Category Archives: National News

On Valentine’s Day, the Left Loves Them Some Lynne Stewart

In less than an hour, at 6pm today, Valentine’s Day, a fundraiser will be held at St. Peter’s Church in New York City to help fund the medical expenses of activist attorney Lynne Stewart, to whom President Obama granted a compassionate release from prison last New Year’s Eve.  I will not attend.

While no one should ever take joy from the suffering of another, I can think of few people who are less deserving of our compassion, and, with the possible exception of Hanoi Jane Fonda and Bernadette Dorne (Mrs. Bill Ayers), more deserving of the title “enemy of the state” than is this disgraced attorney.

If it can be said that rogue lawyer William Kunstler (defender of the Chicago Seven, the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, the Attica prisoner rioters, and other miscreants) raised a banner in defense of the indefensible, Lynne Stewart took up that banner and waved it with vigor.

For more on why I think this is so, further reading would include THIS article by Powerline’s Scott Johnson, THIS article by Michelle Malkin, and/or THIS article by Pamela Geller.

Syria’s President Assad Seems To Have Checkmated Obama/Kerry

On September 19th of last year, I entered this post on the Facebook page of the Crystal Coast Tea Party:

Last night, an intrepid spy from the Israeli Mossad agency slipped into the sleeping quarters of Syrian President Bashar Assad to dust his pajama How2Tweakbottoms with itching powder.  While there, the spy noticed this book on Assad’s bedside table.

The book cover [ click the image to enlarge ] was fake, of course, and my Facebook post was a lighthearted way of expressing my disdain for President Obama’s perspicacity in dealing with the tactics that Syrian President Assad would employ in order to weasel out of abiding by the chemical weapons agreement.

Last night, Fox News reported that, although Syria was supposed to have turned over 90% of their chemical weapons stockpile by this time, they have actually turned over only 4%.

And today, in summarizing the current status, Walter Russell Mead has up an article entitled “Chemical Weapons Deal Helped Assad”, which can be accessed HERE.

By not employing more forceful measures when he had the chance, President Obama has let Russian President Putin and Syrian President Assad box him in.  Is anyone out there counting the “numbered days” that Assad had left, according to Obama’s assurances during the October-2012 presidential election debate with Mitt Romney in Boca Raton, Florida?

The Phrase “Going Postal” May Now Have A New Meaning

Kit Daniels at the InfoWars blog is reporting that the Postal Service has now joined a growing list of Federal non-LEO agencies that are making significant purchases of weaponry and ammunition.  At the end of January, the USPS purchasing office posted a notice soliciting registration of contractors interested in bidding on contracts for “assorted small arms ammunition”.   This puts the Postal Service in the same category as the Department Of Education and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration as agencies purchasing weapons and ammo even though they would not seem to have a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) force, and therefore no need for small arms.

The full article, HERE, is worth reading.

Mother Jones Magazine: Obama Has Not Delivered

The leftist reporter David Corn, writing in the online edition of the leftist Mother Jones magazine, laments the failure of the President to fundamentally transform the United States into a socialist nanny state.  It just warms the cockles of my heart to excerpt the following:

A year ago, President Barack Obama delivered two speeches that sent a clear signal: His second term would be much devoted to a progressive agenda.  In his second inaugural speech, he reaffirmed the progressive tradition of the nation, celebrating the value of “collective action,” defending the social safety net, and challenging the tea party’s core message.  (Government programs, he said, “do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”)  The policy matters he raised were left-of-center priorities: protecting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, addressing climate change, ensuring equal pay for women, promoting marriage equality, ending the wars he inherited, securing immigration reform, opposing restrictive voter identification programs, and building infrastructure.  Three weeks later, in a State of the Union address, Obama reiterated that he would pursue a distinctly progressive to-do list that included universal preschool, boosting the minimum wage, and passing gun safety legislation in the wake of the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Yet the fifth year of his presidency turned out not to be a grand time of progressive achievement, and in the State of the Union speech he will deliver Tuesday night, Obama faces a challenge: how to advance this progressive agenda in a way that it doesn’t seem doomed.

And if the Democrats lose control of the Senate this fall, next year’s State Of The Union could be really pathetic.  For those that want more, the entire article is HERE.

Sharia Law in American Courts? — Maybe Just A Little.

It has become something of an instinctive reaction on the part of conservatives to reject any application of Muslim (Sharia) law within the judicial system of the United States, and I share that instinct to the degree that foreign (not just Sharia) law may be used to govern or override the constitutional principles that are embedded in our judicial tradition.

However, it is highly impractical to harden that view into an outright ban, particularly when the ban targets Muslim law.  In my view, no one has explained why this is so better than UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh.  For readers interested in the subject, Professor Volokh has two new articles up, one short and one long.  Here is an excerpt from the short article:

I’m skeptical of some of the internationalist impulses that often come from the left, in particular when it comes to using foreign law to influence how the U.S. Constitution is understood.  But I also think the criticism of the use of foreign law in the American legal system misses some important matters — matters involved in much less glamorous but more frequent cases, whether having to do with contracts, torts, judgments, family law, or other things.  And the proposed solutions to a real but relatively minor problem may cause much more serious problems instead.

And the problems that these proposals would cause should concern most Americans, without regard to ideology.  They would be practical problems for American businesses and individuals, affecting the everyday functioning of our legal and economic systems.

We shouldn’t embrace every attempt to introduce foreign law into the American legal system, but neither should we rush to reject foreign law generally.  There are times when American law does, and rightly should, call for reference to foreign law, and there are times when it should not.

To read the articles in their entirety, click HERE for the short article, and HERE for the long one.

Ronald Reagan’s “Welfare Queen”

Ronald Reagan was not elected President until 1980, but as most will remember, he also ran in the 1976 presidential primary.  As is the usual scenario, the left tried very hard to paint him as an outlier, a mediocre has-been movie actor, someone who was just not qualified to be President.  Yeah, sorta like they did to Sarah Palin.

Although he did not do so well in 1976, Reagan often said that his win in the North Carolina primary is what gave him the gravitas, and the will, to try again in 1980.

In an article in the December, 2013 edition of the online Slate magazine, writer Josh Levin recalled one of the tactics used by Reagan in the 1976 campaign to highlight the need, in his view, for welfare reform.  An excerpt:

Ronald Reagan loved to tell stories.  When he ran for president in 1976, many of Reagan’s anecdotes converged on a single point: The welfare state is broken, and I’m the man to fix it.  On the trail, the Republican candidate told a tale about a fancy public housing complex with a gym and a swimming pool.  There was also someone in California, he’d explain incredulously, who supported herself with food stamps while learning the art of witchcraft.  And in stump speech after stump speech, Reagan regaled his supporters with the story of an Illinois woman whose feats of deception were too amazing to be believed.

“In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record,” the former California governor declared at a campaign rally in January 1976.  “She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare.  Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.”  As soon as he quoted that dollar amount, the crowd gasped.

Four decades later, Reagan’s soliloquies on welfare fraud are often remembered as shameless demagoguery.  Many accounts report that Reagan coined the term “welfare queen,” and that this woman in Chicago was a fictional character.  In 2007, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman wrote that “the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen [was] a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud.”  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews says the whole thing is racist malarkey—a coded reference to black indolence and criminality designed to appeal to working-class whites.

But the woman was real.  Her name may or may not have been Linda Taylor, and her full story is HERE.

Another Kelo versus New London in the making?

Following up on a piece in the New York Post newspaper, the Blaze reports this (with my slight edits):

A World War II Army Air Force veteran on Fire Island, N.Y., is fighting off a taxpayer-funded attempt by his local duly elected officials to take over his privately owned grocery story via eminent domain and build, in its place, a market that would be owned by the village.

Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the village would have to raise property taxes to help pay for $2.5 million in necessary renovations to the property, which was damaged by superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The veteran, Frank Whitney, says he’s owned the store for 25 years and that Saltaire village officials are purposely preventing him from fixing the structure by refusing to issue him permits, the New York Post reported.  Instead, the village board of trustees voted months ago to pursue eminent domain against the property.

“Our choice was to rebuild,” Mr. Whitney said, in a video he recently made with his family to draw attention to the issue and fight the village decision.  “It’s not fair.  What they did is not fair.”

Meanwhile, locals don’t know why the village would try to take the property.  “There is almost nobody I have spoken to in the town that supports this eminent domain action,” said resident David Fisher in the New York Post.  And another, Kathleen Butle, said: “[It’s] disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful.”

The village officials, for their part, said they’ve tried to “engage the Whitneys in substantive discussions” about necessary renovations these past months, but to no avail.  “[A]t various times they have clearly stated their inability or unwillingness to undertake the renovation requirement and, despite statements to the contrary, no building plans or architectural drawings of any kind have ever been presented to the village for review.”

The family, however, says village engineers already ruled that their storm damage was not “substantial,” and that the local government has been actively opposing their fix-up work.

In the Middle East, President Obama Seizes Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

Among the many minor revelations in former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ book is an account of the night that Osama bin Laden was killed, while the President bravely watched in real time from the White House Situation Room, along with Gates and others.

Andrew Malcolm has a new and short article up on the website for Investor’s Business Daily about this portion of Gates’ book, which to some extent, reflects on how the fortunes of the USA have declined in the Middle East.  An interesting excerpt:

Gates worried about leaks of operational details revealing how Special Ops conducts such raids nightly in the world’s deadliest corners.  He asked everyone to promise to reveal nothing more of what they saw than the bare facts.  We got him.  He’s dead.  All raiders are safe.  Everyone agreed.

“That lasted about five hours,” Gates recalls sadly.

So intense was the Obama administration’s need to gloat, brag, spike the football, chest-bump, end-zone dance that within hours officials, on background without identification, provided reporters the “tick-tock.”

That’s the beloved minute-by-minute account of some major news event that D.C. media gobble up faster than like free food.  The raid timeline, number of raiders, stealth helicopters, refueling stops, radar-jamming, the hard-drives and documents seized, even the name of the SEALs dog, everything, each detail designed to make the campaigning president look good.

It is likely, I think, that future historians will regard that night as the pinnacle of Obama’s presidency.  To read the whole thing, click HERE.

Okay, Hillary Just Went Up A Half-Notch

Michael Crowley of Time magazine highlights a little-noticed episode mentioned in former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ recent book, in which the White House brain trust and cabinet members discuss formulation of a US position on an Israeli strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities in an oval office meeting during January, 2010.  In the full article, HERE, Hillary is at least willing to consider the possibility that the best US response would be to just get the hell out of the way.

Liz Cheney Withdraws

In what I think is a wise move on the part of her and her husband (Washington DC attorney Phil Perry), Liz Cheney has announced the discontinuance of her campaign to unseat Republican Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming.  Other than his age (69 at present), there was no reason for anyone to vote for a candidate other than Enzi, as he has been a staunch conservative throughout his tenure.

Jim Jones, Cult Leader and Wannabe Kingmaker

The 35th anniversary of the deaths of the People Temple cult, led by preacher Jim Jones, passed uneventfully on November 18th.  The mass suicide of 909 cult members took place at the cult compound in Jonestown, Guyana at Jones’ direction.

President Obama’s controversial new White House counselor, John Podesta, reminded everyone of the episode earlier this month when he characterized the conservative members of the House of Representatives as “a cult worthy of Jonestown”, an excess which impelled him later to apoligize to Speaker John Boehner.

John Fund was moved to write this on National Review Online:

I was living in San Francisco during the period when Jim Jones was a Democratic power broker, known for his ability to deliver thousands of votes.  I recall that in 1976, Assemblyman Willie Brown, later the longtime speaker of that body, compared Jones to Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Albert Einstein, and Chairman Mao in an introduction.


Jones basked in the glow of praise his People’s Temple garnered from gullible politicians, and San Francisco mayor George Moscone, later tragically assassinated in 1978, even appointed him to San Francisco’s housing commission.  Jones had been responsible for an incredible vote-harvesting operation that may have made the difference in Moscone’s narrow 4,000-vote victory over conservative John Barbagelata in 1975.

As many readers may remember, Mayor Moscone was shot to death by Dan White, along with “community organizer” Harvey Milk.

The full article is HERE.

And Speaking Of Unions

It continues to look as if the reforms wrought by Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker are having a positive effect.  Wisconsin’s free-market MacIver Institute reports that, in the recent annual union re-certification elections, mandated by Walker’s reforms, “Workers rejected over 70 of 408 school district unions …”.   The full article is HERE.

Union Boring In On Amazon

I confess, I like Amazon, I pay the annual fee for the Prime membership, and I find myself ordering more and more stuff from them as the years go by, partially because of the low pricing, and partially because it helps me avoid the hassle and costs associated with driving around to shop at the brick and mortar stores.  Today, the well-known economics blogger Megan McArdle has up a good article explaining why the union, in this case the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), are concentrating their current efforts on unionizing the Amazon workers at the company’s warehouse operation in Delaware.  Delaware, of course, is not a right-to-work state, which begs the question of why Amazon chose to locate their operation there in the first place, especially since nearby Virginia is a RTW state.

Energy From Algae — The New Foo Fighters

Douglas Elliott, a spokesman for the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL, located in Richland, WA) has announced a new and more efficient process for converting algae into petroleum products.  Algae fuel research has been going on for years, but the processes developed to date have been inordinately expensive, mainly because the algae had to be thoroughly dried before the ensuing steps began, and because expensive chemicals were used, particularly hexane solvents.  Additionally, the former processes were all batch processes, which made for too much down-time.

The new procedure yields a continuous flow of viscous crude oil liquid that can be further processed into gasoline, diesel fuel, and other consumables.  The by-products are water containing  nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — the key nutrients for growing more algae with which to continue the process.

From the announcement:

PNNL scientists and engineers simplified the production of crude oil from algae by combining several chemical steps into one continuous process.  The most important cost-saving step is that the process works with wet algae.

“Not having to dry the algae is a big win in this process; that cuts the cost a great deal,” said Elliott.  “Then there are bonuses, like being able to extract usable gas from the water and then recycle the remaining water and nutrients to help grow more algae, which further reduces costs.”

the PNNL team works with the whole algae, subjecting it to very hot water under high pressure to tear apart the substance, converting most of the biomass into liquid and gas fuels.  The system runs at around 350 degrees Celsius (662 degrees Fahrenheit) at a pressure of around 3,000 PSI, combining processes known as hydrothermal liquefaction and catalytic hydrothermal gasification.

For the entire article, go HERE.

Massachusetts Cops Confiscate "ObamaCare Heroin"?


This is bizarre.  The image above this post was taken by the Massachusetts State Police officer who, in the course of a traffic stop, discovered over a thousand bags of heroin, packed in baggies suitable for street distribution.  As can be seen in the image, many of the bags were labeled “ObamaCare”.  The article does not contain much more information, but I think we may hear more of this.

A Greater Saudi Involvement in the 9/11 Attacks?

Paul Sperry, a Hoover Institution Fellow, writes today in the New York Post about the resolution being proposed by Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) to have declassification and release of the full 2002 Congressional investigative report of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and other sites.  Both congressmen have recently read some previously redacted portions that they found shocking, particular as it relates to the involvement of the Saudi Arabians.

The full article is HERE, and is very much worth reading.

Keeping Up With The Ongoing IRS Scandal

For the information of readers interested in the subject, there is no one out there that has done and is doing a more diligent job of keeping up with the day-to-day unfolding of the IRS Scandal than Paul Caron, a Pepperdine University Law Professor who blogs as the “TaxProf”.  To peruse his extensive collection, click HERE.

Why, Who Could Have Known This Would Happen?

Almost everybody, that’s who.

The Fuqua School Of Business at Duke University has released the results of a new survey of business leaders and CFOs.  Two key paragraphs:

“… An unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act will be a reduction in full-time employment growth in the United States.  Companies plan to increase full-time employment by 1.4 percent in 2014, a rate of growth which is down from last quarter and unlikely to put a dent in the unemployment rate.  CFOs indicate that full-time employment growth would be stronger in the absence of the ACA.”

“I doubt the advocates of this legislation would have foretold the negative impact on employment,” said Campbell R. Harvey, a professor of finance at Fuqua and a founding director of the survey.  “The impact on the real economy is startling.  Nearly one-third of firms may either terminate employees or hire fewer people in the future as a direct result of ACA.”

The full release, in PDF form, is HERE.

Politico: Senate Poised To Pass Budget

As reported this morning by Manu Raju and Burgess Everett:

Senate Democrats are on the cusp of securing enough GOP votes to break a filibuster next week on the bipartisan budget, temporarily ending the fiscal crises that have dominated Washington for the past several years.

With 53 Democrats and two independents expected to back the measure, four Republicans — John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Richard Burr of North Carolina — said that they would vote to cut off debate on the budget, putting proponents just one vote shy of advancing the measure to final passage.

Entire article is HERE.

The Incoherent Obama/Kerry Policy On Syria

A few days ago (Dec-9th) I posted about journalist Seymour Hersh’s accusations regarding the Syrian intelligence that the Obama administration presented to the public to justify their plans for military intervention there.  Now, Max Boot has a short piece up at the online Commentary Magazine about our current policy failures on Syria:

That sound you hear is President Obama’s Syria policy shattering into a million pieces.  The latest sign of the ongoing catastrophe is the administration’s decision to suspend nonlethal aid to the mainstream Syrian resistance after fighters from the Islamic Front seized warehouses in northern Syria belonging to the Supreme Military Council, as the moderate rebel faction is known.  The head of the council’s military wing, General Salim Idris, had to beat a hasty retreat to Turkey and Qatar.

That the non-Islamist opposition is collapsing is utterly predictable given the administration’s hesitancy to provide it with more backing.  The Islamic radicals are the obvious winners on the rebel side, while Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds Force grow stronger on the other end.

Yet somehow the administration, and in particular Secretary of State John Kerry, is still hoping to cobble together a Syria peace conference on January 22 in Switzerland.  How, one wonders, is a deal going to be reached between an increasingly powerless and disjointed moderate opposition and a Syrian president who is growing increasingly confident in his ability to hold onto power?

This is so crazy that it makes you wonder whether the administration policy is on the level.  Is it a total coincidence that Obama is trying to reach a deal with Iran and at the same time he is suspending aid to the Syria rebels fighting an Iranian-backed regime in Damascus?  Is there perhaps a quid pro quo involved here?

That may, however, be giving the administration more credit than it deserves for strategic thinking.  The Occam’s Razor explanation here is that the administration has simply been incompetent and incoherent when it comes to Syria.  The costs of its policy failures are, unfortunately, being paid by the poor Syrian people: more than 100,000 have already died and more are dying all the time.  The war shows little sign of ending, and as it goes on extremists grow stronger, to the detriment of the U.S. and its moderate allies in the region.

Yep.  I opt for Occam’s Razor every time.

Really? A Vaccine To Prevent PTSD?

Molly Line of Fox News’ Washington, DC affiliate reports, via Drudge, on a heartening new development in the prevention and/or treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:

“What it’s going to do is that they’ll still have perfectly strong memories of the event.  They just won’t have the bad health consequences,” said Ki Goosens, an assistant professor of neuroscience with the McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

Read the full article HERE.

Another Lie "Seared" Into His Memory

In the early spring of 2003, Glenn Kessler was a diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post, and was closely covering the ongoing negotiations between the GWB administration and Iran over the latter’s nuclear ambitions.  He has up a detailed analysis and, surprise, a refutation of Secretary Of State John Kerry’s recent allegation that the GWB administration muffed an opportunity for a genuine deal with the Mullahs.  The entire WaPo article is HERE.

Another Truffle From The ObamaCare Quagmire


This one I have not heard before.  On the Megyn Kelly show last night, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a practicing physician and former Senior Policy Advisor for the DHHS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS), exposed another of the nuggets that Nancy Pelosi said we could discover only after we passed the ACA.  Dr. Gottlieb has examined the details of the Bronze, Gold, and Platinum plans offered through the exchanges in many states, and as he put it, in some states those who buy insurance cannot “buy up” their benefits.  By that he means that, even if the buyer pays a higher premium in order to get the Gold or Platinum plans, they will only get lower co-pays and lower deductibles, but no better selection of doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers.  In other words, their increased premiums will just go toward pre-paying their deductibles, not toward better health care.

Renee Ellmers Is Getting Primaried

Based on THIS October article from the McClatchy newspaper group, it looks as though 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of Dunn may be seen by GOP moderates as a possible convert to the cause of “comprehensive immigration reform”.  If so, that could be one of the reasons that she has recently attracted THIS primary challenge from Frank Roche.

The Pending Farm Bill

A reconciliation committee is trying to reach a compromise recommendation to send out to the full House and Senate by December 13th, when Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the Christmas holidays.  If both chambers of Congress cannot pass a bill to send to President Obama’s desk, a 1949 version will effectively become the law of the land.

The big hang up is food stamps, currently referred to as the SNAP program.  The Senate passed a $955 billion five-year bill in June (with bipartisan support) that cut $4 billion from SNAP.  The House of Representatives passed legislation that reduced SNAP by $39 billion.

The cuts approved by the House would affect an estimated 165,000 people in North Carolina between the ages of 18 and 50, and according to Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, it’s the difference in the amounts of cuts between the House and Senate versions that have “held the farm bill hostage”.

More HERE, from the News-&-Observer.

Rocky Mountain High — The New Twist

If you’re not from Colorado, Washington, California, or Oregon, odds are you’re not familiar with dabbing.  That’s because it’s most popular in the states with the loosest marijuana laws.  Producing dabs — the technical term is “butane hash oil” — is a fairly complex process.  The short version is that you extract resins from marijuana with liquid butane, then evaporate the butane to leave behind a highly concentrated form of THC.

Much more, HERE.

Rebecca Tallent — Another Slant on Boehner's New Hire

Andrew Stiles, writing at the online National Review, has up a new piece on John Boehner’s recent hiring of Rebecca Tallent as his new staff point-man on immigration reform.  I posted on this three days ago, but Stiles thinks that her recent gig is even more telling than the time she spent working with Senator John McCain and Senator Ted Kennedy on the immigration push back in 2006 and 2007.