Obamacare, abortion, and political censorship were front and center today at the Supreme Court as the justices heard oral argument in a case involving an Ohio law that makes it a crime to “make a false statement concerning the voting record of a candidate or public official” during an election campaign. The Justices’ questions raised serious doubts about the constitutionality of the Ohio law and similar statutes in more than fifteen states.
The case, Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, arose during the failed 2010 reelection campaign of Congressman Steven Driehaus of Ohio (D), when pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List (SBAL) announced plans to put up billboards proclaiming “Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion.” Driehaus responded by filing a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission under the Ohio law. Although the billboards never went up--the billboard company backed down when Driehaus’ lawyer threatened to sue--the Commission launched an investigation and, in a preliminary vote, sided with Driehaus, ruling that there was probable cause that the SBAL ad was a false statement.
Before any criminal prosecution of SBAL could go forward, Driehaus lost his reelection bid and withdrew his complaint. However, knowing that it could face prosecution for future advertisements, SBAL filed suit in federal court, seeking to strike down Ohio’s law as a violation of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black, an Obama appointee, dismissed SBAL’s case and a case filed by a similarly situated group on procedural grounds, never reaching the First Amendment issue. Black ruled that the case was not ripe--that is, ready for decision--given that the Elections Commission had never issued a final order against SBAL and concerns about future advertisements were speculative. After Black was affirmed by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, SBAL petitioned the Supreme Court for review and the justices agreed to take the case.
In an early sign of which way oral argument would go today, twenty amicus (i.e., “friend of the court”) briefs were filed with the Supreme Court in support of SBAL’s position, while not a single amicus brief was filed on Ohio’s side. The briefs supporting SBAL came from all corners of the political spectrum, including conservative groups such as Citizens United, liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, and less ideological groups like the American Booksellers Association and First Amendment Lawyers Association.
The legal question that was formally before the Court today is only a preliminary one: did SBAL suffer enough harm or face a credible enough threat of prosecution to challenge the law in court? However, the case is really about much more--the power of states and the federal government to police political speech and the potential for such laws to chill speech or be abused by government officials who want to silence their critics. It’s no wonder that the justices and the parties’ attorneys struggled today to keep their focus on the narrower question of when legal challenges to restrictions on political speech can proceed.
Defending the challenged law today was Ohio Solicitor Eric Murphy, who was making his first appearance before the Court. From the outset he faced a hurdle--his boss, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in an amicus brief the law may well be unconstitutional--and things only went downhill from there.
Murphy began by arguing that “The Court should affirm the Sixth Circuit's judgment in this case because [the plaintiffs] have not established a credible threat of criminal prosecution” notwithstanding the Commission’s finding of probable cause. But the justices--even the liberal ones whose votes Ohio would need to win--did not seem to buy the argument. Justice Elena Kagan pointed out that voters “think probable cause means you probably lied … we don't even need the prosecution to serve as the relevant harm.” Justice Stephen Breyer reminded Murphy that “there are real people who would really like to speak in an election campaign. And if they feel they can't, they are really being hurt.” And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that just being “brought before the commission … is going to diminish the effect of their speech because they have been labeled false speakers, and it costs money to defend before the commission.”
Justice Antonin Scalia pounded home the point that SBAL’s legal basis for pursuing its lawsuit rests not just on the harm done through the Commission’s finding about the Driehaus complaint:
[SBAL is] complaining about having to be dragged through this same this same proceeding next time in the midst of an election campaign. … Their organization is not an anti-Driehaus [group] … They are about opposition to the abortion funding portion of the Affordable Care Act and they're going to make the same… contentions against anybody else who runs for office who has voted for that Act.
Murphy seemed a poor match for renowned Supreme Court litigator Michael Carvin, who represented the plaintiffs before the Court today. Carvin emphasized that this case involves “election speech … [so] it's obviously the core of the First Amendment” and effectively attacked “Mr. Murphy's attempt to downplay the probable cause finding.” Carvin pointed out that the harm suffered by SBAL at the hands of what he dubbed Ohio’s “Ministry of Truth” is very real:
Once the probable cause determination comes down, you have all of these kinds of subpoenas and very intrusive discovery of the sort you had in our case where they ask for our communications with everybody on the right wing of the political aisle, where we have to reveal our internal communications as well as those of others.
Carvin went on to argue that the ripeness standard Murphy wants the Court to affirm would make it almost impossible to challenge laws like Ohio’s no matter how unconstitutional they are:
“[I]f you adopt what we consider the absurdly high straitjacket that the Sixth Circuit imposed on speakers … you will you will have put us in this Catch 22 endless cycle of suppressing speech, deterring speech, chilling speech, but never being able to get to a court to adjudicate our First Amendment [rights].”
Carvin concluded his augment to the justices by eloquently asking them “to lift this yoke so that we can become full participants in the next election cycle.”
The Obama administration, an amicus in this case, was granted the opportunity to participate in today’s oral argument. Assistant U.S. Solicitor General Eric Feigin spoke on behalf of the United States, telling the Court “We think that the probable cause finding and the fact that [the plaintiffs] want to repeat essentially the speech that was made earlier … [means their] First Amendment challenges are ripe.”
With the possible exception of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a clear majority of the justices appeared to agree with this position today. This near unanimity is somewhat surprising. However, what is really surprising is that at least six of the nine justices seemed to believe that, even without the Elections Commission’s probable cause finding, the looming threat of being hauled before the Commission constitutes enough harm to overcome ripeness concerns.
“Susan Anthony would know that it's going to be speaking about a very controversial subject in which some people will think … it's lying, and that there's a very good chance that somebody is going to bring this to the Commission. So that would suggest that they have standing even at that moment before the initial probable cause determination is made.”
Breyer echoed Kagan’s concerns, asking “Why can't a person say … there are things I want to say politically … And if I say them, there's a serious risk that I will be had up before a commission and could be fined. … why isn't that end of the matter?” Breyer clearly believes that alone is enough for SBAL to proceed with its suit, which is probably why he appeared to virtually assume that Ohio would be the loser in today’s case when he asked Murphy “So if you lose on this procedural matter, how quickly can you get this decided? I mean, there are elections coming up. People would like to know. They want to know what they're supposed to say.”
Breyer’s assumption is almost surely correct. While it is improbable that the Court will go beyond the ripeness question before it to rule that the Ohio law violates the First Amendment, the justices will very likely hand SBAL the only thing it’s asking for – the right to proceed with its lawsuit. That will mean a remand to the lower courts to determine the constitutionality of the law. But more broadly, it will strengthen the protection of political speech by making it easier for plaintiffs to challenge laws restricting such speech.
A decision is expected by the end of June, but the larger debate about attempts to silence or censor controversial ads like the SBAL billboards will continue long after the Supreme Court decides this case. SBAL is currently running billboards identical to the Ohio one in this year’s Senate races, substituting Democrat Senators Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan, and Mary Landrieu for Congressman Driehaus.
Mr. Levey is a constitutional law attorney and president of the Committee for Justice. Follow him on Twitter at @Curt_Levey.
On Tuesday, Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" host Stephen Colbert made his first appearance on CBS's "Late Show" since the network had announced Colbert would be taking David Letterman's spot following his pending retirement. Colbert did not appear in his "character" he plays on his long-running Comedy Central show.
Colbert also performed one of his submissions for the show's signature "Top 10 Lists," which he had submitted in the late 1990s.
In an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” on Tuesday to promote the expanded edition of his 2006 book “Passing Parade,” conservative commentator Mark Steyn criticized the global warming movement, including the hypocrisy of its leaders and the idea of a so-called bovine flatulence tax.
“Barbra Streisand she took her Gulfstream to fly into Washington to chew over climate change with the president. And that's fine if Barbra Streisand and Al Gore does it,” Steyn said. “But the rest of us -- we are supposed to be beating our clothes with the native women down by the river … and again there's a nonsense about this. The Obama administration now wants to regulate bovine flatulence because they claim that is destroying the planet. And again it’s the greatest excuse for big government ever. At their Monday night poker game in hell, Hitler and Stalin and Mao must be sitting around, laughing their heads off, saying, ‘Oh it’s for the future of all our children. If only we thought of that.’ From bovine flatulence, you know, if you went to an 11th century medieval peasant in his barnyard and said, ‘Sorry, peasant. I come from the king. You have to pay a bovine flatulence tax,’ he would say, ‘Get out of here.’ A medieval peasant would know that’s nonsense. Now, we take it seriously.”
Eric Cantor has never been closer to wielding the speaker's gavel, but he may want to keep an eye over his right shoulder.
As speculation heats up about whether Speaker John Boehner will return in 2015, Cantor is in the midst of a kind of shadow job interview with House conservatives, and it isn't going all that well.
Cantor recently enraged many Republicans by sneaking a Medicare bill through the House by voice vote. Days later, a provision in the bill that expanded Obamacare coverage became public, prompting high-profile scrutiny from the Drudge Report. Making matters worse, Boehner had been out of town for the vote, putting blame for the incident squarely on Cantor's shoulders.
The Virginia Republican also drew flak for attending a tropical summit organized by a group working to undermine the Tea Party. ForAmerica President Brent Bozell described the move in a phone interview as providing “aid and comfort to an organization devoted to destroying the Tea Party.”
“It is betrayal. It’s also monumentally stupid,” Bozell added.
Weeks before that, he partnered with Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) on a flood insurance bill, ignoring the concerns of the House committee chairman who had just donated $1 million to the NRCC and happens to be Cantor's most formidable would-be rival for the speakership.
The dynamic on the flood insurance battle, in which Cantor overrode House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), could become a pattern. The two are likely to be at odds on a series of upcoming bills like reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.
There's also Cantor's work on immigration: he's drafting a variation of the “DREAM Act” to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors and pushing a more limited proposal by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) for DREAMers who enlist in the military in the meantime.
Cantor thinks “we should turn our military into an amnesty experimentation program,” conservative radio host Laura Ingraham fumed on a recent show, her voice rising to a near-yell as she excoriating Cantor for having what she described as “the same” view on the issue as President Obama.
In his seventh term in Congress, Cantor, who climbed the House leadership ladder quickly before stalling at the second-ranking position under Boehner, has never faced so much criticism on the right. And it's happening months before he might be making a bid for the number one spot.
“Cantor replacing Boehner doesn't move the ball at all,” said former Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), now a conservative talk radio host.
“If you are going to replace Boehner, it has to be with someone like Congressman Jeb Hensarling, a conservative who can unite the entire caucus. The other problem with Cantor is, at least you know where Boehner stands on issues. With Cantor, you never know what to believe,” Walsh added.
The latter sentiment – that Cantor is ideologically unpredictable, to put it one way – is something that comes up repeatedly in conversations with lawmakers on the right flank of the House Republican conference.
“Cantor -- he doesn't even have an ideology,” one GOP lawmaker said in a recent interview.
After Republicans took control of the House in 2010, Cantor often feuded with Boehner, fueling an impression that he was the voice of the Tea Party freshman class at the leadership table. That eventually drew calls for unity from the rank-and-file upset about the often staff-driven spats.
In the last two years, Cantor, who has engaged in at least four concerted “rebranding” makeovers of his public image, has veered sharply in the other direction, strongly backing Boehner and moving to the center.
The shift has included moves like bringing a Democratic version of the Violence Against Women Act that most Republicans considered unconstitutional to the House floor, which passed in violation of the Hastert Rule. Cantor was also one of 28 Republicans who voted in February to pass a clean debt ceiling increase.
For House conservatives, who have often criticized Boehner's leadership, Cantor's new tack presents a quandary.
Cantor “would only be putting a well-trained and obedient prince on the throne in place of the king,” a senior GOP House aide said.
As furtive groups of lawmakers on the right begin to prepare for the leadership elections at the beginning of the next Congress – what to do about Cantor is an unresolved question.
According to lawmakers participating in the conversations, there are several “clusters” of Republicans working to prepare for a leadership fight. The discussions ramped up when Breitbart News reported that Boehner recently purchased a luxury condo in Marco Island, Florida, one lawmaker said.
Republicans say Hensarling and former Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Jordan are top options as potential Cantor rivals – supposing, of course, that Boehner either leaves of his own accord or is forced out, both of which are still speculative.
One problem is convincing either man to step up to the plate. “You would have to be a serious masochist to want that job,” one former House GOP member said of the speakership.
Other, more outside-the-box challengers are under discussion, including Rep. Dan Webster, a former Florida House Speaker, who is touted as someone that could be an honest broker of the "majority of the majority."
In the near-term, a fight over the Export-Import bank is a battle that may sharpen the contrast between Cantor and Hensarling.
In 2012, Cantor shepherded reauthorization of the bank through the House, striking a deal with Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
But conservatives are already staking out the issue as a major battle, and Hensarling, whose committee oversees the issue and is working to dismantle the bank, is a big factor.
In a statement to Breitbart News, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said Republicans should let the bank's charter expire. “This is our opportunity to advance our welfare-reform agenda, which starts by getting rid of corporate welfare,” Ryan said.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has called the Export-Import Bank, and whether the GOP will fight against its reauthorization, as the “Cronyism test” for the Republican Party in a National Review op-ed.
“The Ex-Im Bank exists to dole out taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to help American exporters,” Lee wrote. “Most of the benefits go to large corporations that are perfectly capable of securing private financing anywhere in the world.”
The Hill reported Cantor may be balking on trying to push what has previously been a pet issue of his through the House.
Cantor's office declined to comment on the record for this article.
UC Berkeley will enroll more out-of-state students than ever before in an effort to boost revenue, according to a report from the San Francisco Business Times.
In a controversial move, the school will raise its target for out-of-state enrollment to 23 percent, up from 20 percent in previous years. Obviously, more out-of-state students means there will be fewer spots at the school available to California residents.
School Chancellor Nicholas Dirks defended the decision in an e-mail to the UC Berkeley community: “In the wake of the state’s disinvestment in higher education, UC Berkeley’s financial model is more dependent on tuition than it has been in the past.” Dirks added that the decision was “the best available option to help minimize the campus’ ongoing operating deficits.”
In the wake of the decision, UC Berkeley’s freshman acceptance rate fell 3.5 percentage points to just 17.3 percent, according toSacramento Bee blog Capitol Alert.Despite a record 73,771 applications this year, about 1,300 fewer students will be admitted to the school
The UCLA campus, the most selective campus in the UC system, also saw a decline in its admission rate, falling 2 percentage points to 18.2 percent. This year will mark the first time ever that the acceptance rates for both UC Berkeley and UCLA have fallen below 20 percent, according to Capitol Alert.
The decision to enroll more out-of-state students makes sense for Berkeley, as non-residents pay about $23,000 more in tuition than California residents. Still, at least one group of students has made gains in admissions; as reported yesterday on Breitbart California, the percentage of Latino students admitted to UC climbed to 28.8%, making Latinos the second-most represented ethnicity at the school behind Asian Americans
On April 21 the Detroit Airport introduced a new service dog relief area complete with real grass and miniature fire hydrants.
The facility, being called "Central Bark" by airport employees, features two boxes of grass--one artificial and one with real grass--and tiny fire hydrants for a doggie target, of sorts.
After the doggies are done doing their business, owners can push a button that releases a shower of water to clean the patches. Owners are responsible for picking up solid wastes, though.
Before the new facilities were installed, owners of service dogs had to take their helpers outside the terminal, an inconvenience at best and a security bother at worst.
"When you can't get outside, when you don't have enough time to go through TSA coming back through, it's a wonderful convenience for our dogs," said Deb Davis of Paws with a Cause, who attended the "ribbon biting" ceremony.
"Now it's so much more of a convenience and so much healthier for our pets to travel comfortably," she continued
The dual grass patches were a project of Delta Airlines in conjunction with airport officials.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sacramento Bee reports that roughly 25 percent of fatal accidents involving teen drivers happen after the teen has been drinking alcohol, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The SacBee referenced the 2012-13 California Healthy Kids Survey specific to drinking and drunk driving among Sacramento 11th-graders. Statistics showed that, of the 56% of Sacramento City students who have had a drink, one in four have knocked back a drink in the past 30 days, and 20% have either driven after drinking or ridden in a car with a drunken friend. Further, 26% of students affirmed they have used alcohol on school property.
By comparison, the 2008-09 California Healthy Kids Survey reports San Diego Unified School District with 46% of grade 11 students having been very drunk or sick after drinking alcohol. In addition, 70% admitted to having, at minimum, one full drink by that same age, and 37% had a drink within the prior 30 days. 25% admitted to binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks on one occasion, in the previous 30 days. As for driving drunk, 35% of San Diego Unified students disclosed having driven after drinking or riding in a car with a friend who had been drinking.
The California DMV reports all "alcohol-involved fatalities" at 1,489 in 2007 – a 20.7% increase from 2000 –and Juvenile DUI suspensions at 1061 in 2007 – a 43% increase over eight years.
In 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control website, across the nation “there were approximately 189,000 emergency room visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.”
One recent incident of teen drunk driving in Vacaville, CA resulted in injuries and fatalities and was reported on KCRA News. A friend of victims in the car that was hit, Edgar Escalante, appeared in the report stating, “When you’re young you don’t realize how serious life can really get. One mistake can cost your life.” The KCRA reporter said, “CHP says this accident could have been prevented.” The reporter asked Escalante, “The investigators say speed and alcohol were factors in the crash. Does that surprise you at all?” Escalante replied, “When you’re young, ya know, you’re just tryin' to have fun. Whatever happened, happened, ya know. Mistakes were made.”
The California Healthy Kids Survey also recorded, as shown in a graphic below from the survey, San Diego 11th-grade students’ response to the question "how much risk of physical and other harm is involved when drinking occasionally?" to which 17% responded "None," 33% "Slight," 24% "Moderate," and 25% "Great." Then students were asked, "How much risk of physical and other harm is involved when drinking five or more drinks twice a week?" Students then replied 12% "None," 13% "Slight," 29% "Moderate," and 46% "Great."
On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that labor unions and corporations that receive government contracts should be prohibited from contributing to political candidates to blunt crony capitalism in Washington.
Paul noted that speech, "whether you pay for it or not," is speech and that "paid speech has to be protected." He pointed out that left-leaning publications like the Chicago Tribune are not limited in how many opinion articles they can write even though they have clear political agendas.
However, he said there is not a guaranteed right to get government work, and there could be restrictions on government work that would "pass constitutional muster."
Speaking with former Obama adviser David Axelrod at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics, Paul said what he would do is ban labor unions or companies that receive government contracts from donating to candidates. He said he would put a clause in all government contracts that would make them only valid if the entities do not participate in donating to political candidates.
Paul said that companies and unions, for instance, will get a $10 million contract and then spend $1 million to hire lobbyists to get even more money, and he said that creates numerous conflicts of interest that are unseemly.
"It is sort of insulting to have taxpayer money go to an entity that turns around and then lobbies for more with that money," Paul said, noting that is where "the biggest corrupting of the system comes from."
In light of a report that found that America's middle class is no longer the world's richest, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who has been a relentless champion for the American worker in the immigration debate, blasted President Barack Obama and Congress for pushing for an "unprecedented surge in new immigration" while the middle class is getting decimated.
Sessions noted that the New York Times report on "the shrinking American middle class underscores once again that we have a surplus – not a shortage – of labor:"
The record immigration of the last 40 years, combined with the outsourcing of American manufacturing and the automation of many jobs, has placed substantial downward pressure on wages and employment: a recent study documented that all net employment gains in the U.S. from 2000-2013 went to immigrant workers, while real wages have dropped beneath 1999 levels.
Obama and Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been pushing for a comprehensive immigration bill that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers by doubling or tripling the number of visas and dramatically increasing the number of guest workers at a time when 40% of all illegal immigrants have overstayed their visas.
As Sessions has repeatedly noted, Harvard professor George Borjas has estimated that massive immigration would cost American workers nearly $402 billion a year in lost wages, while corporations that employ and benefit from immigrant labor would gain around $437 billion in profits.
Sessions has repeatedly emphasized that America's policies should benefit American workers as much or more than they do the "masters of the universe" that make up the so-called party of Davos and see no borders and nations.
On Tuesday, Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, met with business leaders and representatives of various pro-amnesty groups, including Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us, to discuss the need for "commonsense immigration reform" and "[to underscore] the importance of Congressional action to pass" amnesty legislation.
Amnesty advocates have put pressure on the Obama administration to use executive actions to grant more amnesty and stop deportations, even though the notion that Obama is the "deporter-in-chief" has been debunked by studies from the left, right, and mainstream media outlets like the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
There was only one sheriff present at Johnson's meeting with business executives and amnesty advocates, which came as the Obama administration considers using administrative actions to limit "deportations of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who don't have serious criminal records." As the Associated Press noted, the directive could "shield tens of thousands of immigrants now removed each year solely because they committed repeat immigration violations, such as re-entering the country illegally after having been deported, failing to comply with a deportation order or missing an immigration court date."
That would also mean, though, that illegal immigrants who had been previously deported or committed "minor" crimes could sneak back into the country and be shielded from being deported so long as they do not commit what the Obama administration considers "serious" crimes.
Those with whom Johnson met include the following: Randy Johnson, Senior Vice President for Labor, Immigration, & Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Craig Regelbrugge, Senior Vice President, American Horticulture Industry Association; Todd Schulte, Executive Director of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's pro-amnesty FWD.us group; Hanna Siegel, Chief of Staff, Partnership for a New American Economy; Jimmie Williams, Director, Global Government and Public Affairs, McDonald's Corporation; Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum; and Maria Gaby Pacheco, Co-Director, Bridge Project.
On the day that the Supreme Court ruled to uphold Michigan's constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that admissions should be colorblind.
Speaking with former Obama adviser David Axelrod at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics, Paul said that there was a time when the country needed special protections for minorities because of the "terrible things" that had been done. However, he said that the "time in which justice can be colorblind is now when it comes to admissions."
"With regard to university admissions, we're at a point in time when you should be selected on your character and quality of your scores," the potential 2016 GOP presidential contender said.
He also said he was for diversity programs at private corporations that increase the pool of potential hires and mentioned the NFL's Rooney Rule as something that he supported.
Earth Day was hijacked a month later by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) as a day for environmental and social injustice teach-ins on April 22, 1970 (Lenin’s birthday).
This year’s UN celebration, to be held in 192 countries, is titled “Mother Earth Day,” because according to the U.N. "Mother Earth" is a fairly common phrase: “Bolivians call Mother Earth ‘Pachamama’ and Nicaraguans refer to her as ‘Tonantzin.’”
Over the last 44 years Earth Day has often been hijacked by political opportunists and faux scientists, but it is great fun to look back and see just how wrong the original Earth Day environmental experts were about the science and the future:
“Air pollution… is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
“Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.” Sen. Gaylord Nelson
“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.” Kenneth Watt
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” George Wald, Harvard Biologist
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” Paul Ehrlich
“By…  some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” Paul Ehrlich
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.” Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day
“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions… By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University
“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support… the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” Life magazine, January 1970
“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” Kenneth Watt
“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say,`Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say,`I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” Kenneth Watt
Despite this gloom and doom, virtually none of the projections of the original Earth Day from 44 years ago have come to pass. The growing season across the northern hemisphere is expanding. This is mainly due to a slight warming trend and increased precipitation across the mid-to-high latitudes of the northern hemisphere (where most of the world’s crops are grown). Higher CO2 levels are also leading to more productive plants and contributing to an increasing global output of food products. The net effect has caused the planet to be truly “greening,” and life expectancy at birth is now the longest in history.
On Tuesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel during the program’s “All-Star Panel” segment, network contributors Steve Hayes, Juan Williams and Charles Krauthammer reacted to the announcement the Supreme Court had upheld the state of Michigan’s affirmative action ban.
Krauthammer explained the decision was consistent because it had allowed for the states to determine affirmative action policy.
“This decision is perfectly consistent with a contrary decision the court made 11 years ago in Michigan where there was a case to abolish affirmative action in admission to the University of Michigan Law School,” he said. “The court said that we are not going to strike it down. We're not going to have nine robes decide that this cannot be implemented. But what it implied was it would allow the people in a democracy to decide that.”
“The people responded exactly as suggested implicitly in that decision when three years later they had a referendum that would abolish affirmative action,” he continued. “Eleven years later, with now a case brought by the left and not the right, the left is trying to institutionalize affirmative action to make it impossible for any legislation or any referendum ever to abolish ever in the history of the country. Essentially to say it's an intrinsic part of the Constitution, racial preferences are here forever. An outrageous proposition, and that was rejected by the court. It said we're not going to rule that it's intrinsically in the constitution, just as 11 years ago we didn't want to rule that it's not allowed.”
Williams reacted to Krauthammer’s argument by explaining there is still a need to protect not just individuals, but racial minorities despite the consensus of voters.
“But I think you have to protect the individual,” Williams said. “And I think that is what you’re hearing from Sotomayor. And I think there’s a concern here – it’s not just the individual. In this case there are racial minorities.”
Perhaps more than any other government official, former Internal Revenue (IRS) Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner has become the defiant face of this scandal. From the time of her stonewalling appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in May 2013, when she repeatedly took the Fifth Amendment, to her repeat performance last month, Lerner has served notice on the members of Congress – and the American people – that what the IRS did under her direction is effectively none of their business.
Judicial Watch obtained a new batch of internal IRS documents revealing that Lerner directly communicated with the Department of Justice (DOJ) about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain tax-exempt entities.
The documents were dragged out of the Obama administration thanks to our October 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the IRS, after the agency refused to respond to four FOIA requests dating back to May 2013.
The newly obtained IRS documents contain a revealing email exchange between Lerner and Nikole C. Flax, then-Chief of Staff, to then-Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller, discussing plans to work with the DOJ to prosecute nonprofit groups that “lied” (Lerner’s quotation marks) about political activities. The tell-tale exchange includes the following:
I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ … He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who “lied” on their 1024s –saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs.
I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS…
I think we should do it – also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?
Lerner then “handed off” scheduling the issue to Senior Technical Adviser, Attorney Nancy Marks, who was then supposed to set up the meeting with the DOJ. Lerner also decided that it would be DOJ’s decision as to whether her old co-conspirators from the Federal Election Commission would attend.
By way of background, Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had held a hearing on April 9, during which, in questioning the witnesses from DOJ and IRS, Whitehouse asked why they have not prosecuted 501(c)(4) groups that have seemingly made false statements about their political activities. In a March 27, 2013, email to top IRS staff, Lerner made it clear that the impetus for the hearing was to go after political groups:
As I mentioned yesterday — there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.
So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity. [Emphasis added]
But in an email sent a few minutes earlier, Lerner was forced to acknowledge prosecutions would evidently be at odds with the law:
Whether there was a false statement or fraud regarding an [sic] description of an alleged political expenditure that doesn’t say vote for or vote against is not realistic under current law. Everyone is looking for a magic bullet or scapegoat — there isn’t one. The law in this area is just hard.
The emails show that the day before Lerner broke the news of the IRS scandal, blaming it on “low-level” employees out in the hinterlands, she herself was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted. That means the IRS emails show Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal – which helps explain why we had to sue in federal court to get these documents.
The reaction to these new Judicial Watch revelations has been explosive. Congress, which had been supposedly investigating this scandal for years, evidently hadn’t been given this information. Once again, Judicial Watch proved itself better at ferreting out the truth than Congress. But Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who have at least been trying to get at the truth through their leadership roles at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, were quick to our react to our disclosures.
“The release of new documents underscores the political nature of IRS Tea Party targeting and the extent to which supposed apolitical officials took direction from elected Democrats,” said House Oversight Chairman Issa. “These e-mails are part of an overwhelming body of evidence that political pressure from prominent Democrats led to the targeting of Americans for their political beliefs.”
“Now I see why the IRS is scared to give up the rest of Lois Lerner’s emails,” said Rep. Jordan. “Not only do these e-mails further prove the coordination among the IRS, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Justice Department and committee Democrats to target conservatives, they also show that had our committee not requested the [IRS] Inspector General’s investigation when we did, Eric Holder’s politicized Justice Department would likely have been leveling trumped up criminal charges against Tea Party groups to intimidate them from exercising their Constitutional rights.”
Media coverage was significant and our revelations gained national headlines. It is easy to see why.
Talking about throwing people in jail is a lot easier to understand than talking about an effort to delay approval of an application for exemption under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.
May 1, 2013: After receiving an email from an assistant showing that 501(c)(4) applications had increased from 1591 in 2010 to 3398 in 2012 , Lerner wrote back, “Looks to me like 2010-2012 doubled too. Oh well – thanks.”
May 2, 2013: Discussing an upcoming conference call with approximately 100 congressional staffers on May 22, Lerner cautions aides, “Need to be careful not to mention sequester/furlough unless asked although can allude to budget and resources restraints.”
May 2, 2013: In response to an email reminding her about the upcoming conference call with congressional staffers, Lerner responded, “Arrgh – I just saw it. Sharon [White] could skate, but Cindy [Thomas] is the person who could answer that stuff. We need to give them some type of language in the event that type of question comes up.” [apparently in reference to earlier email referencing “sensitive issues”].
The new documents also include emails exchanged after Lerner’s May 10 ABA speech – including a scathing email from Cindy Thomas, the former program manager of the Cincinnati office, to Lerner:
May 10, 2013: In an email to an aide responding to a request for information from a Washington Post reporter, Lerner admits that she “can’t confirm that there was anyone on the other side of the political spectrum” who had been targeted by the IRS. She then adds that “The one with the names used were only know [sic] because they have been very loud in the press.”
May 15, 2013: In an email from an aide to Lerner, the aide specifically mentions “Tea Party Organizations”, the “Tea Party movement,” and “Patriots” as organizations targeted by the IRS.
The Judicial Watch FOIA requests came on the heels of an explosive May 14, 2013, Treasury Inspector General report revealing that the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status. The IG probe determined that “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status to (e.g., lists of past and future donors).” According to the report, the illegal IRS reviews continued for more than 18 months and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications,” preparing for the 2012 presidential election.
Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status, retired from the IRS with full benefits on September 23 after an internal investigation found she was guilty of “neglect of duties” and was going to call for her ouster, according to news reports. On April 9, 2014, the Ways and Means Committee referred Lois Lerner to the DOJ for criminal prosecution. On April 10, 2014, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.
The gay federal judge in California who ruled that Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, was unconstitutional in 2010 reportedly went through unsuccessful gay conversion therapy more than 30 years ago.
Trial judge Vaughn Walker was the first judge to rule that a state law against gay marriage was unconstitutional, and he came out of the closet more than a year later after he retired from the bench.
In the upcoming book, Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, New York Times reporter Jo Becker interviewed Walker and revealed that "he had never had a relationship with a man, knew that an acknowledgment of homosexuality would hurt his career and decided 'to see a psychiatrist about my... affliction'" three decades ago.
According to an account in the San Francisco Chronicle, "Becker writes that Walker told her the psychiatrist -- after some counseling that Walker no longer remembers in any detail -- ultimately determined he was not actually gay because he had not yet had sex with a man."
In the Prop. 8 trial, 26-year-old Ryan Kendall of Denver testified about how his parents put him through gay conversation therapy, which is now banned in California. As the Chronicle noted, "gay rights advocates presented Kendall's testimony as evidence that sexual orientation is important to one's personal identity, and to counter opposing arguments that it is changeable and thus unworthy of constitutional protection."
Walker said that he had "faux romances" with women and "entered his first relationship with a man in his late 30s" but did not come out until he retired. Walker was accused of being biased from the bench, but the book notes that he concluded that his presiding over the case was no different from a woman presiding over a gender discrimination case. The Chronicle noted that that was the same reasoning a federal appellate court used when "they found no grounds to disqualify him."
"African American judges hear race discrimination cases all the time, while female judges hear cases charging gender bias... Why shouldn't a gay man hear the challenge to Prop. 8?" the book reportedly quotes Walker as asking.
Walker's ruling eventually led to the Supreme Court decision that allowed gay marriages in California to resume.
Forget that fewer Blacks might need Food Stamps were they more supportive of Republican job creating ways. Pelosi wants people to focus in on one finding so she can attempt to label the Republican Party and its policies as racist. Truth be told, that's a revolting type of politics. Unfortunately, it's the very type of politics Pelosi and her fellow Democrats rely upon so heavily.
Beyond politics, equally large or larger gaps emerge in the participation rates of many core social and demographic groups. For example, women were about twice as likely as men (23% vs. 12%) to have received food stamps at some point in their lives. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to have used this benefit during their lives (31% vs. 15%). Among Hispanics, about 22% say they have collected food stamps.
Minority women in particular are far more likely than their male counterparts to have used food stamps. About four-in-ten black women (39%) have gotten help compared with 21% of black men. The gender-race participation gap is also wide among Hispanics: 31% of Hispanic women but 14% of Hispanic men received assistance.
There's nothing insightful behind Pelosi's tactic. It's demagogy at it's worse. Unfortunately, it's often effective enough at fooling just enough low information voters of all races and colors to be somewhat effective for the Democrat Party.
The Hamas-tied Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and seven other terror-tied groups have announced the formation of the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), which they describe as an umbrella group that will serve as a “representative voice for Muslims as that faith community seeks to enhance its positive impact on society.”
What kind of presence is the USCMO going to have on the American political scene? Investor’s Business Dailynoted that “USCMO also aims to elect Islamists in Washington, with the ultimate objective of ‘institutionalizing policies’ favorable to Islamists — that is, Shariah law.”
The coalition is made up, by and large, of the same groups that were named as Muslim Brotherhood proxies and unindicted co-conspirators in the largest terrorist funding trial in our nation’s history. They are well-funded, and could very well upend the political landscape, much as they have the corrupted academia.
Muslim Brotherhood groups forming this new “coalition” include the Muslim American Society (MAS), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the notorious Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North American (ICNA), the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) and the Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA).
The idea of the USCMO is to “allow the larger Muslim community to better participate in our nation’s political process.” The rhetoric is slick and deceptive. These groups work towards norming jihad and sharia in America. Many of the Muslim groups in this newly formed organization, including MAS and ICNA, as well as the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which was the parent group of CAIR, were identified as allied organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood in a captured internal Brotherhood document that came to light during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), an Islamic charity that was shut down for funding Hamas.
In 2008, the U.S. government filed a memorandum in opposition to the request from two of the groups linked to the HLF, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), that the “unindicted co-conspirator” designation they received during the HLF trial be removed (it wasn’t). The memorandum is a useful and illuminating summary of what some of the most prominent Islamic groups in the U.S., including the key members of the USCMO coalition, have been involved with.
These Muslim groups, said the memorandum, “operated in concert with a host of individuals and organizations dedicated to sustaining and furthering the Hamas movement… The object of the conspiracy was to support Hamas. The support will be shown to have take several forms, including raising money, propaganda, proselytizing, recruiting, as well as many other types of actions intended to continue to promote and move forward Hamas’s agenda of the destruction of the State of Israel and establishment of an Islamic state in its place.”
The government memorandum explains that “shortly after Hamas was founded in 1987, as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood, Govt. Exh. 21-61, the International Muslim Brotherhood ordered the Muslim Brotherhood chapters throughout the world to create Palestine Committees, whose job it was to support Hamas with ‘media, money and men.’” To accomplish this, the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. created the U.S. Palestine Committee, which CAIR later joined. “The mandate of these organizations, per the International Muslim Brotherhood, was to support Hamas, and the HLF’s particular role was to raise money to support Hamas’s organizations inside the Palestinian territories.”
The USCMO is the stealth jihad on steroids. MAS and ICNA, as well as the IAP, were listed as among those organizations dedicated to the Muslim Brotherhood’s stated goal of “eliminating and destroying the Western Civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over other religions.”
Counter-terror researcher Ryan Mauro reports that “the Secretary-General of USCMO is Oussama Jamal. Press reports have alternatively titled him as the President and Vice President of the Mosque Foundation that has extensive links to the Brotherhood and Hamas. Jamal accuses the U.S. government of following the ‘Zionist agenda’ in its counter-terrorism investigations and has questioned whether Arabs were actually involved in the 9/11 attacks.”
It is clear that the USCMO will vehemently oppose Israel and every measure that may ever be proposed or implemented to increase our national security. They will demonize and vilify everyone who speaks the truth about jihad terrorism and calls for genuine reform and honest counter-terror action from Muslim leaders. They will work to stifle and destroy the freedom of speech and to criminalize all criticism of Islam, including counter-terror analysis.
And the left, when they’re not aiding and abetting this sinister agenda, will stand by and applaud. Whether clueless or complicit, these useful idiots are sharpening the blades of their executioners.
Sales of firearm silencers/suppressors climbed 37% in 2013 over what they were in 2012.
CNN Money reports that "nearly half a million" silencers/suppressors were sold in 2013, up from 360,000 in 2012 and 285,000 in 2011.
Gun industry analyst Ben Shim said, "People have gone crazy buying guns, but they're done buying them for the time being, so they're buying accessories."
Shim referenced the number of AR-15s that were sold amid the gun control push following the heinous crime at Sandy Hook Elementary. He said, "The AR-15 weapons platform is very modular. It's a Barbie for men."
SilencerCo chief finance officer Jason Schauble indicated the spike in purchases means more people are realizing you can legally own a silencer in many states. He said, "Most people just don't know you can buy [one]."
In his commentary segment on Tuesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, network senior political analyst Brit Hume reacted to today’s decision by the Supreme Court upholding the state of Michigan’s ban on affirmative action. He explained while this was blow to affirmative action, don’t expect it to be ruled unconstitutional anytime soon.
“Seven years ago, Chief Justice Roberts wrote in another affirmative action case that the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” he said. “That truth may seem to be self-evident but alas in the legal and logical wilderness that American justice long ago wandered, it is not. Affirmative action as it is euphemistically called, is a system of unequal treatment intended to remedy past unequal treatment. Under it, blacks and other minorities are given preference in such areas as hiring and school admissions.”
“How you might ask does this square with the 14th amendment's guarantee of equal protection of law?” Hume continued. “Good question. But such unequal protection has been so long accepted by courts and politicians that in her dissent in the Michigan case today, Justice Sotomayor argued that Michigan’s ban on the use of racial preferences in that state’s college admissions was itself a violation of the 14th amendment. Such as the upside down world of affirmative action, in which racial discrimination is permissible and an effort to abolish it constitutes discrimination. The high court today may have struck a blow against racial preferences, but it certainly did not end them. Indeed, in his opinion today, as has been noted, Justice Kennedy was careful to say this was, quote, ‘not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved.’”
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:41:39 -0500 - Peter Berkowitz, RCP According to an increasingly influential bloc of same-sex marriage supporters, Americans cannot reasonably disagree any longer. The Constitution obviously mandates it, they say; no sensible person can dispute the proposition that legalizing it is just and will advance the public interest. Explicitly opposing same-sex marriage, these proponents insist, places a person beyond the pale.Friends of moderation and good sense, therefore, should laud the approximately 50 distinguished advocates of both gay marriage and freedomÂincluding University of Minnesota Law School professor Dale Carpenter,...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:18:59 -0500 - Murray, Rauch, Sullivan, et. al. The last few years have brought an astonishing moral and political transformation in the American debate over same-sex marriage and gay equality. This has been a triumph not only for LGBT Americans but for the American idea. But the breakthrough has brought with it rapidly rising expectations among some supporters of gay marriage that the debate should now be over. As one advocate recently put it, “It would be enough for me if those people who are so ignorant or intransigent as to still be anti-gay in 2014 would simply shut up.”
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:22:29 -0500 - Kay Hymowitz, The Daily Beast The gender gap debate has taken some surprising turns in recent days. Conservative critics have argued for years that the reason women make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men is that they work fewer work hours and in lower paid occupations, not because of rampant sexism at the office or factory. Once it came to light that President Obama and several Democratic senators presided over sizable gaps in their own offices, this criticism of the 77 cent meme gained some new followers, including reliably left-leaning Ruth Marcus who went so far as to accuse the administration of...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:25:33 -0500 - Hannah & Plume, MSNBC To politicians in Washington, the Keystone XL pipeline is an abstraction: just another political football to hurl back and forth across partisan lines. But along the pipeline’s proposed route, Keystone XL is a clear and present danger, threatening a people’s traditional way of life – not to mention the health and safety of their communities.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:28:13 -0500 - Victor Davis Hanson, National Review Why do our well-meaning elites so often worry about humanity in the abstract rather than the real effects of their cosmic ideologies on the majority? The dream of universal health coverage trumped the nightmare of millions of lives disrupted by the implementation of it. Noble lies, with emphatics like “Period!” were necessary to sell something that would hurt precisely those who were told that this was going to be good for them. A myriad of green mandates has led to California’s having the highest-priced gasoline and electricity in the continental United States, a fact that...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:30:40 -0500 - Alex Roarty, The Atlantic It took David Perdue about 20 seconds of speechifying to expose a tension roiling the Republican Party. Speaking in January, the former business executive turned Georgia candidate for U.S. Senate asked a group of local Republicans to parse the resumes of his primary foes.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:33:02 -0500 - Joel Kotkin, Forbes Over the past five years, the millennial generation (born after 1983) has been exercising greater influence over the economy, society and politics of the country, a trend that will only grow in the coming years. So far, theyÂve leaned Democratic in the voting booth, but could the lousy economic fate of what IÂve dubbed Âthe screwed generationÂ lead to a change?
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:10:59 -0500 - Joan Walsh, Salon Jonathan Martin wrote a primer this weekend on why many nervous Democrats won’t take President Obama’s advice – or mine — and run on the Affordable Care Act in the 2014 midterms. To me, it seems like a chicken and egg problem: Vulnerable Democrats won’t run on the ACA because key groups of voters don’t like it. But why should voters like it if even Democrats won’t defend it?
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:14:37 -0500 - Megan McArdle, Bloomberg We were off for Good Friday, so you missed my thoughts on the health exchange enrollment numbers that the White House released last week. They were surprising numbers, in both good ways and bad. I’d hoped that over the weekend, I’d be able to tease out threads that made them more understandable, in an “obvious in retrospect” kind of way. But it’s three days later, and, well, I’m still surprised.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:20:28 -0500 - David Remnick, The New Yorker In 1987, Joseph Brodsky, the singular Russian poet of his generation, delivered a lecture in Vienna entitled “The Condition We Call ‘Exile.’ ” He began with a gesture of humility. Brodsky had been forced to leave the Soviet Union in 1972, but it was his good fortune to reside in the Russian language no less than he did in his apartment on Morton Street. Working for the dictionary, he called it. He got academic jobs, won prizes, made new friends. Cruel fate, soft berth. So when he began his talk in Vienna it was with an overture to the “uncountable” exiles:...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:27:32 -0500 - Mark Steyn, The Spectator I heard a lot of that kind of talk during my battles with the Canadian ‘human rights’ commissions a few years ago: of course, we all believe in free speech, but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’… which all sounds terribly reasonable and Canadian, and apparently Australian, too. But in reality the point of free speech is for the stuff that’s over the line, and strikingly unbalanced. If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:07:54 -0500 - Carl Cannon, RCP Today is Earth Day, a fitting occasion to pay tribute to an extraordinary public servant named Mark O. Hatfield. As a young man, Hatfield was a naval officer who took Marines ashore at Iwo Jima and Okinawa and who visited occupied Japan, where he observed the devastation of Hiroshima. He devoted much of the rest of his life to peace -- as a college teacher in Oregon, a state legislator, a governor and U.S. senator, a position he held for 30 years.Mark Hatfield was a practicing Baptist who invoked biblical references to explain his views, a conservationist, a liberal -- and a lifelong...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:52:35 -0500 - Rich Lowry, NY Post In their wisdom, our Founding Fathers created a system of checks and balances and competing influences among the president and Congress, the states and the federal government, and billionaire liberal donor Tom Steyer.Tom Steyer isn’t Senate majority leader, or chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, or even Senate president pro tem. He’s merely the man who wants to spend $100 million on Democrats this year and who hates the Keystone pipeline.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:53:46 -0500 - Timothy Cama, The Hill Environmental groups are marking the 44th Earth Day on Tuesday with an assault on the Keystone XL pipeline, greenhouse gas emissions and other issues related to climate change.Activists hope to use the day to press the case against Keystone, which they say would worsen climate change, while spotlighting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) upcoming rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 05:40:12 -0500 - Daniel Shuchman, WSJ Thomas Piketty likes capitalism because it efficiently allocates resources. But he does not like how it allocates income. There is, he thinks, a moral illegitimacy to virtually any accumulation of wealth, and it is a matter of justice that such inequality be eradicated in our economy. The way to do this is to eliminate high incomes and to reduce existing wealth through taxation.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 05:59:46 -0500 - Dean Baker, Huffington Post Thomas Piketty's new book, Capital for the 21st Century, has done a remarkable job of focusing public attention on the growth of inequality in the last three decades and the risk that it will grow further in the decades ahead. Piketty's basic point on this issue is almost too simple for economists to understand: If the rate of return on wealth (r) is greater than the rate of growth (g), then wealth is likely to become ever more concentrated.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 04:13:46 -0500 - Robert Tracinski, The Federalist So now we know why the Democrats are adopting economic inequality as their central issue: because their constituents, the people who live under policies crafted by the left, are the ones who experience the highest degree of income inequality in their own lives.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:55:42 -0500 - Richard Cohen, Washington Post Is Andranik Migranyan right?The head of a think tank associated with Vladimir Putin wrote the following in response to critics who liken the Russian president to Adolf Hitler and what he did so long ago: "One must distinguish between Hitler before 1939 and Hitler after 1939. The thing is that Hitler collected [German] lands. If he had become famous only for uniting without a drop of blood Germany with Austria, Sudetenland and Memel, in fact completing what Bismarck failed to do, and if he had stopped there, then he would have remained a politician of the highest class."Migranyan's comment,...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:57:39 -0500 - Sally Kohn, The Daily Beast Out and about this weekend, I saw no less than three men who appeared to be heterosexual wearing little buns on the tops of their heads. This must drive the Republican Party crazy. Because in a way, man-buns are the greatest threat to conservative culture and ideology.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:59:22 -0500 - Scott Atlas, RCP Many key provisions of The Affordable Care Act were finally implemented earlier this year, and widespread dismay over the reality of an overreaching government immediately followed. Initially, the predominant focus was on the inept rollout of the Obama administrationÂs website, a fiasco that cost well over $500 million of American taxpayer money -- more than was spent to develop Facebook and Twitter combined, more than the cost of developing AppleÂs iPhone. With more than two dozen executive branch decisions to delay some of the lawÂs deadlines -- but ignoring fixes more substantive...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 06:58:51 -0500 - Michael Daly, The Daily Beast President Obama may have gotten our troops out of Iraq, but the gunfire in his hometown of Chicago is still earning it a searing nickname coined by young people who live there.Chiraq.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:02:27 -0500 - Matt Labash, Weekly Standard The first time I saw someone wearing Google Glass in the wild, I was standing at a friend’s party at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin—the place where the tech world gathers each year to gleefully discover what next big “innovation” will eventually displace you. The party hotel was trendily down-market, a retro motor-court, but one where the house marinates its own cocktail olives while serving pepper-glazed bacon at Saturday jazz brunch.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:01:20 -0500 - Patti Neighmond, NPR It's not just kids who are overdoing screen time. Parents are often just as guilty of spending too much time checking smartphones and e-mail — and the consequences for their children can be troubling.Dr. Jenny Radesky is a pediatrician specializing in child development. When she worked at a clinic in a high-tech savvy Seattle neighborhood, Radesky started noticing how often parents ignored their kids in favor of a mobile device. She remembers a mother placing her phone in the stroller between herself and the baby. "The baby was making faces and smiling at the mom," Radesky says, "and...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:03:13 -0500 - Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal Yesterday on a panel on “Face the Nation,” we briefly discussed Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming memoir of her four years as secretary of state. It is called “Hard Choices”—they appear to be running low at the book-title store—and will be published June 10. The announcement of the title alone made news, which is a measure of how much interest the book, good or bad, will engender.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 05:28:18 -0500 - Jose Gonzalez, RCP During the arduous debate that led to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the dwindling band of pro-life Democrats in Congress saw an opportunity to extend their influence. But it didnÂt turn out as they had hoped. If anything, the fight over Obamacare may have marked the end of their limited clout.ÂYou could feel the excitementÂ among this group, Âwho were like, ÂI can vote for this,ÂÂ recalled pro-life party activist Kristen Day regarding language that was proposed for the bill. ÂThey were proud of it.ÂMichigan Democrat Bart Stupak fashioned an amendment that would...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:04:51 -0500 - Heather Digby Parton, Salon The news is so depressing for conservatives these days. All the demographic trends are moving against them.With every election showing a large majority of single women, young people and people of color voting for the Democrats, thus solidifying their identification with the party, the less likely it is that Republicans can outrun the shift to a multiracial majority. But they still don’t seem to understand exactly what this means for them.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:03:58 -0500 - Dennis Prager, Townhall When Americans over the age of, let us say, 45, look at any of the iconic paintings of America's Founders -- the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the signing of the Constitution, George Washington crossing the Delaware, any of the individual portraits the Founders -- what do they see?They see great men founding a great country.If you ask recent graduates of almost any American university what they see when they look at these paintings, chances are that they see something entirely different.They are apt to see rich, white males who are not great and who did not found a great...
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:05:47 -0500 - Dana Milbank, Washington Post Midway through Monday’s arguments at the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared to be fading.She was looking down at her case material, her head resting in her hand, her face just a few inches above the desk. She looked up for a moment, but then sunk lower, and the only part of her visible to most of the audience in the Supreme Court chamber was the part north of the forehead.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:06:30 -0500 - Seth Lipsky, The American Spectator A story is told about Robert L. Bartley, late editor of the Wall Street Journal, and his penchant for long silences. He is supposed to have once taken a job applicant to lunch at which, though the two shared a meal, neither spoke a syllable. That is no doubt apocryphal; the job applicant probably said something. George Washington had a taciturn streak, as did President Coolidge, known as “Silent Cal.” Bartley made them seem like magpies. Not everyone likes being left alone with his thoughts. But rarely does anyone get as upset about it as Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker appears...
CHICAGO — The Washington Wizards had to wait six years to get back to the postseason. But they only needed two games to really get introduced to playoff basketball, with more physical play, short tempers and extreme rallies. In the intense cauldron of United Center — a place that has devoured more seasoned units — the Wizards refused to relent after watching a 17-point lead turn into a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and didn’t crumble when they were betrayed by missed free throws and calls that went against them.
The United States has decided to resume delivery of Apache helicopters to Egypt, the Pentagon announced late Tuesday, backtracking on a decision officials made last summer following the country’s military coup and its violent aftermath.
Awais Sajjad, a lawful permanent U.S. resident living in the New York area, learned he was on the no-fly list in September 2012 after he tried to board a flight to Pakistan at John F. Kennedy International Airport and was turned back.
In the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Angels, fans at Nationals Park witnessed a moment of baseball history. Albert Pujols hit the 500th home run of his career, a towering two-run shot into the center field seats off Nationals right-handed starter Taylor Jordan. He became the 26th player in history to hit 500 home runs.
The sexual misconduct complaints piled up on the desk of Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison Sr., the commander of U.S. Army forces in Japan. A colonel on his staff had been accused of having an affair with a subordinate, of drunken and inappropriate behavior with other women at a military club and lastly, of sexual assault.
The last time the Pentagon tried to upgrade the president’s coolest ride — the fleet of helicopters that drop him at his doorstep on the South Lawn of the White House — it didn’t go well. Costs doubled. Delays sparked ridicule, then outrage. And President Obama, then just a few weeks in office, said it was “an example of the procurement process gone amok” before defense officials killed the program outright.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday made clear that states are free to prohibit the use of racial considerations in university admissions, upholding Michigan’s constitutional amendment banning affirmative action.
After Madison Walker quit heroin, he urged Connor Brennan to get clean, too.
Brennan, 20, thought about Walker, who had grown up in the same Fairfax County subdivision and was sober, healthy, close with his parents again. Look how happy he is, Brennan thought. I want to be like that.
Sporting a fancy pair of glasses, Stephen Colbert arrived on the “Late Show” Tuesday night to sit down with David Letterman and chat about the future — a future that will, of course, see Colbert take over for Letterman next year when the iconic late-night host retires sometime in 2015, as CBS recently announced .
KIEV, Ukraine — Vice President Biden pledged additional American aid Tuesday to help the government here, as the Pentagon announced that it would respond to Russia’s involvement in Ukraine by sending about 600 U.S. troops to conduct exercises and training in Poland and the three Baltic states.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s fierce defense of the affirmative action efforts such as the ones that helped move her from a Bronx housing project to the upper echelons of American law found renewed voice Tuesday in an impassioned dissent that accused colleagues of trying to “wish away” racial inequality — and drew a tart response from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
CHARLESTON, S.C. — More than 750 people packed into a city auditorium here this week for a sold-out production of “Fun Home,” a musical by a New York-based troupe about a woman coming to terms with her closeted gay father’s suicide. The crowd rose in a standing ovation before the show even began.
Several Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical of Internet streaming start-up Aereo during oral arguments Tuesday, questioning if the company was created as a technical workaround of copyright laws to bypass license payments.
Last month we wrote about a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition on how much a worker would have to earn to afford what the Department of Housing and Urban Development considers "fair market rent" in local communities across the country. The government sets these housing rates, which include rent plus utilities, based on the local market for decent-quality apartments of different sizes -- neither dumps nor luxury flats. These are also the rates that HUD uses to establish local housing subsidies.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has made a personal donation of $10,000 to former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell's legal defense fund, a Romney aide confirmed Tuesday.
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted in January on federal charges of bribery and fraud involving their relationship with a prominent Virginia businessman and campaign donor. The McDonnells are scheduled to face trial in July.
The Internet, as we resignedly recap every Friday, has no great regard for truth. But among the pranksters and hoaxers, the rumor-mongers and the thoughtless retweeters, the performance artists and the gullible olds, there’s one unusually insidious, inscrutable set of characters: the people who write fake Internet news not as a joke or stunt or meta social commentary … but as a running career, for profit and without qualms.
House Speaker John Boehner’s tenure as the top Republican in Congress has not been smooth. He has sparred with a combative Democratic president and a Democratic Senate. He has been attacked by conservatives in his own party who think him insufficiently ideological, and he has had to deal with constant rumors that his top lieutenant, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), is plotting to steal his speakership.
Some people who pay private student loans on time are being placed in default when the co-signer of their loans dies or declares bankruptcy, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in a report due out Tuesday.
LAWRENCE, Kansas — There is no press bus this time, no retinue of advisers trailing in his wake, no public-address system blaring his arrival. On this tour, Bob Dole makes a quiet entrance — and then the one-liners begin.
In one of the biggest cases of the year for tech, a young start-up is taking on TV broadcasters in the Supreme Court. Depending on the outcome, the battle could either solidify TV networks' grip over their content or throw the doors open to a future where consumers will be able to get traditional, over-the-air programming over the Internet instead. Either way, the case promises to have huge implications for the way we watch TV. So here's a quick primer to get up to speed.
Thirty-eight Republican lawmakers are signaling support for a lawsuit filed by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that challenges a rule by the Obama administration allowing the federal government to subsidize health insurance for lawmakers and some congressional staffers.
President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will tackle a number of issues during Obama’s state visit to Japan, but one issue rises above the rest: whether the two countries can resolve enough of their economic differences to help unlock a broader trade deal across the entire Asia-Pacific region.