The police in New York will have a hard time complaining about being overworked given the terrible story of 21-year-old Samantha Zucker. The Carnegie Mellon College senior was in Riverside Park in the early hours of October 22 with her boyfriend Alex Fischer. Fischer related his version of what happened: “We’re there five minutes when a police car came up and told us we had to leave because the park was closed. We said, ‘O.K., we didn’t know,’ and turned around to leave. Almost immediately, a second police car pulls up.” Police stopped the couple, and the two were given tickets for trespassing. Fischer was able to produce this driver’s license as identification, but Samantha had left her driver’s license in her hotel room a couple of blocks away. She asked if a friend could retrieve the driver’s licenses from her room, but, Ms. Zucker relates: “He said it was too late for that, I should have thought of it earlier.” The officer then arrested Zucker, handcuffed the young woman, and took her to the 26th Precinct Station House. She was then transported to central booking in Manhattan, and because one of the officers was ending his shift before Zucker could be photographed, the young woman was moved back to the 26th Precinct Station House. Then Samantha Zucker was taken by two officers who had just started their shifts back to central booking where she spent a second night in jail.
Egypt’s ruling military junta is positioning itself to keep the reins of power even after elections take place, prompting outrage and criticism among Egyptians of all political persuasions. Critics, meanwhile, are being silenced by the regime. And talk of a “second revolution” is becoming more widespread. Among the most contentious issues is a proposal by the Egyptian cabinet — hand picked by the military — to ensure that civilian government cannot meddle in the affairs of the armed forces. Because the military regime would be recognized as the guarantor of “constitutional legitimacy,” analysts said the junta would in effect continue to rule without any limits to its power. Even its budget would be secret. The scheme would also give the military the ability to virtually exclude elected representatives from the process of drafting a new constitution, with 80 percent of the delegates being selected by the generals. And all it takes for the proposal to become binding is approval from the two dozen generals on the “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.”
When it comes to private property, wrote economist Ludwig von Mises, it is a simple “either-or” proposition: “either private ownership of the means of production, or hunger and misery for everyone.” In 1959, Fidel Castro essentially abolished private property in Cuba, and the result has been exactly as Mises predicted: a declining standard of living and shortages of basic necessities such as food, building materials, and housing. Faced with this reality, Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother and successor, has begun scaling back government and liberalizing property laws. He has pledged to trim nearly one-quarter of the government workforce, which accounts for over 80 percent of all jobs in Cuba. Last year he began allowing private enterprise in some limited circumstances, and now “the number of private business operators has hit more than 333,000, above the expectations of the authorities, from 148,000 in 2010,” according to Agence France-Presse. In October he lifted some restrictions on the buying and selling of automobiles. Now, in what the Associated Press terms “the most important reform yet,” Castro’s government has announced that individuals will, for the first time in half a century, be able to buy and sell real estate.
There was precious little good news in the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for October. Employment rose by 80,000, less than economists expected, and much less than the 250,000 needed to begin to bring down the unemployment rate significantly. But inside the numbers there was a little good news: The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.0 percent, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 365,000 and private-sector employment increased by 104,000. At the same time government payrolls have been decreasing, reducing slightly but inevitably the drag on the private sector that ultimately pays for that government overhead. In fact, according to the BLS, “employment in both state and local government has been trending down since the second half of 2008,” having shrunk by nearly 500,000 jobs. The August and September private-sector employment numbers were revised upwards as well, showing that sector struggling but making some progress in putting people back to work in real jobs. In the meantime President Obama’s “jobs bill” continues to be excoriated as being nothing more than show and tell for his political purposes. His flawed infrastructure plan couldn’t even get past the Democrat-controlled Senate as more are recognizing that dumping more money into the economy by taking it from the productive sector is counterproductive, to be kind about it. And his “executive proclamation” establishing the Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia, was touted to generate as many as 3,000 jobs in the area.
After spending the entire weekend trying to sell his company, MF Global, Chairman Jon Corzine finally capitulated, and his board declared bankruptcy on Monday morning, October 31. It was during negotiations with a potential suitor for the business, Interactive Brokers (IB), that word leaked out that customers’ monies were missing, and IB left Corzine to fend for himself. A board meeting was hastily called and ended Corzine’s dream of building another Goldman Sachs with other peoples’ money.
With the U.S. Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder continually under fire these days, it was something of a surprise, even to Capitol Hill insiders, that the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, is now in the crosshairs, and that new rules are being advanced not only to deny the public access to documents, but to lie outright, telling requesters that either the documents never existed or don’t exist now. Washington Times reporter Luke Rosiak quoted portions of the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center’s (EPIC) letter to the Justice Department lambasting its 180-degree turn: “These changes [to FOIA] … are contrary to law and exceed the authority of the agency.” EPIC’s letter called the move a “retreat from current practice.” “The administration’s proposed changes to the Freedom of Information Act guidelines would allow the Department of Justice to deny the existence of documents and [even] prevent judicial oversight,” wrote Seth Mendel in Commentary Magazine. He noted that even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agreed that Obama was “authorizing agencies to lie.” The changes were announced October 30 and promptly picked up by most major news outlets. Legal Counsel for the Sunlight Foundation, John Mr. Wonderlich, wrote a strongly worded letter to the Department decrying the blatant retreat from open-government policies.
An illegal alien has admitted stabbing a woman to death in a Walmart parking lot in Albion, N.Y., police say, the second murder by an illegal this year in the small community about 30 miles northwest of the city of Rochester, near Lake Ontario. Authorities have charged Luis A. Rodriguez-Flamenco, 24, with the stabbing murder of Kathleen I. Byham, 45. She was leaving the store on October 30, the Batavia News reported, when Flamenco attacked her as two illegal aliens from Mexico watched. The other two have not been charged, but police turned them over to federal immigration authorities.
On Wednesday, the state of North Dakota joined several power cooperatives in filing a lawsuit against the Attorney General of the neighboring state of Minnesota over Minnesota's restrictions on emissions from out-of-state electricity generators. The law involved in the controversy, Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA), was passed by the state legislature and signed into law by then-Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2007.
With public acceptance of the theory of manmade global warming steadily waning, a new book that exposes the shoddy “science” peddled by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is offering further proof that there is little reason to give credence to the “doomsday” threats issued by globalists and environmental extremists. The IPCC has been troubled by a series of scandals in recent years, several of which center directly on its chairman — Rajendra Pachauri — who received (on behalf of the IPCC) the Nobel Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007. In the aftermath of the “Climategate” revelations, which raised fundamental questions about the "scientific" character of the entire theory of manmade global warming, a series of less memorable, but still highly significant, scandals erupted under Pachauri’s leadership at the IPCC. A debacle that was quickly named “Glaciergate” involved one of the more bizarre examples of the IPCC allegedly playing “fast and loose” with the facts. As reported for The New American in January 2010, “Glaciergate” involved claims in the supposedly-definitive scientific assessment of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC regarding the Himalayan glaciers that were not substantiated by science. Pachauri ultimately had to concede that the claim the glaciers would simply melt away by 2035 was “a regrettable error” and that “the whole paragraph, I mean the entire section is wrong.”
Operation “Fast and Furious” — the scandalous sale of thousands of weapons to Mexican drug lords with the complicity of President Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (still known as ATF) — is now being used as an excuse for further governmental interference in the rights of American citizens to keep and bear arms. Rather than blaming the ineptitude of a federal agency run amok, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) declares that the fundamental problem exposed by the “Fast and Furious” debacle is, in fact, that “anyone can walk in and buy anything” when it comes to firearms. As reported by CNSNews, Sen. Feinstein does not blame the Obama administration for the scandal of foreign drug cartels being armed as a result of the deliberate policy decisions of highly-placed government officials; instead, she blames the existence of almost-vestigial rights of Americans under the Bill of Rights: “This is a deep concern for me. I know others disagree, but we have very lax laws when it comes to guns,” Feinstein, an advocate of gun control, said during Tuesday's hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. “My concern, Mr. Chairman, is that there’s been a lot said about Fast and Furious, and perhaps mistakes were made,” Feinstein said. “But I think this hunt for blame doesn’t really speak about the problem. And the problem is, anybody can walk in and buy anything.”