My friend recently acquired online friend Noah Horwitz, a phenomenal blogger, superb writer, and all-around nice guy even if he is terribly misguided in his political leanings, included this little detail in his post on the Texas Democrat convention.
The race for Vice-Chair, however, had significantly more sparks. Under a gentlemanís agreements, given the demographics of the current Chair, the Vice-Chair must be an African-American woman.
Got that -- if you get a Hispanic in the party chairmanship, whites are excluded from selection as party vice chair.
Apparently I got it right the other day -- the skin may be brown, but they still wear the same discredited white sheets embraced by Texas Democrats since Reconstruction.
And by the way -- check out this other piece he has written about the Texas Democrat party rejecting moderates, independents, and ex-Republicans who might be interested in joining their party.
For some time now, people of good will have been praying for the safe return of three Jewish boys kidnapped in by Palestinian terrorists near their homes in Israel. Today comes the word that the three, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel, have been found murdered.
The kidnappings led to waves of celebration among the Palestinians. That isn't too surprising, as such celebrations are the norm any time there is an act of terrorism. The shocking thing is that even in death the Palestinians took one last opportunity to victimize them.
Palestinian Arabs attacked an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ambulance humvee on Monday that was transporting the recently discovered bodies of three murdered Israeli boys who were kidnapped on June 12, an Israeli source told The Algemeiner.
The Muqata blog posted an image of the damaged vehicle on Facebook writing, ď8:44pm IDF Ambulance humvee transporting the bodies of the boys attacked by arabsÖ.windows smashed.Ē
I think that tells us all that we need to know about the Palestinians.
I asked if Obama and his supporters understand the Constitution just the other day.
I'm now starting to think that I was wrong and they don't.
"Does the constitutional lawyer who sits in the Oval Office agree with the Supreme Courtís premise that companies have freedom of speech and companies have freedom of religion?" asked Jim Avila of ABC News. Earnest embraced the phrasing, of course, and made this stark statement:
There is a problem that has been exposed, which is that there are now a group of women of an indeterminate size who no longer have access to free contraceptive coverage simply because of some religious views that are held, not by them necessarily, but by their bosses. We disagree and the constitutional lawyer in the Oval Office disagrees with that conclusion from the Supreme Court.
Obama really has a problem with that whole separation of powers thing, especially based upon the announcement that he plans to seize the power to "mitigate" the decision.
And then there was this on immigration.
President Barack Obama plans to take administrative actions in the coming months to address problems with the countryís immigration policies, he said Monday ó a clear acknowledgment that a legislative overhaul is effectively dead this year.
ďI take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue and Congress chooses to do nothing,Ē Obama said in the Rose Garden. ďAnd in this situation, the failure of the House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our economyĒ and bad for the country.
And so once again Obama plans to seize power not granted him in the Constitution when Congress uses its constitutionally granted power to not pass a law just because a president wants them to.
But then again, maybe that has something to do with the fact that there is not a "Constitutional lawyer" in the Oval Office. After all, he does not have a law license, never had a constitutional law practice, and never published a scholarly or peer-reviewed work on the Constitution. And as for his teaching career -- I've spent more years teaching about the Constitution on the college level than he ever did.
Which is why I have been asking these questions for some time now.
Two major decisions came down today -- the last two of the term. Each has potentially major ramifications.
The first case decided (Harris v. Quinn) involved mandatory union dues from family members receiving state funding to care for disabled family members in their homes. The state of Illinois had forced them into a union over the objection of many of them, as there was no vote and not substantive benefit from the "representation" they were receiving. The majority opinion in the case is by Justice Alito, writing for a court split 5-4. The ruling appears narrow, in that it relies upon the fact that these individuals do not fall into a class of what are traditionally considered government employees. Interestingly enough, the decision does not go so far as prohibiting mandatory payments to unions on the part of government employees, so it falls short of overturning previous precedents on public sector unionism. I'm pleased by the outcome but disappointed that it failed to abolish the practice of requiring payments to a private organization for unwanted services as a condition of serving one's community as a government employee.
In the Hobby Lobby case, it is a win for religious freedom -- though disappointingly only by a 5-4 margin. Closely-held corporations cannot be required to supply birth control or abortifacient coverage due to the requirements of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The case specifically is related to birth control and abortifacients, and the reasoning is not so broad as to go to all insurance mandates (such as blood transfusions and vaccines) would be unacceptable. It also does not apply to illegal discrimination (race, sex, etc.) based on a religious claim. Indeed, the decision argues that closely held corporations are entitled to the same accommodations as non-profits with similar objections. The decision leaves open the possibility of a government regulation that uses tax dollars to pay for such coverage -- another chance for President Pen-n-Phone to make law on his own say-so, I guess.
More embarrassment of Texas Democrats by profane racist buffoon Trey Martinez Fischer!
Texas Democratic leaders have some explaining to do after they were caught mocking Hispanic culture and perpetuating stereotypes at their state convention in Dallas. Incredibly, the incriminating evidence came courtesy the Democratic lawmaker responsible for the shenanigans, who tweeted pictures.
State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-116, San Antonio) was looking to make a splash at this yearís Democratic State Convention, possibly gearing up for a run at statewide office in the next election cycle. In an effort to raise his visibility, he sponsored a convention after-party Friday night for delegates at the Omni Dallas Convention Hotel downtown, and had a booth on the convention floor. It was what he did at that booth, however, that will likely not sit well with voters, Hispanics in particular.
In pictures Rep. Fischer tweeted Friday afternoon, delegates and convention attendees happily donned a sombrero and a fake Mexican-style mustache that he provided, and held a machete as they posed for pictures in his booth, despite the negative stereotypes and cultural insensitivity.
And also here.
And to think this idiot is considered one of the best and brightest among Texas Democrats and is being touted as a future statewide candidate for office. Looks to me like the Cobarruvication of the Texas Democrat Party is in full swing, with Trey Martinez Fischer in the lead!
Odd that this isn't front page news down here in Texas. Guess our state's political reporters are too worn out after their efforts trashing the Texas GOP during its convention to even report on the goings on at the Texas Democrat convention.
DALLAS Ė Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg AbbottĎs campaign blasted remarks made by state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer at the Texas Democratic Convention in Dallas, calling them inappropriate and symptomatic of the partyís recklessness.
Martinez Fischer, well-known for his penchant for throwing bombs at his colleagues across the aisle, has been especially on point this weekend. During his speech to the full convention Friday, Martinez Fischer said ďGOPĒ stood for ďgringos y otros pendejos.Ē
Now please understand that "gringo" in this context is an uncomplimentary reference to white people and "otros pendejos" roughly translates as "other assholes" So got it - a state official was given a pass by the Texas media for stating that the other party is made up of "whitey and other assholes". (I will note that "pendejo" can also translate as "jagoff" or "motherfucker" -- but the difference makes no differnece).
Could you imagine what would happen if a GOP official had stood up and declared that "Dems stands for 'darkies, extremists, Mexicans and shitheads'"? There would have been endless editorializing and commentating about the crass and hateful nature of the GOP and demands that the entire state party, from our statewide candidates to the precinct chairs like myself, denounce that official and that the speaker be resign from office and withdraw from their race for reelection. But there has not been such outrage in response to the words of Trey Martinez Fischer.
Not only that, but the Wendy Davis campaign is DEFENDING their surrogate!
ďGiven that Greg Abbott, his campaign and his allies have compared Wendy Davis to Hitler, Satan and a Barbie doll, their fake outrage today is both pathetic and predictable,Ē Davis spokesman Zac Petkanas replied Saturday.
Given that Davis is only the candidate of her party due to her support of the genocidal practice of abortion, the Hitler comparison is at least arguable. And the Barbie comparison is a reference to some supporters referring to Davis as "Abortion Barbie" -- again a reference to her sole claim to fame (and her bottle-blonde hair and plastic surgery -- just saying). As for the Satan comparison, it refers to a tweet by an Abbott staffer mocking the low viewership of her speech online.
Odd -- Davis doesn't have an objection to the Trey Martinez Fischer campaign distributing material depicting Abbott as the devil, though. That is something that would have been planned for weeks, not a spur of the moment joke on someone's personal Twitter account.
Trey Martinez Fischer even went so far as to double down on his offensive comments.
Martinez Fischer had this to say in response: ďI stand by my words. I did not know Greg Abbott was at the convention to hear me, and if I had known that I would told him directly to his face.Ē
I wonder -- would he also be willing to say the comment to the face of the Attorney General's wife, Cecelia Abbott? After all, she is a proud conservative Republican Latina. Is she a "pendeja"? All of Texas wants to hear the response to that question. My guess is that the cretinous Democrat would -- after all, the cabrůn has no class and knows that her husband couldn't give him a well-deserved ass-kicking.
But I think Trey Martinez Fischer shows that very little has changed in the Democrat Party -- he may have brown skin, but he still wears the same discredited white sheets embraced by Texas Democrats since Reconstruction.
UPDATE: Can you believe there's more?
That may sound like a strange question to some. After all, Obama is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the one-time editor of its law review, and a former lecturer at the prestigious University of Chicago Law School. But I'm serious about that question, in light of comments he, his subordinates, and his allies have made recently.
Consider this from his press secretary the other day.
During an interview with MSNBCís Chuck Todd, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained that the Obama administration was getting impatient with Congress.
ď[W]eíre not just going to sit around and wait interminably for Congress,Ē he explained.
But wait -- under our system the president is supposed to do exactly that when it comes to making law. All legislative power -- the power to actually make law -- is vested in the Congress. The president is to faithfully execute the laws made by Congress -- that is the very essence of Article II. That means that the laws on the book need to be fully and vigorously enforced -- not ignored as inconvenient or changed by executive fiat. If the president wants the law changed, he can seek to convince Congress to do so -- but he does, in fact, have to wait on Congress. Yet this president, allegedly a constitutional scholar, is not content to stay within the system.
And lest you think that this is just a subordinate speaking out of turn, Obama has made the same sort of argument.
Little more than four months before pivotal congressional elections, President Obama on Friday defended his economic policies and berated congressional Republicans for blocking many of his initiatives.
"They don't do anything," Obama told supporters gathered at a band shell near a Minneapolis lake. "Except block me, and call me names."
The president ran down a list of items on which he and congressional Republicans are at odds, including a new immigration bill, a proposed increase in the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, and fair pay for women.
Apparently Obama doesn't recognize that the Congress is a co-equal branch -- or that the Framers of the Constitution actually intended it to be a check on the executive. Congress job is not to pass laws that the president orders them to pass -- it is to consider what laws it deems appropriate and pass those, and to not pass those that it deems unwise or unworkable. Indeed, today the problem is not the GOP-controlled house refusing to pass legislation -- it is the Democrat majority leader of the US Senate refusing to allow the Senate to vote on many of those bills.
The Obama administration is ďnot bluffingĒ in its intent to take executive action on immigration policy if House Republicans donít act soon, top Democratic leaders warned Thursday.
President Obama has delayed any potential changes to his deportation policy to allow House GOP leaders time to bring legislation to the floor this summer. But if the Republicans donít act in July, the Democrats say, unilateral changes by Obama are inevitable.
ďWeíre at the end of the line,Ē Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said Thursday during a press briefing in the Capitol. ďWeíre not bluffing by setting a legislative deadline for them to act.
ďTheir first job is to govern,Ē Menendez added, ďand in the absence of governing, then you see executive actions.Ē
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) piled on. Noting that a year has passed since the Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill with broad bipartisan support, he urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring a similar bill to the floor.
ďI donít know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,Ē Durbin said. ďAnd if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.Ē
I want to look at two of those statements.
Senator Melendez states that ďTheir first job is to govern, and in the absence of governing, then you see executive actions." That, my friends, is antithetical to the proper constitutional order of things. Governing is not just acting -- it is also refusing to act in a manner contrary to the desires of the people and the good of the nation. Refusing to pass legislation that the president wants is also governing -- and is fully within the understanding of the Framers as to what the power of the legislative branch ought to be. On the other hand, executive action to thwart the will of Congress is contrary to that understanding.
And then there is Senator Durbin's assertion that "the president will borrow the power that is needed" to do what Congress refuses to do in response to the president's demands. I've been studying and teaching the Constitution for over three decades now, and I have never seen any provision of the Constitution that allows for the executive to "borrow" legislative power to do what Congress refuses to do. Indeed, that is contrary to the delegation to the executive on the power to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed, because no law exists if it is made outside of an exercise of the legislative power by Congress. Simply put, no president has the power to change a law that Congress refuses to change.
Lest you think I am projecting my own personal preferences on the Framers, I direct you to none other than the Father of the Constitution himself, James Madison. In The Federalist #47, Madison observed the following:
No political truth is certainly of greater intrinsic value, or is stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty, than that on which the objection is founded. The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
He then goes on to explain the importance of separation of powers amongst and between the branches, citing Baron Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws:
When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.
Given the unquestioned reliance of the Framers upon this work and its citation in what has been the primer on the meaning of the Constitution since the earliest days of the Republic, it cannot be argued that the Constitution itself allows for the president to act as an independent legislature using power borrowed from the branch to which such powers have been delegated.
Now Barack Obama is reputed to be an intelligent man with expertise in the United States Constitution. I therefore find it difficult to imagine that I have discovered anything in the Constitution and its ancillary documents that Obama himself would be unaware of. This leads me to the conclusion that while he may understand the Constitution, he certainly does not respect it or the oath of office he has twice taken at the beginning of his four year term of office. So what do we do in response to this violation of what he knows to be his duty as the president?
The obvious answer is impeachment -- but that is not a solution to the constitutional overreach of Barack Obama. Even setting aside the optics of making the first African-American president the first president to be impeached and removed, the reality is that removal will not happen. After all, as demonstrated by the quotes from Senators Melendez and Durbin, the very senators whose duty is to vote for Obama's removal in order to defend the constitutional prerogatives of Congress are acting as cheerleaders for his usurpation of congressional power. Even if Republicans gain control of the Senate in the elections in November, the likelihood of drawing a sufficient number of Democrat votes to reach the two-thirds majority needed for removal is negligible. In addition, Obama's successor would be Joe Biden, who would be likely to attempt to act in a fashion any better than Obama has.
We are therefore left with only one option as a people -- vote for Republicans in every Senate race in 2014 so that the Democrats will be denied the power to obstruct Republican legislation passed by the House. In addition, this will give Congress effective control of the nation's treasury, with the ability to block any funding for Obama's overreach. Obama will still be able to veto Republican bills and budgets -- but at that point it will be clear where the obstruction is coming from. More to the point, even if it remains impossible to heal all the wounds inflicted upon our nation's constitutional order, it will at least be possible to stop the bleeding.
Actually, that question is rhetorical.
We know the answer -- more flaccidly than an octogenarian without his Viagra.
We know because that is how the US government always responds to violations of US territory by Mexican forces.
TUCSON, Ariz. (CBS Las Vegas) ó Border Patrol agents in Arizona were reportedly fired upon by a Mexican military helicopter that traveled across the border.
KVOA-TV reports that Mexican authorities were conducting a drug interdiction operation when the incident happened early Thursday morning on the Tohono Oíodham Indian Nation. The Mexican chopper fired at the agents and then flew back into Mexico.
Art del Cueto, Border Patrol Tucson Sector union president, tells KVOA that they called and apologized for the incident.
Apology not accepted. Time to establish and enforce a no-fly zone for Mexican military aircraft so that "accidents" like this do not happen again.
After all, this is a recurring problem.
One of the things that destroyed Jimmy Carter's reelection bid in the closing days of the 1980 campaign was this response to a question during one of the presidential debates.
This gaffe leaped to mind when I read about this comment by Barack Obama.
And he said young people largely support acting on climate change ó citing his own daughters as an example.
ďYou talk to Malia, you talk to Sasha, you talk to your kids or your grandkids ó this is something they get,Ē he said. ďThey donít need a lot of persuading.Ē
There we have it -- public policy being set by Obama's teenage daughters. Is it any wonder that Obama is a failed president?
On the difference between Republicans during the Watergate era and Democrats during the Obama Regime, on the occasion of yesterday's deaths of two Republicans who did the right thing during the Nixon years.
SO TWO WATERGATE-ERA HEROES DIED TODAY. Howard Baker, who famously asked ďwhat did the President know and when did he know it?Ē and Johnnie Walters, the IRS Commissioner who refused to go along with Nixonís efforts to target his enemies. Both were Republicans who stood up for the rule of law.
Where are the Democrats willing to stand up for it under this Administration?
Where are they indeed?
And this sort of crap is why we need to rein-in the abuse of the Commerce Clause.
In late 2011 an intra-sect feud within an Amish community in eastern Ohio became violent as followers of Samuel Mullet Sr. assaulted several of their co-religionists because they were ďAmish hypocrites.Ē The assailants forcibly cut the beards and hair of their victims to punish them for their alleged transgressions. The attacks were violent and served their purpose of humiliating the victims, but were they a federal crime? The Department of Justice thinks so, and a federal district court agreed. On Thursday the federal governmentís arguments will be tested as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will hear oral arguments in the defendants appeal in Miller v. United States.
* * *
According to the Justice Department, the defendants crimes are subject to federal prosecution under the hate crimes statute because the shears and scissors used in the assaults had previously crossed state lines because they were manufactured in another state and because the defendants rode in cars to the scenes of the attacks.
Arguing that a defendant is subject to federal jurisdiction because he or she wore clothing that at some point was in the stream of interstate commerce?
The original understanding of the Commerce Clause was that it was intended to keep one state from imposing trade restrictions or tariffs on goods from other states -- something that did exist during the Confederation era. It was not intended to be a catch-all clause for giving the federal government jurisdiction where it did not otherwise exist -- such an interpretation is contrary to the clear intention of the framers to limit federal power.
I'll be honest -- I oppose the so-called "human rights ordinance" because it violates the human rights of a lot of Houstonians by expropriating their property for government purposes without compensation and requires them to act contrary to their religious beliefs because the Empress Julia Caesar (AKA Mayor Annise Parker) demands that they burn incense at the rainbow-strewn altar of political correctness. But I don't like some of the possible implications and outcomes of the repeal effort that is being led by former Harris County Republican Party chairman Jared Woodfill.
The other day, I noted the following over at one of the site of one of our local left-wing bloggers.
I agree that this referendum could be a net-plus for Democrats, but for a different reason than you give. If, in fact, opposition to this ordinance is high in the black and Hispanic communities, the referendum will have the effect of bringing out more black and Hispanic voters to strike it down. But we know that in partisan races these same voters tend to vote Democrat -- meaning that Woodfill's effort could have the effect of striking down the ordinance while increasing the number of Democrat votes in some close legislative and judicial races -- especially the judicial races. Can you talk about a Phyrric victory?
The other thing of note is that Woodfill may recognize this last point and actually like it. After all, this will be the first election after his defeat in the race for county chair, and the Woodfill faction could use the damage they do with the referendum to attack new chair, Paul Simpson. A successful repeal referendum coupled with a bad showing in the partisan races would therefore be a tool to bring back Woodfill as party chair -- or allow him to pick one of his cronies to take on Simpson in 2016.
Yeah, I do think that the timing of the repeal vote is potentially devastating for Republicans. As we saw in 2008 and 2012, an increased turnout by African-American voters in Harris County results in Democrats being elected down ballot. It isn't that Republicans are anti-black -- far from it -- but because African-Americans vote 90% Democrat for a variety of socio-economic reasons (the poorer and less educated you are, the more likely you are to vote Democrat -- and poverty and low educational attainment are chronic problems in the black community). A similar observation can be made regarding the Hispanic community. In order to be successful in repealing the ordinance, Woodfill and his supporters have to turn out folks who are more than likely going to vote for Democrats the rest of the way down the ballot, harming Republican electoral prospects. And that doesn't even get into the issue of ordinance backers working to get their supporters to the polls -- voters who are also more likely to vote Democrat.
Of course, it shortly thereafter hit me that this probably does not upset Woodfill and his supporters. After all, the amount of bitterness left over from this past spring's race for party chair here in Harris County is high. I know that I've been insulted and cursed by Woodfill supporters who I've worked with for years because I backed newly elected chairman Paul Simpson. I've also been told by some of these folks that they are not going to do their usual work on behalf of Republican candidates since their guy lost (never mind that we were always enjoined to come together as a party when their guy won). Are they looking for a possible bonus as a result of the repeal effort -- win or lose -- in the form of a bad election for the Republicans in Harris County as a means of regaining control of the party apparatus in the county? It would not surprise me.
Woodfill declined to comment on growing speculation that he may be using the issue to position himself as the ďconservative choiceĒ for the next chairman of the Texas Republican Party. He stepped down as Harris County Chairman earlier this month after losing to challenger Paul Simpson. Voters in Houston could be forgiven, though, for not noticing Woodfill is no longer chairman given the amount of email blasts he is still sending out regularly about the ordinance. ďThis isnít about anybodyís personality,Ē Woodfill said. ďThis is about the issue.Ē
Sorry, I've been involved in politics long enough to know that when a current or former officeholder says "This isn't about anybody's personality," it is usually at least partially about their own personality and ambitions. And given that current state GOP chair Steve Munisteri has indicated he will not serve out his full term and will instead step down sometime after the 2015 legislative session, it would not surprise me to see Jared seeking the post of state chairman. After all, that post will be filled by the State Republican Executive Committee, and Harris County has a disproportionate say on that body due to the number of state senate districts that are clustered in and around Harris County. And assuming that Dan Patrick is our new Lt. Governor, it is likely that Woodfill will have the backing of the most powerful officeholder in the state as well in any bid to become the state chairman.
Now do I think that Jared Woodfill is spearheading this effort because of his personal political ambitions and desire to have a Nixonesque political resurrection? No, I don't -- I believe he is quite sincere in wanting to see the ordinance in question struck down. But I as I've indicated above, I cannot discount the probability that he is preparing to use this effort -- regardless of the outcome -- to accomplish just such a comeback.
So much for the supposed ideological division on the Supreme Court. Obama got slapped down on one of his abuses of power, and the free speech rights of pro-lifers were upheld in unanimous decisions .
The first had to do with recess appointments by Barack Obama -- and the decision was even written by one of the court's liberals!
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday limited the president's power to make recess appointments for vacancies in the executive branch. The case, National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning et al., specifically related to three appointments Obama made in 2012 to the NLRB while the Senate was in pro forma sessions, convening every three days. As the Court sees it, for the Senate to truly be in recess, it would have to be out for at least 10 days.
The majority opinion in the case was written by Justice Stephen Breyer, which was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. A concurring opinion written by Antonin Scalia was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
The Court's summary states (emphasis ours) "The Recess Appointments Clause empowers the President to fill existing vacancy during any recessóintra-session or inter-sessionóof sufficient length." But the question here is whether the Senate was actually in recess. "A Senate recess that is so short that it does not require the consent of the House under that Clause is not long enough to trigger the President's recess-appointment power."
Frankly, I think that Breyer pegged things exactly right here, while Justice Scalia may have attempted to limit the recess appointment power too much based upon the historical precedents (though his reading of the text is certainly reasonable if one does not look at precedents going back to the founding era). But the key thing here is that no president has the right to simply declare the Senate to be in recess when he says it is and make appointments contrary to the clear meaning of the Constitution. This calls into question a great many Obama appointments.
And then there is the important free speech precedent, joined by even ardent abortion supporter Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts.
The justices were unanimous in ruling that extending a buffer zone 35 feet from clinic entrances violates the First Amendment rights of protesters.
Chief Justice John Roberts said authorities have less intrusive ways to deal with problems outside the clinics.
While the court was unanimous in the outcome, Roberts joined with the four liberal justices to strike down the buffer zone on narrow grounds. In a separate opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized Roberts' opinion for carrying forward "this court's practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents."
The case began when Boston-area grandmother Eleanor McCullen and other abortion opponents sued over the limits on their activities at Planned Parenthood health centers in Boston, Springfield and Worcester. At the latter two sites, the protesters say they have little chance of reaching patients arriving by car because they must stay 35 feet from the entrance to those buildings' parking lots.
Consider the reality of the law in question. Under it, if two people walking on the sidewalk were discussing abortion, one could legally say he supported abortion while his companion could be arrested for responding that she believed it to be murder. A Planned Parenthood volunteer could wear a t-shirt supporting abortion while a person wearing a "Precious Feet" lapel pin while passing the building would be subject to criminal charges. One would even be subject to criminal charges for parking a car with the wrong bumper sticker too close to the building! And while I agree with Justice Scalia's view that the court failed to reckon with the double standard that exists in restricting only one side of the abortion debate, I think that this decision will be a building block for future challenges to such restrictions on speech on the issue.
By the way -- these decisions today are part of a string of unanimous decisions this year. Indeed, over half of all decisions have been made 9-0.
Wendy Davis promises victory
Maybe if the Democrats hadn't aborted so many of their potential voters over the last 40 years...
That was my immediate reaction to this headline in the Houston Chronicle.
Texas weighs using bacon preservative
to poison feral hogs
Bacon -- is there nothing it isn't good for?
I would have liked Chris McDaniel to have won last night in Mississippi. He didn't -- and the response of McDaniel and his more passionate supporters has shown me that we are likely better off that he didn't win.
State Sen. Chris McDaniel will challenge the results of the Tuesday runoff election where 41-year incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran won by about 6,400 votes, he announced to a room of supporters here at his victory party at the Hattiesburg Convention Center late Tuesday evening.
ďI want to be very, very clear: There is nothing dangerous or extreme about wanting to balance a budget,Ē McDaniel said in a fiery speech to supporters. There is nothing dangerous or extreme about defending the Constitution or the civil liberties therein. There is nothing strange at all about standing as people of faith for a country that we built, that we believe in. But there is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual, about a Republican primary thatís decided by liberal Democrats.Ē
The more I look at the comments on Twitter and Facebook, the more I see complaints about the open primary system and the fact that there were crossover voters -- in particular, black crossover voters. This upsets me for a number of reasons.
Please understand -- I'm not a fan of open primaries. I'd like to see every primary in every state closed. But you work with what the laws of your state establishes, consistent with the requirements of the Constitution. And so I congratulate Thad Cochran and urge my fellow conservatives to get behind his candidacy -- unless they want to ensure continued Democrat control of the Senate and the Obama abuses of power that such control enables.
Imagine if a white Republican made the opposite comment.
Women vote Democrat because they are smarter, Obama said to a White House audience Monday afternoon.
He made the remark at the end of a talk at the White House Summit on Working Families. ďSomebody asked: ĎWell, itís well-known that women are more likely to vote for Democrats,í to which I said, women are smarter,Ē Obama said. ďThis is true.Ē
By the way, women do score higher than men on IQ testes -- but that average is within one standard deviation, meaning the difference is insignificant. And while there is a gender gap in voting, there is nothing to say that it is the smarter women voting for Democrats. After all, African-Americans vote over 90% Democrat -- and lag 15-20 points behind whites when it comes to average IQ. I'll leave it to Mr. Obama to draw the appropriate correlation.
I ran across this observation the other day.
Commenting on the results of the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, NBCís Chuck Todd remarked, ďThis poll is a disaster for the president.Ē Indeed, he continued, ďessentially the public is saying, ĎYour presidency is over.í Ē
But it isnít over. It wonít be over for two and a half years. And thatís a problem.
Weíre generally inclined to defend our presidential system of government as opposed to a parliamentary alternative. But if we werenít so set in our ways and such fans of the Founders, this is one of those moments that could lead us to rethink our allegiance. It sure would be nice to be able to move a vote of no confidence in an American parliament right now, and take the issue of who should govern to the country. It would be wonderful not to be stuck with Barack Obama for two and a half more years.
But of course in our system, even if it were discovered that Barack Obama personally took a hammer to Lois Lernerís hard drive in the Lincoln bedroom, and Obama were impeached and convicted, weíd end up with President Joe Biden. Which would be good for the late night comedians, but no better for America.
And let's be honest -- that illustrates an essential weakness of our system of government. A president who has lost whatever mandate he (or, for that matter, she) had when elected is still in power for a significant period of time. And even if the available mechanism for removing a president were to be successfully applied, the result is the installation of the rejected president's hand-picked successor -- often somebody who the American people would be unlikely to pick if given the choice. I'm not just talking "President Biden" -- would the words "President Cheney" have mollified the Bush-haters in 2007? Or "President Mondale" in 1979? Or, to be honest, "President Agnew" or "President Quayle" at any point during the terms of Richard Nixon or George H. W. Bush?
Imagine the revamping of our system along the British lines, where a "no confidence" vote would result in the removal of Barack Obama and the installation of a Republican president -- and not necessarily John Boehner, given that he would be an unlikely character to become party leader in a system where his immediate succession to the highest office in the land would be highly likely. Obamacare would have been gone in by the spring of 2011.
Instead we have 31 months remaining of a failed presidency characterized by abuse of power and the abrogation of the Constitution itself by a president who knows himself to be completely unaccountable -- especially since no American patriot could ever want to bring about a situation in which Joe Biden, America's crazy uncle, would become President.
The other day, I noted that Obama told the Mexican President that none of the group of underage illegals streaming across the border would get American citizenship or other papers regularizing their status. I suggested that Obama was lying.
Guess what -- if Vice President Joe Biden is telling the truth, I was correct.
Vice President Joe Biden inadvertently offered U.S. citizenship to thousands, or even tens of thousands, of illegal immigrants from Central America ó even though he was trying to persuade them to not cross the border.
ďWeíre going to hold hearings with our judges consistent with international law and American law, and weíre going to send the vast majority of you back,Ē he said during a June 20 press press conference in Guatemala.
But ďvast majorityĒ is not ďall.Ē So Bidenís statement says the U.S. will award the Grand Prize in human life ó ĎU.S. citizenship for you and all your descendantsí ó to the illegal immigrants who are not among the ďvast majorityĒ who are sent home.
And if some of them are going to get to stay, you can bet the standard will be such that the vast majority WILL be permitted to stay and get citizenship. Because after all, we've been told for years that "we can't deport them all" -- and equal protection of the laws will no doubt be applied in such a way that we cannot deport more than a fraction of them.
The Obama administrationís claim to have been surprised by the wave of children flooding over out borders may turn out to be another political lie of the year. Sundance of Conservative Treehouse noticed a very peculiar advertisement:
On January 29th of this year, the federal government posted an advertisement seeking bids for a vendor contract to handle ďUnaccompanied Alien Childrenď.
Not just any contract mind you, but a very specific contract Ė for a very specific number of unaccompanied minors: 65,000.
So Obama lied about expecting these kids -- just like he assuredly is lying now about not allowing them to stay. Looks like he planned out this humanitarian crisis to force a resolution on immigration reform that is to his liking -- never mind the dead, injured and displaced kids harmed in the process.
Of course, we got screwed after Hurricane Ike, so why would I expect better in advance of a speculative natural disaster?
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that the federal government has taken up every bit of spare available space in his state to house the tens of thousands of illegal children flooding over the U.S. border, leaving him with no rooms for Texans who might be left homeless in a natural disaster like a hurricane.
ďWere we to have a major event, I literally would not have places to house our citizens because of this influx from Mexico,Ē he warned at a media luncheon hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
ďI am greatly concerned about the huge catastrophe that could occur with those two events happening simultaneously,Ē he said of the potential for a hurricane hitting as the federal government continues to embrace illegal youths instead of sending them home.
Federal authorities are housing the youths in hotels and even military bases while they search for relatives to turn them over to.
You know what they say.
After all, it isn't like there is any political advantage to treating Texans better than illegals -- they don't vote Democrat.
Which is no different than what Obama does to Americans on a daily basis. But this one has dire implications for American citizens.
President Obama told his Mexican counterpart in a phone call Thursday that immigrants crossing into the U.S. illegally wonít qualify for legalized status or deferred deportation, including children.
The White House said Mr. Obama and Mexican President Enrique PeŮa Nieto discussed ďa regional strategyĒ to address the surge of unaccompanied children coming from Central America, through Mexico, to the U.S.
With thousands of children trying to enter the U.S. illegally in recent months, Vice President Joseph R. Biden will visit Guatemala on Friday.
Mr. Biden will warn officials and parents that illegal immigration is dangerous and that youth wonít be allowed to stay in the U.S.
The thing is, we know that isn't true. Obama's entire immigration strategy has been to allow as many illegals as possible to stay in this country -- and that includes cooking the books on deportation numbers by including those caught crossing illegally and sent back immediately in the totals. Certainly he has already given a de facto amnesty to underage illegals -- and he is demanding that Congress pass a law granting one. Why won't it apply to these kids?
Hasta la vista, baby! Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Like many conservatives and American workers, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said that the Republican establishment's embrace of amnesty for llegal immigrants is the one issue that is making her think about renouncing her ties to the GOP.
Is this an anti-Palin position on my part? No -- folks here know I was a big Palin booster before she was generally known by Republicans nationally. And it isn't that I disagree with her on the issue of immigration reform/amnesty.
I'm just giving her the same "buh-bye" that I give anyone who tells me "I'm leaving the party over YOUR PET ISSUE HERE." If you can find a better vehicle for advancing your policy preferences, go for it. The GOP will be waiting for you when you come crawling back, having found that your actions have only served to advance the agenda of your opponents.
(Based upon the 2009 platform of the Republican Party of Utah)
We, the Republican Party of the Great State of Texas, affirm our belief in nature's God and declare our support for government based upon a moral and spiritual foundation. We affirm freedom for every individual as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution. We believe that citizens' needs are best met through free enterprise, private initiative, and volunteerism. We support the ďRule of LawĒ and believe in upholding the law of the land.
THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
We believe government properly exists by the consent of the governed and must be restrained from intruding into the freedoms of its citizens. The function of government is not to grant rights, but to protect the unalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
We recognize the rights of the individual to own property. We resist any effort by government to take private property without an overwhelming need for public use. We strongly oppose civil forfeiture of private property absent the conviction of its owners for a crime involving its use.
REAFFIRMATION OF STATES' RIGHTS
We oppose congressional, judicial, and executive abrogation of the principle that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. We oppose unreasonable and intrusive federal mandates.
ETHICS AND STANDARDS
We demand honesty, integrity, morality, and accountability of our public officials. We will work to expose and stop corruption. We reject the buying and selling of endorsements in all elections.
NATIONAL SECURITY AND PUBLIC PROTECTION
We support a military force of sufficient strength and readiness to deter any threat to our national sovereignty or to the safety and freedom of our citizens. We support the Constitutional mandate to protect and secure our national borders. We oppose placement of United States troops under any foreign command, including the United Nations. We support lawful efforts of local law enforcement agencies to protect citizens in their homes and in their communities. We urge reform of the legal system to accomplish a swift and balanced administration of justice, including consideration of rights of the victim. We support capital punishment when appropriate.
We support the individual constitutionally protected natural right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes. We encourage personal responsibility for the care and use of these firearms. We support the Castle Doctrine and the right of individuals to stand their ground when confronted with criminal violence, and reject the notion that law abiding citizens have a duty to retreat rather than defend themselves from criminals.
FREEDOM OF RELIGION
We claim freedom of religion for every citizen and expect the protection of government in securing to us this unalienable right. We affirm the right to religious expression, including prayer, in both private and public.
We recognize the traditional family as the fundamental unit of society. We affirm that parents have the fundamental right and primary responsibility to direct the upbringing of their children and to provide nurturing care, discipline and training in moral values.
RIGHT TO LIFE
We believe all human life is sacred regardless of age or infirmity, and therefore we oppose abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the public funding of any of these abhorrent practices.
We believe that the primary responsibility for meeting basic human needs rests with the individual, the family, and the voluntary charitable organizations. We recognize, however, that there are special social needs that must be addressed through state human service programs. We support requiring welfare recipients to work towards self-sufficiency. We reject the notion that the federal government may mandate the purchase of any insurance product or penalize the failure to do so, as well as federal regulation of insurance products offered for sale.
We recognize the contributions made to our quality of life through ethnic diversity. We reject efforts to sanitize history because it offends some based upon race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.
We believe that no individual is entitled to rights that exceed or supersede the natural rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas. There shall be no discrimination in favor of or against any individual due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
We believe that all children should have access to quality education. Parents have the primary right and responsibility to educate their children, and we support their right to choose public, private, or home education. We support incentives to promote competitive excellence. We encourage cooperative initiatives to help all Texans become literate in English. We support the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they follow the student to any school, whether public private, or home school. We reject federal imposition of educational standards and the tying of federal education funding to adopting federally mandated standards. We reject zero tolerance policies that mindlessly impose punishments that lack a rational relationship to the supposed offense.
We accept the necessity for limited taxation in order for government to perform and administer those services that meet essential public needs. However, we recognize that the power to tax is also the power to control, and believe that the best way to control government is to strictly control the amount of taxes imposed on the people. We encourage further simplification of tax systems, the elimination of the estate tax, and broad-based rate reduction where possible. We reject the imposition of a state income tax and support a meaningful cap on increasing property taxes so that home owners need not fear being taxed out of their homes.
We recognize that government regulation can be a major impediment to productivity and to competition. We must rely more on market forces and less on government. Regulatory power now exercised by the federal government must be eliminated or returned to state and local governments to the degree that it is practical to do so.
We believe that a strong, diversified economy based on a positive work ethic, a well-trained and well-educated work force, a business-friendly environment, and safe work place will help Texas compete in a world market place. We believe that developing our human resources is essential to the future of Texas. We support the Texas Right to Work Law.
We appreciate the quality of our environment. Our air, water, and land are at the heart of our existence and must be protected through balanced management. We support reasonable laws and volunteer efforts to improve air and water quality. We continue to seek responsible solutions to controversies surrounding uses of our wilderness. We seek to preserve the environment while serving the best interests of our Texas citizens.
We oppose as unconstitutional the declaration by any President without approval from Congress of any large tract of land as a national monument. We call on the Governor of the State of Texas to use the resources at his disposal to bring any such declaration affecting Texas before the United States Supreme Court for reversal.
The jury is a fundamental institution of liberty, because it is the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution. The jury has the right and the authority to acquit if jurors feel justice will be served.
America is a stronger and better nation because of the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of legal immigrants, and the Republican Party honors them. We believe that control of our borders is an urgent national security interest and our national sovereignty depends on those secure borders.
We oppose illegal immigration and all forms of amnesty, or legal status, for illegal immigrants. We oppose granting government benefits to those illegally present in the US. We believe that current laws against employing illegal immigrants should be vigorously enforced, particularly to stem the now too common crime of identity theft in obtaining employment. We support the imposition of civil and criminal penalties for employers that knowingly employ illegal aliens.
TEXAS STATE SOVEREIGNTY
The 13 original Sovereign States in Constitutional Convention created the Constitution of the United States of America and subsequently ratified that document creating a Federal Government and granting to that Government limited and enumerated powers.
The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States defines Federal powers as those enumerated in the Constitution and reserves all other powers to the States and to the People.
It remains the sacred responsibility of the States as creators of the Federal Government to keep the federal powers within the limits set by the Constitution.
We resolve that the Republican Party of the Great State of Texas and elected party members take any and all steps necessary to ensure that Federal powers exercised within the Great State of Texas not exceed those granted by the Constitution of the United States. We further resolve that those usurpations of State Sovereign Powers by the Federal Government be corrected by the State Legislature and enforced by the Governorís office thus protecting Texas State Sovereignty
The Republican Party is a party by the people and for the people. We appreciate the productivity of our citizens, affirm the infinite worth of all individuals, and seek the best possible quality of life for all. We invite all citizens to join us in working together for a better Texas.
Crossposted at Texas GOP Platform Reform Project
Let's face it -- our state party platform is just too long. Good grief -- it runs 40 pages! Some planks are wonderfully thought out, others are hastily cobbled together, and some even contradict each other -- right next to each other in the platform in one case.
Constitutional Convention - We strongly oppose any constitutional convention to rewrite the United States Constitution. We encourage the Texas Legislature to rescind its 1977 call for such a convention. We call upon other states to rescind their votes for such a convention.
Article V Convention - Under no circumstances shall the Bill of Rights, the first 10 constitutional amendments, be changed in any manner. We urge the Texas State Legislators to take the lead in calling for an Article V Amending Convention of States, for the specific purpose of reigning in the power of the federal government. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by ĺ of the states to take effect.
Uh, guys -- an Article V convention is a Constitutional Convention with the power to rewrite the entire Constitution through the amendment process. The scope of its amendments likely cannot be limited (see the original Constitutional Convention for an example of how effective limits would be), and the requirement for ratification of amendments by ĺ of the states is already in the text of the Constitution itself -- for the purpose of making sure that any amendment has broad support nationally. So which is it -- is the Texas GOP for or against a Constitutional Convention called according to the terms of Article V of the Constitution? With only a Master's degree in Political Science and 15 years of college-level experience teaching American government, I'm not able to discern where we as a party stand.
Other planks are quite obscure. Take this one.
Selection of Primary Candidates - The SREC should study the Utah model for selecting primary candidates.
Of course, there is an obvious problem with this platform plank -- it does not explain what the Utah model for selecting primary candidates actually is. If you want an explanation of how they do things in Utah, click this link. My initial take on it is that it would require moving the state party convention, the primary, or both -- and that it would have the potential to take the voters out of the equation when it comes to selecting many candidates for state or federal office, leaving the process open to the criticism that the system allows an insular minority to control the process. I'm certainly willing to debate the matter on its merits -- but have we as a party (not a handful of folks on the platform committee) really examined this matter in a way that justifies adopting this plank?
And by the way, the plank discussed above shows another problem with the platform as it currently exists. A platform, properly understood, is a plan of action -- it should put forth the party's position on public policy and what we intend to do if we are given control of the reins of government over the next two to four years. It is not the place to set party rules or deal with internal matters of party discipline or structure, nor is it the place to give instructions to internal party bodies or deal with internal party discipline. Those internal matters should be passed as separate resolutions or added to the party rules if appropriate.
So, my friends, what do you think? Can we fix the series of flawed platforms and the broken process by which they are adopted, creating a platform for the Republican Party of Texas that all of us can be proud of and which does not put us on the defensive before the ink is dry on its final draft?
Crossposted at Texas GOP Platform Reform Project
We clearly need to enforce the policy across the board if the name "Washington Redskins" is offensive -- and if only six people are deemed sufficient to overide the opinions of millions that the term is not disparaging.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football teamís name ďdisparaging to Native Americans.Ē
The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed.
ďThis victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,Ē said lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath.
Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that ďmay disparageĒ individuals or groups or ďbring them into contempt or disrepute.Ē The ruling pertains to six different trademarks associated with the team, each containing the word ďRedskin.Ē
So it seems to me that the time has come to take action against all trademarks that can be labeled as "disparaging" on the basis of this silly standard.
This one will obviously need to go.
So will this lady. given her history.
So will a couple of her buddies, too.
For that matter, if we are going to get into the use of disparaging terms in trademarked names, let's consider these uses of terms that are deemed racist that appear in the names of organizations.
I mean, really? Colored People? Negro? What sort of racist crap is that? I would get my ass kicked if I started using either of those terms -- and I would certainly be branded a racist. Those trademarks have therefore got to go.
And the targets, of course, are those who disagree with her.
"We cannot let a minority of people ó and thatís what it is, it is a minority of people ó hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people."
Now the context of the comment was Hillary's push for gun control, but it is troubling in any context. Apparently it is her goal to make certain beliefs illegal, punish those who hold them as terrorists, and presumably subject those individuals to reeducation until they hold the correct, Hillary-endorsed view. Ironic, given this shriek from the screeching harpy back in 2003.
So while disagreeing back in 2003 was our right as Americans, disagreeing today is terrorism. But we already knew that she abandoned the notion that dissent is permissible when she was Secretary of State.
This is clearly a threat -- not just to our Second Amendment rights, but also to our First Amendment rights. After all, freedom of speech and freedom of the press have heretofore been deemed to be nearly sacrosanct in our society (as was freedom of religion prior to the rise of the Obama Regime), as has the right to petition the government. By insisting that Americans who hold the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to be essential to liberty cannot be allowed to be a part of "the conversation", this means that President Hillary Clinton has announced her intent to eviscerate not only the right to keep and bear arms, but also those rights remaining under the First Amendment. What this means is that our Second Amendment rights are now more essential than ever if we are to preserve our what is left of the First Amendment. After all, she is proposing an American equivalent of Mao's Cultural Revolution -- no doubt complete with "reeducation", humiliation and torture of those who fail to hold to government-approved ideas.
All of which brings to mind two political philosophers -- one from the dawn of American independence and one from the 1960s -- whose words are relevant to this discussion.
The first is Thomas Jefferson.
[W]hat country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure.
The second is H. Rap Brown.
ďI say violence is necessary. Violence is a part of Americaís culture. It is as American as cherry pie. . . . We will use that violence to rid ourselves of oppression if necessary. We will be free, by any means necessary.Ē
Clinton's statement that she "cannot let a minority of people. . . hold a viewpoint" that is different or disturbing to her and others is a reminder of why the Bill of Rights was written. Indeed, it is folks like Hillary Clinton -- those who declare even the holding of different -- who are the real terrorists. Combined with her attack on the Second Amendment, it is clear that Clinton wants to ensure that we move from a society where Americans are prevented from responding to oppression like this
to one in which government can treat the dissenters like this
No doubt Hillary's declaration on what views will be permitted under her regime would no doubt be used to silence this individual, too.
Because after all, those who are the greatest threat to a government bent upon suppressing liberty are not merely those with dissenting views -- it is those who are speak out with credible reasons for opposing the suppression of human rights.
One further thing of note here -- Hillary isn't interested in silencing and banning the views of the enemies of America's Constitutional freedoms and those who support them. She wants to silence those who support the Constitution and the liberty it protects. Jihadis will be free to speak and proselytize in Hillary's America; patriots will not.
Under the authority of the Homeland Security Act, the federal government transfers custody of illegal immigrant children who are apprehended alone at our borders to the Department of Health and Human Serviceís Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The ORRís primary goal is to reunite them with a family member or legal guardian already here in the US (regardless of their legal status) while the child goes through removal proceedings. As Breitbart Texas recently reported, UACs receive a bevy of assistance while in ORR custody, including classroom education, health care, socialization/recreation, vocational training, mental health services, family reunification, access to legal services, and case management. In many cases, they are treated better than US citizen children currently in the foster care system.
MUst be because "We the People" don't matter as much to the lawless regime in Washington nearly as much as "Them the Foreigners" do.
Then what about this by New York?
The frustration with Washington's inaction on any type of immigration reform has forced proponents to shift their attention to states such as New York where a new plan was offered Monday to grant citizenship and voting rights after an illegal immigrant pays three years of taxes.
* * *
The New York legislation, titled ďNew York is Home Act,Ē sets requirements for immigrants to meet before they can apply for citizenship with New York's Office for New Americans, created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo:
ē Proof of identity.
ē Proof of three years of New York state residency.
ē Proof of three years of New York state tax payments.
ē Commitment to abide by New York laws and uphold the state constitution.
ē A willingness to serve on New York juries and to continue to pay state taxes.
In return, said Friedman's group in a release, immigrants would get New York state citizenship, financial aid for higher education, health care, drivers' licenses, professional licenses, the right to vote, the right to run for office, and protection against racial profiling.
But wait -- since the granting of citizenship is undeniably a federal function, how can a state grant any form of citizenship to those not legally in the country? Isn't that an unconstitutional intrusion of the state into what we are regularly told by the Left is an exclusively federal area of law under the Constitution?
I mean, it has only been two years since the Supreme Court ruled as follows.
"The history of the United States is in part made of the stories, talents and lasting contributions of those who crossed oceans and deserts to come here," Kennedy wrote. "The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration. With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation's meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."
Doesn't granting citizenship -- and voting rights -- to those who are in the country in violation of federal immigration laws undermine federal law in a substantially greater way than does a law that uses state resources to enforce federal immigration law?
Because they have a DREAM -- and Barry refuses to enforce the law.
Border Patrol officials struggling to keep up with the increasing number of minors illegally crossing the Mexican border are not turning away persons with known gang affiliations. Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, explained that a Border Patrol agent he represents helped reunite a teenage gang member with his family in the United States. Cabrera notes the young member of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), a transnational criminal gang, had no criminal record in the U.S., but asks, ďIf heís a confirmed gang member in his own country, why are we letting him in here?Ē
ďIíve heard people come in and say, ĎYouíre going to let me go, just like you let my mother go, just like you let my sister go. Youíre going to let me go as well, and the governmentís going to take care of us,íĒ Cabrera says. ďUntil we start mandatory detentions, mandatory removals, I donít think anything is going to change. As a matter of fact, I think itís going to get worse.Ē
So we'll be paying to house, feed, and educate these criminal DREAMers -- and hoping that they don't set up a meth lab or stash house down the block or start shooting up the neighborhood. On the other hand, Obama and his family will have Secret Service protection.
But who knows -- maybe the girls will show the sort of lousy taste in men exhibited by their mother and grandmother -- and Barry and Michelle will get some of these MS-13 DREAMers marrying into the family.
If you recall, much of my early blogging was about zero tolerance insanity in our schools. We've seen it get worse, as squirt and bubble guns become grounds for suspension -- and even aggressively bitten Pop Tarts and pointed fingers have been deemed weapons requiring suspension for the protection of the student body. But this is absurd.
A young boy has been punished for bending paperclips.
Obviously, those disciplining the child did not consider the possibility of a kid just being a kid and simply bending the alleged ďassault paper clipĒ Ė because he was bored. Maybe the class was working on a confusing Common Core math lesson and he simply wanted to amuse himself. Who knows?
We all might understand disciplinary action if the circumstances of the incident reported he had been acting aggressively towards other kids, but the thing is Ė they donít.
Time to start suing districts over these policies and the resulting discipline -- and also time to start holding teachers, administrators and school board members personally liable as well. That will end this nonsense.
Readers here at Rhymes With Right have seen a great deal about the troubles of the 311th Family District Court here in Harris County and the antics of its former judge, Denise Pratt. Well, today came the good news we have all been waiting for -- Governor Rick Perry has appointed Pratt's replacement.
Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Alicia Franklin of Houston as judge of the 311th Judicial District Court in Harris County for a term to expire at the next general election.
Franklin is an attorney in private practice and a special magistrate for Harris County District Family Courts. She is a member and Family Law Section Committee member of the Houston Bar Association, and a member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Texas Women Lawyers and Houston Realty Business Coalition. She is also a life member of The 100 Club, and a member of the St. Mary's Alumni Association, Kappa Gamma Pi National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society and Houston Area Road Runners Association.
Franklin received a bachelor's degree from Mount Mercy University and a law degree from the St. Mary's University School of Law.
Judge Franklin will be sworn in next week and begin the work of cleaning up the mess left behind by her predecessor. I wish her all the best -- and pledge to work to make sure that she is elected in her own right in November.
The IRS has told Congress that it has lost some of former employee Lois G. Lernerís emails, including some covering communications with Democrats in Congress and with other parts of the government, the Houseís top tax-law writer said Friday.
Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said he was stunned that it took more than a year into the investigation for the IRS to inform Congress that it didnít have those emails.
The agency blamed a computer crash for the mishap.
ďThe fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRSís response to congressional inquiries,Ē Mr. Camp said. ďThere needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.Ē
The fact that this information has been withheld until now makes the matter quite suspicious.
And the notion that Eric Holder's Department of Obstruction of Justice is going to conduct a full and impartial investigation is nonsensical -- especially since we know that the DoOoJ was a part of the Lerner scheme. Indeed, it is likely that those emails exist on Eric Holder's own servers -- and those of Congressional Democrats.
At this point it seems that a subpoena needs to be issued to the DoOoJ and those "other parts of the government" to see if they can be recovered from their servers -- and similar subpoenas need to be issued to every Democrat Senator and Representative for all emails between them and Lois Lerner.
UPDATE: I wrote this over on Facebook, and want to add it here:
Isn't that why they're all those services promising to do backup of emails? You know so that if there's a subpoena by regulators or Congress or the court you have them available - as required by law.
One would think that the federal government would have backups of the backups -- and that certainly the NSA would have everything (unless they only spy on us, not other government agencies).
When Pope John Paul I passed unexpectedly in the night mere weeks into his pontificate, our pastor began his reflection on the pope's death with the words "this morning we all woke up just a little bit angry with God." He noted that God's timeline for things differs from that of man, and that we cannot know the reasons and the plans of the Almighty.
This morning we Republicans in Texas Senatorial District 11 face the same reality. A week ago, at the state convention, Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Daniel McCool was elected as our State Republican Executive Committeeman. Many of us had high hopes for him. But this morning comes the news that he was taken from us last night by a massive and unexpected heart attack at the age of only 51.
Daniel was a man of principle and energy, as well as a man of great warmth. He devoted his life to serving his community as both a political activist and a law enforcement officer. He was gifted at both.
Two years ago he ran for state senate. I'll concede that I supported another candidate, a long-time friend and neighbor, but I gained a great deal of respect for Daniel McCool during the course of that race. It is because of my experience with him in that race that had I been a delegate at the state convention last week, I would have cast my vote for Daniel McCool for SREC.
Daniel McCool was also a man of faith. I have no doubt that he was ready to go on to that eternal reward that the Gospel promises those who follow Jesus the Christ. For that reason, my sadness is mingled with joy that Daniel has gone on to be with the Lord. But his death, like that of Pope John Paul I, reminds me that the timeline and plans of the Lord are not the same as ours.
Daniel, rest in peace. Your work here is done. We who remain in the vineyard will continue your work.
H/T A.F. Branco
This sort of thing is inappropriate from any graduation speaker.
Theyíre barely old enough to vote, but graduating seniors at a Massachusetts high school were encouraged Wednesday by President Obama to boot Republicans from office and help the administration enact more of its agenda.
Speaking at the commencement service at Worcester Technical High School in Worcester, Mass., the president slowly transitioned from delivering a pep talk to leading a political pep rally.
If there had been any district official with even an ounce of professionalism, Obama's microphone would have been immediately cut and he would have been told to sit down and shut up due to his disgraceful, inappropriate abuse of the school's hospitality. He was there for a graduation speech, not a get out the vote speech. But I'm not surprised that His Arrogance would choose to misuse his position at that moment -- after all, he has spent over five years abusing his position in all sorts of ways.
And I personally wonder if this can explain the sine-wave changes of climate that we know have gone on for the entire history of the planet.
Researchers at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics have punctured one of the main arguments of global warming activists, that the large scale melting of an Antarctic glacier is caused by man made global warming.
1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports researcher Duncan Young says the Thwaites Glacier is indeed melting, but it is not melting due to global warming, but do to the fact that an active volcano exists directly under the glacier.
"Looking at the radar data, we can find things that look like volcanoes, little volcanoes, scattered under the ice," Hunter told 1200 WOAI news.
He says the findings 'significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic ice.'
Photographs of the collapsing glacier were ubiquitous over the past month, as several reports were issued to support the Obama Administrationís push for limits on greenhouse gas emissions from coal fired power plants.
In other words, more evidence that warming and ice melting is due to geological processes, not human action. And given that tectonic/seismic.volcanic activity may be increasing worldwide, could that account for the entire phenomenon that climate alarmists have been blaming on human activity? Quite possibly.
Which means that our pitiful efforts to reverse climate trends are really meaningless in the face of the Earth's own cyclical processes.
The Internal Revenue Service may have been caught violating federal tax law: In October 2010, the agency sent a database on 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups containing confidential taxpayer information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to documents obtained by a House panel.
The information was transmitted in advance of former IRS official Lois Lernerís meeting the same month with Justice Department officials about the possibility of using campaign-finance laws to prosecute certain nonprofit groups. E-mails between Lerner and Richard Pilger, the director of the Justice Departmentís election-crimes branch, obtained through a subpoena to Attorney General Eric Holder, show Lerner asking about the format in which the FBI preferred the data to be sent.
ďThis revelation that the IRS sent 1.1 million pages of nonprofit tax-return data ó including confidential taxpayer information ó to the FBI confirms suspicions that the IRS worked with the Justice Department to facilitate the potential investigation of nonprofit groups engaged in lawful political speech,Ē Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and subcommittee chairman Jim Jordan wrote in a letter to IRS commissioner John Koskinen. The two lawmakers also raise questions about the timing of the meeting, just weeks before the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans recaptured a majority in the House of Representatives.
I spent part of my youth in the district represented by Eric Cantor, so I have long followed what goes on there. He was even one of my personal preferences for the GOP vice presidential nomination in 2012. I was therefore not shocked, though somewhat surprised, by his defeat in yesterday's primary.
In one of the most stunning primary election upsets in congressional history, the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, was soundly defeated on Tuesday by a Tea Party-backed economics professor who had hammered him for being insufficiently conservative.
The result delivered a major jolt to the Republican Party ó Mr. Cantor had widely been considered the top candidate to succeed Speaker John A. Boehner ó and it has the potential to change both the debate in Washington on immigration and, possibly, the midterm elections.
With just over $200,000, David Brat, a professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., toppled Mr. Cantor, repeatedly criticizing him for being soft on immigration and contending that he supported what critics call amnesty for immigrants in the country illegally.
A few things that need to be said about this.
First, I don't know that this is a true reflection of the views of voters generally on any issue. Remember, only a handful of voters actually turn out in primary elections, and while they may represent the party base, their views are not the same as the average voter who turns out on the day of the general election. So I don't know that we can really say that the American people have rejected any position taken by Cantor. Yes, turnout was up this year -- but primary voters are still different.
Second, despite the efforts of some to make Cantor's defeat a referendum on his religion, I profoundly disagree with that. Cantor's religion was not made an issue by anyone during the primary. Indeed, the only time it was an issue is when the Democrat National Committee raised it a few years ago.
So when it comes down to it, this is ultimately about immigration and amnesty. Cantor was a leader on the issue, and was especially supportive of getting some sort of DREAM Act through Congress with the support of the GOP. My guess is that his defeat dooms such an outcome and will put the ball squarely in Barack Obama's court -- meaning he will be issuing more executive orders that say "American Law and the people's elected representatives be damned -- I'm Obama, and I make the laws."
But then again, it may well be that Obama's failed immigration policies and the executive orders creating them are the reason for his defeat. The surge of illegal immigrant children, unaccompanied by any adult, is the direct result of Obama's efforts to give such young people some sort of legal status. When we are facing nearly a quarter of a million of these young people entering the country over the space of two years --a long with other folks illegally jumping the border -- you have a crisis that turns even sympathetic Republicans against those policies. And with the amount of recent press coverage about how this proposed policy is increasing the flow of illegals to America and the burden being placed upon our government resources, is it any wonder that the GOP candidate who is most closely identified with the amnesty policy creating the problem would be defeated by an opponent who made opposition to that policy a centerpiece of his campaign?
Of course, this does throw the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives into turmoil. Cantor is resigning his leadership spot at the end of July. Many Republicans have questioned the long-term viability of John Boehner as Speaker of the House -- and will the defeat of his heir apparent hasten his departure or will it instead strengthen him in that spot. Part of the answer will depend upon who Cantor's successor is, I suppose.
So let's be clear here -- there is no underestimating the importance of the defeat of Eric Cantor.
Courtesy of Fantastical Andrew Fox.
The US Navy built more than forty ironclad monitor warships during the Civil War (some of them werenít completed until after the war was over). Some of these monitors had surprisingly long service lives, being pulled out of mothballs for harbor defense duty during the Spanish American War; some even lasted into the first decade of the twentieth century before being scrapped.
Fox has been researching the matter as a part of his current series of Civil War steampunk novels.
No, not "broke broke" -- I want to be Bill-and-Hillary-Clinton-Democrat-1%er-dead-broke.
Hillary Clinton says she and her husband Bill went from the White House to the poor house.
In an ABC News interview broadcast Monday, Hillary Clinton defended the speaking fees she and Bill reel in, saying, ďWe came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt.Ē
ďWe had no money when we got there, and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelseaís education. You know, it was not easy,Ē she added.
Of course, public records show that the "dead broke" Clintons had assets of between $781,000 to $1.8 million when Hillary was elected to the Senate, and owned TWO homes, valued at $2.85 million (Washington DC) and $1.7 million (Chappaqua, NY). Oh, yeah -- there was also the little matter of Hillary's $8 million book advance she received at around the same time as she and Bill left the White House "dead broke".
Heck the lower figure on assets is less than I have made in my entire teaching career (I start my 20th year in the fall). My single house, purchased the same year as the Clinton's left the White House, was then valued at only about 5% of the least expensive Clinton home.
So yeah, I want to be "dead broke" -- just like Bill and Hillary were when they left the White House.
UPDATE: Over at JoshuaPundit, you can get an even more comprehensive breakdown of what is meant by "dead broke" in the Bill-and-Hillary-Clinton-Democrat-1%er-dead-broke sense.
UPDATE 2: Looks like the "dead broke" Clintons also made over $12 million in 2001.
Twenty years ago last week, my wife and I laid eyes on each other for the first time, as we began a summer internship as hospital chaplains in Iowa. It was dislike on first site -- though by the end of the day we had established a friendly relationship over a dinner of really awful pizza. Within a couple of weeks we had what in retrospect was our first date (we still love the Steve Miller Band). A few days later came a first kiss that surprised both of us, coming as it did in the middle of a heated argument (and we have actually argued over who kissed whom that day - each blaming the other). About 13 months after that kiss, we were married -- and not quite nineteen years after the wedding, the adventure continues.
So why all of this personal information in a post on a blog where I very rarely reveal personal details? Because of this article that crossed my screen a few minutes ago.
Through war and peace, in sickness and in health, they have been man and wife for 75 years.
So any little tip that Joseph Littlewood, 98, and wife Sally, 99, might care to impart about the secret of a long and happy partnership must surely be worth its weight in gold, pearls, rubies, silver and diamonds.
And the advice is? ĎArgue,í said Mrs Littlewood. ĎArgue lots but always remember to get over it.í
It may go against convention, but it seems to have worked for this couple. They have just celebrated 75 years of marriage Ė and 81 years as a couple Ė and are still arguing as they approach their 100th birthdays.
Believed to be Britainís longest-married couple, they have long since stopped counting the number of the times they kissed and made up after a tiff.
ĎPeople always have arguments,í says the delightfully no-nonsense Mrs Littlewood. ĎIn 75 years weíre going to have had a lot Ė but the key is to move on. Itís never worth stewing over.í
I have to agree with the Leftwoods. Lord knows that my dear wife and I have had our share (maybe more) of arguments in nineteen years of marriage, but we've ended most of them with a kiss (and always with an "I love you"). Maybe it is that neither of us can stand to see the other cry, or that our canine companions really dislike raised voices and need to be reassured that everything is OK (yes, our dogs have been the source of our best marriage counseling). But I think that the real reason is that we realize that, even in the hardest moments, our lives are infinitely better with each other in them than they would be if we were apart. And as I have told her more than once, she has made me a better person than I ever would have been without her and provided me with an anchor at times when I would otherwise be completely adrift.
And so let me say it here, with no shame whatsoever -- "I love you, sweetheart."
But my friends over at GayPatriot beat me to it and said what I would have written before I got the chance.
The Texas GOP passed a resolution vowing to keep ďGay Reparative TherapyĒ legal in Texas, and the leftists are throwing their daily all-day hissy fit about it. As usual, the left, who were clearly the cultural aggressors in this (after New Jersey and California made sexuality choice therapy illegal) are now playing the victim.
Itís easy to imagine they would be equally outraged had banned sex change operations and cheered if a blue state vowed to keep them legal. Apparently, the right to undergo chemical and surgical mutilation to change oneís sexual identity is a sacrosanct right. But the right to change oneís sexual orientation, if thatís what one wants, not so much.
Iím not sure such therapy is even very effective, but I think people ought to have the right to pursue it if thatís what they want.
One wonders, if there were therapy that could make a straight person gay, would the left be against it, or would they demand that it receive federal subsidies, like Sandy Flukeís birth control?
Or put in language that the Left ought to understand and support -- we aren't saying we personally favor the therapy, we're just pro-choice.
You know, the sort who insist that they know what you ought to be reading and declare that there is something wrong with your choice to read something that they think is beneath you -- either in terms of age or sophistication.
You know, folks like Slate's Ruth Graham.
As The Fault in Our Stars barrels into theaters this weekend virtually guaranteed to become a blockbuster, it can be hard to remember that once upon a time, an adult might have felt embarrassed to be caught reading the novel that inspired it. Not because it is badóit isnítóbut because it was written for teenagers.
The once-unseemly notion that itís acceptable for not-young adults to read young-adult fiction is now conventional wisdom. Today, grown-ups brandish their copies of teen novels with pride. There are endless lists of YA novels that adults should read, an ďI read YAĒ campaign for grown-up YA fans, and confessional posts by adult YA addicts. But reading YA doesnít make for much of a confession these days: A 2012 survey by a market research firm found that 55 percent of these books are bought by people older than 18. (The definition of YA is increasingly fuzzy, but it generally refers to books written for 12- to 17-year-olds. Meanwhile, the cultural definition of ďyoung adultĒ now stretches practically to age 30, which may have something to do with this whole phenomenon.)
The largest group of buyers in that surveyóaccounting for a whopping 28 percent of all YA salesóare between ages 30 and 44. Thatís my demographic, which might be why I wasnít surprised to hear this news. Iím surrounded by YA-loving adults, both in real life and online. Todayís YA, we are constantly reminded, is worldly and adult-worthy. That has kept me bashful about expressing my own fuddy-duddy opinion: Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children.
Given the decline of reading literature of any sort in our society, I applaud any adult who is reading anything. No doubt Graham would have looked down her nose at my mother, who always had a stack of romance novels on the end table next to the couch and who would usually be engrossed in one when my brother and I came home from school. But it was my mother who took me on weekly trips to the library as a kid and encouraged me to read anything -- yes, anything -- that interested me. Maybe that is why I was out of the children's section and into the teen books by the time I was ten -- and, having gone through the bulk of our library's young adult fiction by the time I reached high school, heading directly into the adult stacks sometime around the age of 14 or 15.
But something funny happened on the way to becoming the middle-aged high school teacher I am today -- I rediscovered young adult fiction. You may wonder why that happened -- especially since it occurred during the years I was teaching English , and because of the advice of my sixty-ish department chair, who advised me to not merely indulge my taste for classic authors like Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott but to also start reading what the kids were reading. She then pressed upon me a copy of a British YA book I had heard about being a hit with adults -- to the point that its publisher had to come out with an "adult edition" with a cover that business professionals would not be embarrassed by while reading on the Tube. That was, of course, my introduction to one Harry Potter.
It wasn't too long afterwards that I managed to escape the English Department, and for the last dozen or so years I have taught various social studies courses. But I've still found myself slipping some YA fiction onto my reading list. I do this, in part, to relate to my students, but also because I sometimes want something that is simply escapist or that I can anticipate having a happy ending. So excuse me for inserting a couple of YA science fiction books between volumes of Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples and for joining a couple of my students in reading Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series as they were published, as well as for all the other YA books I've enjoyed, But understand that those books gave me something to enjoy -- and the ability to point students in the direction of more grown up novels that they will enjoy and which will challenge them as readers.
Oh, yeah -- there is one other reason that I firmly believe that adults should read YA books. If you have children, you need to read what they and their friends are reading. That way you can provide intellectual and moral guidance where you think it is necessary -- and you can actually have a conversation with them about things that interest them. And that, says the guy who works with kids all day, is something I've discovered many of them desperately want -- adults who will take them seriously as thinkers and who will take an interest in what they are interested in.
So, my friends, forget Ruth Graham and her fellow book snobs -- read YA from time to time, and maybe more often if there is a child you love reading it.
It was my post commemorating the hero of my youth, Ronald Reagan.
Come Let Us Sit Upon The Ground. . .
and tell sad stories of the deaths of presidents.
Sorry, Will, but the paraphrase seems fitting. I think that your plays are all in the public domain, in any event.
Ronald Reagan lies in the Capitol Rotunda this night, honored by the citizens of a nation which owes him much. I have spent much time thinking of what to say this night, and still can find no words better than those I placed in the remembrance book at the Reagan Library site on Saturday night.My prayers and deepest sympathy are with you and the family at this time.
I first heard the name Ronald Reagan as a child living in California. I was only three years old when he was elected governor, but my parents taught me early that he was a good man, and one to be admired. I followed his career from then on.
As an adolescent I listened to Ronald Reagan on the radio. What he said made sense, and he was a major influence in the formation of my world-view. As he challenged for the presidential nomination in 1976, I hoped that he would be the one to make us proud of America again. My heart broke when he conceded.
Four years later I sat late into the night, waiting for him to appear and announce his vice- presidential candidate. I was 17, and excited by his words and vision. I had never worked on a campaign before, but I did then. I am one of that generation he inspired with his conservative vision and principles.
In 1984 I cast my first presidential vote for Ronald Reagan. He remains the standard by which I judge any candidate for office.
Tonight I weep. I weep because of the loss of a man who holds a unique place in my heart and life. I weep from gladness, that the suffering is over. And I weep for joy that Ronald Reagan is today with his God in Heaven.
Rest well, good and faithful servant.
He was drinking. She was drinking.
He agreed to have sex. She agreed to have sex.
He was expelled as a rapist. She was declared a victim.
And now he is suing the university over it.
According to a now-expelled male student who has filed a Title IX lawsuit against Occidental College, a sociology professor at the Los Angeles liberal arts school believes she knows exactly how to spot a rapist.
This fall, a pseudonymous female student accused the pseudonymous student, John Doe, of rape.
Doe claims the professor, Danielle Dirks, indicated that he ďfit the profile of other rapists on campus in that he had a high GPA in high school, was his class valedictorian, was on [a sports] team, and was Ďfrom a good family,íĒ reports the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a civil rights organization.
Under pressure from the federal Department of Educationís Office for Civil Rights to respond to allegations of campus sexual assault (and a lawsuit filed by Gloria Allred), Occidental officials kicked Doe out of school after finding him ďresponsibleĒ for raping the female student despite a series of text messages that seem to indicate her sexual enthusiasm.
The incident occurred in the wee hours of Sept. 8, 2013.
According to evidence gathered by private investigators retained by Occidental, the female student, asked Doe via text ďdo you have a condomĒ and sent an eager text to friend reading ďIímgoingtohave sex nowĒ [sic]. This second text ended with a smiley-face symbol.
She and Doe planned for her to leave her dorm room and come over to his for a sexual encounter.
Don't you love the "proof" that the guy was a rapist? Good home, good grades, good athlete.
And that despite the fact that Both were drinking, only one was deemed incapable of consenting. By rights, the accuser should have been deemed a rapist as well and expelled for her offense -- after all, the male student was also drinking and should therefore have been deemed incapacitated and incapable of giving consent. You know -- if men and women were held to the same standard by the college, as is required by Title IX.
And interestingly enough, this incident has the unusual angle of having been investigated by law enforcement and found to lack the necessary elements to charge either student with a crime. But that didn't stop the kangaroo court set up by Occidental from determining differently under a standard so minimal and biased as to make sexual assaults of most sex acts that take place between students at the school on any given Friday or Saturday night.
I look forward to this student prevailing in this suit -- and to the day when colleges and universities leave the determination that a crime of sexual violence has taken place to law enforcement and the judicial system. After all, we don't delegate the adjudication of other felonies to institutions of higher education -- why should we treat sexual assault so frivolously?
Park visitor Scott Brierley, 23, was taking 'selfies', in the drive through elephant enclosure, when he dropped his phone and the keepers ordered him to stay in his car and keep moving.
Staff later retrieved the device and Scott, an events manager from Birmingham, was stunned to see 22-year-old African elephant Latabe had touched the screen with her trunk - and taken a picture of herself.
What do you think -- is this good for a profile photo?
Indiana treasurer Richard Mourdock warned that the possibility of U.S. bankruptcy will push the country the way of Nazi Germany during a speech on Saturday. "The people of Germany in a free election selected the Nazi party because they made great promises that appealed to them because they were desperate and destitute. And why is that? Because Germany was bankrupt," Mourdock said to a crowd gathered at the Indiana Republican Convention on Saturday. In the 1930ís during the Great Depression and under the pressure of the Treaty of Versailles, the National Socialist Party showered the poor with bread and put millions of unemployed to work with government programs before leading the entire world into war. "Over the next several years, every time a program began to fall apart, Mr. Hitler's party was very, very good at dividing Germany by pointing to this group or that group," Mourdock continued. "First they went after their political opponents. Then they went after the aristocrats. Then they went after the trade unionists. And ultimately, of course, they went after the Jews. They deprived them of their property, their rights, their citizenship, and for millions their humanity. Because they were bankrupt!"
The first part of the argument is legitimate -- because after all, the Nazis did come to power because of their response to a broken society. To suggest that the rise of such an extremist group will result in the diminution of our liberties is also not unreasonable. But to take the next step -- suggesting that America is ripe for another Holocaust, is a bridge too far.
Personally, I would have used the example of Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution -- after all, we already see government actors in this country seeking to limit the liberties of Americans who dare to disagree with government approved ideology.
Unfortunately, Godwin's law also was violated at the Texas GOP convention by opponents of guest worker programs.
Sorry, folks -- your use of the term "Final Solution" here constitutes Holocaust denial.minimization of the scuzziest sort.
For the media, the 2016 presidential race boils down to a contest between Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) for the far rightís affections. And certainly those two candidates are seeing the race in such terms. But the candidates, the media and the GOP at large make a mistake if they ignore Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Yes, Rick Perry.
If ambition determined the presidential nominee, Paul and Cruz would have little competition. But the times are much less conducive to their candidacies. The tea party has peaked and appears now influential only in deep-red jurisdictions. President Obamaís foreign policy incompetence, poor judgment and penchant for retrenchment leave Paul looking like the Obama-but-worse candidate, while Cruzís leadership in the shutdown still defines ó and rules out ó his candidacy for too many Republicans. But if the base is looking for a very conservative candidate who can turn on a crowd and vouch for the benefits of conservative governance, Perry increasingly seems like the rational choice. Despite his disastrous run in 2012, he is getting strong reviews these days. We saw that in spades in the coverage of the Texas GOP convention this week.
Now I'll agree with Rubin that Rand Paul is not likely to win in 2016, if only because his positions on foreign policy are at odds with most conservatives. And as much as I love Ted Cruz and think he will one day be a great presidential candidate, I think he just isn't ready for prime time yet (and at his age he has at least another couple of decades as a potential candidate after getting some seasoning).
But Rick Perry? I don't think so -- and I say that as a Texan who has been generally supportive of his policy successes that have strengthen Texas in a host of ways. I'm sure there is a Cabinet spot for him in a GOP administration -- but I don't even see him as vice presidential material, much less as a credible nominee for president.
And it would seem that Texas Republicans don't think much of Perry as a presidential candidate, either. Consider what happened at the state convention this week, and how the presidential straw poll turned out.
Ted Cruz wins the Texas Republican Party presidential straw poll with 43 percent of the vote. Texas Gov. Rick Perry finished fourth, behind Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
These poll results matched the Young Conservatives of Texas survey as well -- meaning of the three Texans under consideration (Rand Paul is a Texan by birth and upbringing), Rick Perry doesn't rate serious consideration by conservatives and Republicans in the state he governs.
So sorry, Jennifer -- if Rick Perry can't muster better than fourth in a straw poll of Texas activists who know him and generally support him, there is no way he will be a credible candidate for the nomination in 2016. And that you would seek to present him as one shows that you are out of contact with conservatives and Republicans and really ought to be out of a job.
I'll concede that Chris and I are on opposite sides of the issue this column focuses on -- but I think it is important that I highlight one of those I otherwise consider to be a fine conservative and Republican and one who will hopefully be influential in our party for years to come.
Politics these days is often about black and white, or more accurately, red and blue. Saviors and demons. Labels, not issues. Sound bites, not sound ideas. Falling in line. Or falling out of favor.
And then you have Chris Busby.
When the Opie-faced, openly gay, inner-city Houston high school teacher approached the microphone during the equal rights debate at Houston City Council last week, he spoke in favor of it with the passion that some would easily stereotype as that of a wild-eyed liberal.
In reality, Busby is a Harris County Republican precinct chairman.
Now I consider the law in question to be bad public policy.
The fact that it has the effect of making every restroom in the city of Houston unisex is only part o the problem. A bigger issue for me is that it has the effect of stripping business owners of the right to operate their businesses in a manner consistent with their religious, moral, philosophical, or political beliefs. Unlike the situation in 1964, when a federal statute was necessary to undo the effect of government mandated racial discrimination which prevented business owners from implementing non-discrimination policies, there is nothing preventing businesses from doing so today and therefore the legislation does not undo a government mandated injustice but instead creates one.
But enough of the analysis of the issue of the ill-advised ordinance and even the political philosophy of my fellow activist and educator who I first wrote about last year. What I find interesting is the reaction of local leftwingers to the article. Just look at the comment section below the article, where gay Republicans are compared to Jewish Nazis and Christians are described as the equivalent of the Taliban. One local blogger -- P.Diddie/Perry Dorrell from "Brains and Eggs" -- even uses the comment section to describe gays (at least gays who disagree with him politically) as "roaches" before going to his own website and suggesting that Busby kill himself (with the disclaimer that he doesn't REALLY mean that -- but come on, if you view someone as a cockroach you don't really have any regard for that person's life). But then again, we see again and again that the Left is defined by an ideology of hate for those who dare to do something other than conform.
As for Chris Busby -- I'm personally looking forward to June 16, 2014, when he officially joins me as a precinct chair on the Harris County Republican Party Executive Committee, where I anticipate working with him much more often than against. And what's more, he won't find anyone at the meetings suggesting that he kill himself or attempting to define for him what political beliefs he is allowed to hold. Instead, he will find that those of us who are Reagan conservatives welcome him in the spirit of Ronald Reagan.
A decade ago, I took it into my head to create a blog over at Blogger. That blog, Precinct 333, would transform into this one the following spring. Here is my first post, a greeting to my potential readers.
This will be my first post here from Precinct 333, a congenial spot here in a congenial corner of Southeast Texas, not too far from Houston. I'm your friendly neighborhood Precinct Chair. I plan on devoting this site to my passions -- history, politics, education, religion, and, of course, my darling wife (AKA The Loyal Opposition). So come on in, take a seat, pour the beverage of your choice and see what develops!
Who would have thought I would still be doing this a decade later?
Let's see -- one runoff election, one ear infection, one week of final exams, one spouse with a rib broken by our little dog. I just haven't had time or energy to blog here lately, though I have had a great deal I want to say. I'll get round to saying it -- and marking the tenth anniversary of the blog -- shortly.