- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2013

Prominent conservatives are at arms: Where is the investigation?

“It was seven months ago that Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American heroes were murdered during the attack. The number of those wounded remains unknown. The American people continue to demand truth and accountability for this tragedy. To date, sadly, they have received neither,” says a group of 24 conservative heavyweights in an open letter to Congress, urging members to support House Resolution 36, which would create a select committee to investigate the attack. The coalition includes American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas, Citizens United founder David Bossie, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly and Traditional Values Coalition Chairman Louis P. Sheldon.

“In the current climate in Washington, it is up to the U.S. House and its Republican leadership to act assertively. As we’ve seen, the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate has shown no willingness to rise above politics and ask questions, nor has the Obama administration felt an obligation to police itself. Additionally, most in the mainstream media refuse to be skeptical about the evolving narratives regarding what we know and what we don’t know. Therefore, it is up to the U.S. House to provide accountability. If you act now, an exhaustive report that the American people can be proud of can be completed before the one-year anniversary of the Benghazi tragedy on September 11, 2013,” the group advises lawmakers.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Benghazi Attack Under Microscope


Also vexed with the Benghazi delays: OPSEC, a grass-roots, nonpartisan group made up of former special operations and intelligence officers who have produced an eight-minute video on the issue. “To paraphrase President Lincoln, we must resolve to learn what we can so that these Americans did not die in vain,” they say. See their outreach here: OpSecTeam.org.

A TAXING EXPERIENCE

April 15 prompts an urge to stage a public rally among fiscal conservatives, and mixed feelings among everyone else. Three-quarters of Americans, for example, agree that cheating on taxes is “morally wrong,” says a survey from the Pew Research Center. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to feel this way, 78 percent to 68 percent respectively.

Amazingly enough, about a third of Americans actually like or even love doing their income taxes. On the flip side, 56 percent dislike or hate to grapple with tax time paperwork; 60 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of Democrats agree.

What drives people the craziest? The biggest complaint is the sheer complexity of the tax process, followed by time involved. A discerning 12 percent “don’t like how the government uses the money.” It’s not all bad news, though. Americans are most excited when they get a refund, naturally. But they’re also actually proud of their skills in figuring out taxes, or the “sense of control” it lends them.

A CHEESY EXPERIENCE

To the delight of a weary population, Friday is National Grilled Cheese Day, prompting scores of restaurants around the nation to showcase their best grilled cheese sandwiches. Good for the economy, likely not approved by the food police. There are extremes. This version could pop up as deep fried state fair food later this year: “The Salted Caramel Angry Lobster Fatty Melt,” created by the Hudson Common, a chichi Manhattan eatery.

No Velveeta in evidence. Between those fancy artisanal bread slices: Yancey Farms White Cheddar Curds, Salvatore Bklyn Smoked Ricotta, 2 Sisters Gouda, Tickler Cheddar, Fromage Blanc, Prairie Breeze Cheddar buttermilk, chili-chipotle lobster salad sauteed to golden brown, then topped with salted caramel drizzle.

“There should be an entire holiday for this one grilled cheese alone,” observes Gothamist.com writer Jen Carlson.

BULLETS AS CURRENCY

As gun reform legislation rages, gun enthusiasts face ammunition shortages, even as retailers race to keep up with demand. Wal-Mart limits buyers to three boxes when ammunition is available, and Cabela’s is limiting online orders to one box per day, reports Forbes, which is tracking the trend.

“But why the national shortage? Here’s my theory: Bullets are easy to store, nonperishable, and they hold their value or even increase in times of crisis. So they’re a lot like gold or any other commodity that has served as hard money through the ages or even the canned mackerel fillets that serve as currency in U.S. prisons,” says Forbes analyst Daniel Fisher. “With states like Connecticut and Colorado passing strict new restrictions on gun owners and President Obama flying around the country to drum up support for national gun control, ammo buyers are like consumers queuing for gas or loading up on gold in the inflationary 1970s. They’re creating their own shortage.”

Mr. Fisher ponders a “bullet bubble” as well. “Will today’s ammo hoarders be rewarded like gold buyers in 1972, or will they wind up like the folks who bought Bitcoins at $30 and watched them fall to two bucks a couple years ago?” he asks.

POLL DU JOUR

• 76 percent of Americans would approve illegal immigrants eventually becoming legal American citizens if they pay off fines or back taxes, pass a security background check, and “take other required steps.”

• 64 percent favor a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants to eventually become citizens.

• 54 percent of Americans say immigration “strengthens” the United States.

• 51 percent say illegal immigrants can apply for citizenship after living in the U.S. for five years.

• 33 percent say neither political party is competent dealing with immigration issues.

• 26 percent say Democrats best handle immigration, 21 percent say both parties can handle it, 19 percent cite Republicans.

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted April 5 to 8 and released Thursday.

• Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.