The Washington Times - February 22, 2013, 01:28PM

Chicago’s police superintendent took fire from all sides for controversial Second Amendment comments while all eyes in the entertainment world shift to Hollywood ahead of Sunday’s Academy Awards - which feature a surprising number of positive-message flicks up for best picture.

In Washington, the White House was under siege for leaking immigration plans while Vice President Joseph R. Biden raised eyebrows while taking a turn as a pump-action pitchman extolling the virtues of double-barrel shotguns.


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

Chicago’s chief of police can’t seem to avoid controversy over his statements related to gun control.

Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy said that firearm owners who lobby their representatives, or who donate money to political campaigns, for pro-Second Amendment issues are guilty of corruption and of endangering public safety.

Liberals blasted Vice President Joseph R. Biden for extolling the firepower and reliability of old-school shotguns — while apparently undermining the White House’s push for more comprehensive gun control.

Mr. Biden’s turn as a pump-action pitchman during a Facebook video chat with Parents Magazine is hardly the first time he’s has muddied a White House message by veering off topic — an occurrence so regular that websites are devoted to tracking his controversial quips.

The U.S. Navy plans to shut down four of its active aircraft carriers in one of the worst-case scenarios presented to Congress by the service since the debate on budget cuts heated up this winter.

The Navy previously announced a delay in deploying the carrier USS Harry Truman to the Middle East, plus a stop in the refueling and overhauling of the nuclear-powered USS Abraham Lincoln and a delay in repairing the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Undeterred by complaints from the White House press corps about a lack of access, President Obama spent Presidents Day playing his third straight day of golf to wrap up a secluded guys’ weekend at an exclusive golf course in Florida.

The president’s long weekend trip to the Floridian Yacht and Golf Club in Palm City, Fla., where he golfed with Tiger Woods and a tight-knit group of friends at the golf course and residential compound, demonstrated a new willingness to ignore criticism about his private recreational choices in his second and final term.

Everyone always wants the latest technology, but a government auditor said Tuesday that the IRS wasted millions of dollars on BlackBerrys and wireless modem aircards that employees don’t need or even use.

In 2011 alone the tax service paid $1.1 million for nearly 14,000 aircards and 754 BlackBerrys that weren’t used for at least three straight months, and 45 of those aircards and 68 BlackBerrys were never used the entire year, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration said in a report.

Congressional Republicans on Sunday accused the White House of poisoning the well on immigration reform by leaking a draft proposal while senators from both parties are working toward a compromise on the issue, saying the move shows President Obama is more concerned with scoring political points than passing legislation.

Mr. Obama has said that comprehensive immigration reform will be a top priority for his second term, but GOP senators blasted the draft as counterproductive and an attempt to use the issue as a political cudgel.

Hundreds of Pentagon-related companies large and small are preparing to lay off thousands of employees as Congress takes a recess this week, so far unable to agree on how to undo automatic military spending cuts set to begin March 1.

BAE Systems Inc., a global giant that provides an array of goods and services for the military, estimates that it will have to lay off as many as 4,000 workers this year, including technicians who work on aircraft, ships and vehicles and who earn an average of $50,000 a year.

Washington lawmakers have pulled a contentious provision from a gun-control bill posted on the state’s legislative tracking website, after calling a section that gave law enforcement authority to enter homes and check for proper weapons storage a “mistake.”

The Seattle Times reports that Seattle trial lawyer Lance Palmer first raised doubts about Senate Bill 5737 to the newspaper, complaining: “They always say, we’ll never go house to house to take your guns away. But then you see this, and you have to wonder.”

Life really does move slower in the South. One hundred forty-eight years after Congress sent the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery to the states for ratification, Mississippi officially has joined the ranks.

The state’s Legislature did vote to ratify it in 1995 — but the vote was never made official because lawmakers failed to inform the U.S. archivist, according to a report in the Clarion-Ledger. They’ve finally finished the job: Slavery is unconstitutional in Mississippi.

Rather than the usual fields of best picture nominees, in which a couple of hits would make the list but most choices were commercial obscurities, 2012’s honorees have resonated with the public in a major way, as 7 of the 9 contenders will likely have crossed the $100 million blockbuster threshold by Oscar night Sunday.

More surprising even than the popular success and entertainment value of this year’s best picture field is that these nominees — again, with the exception of “Amour” — have actually been films with a positive, traditional message.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh gave a blunt assessment of how the White House has taken control of the sequester message: “It just makes me ashamed.”