May 14, 2024

Tuesday: Below the Fold

Cohen testifies, Menendez trial begins, DEI dies at UNC, congregants stop church shooter, and more.


  • Convicted perjurer Cohen testifies: Donald Trump’s former fixer took to the witness stand yesterday in the trial without a crime, the trial about a perfectly legal — albeit perfectly embarrassing, and that’s the point — nondisclosure payment to a money-grubbing porn star named Stormy Daniels. Michael Cohen, a convicted perjurer, a convicted felon, and Trump’s one-time attorney, testified about how Trump wanted to keep the sordid story of his alleged affair out of the headlines — imagine that! — until after the 2016 election. As the AP reports: “Cohen provided jurors with an insider’s account of payments to silence women’s claims of sexual encounters with Trump. In a stunning show of political support, the GOP front-runner is joined in court by an entourage of Republican leaders, including House Speaker Mike Johnson.” Increasingly, and in the wake of yet another round of awful polling, Stormy Daniels seems to be all Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats have. But today, Cohen, who one legal analyst called “the worst witness in the history of witnesses,” once again takes the witness stand, but this time he’s expected to come under a brutal cross-examination by Trump’s legal team. Mr. Cohen, were you lying then, or are you lying now?

  • Menendez corruption trial begins: Jury selection for the federal corruption trial of New Jersey Democrat Senator Bob Menendez started on Monday. Menendez is charged with getting kickbacks in the form of cash, gold, and a luxury car in exchange for political favors to three New Jersey businessmen and the governments of Egypt and Qatar. Menendez blamed his wife, Nadine, who is also on trial, and claimed that he has a practice of stockpiling cash as a “coping mechanism” he links to suffering “two significant traumatic events.” This is now the second corruption trial the New Jersey Democrat has faced as a senator. His first trial back in 2017 resulted in a non-decision due to a hung jury. This current trial is expected to last six to seven weeks. It remains to be seen whether or not Menendez will testify.

  • Home prices skyrocket: The price of homes has risen 47.1% since 2020. ResiClub notes that through the 1990s, home prices rose 30.1%, and prices rose by 44.7% over the decade of 2010s. However, the current price rise is similar to that of the 2000s, when prices rose 47.3% before the housing market crash in 2007. There are several factors for today’s rising home prices, but the biggest reason is supply and demand. There is a home shortage. The construction of new homes has not been able to keep up, thanks in part to the rising cost of construction materials. This home supply problem has been exacerbated by sustained high inflation, which the Fed has been combatting by raising interest rates. Homeowners who are locked in record-low mortgage rates of 3% or less are reluctant to sell and take on a new mortgage with an interest rate that is double their current rate. Redfin notes that median monthly housing payments have risen to $2,775, which is 11% higher than last year. Economist Ben Ayers observes, “Despite strong fundamentals for demand from demographics and a strong labor market, many first-time buyers are being shut out of the market by elevated financing rates and rising prices.”

  • DEI dies at UNC: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s board of trustees on Monday unanimously voted to eliminate the school’s “diversity, equity, and inclusion” programs. The $2.3 million UNC spent annually on DEI will now be budgeted for campus security. “My personal opinion,” explained Board Chairman David Boliek, “is that there’s administrative bloat in the university. Any cuts in administration and diverting of dollars to rubber-meets-the-road efforts like public safety and teaching is important.” The recent anti-Israel protest at UNC that was countered by patriot frat boys who protected the American flag was not the impetus for the trustees’ decision, according to Boliek. Still, it likely helped make the decision easier.

  • FL sues Biden for forcing gender-bending surgeries on kids: Last week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit alleging that the Biden administration is forcing healthcare providers in the Sunshine State to provide gender-bending treatment to minors in violation of state law. The lawsuit accuses the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of creating a rule that “purports to override the state of Florida’s laws and regulations protecting the health and safety of its residents.” The lawsuit contends that HHS is “threatening the livelihoods” of doctors and healthcare providers who “refuse to provide experimental, sterilizing, ‘gender-change’ interventions” for individuals “suffering from psychological distress,” including minors. Florida accuses the Biden administration of seeking “to redefine the practice of medicine.”

  • Good news: Congregants stop church shooter: Churchgoers in a small Louisiana town stopped a teenager armed with a rifle from entering a church full of children on Saturday, where the service was being livestreamed. As NBC News reports: “Police were called to St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville, 20 miles south of Lafayette, at 10:35 a.m. when the 16-year-old suspect tried to get in via the back door. Around 60 children were inside the Catholic church at the time waiting to take their first Holy Communion, the church said. The church said in a statement that parishioners confronted the suspect and took him outside before calling the police.” It makes one uneasy just to consider the possible outcome if alert- and action-oriented congregants had not confronted the young man. “While we realize this was a frightening experience for those in attendance,” said the church in a statement, “we are incredibly grateful to both parishioners and police officers for acting quickly to ensure the safety of all.” Going forward, the church says it plans to have uniformed law enforcement officers outside its Masses from now on.

  • Choice means only one choice: Lest anyone think Trump-hating New York Attorney General Letitia is resting our her laurels, having made good on her promise to persecute the former president, she recently showed that she still has plenty of fight in her. Unfortunately, she’s picking all the wrong fights. As The Federalist reports, James, “who has a history of using lawfare to target people who want to protect unborn babies, is furthering her campaign against pro-lifers by suing nearly a dozen pregnancy centers for offering women abortion pill reversals.” Abortion is essentially the only issue Democrats can run on because it’s the only issue on which they’re outpolling Republicans. But still. As the Reverend Jim Harden, CEO of CompassCare, said, “Based on NY AG Letitia James’ irresponsible record of protecting big abortion, it appears that her lawsuit against us is a smokescreen to obscure the rampant malpractice and fraud that is the chemical abortion industry ahead of an anticipated June Supreme Court decision on that very subject.” It also reveals that Democrats view the “choice” as a single option.

  • Marshall debates Pelosi on populism: On April 25, a debate took place at the world’s most storied debating place, the Oxford Union. There in England, at the oldest English-speaking university in the world, former Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi locked horns with Winston Marshall, a former Mumford and Sons band member who was canceled some three years ago for having had the audacity to tweet his support for independent journalist Andy Ngo, author of the book Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. Marshall now hosts a podcast, and he spoke in opposition to the debate topic, “This House Believes Populism is a Threat to Democracy.” While Pelosi trotted out the usual tropes about populism being little more than cleverly packaged racism and ethnonationalism, Marshall said: “Populism is not a threat to democracy. Populism is democracy. And why else have universal suffrage if not to keep elites in check?” In closing, he said: “The threat to democracy comes from those who write off ordinary people as deplorable. … All that needs to be done is for elites to start listening to, respecting, and, God forbid, working for ordinary people.”


  • Secretary Blinken throws a tantrum over Israel (Townhall)

  • Jen Psaki retracts lie that Biden didn’t check watch during transfer of servicemen’s bodies killed in Afghanistan (PM)

  • Investigative report exposes NGOs that have made billions on the border crisis since Biden took office (Not the Bee)

  • A new U.S. government scaremongering study claims that up to a quarter of urban air pollution is from cooking food (Not the Bee)

  • U.S. autoworkers union seeks tough victory at Mercedes plant in Alabama (NBC News)

  • House GOP looks to cement law-and-order platform during National Police Week (Washington Examiner)

  • Mississippi governor signs bill banning men from women’s bathrooms in public buildings (National Review)

  • Humor: College students announce indefinite hunger strike for Palestine between 10 AM and noon and also between 1 PM and 5 PM every day except for some light snacking (Babylon Bee)

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