mocks Texans Killed By Plant Explosion In Sick Economic Editorial

The Chicago Tribune mockingly referenced the Texas fertilizer plant explosion that took 14 lives last week in a below-the-belt editorial jab at Texas Governor Rick Perry’s visit to Illinois in the name of recruiting industry to his State.

Perry his sights on the economically damaged Prairie State recently with a $42,000 radio ad buy in Chicago and another $38,000 in print ads at Crain’s Chicago Business, directing people to the website texaswideopenforbusiness.com.

In one of the ads that Chicago-area residents will see, Perry notes, “I have a word of advice for employers frustrated by Illinois’ short-sighted approach to business: you need to get out of there while there’s still time.”

He continues in opining that “the escape route leads straight to Texas” where businesses enjoy “limited government, low taxes and a pro-business environment.”

Perry followed up the ad buy with a visit to Illinois this week.

Knowing Perry offers a sweet deal for job makers that their Chicago’s liberal political machinations makes impossible to replicate, The Tribune decided to launch a tasteless attack on Texas before pointing out the failures of Illinois politicians in fostering a pro-business environment.

It reads in part:

Laugh all you want about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign to recruit businesses from Illinois to the Lone Star State. We don’t know whether Perry will succeed in prompting a commercial exodus from the Land of Lincoln to the land of droughts, fire ants and deadly fertilizer-plant explosions. Yet Perry’s stunt is another serious wake-up call for Illinois politicians and the inhospitable business climate they’ve created.

Perry can boast to Illinois business leaders of a Texas unemployment rate that has fallen to 6.4 percent. That’s an excellent barometer of his state’s economic health. By contrast, the unemployment rate in Illinois is at 9.5 percent and, as the latest report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates, it has been rising over the past year. In March, this state lost 17,800 jobs from the previous month.

That is no laughing matter.

Of course, it is understandable that the editorial board of a newspaper located in a city with such a sordid history, and daily existence, as Chicago would feel comfortable making light of the death of innocent people.

1 In 4 U.S. Teens Misused Or Abused A Prescription Drug

NEW YORK (UPI) – One in four U.S. teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once — a 33 percent increase in the past five years, experts say.

A survey by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation also found 1-in-8 U.S. teens reported taking the stimulants Ritalin or Adderall not prescribed for them at least once.

Parent permissiveness and lax attitudes toward abuse and misuse of prescription medicines, coupled with teens’ ease of access to prescription medicines in the home — often from unused medications in medicine cabinets — are key factors linked to teen medicine misuse and abuse.

Nearly a third of U.S. parents said they believe prescription stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall, normally prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, could improve a teen’s academic performance even if the teen did not have ADHD.

Of the children who said they abused prescription medications, 20 percent said they had done so before the age of 14.

More 27 percent mistakenly believe “misusing and abusing prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs,” and a third agreed “it’s OK to use prescription drugs not prescribed to them to deal with an injury, illness or physical pain.”

The 24th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study of 3,884 U.S. teens in grades 9-12 and 817 parents has a margin of error for the teen sample of 2.1 percentage points while the margin in the parents’ sample was 3.4 percentage points.