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The Obama Watch

Justice and Mercy Meet on a Slow Road

By 4.2.15

In commuting the sentences of 22 federal drug offenders Tuesday, President Barack Obama has begun to take the unfettered power of executive clemency embedded in the Constitution to the place where it belongs. “I’ve been a cynic on the Obama administration for a while,” University of St. Thomas School of Law professor Mark Osler told me, but with these commutations, which doubled the president’s total, “it’s hard for me to be cynical about what’s happening today.” Finally, the administration is demonstrating how pardon power should be used, with, as Osler put it, “the most powerful person in the world freeing the least powerful person in the world.”

In a nice personal touch, Obama sent letters to the 22, urging them to act on their “capacity to make good choices” and “prove the doubters wrong.”

Buy the Book

David Limbaugh’s ‘Jesus on Trial’

By 4.2.15

Last year lawyer and columnist David Limbaugh wrote an unusual bestseller. 

As Christians mark Holy Week and Easter, notably this year with Christianity itself under assault by everyone from ISIS to American leftist secularists (hello Indiana), it is both appropriate and important to take note of David Limbaugh’s confronting of Christianity’s critics in his more than appropriately named Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel.

Mr. Limbaugh begins by retelling a conversation with two friends who are “nonbelievers.” He writes of one:

I clearly recall that at one point he announced that he couldn’t understand how any person using his reasoning powers could possibly believe in Christianity.

Economics

A Tale of Two Budgets: Democratic Socialism vs. Capitalist Prosperity

By 4.2.15

Long gone are the days when former Alabama Governor George Wallace could say there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties. As their recently budget proposals confirm, the two parties are hurtling in opposite directions at an accelerating pace.

President Obama’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year wants to increase federal spending over the next ten years by more than 75 percent, or $2.7 trillion, from $3.5 trillion in 2014 to a record smashing $6.165 trillion by 2025. He proposes to spend an all-time record $50 trillion over those ten years.

The Republican budget proposal developed by new House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price and adopted by the entire Republican House reduces spending growth over the ten years by $5.5 trillion. For the single year of 2025, President Obama actually proposes to spend over a trillion dollars more than Tom Price’s House budget does, and more than $7 trillion more over the next decade.

Ben Stein's Diary

Obama’s Ephemeral Middle Class

By 4.1.15

Tuesday
A few thoughts as I watch my dog, Julie, snore in her sleep in my bed.

Our fearless leader, President Obama, talks a lot about helping the middle class, and about helping Americans who are not middle class get into the middle class.

It is a great goal and I am sure that Mr. Obama’s pollsters and advisers and those of the Democratic Party have reason to believe that “middle class” is a phrase that resonates well with Americans.

So President Obama has various plans and agendas supposedly to help Americans elevate their class status or at least maintain their class perch.

The problem with all of these is that there is literally not a single major thing that the federal government by itself can do to elevate large numbers of Americans’ social status.

A Further Perspective

Onward, Christian Florists

By 4.1.15

“There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook warned Monday in a Washington Post opinion piece against Indiana’s newly passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It matters not to the corporate big shot that President Bill Clinton signed a federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993 (which current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supported) or that then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama voted for a similar law in 1998.

It was one thing for Democrats to support religious freedom when there was no downside to standing up for the devout. Today there could be a cost. An Indiana baker might refuse to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple and cite the new law if the couple were to sue him or her. Cook believes that such discrimination would be “bad for business.” I agree. Cook also believes that the baker wouldn’t have the right to say no. I do not agree with that.

The Current Crisis

Sex Among the Goofballs

By 4.1.15

What is going on in American politics of late? There has not emerged a truly goofball politician since Anthony Weiner, the congressman and later New York mayoral candidate who could not resist sending pictures of his private part so frequently and to so many women, that it really was no longer a private part but rather a public spectacle. Go ahead, Google it. In fact, Yahoo it. My guess is there are dozens of pictures of Weiner’s public private part all over the Internet.

The Energy Spectator

How Will a Nuke Deal Affect the Price of Oil?

By 4.1.15

Many complicated factors contribute to the global price of a barrel of oil, but two of the leading components are supply and risk—and both have the potential to escalate in the days ahead. The current region-wide sectarian war could easily bump oil prices up dramatically. And, the expected nuclear deal with Iran could drop them—dramatically.

Oil price predictions today play like a game of roulette, or a carnival barker of days gone by, round and round it goes, where she stops, nobody knows.

A few weeks ago, addressing the need to open up access to mid-Atlantic oil resources, I wrote:

Eminentoes

Olbermann Unbound

By 4.1.15

As if to support Dylan Gwinn’s case against the current political sports press, the leftie wild man at ESPN (Every Sport Political Now), Keith Olbermann went on an extended and unhinged rant against the new Indiana law that gives Hoosiers a chance of living by their religious beliefs rather than by the dictates of the homosexual political movement and the leftist agenda generally.

Special Report

Another Win for Secularism

By 4.1.15

Any meaningful concept of religious freedom within public life continues to shrivel under the mau-mauing of the cultural left. It appears that Indiana’s attempt to protect religious freedom will now occasion a hapless diminution of it, as cowed Republican politicians seek to appease secularist bullies by amending the new law to their satisfaction.

The coming amendment will apparently make it clear to Christians and other religious who own businesses that they may not opt out of providing services at gay weddings. Under existing Indiana law, they can opt out in many parts of the state. So in a cruel irony that testifies to the power of the cultural left, Indiana’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will end up making the religious more vulnerable to lawsuits.

Media Matters

National Religious Broadcasters Holds Firm

By 4.1.15

As many Evangelical elites and institutions squishily accommodate liberal trends, the National Religious Broadcasters group remains defiantly conservative, as its recent convention of over 4,000 ministry leaders abundantly confirmed, focusing on pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-Israel, and pro-religious liberty advocacy.

Partly the defiance owes to NRB’s inherently populist character. Its membership includes thousands of Evangelical communicators, rooted heavily in Christian radio, with traditionalist constituencies of millions.

And partly the defiance is credited to its president since 2013, former Criswell College president Jerry Johnson, who offers no apologies for his unabashedly conservative convictions. In his inaugural speech last year, he promised NRB would be for religious liberty what the NRA is for gun rights.

“Our content is not always popular,” Johnson told this year’s NRB audience in Nashville. “Our content is not always politically correct.” Yet religious broadcasters “should speak the truth in love, winsomely, convincingly, and passionately.”

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