Archive for October 12th, 2009

NRO’s Ed Whelan on Justice O’Connor’s legal opinions — Can Mush Be Dismantled?

Monday, October 12th, 2009

According to this USA Today article, former justice Sandra Day O’Connor “says she regrets that some of her decisions ‘are being dismantled’ by the current Supreme Court.” But O’Connor was notorious for rulings that failed to set forth any clear principles, and I don’t see how a decision can be “dismantled” without its ever having been meaningfully assembled in the first place.

Justice Scalia — But, no, by and large I don’t have any complaint about the quality of counsel, except maybe we’re wasting some of our best minds.

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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Gallup: Obama Gets Bump, Won’t Last

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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The Hill — Democrats stymie Republican efforts to pass immigration reform measures

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Republicans failed last week to keep provisions addressing illegal immigration in the Homeland Security spending bill, the latest sign that Democrats want to hold off on that debate until next year.

GOP senators had succeeded in attaching a pair of border security and enforcement provisions to the Senate version of the appropriations bill: one would have completed the 700-mile fence authorized along the Mexican border and the other would have permanently extended a requirement for all federal contractors to verify their employees through a government database.

WSJ — White House Bid to Close Gitmo Hampered by Snags in Congress

Monday, October 12th, 2009

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January faces snags in Congress that some of the president’s supporters say result from a lack of White House muscle.

The Obama administration won a measure of support last week when House and Senate negotiators agreed on a joint Homeland Security appropriations bill that allows Guantanamo prisoners to be transferred to the U.S. for prosecution if the administration provides a plan for handling each detainee case.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — Pork pays: For Murtha’s subcommittee, the earmarks pile up

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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WSJ — Taking the National Debt Seriously: In 2009 about 40% of income taxes will go towards debt interest payments.

Monday, October 12th, 2009

If you think those town hall meetings over health care were fierce, wait until Americans come to understand the threat to our national financial survival posed by the interest on the government’s credit card.

When the government spends more than its revenue, there is a budget deficit. These deficits are paid for by Washington selling interest bearing Treasury securities. If the government were ever to default on its promise to pay periodic interest payments or to repay the debt at maturity, the United States economy would plunge into a level of chaos that would make the Lehman bankruptcy look like a nonevent.

Atlantic — Time for Decisiveness on Afghanistan

Monday, October 12th, 2009

When it comes to foreign policy, Republicans and Democrats are each suspect in their own way. Republicans used to be the party of competence in world affairs. They lost that aura during President George W. Bush’s first six years in office, when he mismanaged the wars both in Iraq and in Afghanistan. The Democrats, for their part, are often accused of being wobbly on national security, lacking both toughness and gumption. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama’s recent handling of the war in Afghanistan plays to those charges. Being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize will only intensify the perception that he is a weak war leader.

NY Times — Two State Races May Put Lens on Obama

Monday, October 12th, 2009

He was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win this state since 1964, assembling a coalition – independent voters, economically distressed rural Democrats and blacks – that his party saw as evidence that it could take and hold Republican-leaning areas across the nation.

But things are different today. At a time when Mr. Obama’s national approval ratings have declined, a Democratic candidate for governor, R. Creigh Deeds, is struggling to keep Virginia in the Democratic column.

A Path to Downward Mobility — Robert Samuelson

Monday, October 12th, 2009

WASHINGTON – Every generation of Americans should live better than its predecessor. That’s Americans’ core definition of economic “progress.” But for today’s young, it may be a mirage. Higher health spending, increasing energy prices and stretched governments at all levels may squeeze future disposable incomes — what people have to spend — and public services. Are we condemning our children to downward mobility?

The next big political issue? The U.S. dollar — James Pethokoukis

Monday, October 12th, 2009

The state of the dollar probably hasn’t been a first-tier political issue in the United States since, say, the presidential election of 1896. Back then, it manifested as whether or not America would stay on the gold standard or switch to a bimetallic one. (The William Jennings Bryan “cross of gold” speech and all that.)

The aftershocks of the global financial crisis may now be propelling the dollar back to the political forefront. The greenback’s continuing slide makes it a handy metric that neatly encapsulates America’s current economic troubles and possible long-term decline. House Republicans for instance, have been using the weaker dollar as a weapon in their attacks on the Bernanke-led Federal Reserve.

WSJ — The Ugly Premise of ‘Settlement’ Opponents: About 20% of Israel is Arab. Would it be a tragedy if 10% of future Palestine is Jewish?

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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New Republic — Galston Vs. Cohen: Was McChrystal Right to Go Public?

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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Neal Boortz — THE FALLOUT FROM THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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NY Mag — How the public option, helped by a congressman looking for an issue and a shrewdly silent White House, returned from the brink.

Monday, October 12th, 2009

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UK Guardian — The system let Obama be president. But he still may not be able to beat it

Monday, October 12th, 2009

At an election night party during the primaries last year I made a throwaway comment disparaging those who believed Barack Obama’s mixed-race identity gave him a unique understanding of America’s racial problems.

“It does,” said one woman.

I explained that I was joking. She was not. “It really does,” she continued. “He knows how black people think and he knows how white people think.”

“If that’s what it took then Tiger Woods [whose father is of African American, Chinese and Native American descent and mother is of Thai, Chinese and Dutch descent] should be president and Nelson Mandela should have stayed in the Transkei,” I said.

Can Republicans Grasp the Opportunity for Revival? — David Boaz

Monday, October 12th, 2009

American voters have been demonstrating a lack of confidence in both parties lately. George W. Bush nearly destroyed the Republican Party, but Barack Obama is giving it a chance at resurrection.

Karl Rove dreamed that he and Bush, like strategist Mark Hanna and President William McKinley in 1896, would create a generation of Republican dominance. Instead, he delivered both Congress and the presidency to the Democrats.

58% Say Politics Behind Nobel Awards, Up From 40% Last Year — Rasmussen

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Americans are much more skeptical of the motivation behind the awarding of the prestigious international Nobel Prizes following President Obama’s win Friday of the Nobel Peace Prize.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of American adults now believe that politics plays a role in the awarding of the Nobel Prize. That’s an 18-point jump from 40% a year ago.

Just 21% of Americans say politics does not play a role in the awarding of the Nobel Prize. Twenty-one percent (21%) are not sure.

The survey was taken Friday and Saturday nights following the Nobel committee’s announcement Friday that the president is the latest recipient of the Peace Prize. Previous winners include Dr. Martin Luther King, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-President Jimmy Carter, Mother Theresa and former Vice President Al Gore.

Rasmussen — 24% Say America Should No Longer Honor Columbus With A Holiday

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Intrepid explorer who discovered America or merciless oppressor of the native peoples who already lived here? Some historians paint a darker picture of Christopher Columbus these days, and nearly a quarter (24%) of adults now don’t think America should honor him with a national holiday.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) disagree and say Columbus should be honored with a holiday. Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans favor continuance of Columbus Day, compared to 52% of Democrats and 54% of adults not affiliated with either party. Democrats are nearly twice as likely as Republicans to think Columbus should not be honored.

‘Conceptual Language’ Hides Health Care’s Costs — Michael Barone

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Some of the headlines in recent days are not worthy of belief. No, I’m not referring to the headlines that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, however odd that many seem to many (including, it seems, Obama himself). I’m referring to the headlines earlier in the week to the effect that the health care bill sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus will cut the federal deficit by $81 billion over the next 10 years.

Yes, that is what the Congressional Budget Office estimated. But, as the CBO noted, there’s no actual Baucus bill, just some “conceptual language.” Actual language, CBO noted, might result in “significant changes” in its estimates. No wonder Democratic congressional leaders killed requirements that the actual language be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before Congress votes.