- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2013

President Obama met with a new privacy board created in the wake of the NSA surveillance scandals, and a contingent of U.S. soldiers prepared to go to Egypt to help provide security during anticipated riots.

On the international stage, President Obama angered Ireland’s Catholics and Protestants with the assertion that parochial schools are ‘divisive.’

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

Tea partyers rally at Capitol, blame White House for IRS mess

Thousands of activists rallied outside the Capitol on Wednesday to protest the IRS targeting of conservative and tea party groups, with many of the event’s speakers laying the blame for the fiasco squarely at the White House.

The “Audit the IRS” rally, organized by the Tea Party Patriots organization in response to the agency’s improper scrutiny of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, drew members and leaders of tea party groups across the country, radio personality Glenn Beck and the Senate’s tea party trio: Republicans Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Big Brother alert: Cameras in the cable box to monitor TV viewers

It hardly gets more Orwellian than this. New technology would allow cable companies to peer directly into television watchers’ homes and monitor viewing habits and reactions to product advertisements.

The technology would come via the cable box, and at least one lawmaker on Capitol Hill is standing in opposition.

Special Needs: Conservative may get anti-discrimination protection at Colo. college

College campuses are known for proudly proclaiming their refusal to tolerate discrimination against any minority group, but try telling that to a conservative.

Few would disagree that conservative professors are an endangered species on campus, which is why the University of Colorado Board of Regents is scheduled to consider Thursday a resolution that would prohibit discrimination based on “political affiliation or political philosophy.”

Muslim Lawyers Association calls for Obama’s arrest during trip to S. Africa

The Muslim Lawyers Association in Johannesburg has called for the arrest and prosecution of President Obama for war crimes when he arrives in South Africa on June 29, the nonprofit said in a statement.

The MLA has submitted a 600-plus-page request to the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecution to arrest the U.S. president, the South African daily newspaper The Times reported.

Fat chance: At 24 pounds, immigration bill is too big for many to swallow

At 1,075 pages long, it’s not the biggest bill to come through in recent years — that honor still belongs to the health care law — but the immigration legislation pending in the Senate is challenging the ability of voters to get their brains around its complexity.

Touching on everything from border security to welfare programs to free trade, the massive bill is dominating legislative action this month on Capitol Hill, where Democrats are intent on pushing it through before July 4 and Republicans are trying to debate whether to go along.

CBO: Immigration bill only stops 25 percent of illegal immigration

The Senate immigration bill will be a major boost to the federal budget but does relatively little to clamp down on illegal immigration — cutting the future flow by only about 25 percent — according to the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill, released Tuesday afternoon.

Under the bill, which legalizes illegal immigrants and invites in foreign workers, immigration will total 10.4 million more people over the next decade and 16.2 million by 2033.

On the hot seat: White House’s Jay Carney dodges questions more than 9,000 times: report

White House reporters sometimes poke fun at press secretary Jay Carney’s penchant for using the phrase “I appreciate the question” during briefings — especially when it’s clear he likely does not, in fact, “appreciate” a tough or awkward query.

But a Yahoo! News analysis identifies “13 distinct strains” of how Mr. Carney evades reporter’s questions. More than 1,900 times since he held his first press briefing on Feb. 16, 2011, he gave some form of “I don’t have the answer — and there were at least 9,486 times where he’s dodged a question.

U.S. soldiers set to deploy to Egypt at tense time

A group of U.S. soldiers are rocked and ready to deploy to Egypt for a 9-month peacekeeping mission aimed at curbing riots. More than 400 American troops will ultimately go, as part of the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping force, KDH News reported.

Their mission: To man posts and security checkpoints along the Sinai Peninsula. They’re also tasked with reporting violations to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, KDH News said. KCEN reported that they will engage if protests and riots reach the point of threatening Israel’s security.

As surveillance scandals swirl, Obama to sit down with privacy board

With concerns over federal surveillance near the boiling point, President Obama on Friday will hold his first meeting with the newly constituted Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a senior administration official said.

The sit-down comes as the depth of government surveillance slowly comes to light, with the latest revelation being this week’s admission by FBI Director Robert Mueller that the bureau uses unmanned drones to keep an eye on American citizens. He told Congress the craft are used only on a limited basis in crisis situations.

Obama’s remarks about Catholic schools spark new fight with church

President Obama’s remarks on Catholic schools during his trip to Northern Ireland this week have sparked an unexpected uproar, with critics accusing him of diminishing religious education.

The backlash, which has grown steadily since Mr. Obama made the comments Monday, once again has put the commander in chief at odds with the Roman Catholic Church, which is fighting a provision in the president’s health care law that requires religious institutions to provide free birth control for their employees.

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