August 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

EDITORIAL QUICK HITS

Not a phony IRS scandal

President Barack Obama continues to describe the growing evidence that the IRS intentionally targeted conservative groups as a phony scandal, this week urging congressional Republicans to “stop hatin’ ” and get to work on his agenda.

His mocking of the GOP came while a House investigation led by Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, was releasing the latest batch of emails from retired IRS official Lois Lerner, who was in charge of nonprofit applications during the time of the controversy.

Lerner, who has refused to testify before Congress, calls conservatives “---holes” and “crazies” in the emails, and frets about the damage they’re doing to the country.

It is increasingly apparent that Lerner was an ardent partisan who used her position to punish opponents of the president, and thus stifle free speech.

That’s not a phony scandal. It’s a serious affront to civil liberties. And it merits the attention of an independent prosecutor.

Fewer carjackings in Detroit

Detroit is making progress in its efforts to become a safer city.

Statistics show the crime rate is moving in the right direction — down.

Of particular note is that carjackings, which can turn violent and too often, deadly, are down 30 percent in 2014 from the same period last year.

Coupled with 37 percent fewer robberies and a drop of 22 percent in break-ins of businesses and homes, Detroiters can feel at least a little more comfortable. And so can visitors to Detroit.

Police Chief James Craig attributes the decreases to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns. Craig has been very vocal in urging residents to own a weapon.

He made national news in a cover story in the NRA publication America’s 1st Freedom because of his stance.

With police taking the offensive against crime and armed residents on the defensive, the figures should continue to go down.

Don't limit votes in Dearborn Heights

The Michigan Secretary of State will be investigating allegations of election discrimination in Dearborn Heights. Mayor Dan Paletko said the state office would also have an official monitor at the city’s primary election.

The action is a prudent response to the accusations by some Arab Americans living in the city who say they are being prevented from submitting absentee ballots for the primary election.

TheAmerican-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, an advocacy group, has claimed that, in some cases, city officials told residents ballots would be mailed to them, though the voters explained they would be overseas and unable to receive them.

Voting is a right guaranteed to all American citizens and is a valued basic tenant of our democratic system of government. To discriminate against one citizen is to discriminate against all of us.

That’s why it’s important that even the hint of misconduct be responded to quickly.