Susan Estrich - Having it all, until you don't

They did. And then, in a moment, it all changed.

The First Couple becomes the First Widow. I have to read the story twice to understand.

Forty-seven-year-old billionaires aren't supposed to fall off treadmills and die. He was on vacation with his wife and kids, with the family he loved. He was beloved by women everywhere because of the support he gave to his wife's career. Sheryl Sandberg is the famous one, but put two women together, and it wouldn't be a minute before one of us pointed out that what was really extraordinary was the man she married, the father of her children, the other parent at the dinner table, the one who pushed her to ask for more, who wanted Mark Zuckerberg to stretch to get Sheryl because she's worth it. This is the man who fell off the treadmill and died.


In the coming days, there may be more information as to what caused Dave Goldberg to fall and the sequence of events. But that isn't what I mean. What I mean is why .

Why this guy, who was showing men they could actually have it all? Silicon Valley is full of guys who don't even understand what role models are.

There are all kinds of ways this didn't happen, shouldn't happen, wouldn't happen, and then there is the fact that it did. The tree in the mountain dead-straight on that shouldn't be there, but is. A guy goes to the gym at the Four Seasons Resort and works out and comes back. It happens hundreds of thousands of times all over the world. Except this time.
In most of life, there is, thankfully, a comforting connection between cause and effect, between deliberate actions and their consequences, which makes life substantially less terrifying and, I think, accounts for everyone's eagerness to find ways in which this simply couldn't happen to them.

And it works, most of the time. You make good choices, prudent choices, responsible choices, and the results follow. The kids who get in trouble are the ones you think will get in trouble. The girls who are fast don't slow down. Treadmills make you healthier.

Goldberg should have lived on to change the way people think of powerful men and women. He should have lived to make sure Sheryl's great talents aren't undersold. He should have lived to be there, holding her hand, as he was in so many pictures of the two of them at business meetings together. He should have lived, period.

The comments sections on Goldberg's death are already full of snarlings about whether we can stop "leaning in" now that Dave is gone, and whether Sheryl can or should, as if any of that is anyone's business but hers right now. Blather. Those pictures of him holding her hand — those will be emblems for future generations, if not for the once-so-lucky girl who looks so happy.


  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 531

Pat Buchanan - Killer cops or malicious prosecutor?

Who killed Freddie Gray?

According to Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, Freddie was murdered in a conspiracy of six cops who imprisoned him in a police van and there assaulted and killed him. The killer was African-American officer Caesar Goodson, driver of the van, who, with a "depraved heart," murdered Freddie.

This is a summation of the charges against six Baltimore cops made Friday by Mosby, as she ranted into the TV cameras: "To the people of Baltimore, and the demonstrators across America: I heard your call for 'No justice, no peace.' ... To the youth of this city: I will seek justice on your behalf. ... This is your moment. ... You're at the forefront of this cause and as young people, our time is now."

Mosby has cast herself as the avenging angel of those clamoring for retribution. But unless she has far more evidence than has been revealed, Mosby is talking a stronger hand than her cards are showing on the table.

For consider the captivity of Freddie Gray, step by step.

Making contact with a cop at 8:39 in the morning, Freddie fled, was caught with a knife, and put in a police van that made four stops.

On the first, the cops lifted Freddie off the floor and sat him down. On the second and third, they looked in on him again. On the fourth, they had detoured to pick up another prisoner.

Mosby is charging that not only did the cops willfully ignore Freddie's cries for help, but also the driver deliberately handled the van in so reckless a manner as to inflict a fatal injury, the severing of his spine.

But where is the evidence for any of this?

True, as Freddie had a legal knife, he had committed no crime and should not have been arrested. And the cops should have used the seat belt in the van to buckle in Freddie. But those are police failings, not police felonies. And while Freddie should have been taken sooner to a hospital, did the cops know how badly injured he was? How could they have known — if they had done nothing to injure him?

And when and how was Freddie's spinal cord severed? There appears thus far no evidence that five of the cops did anything to cause this. And no evidence has been brought forward that Goodson tried to injure Freddie by giving him "a rough ride".

The Washington Post reported that the second prisoner said that on the final leg of the trip to the police station, Freddie was thrashing around, possibly injuring himself.

Consider. In the Rodney King case, where there was film of his extended beating with billy clubs, a Simi Valley jury refused to convict any of the four cops. In Ferguson, Michael Brown sustained half a dozen gunshot wounds. Yet officer Darren Wilson was not indicted.
On Staten Island, 350-pound Eric Garner was seen on film being taken down by five cops in an arrest that led to his death, but none of the cops was indicted.

And there is far less visible evidence of any police crime in the case of Freddie Gray than in any of those three incidents.

The heart of the case against all six is that they denied Freddie the medical treatment needed to save his life. But where is the proof the officers knew how gravely injured he was, that he was in danger of death?

By going on national television and ordering the arrest of the six officers on charges that could mean the rest of their lives in prison, Mosby may have stopped the riots and calmed the crowds in Baltimore. But she has kicked this can right up the road into 2016. For what is coming is predictable.

Thus far, Freddie Gray has been portrayed by the media as the victim of brutal vigilante cops. But, soon, those six officers are going to be seen as flesh-and-blood cops who may have blundered in not seeing the extent of Freddie's injuries, but who are being railroaded by a malicious prosecutor pandering to an angry mob calling for vengeance.

While we have seen film of the arrest of Freddie Gray and his placement in that van, film that is inconclusive, what we are going to hear now is the other side of the story, the cops' side. From now on, they will be the underdogs, and Americans love underdogs.

A nation already riveted by the Freddie Gray episode, already divided, will become more so, as we move toward the indictments, the trials and the verdicts.

In our deepening political divide, the left invokes the narrative that black males are all too often terribly treated by brutal cops, while the right sees tough policing as having cut crime to more tolerable levels and cops as the thin blue line between them and anarchy.

The battle lines have been drawn upon which the "War On Cops" issue will be fought out in 2016.

As Pete Seeger sang, "Which side are you on?"

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 486

Michelle Malkin - Bilious Baltimore Babble

It's never enough. American taxpayers have surrendered billions and billions and billions of dollars to the social-justice-spender-in-chief. But it's never, ever enough.

The latest paroxysm of urban violence, looting, and recriminations in Baltimore prompted President Obama on Tuesday to trot out his frayed Blame The Callous, Tight-Fisted Republicans card. After dispensing with an obligatory wrist-slap of toilet paper-and Oreo-filching "protesters" who are burning Charm City to the ground (he hurriedly changed it to "criminals and thugs" mid-word), the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner got down to his usual business: hectoring his political opponents and grousing that America hasn't forked over enough money for him to make the "massive investments" needed to "make a difference right now".

If we are "serious" about preventing more riots, the president declared, then "the rest of us" (translation: all of us stingy conservatives) have to make sure "we are providing early education" and "making investments" so that inner-city youths are "getting the training they need to find jobs".

Narcissus on the Potomac wheedled that "there's a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now." Me, me, me! His laundry list of the supposedly underfunded cures that he can't get through Congress includes "school reform," "job training" and "some investments in infrastructure" to "attract new businesses".

I'll give POTUS credit: He can lay it on thicker than a John Deere manure spreader.

Let's talk "massive investments," shall we?

In 2009, Obama and the Democrats rammed the $840 billion federal stimulus package through Capitol Hill under the guise of immediate job creation and economic recovery. An estimated $64 billion went to public school districts; another nearly $50 billion went for other education spending. This included $13 billion for low-income public school kids; $4.1 billion for Head Start and childcare services; $650 million for educational technology; $200 million for working college students; and $70 million for homeless children.

How's that all working out? Last week, economists from the St. Louis Federal Reserve surveyed more than 6,700 education stimulus recipients and concluded that for every $1 million of stimulus grants to a district, a measly 1.5 jobs were created. "Moreover, all of this increase came in the form of nonteaching staff," the report found, and the "jobs effect was also not statistically different from zero."

More than three-quarters of the jobs "created or saved" in the first year of the stimulus were government jobs, while roughly 1 million private sector jobs were forestalled or destroyed, according to Ohio State University.

President Obama later admitted "there was no such thing" as "shovel-ready projects." But there were plenty of pork-ready recipients, from green energy billionaires to union bosses to Democratic campaign finance bundlers. About $230 billion in porkulus funds was set aside for infrastructure projects, yet less than a year later, Obama was back asking for another $50 billion to pour down the infrastructure black hole.
In 2010, President Obama signed the so-called Edujobs bill into law — a $26 billion political wealth redistribution scheme paying back Big Labor for funding Democratic congressional campaigns. A year later, several were spending on the money to plug budget shortfalls instead of hiring teachers. Other recipients received billions despite having full educational payrolls and not knowing what to do with the big bucks.

In 2012, with bipartisan support, Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act "to encourage startups and support our nation's small businesses."

In July 2014, with bipartisan support, Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to "help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy." (Never mind that a GAO review of the feds' existing 47 job-training programs run by nine different agencies "generally found the effects of participation were not consistent across programs, with only some demonstrating positive impacts that tended to be small, inconclusive or restricted to short-term impacts.")

In December 2014, the White House unveiled nearly $1 billion in new "investments" to "expand access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in America" from "birth and continuing to age 5."

That's all on top of the $6 billion government-funded national service and education initiative known as the SERVE America Act, which was enacted less than a month after the nearly $1 trillion stimulus with the help of a majority of Big Government Senate Republicans. The SERVE America Act included $1.1 billion to increase the investment in national service opportunities; $97 million for Learn and Serve America Youth Engagement Zones; and nearly $400 million for the Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund.

The "social innovation" slush fund was intended to "create new knowledge about how to solve social challenges in the areas of economic opportunity, youth development and school support, and healthy futures, and to improve our nation's problem-solving infrastructure in low-income communities." The biggest beneficiaries? Obama's progressive cronies.

Apparently, the richly funded "social innovators" haven't reached the looter-prone neighborhoods of Baltimore yet. But it's not ideologically bankrupt Obama's fault. It's ours.

(Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin is the daughter of Filipino Immigrants. She was born in Philadelphia, raised in southern New Jersey and now lives with her husband and daughter in Colorado. Her weekly column is carried by more than 100 newspapers.)

  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 769

Bob Meade - Beware

The essence of government is police power, the ability to enact and enforce laws. At the federal level, the Congress has been designated to write the legislation and the Executive, the president, has the responsibility to either sign it into law or to veto it. When a law has been signed, it then becomes the responsibility of the Executive Branch to ensure its compliance.

At the federal level, the laws deal with interstate and international issues, ensuring that commerce may proceed across state lines, and that violations of federal laws may be enforced by federal authorities. In the case of international issues the Legislative Branch has the responsibility to issue declarations of war and the Executive Branch is responsible to serve as commander in chief of the military. The Executive also has the responsibility for international relations and can make treaties with other governments, subject to the advice and consent of the Congress.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution provides that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people.

Shortly after he was first elected to the presidency, Mr. Obama made a statement on national television that he believed we needed a "national police force" equal in strength to our military. That statement, if it were to become implemented, would essentially destroy our form of government by usurping the most basic of states' rights, as it would put the definition and enforcement of laws in the hands of the federal government. The role of the states would be changed from serving the needs of the people to serving the federal government

During his tenure, we have seen a number of comments or steps taken by the president that makes one wonder if he is in fact working towards establishment of a national police force. For example, in the case of a black Harvard professor who had been away from his home, his neighbors called the police and reported that they believed the professor's house being broken into. When the police were dispatched they confronted a black man who appeared to be entering the house. The man became abusive towards the police and stated it was his house. The police demanded he show them proof of his identity. The professor took offense at that demand and the incident became a national issue. The president, before knowing any of the facts in the case, went on national television and stated that the "police acted stupidly".

In the Travon Martin case in Orlando, local authorities initiated their investigation of the case. The federal Justice Department appeared to influence the State of Florida's attorney general to also investigate that incident, and the Justice Department also opened an investigation. It became clear the state and federal cases essentially implied that the city's investigation would not be credible. And, as we all remember, the president went on national television to tell all that if he had a son, he would look like Travon Martin.

When the incident in Ferguson, Missouri, occurred, and the white officer shot the black man, both the president and the attorney general imposed themselves into the case. The attorney general went to Ferguson to meet with the family and the black community and told of how, in the past, he had been stopped and questioned by the police. He then went on to initiate a federal investigation. Neither the attorney general nor the president did anything to calm the situation, and the city erupted in flames. Even though many charges were leveled at the police and the prosecutor and other local officials, in the end, the investigations at both the local and federal levels showed that the shooting by the officer was justified.

Now, we all watch as Baltimore has erupted into riots and burning and looting, in response to the death of a black person who was injured and died while in police custody. While it appears that there may be some culpability on the part of the arresting officers, before an investigation could take place, the assumption of police guilt was leveled and the riots began. The mayor made a statement early on that the rioters needed to be given some room to carry out their freedom to destroy. The police essentially watched as the rioters pelted them with rocks and bricks, burned buildings and automobiles, broke into and looted stores, and moved freely from area to area to repeat the process. It appears there was a report that the White House encouraged the mayor towards the approach she took in dealing (or not) with the rioters. There are still questions as to why the National Guard was so late to the game, or whether there was some federal influence to go slow. In any event, the community that will be hurt the most is the one where the rioters reside, as needed stores that have been burned and looted may not be willing or able to re-open.

And now, protests and riots are being orchestrated in major cities across the country.

The question before us is this . . . are these riotous incidents being orchestrated so that the president can fulfill his desire to have a "national police force"? If so, say goodbye to our local and state government structures . . . say goodbye to a government of, by, and for the people.

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 658

Susan Estrich - Summer in the city

What is a major league baseball game without any fans there to cheer? No one selling hot dogs, no one hawking programs, no need for any ushers. Welcome to Baltimore, where the first two games of a three-game series were postponed and the third was played with no people, lest what should be a sporting event degenerate into a race riot.

And so, in the spring of 2015, we add Baltimore to the list that seems to have started with George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch killer, and then the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, with police on watch across the country.

I was a kid in the summer of 1968, but I remember sitting in front of the television, literally shocked that my country seemed to be on fire on hot nights. But that was 1968.

I remember pulling down all the shades in my house, as they told us to on television, and huddling with my 2-year-old baby as we complied with the curfews that were imposed after the Rodney King riots. But that was 1992.

How can this be happening now? We have an African-American president, we had African-American attorney general, now succeeded by the first African-American woman attorney general, not to mention an African-American head of Homeland Security. And yet, the level of suspicion and distrust, the huge perception gaps between blacks and whites, the fear you can almost feel and touch making clear that race relations, so perfect at the top when we see our magnificent "First Couple", have hardly changed for the less fortunate.

And there is the rub. The rich have gotten richer. The poor have not. White boys with clever ideas parade on television talking about the billions they have made. Sometimes it even rubs me wrong, and who am I to complain?

How would I feel if I were a boy that same age, who never had the chance to make a legal dollar from a decent job, let alone billions based on skills they don't teach in lousy inner-city public schools. Probably very angry, I would guess. My son has been on the computer since nursery school. How many of the young men in the back of police cars had that opportunity? Technology, which so many of us hoped would bring us together and provide access to learning and information that so many lack, has created a gap of its own.
In 1968, police departments were overwhelmingly white, and those who were arrested were disproportionately black. Many of these departments were sued, and rightly so, for arresting ministers and the church handyman and even the almost all-white high school's star black quarterback. Courts ordered reforms, new tests, goals; police departments today are significantly more diverse than they were 40 years ago. Community policing, which was popularized in the 1980s, is just a fancy way of saying that the police were supposed to work hand-in-hand with the community — not only to reflect the community demographically, but to know the difference between the star quarterback and a drug dealer from the other side of town. They don't look alike.

It reminds me of a lesson I learned from the honorable Harry Edwards, now a senior judge on the Court of Appeals in Washington, but back in the '80s, a visiting professor at Harvard. "How do you like it here?" I remember asking him. He sighed. Boston in the '80s was still reeling from the ugly failure of busing to achieve integration. "At Fenway Park," he said sadly, "they don't know that you teach at Harvard."

No. And as one mother explained to me, when white kids wear "street clothes", no one thinks they're gang members. Not so for her son. She dressed him like a white preppy kid, not because she favored the style, but because she hoped it would be safer.

The last thing we need is a summer of racial violence. If you can't remember the summer of 1968, take it from me. Barack Obama ran on "change". It is proving to be harder than any of us once thought.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

  • Category: Columns
  • Hits: 583