Stunner! Jurors hung up, so mistrial gets Edwards off the hook

John Edwards obviously is not a candidate for sainthood. He obviously has a darker side than Johnny Cash’s closet used to have.

Nevertheless, a federal jury today found Edwards not guilty on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions but a mistrial was declared because the jurors deadlocked on five other charges.

I would have thought the jurors would want to dip Edwards in seal butter and drop him into a polar bear’s cage.
Perhaps the jury was simply bored and sick of the whole mess. After 17 full days of testimony from 31 witnesses, some of the jurors looked at times as if they wanted to stick fondue forks in their ears and stir.
Edwards was accused of masterminding a plan to use money from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress during his run for the White House in 2008.
The mistrial obviously was a win for Edwards. Prosecutors now will have to decide whether they want to go for it again once the radish red fades from their faces.

Obama-obsessed Fox News doesn’t even try to be foxy about actually being a PAC

You just gotta admire the sass, the brass and the we-don’t-give-a-rat’s-a$$ attitude that the Fox News Channel brings to the airwaves.

They don’t pull any punches. Every shot is a George Foreman wrecking ball to the kidneys. Their news anchors may not walk on water, but they do walk on lumps of shrapnel.

They’re at war with Barack Obama and taking no prisoners. They make Patton look like a piker. These folks know who to mobilize troops and storm the front from all angles.

And no pussy-footing around with any pretense of journalism. Fox News is rather transparent that it’s the communications and campaign arm of the Republican Party.

Fox News, not that their honchos will lose any sleep over this tonight, is being blistered for the four-minute video it broadcast on its morning show “Fox & Friends” this morning that portrayed President Obama’s tenure as a series of failed promises.
Of course, you would have to be a blind, stupid and drunk ultra-Democrat not to admit that Obama has swung and missed a few times in the past four years. In the all-time lineup of presidents, Obama hardly would be hitting cleanup.
But it was the nature of the video that was more offensive than an ice pick in the eardrum.
The video had most of the hallmarks of a campaign attack ad, except that it was produced and paid for by a news network rather than a candidate or a political action committee.If the execs at Fox News are so fair and balanced, I don’t think it would be unfair to ask them to walk a tightrope across the Grand Canyon – wearing spiked heels in hurricane winds with Baby Grand pianos strapped to their backs.

Dylan and the counterculture sure have evolved

Come gather ’round peopleWherever you roamAnd admit that the watersAround you have grownAnd accept it that soonYou’ll be drenched to the boneIf your time to youIs worth savin’Then you better start swimmin’Or you’ll sink like a stoneFor the times they are a-changin’.

Bob Dylan
The Times They Are A-Changin’

If somebody had told me in the 1960s that Bob Dylan would be honored by the president at the White House, I would have thought that sanity somehow had gotten misplaced in the plastic bag of pot in J. Edgar Hoover’s refrigerator.

After all, I don’t think Dick Nixon was a Dylan fan. Or realized that The Ballad Of A Thin Man was an anthem for freedom fighting.

Well, The Times They Are A-Changin’ even if Dylan these days looks like a breathing relic.

President Obama honored a diverse cross-section of political and cultural icons — including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, astronaut John Glenn, basketball coach Pat Summitt and Dylan — with the Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony today.

Actually, common sense didn’t get locked in the linen closet with the the medal for Dylan, who for decades has played a major role in the push for freedom of speech.

On this Memorial Day, let us honor our fallen heroes. But let us all realize that life back home often is more a hell than war for our surviving veterans — and do something about it!

On Memorial Day presidents pay tribute to the men and women who died defending America.
Barack Obama did just that today at the Vietnam War Memorial, and also said that it was a national disgrace the way Vietnam veterans were denigrated.
Of course, he’s absolutely right. What Vietnam vets endured upon their return to the homeland was shameful.
Those war protestors who espoused making love instead of war were not such a loving bunch after all. Our Vietman vets were kicked around like rented mules.
But what is happening to our current veterans is equally as horrible. And it will take much more than just the pomp and ceremony of a parade to fix this tragedy.
For instance, is the VA all over the issue of American vets committing suicide? Hardly. The VA should be sounding the national alarm and plumbing the bowels of medical and psychological knowledge to find out just what the hell is happening here.
About 18 veterans kill themselves each day. That should raise all our voices an octave.

Thousands from the current wars have already done so. In fact, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died by their own hand is now estimated to be greater than the number (6,460) who have died in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Those appalling numbers hard to swallow as you try to digest your holiday hot dogs and hamburgers? I thought so.

These tormented vets are trapped in an abyss, struggling with psychic wounds that leave penetrating roots that are intractable.

Dr. Jonathan Shay, who has written books about soldiers at war and coming home, says soldiers today face a set of challenges flowing from multiple deployments.
When they are sent on repeated combat tours, soldiers run a much higher risk of suffering what Shay describes as a “moral injury.” A moral injury occurs when a soldier’s concepts of trust and right and wrong do not survive the heat of battle.
The federal government, Mr. Obama, has to intervene with full force to stop our vets from killing themselves.
We always talk about bringing our vets home safely. Guess what? Home is more dangerous to them.
And what about today’s vets who return home maimed? Did you think about them today when you were struggling to keep the beer cold on such a hot day for a holiday cookout?
Increasing medical skill and high-tech military gear mean that more soldiers than ever survive brutal terrorist attacks and return with traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, and/or massive physical injuries.

Most people don’t know that when a soldier is discharged on disability it often destroys their family. Their pay is reduced to a fraction of what it was, while their cost of living skyrockets without access to housing, commissaries and other benefits of life on a military base.
They have also been torn away from their network of supportive friends and community at the most critical time in their lives. Wives (and sometimes husbands) divorce their wounded heroes in staggering numbers because they have to decide between being a caregiver for their disabled veteran or becoming the bread-winner and, often, the single parent caring for their children.
My God, this nightmare should make all our jaw muscles lose their grip. Truly something must be done to rectify this before we watch too many months drift from the calendar.
Truly these wounded warriors and their families have sacrificed their lives for our country. In return, our country must do much more for them. The little the VA is doing is a national disgrace. Mr. Obama, get on the stick and parade a whole bunch of added benefits their way.
It is poignant and patriotic and proper to salute the fallen on Memorial Day. But we also as a nation must rally around the flag and our surviving veterans to keep them from killing themselves in despair or wallowing in financial despair.
They obviously deserve much better.
Wouldn’t you say so, Mr. Obama?

Book heats up the pot on Obama’s marijuana school days

I thought this this blew away, like a puff of smoke, years ago. But apparently not.
Guess where there’s smoke there’s fire, to coin a phrase that undoubtedly now will be minted forever.
As a young man growing up in Hawaii, Barack Obama frequently smoked marijuana with a group of friends dubbed the “Choom Gang” at the Punahou School, according to a new book about the president’s life.
The book by David Maraniss of The Washington Post is not due out until next month. But large portions of it were available briefly today on Google Books before being taken down.
Not exactly breaking news here. Hardly in the same league as dog bites man or Mitt Romney straps dog to roof of car.
For his next investigative book, Maraniss likely will reveal that Cheech and Chong inhaled giggle weed until they both went, cough, Up In Smoke.
Obama long ago acknowledged using grass, or paca lolo as they call it in Hawaii, in his own book Dreams From My Father. Obama’s drug use never became a major issue in 2008, in part because he had already disclosed it.
And because many voters, outside of Bill Clinton of course, had inhaled as well.
After all, back in the day, getting high was as much a part of school as blue book exams.
And in Hawaii, they do have all those grass skirts.

Bravo! Bill Clinton poses with porn stars for a good cause

Fundraising can be a tough racket. Rejection can stalk you like a timber wolf as you hunt quarry with deep pockets who suddenly grow short arms.

But good causes make all the hard work pay off and reap intrinsic rewards.

I’ve done my share of fundraising over the years for several local non-profit organizations and I’ve experienced the blood, sweat and tears that puddle on that rugged road to riches.

Granted, I’ve never experienced the feel-good moment tethered with fundraising that Bill Clinton felt Wednesday night at a Nights in Monaco fundraising gala at a casino in Monte Carlo.

I guess I made two fundamental mistakes by (a) not being a former president of the United States and (b) fundraising in Berks County instead of Monaco.

The only time I was ever in Monte Carlo I squandered a ton of money playing high-stokes poker with James Bond. But I did cut a dashing figure in my tux.

During the event Clinton posed for an impromptu photo with two porn stars.

Jack Kennedy would have been so proud.

A leopard can’t change his spots. A zebra can’t change his stripes. Barack Obama can’t change being a foreign-born Muslim socialist. Bill can’t change being Bill. Blame it on DNA.

The porn stars with whom Clinton posed were Tasha Reign and Brooklyn Lee, two ladies who apparently excel at their craft. I wouldn’t know because I only watch G-rated movies.

The photo above was tweeted by the woman on the far left, who evidently is not a porn star.

So far, no word on the matter from either Hillary or Monica Lewinsky. Both, of course, are welcome to respond to this blog.

Scholar throws the book at Republicans for sacking Washington

Once upon a time in America, when drinking and smoking were not capital offenses, songs actually had melodies and you didn’t have to be an engineer to operate an alarm clock, Republicans and Democrats frequently huddled up to avoid gridlock.

Of course, those quaint days of yesteryear have disappeared with my blond bangs.

These days, as we all know only too well, life on Capitol Hills is partisan and polarizing.

Far be it from me to point fingers at the Republicans, but noted American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein is more than willing.

Ornstein is pointing fingers in a new book he co-authored with Thomas Mann, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks.
“I wouldn’t say it’s all Republicans,” said Ornstein, “it’s 80-20 at this point.”
“When you look at the data, including voting records,” continued Ornstein, “the Democrats have moved left, to probably their own 25-yardline. President Obama’s probably around the 40. The Republicans have moved behind their own goalpost.”
Sounds like the Republicans should be penalized a two-point safety for running out of their own end zone.

Did Facebook bankers secretly slash forecasts before IPO? If so, ignore the Facebook like button

Facebook changed the world. You could be a geek with more brains than looks and social skills combined and still have a posse of friends. And do so without brushing your teeth or using deodorant.
Mark Zuckerberg became the real American Idol and nobody has ever him sing. But he could make programming codes sing like a canary and that was all that mattered. Once upon a time, the Fonz was cool. Suddenly a developer was.
Then Facebook hit Wall Street and suddenly went flatter than a caterpillar going one-on-one with a steamroller.
And now a bombshell scandal could cost Facebook a continent or two of friends.
Two days after a disastrous IPO that saw its stock tank worse than Obama, Reuters broke the news today that just as bankers were touting shares in Facebook to the public, they were secretly lowering their revenue forecasts for the company.
Now, Reuters reports that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority may investigate charges that bankers shared the negative news with internal investors.
In the run-up to Facebook’s $16 billion IPO, Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter on the deal, unexpectedly delivered some negative news to major clients: The bank’s consumer Internet analyst, Scott Devitt, was reducing his revenue forecasts for the company.
The change in Morgan Stanley’s estimates came on the heels of Facebook’s filing of an amended prospectus with the SEC in which the company expressed caution about revenue growth due to a rapid shift by users to mobile devices. Mobile advertising to date is less lucrative than advertising on a desktop.
If this cold-water-in-your-face allegation is true, it could trigger a blockbuster scandal scalding not only the bankers but also Facebook executives.
If so, it will be fascinating to see whether Zuck can program his way out of this before everybody dislikes him.

Holy War! Roman Catholics sue Obama administration over birth control mandate

You wouldn’t say that this was an unforeseeable denouement. You didn’t have to be a prophet to see this coming.
Roman Catholic officials simply aren’t going to turn the other cheek when it comes to birth control.
Roman Catholic dioceses, schools and other groups sued the Obama administration today in eight states and the District of Columbia over a federal mandate that most employers provide workers free birth control as part of their health insurance.
The federal lawsuits represent the largest push against the mandate since President Obama announced the policy in January. Among those suing are the University of Notre Dame, the Archdioceses of Washington and New York, the Michigan Catholic Conference and the Catholic University of America.
If going up against Mitt Romney weren’t enough, now Obama has to deal with Touchdown Jesus — who certainly has celestial connections.
Granted, there also are a lot of non-Catholics out there who feel that Obamacare is the work of the devil beyond the birth control issue.

Violence starts with those squeezing the trigger. They simply must stop. And we must do whatever it takes to put them away before we all become fish in a barrel

It was a job well done by my favorite newspaper to run a Page One editorial this morning calling for leaders in the city and beyond to find a way to stop the violence that is shredding the fabric of our city.

It is a daunting task, of course, and it isn’t as if our elected and community leaders have ignored the problem by merely spending their days holding down couch springs. Still, they must do much more.

But let me add that the crime-doers themselves must fix their broken moral compass and replace drugs, crime and violence with a strong work ethic and a passionate pursuit of education and employable skills.

It’s time for that segment of the populace to stop wallowing in the easy fix and start leading productive lives. There are other ways to break the poverty cycle than to shoot your way out of it.

Parents and the community must lend all the support they can muster and we must find the money to put more cops on city streets.

But ultimately the bad guys themselves have to morph from scum to substance — perhaps even more challenging than turning water into wine . And if they don’t, we simply need to weed them out out — no matter what the price — so our city and county can sprout in a more fertile topsoil.