Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Silence around Ferguson

The Silence around Ferguson 
Sometimes, it seems, black lives don’t matter. 
Proteating the Ferguson grand jury decision in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
Deroy Murdock 
Millions of moms and dads will celebrate this Thanksgiving break with their kids. Alas, Michael Brown’s parents will mark this holiday without their late, world-famous son. That is a sad fact, whatever one thinks about the blazing controversy that has engulfed Ferguson, Mo.
Jermaine Jones’s family, too, will not share turkey and gravy with their son. On October 18, Jones, 29, stood with a few friends on a street in Berkeley, Mo., adjacent to Ferguson. Police say an unknown black male opened fire, killing Jones and wounding three other black men near him. (Strangely, Jones’s sister, Margaree Dixson, was shot fatally a half-mile away, just three hours earlier. In her case, too, police suspect yet another unidentified black man.)
“There’s too much violence going on,” Nicole Rice, Jones’s sister, toldKTVI. “I can’t sleep. I can’t think. I can’t work. I can’t do anything wondering if my son will be a victim to the streets.”
Why has Jones’s death not unleashed riots and looting? Simple: Jones was killed by a fellow black man. Therefore, his death and his loved ones’ agony generate silence.
As a St. Louis County grand jury ruled Monday, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28, lawfully shot Brown, 18, in self-defense last August 9. This decision has fueled widespread chaos, including arson in several cities and infernos in Ferguson that cremated 25 local businesses. The national outrage still is at full boil over this white cop shooting an unarmed black man who acted very aggressively after stealing cigars from a convenience store.
But one can hear birds chirp while listening for public outcry over the deaths of black citizens killed by black perpetrators. Somehow, these black lives don’t seem to matter.
Ferguson is within the St. Louis metropolitan area. The FBI’s latest homicide-ratedata ranked St. Louis as America’s fourth deadliest city. Its 38 killings per 100,000 residents in 2013 put it behind only Nos. 1 to 3, Detroit, New Orleans, and Newark.
Drawing on FBI figures and his own research, University of Missouri–St. Louis criminologist David A. Klinger counts 1,265 murders in his city from 2003 through 2012. Approximately 90 percent of those killed were black, reportsKlinger, a former LAPD officer. Among these 1,138 decedents, roughly 90 percent (1,025) were slain by other blacks. Klinger found 32 blacks killed by cops, with 22 of them shot dead by white officers. So, across 10 years, white cops killed a whopping 2 percent of St. Louis’s black homicide victims. Investigations indicated that all of these police killings were legally justified.​
“While I understand the people are concerned about the use of deadly force by the police, by far — about 50 to 1 — more blacks in St. Louis are killed by other blacks as compared to white police officers,” Klinger told KMOX-TV.
Meanwhile, 98 percent of black murders go virtually unremarked. Where are the angry crowds demanding justice for blacks such as these, who were wiped out in St. Louis by other blacks in recent memory?
• Willie Earl Reed, 54, faces first-degree murder charges for taking a baseball bat and beating to death his girlfriend, Delores Hundley, 64, on March 24.
• Dominic Arrington, 38, allegedly stabbed to death April Fields on January 28. The 25-year-old business student just had dropped her daughter Skylar, 3, at her day-care center. Arrington had been on parole since 2004 for the 1995 killing of his then-girlfriend’s son, also age 3.
• Carnez Winslett, 36, was gunned down outside his birthday party on September 7, 2013. Police say Darnell Hollings, 21, shot ten bullets at Winslett and his guests. Winslett was wounded mortally. Three other black men were struck, but survived. Hollings also is among four men charged with non-fatally striking hot-dog vendor Edward Newa in the skull with a ball-peen hammer that they just had shoplifted from a Home Depot that August 21.
“What about the poor black child who was killed by another black child?” former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani correctly asked on last Sunday’s Meet the Press. “Why aren’t you protesting that?”
Giuliani also told the Washington Post:
The danger to a black child in America is not a white police officer. That’s going to happen less than 1 percent of the time. The danger to a black child . . . is another black. . . . If my child were shot by a police officer, I would be very, very frustrated. I’d also be frustrated if my son were shot by a gangster in the street. But if the chances were — that my son would be shot by the gangster in the street — nine times out of ten, I’d spend an awful lot of time on the nine times out of ten.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports demonstrate that in 2013, 90 percent of black murder victims were killed by other blacks. Among whites, 83 percent of those snuffed out died at the hands of other whites. Only 8 percent of blacks who were killed that year were slain by whites. Black-on-white murders were just 14 percent of all white homicides last year.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn recently excoriated demonstrators who, predictably, rail against police shootings while ignoring black-on-black homicide. In a stirring statement to journalists, Flynn dramatically put all of this in perspective:
I was following developments with a 5-year-old little girl sitting on her dad’s lap who just got shot in the head by a drive-by shooting. And if some of the people here gave a good goddamn about the victimization of the people in this community by crime, I’d take some of their invective more seriously. . . . Now they know all about the last three people who’ve been killed by the Milwaukee Police Department over the course of the last several years. There’s not one of them that can name one of the last three homicide victims we’ve had in this city.​
Left-wing racial-grievance–mongers scream that bigoted white cops lie in wait around every corner, jonesing to blast black men into their graves. Yes, there are bad policemen, just as there are bad priests and bad teachers. However, the overwhelming majority of officers work tirelessly and thanklessly to shield law-abiding black Americans from their natural enemies: black murderers.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University

Cracking Down on Maine’s Welfare Reform

Cracking Down on Maine’s Welfare Reform 
Governor LePage reins in entitlement abuse, and the Obama administration objects. 

aine’s Republican governor won reelection largely on his welfare-reform agenda — and the federal government is not pleased.
Late last week, the Obama administration threatened to cut federal funding over one of Maine’s new anti-fraud measures, while the LePage administration began marketing its aggressive reform agenda to a national audience. Grab the popcorn.
Statewide reform in Maine was overdue; the state’s unemployment rate is a mere 5.6 percent, but one in five residents receives food-stamp benefits, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services reports. Meanwhile, fraud and abuse cost Maine an estimated $3.7 million every year.
With these sorts of statistics in mind, Governor Paul LePage and his gutsy DHHS commissioner Mary Mayhew have pursued provocative reforms.
Maine has already, among other efforts, doubled the number of fraud investigators; required drug tests for beneficiaries with drug-related felonies; tracked and blocked the use of cash benefits at casinos, liquor stores, and casinos; reinstated the work-requirement for long-term food-stamp collection; and put a five-year cap on cash benefits for able-bodied, non-elderly recipients.
To cut back on fraud and deter the trafficking of food-stamp and cash-assistance cards, Maine also launched a program in June to put photo IDs on all electric-benefits transfer (EBT) cards.
The federal government didn’t like that idea from the beginning. Even though New York and Massachusetts already require photo IDs on EBT cards, the Obama administration required Maine to submit extensive paperwork before doing the same. In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) askedMaine to delay its program, warning that the state was “at risk” of losing funds and facing litigation.
Maine pushed forward anyway, and today, more than 21,000 EBT holders have volunteered to participate in the photo-ID pilot program. So last week the federal government attacked again, sending a second strongly worded letter to the LePage administration.
According to the Obama administration’s latest screed, requiring photo IDs could have a “chilling effect” on enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and constitutes a possible civil-rights violation. The letter reiterated that the Obama administration may withdraw some federal funding for Maine, though it did not specify an amount.
Instead of backing down in the face of federal opposition, Mayhew presented a hefty, 15-item wish list for federal reform of the food-stamp program at a group meeting for her counterparts in other states on Friday, a day after the USDA’s warning letter.
SNAP is “a critical safety-net program, but it lacks accountability for outcomes and clearly is vulnerable to significant fraud, waste, and abuse,” Mayhew tells NRO. Her proposed federal-level changes include a ban on the use of food stamps for soda and candy, as well as several measures to expand the amount of transaction data available to state officials and to crack down on fraud and abuse.
Mayhew says her counterparts in several other states have already expressed “significant support, agreement that this is a program that has expanded beyond the core intent as a safety net or work-support program.” Food-stamp usage “has quadrupled in cost nationally since 2001; it has doubled in cost since 2008 nationally. There is significant interest among a number of my counterparts for access to the data around what is being purchased with food stamps, to analyze how much soda versus milk is being purchased. This just screams for increased transparency, for greater accountability.”
Mayhew has forwarded her 15-point suggestions for food-stamp reform to Maine’s congressional delegates, and she tells NRO she intends to follow up with them soon. Meanwhile, her DHHS is gearing up to propose further state-level changes.
As NRO has reported before, Maine’s welfare reforms have already shown great success. Usage of cash benefits has dropped by 54 percent since LePage took office, while food-stamp spending decreased by $5.7 million. The LePage administration’s reforms also have a strong job-training and job-placement component, making the state more economically competitive in the long term.
No wonder the Obama administration is peeved. Nationwide, it’s worked hard to expand the number of Americans on the public doles. The last thing it wants is a contagion of Maine’s smart welfare-reform policies. The latest round of federal opposition isn’t about Maine’s EBT requirements; it’s about containment. So expect a good tussle for months to come.
— Jillian Kay Melchior is a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity and a Senior Fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ex-CBS reporter’s book reveals how liberal media protects Obama

Ex-CBS reporter’s book reveals how liberal media protects Obama

Sharyl Attkisson is an unreasonable woman. Important people have told her so.
When the longtime CBS reporter asked for details about reinforcements sent to the Benghazi compound during the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack, White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor replied, “I give up, Sharyl . . . I’ll work with more reasonable folks that follow up, I guess.”
Another White House flack, Eric Schultz, didn’t like being pressed for answers about the Fast and Furious scandal in which American agents directed guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords. “Goddammit, Sharyl!” he screamed at her. “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”
Two of her former bosses, CBS Evening News executive producers Jim Murphy and Rick Kaplan, called her a “pit bull.”
That was when Sharyl was being nice.
Now that she’s no longer on the CBS payroll, this pit bull is off the leash and tearing flesh off the behinds of senior media and government officials. In her new memoir/exposé “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington” (Harper), Attkisson unloads on her colleagues in big-time TV news for their cowardice and cheerleading for the Obama administration while unmasking the corruption, misdirection and outright lying of today’s Washington political machine.

‘Not until the stock split’

Calling herself “politically agnostic,” Attkisson, a five-time Emmy winner, says she simply follows the story, and the money, wherever it leads her.
In nearly 20 years at CBS News, she has done many stories attacking Republicans and corporate America, and she points out that TV news, being reluctant to offend its advertisers, has become more and more skittish about, for instance, stories questioning pharmaceutical companies or car manufacturers.
Working on a piece that raised questions about the American Red Cross disaster response, she says a boss told her, “We must do nothing to upset our corporate partners . . . until the stock splits.” (Parent company Viacom and CBS split in 2006).
Meanwhile, she notes, “CBS This Morning” is airing blatant advertorials such as a three-minute segment pushing TGI Fridays’ all-you-can-eat appetizer promotion or four minutes plugging a Doritos taco shell sold at Taco Bell.
Reporters on the ground aren’t necessarily ideological, Attkisson says, but the major network news decisions get made by a handful of New York execs who read the same papers and think the same thoughts.
Often they dream up stories beforehand and turn the reporters into “casting agents,” told “we need to find someone who will say . . .” that a given policy is good or bad. “We’re asked to create a reality that fits their New York image of what they believe,” she writes.
Reporting on the many green-energy firms such as Solyndra that went belly-up after burning through hundreds of millions in Washington handouts, Attkisson ran into increasing difficulty getting her stories on the air. A colleague told her about the following exchange: “[The stories] are pretty significant,” said a news exec. “Maybe we should be airing some of them on the ‘Evening News?’ ” Replied the program’s chief Pat Shevlin, “What’s the matter, don’t you support green energy?”
Says Attkisson: That’s like saying you’re anti-medicine if you point out pharmaceutical company fraud.
A piece she did about how subsidies ended up at a Korean green-energy firm — your tax dollars sent to Korea! — at first had her bosses excited but then was kept off the air and buried on the CBS News Web site. Producer Laura Strickler told her Shevlin “hated the whole thing.”

‘Let’s not pile on’

Attkisson mischievously cites what she calls the “Substitution Game”: She likes to imagine how a story about today’s administration would have been handled if it made Republicans look bad.
In green energy, for instance: “Imagine a parallel scenario in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney personally appeared at groundbreakings for, and used billions of tax dollars to support, multiple giant corporate ventures whose investors were sometimes major campaign bundlers, only to have one (or two, or three) go bankrupt . . . when they knew in advance the companies’ credit ratings were junk.”
Attkisson continued her dogged reporting through the launch of ObamaCare: She’s the reporter who brought the public’s attention to the absurdly small number — six — who managed to sign up for it on day one.
“Many in the media,” she writes, “are wrestling with their own souls: They know that ObamaCare is in serious trouble, but they’re conflicted about reporting that. Some worry that the news coverage will hurt a cause that they personally believe in. They’re all too eager to dismiss damaging documentary evidence while embracing, sometimes unquestioningly, the Obama administration’s ever-evolving and unproven explanations.”
One of her bosses had a rule that conservative analysts must always be labeled conservatives, but liberal analysts were simply “analysts.” “And if a conservative analyst’s opinion really rubbed the supervisor the wrong way,” says Attkisson, “she might rewrite the script to label him a ‘right-wing’ analyst.”
In mid-October 2012, with the presidential election coming up, Attkisson says CBS suddenly lost interest in airing her reporting on the Benghazi attacks. “The light switch turns off,” she writes. “Most of my Benghazi stories from that point on would be reported not on television, but on the Web.”
Two expressions that became especially popular with CBS News brass, she says, were “incremental” and “piling on.” These are code for “excuses for stories they really don’t want, even as we observe that developments on stories they like are aired in the tiniest of increments.”
Hey, kids, we found two more Americans who say they like their ObamaCare! Let’s do a lengthy segment.

Friends in high places

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David RhodesPhoto: WireImage
When the White House didn’t like her reporting, it would make clear where the real power lay. A flack would send a blistering e-mail to her boss, David Rhodes, CBS News’ president — and Rhodes’s brother Ben, a top national security advisor to President Obama.
The administration, with the full cooperation of the media, has successfully turned “Benghazi” into a word associated with nutters, like “Roswell” or “grassy knoll,” but Attkisson notes that “the truth is that most of the damaging information came from Obama administration insiders. From government documents. From sources who were outraged by their own government’s behavior and what they viewed as a coverup.”
Similarly, though the major media can’t mention the Fast and Furious scandal without a world-weary eyeroll, Attkisson points out that the story led to the resignation of a US attorney and the head of the ATF and led President Obama to invoke for the first time “executive privilege” to stanch the flow of damaging information.
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Barack Obama works on a speech with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.Photo: Pete Souza/White House
Attkisson, who received an Emmy and the Edward R. Murrow award for her trailblazing work on the story, says she made top CBS brass “incensed” when she appeared on Laura Ingraham’s radio show and mentioned that Obama administration officials called her up to literally scream at her while she was working the story.
One angry CBS exec called to tell Attkisson that Ingraham is “extremely, extremely far right” and that Attkisson shouldn’t appear on her show anymore. Attkisson was puzzled, noting that CBS reporters aren’t barred from appearing on lefty MSNBC shows.
She was turning up leads tying the Fast and Furious scandal (which involved so many guns that ATF officials initially worried that a firearm used in the Tucson shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords might have been one of them) to an ever-expanding network of cases when she got an e-mail from Katie Couric asking if it was OK for Couric to interview Eric Holder, whom Couric knew socially, about the scandal. Sure, replied Attkisson.
No interview with Holder aired but “after that weekend e-mail exchange, nothing is the same at work,” Attkisson writes. “The Evening News” began killing her stories on Fast and Furious, with one producer telling Attkisson, “You’ve reported everything. There’s really nothing left to say.”
Readers are left to wonder whether Holder told Couric to stand down on the story.

No investigations

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New “CBS Evening News” host Scott PelleyPhoto: AP
Attkisson left CBS News in frustration earlier this year. In the book she cites the complete loss of interest in investigative stories at “CBS Evening News” under new host Scott Pelley and new executive producer Shevlin.
She notes that the program, which under previous hosts Dan Rather, Katie Couric and Bob Schieffer largely gave her free rein, became so hostile to real reporting that investigative journalist Armen Keteyian and his producer Keith Summa asked for their unit to be taken off the program’s budget (so they could pitch stories to other CBS News programs), then Summa left the network entirely.
When Attkisson had an exclusive, on-camera interview lined up with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the YouTube filmmaker Hillary Clinton blamed for the Benghazi attacks, CBS News president Rhodes nixed the idea: “That’s kind of old news, isn’t it?” he said.
Sensing the political waters had become too treacherous, Attkisson did what she thought was an easy sell on a school-lunch fraud story that “CBS This Morning” “enthusiastically accepted,” she says, and was racing to get on air, when suddenly “the light switch went off . . . we couldn’t figure out what they saw as a political angle to this story.”
The story had nothing to do with Michelle Obama, but Attkisson figures that the first lady’s association with school lunches, and/or her friendship with “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King, might have had something to do with execs now telling her the story “wasn’t interesting to their audience, after all.”
A story on waste at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, planned for the CBS Weekend News, was watered down and turned into a “bland non-story” before airing: An exec she doesn’t identify who was Shevlin’s “number two,” she says, “reacted as if the story had disparaged his best friend. As if his best friend were Mr. Federal Government. ‘Well, this is all the states’ fault!’ . . . he sputtered.”
Meanwhile, she says, though no one confronted her directly, a “whisper campaign” began; “If I offered a story on pretty much any legitimate controversy involving government, instead of being considered a good journalistic watchdog, I was anti-Obama.”
Yet it was Attkisson who broke the story that the Bush administration had once run a gun-walking program similar to Fast and Furious, called Wide Receiver. She did dozens of tough-minded stories on Bush’s FDA, the TARP program and contractors such as Halliburton. She once inspired a seven-minute segment on “The Rachel Maddow Show” with her reporting on the suspicious charity of a Republican congressman, Steve Buyer.
Attkisson is a born whistleblower, but CBS lost interest in the noise she was making.

‘They’ll sacrifice you’

Ignoring Attkisson proved damaging to CBS in other ways. When a senior producer she doesn’t identify came to her in 2004 bubbling about documents that supposedly showed then-President George W. Bush shirked his duties during the Vietnam War, she took one look at the documents and said, “They looked like they were typed by my daughter on a computer yesterday.”
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Former President George W. BushPhoto: EPA
Asked to do a followup story on the documents, she flatly refused, citing an ethics clause in her contract. “And if you make me, I’ll have to call my lawyer,” she said. “Nobody ever said another word” to her about reporting on the documents, which turned out to be unverifiable and probably fake.
After Pelley and Shevlin aired a report that wrongly tarnished reports by Attkisson (and Jonathan Karl of ABC News) on how the administration scrubbed its talking points of references to terrorism after Benghazi, and did so without mentioning that the author of some of the talking points, Ben Rhodes, was the brother of the president of CBS News, she says a colleague told her, “[CBS] is selling you down the river. They’ll gladly sacrifice your reputation to save their own. If you don’t stand up for yourself, nobody will.”
After reading the book, you won’t question whether CBS News or Attkisson is more trustworthy.

A Moral, Not Racial, Divide over Ferguson

A Moral, Not Racial, Divide over Ferguson 
The issue is whether there is objective truth, or just relative judgments. 
Protesters carry an inverted American flag in Ferguson, Mo.

Dennis Prager 
As protests and riots ensue in Ferguson and elsewhere after a grand jury in Missouri decided not to indict the white officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, a black teenager, a little moral clarity is called for.
For decades now, we have been told that there is a black–white divide regarding how members of each race perceive racial matters in America. The problem with this belief that is that it renders moral judgment — of white police, of black crime and black incarceration rates, of white judges and jurors, and of black riots and protests — impossible.
It is, we are told over and over, all about “perceptions,” a “black-white divide” in the way each race perceives racial matters. This is how it works:
Many blacks see racism almost everywhere — especially in arrest, conviction, and incarceration rates, and in white police interactions with blacks. On the other hand, whites (specifically, whites who are not on the left) think that white racism has largely been conquered, and therefore blacks’ disproportionately high arrest and conviction rates are the result of black behavior – particularly the high out-of-wedlock birth rate that has deprived the great majority of black children of fathers – not white racism.
According to the “black–white divide” way of thinking, these are simply two conflicting perceptions.
It is difficult to overstate how damaging this is. It denies the very existence of the two pillars of civilization — objective truth and moral truth.
For every black and every white unwilling to condemn the protests over Michael Brown’s killing that took place before any relevant facts came out, their half-hearted condemnation of the riots notwithstanding, truth doesn’t matter. The protests, riots, and liberal condemnations of the white officer began when no one knew anything about the killing.
There is, then, some validity to this notion of blacks and whites’ having different perceptions. But when the truth is knowable, one of the “perceptions” has to be wrong. Two distinct ethnic or cultural groups may have different perceptions of musical beauty or of what foods they like. But this is not the case regarding truth, which is based on facts. In Ferguson, either the black (and left-wing whites’) “perception” is not truth-based or the other side’s “perception” isn’t.
Once the facts come out, we are no longer speaking of “perceptions.” We are speaking of truth and falsehood.
The other victim of this “black–white divide” explanation is moral truth.
If the truth here accords with what the police officer said, he did not commit an immoral act when he shot Michael Brown. On the other hand, if he shot the young man for no good reason, he committed an immoral act.
But according to the it’s-all-a-matter-of-perceptions view, there is no moral truth, only black perceptions and white perceptions.
This all accords with the Left’s views of truth and morality. Neither exists. Visit any university to confirm this.
The Left is philosophically deconstructionist. Shakespeare doesn’t say what he wrote; Shakespeare says what the reader perceives. The notion of “original intent” as applied to the Constitution is, to the Left, farcical. We cannot know the original intent. It’s all a matter of individual perception — or, more precisely, the perception of different socioeconomic classes, different genders, and different races.
And, of course, for the Left there is no moral truth. Morality is entirely subjective. “Good” and “evil” are individual or societal preferences. Nothing more, nothing less.
Like truth, morality is just a perception, one determined by an individual’s race, gender, and/or class. That is why, for the Left, no man can judge any abortion, no matter how late in pregnancy and no matter the reason — because men do not possess a uterus.
So who are you, white man, to condemn black protests? You have your perceptions and they have theirs. What you have to do is what the Los Angeles Times did during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, during which 53 people died as a result of black rioting, including 41 by shooting, four in fires, three by beating, and two in stabbings. The Times titled its special section each day of the riots “Understanding the Riots.”
So, with riots following the Ferguson’s grand-jury decision, we know how to behave: no judgment, just understanding. After all, there is no truth, there are only perceptions.
— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at

What an Intact Family Has to Do with the American Dream, in Six Charts

What an Intact Family Has to Do with the American Dream, in Six Charts
What's happening to the American family and why it matters
By W. Bradford Wilcox & Robert I. Lerman

Friday, November 28, 2014

No Illegal Alien Left Behind

No Illegal Alien Left Behind
Obama’s executive action is sweeping, but Congress can regain some control over the process.
By Jessica Vaughan