Social Studies Teacher Teaches Constitution, Gets In Trouble For Thwarting Busybodies

A high school social studies teacher in Illinois got in hot water with his local school board for… teaching students that they have Constitutional rights.

John Dryden, a 20-year veteran teacher at Batavia High School, not far from Chicago, told his class that they could not be forced to answer questions on an in-class survey about emotional and at-risk behavior. The surveys, which reportedly had students’ names printed on the documents to be filled out, included a series of queries on personal topics and about whether they engaged in drug and alcohol use.

Here’s how the school describes the survey:

Batavia High School will use the BIMAS to monitor students’ progress in the areas of social and emotional development. Results of the BIMAS will be analyzed at a building level to assist staff in planning and implementation of social emotional supports to help all students grow to their fullest potential. It is a systematic process of detecting students who are struggling behaviorally and are at-risk for experiencing a range of negative short- and long-term outcomes. If your child is found to be at risk and is not currently receiving social-emotional supports within the school, a member of the building’s Student Services Team will notify a parent to discuss options for support.

Dryden, who has garnered substantial support from students, parents and some Batavia officials, told his students they had a Constitutional right, per the 5th Amendment, not incriminate themselves with answers to the April 18 school survey. For his efforts to teach his students about their rights, Dryden told the Kane County Chronicle that school officials docked him a day’s pay.

A petition to the school’s administrators expressing disdain over the disciplinary actions had garnered more than 8,000 signatures by the writing of this article.

The petition describes Dryden as follows:

John Dryden is a uncharacteristically engaging educator who sees it his duty to make his students aware of their rights as citizens. He encourages critical thinking, problem solving strategies, and educational stewardship from all of his students.  His learning objectives go beyond mandated standards and bring student awareness to real-world concerns.

The school had not previously informed students whether participation was mandatory or optional but an email to parents said their children could choose not to take the survey if they notified the district by April 17.

Per Chicago’s Daily Herald:

“Oh. Well. Ummm, somebody needs to remind them they have the ability not to incriminate themselves,” he recalled thinking. It was particularly on his mind because his classes had recently finished reviewing the Bill of Rights. And the school has a police officer stationed there as a liaison, he pointed out. [A school official] said the results weren’t shared with police.

“I made a judgment call. There was no time to ask anyone,” Dryden said. If the survey had been handed out a day or two before, he said, he would have talked to an administrator about his concern.

Instead, he gave the warning to his first-, second- and third-block classes. The test was given to all students during third block.

He suspects it was a teacher who told the administration about what Dryden had done, after the other teacher had trouble getting all the students to take the survey.

Just to be clear, the National Council for the Social Sciences social studies as “the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.” One would be forced to conclude that, by giving his students a real-world opportunity to realize the importance of their Constitutional rights, Dryden has proven himself an ideal social studies educator.

Of course, maybe the school’s administrators just wanted to know if they could frame any autistic students for peddling dope, like those fine educators over at Chaparral High School in Temecula, Calif.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Appeals Court Ruling: If We’re Guilty Of Profiling, So Are The Feds

Last week, a Federal court found the Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s office guilty of racial profiling in the enforcement of immigration law for singling out Latinos under Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s program of immigration patrols.

Now, the hard-nosed, controversial sheriff with jurisdiction over the Nation’s fifth-largest city is appealing the ruling, saying that the training his deputies received came straight from the same playbook used by Federal immigration enforcement officers.

“One hundred of my deputies were authorized and trained by the Federal government, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), to enforce Federal immigration law,” Arpaio said in a video-recorded statement. “Now, a Federal Court has ruled that Federal training was unconstitutional, and it led to racial profiling. We will appeal this ruling.

“You know, as Sheriff I uphold the law. The Court’s order is clear. We will no longer detain persons believed to be in the country without authorization whom we cannot arrest on state charges. I have already instructed my deputies.”

The ruling came after a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Latino groups by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other nonprofits.

Over a three-year period covered by the lawsuit, the Marciopa County Sheriff’s Office detained thousands of illegal immigrants in raids and police stops. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ruled that Arpaio had guided deputies to violate the 4th and 14th Amendment rights of those imprisoned — even when the imprisoned were not, in fact, U.S. citizens — by initiating contact with suspects not only on the sole suspicion that they might be illegal immigrants, but also because of their appearance, their use of Spanish or their Latino accent.

Defense attorneys have already pledged to use the ruling to exonerate illegal immigrants who are still being detained on pending charges, although it’s not known how many such cases could be reversed.

The ruling also comes with a cease-and-desist order that effectively gets the Sheriff’s Office out of the immigration enforcement game. In testimony, Arpaio had defended his department’s encroachment on what the ruling claims is an enforcement endeavor subject only to Federal jurisdiction: “Ours is an operation, whether it’s the state law or the Federal, to go after illegals; not the crime first, that they happen to be illegals. My program, my philosophy is a pure program. You go after illegals. I’m not afraid to say that. And you go after them and you lock them up.”

Arpaio began enforcing immigration law at the county level in 2006.

There’s Only One ‘Fair’ Tax Plan

To hear the liberals tell it, government exists to make life fair. We need “fairness in broadcasting.” The “rich need to pay their fair share.” Under the “Our Party” tab on its website, the Democratic Party crows:

(W)e’re greater together than we are on our own–that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.

Granted, the Democrats’ idea of “fair” diverges from the definition suggested by Messrs. Merriam and Webster. After all, it isn’t fair that their support groups get all the really friendly Internal Revenue Service examiners. It isn’t fair that the corporate media lists so far to port that it’s in danger of capsizing. It isn’t “fair” that they’ve done to higher education what termites do to untreated lumber. And it isn’t “fair” that they get to hog all the best tee times at all the best golf courses.

Now, we may never devise a method to play through the Obama foursome on the back nine at Isleworth, but we can devise a method to assure that no American is ever again asked by some Federal goon about the content of his prayers. Fortunately for us, someone already has.

In the late 1990s, a group of green-eye-shade types put their heads together to come up with a way not only to protect their fellow citizens from Uncle Sam’s shock troops, but to render the shock troops themselves obsolete. The fruit of their considerable economic IQs is the FairTax.

The FairTax would end the punitive tax system the Democrats currently employ as a political weapon and bury the corruption engendered by allowing political hatchet men access to law-abiding citizens’ private lives. By replacing the graduated income tax programs currently in place with a one-time sales tax of 23 percent on new item purchases, it straightens out our byzantine system by walling it off. And with exemptions (in the form of “prebates” keyed to necessities and needs) built in, the FairTax even allows for those who have yet to achieve the American dream to keep more of the tools they need.

Picture it: a Nation flourishing under a 23 percent consumption tax. The American economic engine would be driven by the total participation of every single American. And the FairTax is the economic definition of egalitarianism. When some overpaid liberal Hollywood twerp buys a brand-new Range Rover in which his chauffeur will ferry him to Democratic fundraisers, he’ll pay a 23 percent tax on a really nice car. And when some overworked small-business owner buys a new minivan to ferry his kids to school, he’ll pay a 23 percent tax on a soccer-mommy mobile.

Of course, the FairTax “prebate” system does produce a sizable amount of data and/or paperwork related to Federal disbursements to families. But that volume is merely a babbling brook compared to the oceanic roar of the current system’s endless warren of bureaucracy. Besides, I’d rather the IRS be reduced to digitally rubber-stamping outgoing checks than hassling people about the content of their bedtime prayers.

And a system that provides entitlements based on the number of household dependents does open itself up to potential fraud. But such cases would be mitigated by the set limitations on entitlements, rendering abuses simple shoplifting compared to the grand larceny that goes on now.

With the FairTax, scandals like the one assaulting our senses in Washington right now will be just a sad memory. Democratic politicians bent on destroying the fabric of society by deploying IRS storm troopers to comb through the lives of their perceived enemies will be thwarted by the complete lack of IRS storm troopers. Never again will a brazenly corrupt President be able to deploy a tax tomahawk at a guitar manufacturer. Never again will a cruelly fascist political party be able to fire a fiscal cruise missile at a citizen’s group just because the group has the word “Constitution” in its name. No longer will we have to gaze collectively at the television screen while the people in charge of collecting our hard-earned pay treat the truth the way Roman Polanski treats underage starlets. We will be the ones in charge of disbursing our funds to the government, and each such disbursement will include a benefit to us in the form of whatever we just bought.

With the FairTax, we get rid of loopholes, offshore money-laundering and Constitutional abuses. Everyone pays his “fair share.”

–Ben Crystal

Former IRS Head Went To White House 118 Times During Scandal Years

Douglas Shulman, who served as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from 2008 until late 2012, was a tremendously frequent visitor to President Barack Obama’s White House during the time the agency was involved in actively discriminating against Tea Party conservatives.

According to the Washington Examiner, Shulman, a George W. Bush appointee who nonetheless made campaign donation to the Democratic National Committee, visited with the Presidential Administration an average of one time a week between 2010 and 2011. His five-year term expired in November.

By contrast, former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, who served under George W. Bush from 2003-2007,told the Examiner he visited the White House only a single time during his entire tenure, saying that experience left him feeling like he’d “moved to Siberia” because of the aloofness of the Bush Administration from the agency’s operational activities.

IRS Acting Director Steven Miller, who succeeded Shulman in November, also made repeated visits to the White House.

Shulman said he couldn’t remember why he went to the White House so frequently, though some of the visits were probably about the IRS’ role in implementing Obama’s health care reforms, he told a congressional committee. Logs show Shulman met with two West Wing officials working on health care.

“The IRS has a major role in the money flow,” Shulman explained to Congress.

But while the health care-related visits were explained in the logs, many others included no explanation. Other sources said the IRS and White House were also talking at the time about an investigation into excessive IRS spending on employee conferences, travel and awards.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Shulman’s frequent visits make it hard to believe that the IRS and White House never talked about the investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups, which was going on at the time — something the White House vigorously denies.

Indeed, the extent of the ongoing interaction between the Obama Administration and the IRS casts doubt on the President’s already implausible claim that, under his leadership, the agency had operated independently of influence from the executive branch. And aside from its own sinister implications, the oft-repeated excuse that Obamacare would need the IRS as a deployment, data-gathering and enforcement arm doesn’t line up with the number or timing of the 118 visits — a fact not lost on Commentary magazine’s John Steele Gordon:

Obama’s sole interest in the tax code has been to raise rates on high earners. So what was the commissioner doing going to the White House more than once a week on average?

One explanation would be the statutory involvement of the IRS in implementing Obamacare. But that bill was signed into law in early 2010. White House logs show on several occasions that he [Shulman] talked with White House staff about health care, but many other times no reason is given for his visit or whom he saw, which in itself is odd.

By his own admission he knew by the spring of 2012 (he resigned in November, 2012) that organizations with the words “Tea Party” in their names were being targeted for extra scrutiny. Is it really believable that someone who had a Wall Street career before coming to Washington five years ago was so politically naïve that he didn’t see the potential for scandal in that information and give the White House a heads-up? And, assuming he did so, is it believable that none of those White House staffers–who can hardly claim political naiveté–did not pass the information along to the president, leaving him to learn of it in the papers?

If so, there are a lot of potential customers to snap up the Brooklyn Bridge at a bargain rate.

Shulman testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight last week that, of those 118 times, he met with the President on four occasions, the last of which he said took place on June 5, 2012. He also testified he’d not once discussed any Tea Party complaints with any Administration official during any of his visits.

During that same two-year period, Shulman received more than 130 separate complaints from conservative members of Congress requesting the IRS look into the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups.

Why Is The Leftist Media Going After The IRS Victims?


 

Hello, I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. President Barack Obama is in deep trouble — impeachment trouble. This Internal Revenue Service scandal must go far deeper than anyone understands at the moment. It must lead directly to the highest echelons of the Obama White House.

How do I know? Because the media is no longer defending Obama. Instead, they’ve switched to smearing his victims.

Last week, Obama’s loyal defenders “The Daily Show” and Mother Jones magazine both put out hit pieces on one particular victim on the same day: me. I’m a Las Vegas small businessman who for four years has spoken out loudly about Obama’s destruction of capitalism, small business, economic freedom and the American dream.

I started writing about this IRS scandal publicly about a year ago, including here at Personal Liberty. I was the first critic in the country to warn taxpayers, business owners and conservatives that this was all part of a plan: a purposeful attack on capitalism. In my book The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide, which was written long before the IRS scandal went public, I warned that Obama was using the IRS to purposely target his political opposition — to silence his critics, cripple conservative fundraisers and bankrupt conservative donors.

Then, in the past three weeks, I’ve written about how deep this IRS scandal goes at Personal Liberty, FOX News, World Net Daily and TheBlaze. It is no coincidence that two powerful media outlets chose to attack me on the exact same day last week. Somebody in the Obama White House is getting very nervous.

This IRS scandal isn’t just about targeting faceless Tea Party groups. The IRS wishes that’s all you ever hear about this scandal. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. As I’ve said all along, this is about targeting and trying to intimidate and silence individual Obama critics and GOP donors. That’s a scandal that brings down a Presidency.

For the past three years, the IRS has targeted and tried to intimidate me. I believe it was on direct orders from the Obama White House. Obviously, as one of the country’s loudest critics and Obama’s Columbia college classmate, I got under his skin. I’m certain he whispered to Valerie Jarrett or Rahm Emanuel or David Axelrod, and a phone call was made to the IRS: “Make this guy’s life miserable.” Oh, and by the way, even if you agree with Obama and think I deserved to be punished, that act is criminal. Congress created laws after the Richard Nixon IRS scandal that made it clear that if someone is targeted for his political views, people in the White House are going to prison.

But I keep pointing out I’m only the tip of the iceberg. I guarantee there are thousands of victims like me across the United States: Obama critics and GOP donors. I must be hitting too close to home. Now, rather than defending the President, the media have obviously decided to attack, smear and libel the victim. Why? When the lawyer has no grounds to defend his client, out of desperation he smears the victim.

In the case of “The Daily Show,” I was invited to New York to do an interview. They said it would be “fun” (producer’s words) and friendly. They said Jon Stewart was on my side about the IRS scandal and wanted to hear from a victim like me.

First, they insisted on doing the interview directly after a five-hour cross-country flight. Then, they ambushed me. They interrogated me in a boiling hot room for two hours. Of course, they left the entire first friendly hour of the interview on the cutting room floor. They used only the part where they tried to blame the victim. “You had it coming.” They tried to make the case that IRS targeting is the same as asking someone a few extra questions at the airport (to try to save lives).

They even brought surprise “victims” on the set to claim they were victims of “racial profiling.” It was all designed to make a conservative (me) look like a racist and hypocrite, thereby allowing them to rationalize that criminal actions by the IRS were acceptable.

“The Daily Show” may have desperately tried to smear me and damage my credibility. But ironically, in doing so, it proved my case. This is exactly how Obama and his defenders think; they believe it’s perfectly fine to use the force of government (or the media) to destroy the lives of people because of their political beliefs. “The Daily Show” did the exact same thing to me as Obama and the IRS. It targeted me for destruction.

The real scandal is my answers didn’t fit the pre-written script. In my “Daily Show” interview, I repeatedly said I do not support profiling based on race, religion or gender. I repeatedly said I only support studying and adopting the Israeli method of airport security, which does not profile based on race or religion. It is proven the most effective form of airport security in the world. But I have never supported police race profiling. So they selectively cut and edited two hours of filming down to a few short out of context sound bites to make it appear that I did. Some might call that fraud. At best, it’s dishonest and purposely misleading.

On the same day, the leftist magazine Mother Jones, chose the same “attack the victim” approach. It used my tax court victory to claim that I deserved to be targeted by the IRS. That’s interesting logic. It condemned me for taking basic business deductions and the same mortgage deduction that millions of taxpayers have always taken.

Mother Jones is more interested in a small businessman taking his legal mortgage deduction, than it is in questioning why the new Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew keeps his money in the Cayman Islands. That about says it all.

But Mother Jones didn’t stop there. In hundreds of interviews I have never questioned Obama’s place of birth. Yet, in an attempt to destroy my credibility, it started the article about the IRS scandal by calling me a “birther.” It could have described me as a former CNBC anchorman or successful entrepreneur or bestselling author or TV producer. But it chose only “birther” — even though I’ve never in my life been a “birther.” Someone is getting very desperate.

Folks, this Obama IRS scandal is far worse than we currently understand. It reaches straight to the Obama White House. Why else would the left be trying to destroy the credibility and reputation of a victim of the IRS scandal? If there is no truth to my charges, why bother to respond? Why not just ignore me? Why conduct a major national TV interview under false pretenses, then take the interview out of context to smear me? Why make up names like “birther” to describe me, when I’m not a “birther?” Something smells rotten in Denmark, folks.

The answer is clear. Because the leftist media understands how bad this IRS scandal is and because they can’t defend the President’s actions, they’ve decided to conduct a “scorched earth” campaign and smear the victims.

Just like the IRS scandal itself, my story is just the tip of the iceberg. I guarantee you this smear campaign is happening to victims across the USA, and it will only get worse as the scandal deepens and Obama’s desperation to hold onto power gets more extreme.

I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. See you next week. Same time, same place. May God bless America as we deal with this out-of-control gangster government assaulting its own citizens, taxpayers and patriots.

Carney Happy With IRS, Fed Eye On Bitcoin, Fake Honey, E-Privacy Good In Texas, No ‘Change’ For Drones Over Pakistan: Wednesday P.M. Edition Links 5-29-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Jay Carney Joke Of The Day: IRS Testimony Was Satisfying

Though Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike have expressed disdain over Internal Revenue Service officials’ dodgy answers to Congressional questions about the agency’s undue targeting of conservative groups, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is satisfied with the responsiveness of the IRS to the matters of Congressional interest. Watch…

Federal Scrutiny On Bitcoin Ramps Up

Directly on the heels of a Federal assault on the alternative currency Liberty Reserve, Federal regulators are discussing more oversight of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Read More…

Texas Set To Approve E-Privacy Protections Stronger Than Federal Law

A bill awaiting Texas Governor Rick Perry’s signature would put the Lone Star State ahead of Congress in protecting the privacy of citizens whose emails, thanks to an existing legal loophole, are currently subject to warrantless seizure. Read More…

On Heels Of Foreign Policy Change Speech, Obama Drone Strikes In Sovereign Nations Continue

Did you catch President Barack Obama’s first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term last Thursday? Well if you didn’t, all you need to know is that it only took the Administration six days to let Americans know—as if they didn’t already— that what the President says and what his Administration does are very, very, different. Read More…

Test: Most ‘Honey’ Isn’t Real

A recent test by Food Safety News reveals that three-fourths of the “honey” mass produced and sold in chain supermarkets isn’t, technically, real honey. Read More…

On Heels Of Foreign Policy Change Speech, Obama Drone Strikes In Sovereign Nations Continue

Did you catch President Barack Obama’s first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term last Thursday? Well if you didn’t, all you need to know is that it only took the Administration six days to let Americans know—as if they didn’t already— that what the President says and what his Administration does are very, very, different.

Representative of a dramatic shift in the Obama Administration’s approach to foreign policy, the President claimed he was working to restrict the use of unmanned drone strikes.

Some key quotes from the speech:

“Beyond the Afghan theater, we only target al-Qaida and its associated forces. And even then, the use of drones is heavily constrained.”

The Administration much prefers to “detain” terror suspects.

It also has “respect for state sovereignty” and other nations’ ability to handle terrorists.

And a subsequently released fact sheet sealed the deal, saying, “[T]he United States will use lethal force only against a target that poses a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons. It is simply not the case that all terrorists pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons; if a terrorist does not pose such a threat, the United States will not use lethal force.”

Behold, via CNN:

The Pakistan Taliban’s No. 2 leader was killed in a drone strike Wednesday in the country’s tribal region, a local tribal official and an intelligence official confirmed to CNN.

He was Wali-Ur Rehman Mehsud — second in command to Hakimullah Mehsud, the militant group’s leader. The Pakistan Taliban’s spokesman told CNN he could neither confirm nor deny the information. The sources said Rehman was killed along with his close aide, Fakhar-ul-Islam, and two Uzbek nationals whose identities the sources didn’t know.

This is the same strike reported earlier by intelligence officials in Pakistan, who said seven people were killed and one other was injured in the attack at a compound near the town of Miranshah in the North Waziristan district.

Pakistani officials criticized the strike in a statement, saying the U.S. drone strikes “are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives, have human rights and humanitarian implications and violate the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law.”

Test: Most ‘Honey’ Isn’t Real

A recent test by Food Safety News reveals that three-fourths of the “honey” mass produced and sold in chain supermarkets isn’t, technically, real honey.

That’s because the removal of microscopic pollen particles takes away the ability of food inspectors to determine the source, and the safety, of the modified product. And the majority of grocery store honey is exactly that: modified. Most honey sold in the U.S. is put through a process called “ultra filtering” before it hits the shelves, and that removes honey’s signature ingredient – pollen.

According to the study:

Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.

Here’s a listing of the brands that didn’t make the cut:

HONEEEEEEY

Federal Scrutiny On Bitcoin Ramps Up

Directly on the heels of a Federal assault on the alternative currency Liberty Reserve, Federal regulators are discussing more oversight of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

“It’s gotten to a level where I think for us not to take notice and to try and make some sort of determination about what to do would be irresponsible,” said Bart Chilton, a commissioner on the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) told The Hill.

Writing for Forbes, contributor Tim Worstall explains how Federal officials can destroy any alternative currency with bureaucracy:

Almost anyone at all in that international financial system has a connection into the US one. And if the US bureaucracy that oversees that US financial system decides that it doesn’t like people who deal with Bitcoin, or even doesn’t like people who deal with people who deal with Bitcoin, then Bitcoin just won’t have access to the international financial system. It’s not a matter of pure legality either. Bitcoin itself certainly isn’t illegal, paying for something with it isn’t, changing $ into $B isn’t and so on. But there are enough regulations about who may do what with whom in the financial system that any determined bureaucracy can freeze someone out of it.

Texas Set To Approve E-Privacy Protections Stronger Than Federal Law

A bill awaiting Texas Governor Rick Perry’s signature would put the Lone Star State ahead of Congress in protecting the privacy of citizens whose emails, thanks to an existing legal loophole, are currently subject to warrantless seizure.

The law, already approved by both chambers of the State Legislature, follows reforms recommended to Congress by privacy advocates with ties to technological industries. If approved by Perry, it would close a loophole that currently allows law enforcement to seize unopened emails 180 days old (or older), as well as all opened emails, simply by acquiring an administrative subpoena. Instead, investigators would be forced to obtain a search warrant before snooping through any private emails.

Congress is currently considering similar reforms to the 27-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), but has not yet approved an amended version that emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee in late April.

Still missing from the final version of the Texas law is a recommended requirement that police obtain a search warrant before tracking residents’ locations through their cellphones’ geolocation data.

Jay Carney Joke Of The Day: IRS Testimony Was Satisfying

Though Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike have expressed disdain over Internal Revenue Service officials’ dodgy answers to Congressional questions about the agency’s undue targeting of conservative groups, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is satisfied with the responsiveness of the IRS to the matters of Congressional interest.

Lois Lerner, director of the IRS division in charge of the controversial program, invoked the 5th Amendment and refused to testify.

Former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman was then grilled, but largely gave the same answers Senate lawmakers heard at an earlier hearing during which they threatened to appoint a special prosecutor if witnesses did not start to open up.

Of course, the White House is satisfied; that’s how a cover-up works.

 

Tornado-Themed ‘Mike & Molly’ Episode To Air Thursday

LOS ANGELES,  (UPI) —  The Season 3 finale of the U.S. sitcom “Mike & Molly,” which was postponed after last week’s tornado, has been rescheduled for Thursday, CBS said.

“Mike and Carl get stuck working at the renaissance faire as a tornado approaches Chicago,” a synopsis of the episode said.

Starring Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy as the title characters, the show was initially to air last week, but was postponed following the deadly tornado in Moore, Okla.

Gerald McRaney guest stars in the episode as Police Capt. Patrick Murphy, Mike’s boss, and series regular Reno Wilson plays Carl.

Tea Kettle Said To Look Like Hitler Quickly Sells Out

KEMMERER, Wyo., (UPI) —  Wyoming-based retailer JC Penney quickly sold out of a tea kettle on its website after online commentators noted its resemblance to Adolf Hitler.

The kettle, which a Reddit user first said resembled the Nazi leader during the weekend due to the negative space created by its Hitler-hair-shaped handle, went viral and was sold out on the retailer’s website by Tuesday afternoon, Time.com reported Wednesday.

The kettle was the only one of 31 different styles of tea kettle on the retailer’s website to be sold out Tuesday.

JC Penney did not respond to messages about the product, Time.com said. However, the issue was addressed on the company’s Twitter page, where the resemblance to Hitler was explained as unintentional.

“If we had designed it to look like something, we would have gone with a snowman or something fun,” the tweet read.

Mom Finds Baby Photos From Lost Roll Of Film On Facebook

VICTORIA, British Columbia, (UPI) —  A Canadian woman said social media reunited her with a roll of film, which contained photographs of her newborn daughter, stolen nine years ago.

The canister of undeveloped film was found on a roadside near Victoria, British Columbia, this month by Helen Maslyk, who had stopped her car to deal with a tire problem. She had the film developed and posted the photos on Facebook to find the owner, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday.

The photos, lost during a vehicle break-in, were discovered by their owner Ann Perry-Smith.

“My jaw just dropped. There’s a picture of my husband, my baby who’s only weeks old at the time, and my dog,’ she said.

Perry-Smith said her daughter, now 9, was happy but not surprised that social media brought the family and the photos together.

29-Member Wedding Party Plunges Into Lake

GAINESVILLE, Ga., (UPI) —  A pair of Georgia newlyweds and their wedding party said they had a sense of humor about falling into a lake during a photo shoot after the ceremony.

Frank and Tricia Fearon said they were posing with their 29 bridesmaids and groomsmen on a dock following the May 18 ceremony when the structure collapsed and plunged the entire party into Lake Lanier, ABC News reported Tuesday.

“The entire wedding party flips 90 degrees and just dumps all of us in the lake, suits, dresses and everything,” Frank Fearon said.

Tricia Fearon said the party had initially considered themselves fortunate for beating a 60 percent chance of rain.

“It seemed magical that the rain held off,” she told “Good Morning America.” “It didn’t matter because we all got dumped in the lake anyways.”

The plunge was captured on video by the wedding’s videographer and posted to YouTube.

The couple said one bridesmaid suffered a fractured humerus and a dislocated shoulder. The rest of the party escaped with only minor bruises, they said.

The newlyweds said they didn’t consider their wedding to have been ruined by the incident.

“No one complained even though a lot of iPhones were damaged,” Frank Fearon said.  “All of them laughed it off, went and got toweled off and danced the night away.”

“This was not a ruined wedding,” Tricia Fearon said. “A million people came up to us and said this was the best wedding they’d ever been to.”

“It was a blast,” she said. “We had a lot of fun.”

Horse Rescued From California Well

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., (UPI) —  Authorities in California said rescuers used a crane to pull a horse from a well filled with 20 feet of water.

The San Rafael Fire Department said occupants of a small ranch arrived home just after 4 p.m. Monday and discovered their horse, Buddy, had fallen into a brick-lined well near China Camp State Park and was at least 5 feet below ground level and floating in about 20 feet of water, the Marin (Calif.) Independent Journal reported Tuesday.

Firefighters responded at about 4:30 p.m. and called in Ad-Lite Crane Services Novato and the Marin County sheriff’s horse posse rescue unit for assistance.

A group of about two dozen rescuers worked to get a harness around the horse and more water was pumped into the well to bring the animal closer to the surface.

The crew, using the crane, was able to lift the horse to dry land around 6:30 p.m., authorities said.

“It was unclear how long the horse had been in the well,” San Rafael fire Battalion Chief Jeff Rowan said. “Someone came home and found it. It was floating but getting tired and frustrated.”

Tablet Computers Set To Take Over Mobile PC Market By End Of The Year

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (UPI) — Tablet computers will dominate the mobile PC market by the end of this year and could top the entire PC market by the year 2015, a U.S. tech research firm says.

“Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them,” Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC’s Mobility Trackers, said.

“IDC continues to believe that PCs will have an important role in this new era of computing, especially among business users,” he said. “But for many consumers, a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC.”

IDC estimated tablet shipments would grow 58.7 percent year-over-year in 2013, reaching 229.3 million units worldwide, Slash Gear reported Tuesday.

The growth in tablet sales in being driven in large part by a drop in prices, IDC said, with the worldwide average selling price for tablets expected to drop this year to $381, a 10 percent decrease from 2012.

Student Questioned After Gun Goes Off Inside Backpack

MINNEAPOLIS, (UPI) —  A Minnesota grade school student has been questioned by police after officials said a handgun in his backpack accidentally discharged near the end of class.

No one was injured when the gun went off Tuesday afternoon as the 3rd grader stood outside Bethune Community School in Minneapolis, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The incident occurred 10 minutes before the end of the school day, and most students were still inside, said Minneapolis Public School spokeswoman Rachel Hicks.

Federal guidelines call for school districts to expel students who bring a firearm on school grounds, but Hicks said the district superintendent has some discretion.

The student’s identity was not released and the incident remains under investigation.

U.S. Retailers Have An Off Week

NEW YORK (UPI) — U.S. retail receipts slipped in the week ending Friday, dropping for the third week out of the past four, the International Council of Shopping Centers said.

The ICSC-Goldman Sachs weekly tracking report indicated sales dropped 0.9 percent from the previous week, although sales rose 2.8 percent from the same week of 2012.

The weekly retail survey released Wednesday said demand was stronger at department, clothing and electronics stores, but “considerably softer at discounters and wholesale clubs.”

Weather Trends International said the week was slightly cooler than the same period of 2012, but 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit above the historic average for the week.

The Energy Information Administration said the national average price of gasoline fell to $3.645 per gallon in the week, which is 0.7 percent lower than the same week of 2012.

In theory, falling gasoline prices can allow for more spending elsewhere. The price of gasoline “can affect discretionary income and spending,” the trade group said.

Mortgage Activity Slows As Rates Rise

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. mortgage activity fell for the second consecutive week, as interest rates continued to climb, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.

The association said mortgage activity fell 8.8 percent in the week while refinancing activity dropped 12 percent in the week ending Friday.

Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate conforming mortgages increased from 3.78 percent to 3.9 percent during the week, the highest rate in 12 months.

Points for 30-year conforming loans were unchanged at 0.39.

The average interest rate for 30-year contracts on jumbo loans — larger than $417,500 — rose from 3.93 percent to 4.07 percent, the highest rate in nine months. Points for 30-year jumbo loans fell from 0.36 to 0.27.

Interest rates for 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose from 2.96 percent to 3.1 percent, also hitting the highest level in nine months. Points for 15-year, fixed-rate contracts fell from 0.32 to 0.3.

The average rate for 30-year loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration rose from 3.53 percent to 3.62 percent, a nine-month high, with points rising from 0.13 to 0.27.

The average rate for short-term, adjustable-rate mortgages held steady at 2.6 percent. Points for short-term adjustable-rate loans rose to 0.24 from 0.23, the MBA said.

Eurozone Leading Indicators Up Slightly

BRUSSELS (UPI) — The Leading Economic Index for the 17 nations that share the euro as currency rose marginally in April, the Conference Board said Wednesday.

The index, which fell 0.2 percent February and March, rose 0.1 percent in April, the research firm said.

The index is a comparison to the average monthly index in 2004, which was assigned an index value of 100.

The 0.1 percent gain for April was not enough to declare a turnaround for the eurozone, Conference Board economist Bert Colijn said. “After two months of declines,” he said in a statement, the “economic environment remains sluggish.”

“Confidence among businesses and consumers continues to be weak with unemployment continuing to increase while investments are not picking up,” he said.

In the eurozone the “bright spot,” is the service sector, Colijn said.

In the service sector, expectations have risen in five of the past six months, the Conference Board said.