- The Washington Times - Friday, July 19, 2013

President Obama weighed in on the George Zimmerman verdict by saying that he could have been Trayvon Martin 35 years ago, and Rolling Stone put Boston terror suspect Dzhohkar Tsarnaev on the cover of its magazine.

On the international stage, a Saudi court ruled that a man deemed responsible for another citizen’s leg amputation must have his own removed.

Here’s a recap, or wrap, of the week that was from The Washington Times.


PHOTOS: The Wrap for 7/20


President Obama: ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago’

In a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room, President Obama spoke at length Friday about the impact of the George Zimmerman trial and the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin, talking of his own personal experiences with racism, saying it would be “useful” to review “stand your ground” laws and to renew efforts aimed at boosting the self-esteem of black boys.

After a week of reporters questioning why Mr. Obama hadn’t spoken on television about the case, the president appeared in the White House press briefing room unannounced and discussed his reaction to the verdict and observing that Trayvon Martin “could have been me 35 years ago.”

Detroit hits dire straits — may have to sell Howdy Doody

A bankrupt Detroit may have to turn to museum artifacts to make financial ends meet, and financial managers are looking first to hit up the Institute of Arts — and sell off an original Howdy Doody puppet that could fetch half a million dollars at auction.

“It is estimated that the marionette could sell at auction at $400,000 to $500,000,” said Gary Busk, a puppet collector who’s been featured on the television hit, “Antiques Road Show,” in a CNN report.

MILLER: Eric Holder steals George Zimmerman’s gun

Attorney General Eric Holder has confiscated George Zimmerman’s gun. Even though Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted by a jury in the death of Trayvon Martin, the Justice Department on Thursday ordered the Sanford police to put a hold on the evidence from the trial, which includes the Kel Tek 9mm handgun.

It is not clear what federal law or legal procedure allows Mr. Holder to stop a police chief in Florida from returning a firearm to an innocent man.

Emails reveal how accuracy was scrubbed out of Benghazi ‘talking points’

As the hour grew late on the night of Sept. 14, the White House wanted to make one thing clear to the State Department and the CIA as the three collaborated on what would come to be known as the Benghazi “talking points,” designed to be used by Congress and administration officials to explain what had happened three days earlier at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

The attack, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, was not planned, White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor wrote in an 8:54 p.m. email.

“There is massive disinformation out there,” Mr. Vietor wrote. “They all think it was premeditated based on inaccurate assumptions or briefings. So I think this is a response to not only a tasking from the house intel committee but also [National Security Council] guidance that we need to brief members/press and correct the record.”

Man accused of illegally firing shotgun cites Biden’s advice

A Washington state man who fired a shotgun to scare away possible car prowlers from his property was arraigned Wednesday for illegal discharging of a firearm, and he cited Vice President Joe Biden’s public advice about shooting such weapons in the air in his defense.

Fifty-two-year-old Jeffery Barton pleaded not guilty, Koin.com reports:

Deputies have been investigating whether a large teen party that got out of control at a neighbor’s home may have been linked to the shooting. However, at this point, deputies have said there was no evidence of prowlers on Barton’s property.

Outside the courtroom Wednesday, Barton cited the vice president in defense of his actions.

“I did what Joe Biden told me to do,” Barton told KOIN. “I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air.” […]

Former GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told her tax records were breached

Ms. O’Donnell has spent the past six months trying to find out more about what happened to her personally, with little success. Investigators have told her the probe has been closed, without offering an explanation.

Ms. O’Donnell’s attempts to get records about the possible misuse of her tax files through Freedom of Information Act requests have been delayed or denied.

Mr. Martel did not return calls seeking comment, and Senate investigators have been unable to get permission to interview him about Ms. O’Donnell’s case.

NAPOLITANO: Zimmerman’s double jeopardy dilemma

While the country processes the racial politics-inspired prosecution of George Zimmerman, which came to a conclusion last week, and as the calls to try him in federal court for the same events for which he was acquitted in a state court become louder each day, a case in upstate New York is making its way through the system that profoundly reveals the antipathy to the Constitution displayed by some prosecutors in the U.S. Department of Justice. It may give Mr. Zimmerman a foretaste of things to come.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev makes cover of Rolling Stone magazine

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings, Dzhohkar Tsarnaev, is pictured on the cover of the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine and profiled inside, with a feature that highlights his UMass Dartmouth attendance.

And Boston residents especially are outraged, calling for a boycott of the magazine, Fox News reported. Social media sites buzzed at the news, too.

Chris Matthews uses show to apologize ‘for all white people’

MSNBC host Chris Matthews spoke for “all white people” on his program Thursday, apologizing to his guests and the black community for unspecified transgressions committed by whites.

“I’ll just tell you one thing,” the “Hardball” host said. “And I’m speaking now for all white people, but especially [the ones] who’ve tried to change the last 50 or 60 years. And a lot of them really tried to change, and I’m sorry for this stuff. That’s all I’m saying.”

Saudi court: Off with his leg or pay blood money

A Saudi judge ordered that a man who caused the amputation of another Saudi’s leg with a gunshot must now face the same fate: He must have his leg cut off.

Emirates 24/7 reported recently that Talal Al Shammari shot Mohammed Al Mutairi in the leg during a fight several years ago in the Dammam community. Doctors couldn’t save Mr. Mutairi’s leg and decided to amputate it in order to save his life.