Beltway Insider: Zimmerman Acquitted; Malala Address UN; House Paves Way to Cut Food Stamps; DHS Napolitano Resigns

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President Obama in a statement addressed the nation and called for calm in the wake of the verdict vindicating George Zimmerman of murdering Trayvon Martin and asked Americans to reflect and honor Martin’s memory.  

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, dropped a single percentage point to 46% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose a single percentage point to 46%.

George Zimmerman Acquitted in Death of Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman, the security guard accused of murdering Trayvon Martin, has been found not guilty of all charges by a Florida jury after sixteen hours of deliberation.

President Obama, falling short of calling the verdict a travesty of justice, issued this statement. “The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy.  Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America.  I know this case has elicited strong passions.  And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher.  But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.  I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.  And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.  We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.  We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this.  As citizens, that’s a job for all of us.  That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”

The trail which lasted a month, triggered many underlying race issues and captured the media’s attention and public’s obsession. The most damning evidence presented came from individuals who loved Trayvon Martin and through no fault of their own were deemed damaging due to external factors including education, lifestyle and skin tone.

Zimmerman maintained a self defense explanation for the February 26, 2012 shooting.  He was not initially charged with a crime. The failure by the local police authorities to hold any one accountable drew swift and strong condemnation from African American leaders and advocates and also highlighted an ongoing race expendability problem in America.

Zimmerman was eventually charged with second degree murder. At the end of the trial the jury was instructed to also consider manslaughter charges.

Zimmerman, 29, an non-white Hispanic, was appointed the neighborhood watch leader of the Florida sub-division that had recently experienced an increase in home invasions, burglaries and other crimes. At the time of the shooting, Martin, 17, an African American high school student, was visiting family in the gated community.

The underlying current of expendability, whether consciously or subconsciously, appeared to have played a predominate role in the trail. Socio-economic level, race, education, and stereotypes are all factors in cursory determinations.  

Malala Yousafzai Addresses United Nation

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban in October 2012 for attending school, spoke at the United Nations this week, on her 16th Birthday, urging leaders of the world to embrace education for all.

Yousafzai, dressed in the shawl worn by assassinated Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto, spoke eloquently for a just over seventeen minutes to a packed chamber that included the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, President of the General Assembly Vuk Keremic, Special Envoy to Global Education, Mr. Gordon Brown as well as a global youth contingency who listened intently as Yousafzai mesmerized all with her humility, poise and dedication.

“Malala Day is not my day,” stated Yousafzai.  “Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”

Left for dead after a Taliban extremist shot her in the head, Yousafzai stated “The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this; weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born. I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. My dreams are the same.”

Yousafzai, a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize, spoke clearly, “Today,” she stated, “I am focusing on women’s rights and girls’ education because they are suffering the most.”

The future world leader continued, “The wise saying, “’The Pen is mightier than the sword.”’ “It’s true, she stated. “The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them. “

Barely able to reach the microphone, Yousafzai stood on a platform, and proclaimed to the world “So let us wage a glorious struggle against literacy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are th e most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first. Thank you.”  

House Paves Way to Cut Food Stamps

The House of Representatives, last week, by a vote of 216-208 narrowly approved H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk management Act of 2013.

The White House was swift in response calling the bill “deeply, deeply flawed.” The passage allows the Bill to make its way to the Senate floor. The sequester squeeze is still in effect and tightening the grip on all domestic programs.

No House Democrats voted for the bill and it was also opposed by 12 House republicans. 80% of the Agricultural Budget is usually made of Nutritional Programs.

H.R. 2642 does not provide any nutritional supplements meaning the entire SNAP funding program is not included and was slashed. At this time, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programs /Food Stamps are included in the Agricultural department budget.

Jay Carney, White House press Secretary issued this statement regarding H.R. 2642. “The bill also fails to reauthorize nutrition programs, which benefit millions of Americans in rural, suburban and urban areas alike.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a cornerstone of our nation's food assistance safety net and should not be left behind as the rest of the Farm Bill advances.  If the President were presented with this bill, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill." 

There is a 5% chance of H.R.2642 being enacted and even less that the president will sign it.  

Janet Napolitano Resigns as Department of Homeland Security Secretary

Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, has tendered her resignation after over four years of service leading the Nation’s efforts to fight domestic terror.

No names have surfaced from the White House in the past week although Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has submitted New York City Police Chief Raymond Kelly as a possible replacement.

Napolitano has been responsible for guarding and ensuring the America people are safe from domestic threats. Although created after the 9-11 Terror Attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the DHS handles security issues associated with extreme weather emergencies, terror threats, the recent Boston Marathon Bombings, as well as border security.

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov 

Sources: Gallup, Wikipedia, Whitehouse.gov, United Nations

 

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