Marriage is the planet’s only institution whose core purpose is to unite the biological, social and legal components of parenthood into one lasting bond. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children.
At the level of first principles, gay marriage effaces that gift. No same-sex couple, married or not, can ever under any circumstances combine biological, social and legal parenthood into one bond. For this and other reasons, gay marriage has become a significant contributor to marriage’s continuing deinstitutionalization, by which I mean marriage’s steady transformation in both law and custom from a structured institution with clear public purposes to the state’s licensing of private relationships that are privately defined.
I have written these things in my book and said them in my testimony, and I believe them today. I am not recanting any of it.
But there are more good things under heaven than these beliefs. For me, the most important is the equal dignity of homosexual love. I don’t believe that opposite-sex and same-sex relationships are the same, but I do believe, with growing numbers of Americans, that the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over. Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.
In my cover story in the July/August issue of The American Spectator, I come to the conclusion that this is the emerging consensus on this question: that the core purpose of marriage must lose out to the “equal dignity of homosexual love.” I disagree with this conclusion, but I am not without sympathy for the motivations behind it. Yet as I asked in the print magazine and in a recent column, what institution will do what traditional marriage once did if marriage is now simply “the state’s licensing of private relationships that are privately defined”?
Blankenhorn’s switch is all the more notable because he has focused on making the positive case for traditional marriage rather than attempting to re-stigmatize homosexuality. The fact that some social conservatives who understand the proper link between marriage and parenthood now accept that society has decided to sever that link is ultimately more important to this debate than President Barack Obama’s recent change in position.
Yesterday Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released a plan that is designed to make distinction between legal and illegal immigration — and also to defuse a damned if you do, damned if you don’t political issue. The key points:
Many of the details still need to be fleshed out, but this is the broad outline. I’m skeptical of both the politics and the policy of this combination, but it is clear he is trying to achieve the difficult balance of being anti-illegal immigration without appearing anti-Hispanic.
On the heels of Mitt Romney’s immigration speech yesterday, his campaign has released a video listing what it describes as broken promises to Hispanic voters generally and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials specifically.
Yesterday, Jake Tapper asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about a statement released by the family of slain U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry objecting to President Obama’s decision to exercise executive privilege concerning documents pertaining to the Fast & Furious Scandal.
Carney replied with his characteristic snarky spin that Fast & Furious was the fault of the Bush Administration and that Attorney General Eric Holder was the one who put to stop to it. But then Carney ended his response by stating, “That is why we have provided Congress every document that pertains to the operation itself that is at issue here when you talk about the family that you referred to.”
Thank goodness Tapper interjected to say, “The Terry family.”
Well, this is what happens your son doesn’t look like President Obama. Now imagine the fury that would have followed if one of George W. Bush’s press secretaries couldn’t remember the name of a soldier who had died in Iraq. Then again it is probably just as well that it was Carney who said “the family that you referred to”. If it was President Obama, he’d have probably called Terry a “corpseman”. Come to think of it, does President Obama even know who Brian Terry is? Or for that matter Jaime Zapata?
James Piereson suggests that June 21st may be the day that President Obama lost the 2012 election.
I submit that Piereson is off by less than a fortnight.
President Obama lost the election on June 8th.
That was the day the President said, “The private sector is doing fine.”
It was on that day that I wrote, “As long as the economy continues to stall or gets worse, those six words will come back to haunt President Obama.”
The information Piereson conveyed concerning the stock market, oil prices, unemployment claims and bad news from the Federal Reserve merely gives lie to President Obama’s words. While June 21st was the day President Obama’s words came back to haunt him, June 8th was the day he chose to utter them.
Now I realize the election is 137 days away and fortunes can change in an instant. But President Obama is going to have to do something meaningful in order to reverse the damage he did to his credibility on June 8, 2012.
We keep saying this, but you simply cannot make it up.
Last night Sean Hannity sat down for an interview with Kent and Josephine Terry, the parents of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Brian Terry, of course, was killed by a gun deliberately “walked” into Mexico in the harebrained scheme called “Fast and Furious.”
Fast and Furious has now become a bridge too far for the Obama administration. Attorney General Eric Holder has been cited for contempt of Congress by a House committee (a full House vote set for next week) and President Obama just ignited an uproar by throwing a blanket of executive privilege over the Justice Department.
But something else occurred as we watched the riveting Hannity interview with the Terrys last night.
The Terrys lost their son because of a government policy.
So too did another parent lose a son because of a government policy.
That parent was the mother of a U.S. Soldier killed in the war in Iraq, a constitutionally authorized policy openly arrived at when President Bush asked for and got a congressional resolution allowing him to send troops to Iraq.
That soldier was named Casey Sheehan. And his mother’s name was Cindy. Cindy Sheehan.
Cindy Sheehan, like the Terrys, was understandably devastated by the loss of her son. But there were two not-so-small differences in the Sheehan case and the Terry case.Continue reading…
Shouldn’t feminists be rushing to the side of Slate columnist Emily Yoffe after she mustered up the courage to report that the late Jesuit Fr. Robert Drinan sexually assaulted her? As far as I can tell, few have. Perhaps they are hesitating since Drinan, like the lunging Ted Kennedy, “was right on the issues.” In 2007, Eleanor Smeal eulogized Drinan in the pages of Ms. as a “stalwart champion for women.” Smeal thanked him for supporting ERA and abortion rights. From Bill Clinton to Ted Kennedy to John Edwards to DSK to Fr. Drinan, proud proponents of “women’s rights” have compiled a voluminous record of allegedly degrading them. Perhaps Drinan felt that Yoffe, as a beneficiary of his “progressive” politics, owed him her submission. He correctly assumed that Yoffe wouldn’t publicize the incident. As she notes, she “admired” him and didn’t want trouble. Drinan’s family is complaining about the timing of Yoffe’s charge, but her desire not to dim the star of a pro-abortion Jesuit useful to the Dems partly explains it.
Over at the Center for Individual Freedom yesterday, I extensively praised R. Emmett Tyrrell’s The Death of Liberalism, but I argued that his diagnosis is a little premature. Alas, I fear that in 2016, either Evan Bayh or Andrew Cuomo or Mark Pryor might awaken the comatose victim. Read all about it here.
A taste, as a warning that conservatives must ever be on our guard:
[C]onservatives are fighting the same Liberalism that somehow survived and recovered even from the trouncing Ronald Reagan administered to it, and which is now firmly entrenched in academia, establishment media and Hollywood. These people have a habit of rising from the grave to suck the lifeblood from new generations of Americans.
June 21st was the first day of summer and the hottest day of the year so far, at least in the Northeast. It may also have been the day that Barack Obama lost the 2012 election.
Why? This was the day that the stock markets finally folded the tent and acknowledged that the U.S. economy is in a stall and may be on the edge of a full-blown recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 250 points, the Nasdaq 71 points, and the S & P 500 about 30 points. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday affirmed that the economy is slowing and that the unemployment rate would remain above 8 percent for the rest of the year. Goldman Sachs & Co. recommended that investors short stocks in recognition of the worsening economic picture. New unemployment claims edged higher, confirming the lackluster May employment report. The Philadelphia Fed reported a further contraction in manufacturing activity in June. Oil slipped below $80 per barrel for the first time in a year, another sign of a slowing economy here and abroad.
It is not impossible for an incumbent president to win re-election in the midst of a recession or a stalled economy, but it is extremely difficult to do so. No incumbent has won re-election under these kinds of economic circumstances since FDR was re-elected in 1936 in the midst of the Depression. On the other hand, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were defeated for re-election under conditions that were better than those Obama must deal with this year.
The problem for the incumbent this year is that he must confront the narrative that his policies of stimulus, more regulation, higher taxes, and health care reform have not turned the economy around as he promised. Gov. Romney will paint him as a failure; the President’s attacks on Romney’s business background will not immunize him against that narrative. That narrative will become impossible to deflect as more bad economic news pours in over the next three or four months.
Nevertheless, the election is likely to remain fairly close in the polls until mid-October, even if economic conditions continue to worsen, simply because many voters have not yet focused on the campaign. If the unemployment rate is still above 8 percent in mid-October, with no signs of immediate improvement, independent voters will at that point break for Gov. Romney, as they did for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Bill Clinton in 1992. In that circumstance, Gov. Romney could easily walk away from the election with a margin of between five and seven points.
If this is in fact what happens, then we might look back to June 21 as the day when the dynamics of the election changed for keeps.
(James Piereson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.)
The Miami Heat won the NBA Title with a 121-106 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the NBA Final. LeBron James was named the series’ MVP.
Despite James’ stature as the premier player in the game, the three time NBA MVP has long been criticized for not having the championships won by the likes of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. James was unable to win an NBA title during his tenure in Cleveland reaching the NBA Finals in 2007 only to be swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Of course, LeBron fell short during his inaugural season in South Beach last year when the Heat were upset by the Dallas Mavericks. Of course, Dwyane Wade is no stranger to championship glory. Wade was the part of the Heat’s first NBA championship team in 2006.
As King LeBron can now sit on his throne in contentment, basketball analysts will have to talk about something other than LeBron not having a championship under his belt.
Obama Losing Support Among the Youth Vote (Washington Examiner)
LeBron Finally Has His Title: Miami Heat Win NBA Championship (ESPN)
13 Dead in Iraqi Bomb Blast (NY Times)
Politico Suspends Reporter Who Said Romney More Comfortable Around “White Folks” (Daily Caller)
Regardless of Healthcare Ruling, LA Hospitals Still Get Millions (LA Times)
New World Record: Most Costume Changes in a Music Video (Youtube)
Slain Border Agent Brian Terry’s Parents Speak Out (Politico)
Business Fights Local Government for Survival and Free Speach (Daily Caller)
Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman who switched party lines earlier this year, says he’s bullish about the prospect of a Romney presidency.
“There are about 10 million people who voted for Barack Obama four years ago that don’t plan to do it now,” Davis told the audience at the Newsmaker Breakfast hosted by The American Spectator and Americans for Tax Reform this morning.
He explained his disillusion with the Obama administration.
“For most of us, we look at what Democrats said they’d do 4 years ago — they said they’d give us a country that’s one thing; we’re getting a different country,” Davis said. “When is the last time an administration has come into office with such clearly defined, articulated priorities and seen every one of them fail or become an albatross or outright disappear in the course of one term?”
In contrast, Davis likened the Tea Party to the conservative wave that brought Ronald Reagan to power in 1980, and he said center-right activists have done a good job “taking their case to ordinary rank-and-file people and making arguments they find comprehensible and understandable.”
“It’s an incredibly effective run that the right has made in the last several years,” he said. “It’s a reflection of smart, intuitive, strategic decisions.”
However, despite his party switch, there remain aspects of the Republican approach with which Davis disagrees. For instance, he said conservatives who criticize illegal immigration on social grounds — that it’s changing the American social fabric — have the wrong approach. Instead, he argued that it’s an economic issue “when you have 13.5 million people who are undocumented, who crowd the workforce,” and sometimes a moral one.
“It’s not altruism that motivates corporate America to hire illegal immigrants,” Davis said. “It is exploitation.”
In that respect — taking the left’s “moral” argument and turning it on its head — the former Congressman echoed Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who spoke at the Newsmaker luncheon last month and advocated for the importance of moral arguments to defending capitalism, as discussed in his new book, The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise.
On the occasion of the Jerry Sandusky trial, Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, has a column over at Slate in which she mentions three incidents where she was sexually assaulted when she was young but didn’t tell her family or the police. About midway through she drops this bit about a famous left-wing priest and Democratic congressman:
The last incident was not child abuse, because I was no longer a minor, though I was still a teenager of 18 or 19. Several years earlier, my family had worked for the election of our congressman, Father Robert Drinan, an anti-Vietnam War, pro-choice priest. He was in town for a fundraiser or town meeting, and I went. Afterward he offered me a ride to the subway. (You’d think I would have learned.) He was in his 50s, and as he drove we chatted about college. We got to where he was letting me off, he turned off the engine, and he began jabbering incoherently about men and women. Then he lunged, shoving his tongue in my mouth while running his hands over my breasts and up and down my torso. It seems like the set-up for a joke, a Jewish woman being molested by a Jesuit. As we tussled, I had probably the most naïve thought of my life: “How could this be happening, he’s a priest!”
Congressman Drinan has been dead for five years, and his niece raises an obvious objection on behalf of the family: “We find it odd that anyone would come forward with this allegation decades later when our uncle is dead and in no position to defend himself.”
Mitt Romney has been characteristically cautious in taking a stand on President Barack Obama’s DREAM decree, opposing the policy move while remaining coy about what he would do in its place. Romney continued to walk that tightrope today in a speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
Romney vowed to “replace and supersede” the president’s policy — kind of like “repeal and replace” — with his own bipartisan, long-term immigration solution. His proposals include unspecified increases in legal immigration, more green cards for family reunification and immigrants who receive advanced degrees at American universities, a path to citizenship for immigrants who serve in the military, but no real word of amnesty for the vast majority of illegal immigrants. Romney told the group:
I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent and easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil and resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.
Romney also argued that Obama takes Latino votes for granted. All in all, Romney is staking out a position to the right of both George W. Bush and John McCain’s if not quite the same in tone as the attrition strategy he advocated during the primaries. But questions remain about what kind of legal immigration increases we’re going to be looking at if he wants to effectively admit more skilled immigrants and do more family reunification.
Also, in a reminder that immigration is not necessarily the magic bullet in solving the GOP’s outreach to Hispanic voters, the Los Angeles Times reports that the “only discordant note was a loud ‘boo’ when Romney’s call for the repeal of Obama’s healthcare law drew a smattering of applause.”
Nancy Pelosi says Republicans are going after Eric Holder as part of a vote suppression effort. What bunk.
A federal law called the National Voter Registration Act, popularly called the “Motor Voter” law (because it requires states to offer voter registration at drivers’-license bureaus), has a provision in its Section 8 that requires states to clean their rolls. That’s what Florida was doing – but the Department of Homeland Security ignored Florida’s repeated requests for lists of documented aliens, terribly delaying the process. Florida finally found other sources of the information – but in the meantime, it wasn’t able to start correcting its rolls until several weeks ago. … As a first-hand participant in shaping Motor Voter, I can say with assurance that Democrats and Republicans agreed back then that non-citizens shouldn’t vote. To do anything else would have been political suicide. Therefore, Florida and Von Spakovsky are right and DoJ is wrong – not as a matter of politics, but as a matter of fact.
Similarly, I suspect that the real aim of last week’s (illegal) executive order providing amnesty for 800,000 illegal aliens is less to win the votes of Hispanic citizens than to open the door even wider for illegal voting. Among legal voters, the order is a political wash: It might attract some votes from legal Hispanic citizens, but it also will even further turn off another block of voters who hate amensty or who object to flagrant executive overreacch. But by providing a sort of documentation to 800,000 new people, it also makes it easier for those 800,000 to vote. Holder and Obama know this. They approve of it. And Pelosi knows it.
The Department of Justice, in this case led by race-crusader Thomas Perez, is suing an Indiana-based egg producer for — wait for it — asking non-citizens to provide more or different documentation proving their eligibility to work than they ask of citizens.
The DOJ’s press release does not claim that the company, Rose Acre Farms, incorrectly identifies who is a citizen of the US and who is a non-citizen, something they would jump on if they could reasonably claim it.
Therefore, the complaint boils down to this: The DOJ is claiming that it somehow comprises illegal discrimination for a company to have different documentation standards for non-citizens than for citizens. Perhaps it is also illegal discrimination to have foreigners go into different passport lines when entering the US.
Indeed, if it is discrimination to ask non-citizens for particular documentation, is it not then discimination to require non-citizens to acquire particular documentation prior to being allowed to work?
More seriously, however, if it were illegal to require a known non-citizen to produce particular, or more, documentation than a citizen should produce, then based on the DOJ’s standards, it would often be illegal to ask any person a different question than you asked some other person if, for example, both people were asking you for a job.
The DoJ action falls precisely in line with their efforts to block Voter ID laws wherever possible and is part of their mission, as perfectly highlighted by President Obama’s recent decision not to enforce immigration law for illegal aliens who came here when they were children, to functionally end most immigration law.
You may be tempted to think it is nothing more than a callous attempt to garner Hispanic votes in the November election, but you would be wrong. It is that, but it is more than that: Perez and his boss, Eric Holder, and his boss, Barack Obama, are birds of a feather, each of them believing that the United States must pay for historical sins, and they plan to do it regardless of the damage to the rule of law.
Speaks for itself:
It’s been a rough road for public sector unions lately, particularly with their having spent millions of dollars in a losing effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
A Supreme Court ruling released today in the case of Knox v Seiu is, if not another nail in the unions’ coffin, at least a staple.
In a 7-2 opinion in which Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg joined with the Court’s five conservatives (their concurrence extending only to the ruling, but objecting to other aspects of the majority’s decision), the Court ruled that the SEIU violated rights of non-members by requiring them to pay a special assessment which was used to fund political activities.
The issue was slightly more technical than it sounds: The union had sent out an annual letter allowing non-members to opt out of the part of union dues which would be used for political activities. That letter said that such dues might change without notice. The union then imposed a special assessment to fight anti-union legislation in California, without sending another required Hudson letter offering non-members the right to opt out from the assessment. The Court ruled that that letter was required, and that a retroactive lowering of dues to those who would have objected was insufficient because their money would already have been used to express political opinions they object to, in violation of the First Amendment.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, notes that this sort of case is not about “balancing”, as the often-overturned Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled. Rather, “Compulsory subsidies for private speech are…subject to exacting First Amendment scrutiny…”
When the SEIU loses two of Court’s most liberal members, they must know that their recent string of richly-deserved bad fortune has not come to an end.
Yesterday, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke annouced the Fed’s ectension of “Operation Twist” using a justification of weaker than expected economic performance.
I, along with a few others affiliated with the Heartland Institute, commented on the announcement. Perhaps needless to say, I’m quite skeptical…
R. Emmett Tyrrell holds his own under hostile fire this morning on MSNBC:
Mark Levin has used his legal scalpel to dissect Obama’s latest overreach on Executive Privilege and give some free legal advice to the U.S. House. Bearing in mind that well aside from his role as a talk radio host Mark is the head of the Landmark Legal Foundation and a former chief of staff to Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, it seems appropriate not simply to link to his posting on his Facebook page here but to reprint it verbatim.
In a word? This is a tipping point for the Obama White House – trouble.
Here’s Mark’s analysis and advice to the US House:Continue reading…
Commerce Secretary John Bryson, former CEO of Edison International (parent company of electric utility Southern California Edison) and founder of the left-leaning “environmentalist” National Resources Defence Council, has resigned.
Bryson had been on a medical leave of absence and underoing medical tests to try to determine what caused seizures he blamed for three hit-and-run car accidents in Los Angeles on June 9th. Nobody was hurt in the accidents.
(This link was posted here in the Spectacle blog about 10 days ago but I wanted to make sure you all saw the video. It’s good enough to be worth repeating!)
H/T Bob Beauprez
If you’ve wondered just what Obama administration officials mean when they talk about all the “green jobs” they have hoped to create through their incineration of taxpayer money with “stimulus,” you’ll get your answers (and perhaps an upset stomach) here.
When you hear this administration trumpeting its “green jobs” success — not that they have any real job-related success to trumpet — keep in mind Mark Twain’s suggestion that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Obama Anti-Romney Add Fails the Fact Check (Washington Post)
Ship Capsizes Off Coast of Australian Territory (CNN)
Jobless Claims Still Rising (Breitbart)
Conservatives Hi-Jack Democrat Twitter Campaign (Twitchy)
Executive Privilege Raising More Questions In Fast and Furious Case (FoxNews)
Happy Birthday Prince William (CNN)
Obama’s Amnesty Plan a Logistical Nightmare (Daily Caller)
University Sponsors Campaign to Raise Awareness of “White Privilege (Campus Reform)
Now, besieged by evil Republicans who want — gasp — answers from Attorney General Eric Holder about the stupid-even-if-it-weren’t-botched Fast and Furious operation, Time Magazine’s website offers a photo of Eric Holder with his head surrounded by a halo of glowing bulbs.
If there is anyone in Washington supremely undeserving of a halo, it is this man who is presiding over the destruction of the rule of law within our nation’s highest law enforcement agency. But apparently anyone who works in the highest levels of the administration of The One is entitled to the loan or transfer of a halo.
(Article containing photo here.)
I was reading a piece in Real Clear Politics by Erin McPike concerning Mitt Romney’s recent campaigning in Ohio and came across this passage:
Of course, his audiences here (Troy, Ohio) and in Brunswick and Newark, Ohio, and in each of his stops along the way, weren’t particularly diverse. They were middle-aged and older white suburbanites, as opposed to some of the larger and more eclectic crowds that Obama can attract on college campuses and in urban areas.
Ah yes, the crowds that come to see Romney speak aren’t diverse enough for Ms. McPike’s liking. Middle-aged and white suburbanites apparently can’t be eclectic. This line of argument reminds me of people who complain about the Tea Party being too white. Well, it’s good to know that Tea Partiers and now people who attend Romney rallies are being judged by the color of their skin instead of the content of their character. As for McPike, I suppose her idea of diversity are unkempt Occupiers who are white and plan to vote for Obama in November.
The House Oversight Committee has voted 23-17 to send a resolution finding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress to the full House. It was a straight party-line vote. The president’s assertion of executive privilege regarding the Fast and Furious documents did not do anything to deter congressional action.
House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a statement that a full House vote could come next week if Holder and the Justice Department don’t turn over the requested documents. “Despite being given multiple opportunities to provide the documents necessary for Congress’ investigation into Fast and Furious, Attorney General Holder continues to stonewall,” they said.
UPDATE: Cantor tweets, “Unless the Attorney General reevaluates his choice & supplies the promised documents, the House will vote to hold him in contempt next week.”
Country singer Charlie Daniels was even more pointed:” I hope the house don’t wimp out and panty waist their way out of a contempt citation on Holder A family lost a son and somebody needs to pay.”
In recent weeks unions have been making major national news. First it was the failed Wisconsin recall. Next it was micro-unions, which have D.C.-based business interests very concerned about gerrymandering within individual businesses that could end up causing many businesses, including retail and grocery stores, a great deal of financial harm. Most recently, though, it is the Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RAISE) Act, introduced in the Senate, that has caused a great deal of back-and-forth among varied interests this month. Below are four prominent opinions expressed in recent days and weeks.
Yesterday, Florida Republican Senator and RAISE Act sponsor Marco Rubio wrote a blog post for National Review’s main blog, The Corner, promoting the benefits of the RAISE Act, which would allow union employers to encourage better results through pay incentives — essentially eliminating current caps in union bargaining agreements. The legislation is expected to be voted on today.
I contacted Senator Rubio’s office to ask about the post to ask the following questions:
A Rubio aide responded in a phone call:
I was first made aware of this issue by Heritage Foundation Senior Labor Fellow James Sherk. Sherk informed me that he was writing a paper on the RAISE Act. In the paper, he wrote the following:
Should Congress pass the RAISE Act, the average union member’s salary could rise between $2,700 and $4,500 a year. The RAISE Act would restore union members’ freedom to earn individual merit-based raises — a freedom that federal labor law currently denies. With many American families struggling financially in the aftermath of the recession, Congress should lift the seniority ceiling on workers’ wages.
I called Sherk to ask him about this section of the paper, since we are in tough economic times and thus potential pay increases may simply not be available due to a lack of available monies. He responded with the following:
The increased pay comes from the productivity that the employees’ increased efforts produces, so the company can pay higher wages because it also has higher profits. The beauty of performance pay is that it’s not a zero-sum game. Companies can lead employees to be more productive via performance pay, so both parties are better off.
One opponent of the RAISE Act has been Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a long-time union supporter.Continue reading…
A close friend of mine from Egypt once told me a joke that became popular around the time of Hosni Mubarak’s 80th birthday.
It went something like this…
An Egyptian fellow who owned a pet shop went to visit President Mubarak on his 80th birthday. The man wanted to give the leader a gift and, upon arrival, presented him with a turtle. He told Mubarak, “Mr. President, this turtle will live some 400 years.” To which the President replied, “Well then, we shall see…”
Now I’m sure she did the joke a certain justice than I can’t offer, absent the mordant wit that can only be conditioned by life in a police state. However, I’m reminded that gossip swirling around the former president’s health remains just that. Whether he lives or dies, the Arab street will be abuzz with rumors that his death (in a military hospital of all places) may be greatly exaggerated. As the joke suggests, many expected him to live forever.
Regardless, his health crisis adds another wrinkle to the political intrigue and power struggles currently gripping Egypt. Par for the course, I suppose, at the twilight of our only modern pharaoh.
Let’s recap what the Obama administration’s assertion of executive privilege over documents concerning Operation Fast and Furious did and did not do.
It did not call off the congressional dogs. The House Oversight Committee is pressing forward with contempt action against Attorney General Eric Holder. The Republican majority seems outraged by the action rather than deterred.
It did implicate the White House in a scandal about which it was supposed to know nothing. How else can they invoke executive privilege if the president didn’t have some knowledge? The move has also gotten mainstream and other non-conservative media outlets talking about Fast and Furious.
All in all, this is not what the administration intended when it decided to go the executive privilege route..
Author Alice Walker has demanded that an Israeli publisher not proceed with a printing of her book The Color Purple in Hebrew.
Walker, who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Color Purple, is a supporter of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel. She has described Israel as an “apartheid state” and claims its treatment of Palestinians is worse than the segregation she faced growing up in Georgia in the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s.
For his part, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz thinks Yediot Books should proceed with the publication over Walker’s objections. I disagree. I think Yediot Books should accede to her request. Because if they do then they will spare Israeli youth the indignity of being exposed to Ms. Walker’s mediocre writing.
President Barack Obama intervened today in an attempt to avert a House Oversight Committee vote on contempt action against Attornery General Eric Holder. Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents related to Fast and Furious. Previously, the Justice Department really gave no legal rationale for not handing them over.
While this may suceed in keeping the documents in legal limbo, there are two problems with this approach. The first is that this hasn’t stopped Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa from pressing ahead with the contempt vote. The second problem is that this has gotten the mainstream media to cover Operation Fast and Furious, at least in passing.
One of the administration’s best assets in managing this story has been that Fast and Furious was effectively ghetto-ized in the conservative media. Townhall’s Katie Pavlich, the Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle, and just a few others were doing most of the reporting on Fast and Furious. The mainstream media hasn’t come close to catching up, but Obama’s action has compelled them to recognize that the scandal at least exists.
So a Republican-controlled House could in theory still vote to find Holder in contempt of Congress. And more news outlets are paying attention to the story. So this move may backfire.
Issa Forges Ahead with Holder Contempt Vote (FoxNews)
RNC Responds to Obama’s Attempt to Use Executive Privilege (Daily Caller)
GOP Representatives Move to Protect Farmers from EPA (The Hill)
Tyrannasaurus Skeleton Auction Halted (NY Times)
No Charges Against Texas Father Who Protected Daughter From Abuser (CNN)
Warren Still Avoiding Cherokee Activists (Breitbart)
California Stands to Lose $15 Billion if Obamacare Overturned (LA Times)
Florida Voters Stand Behind Rick Scott’s Voter Purge (Politico)
5000 Duck March (Breitbart)
Leninists were famous for punishing minor deviations from the party line. America’s feminists are worthy heirs of that tradition. Laura Bush is their latest victim. A co-founder of NOW, Sonia Fuentes, is trying to box Bush out of the “Alice” award, an award named after a feminist pioneer granted by the Sewall-Belmont House. What is Laura Bush’s thought crime? Fuentes says Bush hasn’t done much for “women,” by which she apparently means Laura Bush hasn’t campaigned loudly enough for abortion rights. The irony here is that Laura Bush did pay homage to the gods of political correctness as first lady, signaling to the press that she supported abortion and gay rights, positions that she made explicit once her husband was out of office. Laura Bush endorsed gay marriage before Obama did and she told Larry King that she supported a right to abortion and that she had tried to stop her husband from campaigning against gay marriage in 2004. One would think feminists like Fuentes might reward Fifth Columnists within the Republican Party. Nope, like the Komen Foundation, Laura Bush isn’t pro-abortion enough for Leninist feminists and she committed the unpardonable sin of marrying a Republican. Fuentes doesn’t care “who a person marries,” as long as it isn’t George W. Bush.
Three decades ago, Cambridge, Massachusetts aspired to be a nuclear free zone. Apparently, the mayor of The People’s Republic of Cambridge wants the city to yet again be the subject of ridicule. At last night’s city council meeting, Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis proposed the city consider a ban on the sale of large sized sodas at restaurants and other venues along the lines of what is being planned in New York City by Nanny Bloomberg. The proposal has been referred to the city’s public health department for study.
If the People’s Republic of Cambridge does restrict the sale of soda in any way, shape or form, all it will do is drive people to get their soda from Boston, Somerville, Arlington, Watertown as well as in Mitt Romney’s stomping grounds in Belmont.
In the grand scheme of things, this is no more likely to be implemented than “Meatless Mondays” were a couple of years ago.
It looks like the Holder-Issa powwow failed to stave off a committee vote possibly finding the attorney general in contempt of Congress. Katie Pavlich reports:
The meeting between Attorney General Eric Holder and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa has ended after 20 minutes of discussion. Holder came with an offer of a briefing on Fast and Furious documents, but did not physically turn over any documents. This is unsatisfactory to Issa who has said repeatedly that in order for Holder to avoid a contempt vote Wednesday at 10 AM, he must hand over 1300 Fast and Furious documents to the committee.
No documents, no peace. The contempt vote was originally scheduled for tomorrow morning, but Holder had hoped to get it postponed.
Governor Mike Huckabee has hit another roughpatch in his radio show.
It seems the idea was to have Bristol Palin on his show to discuss her new TV show, Life’s a Tripp.
Bristol agreed. Only to learn that The Huck had taken to the air
and said this:
We had earlier in the hour that Bristol Palin would be joining us about a new reality t.v. show that she’s going to be doing.
And apparently, she just didn’t show up.
So guess what? I don’t guess we’ll be watching tomorrow when her new show lines up.”
Huckabee then launched into an all-around scolding of Ms. Palin for not appearing after having agreed to do so.
Ahhh…but Bristol had a very different story. And clearly like her mother, isn’t shy about taking baloney. Wrote Bristol on her blog:
Yesterday, I was at [her brother] Track’s house for his last night in town before he deploys back to Afghanistan. That’s where I got an e-mail explaining that Mike Huckabee had just told his radio audience that he was very disappointed in me.
….I would’ve considered it an honor to talk to his viewers about my show, my experience of single motherhood, and what a wonderful little boy Tripp is.
But the fact is, his people didn’t schedule my appearance. I’d said I’d do the show, I sent them my phone number, and they apparently neglected to schedule a time. Of course, mix-ups do occur in life. Schedules aren’t communicated, errors are made.
But this isn’t the first mistake on his show. Maybe instead of lecturing me on being irresponsible, he should get his own team in line.
Then, maybe, we could talk.
But I probably would just call Rush instead.
The link to Ms. Palin’s blog is here — and the link in her blog post to a column of mine on Huckabee’s first show opening with a staged caller was hers. She also posts a link to the audio of the Huckabee scolding. Here as well is a link to the Lifetime Channel promo and scheduling info for her show and her recent appearance on Sean Hannity’s TV show to discuss it all.
As someone who’s been on hundreds of talk radio shows, I find it somewhat mindboggling that a radio host would scold a guest on-air for not appearing until verifying with said guest off-air as to the reason.
We hope there’s an apology coming from Governor Huckabee to Bristol.
Yesterday, an Israeli civilian building a fence along its border with Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula was killed in a terrorist attack by the Mujahadeen Shura Council, an affiliate of al Qaeda which dedicated the attack to the late Osama bin Laden. Israeli forces killed three of the Mujahadeen terrorists.
I find it interesting that the attack was carried out following elections in Egypt. Of course, it isn’t the first time Israeli civilians have been killed as a result of attacks from Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. In August 2011, eight Israelis were killed in attacks launched from the Sinai by Palestinians.
Now that al Qaeda is involved and with an Egypt far more hostile towards Israel, I expect we’re going to see a great deal more of these attacks from the Sinai.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is seeking asylum in Ecuador as a political refugee. Assange is currently housed in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
A British court recently rejected Assange’s motion to block his extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges. Assange interviewed Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa last month.
It seems fitting that Assange would seek refuge in a communist country. I guess Hugo Chavez is too sick to be of much help to Assange.
Earnhardt Ends Four Year Dry Spell with Win at Michigan (ESPN)
He’s Doing It Again, Obama Bows to Mexican President (Weasel Zippers)
Touchscreens are Amazing, but Romney was Talking About the Economy (Politico)
Tea Party is Alive and Well (Daily Caller)
Roger Clemons Acquitted on Perjury Counts (CNN)
Occupiers Continue to Take Moral Low Ground, Protest Anti-Sex Trafficking Conference (Breitbart)
NC Democrats Consider Anti-Israel Resolution (Daily Caller)
Now Egyptian Military Claims Its Man Won Election (HuffPo)
I am not the least bit surprised with the acquittal of Roger Clemens on perjury charges. Indeed, I predicted the verdict nearly a year ago.
Brian MacNamee wasn’t a credible witness while former teammate Andy Pettitte wasn’t a reliable one. Indeed, this case would never have to come to pass if members of Congress weren’t so vain as to want to see themselves on TV with an MLB legend and if Clemens hadn’t stood up to Henry Waxman’s browbeating. I wish Judge Reggie Walton had dismissed the case after he declared a mistrial last July.
While justice has been served in a court of law; the question is whether Clemens’ reputation will be restored in the court of public opinion.
Rodney King, who became known around the world after videotape of his beating at the hands of four LAPD officers in March 1991, was found dead yesterday at the bottom of his swimming pool at his home. Authorities are treating his death as an accident. He was 47.
I believe now, as I did then, that the acquittal of the four officers at trial in April 1992 was a miscarriage of justice. Of course, the riots which resulted were equally a miscarriage of justice resulting in the deaths of 53 people, over two thousand people injured including Reginald Denny whose beating was also captured on videotape. His assailants largely escaped punishment as well. An estimated $1 billion in damage to property was caused over six days. During the riots, King himself appealed for calm famously asking, to no avail, “Can’t we get along?”
Of course, King was no angel, much less a model citizen. King had a great deal of trouble getting along in this world especially when he consumed alcohol. He had brushes with the law both before his beating and after it. Nevertheless, King didn’t deserve what happened to him the night of March 3, 1991. King would later win a civil suit against the City of Los Angeles and two of the four officers were convicted and imprisoned for civil rights violations.
In recent years, King had gone the reality show route appearing in several of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s programs. King made his final public statement back in April when he commented on the Trayvon Martin case. King said he felt fortunate that his attack was captured on videotape.
NBC is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa will meet tomorrow about possibly heading off a committee vote to hold the former in contempt of Congress. Holder sent Issa a letter suggesting he might be willing to release some Justice Department documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, as I noted this morning in my column for the main site. This could result in the postponement of any contempt action if Republicans are satisfied that Holder is making a good-faith effort to comply.
My first glance at the comments thread on my column suggests that TAS readers aren’t very optimistic that Holder will comply or that congressional Republicans will hold him accountable.
Stark differences may have divided Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum during the acrimonious GOP primary campaign, but last week the ex-governor and former senator came together to celebrate a title they both share: Dad.
Near the end of the three-day Faith and Freedom Conference on Saturday, with Father’s Day on the horizon, the pair addressed attendees gathered from across the country about the importance of family.
Romney was introduced by his son Josh, who told the crowd that “my Dad is my hero” to thunderous applause. Still on the campaign trail, Romney addressed his supporters, many of whom held “Believe in America” signs, via video, asking them to “reconsider the anchors which keep America strong and safe in times of turbulence.”. Evoking Santorum’s social conservatism, Romney spoke strongly for fathers as “the anchor of family.”
“I appreciate the sacrifice of my Mom and Dad. I am warmed and touched by the efforts of my sons,” Romney said. “I love all the members of the family.”
Speaking after the presumptive GOP nominee, Santorum told the crowd that “Governor Romney is right on.”
“His message is sound — it’s solid.” he said. “I’m seeing him stand by the convictions he had during the primaries.”
In typical Santorum fashion, the former Senator of Pennsylvania focused his speech on social issues, particularly denouncing the current cultural climate.
“We don’t value families in our culture; we promote a sexual lifestyle, disconnected as a family, rejection of traditional values, and then we wonder why families don’t get together,” he lamented. “We wonder why Mom and Dad don’t get married or stay married.”
At the same time, Santorum pointed out that “we will never have limited government with the family continuing to disintegrate,” and that “one of the reasons government is so big is because it’s picking up the pieces of broken homes or homes that have not formed.”
Some more thoughts on the president’s immigration ploy. I write about Obama “evolving” on this issue.
“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano generously allowed. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case.” True. But neither should prosecutorial discretion be extended to up to 1 million people in an effort to effect policy changes that lack congressional support.
Critics point out that this decision contradicts Obama’s previous denials that he would circumvent Congress on immigration, making it another marriage-like flip-flop. At a Univision townhall meeting, Obama reminded his audience that there are three branches of the federal government, concluding, “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.”
Obama similarly disappointed a restive crowd at the National Council of La Raza when he said “some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own” but “that’s not how our system works.”
But I’ve also noted, as much as this is a departure from Obama’s past rhetoric it is consistent with his actual record.
When even the left-leaning Aaron Task of Yahoo! Finance sides with banks over the Obama administration, you know that the administration has again overreached, again demonstrated their unique blend of demagoguery, lack of understanding of business, and contempt for capitalism:
The Scott Walker Effect? L.A. Teachers to Take Pay Cut, Shorter Year (LA Times)
French Parliament Goes Red (Yahoo News)
Romney Evades on Immigration (Politico)
Muslim Brotherhood Wins Egyptian Presidency (AP)
Radiohead Stage Collapse Claims Life (The Star)
Miami Heat Leads 2-1 in NBA Finals (CNN)
Tensions Rise on Israeli-Egyptian Border (AP)
Cell Phone App Saves Baby Duck (FoxNews)
Top 10 Quotes from Sarah Palin’s RightOnline Speach (Breitbart)
You didn’t seriously buy into all this horse hockey about the Daily Caller’s Neil Munro having violated some sacred rule about interrupting or, as the press would call it, “heckling” the President? Of course you didn’t. But what may come as news to some is that for the White House press corps, interrupting and heckling the President is A-OK… provided, of course, it’s not President Obama.
Here’s three videos that offer perspective on how the Reagan-Obama double-standard works.
The first is the now oh-so horrifying Obama/Munro episode, seen here. The second, here, is from ABC News, with Diane Sawyer showing the same clip but something more…Obama, done speaking, walks away, with the lonely voice of (presumably) Mr. Munro asking another question, which Obama ignores. The rest of the press corps? Silent as church mice over the extraordinarily controversial immigration policy the President had just announced.
That would be President Ronald Reagan making remarks in the White House press room, found here. The subject is another controversial topic: the Iran-Contra issue. Note that Reagan is (a) interrupted while still speaking, just as was Obama, and (b) Reagan was shouted at — not simply “heckled” but literally shrieked at — by a whole chorus of White House correspondents as he tries to leave the room. The respectful silence granted Obama as he departs in the midst of controversy, with the exception of a lone voice? OK for Obama — but not for Reagan. When it came to dealing with Reagan in this situation, respect for both President and the presidency went right out the window.
The treatment of the two presidents is starkly different.
Will you see this video in the mainstream media?
What do you think?
Doth President Obama now govern by decree?
The one-time Lecturer in Constitutional Law just changed immigration law all on his own.
How easy he has made it for our next President to unilaterally cut the tax rate, repeal the contraceptive mandate, and so much more — by just exercising a little Obama-esque prosecutorial discretion.
By Decree of His Majesty
By Asher Embry
Now O has shown us all the course:
To govern means to not enforce.
November 6th, with his concession,
We’ll show him how we’ll use discretion.
Those income tax cuts which we seek?
We’ll give the DOJ a tweak.
Thenceforth, they’ll ne’re annoy a gent
Who pays just 28 percent.
ObamaCare’s repeal’s a cinch
Just don’t enforce; no pin, no linch.
The Bishops needn’t be verklempt;
No prosecutions — they’re exempt.
No matter that it doesn’t fit
The Constitution’s intricate
And genius plan which guards our nation:
Powers checked through separation.
Although the Congress has the right
To legislate — to lead the fight.
It makes no difference what their views;
O’s offer, Congress can’t refuse.
For him, these kingly rules are fun
(Especially since O’s “The One”).
Is that the game O wants to play?
‘Cause that’s what he’s unleashed today!
(You can read more of Asher Embry’s Political Verse at www.politicalverse.com.)
1. When Barack Obama came out with his new immigration policy — effectively halting most deportations of illegal immigrants under age 30 subject to restrictions along the lines of the DREAM Act, complete with work permit eligibility — I’m sure he thought it was a no-brainer. After all, the move would please Hispanic activists who have been irritated by his inaction on “comprehensive” legislation and (he hopes) promote Hispanic turnout in November. Plus the amnesty in question is, in theory, temporary and limited to a very sympathetic subset of illegal immigrants. Who would want to deport children who were brought into the country through no fault of their own by their parents and can’t even speak their native country’s language?
I’m not sure it’s such a no-brainer, however. There’s a reason the elite’s pro-amnesty consensus has been repeatedly rebuffed by both Democratic and Republican Congresses: the idea isn’t very popular and splits both parties. Illegal immigration has receded as an issue, both because of increased focus on the economy and the fact that illegal immigration itself is down, partly because of the economic downturn. Obama’s gambit revives the issue and potentially puts him on the losing side. The imagery of new work permits for illegal workers — even sympathetic ones — won’t sit well with a lot of unemployed Americans.
Second, by doing this through a new executive branch policy rather than legislatively he has given Mitt Romney a lot of room to maneuver. Romney can opposed the substance of the policy, as he did when he opposed the DREAM Act during the primaries. He can also criticize the president for short-circuiting a long-term, bipartisan legislative solution, as he did when he sided with Marco Rubio on this issue. And he can focus on the procedure the president used while remaining vague about his own policy preferences, as he has done most recently. The most likely outcome is Romney telling different groups of voters what they want to hear, and Obama has just given him more flexibility to do so.
Finally, Obama’s immigration edict has the same flaws as most comprehensive reform bills. Since it isn’t really an exercise of prosecutorial discretion limited to a small number of individual hardship cases, people will have to apply for legalization. The administration isn’t devoting much in the way of new resources to determining the validity of these applications, meaning that the number of people legalized may exceed the number of people eligible (as was the case with the 1986 amnesty). When people are asked if they trust the government to sort out the good immigrants from the bad, that’s when popular support for various immigration proposals plummet.
2. To put all of the above more succinctly by paraphrasing New York Times columnist Ross Douthat: Obama is assuming that only Latinos have strong opinions about immigration and that Latinos are monolithic pro-amnesty voting bloc. Both assumptions are highly dubious.
3. But immigration will fade into the background again if the Supreme Court rules on Obamacare this week. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hinted at divisions on the court over the issue, but didn’t tip her hand as to whhich why her colleagues would rule.
4. Ron Paul finally won Iowa. This weekend, he swept 21 of 25 contestable delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. That is a bigger bloc of Iowa delegates than either Romney or Rick Santorum hold. This was the first convention fight since Rand Paul endorsed Romney for president.
5. Romney is in the best political shape he’s been in since the campaign began. But if you think it is impossible for an anti-solvency party to prevail, please take note of the Greek elections.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?