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SCOTUS Declines to Weigh in on Gay Marriage Bans

By 10.6.14

On Monday, the Supreme Court, somewhat surprisingly, declined to grant cert to any of the cases in which appeals courts had overturned (or upheld a lower court’s overturning of) state bans on gay marriage. The specific cases the Court could have agreed to hear included gay marriage bans in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin that were struck down.

However, the impact of the Supreme Court’s declining to weigh in will be felt not just in those states, but in every state covered by the appeals court circuits whose precedents will now firmly stand. For example, the 10th Circuit, which overturned the Oklahoma and Utah bans on same-sex marriage, also has authority over (and is based in) Colorado, meaning that Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage—about which a lawsuit has already been filed—is likely to be overturned in short order.

One analysis suggests that today’s refusal to grant cert will bring same-sex marriage to eleven more states in addition to the nineteen (plus Washington, D.C.) in which it is already legal.

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Ben Stein's Diary

Is This the Presidential Leadership We Deserve?

By 10.6.14

Hot, hot, hot, once again. Thank you, dear God, for air conditioning. Thank you also for my Julie, next to whom I awakened. She was fast asleep. Occasionally she ran in her sleep and hit me in the face with her brown and white paws, each one of which is immense.

I got up and walked down the hall to my wife’s sick room. She has bad bronchitis and coughs and cannot stay asleep. She sleeps in an ice cold room with her dog, also a GSP named JoJo. Alex — that’s wifey — was fast asleep with an angelic look on her heavenly face.

Alex has literally perfect features. Perfect eyes, perfect nose, perfect eyebrows, perfect lips, perfect cheekbones. Just immaculate. And she sleeps in her pearls with Jojo’s hind paws in her face.

I let her sleep. I took out Julie and went through my e-mails and the news.

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Enemy of the Week

What Goes on Behind Closed Doors

By 10.6.14

Finally, someone who sees things the way our president does has found just the right words to express his ideals of accountability and honesty in public service. “We all are outraged.… It is obvious that mistakes were made,” she said. “I take full responsibility. What happened is unacceptable.” There was more along these lines, as she noted, “There is no such thing as ‘business as usual’ in our line of work. We have to be successful 100 percent of the time, and we are constantly making changes and doing everything possible to ensure that we are.” Music to any Obamaphile’s ear. The next day she was ousted, the first woman head of the Secret Service to be fired by the man who first named a woman to that position. Another day, another transformational moment.

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The Right Prescription

Obamacare Again On SCOTUS To-Do List

By 10.6.14

The Supreme Court begins a new term today, which means the justices will soon have to decide whether to hear King v. Burwell, a lawsuit challenging an arbitrary IRS edict that tax credits and penalties will be issued through federally created Obamacare exchanges. It is always risky to make predictions about the Court, but it is quite plausible that the justices will accept this case. Two federal courts, including one in Oklahoma last week, have already declared the IRS decree unconstitutional and the Roberts Court has demonstrated a marked aversion for the very kind of bureaucratic lawmaking that provoked this lawsuit.

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A Further Perspective

Swords About the Cross?

By 10.6.14

Bill O’Reilly’s idea of a mercenary force to defend what used to be called Christendom has some very old, if not exactly similar, precedents.

Many of the Orders of Chivalry — the Knights Templar and the Orders such as the Knights of St. John and St. Lazarus, originated to give both military protection against Muslim fanatics and medical care to Christian pilgrims travelling to and from the Holy Land.

They helped beat back Muslim raiders who had established strongholds in France and Italy, as part of a pincer movement to conquer and destroy Europe, and who had even sacked the Vatican.

The order of the Knights of St. John was originally established to set up outposts along the route to the Holy Land. One of the knights’ main tasks was to provide hospitals, and today their eight-pointed cross is seen on ambulances and first aid organizations. However, their military wing grew in importance and they became primarily a military order.

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The Obama Watch

Obama Has Said Quite Enough

By 10.6.14

One would think that the beheading of a woman on American soil would warrant some sort of comment from the President Obama. At the very minimum, he could offer a few kind words. As of this writing, he has not said word one about it. His silence speaks volumes.

After all, the beheading of Colleen Hufford in Moore, Oklahoma, by a former co-worker at Vaughan Foods who had recently converted to Islam occurred only weeks after the beheading of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, in Syria. Surely this was the source of inspiration for Alton Nolen (a.k.a. Jah’Keem Yisrael), who had images of a beheading and of himself giving the ISIS salute on his Facebook page.

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Loose Canons

President Alfred E. Neuman

By 10.6.14

On Saturday evening, a flight from Brussels landed at Newark carrying a man thought to be a Liberian who was vomiting and apparently showing other symptoms of Ebola, the disease that has broken out in epidemic proportions in West Africa. He was evacuated and later found not to be infected with the disease, which — if left untreated — can kill up to 90 percent of the people who are infected.

That’s a higher percentage than those killed by bubonic plague, which kills about 66 percent of those untreated.

Last week, a Wall Street Journal report gave us insight into President Obama’s desperate efforts to concede enough to Iran in his nuclear weapons negotiations that even the contumacious ayatollahs would have to give him a guarantee of peace in our time.

Still, America remains preternaturally cool. Nothing bothers us. We shouldn’t panic, but we can’t have faith that the government can handle this and has everything under control. Don’t just take the word of the head of the Centers for Disease Control because what he says is nonsensical.

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Reader Mail

Winning or Whining With the Tea Party in 2014?

By and 10.4.14

David Catron took to these pages Monday to excoriate conservatives and tea partiers for GOP losses in November, you know, the November that is still over a month away. Why would he do this? Well, after using every dirty trick in the book to make sure the establishment candidates won their primaries this year, those much-vaunted incumbents aren’t faring as well against their Democrat opponents as we were all promised. So naturally, establishment hacks and their BFF’s are dabbling in a little battlefield preparation.

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At Large

Thunder on the British Right

By 10.3.14

The British National Party (BNP) has expelled its dominating personality and former Euro MP, Nick Griffin. Griffin lost his seat when he was driven into bankruptcy following a succession of lawsuits.

At the same time, Tories fed up with Prime Minister David Cameron’s wishy-washiness, including Members of Parliament and some major financial donors, are joining the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

Adam Walker, the current BNP chairman, has alleged that Griffin had attempted to spread lies about the party and had harassed current members. Griffin, who had led the BNP for fifteen years, replied “Breaking news! I’ve just been ‘expelled’ without trial from the #BNP! That’ll teach me to tell a member of staff he’s a ‘useless, lazy t***.’”

If the BNP is falling apart, UKIP may pick up many of its more rational members. Despite its media-created stereotype, the BNP is not composed entirely of knuckle-dragging neo-fascists.

Some BNP members, like the typical UKIP supporters, are simply puzzled and angry patriots, who are outraged by what Britain has become, and who, not without cause, fear the loss of its national identity.

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The Obama Watch

The TMI President

By 10.3.14

Immigrants give you the diseases no one else will.

ISIS plays as the JV team the varsity squad would rather keep off the schedule.

Secret Service director Julia Pierson resigns for not keeping the service’s secrets.

The seemingly disparate media obsessions over Ebola, ISIS, and the Secret Service’s previously tight security on news of White House security lapses join to illustrate the folly of the Obama presidency. Merely by declaring this or that so, the president believes his will be done.

Obama judged Ebola traveling to America as “unlikely.” He dismissively said of ISIS that “if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” He expressed Monday through his spokesman “full confidence” in Julia Pierson.

Just call him a confidence man.

Ebola’s here. ISIS is still there. And the Secret Service director moved Wednesday from Obama’s employ to his unemployment lines.

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