- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2011


Can the White House continue to shield post-mortem photos of Osama bin Laden? Maybe not. Judicial Watch has filed the inevitable Freedom of Information Act request with the Defense Department seeking “all photographs and/or video recordings of Osama bin Laden taken during and/or after the U.S. military operation in Pakistan on or about May 1, 2011.” An identical request was filed with the CIA.

“President Obama’s decision not to release the bin Laden photos is at odds with his promises to make his administration the most transparent in history,” the public interest watchdog group says, adding that they hope the requests prompt a release of the material “in an orderly fashion,” in compliance with the law. The agencies have 20 business days legally to respond

“Mr. Obama’s reluctance to ‘spike the football’ is not a lawful reason for withholding these historic public documents from the American people. We are prepared to go to court to obtain this information,” says Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.


Mother’s Day is essentially 48 hours away. Flowers, card and brunch again? Jonathan Chen, a contributor to the online trading network Benzinga, recommends children and significant others buy mom reliable “Mother’s Day-related equities” instead. His recommendations? Try 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. (listed on NASDAQ as FLAWS), American Greetings Corp. (NYSE: AM), Target (NYSE: TGT) or Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS). Oh, and don’t forget Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF), whose shares have gained 41 percent over the past year.


Some look askance at the White House press office. Daily Telegraph columnist Toby Young claims press secretary Jay Carney is “floundering under pressure,” calling White House media outreach after the death of Osama bin Laden “breathtakingly amateurish, planting seeds of doubt about the legality of the operation.” Mr. Carney took on the job at the end of January.

“The constantly changing narrative - or ‘fact pattern’, as one White House official described it - suggests that the president and his advisers have been caught on the hop and have no clear strategy for dealing with the fallout from bin Ladens death. This is epitomized by the halting, timid delivery of Jay - ‘How’m I doin’?’ - Carney, who must bear some of the responsibility for this communications failure,” Mr. Young says.

“President Obama is coming dangerously close to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Somehow, he and his press secretary have created the impression that Operation Geronimo was carried out by the Keystone Kops rather than an elite unit of Navy SEALs. In fact, the only amateurs in this unfolding story are in the White House,” he adds.


As in Newt Gingrich? He’ll be spending considerable time in the 3100 block of Maple Drive in Atlanta, where he has opened presidential campaign headquarters, two floors above the offices of the Georgia Republican Party. Yes, Mr. Gingrich has yielded to the siren call of 2012, and is making a bid for the White House. He’ll make his public declaration by the time the state party begins its annual convention, to convene in Macon on May 13.


Well, it’s a start. The Republican Study Commitee has introduced the “Consumer Relief for Pain at the Pump Act”, which would repeal restrictive energy development policies along with mandates and prohibitions that cause gas prices to be “artificially high.” The act calls for utilizing U.S. natural resources, including oil shale, and condemns frivolous litigation or bureaucratic delays that hinder development.

“More energy means lower prices and more jobs. It doesnt get any simpler than that,” says Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, and the committee chairman.


Humor drove the Tweeting hordes. In a software-enhanced analysis of 7 million Facebook and Twitter posts in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that citizen journalists had a “distinct news agenda” in their reactions to the events, compared to the mainstream media.

“The leading overall narrative on Twitter and Facebook (at 19 percent of the conversation) was the sharing of jokes, which has become something of a national ritual and emotional outlet for momentous events from the triumphant to the tragic,” the analysis says. “As late as May 3, no other topic was generating more attention.”

Conspiracy theories were second in popularity as a topic, followed by accounts of the event, whether President Obama should get credit for the success of the mission, pro-military discussions, personal admissions of fear or unease, and lastly, whether former President George W. Bush deserves credit. Humor did not even register in mainstream coverage, which was dominated by “details of the raid” and global reaction.


94 percent of Americans say al Qaeda remains a threat to the U.S. even after the death of Osama bin Laden.

93 percent of Republicans, 93 percent of conservatives, 92 percent of Democrats and 97 percent of liberals agree.

56 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan is going “moderately well.”

64 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of conservatives, 60 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of liberals agree.

52 percent overall oppose the war in Afghanistan.

37 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of conservatives, 61 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of liberals agree.

42 percent overall said they had a “happy” reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden.

43 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of conservatives, 44 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of liberals agree.

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research Poll of 700 adults conducted May 2.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtnotiems.com. Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin.



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