Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Political Digest for December 14, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Judge Voids Key Element of Obama Health Care Law
Excerpt: A federal district judge in Virginia ruled on Monday that the keystone provision in the Obama health care law is unconstitutional, becoming the first court in the country to invalidate any part of the sprawling act and ensuring that appellate courts will receive contradictory opinions from below. appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, declined the plaintiff’s request to freeze implementation of the law pending appeal, meaning that there should be no immediate effect on the ongoing rollout of the law. But the ruling is likely to create confusion among the public and further destabilize political support for legislation that is under fierce attack from Republicans in Congress and in many statehouses. In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

Key Provision of Health Care Law Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules
Excerpt: In a major blow to the White House, a federal judge in Virginia ruled Monday that a key provision of the new national health care reform law is unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson said that forcing individuals to purchase health insurance was in violation of the Constitution's "commerce clause," The Washington Post reported. The courts cannot enforce the law's requirement that Americans be fined if they don't have health insurance by 2014, the judge said in a 42-page opinion. "Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market," Hudson wrote. "In doing so, enactment of the [individual mandate] exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I [of the Constitution.]" (Here’s one for the Gipper. Ron P.)

Funny response on Clinton doing the press conference while Obama went to a party: “I got it! Clinton is Obama's new President Czar!”

Christians Forced To Leave Bandung ‘Worship Houses’
Excerpt: Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) members were forced out of a residential complex in Bandung on Sunday after hundreds of Islamists accused them of illegally using homes for religious activities. Around 300 protesters, including members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Islamic Reform Movement (Garis), marched to the Bumi Rancaekek Kencana complex and demanded that HKBP residents in seven houses leave the premises. Four of the houses were located along Jalan Teratai Raya, while three were on Jalan Gradiul.

The Lesson of the Tax Deal and the Deficit: Teach Your Kids Chinese
Excerpt: At the moment, total federal revenues are 15% of GDP, well below their historic level of 18%. There is no one in D.C. who believes that federal spending can get down to 15% of GDP. It is now at about 25%, 5% more than when Obama came into office. If entitlement spending is not contained, the country will go broke in short order, and the Greek/Irish/Icelandic solution -- sharply lower federal spending and increased taxation producing a lower standard of living -- will be forced on us by creditors. In other words, the government can produce a plan (as Paul Ryan has) and adopt it, giving the country the means to moderate government spending curve over time, or we can continue to push things down the road two years at a time until we are forced to adjust in a much more abrupt manner. Deficits matter, and politicians time and again refuse to address the issue. Both parties like to say they are serving the middle class. The Democrats do not want to be perceived as helping merely the poor, and the Republicans do not want to be seen as helping merely the rich. And both have to a large extent participated both in expanding middle-class entitlements and reducing tax rates for the middle class. And this is why it will be so hard to break the pattern. The middle class likes all the benefits and likes the lower tax rates, and the middle class constitutes most of the voters.

A really neat piece of hybrid organic semiconductor tech generates electricity from light or heat
Excerpt: Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced that it has developed a new hybrid energy harvesting device that generates electricity from either heat or light. With this single device, it is possible to derive energy from two separate sources, which previously could only be handled by combining individual devices. Furthermore, because the cost of the hybrid device is economical, this technology paves the way to the widespread use of highly efficient energy harvesting devices. The new technology has great potential in the area of energy harvesting, which converts energy from the surrounding environment to electricity. Since there is no need for electrical wiring or battery replacements, this development could enable the use of sensors in previously unserved applications and regions. It also has great potential for powering a variety of sensor networks and medical-sensing technologies. (If this can be made economically, and has a long useful life, all sorts of interesting possibilities open up. It would provide almost free electricity limited only by the size/quantity of the receptors. Ron P. Well, I tend to believe in TANSTAAFL in science as well as in politics and economics. ~Bob.)
Bush v. Gore, 10 Years On
Interesting review of the events. ~Bob. Excerpt: The passions that swirled around Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that ended 10 years ago Sunday, dissipated quickly. And remarkably little damage was done by the institutional collisions that resulted when control of the nation's supreme political office turned on 537 votes out of 5,963,110 cast in Florida. Many controversies concerned whether particular votes could be said to have been cast properly. Chads are those bits of paper that, when a ballot is properly cast by puncturing spots next to candidates' names, are separated from the ballot. In Florida, there were "dimpled" chads that were merely dented, and "hanging" chads not separated from the ballots. Furthermore, there were undervotes (ballots with no vote for president) and overvotes (votes for two presidential candidates) and ill-designed (by a Democrat) butterfly ballots.

The 'Islamophobia' Myth
"Is America Islamophobic?" When that provocative question appeared on the cover of Time in August, the accompanying story strained to imply, on the basis of some anecdotal evidence, that the answer might be yes. The FBI's latest compendium of US hate-crimes data suggests far more plausibly that the answer is no.

Opinion: Corporate Secrecy, Meet WikiLeaks
Excerpt: Reactive management of a company's reputation represents an outdated model of crisis communications -- one that certainly won't work in managing a WikiLeaks-type attack. It stems from a misguided belief that any bad news can be mitigated with enough messaging, calls for internal investigations and TV appearances where the CEO is seen in the heart of the action, making sure things are getting done, when they seemingly weren't before the mess. Compound that with the fact that the same crisis can resurface and be publicized months, or even years, later through a simple Internet search that has no ties to the messaging and appearances by the CEO. (The only sure method of avoiding blackmail is to have no secrets. Ron P. And the only answer is a blackmailer is, “Do your worst,” because once you pay he will bleed you dry. ~Bob.)

The U.S. Should Halt All Funding For U.N.'s 'Global Warming' Scam
Excerpt: The global warming prophets and propagandists, who enjoy living in style on other people's money, gathered last month in the plush resort of Cancun, Mexico, where January temperatures usually hover around 80 degrees. God must have a sense of humor because Cancun was hit by its coldest temperature in a hundred years. The first day of the conference featured an address from Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, who spoke with much concern about global warming and the damage that humans are perpetrating on the planet. He cited the deaths of 60 people in Mexico because of weather extremes, but didn't mention Mexico's 22,000 deaths caused by the illegal drug trade.

Real 'Change' Begins With Education
Excerpt: As Sowell says, "Barack Obama is unlike any other President of the United States in having come from a background of decades of associations and alliances with people who resent this country and its people." In 2008, Americans voted for Obama's change. Let's look at some of it.

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