Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Political Digest for February 2, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Climate, they say, is what you expect. Weather is what you get. We are bracing for a major storm in the Chicago area. If power goes out, there will be no posts. I’m thinking of suing Al gore. He promised us Global warming. He was paid $100,000,000 for Global Warming. He can afford huge carbon-emitting mansions and cars thanks to Global Warming. And all we get is colder winters.

Does Crime Pay?
“In an economic model I developed back in the 1980s, I concluded that when time horizons shrink, the value of acting honestly diminishes, leading to economic collapse. With due respect to one’s Sunday School teacher, honesty is not always the best policy, if one’s goal is to get rich with the least amount of effort. Two forces normally dissuade even amoral egoists from cheating or stealing, especially in business. First, the fear of punishment. Second, the fear that a bad reputation will repel others from dealing with you in the future. But what if you do not care about the future? Crime goes up.” –Todd G. Buchholz. New Ideas From Dead Economists. P. 200. Plume, Penguin Group. 2007.

Jordan's king fires Cabinet amid protests
The rot spreads. Do you think if we had a big protest in DC, BO would sack his cabinet? ~Bob. Excerpt: Jordan's King Abdullah II, bowing to public pressure, fired his government on Tuesday and tasked a new prime minister with quickly boosting economic opportunities and giving Jordanians a greater say in politics. The country's powerful Muslim opposition, which had demanded the dismissal of Prime Minister Samir Rifai in several nationwide protests inspired by those in Tunisia and Egypt, said the changes didn't go far enough. Rifai, 45, who has been widely blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slow-moving political reforms, tendered his resignation early Tuesday to the king, who accepted it immediately, a Royal Palace statement said.

Obama Green-lighting Muslim Brotherhood Participation in Egyptian Government
Excerpt: Welcome to the new reality of cold, hard choices in Egypt, and the consequences of democracy in regions where radicalism thrives. In order to stay ahead of the crisis in Egypt, the Obama administration yesterday signaled that it supports the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian politics as long as they renounce violence and commit to democracy: The Obama administration said for the first time that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government. The organization must reject violence and recognize democratic goals if the U.S. is to be comfortable with it taking part in the government, the White House said. But by even setting conditions for the involvement of such nonsecular groups, the administration took a surprise step in the midst of the crisis that has enveloped Egypt for the last week. …Monday’s statement was a “pretty clear sign that the U.S. isn’t going to advocate a narrow form of pluralism, but a broad one,” said Robert Malley, a Mideast peace negotiator in the Clinton administration.

Exhilarated by the Hope in Cairo
Excerpt: These pro-democracy protesters say overwhelmingly that America is on the side of President Mubarak and not with them. They feel that way partly because American policy statements seem so nervous, so carefully calculated — and partly because these protesters were attacked with tear gas shells marked “made in U.S.A.” The upshot is that this pro-democracy movement, full of courage and idealism and speaking the language of 1776, wasn’t inspired by us. No, the Egyptians said they feel inspired by Tunisia — and a bit stymied by America. Everywhere I go, Egyptians insist to me that Americans shouldn’t perceive their movement as a threat. And I find it sad that Egyptians are lecturing Americans on the virtues of democracy. “We need your support,” pleaded Dr. Mahmood Hussein, a physiology professor. “We need freedom.” Ahmed Muhammad, a medical student, told me: “Egyptian people will not forget what Obama does today. If he supports the Egyptian dictator, the Egyptian people will never forget that. Not for 30 years.” The movement is snowballing. Protesters scorn what they see as baby steps toward reform by Mr. Mubarak, when they insist that he must make a giant leap — away from Egypt. As I see it, Mr. Mubarak’s only chance to stay in power is if he orders a violent crackdown, and if the Army obeys him. Neither is inevitable, but both, sadly, may still be possible. The mood was just as thrilling at Tiananmen before the soldiers opened fire in 1989. (The left still into that “Hope and Change” thing. Mubarak was as pro-American as an Arab could be (perhaps for the money, of course) and kept the peace with Israel. But what are friends of America for, if not to be abandoned when things get tough. See “Republic of Vietnam” whom we pledged to support. ~Bob.)

The Historic Dilemma in Egypt
Excerpt: Providing public and private support of President Hosni Mubarak and helping to keep some semblance of the status quo (perhaps in the form of an army-led regime) is likely to serve both our immediate geopolitical interests and our ability to shape that regime in the interest of the Egyptian people. Mr. Obama had a chance in 2009 to respond with strong support for Iran's Green Revolution - but his near silence crushed the hope of many young Iranians and surely aided (inadvertently) the hated enemy Iranian regime. Now the president risks getting it wrong in the other direction: undercutting a friendly regime by sincere but ill-considered support for a revolution that is more likely to result in a government adverse to our - and the Egyptian people's - interests. Note that a recent Pew poll of the Egyptian public disclosed that they preferred "Islamists" over "modernizers" by 59 percent to 27 percent (cited by Barry Rubin at the Gloria Center website). Instant democracy, anyone? Also, and importantly, if America undercuts its ally of 30 years, we would be seen as feckless - and thus we would undermine the value of our support for allies current and future. As Ari Shavit wrote in Israel's leading liberal paper, Haaretz, the failure to support Mr. Mubarak "symbolizes the betrayal of every strategic ally in the Third World. Throughout Asia, Africa and South America, leaders are now looking at what is going on between Washington and Cairo." "Everyone grasps the message: America's word is worthless; an alliance with America is unreliable; America has lost it.”

Watching Egypt Burn: An Israeli Perspective
Excerpt: A secular, even democratic government, however, could present its own problems. It could prove to be equally hostile to Israel, given the massive popular sentiment against the Jewish state on the Arab street. It could also take a far more active role in pressuring Israel on behalf of the Palestinians, in whom Mubarak was always largely uninterested. Where Mubarak merely made gestures toward solidarity with the Palestinians, a new secular government could well make the issue one of its primary concerns; if only to shore up its legitimacy at home and in the Arab world at large. Most important, however, is the simple fact that such a government, unlike Mubarak, will be an essentially unknown quantity. And should it prove to be even a vaguely liberal or democratic government, it will also be something for which Israel is completely unprepared. Israel has never had to deal with an Arab country that is similar in governance to itself. It may well take us some time — and time will be of the essence — to figure out how to respond to it. In many ways, real peace can be as traumatizing as war; it presents political, cultural, economic, and intellectual challenges that can be surprisingly daunting. No one should be shocked if, in the event of a best case scenario in Egypt, Israel spends some time in a state of more or less complete confusion.

The Economic Roots of Egypt's Revolt
Excerpt: Mr. Mubarak has resisted calls for political opening with the warning that Muslim fundamentalism would sweep through the land of the Nile. The world accepted Mr. Mubarak's rationale. Washington focused on the threat of Islamic radicalism and chose to nudge Mr. Mubarak gently rather than risk what he warned would happen if elections were open or expression allowed. Meanwhile, China ignored the dialectic in the West—which placed political opening at the top of societal imperatives—and plunged into an experiment of hypercharged economic development without political change. Its phenomenal success to date is impossible to refute, just as its future course is impossible to predict. But Egypt managed to forestall both paths, and its lesson is simple: You can have economic reform, or you can have political reform. You cannot have neither. What allows China to thrive for now (and Brazil and India and Indonesia, among many others) is that its citizens believe they have some control over their material lives and a chance to turn their dreams and ambitions into reality. They have an outlet for their passions that is not determined for them, and an increasing degree of economic freedom. The young in Egypt—two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30—believe that they have no future, and in many ways they are correct.

Clueless in Washington
Excerpt: If the [Mubarak] regime was the biggest problem, then certainly removing US support for it would make sense. However, the character of the protesters is not liberal. Indeed, their character is a bigger problem than the character of the regime they seek to overthrow. According to a Pew opinion survey of Egyptians from June 2010, 59 percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics. When this preference is translated into actual government policy, it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version. Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves. 84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion.

Egypt: The worst scenarios for the White House
Excerpt: The uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia caught the Obama administration almost completely off guard, and the White House is still struggling to keep pace with events a week after pro-democracy demonstrations first rocked Cairo. Besides the consequences for Egypt and the Mideast, the United States and the Obama administration have a lot riding on the resolution of the crisis. For a White House that likes to control the narrative — and map out contingencies — the nightmare scenarios are piling up. Here are some of them and why they won’t necessarily play out.

Grad rockets hit near Netivot, Ofakim
If they don’t fire a few rockets at children every week, people might forget they belong to a “Religion of Peace.” ~Bob. Excerpt: Tensions in Egypt appear to be spreading to Gaza: Grad rockets fired from the Hamas-ruled territory Monday night landed near the southern Israeli cities of Ofakim and Netivot. Also Monday, a Qassam rocket exploded in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported During the rocket attack on Netivot- the first attack on Israel since the mass protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began a week ago – four people suffered from shock, and damage was caused to a road and a parked car. The rocket landed near a residential neighborhood.

Israeli Humor
"Dear Egyptian rioters, please don't damage the pyramids. We will not rebuild. Thank you."

Outrage! Justice Dept 'culture of hostility' exposed by Civil Rights Commission
Excerpt: "[T]here was a culture of hostility within the [Justice] Department's Civil Rights Division to the race-neutral application of the nation's voting laws." - U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The United States Commission on Civil Rights released its interim report on Friday -- including statements by its commissioners -- on the implications of Attorney General Eric Holder's and the Justice Department's actions in the New Black Panther Party case: Race Neutral Enforcement of the Law? DOJ and the New Black Panther Party Litigation: An Interim Report. Unfortunately, the release of this disturbing report regarding apparent government corruption received minimal attention having been overshadowed by other news stories. The interim report has been submitted to President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress in keeping with a Commission statute that mandates the Commission "shall submit to the President and Congress at least one report annually that monitors Federal civil rights enforcement efforts in the United States." The New Black Panther Party investigation arose when two members of the Party wearing paramilitary uniforms, one of whom was carrying a police-style billy club and yelling racial epithets, stood outside a Philadelphia polling place on the day of the general election in November 2008.

VIDEO: "Three Things About Islam"

Social Security posting $600B deficit over 10 years
Excerpt: Social Security will post nearly $600 billion in deficits over the next decade as the economy struggles to recover and millions of baby boomers stand at the brink of retirement, according to new congressional projections. This year alone, Social Security is projected to collect $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it pays out in retirement, disability and survivor benefits, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. That figure swells to $130 billion when a new one-year cut in payroll taxes is included, though Congress has promised to repay any lost revenue from the tax cut. Last year, Social Security posted its first deficit since the program was last overhauled in the 1980s. The CBO said at the time that Social Security would post surpluses for a few more years before permanently slipping into deficits in 2016. But the new projections show nothing but red ink until the Social Security trust funds are exhausted in 2037.

Nothing is sacred to a gamester. --Bernard Joseph Saurin

People cannot live by lending money to one another. –John Ruskin

The FDA'S Dangerous Play-It-Safe Attitude
Excerpt: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is notorious for making the approval of new drugs ever more expensive -- with nothing to show in efficacy and safety. But this play-it-safe attitude is creating a devastating and potentially far more deadly impact: The pipeline for new antibiotics is drying up, says Steve Forbes, Forbes Magazine's editor-in-chief. Since the 1940s the miracle of penicillin and its relatives has saved tens of millions of lives. Antibiotics easily conquered such illnesses as pneumonia and tuberculosis, which routinely killed countless numbers of people each year. Now, however, the flow of new stuff has dried to a trickle. Many reasons are being bandied about for the dearth of new drugs: Research is becoming more expensive, thus pharmaceutical companies are finding the cost/benefit risks too high; we are overusing antibiotics, thereby reducing their potency too quickly. However, the chief villain is the FDA, says Forbes. Author David M. Shlaes says, "Regulatory agencies like the FDA are contributing to the problem with a constant barrage of clinical trial requirements that make it harder, slower and more costly to develop antibiotics." The FDA, for instance, will capriciously change its rules in the middle of an expensive clinical trial, suddenly telling a company that it must add thousands of new patients to the tests. Even when trials are successfully completed the FDA is reluctant to give a new drug the green light. Normally if big companies cannot respond to an opportunity or a need entrepreneurial startups will leap in. But small companies are even more disadvantaged by the FDA's increasingly horrific bureaucratic roadblocks, says Forbes.

What Sent States' Fiscal Picture into a Tailspin?"
Excerpt: Amid all the debate about bankruptcy and bailouts and all the headlines about local-government layoffs, benefit cuts, reduced services and tax increases, ponder one simple question: How the heck did state and local governments get in such trouble? It's no small matter. State and local governments are a big and growing part of the U.S. economy. They account for 15% of all economic output, up from less than 12% two decades ago. They employ one in every seven workers, more than manufacturing.

Stop Federal Spending on Education
Excerpt: While Washington spends huge sums on things that are education-related, the riches produce almost nothing of educational value. If anything, the feds keep stuffing donuts into an already obese system, says Neal McCluskey, associate director of the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom. In 1970 Uncle Sam spent an inflation-adjusted $31.5 billion on public K-12 education; by 2009 that had ballooned to $82.9 billion. On a per-pupil basis, in 1970 the feds spent $435 per student; by 2006 -- the latest year with available data -- it was $1,015, a 133 percent increase. Real, overall, per-pupil spending (federal, state and local) rose from $5,593 in 1970 to $12,463 in 2006. What do we have to show for this? Since the early 1970s, scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have been stagnant for 17-year-olds. In 1973 the average math score was 304 (out of 500); in 2008 it was just 306. In reading, the 1971 average was 285; in 2008 it was up a single point, hitting 286. In the 2008-09 academic years, Washington spent roughly $83 billion on K-12 education and $37 billion on higher education. Add those together and you get $120 billion, a sum that's doing no educational good and, therefore, leaves no excuse for not applying it to our $14 trillion debt, says McCluskey.

Data retread: can a Mormon win?
I like what little I know about Huntsman. And from this data, it looks like a Mormon is four times as likely to be discriminated against as a black person—what is the administration doing about this crisis? ~Bob. Excerpt: Amid swirling attention on U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman's (R) potential candidacy, there is sure to be renewed focus on whether Americans (but first Republican primary voters) are ready for a Mormon president. Below is a partial summary of Washington Post-ABC News polling data about a Mormon running for the presidency - collected the last-go-round, when speculation centered on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Related exit poll questions from Iowa and New Hampshire are also included. Both Huntsman and Romney are Mormon. National: in Dec. 2007, 22 percent of Americans said they would be less apt to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate. That was higher than the percentages saying they would be less likely to support someone who has been a religious leader (19 percent), a woman (15) or an African American (5). But also notable is that the percentage turning away from a Mormon candidate dropped significantly - by 13 percentage points - between Dec. 2006 and Dec. 2007.

Ship wreck reveals ancient secrets of medicine
Excerpt: It has been more than 2,000 years since a Roman merchant ship foundered off the west coast of the Italian peninsula and almost 40 years since the wreck was discovered. Now, the DNA trapped in medicines found aboard the ship is yielding secrets of health care in the ancient world. Samples from two tablets analyzed at the Smithsonian's Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics reveal a dried concoction of about a dozen medicinal herbs, including celery, alfalfa and wild onion, bound together with clay and zinc.

VIDEO: Congressman Allen West Addresses Illegal Immigration

The Political Fantasyland of the 'No Labels' movement
Excerpt: But [New York Mayor Michael] Bloomberg, addressing the No Labels confabulation, spoke truth to powerlessness: "It's not clear that the average person feels themselves disenfranchised or wants a lot of the things we are advocating." Just so. Whatever their defects, America's political parties are marvelously sensitive market mechanisms, measuring every tremor of the electorate's moods. Appearing with Bloomberg, who in the past decade has labeled himself a Democrat, a Republican and an independent, was Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, an ideological chameleon who recently labeled himself "a true-blue Reaganite Republican" and then an independent - one with no discernible difference with Democrats. Labels are not, however, ridiculous because ridiculous people treat them as disguises, or as flags of convenience for dinghy candidacies sailing without any ballast of convictions. No Labels, its earnestness subverting its grammar, says: "We do not ask any political leader to ever give up their label - merely put it aside." But adopting a political label should be an act of civic candor. When people label themselves conservatives or liberals we can reasonably surmise where they stand concerning important matters, such as Hudson's ruling. The label "conservative" conveys much useful information about people who adopt it. So does the label "liberal," which is why most liberals have abandoned it, preferring "progressive," until they discredit it, too.

What Today's Leaders Can Learn from Reagan

Excerpt: Reagan provided what Americans wanted most: a strong leader who could and would lead in a principled way. To refresh a phrase once used about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, this man was "not for turning." He made that clear early on, to the gratified astonishment of the nation, when he fired the striking air traffic controllers—who quickly learned that this commander in chief was not to be taken casually. Reagan had come into office when the United States was mired in an economic and even psychological downturn, reflecting the doldrums of the Carter years and the perception of his administration as feckless and naive. Reagan was determined that more of the same would not do. Shortly into his presidency, he set about convincing the American public that there had to be a decisive change in direction. His map was stereoscopic: He created a vision of where we'd been and where he intended to take us, unafraid to spell out what was to be feared, unabashed in the evocation of dreams for the future. He personified Harry Truman's definition of a leader—a man who had the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do and to like it. It was never easy, even when he made it look so. [See editorial cartoons about the economy.] As if born with the instinct to be a transformational president, Reagan knew how to instill confidence in a nation that felt it had lost its way. Add to that his transparent likability, and you can understand why Americans felt so good about him and better about themselves when they listened to him. In the process, he earned an enormous presumption of credibility, affection, and support from the American public, even among those, like myself, who hadn't voted for him.

Senate Climate Battle Begins with Two Bills
Excerpt: Dueling bills to block federal climate change rules landed in the Senate Monday, signaling interest by conservative Republicans and centrist Democrats in curtailing the Environmental Protection Agency. But it’s not clear whether the presence of two measures creates political momentum for halting greenhouse gas regulations, or instead reveals divides among EPA foes that can’t be bridged. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who is a member of the GOP leadership team, introduced a sweeping bill with several Republican colleagues that would completely upend the ability of federal agencies to regulate emissions or consider climate change when implementing various environmental statutes. (It would, however, allow current tailpipe standards to remain in place.) Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced a less aggressive bill with several centrist Democrats that would delay EPA’s rules for stationary emissions sources like power plants and refineries for two years.

Global Warming Articles
Wow. These two articles/essays are both related to a BBC TV documentary that featured "quotes" from various prominent AGW sceptics that has generated more than 3,000 reader comments [I'd be shocked if TOJ has had 3,000 comments in its whole history]. The first is authored by one of the quotees and explains exactly what happened. The second is authored by a former documentary producer and on-camera interviewer [I added emphasis, Bob, please leave the bold--RGP]. Remember a few days ago, I said documentary producers might slant the news to favor their pet theories? Here's a perfect example. And, I doubt it's confined just to global warming. Think about all those politicians who swear they've been quoted out of context. Frightening thought. There is also related coverage of this, including a first hand account by Anthony Watts (who refused to sign the release) at --Ron P. “I’m Tired” has 781 comments. No idea how many total on the blog since 2008. ~Bob.

Meet The Sceptics: another BBC stitch-up
Excerpt: Lots of people have been asking me about tonight’s BBC Four documentary Meet The Sceptics. Is it going to be fair and balanced? Or another hatchet job? Ha ha ha ha ha ha. (*laughs darkly*) Let me tell you the story so far: Nine months ago, when I was at the Heartland conference in Chicago, I was approached by a louche, affable, dark-haired, public school charmer called Rupert Murray. With his friend Callum he was making a documentary about climate sceptics for the BBC and wondered if I’d like to take part. “The BBC? Not bloody likely. You’ve come to stitch us up, haven’t you?” I said. “Not at all,” said Murray. “Look, there’s something you need to realise. I’m an independent filmmaker, I have no big budget for this, so I’m dependent on my work being original and interesting. The very last thing the BBC wants to commission is another hatchet job on sceptics. How boring and predictable would that be?” (…) Murray asked me if he could film me some more, maybe with my children having a barbecue or driving a 4 x 4 in the country. But I was too busy. Luckily. Because, yes, you guessed it, Murray’s documentary is another hatchet job. This time the man designated for the chop is Lord Monckton. Except, knowing Monckton as I do, I don’t think he’s going to let this one lie. Sure he’ll probably be made to look a fool, but then as Richard North explains in this superb essay, this means nothing.

On being stitched up
Excerpt: …[T]he warmist "community" is certainly investing a huge effort in the activity, matching the determination of the BBC and its fellow-travellers in The Guardian and Independent to bring down high-profile sceptics such as Delingpole. Given that the blog and then the comments are a response to the BBC Horizon programme, though, it is interesting but not at all surprising to find that none of the commentators display any real understanding of the dynamics which led to Delingpole being interviewed. The core issue is that he was interviewed by Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, for around three hours, on camera, for the Horizon programme, which purported to argue the case for greater trust of science, claiming that science was "under attack". What was very clear, though, was that the producers then "cherry picked" a tiny segment of the interview that gave them the line they wanted to present to the audience. That itself is a major issue and one might have thought that an intelligent, semi-adult discussion might then have responded by at least remarking on this phenomenon. This is the practice of modern documentary makers, who can gather huge amounts of material and then edit and assemble the material in a way that they can present a message, the message the producer wishes to convey. This is irrespective of what is actually said, and what interviewees actually intended. (…) That is TV for you – that is how it works. That's what Delingpole went through. The "line" was already pre-ordained - worked out in advance. He was picked as the "talking head" most likely to, and Nurse went out to collect the words needed to fit that part of the script. (…) This, of course, makes television documentaries (potentially) a massively dishonest medium - you think you are watching the expressions of the participants, but you are not. The audience is being led through a carefully crafted script towards a conclusion that was decided in editorial and commissioning offices, months and sometimes years before the first camera was switched on.

Is the University of Virginia Biased Against Professors That Challenge The Idea Of Global Warming?
Excerpt: When asked about [Michael] Mann specifically, [Michael] Garstang told TheDC the university was unusually quiet when Climategate broke. “At no point and nowhere did the university or faculty rise up and express their displeasure or alarm or any other adverse view on that kind of behavior,” said Garstang. “There was just silence.” He went on to say, “In the case of [Pat] Michaels, it was never asked, ‘how legitimate is his work?’ And that’s really the only big question – is he doing legitimate science or is he not? And the answer is yes he is.” But the hostility toward Michaels in particular was evidenced even back to 2007 when, according to Michaels, some colleagues were opposed to renewing his contract. Their reasoning was because in a newly published book, Michaels wrote a chapter arguing that professor tenure was one of the reasons universities held on to paradigms in science long after they should have been abandoned.

Health care may be high-court nail-biter
Excerpt: Monday’s federal court decision striking down the Democrats' health care reform law is just Act I in a long legal drama — and nobody knows how it will end. The suspense is killing both sides. “A year ago, it was a long shot,” said Randy Barnett, a law professor at Georgetown University, of the law’s chances of winding up before the Supreme Court. “Now, it’s seen as a 5 to 4 case. And nobody’s exactly sure which way the 5 to 4 will come down.” (see: Health law suffers new blow) It’s the kind of case the Supreme Court would rather not touch. In most cases this politically explosive, the justices might look for any technical reason to bounce it back to the lower courts. But now, they may not have a choice. At stake is the biggest social legislation in a generation, and the defining achievement of Obama’s presidency. But the legal challenges also will determine whether the federal government can make people buy health insurance and whether it can prevail over the opposition of 26 states. It’s a showdown that could define limits of federal power for decades to come, pitting Obama’s view of an activist federal government against a more narrow reading of federal authority. (see: W.H. charges 'activism' in ruling) “This case could define federalism for the next 100 years,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University. “If the Obama administration prevails in its view, it’s hard to see what’s left of federalism.” (Actually, somebody may know. It’s fairly well accepted that four justices think the Constitution gives the President and Congress the power top do anything except waterboard terrorists. And four are strict constructionists, believe the enumerated powers mean what they say. If the swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy has already made up his mind, he alone knows how this will come out. Unless one dies suddenly and Obama gets to appoint a replacement. ~Bob.)

Cornyn: Senate vote to repeal Health Reform 'could come as early as this week'
Excerpt: A Senate vote to repeal healthcare reform could come as early as this week, a senior Republican senator said Tuesday. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wrote that the Senate could vote on House-passed legislation to do away with President Obama's signature healthcare law. Any such vote would come on the heels of a federal judge's decision on Monday to strike down the whole law as unconstitutional.

With Healthcare Reform in Legal Limbo, Dems Consider Their Options
Excerpt: Healthcare reform supporters have begun to seek alternatives to the unpopular individual mandate at the heart of Monday’s surprising decision overturning the entire law. Officially, the Obama administration dismissed Judge Roger Vinson’s decision as a fluke. Two judges have already ruled that the mandate is constitutional, and a third struck down the mandate but not the rest of the law. “The department intends to appeal this ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler. “We strongly disagree with the court's ruling today and continue to believe — as other federal courts have found — that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional.” Yet lawmakers supportive of the law and healthcare activists are already actively contemplating various scenarios for moving forward without the mandate. (If the Federal Government has the power to require you to buy health insurance, it has the power to require you to buy vitamins, healthy food, gym club memberships—and a gun to protect your family. ~Bob.)

Caught on Tape: Planned Parenthood Aids Pimp’s Underage Sex Ring
Excerpt: A Planned Parenthood manager in New Jersey coaches a man and a woman posing as sex traffickers how to secure secret abortions, STD testing, and contraception for their female underage sex slaves, and make their whole operation “look as legit as possible” in an undercover video released this morning. Clinic manager Amy Woodruff, LPN, of Planned Parenthood Central New Jersey’s Perth Amboy center, warns the pimp and his prostitute to have their trafficked underage girls lie about their age to avoid mandatory reporting laws, promising, “even if they lie, just say, ‘Oh he's the same age as me, 15,’…it's just that mainly 14 and under we have to, doesn't matter if their partner's the same age, younger, whatever, 14 and under we have to report.” She says, “For the most part, we want as little information as possible.”

'We've been banned from touching.': School pupils walkout after teachers reprimand girls...for linking arms...
Excerpt: The show of student solidarity flared last Thursday at the voluntary aided mixed comprehensive, which has 840 pupils aged 11 to 16 and was described as 'good with outstanding features' at its last Ofsted report in 2006. A parent, who asked not to be named, described what followed as 'pandemonium'. He added: 'The whole of the second half of the afternoon was disrupted. From what I understand, about a third of Year 10 and 11 [14-16-year-olds] were involved. It was absolute chaos. 'Something like this has just been waiting to happen and a number of parents, including myself, have been very unhappy with what has been going on there for the past 18 months. 'It seems the teachers have become quite cavalier and a bit gung-ho and flamboyant in the way they deal with pupils. This has had a huge backlash.

Put Left Wing Speech Control in the Crosshairs
Excerpt: Thanks to the left, students at colleges get speech codes. They learn early in life that much speech is not permitted. One may not favorably compare Western or American culture with that of any other. Led by Jesse Jackson, leftists chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go" at Stanford University. And away it went. The left owns the language. Married women are not to be referred to as "Mrs." but as "Ms." And the words "lady," "feminine" and "masculine" have largely gone to their graves. High school and college teams with American Indian names must drop those names because by definition, according to the left, they offend American Indians. (This last example has always perplexed me. Why does the name Florida State Seminoles offend Indians? One caller to my radio show once responded to that question by asking me how I would feel as a Jew if some team took the name "Jews." I told him that I would be thrilled. For nearly 4,000 years, Jews have been looking for fans.) [I thought Dennis Prager was a Christian preacher! Is he Jewish? I love him! - Kate] (The Seminole Tribe is very supportive of FSU using the name, as they receive royalties they use to help tribal members, scholarships to FSU and FSU built a Seminole Cultural Center there. The people concerned are not the Indians, but leftist idiots looking for reasons to be offended. ~Bob.)

Spilled Milk by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Despite the old saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk," the Environmental Protection Agency is doing just that. We all understand why the Environmental Protection Agency was given the power to issue regulations to guard against oil spills, such as that of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska or the more recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But not everyone understands that any power given to any bureaucracy for any purpose can be stretched far beyond that purpose. In a classic example of this process, the EPA has decided that, since milk contains oil, it has the authority to force farmers to comply with new regulations to file "emergency management" plans to show how they will cope with spilled milk, how farmers will train "first responders" and build "containment facilities" if there is a flood of spilled milk. Since there is no free lunch, all of this is going to cost the farmers both money and time that could be going into farming-- and is likely to end up costing consumers higher prices for farm products. It is going to cost the taxpayers money as well, since the EPA is going to have to hire people to inspect farms, inspect farmers' reports and prosecute farmers who don't jump through all the right hoops in the right order. All of this will be "creating jobs," even if the tax money removed from the private sector correspondingly reduces the jobs that can be created there.

Debt-ridden GOP raises money on new Reagan website
Excerpt: The RNC's Reagan website features an online birthday card that people can sign, along with famous quotes from the late president and a video tribute. A campaign button featuring a picture of the GOP icon and the words "I really miss Reagan" help take visitors to the online store. That button costs $2. Other items for sale: a Reagan bobblehead or a box of the 40th president's favorite jelly beans are $25 each and a framed photo of the 1985 inaugural ceremony inside the Capitol Rotunda is $400.

G.O.P. Governors Take Aim at Teacher Tenure
Excerpt: Tenure laws were originally passed — New Jersey was first in 1909 — to protect teachers from being fired because of race, sex, political views or cronyism. Public-school teachers typically earn tenure after two or three years on probation. Once they receive it, they have a right to due-process hearings before dismissal, which in many districts makes it expensive and time-consuming to fire teachers considered ineffective. Tenure also brings seniority protections in many districts. In recent years, research on the importance of teacher quality has sparked a movement to evaluate teachers on how well students are learning — with implications that undermine tenure. The movement gained momentum with the Obama administration’s Race to the Top grant contest last year. Eleven states enacted laws to link student achievement to teacher evaluations and, in some cases, to pay and job security, according to the American Enterprise Institute. Now some politicians and policy makers have concluded that if teachers owe their jobs to professional performance, then tenure protections are obsolete.

Putting Some Fight Into Our Friends
Excerpt: The end of the ground war in Afghanistan, already America’s longest, remains years in the future. Even as he assures America that “we are on track to achieve our goals,” President Obama has set 2014 for a complete handover of combat duties to local forces. Three factors have made the conflict so intractable—and two of them are beyond America’s control. First is the sanctuary the Taliban enjoy just across the Pakistani border. Second is Afghanistan’s wretched leadership. The third factor, though, is the emphasis America’s senior officers have placed on winning hearts and minds as an end in itself, rather than as a means to identifying and killing insurgents. This policy has sapped the warrior ethos and fostered risk aversion. Tasked with nation-building chores better suited to the Peace Corps, most conventional U.S. forces have seldom engaged the Taliban. Instead, Special Operations Forces—about 7 percent of the total U.S. strength—have accounted for most of the Taliban’s losses. Obama’s surge of 30,000 troops has broken the Taliban’s momentum. The biggest progress has been in Helmand province, where the Nawa district has been called the strategy’s “proof of concept.” Nawa, however, proved what Americans can do; it didn’t prove what Afghans will do. In July 2009 I accompanied the first Marine patrols into Nawa. I stood by and listened as Sgt. Bill Cahir met with the elders of a dirt-poor village and promised them funds and protection. In return, he asked them to give the Taliban a message: “You’re no longer welcome.” The elders refused. A few weeks later Cahir was killed in a Taliban ambush nearby. (Within this article are comments about a Marine Sergeant who was killed there. Sgt Bill Cahir was a local boy. [see]. Bill ran unsuccessfully for congress within this district three years ago. He was a Marine Reservist, joining at an advanced age. He had agreed to go back on active duty after his congressional campaign ended. I last saw Bill when I was at a local rehabilitation center visiting a retired Marine Corps colonel (Iwo Jima vet) who served with my dad at both Guadalcanal and Korea. Like many, Bill Cahir was a good “kid”— dying far too early in his life and (sadly) never getting to see his unborn twins….. Greg)

The case against Jon Huntsman
Excerpt: Yesterday, we made the case for why soon-to-be-former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman could win the Republican presidential nomination. Today we argue the opposite -- the case against Huntsman. (Look for cases for and against all of the potential Republican nominees for president in the coming week and months!) Obama's ambassador: There is no figure in American politics right now whom Republican voters distrust and dislike more than President Obama. So, having served in his administration is not an ideal launching pad for a bid for the GOP nomination. That's the position Huntsman currently finds himself in, having spent the better part of the last two years working for Obama in China. "I'm sure that him having worked so well for me will be a great asset in any Republican primary," Obama joked at a recent press conference.

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