In addition to leading the Fast and Furious OCDETF task force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office was instrumental in preparing the wiretap applications that were submitted to the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Federal prosecutors in Arizona filed at least six of these applications, each containing immense detail about operational tactics and specific information about straw purchasers, in federal court after Department headquarters authorized them.
So did Obama deliver an oral sex joke at his gay and lesbian fundraiser in LA? Members of the press and audience seemed to think so:
He warmed up with some jokes about the first lady’s appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show. “Michelle outdoes me in pushups as well,” he said, after saying that she’s taken some criticism on her technique “because she doesn’t go all the way down” – a line that he let hang, naughtily, provoking laughter from the crowd.
Hmm. Ann Althouse runs a poll, and some shrewd observers and commenters on the human condition note that sometimes a pushup is just a pushup, and that the traditional conclusion to any pushup contest is "you didn't go all the way down".
First Lady Michelle Obama made an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Thursday, February 2, and challenged Ellen to a friendly push-up competition and outdid her by five! Both women flung off their dress coats and hit the floor, pumping up and down, side-by-side to cheers from the crowd. The contest was watched by a studio audience that counted the lifts out loud and cheered when Michelle won.
Yes, Michelle won but neither one of them was doing a real push-up, and Michelle didn't go all the way down as suppose to as Ellen did. Ellen did it military style (like a man) compared to Michelle. Its all fun anyway :)
Actually, Ellen was doing the challenging, and got a nice 90 degree angle to her arms on the way down. Michelle was a bit slack, but if Ms. Degeneres complained, it is not on the tape. Maybe in a booth review she realized she had been had.
So the facts are on Barack's side. So about last night - its a tough call, since the reaction of the press and some of the audience shows they knew what they heard. Is our President crass, or clueless?
As additional evidence, he did flip off both McCain and Hillary during the 2008 campaign, so a flashback to his less decorous Choom Gang days can't be ruled out.
Tyler Cowen suggests the sort of thing Obama 2012 ought to be contemplating - take TARP abroad and bail out the Spanish banks, multilaterally of course.
I will Boldy Predict that the use of US taxpayer dollars to bail-out Spanish banks would be even less popular than the bail-out of US banks. And the economic impact will probably be in damage avoided and jobs saved, not jobs created prior to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
And even if the Treasury and Fed can sneak this off-balance sheet somehow, we do have another debt ceiling scuffle down the road, and El TARPo would surely spill over into that debate.
Still, who knows? My favorite story today (since updated into oblivion) is that European markets were up today on expectations that the European Central Bank would leave interest rates unchanged and fulminate about the importance of a more vigorous, sustained and credible political process. A flavor remains here:
[ECB President] Draghi generally isn’t expected to unveil any fresh policy moves—such as an additional dose of long-term liquidity operations—at his news conference. But the euro, equities and other risk-oriented assets managed to rise in earlier activity on hopes the ECB chief “will offer clues about forthcoming easing in the months ahead,” said Ilya Spivak, currency strategist at DailyFX, in emailed comments.
“The ECB may reiterate its willingness to support Europe’s banking sector if credit dries up in future, but we think it will stick to its guns and resist calls to step in to directly help governments,” said Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex.com in London.
“We will be listening out to any reference Draghi makes to Spain’s banking sector, but we believe the ECB will leave the recapitalization of some weak Spanish lenders up to the EU authorities,” she said, in emailed comments.
The pursuit of ultimate fitness my damage your heart. From today's Telegraph, we learn about some American research:
Extreme exercise such as marathons may permanently damage the heart and trigger rhythm abnormalities, warn researchers.
They say the safe ‘upper limit’ for heart health is a maximum of an hour a day - after which there is little benefit to the individual.
A review of research evidence by US physicians says intensive training schedules and extreme endurance competitions can cause long-term harm to people’s hearts.
Dr O’Keefe and colleagues said research suggests that extreme endurance training can cause transient structural cardiovascular changes and elevations of cardiac biomarkers, all of which return to normal within one week.
But for some individuals, over months and years of repetitive injury, this process can lead to the development of patchy scarring of certain areas of the heart, and abnormal heart rhythms.
In one study, approximately 12 per cent of apparently healthy marathon runners showed evidence for patchy myocardial scarring, and the coronary heart disease event rate during a two-year follow up was significantly higher in marathon runners than in runners not doing marathons.
A year ago the NY Times told us about research from the UK with a similar result:
Recently, researchers in Britain set out to study the heart health of a group of dauntingly fit older athletes. Uninterested in sluggards, the scientists recruited only men who had been part of a British national or Olympic team in distance running or rowing, as well as members of the extremely selective 100 Marathon club, which admits runners who, as you might have guessed, have completed at least a hundred marathons.
All of the men had trained and competed throughout their adult lives and continued to work out strenuously. Twelve were age 50 or older, with the oldest age 67; another 17 were relative striplings, ages 26 to 40. The scientists also gathered a group of 20 healthy men over 50, none of them endurance athletes, for comparison. The different groups underwent a new type of magnetic resonance imaging of their hearts that identifies very early signs of fibrosis, or scarring, within the heart muscle. Fibrosis, if it becomes severe, can lead to stiffening or thickening of portions of the heart, which can contribute to irregular heart function and, eventually, heart failure.
The results, published online a few weeks ago in The Journal of Applied Physiology, were rather disquieting. None of the younger athletes or the older nonathletes had fibrosis in their hearts. But half of the older lifelong athletes showed some heart muscle scarring. The affected men were, in each case, those who’d trained the longest and hardest. Spending more years exercising strenuously or completing more marathon or ultramarathon races was, in this study, associated with a greater likelihood of heart damage.
So if you do too many Iron Man and short course Tin Man competitions, eventually you may need a new heart. Cool - say 'hi' to Dorothy and the wizard.
Writing in the NY Times, Gary Taubes (feared foe of sugar and refined carbs) wants the government to suspend hostilities with salt:
Salt, We Misjudged You
...Salt consumption is said to raise blood pressure, cause hypertension and increase the risk of premature death. This is why the Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines still consider salt Public Enemy No. 1, coming before fats, sugars and alcohol. It’s why the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested that reducing salt consumption is as critical to long-term health as quitting cigarettes.
And yet, this eat-less-salt argument has been surprisingly controversial — and difficult to defend. Not because the food industry opposes it, but because the actual evidence to support it has always been so weak.
And he goes on to explain. Scientific American advanced similar arguments last summer, so Taubes is not even a lonely voice here.
The bad news is, he is probably right (although I say, mind your potassium/sodim ratio). Which means that the government has once again squandered its credibility fighting the wrong dietary villains (fat and salt).
Let me just pluck this from the USDA press release announding their new dietary guidelines last year (my emphasis):
The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focus on balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.
Their lead villain, sodium, is at best one of the Joker's lesser henchmen. Saturated and trans fats deserve a back seat to sugar, sugar, sugar and refined grains.
Team Obama can blame Bush, the Europeans, the Chinese, 'headwinds', or whatever else they want. But on the ballot this November, folks will choose between Romney and Obama, so the choice is between leadership and excuses.
And lest you wonder whether things can get worse - the Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare drapes a fog of uncertainty over the markets for another month, or longer, depending on the ruling.
URGENT: A judge on Friday revoked the bond of the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and ordered him returned to jail within 48 hours.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said that George Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, misled the court about how much money they had available when his bond was set for $150,000 in April. Prosecutors claim Zimmerman had $135,000 available that had been raised by a website he set up.
Zimmerman's wife testified at the bond hearing that they had limited funds available since she was a nursing student and Zimmerman wasn't working.
"He can't sit back and obtain the benefit of a lower bond based upon those material falsehoods," Lester said.
Ben Crump, the Sharpton of the South, insinuates that the wife's deceit speaks to Zimmerman's credibility. Hmm.
How long will he be in jail? Good question. And considering the weak case seen so far in discovery, why is he in jail at all? Defense Counsel O'Mara raised that point:
O'Mara said he hopes the revocation of bond is "temporary." "I hope that they will give us a day in court to explain George's behavior and look at all the circumstances, even the discovery that's come out to date in determining what he's going to do about letting him back out on bond," he said.
If forced to conjure a silver lining for Zimmerman, I would say that the judge can claim he has gone by the book and even thrown it at Zimmerman, which may give the judge some latitude down the road when facts and an absurd prosecution case oblige him to rule in favor of Zimmerman at the pre-trial self-defense hearing.
MORE: Alice H provides the state's motion, which includes snippets of recorded calls from jail between Zimmerman and his wife. I would use the phrase "lying weasels" to describe their conduct in hiding this money from their lawyer and the court, but "scheming, lying weasels" seems more apt. And I could add "stupid", too.
BACKGROUND: CNN semi-transcripts of the bond hearing - 1, 2, 3. Zimmerman apologizes to the Martin family on (2) but it is his wife's testimony on (1) that has led to the current situation.