Friday, September 30, 2011

Judge: Alabama Immigration Statute Not Preempted By Federal Law

When a federal judge issues a temporary injunction that prevents a law from going into effect, it is usually a precursor or figleaf for subsequently throwing out the entire law. Surprise: U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn Wednesday gave the green light to most of Alabama's immigration enforcement law, House Bill 56, that she had put on hold in August. Unlike Obamacare, for example, the Alabama law contained a severability clause that allows a judge to pick and choose among acceptable or unacceptable provisions.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn ruled that federal law does not prohibit state officials from checking the immigration status of students or suspects pulled over by police. Blackburn also refused to stop provisions that make it a misdemeanor for illegal immigrants not to carry immigration papers, allow police to hold suspected illegal immigrants without bond and bar state courts from enforcing contracts entered into by illegal immigrants.
Another example of misplaced priorities: Instead of running around the country suing states for taking action against illegal immigration, the Justice Department and the Obama administration should be using federal resources to securing our borders and enforcing existing law.

In her decision, Judge Blackburn wrote, in part, that
Nothing in the text of the [federal Immigration and Naturalization Act] expressly preempts states from legislating on the issue of verification of an individual’s citizenship and immigration status. There is also nothing in the INA which reflects Congressional intent that the United States occupy the field as it pertains to the identification of persons unlawfully present in the United States.
Read the full 115-page opinion here.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley comments on the ruling:

The Most Unpopular Governor in the U.S. is...

If Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez is in as bad shape as some reports claim, will Connecticut's governor order flags to flown at half mast? Presumably the ailing Chavez is Governor Dannel (a.k.a. Dan) Malloy's role model, given the heavy-handed way Malloy has been behaving in office. But Malloy's tactics have come at a price.

According to Public Policy Polling, a Democrat outfit, Malloy is the most unpopular Democrat governor in America.
52% of Connecticut voters say that if they could do it all over they'd vote for Republican Tom Foley, compared to only 41% who would stick with incumbent Dan Malloy.

That desire to elect someone else is a product of Malloy's continuing unpopularity. Only 36% of voters approve of him to 52% disapproving. That makes him the most unpopular Democratic Governor in the country that PPP has polled on this year. His numbers with independents are bad at a 36/55 approval spread but the biggest problem for him is the party base- even with Democrats just 49% think he's doing a good job to 37% who disapprove. It's rare to find a major politician under 50% approval within their own party.
Malloy was narrowly "elected" in the first place only after some shady ballot counting in the city of Bridgeport.

Suspect Arrested in Alleged Plot to Bomb Pentagon with Remote-Controlled Model Airplanes

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why Did the Feds Sell Guns to Drug Gangs?

Despite Obama administration stonewalling, the "Fast and Furious" gunrunning scandal, which resulted in the killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and others, seems to be finally getting some traction in the mainstream news media. observes the following:
Why a gunrunning scandal codenamed “Fast and Furious,” a program run secretly by the U.S. government that sent thousands of firearms over an international border and directly into the hands of criminals, hasn’t been pursued by an army of reporters all trying to be the next Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein is a story in itself.
Credit CNN's Anderson Cooper with doing a good piece last night (see video below) about how the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) sold guns to Mexican narco-terrorists. The version posted to the network's website leaves out, however, the interchange where the reporter alluded to a theory that gun control zealots in the Justice Department might have been responsible for this ill-conceived operation. Ordinarily this would be just another off-the-wall conspiracy theory, but given the radical ideologues installed in many federal agencies by this administration, is that really so farfetched?

Similarly, the New York Post editorializes that one possible explanation is...
that the anti-gun Obama administration deliberately wanted American guns planted in Mexico in order to demonize American firearms dealers and gun owners. The operation was manufacturing “evidence” for the president’s false claim that we’re to blame for the appalling levels of Mexican drug-war violence.
If this is true, then [Attorney General] Holder & Co. have got to go -- and the trail needs to be followed no matter where it leads. For the federal government to seek to frame its own citizens is unconscionable.
An alternative theory is that the administration was trying to arm one cartel to play it off another.

A Congressional investigation is ongoing. Fast and Furious came up at a Tuscon Town Hall conducted by U.S Rep. Paul Gosar this week:

The LA Times has more.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Obamacare Headed to Supreme Court Sooner Rather than Later

In what could be a risky political and legal strategy, the Obama administration has decided against requesting an en banc hearing at the Eleventh Circuit that would have reconsidered a ruling that earlier declared healthcare reform, so called, unconstitutional. This is a departure from the delaying tactics that the administration previously employed.
The constitutionality of the 2010 health care law could be determined by the Supreme Court this term, with a decision coming next summer in the thick of the 2012 presidential campaign. The Justice Department said Monday that it had decided not to ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta to take up the case. A three-member panel of the court decided 2-1 last month that Congress overstepped its authority in passing the Affordable Care Act, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance.
The vast majority of the American people oppose socialized medicine in the guise of Obamacare. The legal machinery often moves slowly, but a High Court decision (which will probably go 5-4 either way) that upholds Obamacare before the 2012 election could bring out even more voters opposed to the one-size-fits-all mandate. It's also hard to see how a loss at the Court would help the president's reelection prospects either.

Last week, in declaring the law unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Christopher Connor of Pennsylvania (a Bush appointee) determined that Congress exceeded its authority under the Commerce Clause in enacting Obamacare. "Conner concluded that Congress cannot compel individual citizens to buy health insurance as a condition of citizenship. He reasoned that the authority to regulate interstate commerce does not list the ability to order a lifetime financial commitment to buy health insurance." Recently, a three-judge panel at the Fourth Circuit (three of whom were Democrats, two appointed by Obama) dismissed an Obamacare challenge for technical reasons, but without ruling on the merits of the case.

Regardless of how the Supreme Court resolves the conflicting decisions, Obamacare has already failed in its stated mission to bring down costs as Investors Business Daily reports:
Until now, many of the fears about ObamaCare have been theoretical. But this year's 9% spike in premiums is concrete evidence of the substantial harm it's already doing to our health care system.As soon as the Kaiser Family Foundation's annual report on insurance premiums was released, ObamaCare defenders dismissed its most troubling finding: Insurance premiums for family coverage shot up an average $1,482 this year.
As far as the effect on the upcoming general election, Prof. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection echoes (but much more eloquently) our feelings stated above:
If the Supreme Court finds the mandate to be unconstitutional, it will deflate Obama’s presidency. In one fell swoop, the entirety of Obama’s agenda will come crashing down. It will be a political and personal humiliation.

If the Supreme Court upholds the mandate, Obama will be able to crow a little, but such a decision will leave the majority of people who hate the law with but one alternative: Throw Obama and Senate Democrats out in November 2012.

A pro-Obamacare ruling prior to the election will motivate the Republican base like nothing else, and will bring the independents along. If you thought the summer of 2009 was hot, just wait until the summer of 2012 if the only way for the nation to get out from under Obamacare is at the ballot box in November.

Guy Who Accused Tea Party of Being Racist Rumored to be Dating His Step-Grandaughter

In our society, consenting adults are free to do whatever they want as long as no one else is harmed in the process. However, if true, this is really creepy. According to various reports circulating on the Internet, newly divorced Morgan Freeman is allegedly involved in a relationship with his step-grandaughter, age 27.

Freeman recently caused a stir on a low-rated CNN program by smearing the Tea Party movement with false accusations of racism, the tired and feeble liberal narrative. Freemen, 73, a well-respected actor who is blessed with a powerful speaking voice, may be too busy with his social life to understand what the Tea Party is really about. And perhaps he is as yet unfamiliar with Herman Cain, a Tea Party favorite contending for the GOP presidential nomination. An invitation to attend a Tennessee Tea Party really has been extended to him.

[photo credit: CynSimp]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bay State Sheriffs to Enforce Immmigration Law Despite Governor

President Obama's pal Deval Patrick is a supporter of the administration's backdoor illegal alien amnesty program even if it poses threat to public safety. But even in the very blue state, some Massachusetts sheriffs, as reported by the Boston Herald, aren't going along:
Three defiant Bay State sheriffs hell-bent on tougher immigration enforcement have taken an end run around Gov. Deval Patrick, traveling to Washington, D.C., to hammer out their own version of the Secure Communities program in a stinging rejection of the administration’s stand on illegals.
“The governor is out of touch on this issue, and he really and truly does not represent the interest of the people of Massachusetts on this issue,” Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said. “We’re basically saying to the governor, ‘Look. You’re entitled to your position.’ But the governor doesn’t elect us. We represent the people of our counties who elect us to do our job — public safety...
Secure Communities... requires police to run criminal suspects’ fingerprints through an immigration database to check whether they are in the United States legally, and it requires local agencies to share data on those suspects with immigration authorities.
A fourth sheriff is also joining the effort according to the Herald.

President Obama Proposes "Jew" Tax Rate?

Several websites (Gateway Pundit, Daily Caller, etc.) flagged this video of the president in full campaign mode on Saturday night.

Was this just a slip of the tongue or a Freudian slip?

The LA Times notes that "The president has been muffing lines all over the place recently. Last week, also peddling his jobs plan at a bridge that won't qualify, he hailed America's building of 'the Intercontinental Railroad.' You don't seem to hear much about these gaffes in the media for some reason."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Herman Cain Wins Florida Straw Poll Over Fading Perry

While this pre-primary maneuvering may be tedious and inconsequential in the long run, businessman Herman Cain's upset victory in the Florida straw poll reveals in part how presumed-frontrunner Rick Perry has damaged his chances because of his lackluster articulation skills--unlike the charismatic Mr. Cain, an experienced executive with a solid track record of success in the private sector--in the debates thus far.

Obviously the best debater doesn't make the best president; that's a given. But the American people have already proven in several presidential cycles that they are willing to elect a smooth-talking con man. Leaving aside the merits of thus or that issue, given the bias of the media, the GOP candidate will have no room for error and must be a great communicator when the broader, non-ideological electorate is paying attention during the general election debates in the fall.

Many observers have concluded that the incumbent lacks enthusiasm for the actual work of the presidency, and far prefers golf, partying with celebrities, fundraisers, and reading campaign platitudes off the teleprompter. But his debate skills are also well acknowledged.

The president is probably a lot like some of the guys in our study group during law school. Unlike many students who slogged through the casebooks and the lectures, this group seldom did the reading and their class attendance was spotty. Yet they had a genius for cramming the necessary information right before the final exam (which in law school almost always determines the final course grade) and wound up with As. It wasn't really fair to those that put in the time, but that was the reality.

Regardless of his or her study/preparation habits, the ultimate GOP presidential nominee must be able to "ace the final exam" on national television next fall. A candidate with Kim Delaney's public speaking skills is a sure loser.

Here is Cain speaking about his recovery from cancer in terms the electorate can fundamentally relate to:

Kim Delaney's Philadelphia Experiment

A disheveled looking and confused Kim Delaney may have needed a little help from TOTUS (i.e., the teleprompter of the United States) on Thursday night.

The Army Wives actress was in her hometown to participate in the Liberty Award presentation to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia when she ran into some problems with a teleprompter malfunction--or something else--and was escorted off the stage. It has been widely reported that Delaney, best remembered for her role on NYPD Blue, has struggled with substance abuse, which may have undermined her career.

In the 2001-2002 television season, Delaney starred as criminal defense attorney Kathleen Maguire on the series Philly. Although it contained a lot of the Hollywood nonsense common in legal dramas, the 22-episode show is definitely worth a look. The one-and-only season (discontinued for low ratings) is available on Netflx for those two of you who haven't canceled their membership yet. Apart from the lovely Ms. Delaney (who sadly now appears to have a tattoo), the best character on the show was the quirky but earnest prosecutor played by supporting actor Rick Hoffman.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Labor Department Rule Could Create Worker "Hit Lists"

When you think about the radical ideologues currently infesting most federal agencies, overblown complaints about Bush administration politicized hiring practices seem absolutely silly. The latest example, according to The Union Label Blog: The U.S. Department of Labor wants to enact a rule that could result in the disclosure of the addresses of temporary workers:
These forms will be public knowledge as soon as the government gets its hands on them. That means that workers’ names and home addresses will also be public knowledge. That means that union thugs can get hold of these names and addresses so that they can amass lists of workers to scare away from their job in order to save union jobs.
Does doing the bidding of Big Labor really seem like the best way to put America back to work?
While Obama sits there on his mountaintop scolding businesses for not hiring, not expanding, and not growing, while he mouths the nice sounding words of “cutting regulations” his regulatory agencies are issuing one business-killing new rule after another. Every month is a new anti-business rules change and this one could result in blood being spilled by his dangerous union pals.

Benjamin Netanyahu--Leader of the Free World?

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, shines the light of truth in the U.N. General Assembly yesterday:

With regard to this speech, Pajamas Media CEO Roger L. Simon writes the following:
And yet his talk was extremely eloquent and well-delivered. In an atmosphere former NY Mayor Koch describes as a “cesspool,” Netanyahu was the only man, the only statesman, genuinely to stand up for the principles of guilt-ridden Western civilization.
Noteworthy too is that the Israeli PM speaks (and no doubt writes) the English language far better than any of our presidential candidates, not to mention our cliche-ridden liberalist incumbent who is even loath to appear before children without a teleprompter.
Bibi Netanyahu has grown up and grown into the kind of statesman the world and, alas, this country needs.

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Danny Ayalon explains the history of the conflict in the region in these videos:

Historian Victor Davis Hanson provides some further background:
It is trendy to blame Israeli intransigence for all these bleak developments. But to do so is simply to forget history. There were three Arab efforts to destroy Israel before it occupied any borderlands after its victory in 1967. Later, it gave back all of Sinai and yet now faces a hostile Egypt. It got out of Lebanon — and Hezbollah crowed that Israel was weakening, as that terrorist organization moved in and stockpiled thousands of missiles pointed at Tel Aviv. Israel got out of Gaza and earned as thanks both rocket showers and a terrorist Hamas government sworn to destroy the Jewish state.
The Arab Middle East damns Israel for not granting a “right of return” to Palestinians who have not lived there in nearly 70 years. But it keeps embarrassed silence about the more than half-million Jews whom Arab dictatorships much later ethnically cleansed from Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo, and sent back into Israel. On cue, the Palestinian ambassador to the United States again brags that there will be no Jews allowed in his newly envisioned and American-subsidized Palestinian state — a boast with eerie historical parallels.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rick Perry Fail

Who's having a worse week--Netflix or Texas Governor Rick Perry? After three debates, the debating skills of the soon-to-be-former GOP frontrunner seem to getting worse, not better. Let's remember that the 2008 GOP nominee also failed to communicate during the nationally televised general election presidential debates against Obama; it was one missed opportunity after another, and we've seen this movie before and it doesn't end well.

Meantime, despite all his faults, Mitt Romney seems to be getting stronger and stronger at the podium. He may wind up getting the nomination by default. That being said, all along we've felt that the "best candidate" is the one that can stand up on that national stage next fall and effectively and clearly communicate with the broader "Dancing with the Stars" electorate. For better or worse, running for high office is a performance business. Prof. William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection puts it well:
On appearances, Perry came across once again as ill-prepared, stumbling, and uncomfortable.I cringe at the thought of the Rick Perry from last night’s debate on stage in October 2012 against Obama with the whole country watching. I hope there is another Rick Perry out there, because last night’s Rick Perry would not stand a chance on stage against our smooth-talking, fact-misstating Presidentt.
After watching the debate participants (along with admittedly a lot of channel surfing), the best candidate would seem to be a combination of New Gingrich's debating skills, Rick Perry's military background, Mitt Romney's business experience (and excluding the horrid RomneyCare implemented while he was Massachusetts Governor), Herman Cain's inspirational solutions-oriented message, the non-wacky parts of Ron Paul's libertarian philosophy, and Michelle Bachmann's charisma. Even John Huntsman came across far better than Perry.

Note to GOP candidates: Please look into the camera. Your true audience is the viewer/voter at home; the media questioner in the venue is irrelevant. For some reason, Democrats get the memo about looking directly into the camera but Republicans traditionally seem utterly clueless as to who they really are trying to convince.

Update: In response to Perry's disdain for the smoothest debater, Prof. Jacobson offers some further cogent comments:
That’s true but only to a point. We don’t need the smoothest debater, but we do need someone with the minimum required debating smoothness.
Like it or not, in September and October 2012 there are going to be debates which will be watched by an enormous percentage of the electorate, and the mainstream media will be unforgiving of mistakes by the Republican nominee. A miserable performance, on par with the one Perry had Thursday night, would be a disaster.
By contrast, strong debate performances against Obama, holding Obama accountable in front of tens of millions of people, exposing his failures for what they are, could seal the deal. The mainstream media will not perform that task for us, so our nominee needs to do it. Perry has not shown so far that he is capable of that; it’s not smoothness, its preparation and execution.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Erik Bedard: You've Been Served

While a sheriff or a marshal usually do the honors, most jurisdictions allow legal papers such as a summons and complaint to be served by any "indifferent person." But would you call a dude showing up in the Boston Red Sox locker room wearing a Yankees t-shirt indifferent?
[Process server Tom] Cabral didn’t bother to hide the fact he is a Yankees fan. In fact, he proudly wore a Yankees shirt while he served Bedard the papers.
Cabral was there to hand Red Sox starting pitcher Erik Bebard--formerly of the Orioles and Mariners--court documents in connection with a child support matter. The transaction was handled amicably by both men. The Red Sox wound up losing the game, but Bedard was not part of the decision.

Source: New York Post

[photo credit: Keith Allison]

Kindergartner Brings Crack Pipe to Show and Tell

The assignment in this Missouri kindergarten classroom was to bring "important family items" like pictures for show and tell. So the child brought in his mom's crack pipe and some rocks. School officials notified police who executed a search warrant at the home, resulting in charges of possession of a controlled substance and one count of first-degree child endangerment against the mother.

Casey Anthony Owes Florida $100K For Caylee Investigation

Judge Belvin Perry has ruled that Casey Anthony must reimburse the state of Florida nearly $100,000 to reimburse law enforcement agencies for the investigation into the disappearance of her daughter Caylee. Once again she got off lightly in that prosecutors and cops sought $500,000 in costs. In reaching his decision, Judge Perry determined that "the costs should cover only the period when detectives were investigating a missing person, and not the homicide investigation -- a sum of $97,676."

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Visit to the Ted Williams Museum at Tropicana Field

But first a slight but related digression...

Does "Red Sox Nation" need a bailout?

The team's Wild Card lead is down to three games after last night's loss (game one of a critical four-game series) to Tampa Bay, and this weekend will likely determine if they can stave off the feisty Rays for an AL playoff berth.

The formerly first place Sox began the 2011 season with a miserable April, and then dominated for most of the summer, before tanking again in the last few weeks.

Baseball is no longer America's favorite pastime. Pro football has become the number one spectator sport in part because of the gambling and the fact that there are only 16 regular season games. And also because there is a lot of action.

But because of Major League Baseball's everyday nature, it becomes sort of a friend, or even a soap opera for men (and some women too, of course), as the momentum can change from game to game or even within a game. Even though an individual baseball game is obviously not as demanding as in other sports, the physical and mental toughness of the players to navigate a 162-game baseball season (plus playoffs) is admirable--leaving aside the sketchy off-the-field reputation of many MLB players.

Baseball is a lot of fun in person--apart from the people watching, even a routine fly ball out is pretty impressive.

On TV, however, baseball is boring. Hence the problem.

In a playoff game, every gut-wrenching pitch can be crucial, every play pivotal. A regular season game, in general, perhaps not so much. In general, then, baseball needs to speed up the games to ensure its future fan base. The players simply need to stay in their work stations. Pitchers need to throw the ball promptly, batters need to stay in the batters box and be ready to hit. Walking around the mound or outside the box, adjusting batting gloves, spitting, all such time wasting has got to go. It's been said that the slow pace that generates drama is baseball's greatest strength in a hotly contested game or say in the bottom of the 9th, but it's the game's greatest weakness otherwise.

Anyway, back on July 17, we had the opportunity to be in the stands for the incredible 16-inning Sox-Rays game at Tropicana Field ("the Trop") which the Sox finally prevailed 1-0. As it was the ESPN Sunday night national game, it started at 8 p.m. but didn't finish until about 2 the following morning.

It was one of the best game's we've every seen.

Excellent pitching and defense by both teams (there were only eight total hits). The game had just about every ancillary event including one of the Rays players shattering an overhead lamp in the indoor stadium with a foul ball, a fan running out on the field, and some other stuff we can't remember anymore. Immediately before game time, a downpour unleashed on St. Petersburg and you could hear the rain furiously pounding on the stadium roof (the storm's intensity could have easily caused a power outage--which did occur during a storm a few days later apparently).

Although the sports media claim that the Trop is a "dump," we think it's a actually a cool place to see a game. Attendance has unfortunately been lackluster over the years even though the Rays are a feisty, fun team that operates with a much lower payroll than their AL East rivals.

It is, we want to underscore, up to the people--not the obnoxious sports pundits who get in for free--how they want to spend their money.

Apart from the game itself, and not necessarily an extra-inning marathon, one of the coolest things about going to a Rays home game at the Trop is visiting the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, which so much memorabilia that it seems like a mini Cooperstown. Baseball superstar Ted Williams, the Red Sox left fielder and Florida resident, was one of the greatest hitters in baseball history and the last player to average .400 for a season. He was also a war hero.

Here are some pictures that we took at the museum before the game: