Last Friday, capping off a week filled with disturbing revelations of bureaucratic incompetence and presidential mendacity concerning Obamacare, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the “reform” law’s notorious contraception mandate. On behalf of the majority, Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote that the mandate would force the plaintiffs in Gilardi v. HHS to choose between bankruptcy and violating their religious beliefs: “They can either abide by the sacred tenets of their faith, pay a penalty of over $14 million and cripple the companies they have spent a lifetime building, or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong.”
Russell Moore, the new political spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, has clarified that he’s not urging Christian political withdrawal, as a recent Wall Street Journal profilesurmised (“Evangelical Leader Preaches Pullback From Politics, Culture Wars”), and to which George Neumayr responded in The American Spectator.
A small suburban Washington city of 27,000 has recently taken center stage in the national debate over living wages. Voters in the City of SeaTac will soon decide on Proposition 1, a ballot initiative to establish perhaps the most draconian employment standards in the nation, complete with a $15 minimum wage requirement.
Labor leaders are thrilled, and it’s not hard to see why: Labor support of Prop 1 appears to be part of a growing trend to promote union organizing through local ballot initiatives.
Though small in terms of geography and population, the City of SeaTac is economically significant because it hosts Sea-Tac International Airport and surrounding travel and hospitality businesses.
Prop 1’s roots go back to 2005, when Alaska Airlines replaced unionized baggage handlers with non-union contractors. Six years later, Unite Here Local 8, the hospitality workers union, spent historic amounts of money to successfully finance three city council elections.
Conservatives claim to want to cut the deficit, but they rarely agree on specific programs to cut other than those for poor people. Well, how about cutting a program that hurts poor people? More, it’s a program which has government destroying several of our most basic rights. Worst, it has been a colossal failure.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is fighting a failed war, and they’re fighting dirty. President Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs in 1971 to end drug violence and drug abuse. Forty-two years later, we still have drug use, more violence and more people in our prisons, and the drug trade is stronger than ever. Meanwhile, the DEA has resorted to treating all Americans like criminals through massive surveillance of our phone data going all the way back to 1987.
In September, the U.S. economy added 126,000 private sector jobs, the second-worst month of hiring by employers in the private sector this year, reported the Labor Department last month.
The 126,000 jobs number is down slightly from the monthly average of 129,000 private sector jobs added during the three months of July through September.
More significantly, and illustrating a clear-cut slowdown in an already-sluggish economic recovery, September’s 126,000 private sector jobs increase is a 34 percent drop from the average of 190,000 private sector jobs added per month to the U.S. economy in the April-June quarter.
In addition to these 126,000 new jobs in the private sector, government payrolls expanded by 22,000 jobs in September, producing a combined increase of 148,000 non-farm jobs.
This September total expansion of 148,000 jobs in the private and public sectors combined is a 23 percent decline from the 193,000 jobs added in the private and public sectors in August.
Not one ray of light shines from The Counselor. The movie is a void of roughly 120 minutes, showcasing ugliness and misery. It meanders almost without plot from one inconsequential character to another as each pontificates about how life is “all shit.” It’s a huge departure for director Ridley Scott, who’s known for movies with intriguing messages or at least some kind of technical excellence. But in The Counselor, one gets the impression that Scott is very unhappy and wants his audience to leave the theater feeling the same way.
A FEW MONTHS back I was standing in a car park in the UK smoking a cigarette. Not one of those hideous underground car parks, but a nice one, in the open air. A woman in a white 2008 Fiat Panda drove two hundred yards over from her spot and pulled up next to me and wound down the window. “Your smoke is damaging my health, please put your cigarette out,” she said. I just stared at her, unable to speak. Her face was wreathed in this curious mixture of jubilation and vindictiveness and—I don’t think this is going too far—hatred. She hated me on sight. And she was utterly jubilant in being able to do so, that she had someone in her sights on whom she could exact her vituperation. Seeing me smoking satisfied some desperate craving within the woman, more desperate perhaps than the one I have which makes me smoke cigarettes. She may well have been driving around all day searching for someone to persecute. My guess is that she worked in a local government social services department, probably as a middle manager, and owned cats, but I cannot prove this. That may be just my prejudice coming through.
Five days after his inauguration, Bill Clinton named his wife Hillary to head a taskforce charged with drafting a bill within a hundred days to reform the health care system. In the first flush of the hundred-day effort, Hillary framed the outline of the Clinton plan and talked to members of Congress, lobbyists, interest groups, and the public, in an effort to create momentum and rally support.
She made dozens of courtesy calls on Capitol Hill, testified before committees in both houses of Congress, and went on a nationwide speaking tour. As part of a massive public relations blitz, Hillary went to Capitol Hill to introduce her plan to Congress that fall: "I'm here as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a woman," she began. In marathon sessions before five key House and Senate committees, the first lady demonstrated her command of the subject. "No previous first lady occupied center stage so aggressively or disarmed her critics more effectively," the New York Times said. "I think in the very near future," Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski said, "the president will be known as your husband. 'Who's that fellow? That's Hillary's husband.'"