Category Archives: News

Carteret County News-Times reporting that Pivers Island NOAA Lab may close.

Mike Shutak reported in the Thursday edition of the CNT as follows:

President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014-15 budget request has been presented to Congress for approval.  This request includes a proposal to close the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab on Pivers Island.

Ciaran Clayton, director of NOAA’s Communications and External Affairs, confirmed the proposal.  She said in an email to the News-Times Wednesday the lab has conducted valuable fisheries and coastal science for more than 100 years.

“However, this aging facility requires infrastructure repairs and improvements exceeding agency budget resources now and for the foreseeable future,” she said.  “The president’s FY2015 budget request addresses this challenge by proposing closure of the lab.  The proposal requires congressional approval.”

The complete CNT article can be read HERE.

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.

Strassel at WSJ’s Potomac Watch on Kay Hagan

From the Wall Street Journal piece by Kimberley Strassel, HERE, on our own Senator Kay:

The scientific formula goes like this: Another day + Another ObamaCare disaster = A New Kay Hagan.

Back in 2008, North Carolinians were introduced to Bipartisan Kay, a hope-and-change candidate who argued that Senator Elizabeth Dole was a lackey for a partisan George W. Bush.  “It is time for someone to reach across party lines,” explained Bipartisan Kay.  “Voting 92% of time with the president . . . doesn’t work here in North Carolina.”  She won.

By early 2009, ObamaCare already was working its weird science, producing within a few months the All-In-For-Obama Kay.  The freshman senator embraced the president’s partisan bill, provided a crucial Senate vote, promised two dozen times that those who liked their plan could keep it, and explained that the law would create jobs.  All-In Kay lasted quite a while.  As recently as August she was insisting that there were “a lot of positives” in the Affordable Care Act, and that she’d “be honored” to have President Obama campaign for her re-election in 2014.

Then came the great ObamaCare meltdown of October.  Overnight, the North Carolina senator’s office became home to Frustrated (And Not My Fault) Kay.

All in all, a delightful piece, worth reading.

Senator Kay Hagan Beats A Well-Worn Drum

Andrew Stiles has a new piece up at the online National Review, HERE, about Senator Kay Hagan’s efforts to stir up her base before the fall elections in order to add even more shillings to her $6.25-million campaign war chest.  An excerpt:

The Democratic senator from North Carolina doesn’t yet know who her Republican opponent will be this year, but in the meantime she seems to be running almost exclusively against Charles and David Koch, the libertarian billionaires whose well-oiled political machine inspires frantic fundraising appeals in the New York Times editorial pages.

“Kochs don’t like me,” Hagan wrote in a January 29 campaign e-mail.  “You won’t believe what the Koch brothers are doing now,” a message from last week reads.  “Spoiler Alert: The Kochs did it,” she explained on December 19.  “The Koch brothers are desperate.”  They won’t stop waging their “Koch attacks.”  Hagan’s campaign sends out a couple of these per week.

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.

Governor McCrory opposes appealing ultrasound ruling

That’s the title of THIS article in the News-&-Observer.  An excerpt:

Gov. Pat McCrory opposes appealing a federal judge’s ruling that struck down the requirement that women seeking abortions be shown a narrated ultrasound just before having the procedure, his office said Saturday.

McCrory thinks appealing the ruling would be expensive and is satisfied that the bulk of the 2011 abortion law was upheld by the judge.

“The heart of the legislation remains intact, and patients will still receive access to important information and ample time needed to make decisions,” McCrory is quoted as saying in the statement his office released. “After extensive review, I do not believe costly and drawn out litigation should be continued concerning only one provision that was not upheld by the court.”

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.

The Freedom House Report — Middle East Segment

Freedom House does an annual survey to determine the degree to which the people in countries around the world enjoy individual, political, and economic freedom.  Their latest report is out, and the summary can be seen HERE.  My focus today is on the Middle East, and the situation there is illustrated nicely by this graphic from the Freedom House report:

FreedomHouse_MiddleEast

Notice that, as usual, Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that is free by our western standards.  The next “partly free” group includes Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, Libya, and Kuwait.  Bringing up the rear, the “not free” countries, are Jordan, Algerian, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Iraq, UAE, Iran, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the abysmally-rated Syria.

“Moral Monday” Protesters Walk

This just in:

One day after a Wake County district court judge acquitted five of the 57 demonstrators arrested during a May 20 protest at the N.C. Legislative Building, prosecutors announced that all cases pending from that Monday event would be dismissed.  The assistant district attorneys who tried the cases Tuesday announced the dismissals on Wednesday.

Prosecutors have been increasingly stymied in their efforts to win convictions because the crowds demonstrating against the Republican agenda during the spring and summer grew larger and larger, making it difficult to build narrow cases against individuals on trial.

During court hearings this week, Jeff Weaver, the chief of the General Assembly police force, could recall generalizations about the crowd gathered in the N.C. Legislative Building rotunda on May 20 but had difficulty remembering specific actions of the individuals arrested.  Police video from that night failed to capture the necessary details, and prosecutors had no other courtroom exhibits to jog the chief’s memory during the trials.

But the cops will do a better job next year, right?  The full article, from the News & Observer, is HERE.

Satloff on the Collapse of Sykes-Picot Hype

Robert Satloff is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in other words, an expert.  Earlier this month he wrote a fairly long article defining and explaining some current trends among westerners in how the current situation in the region is viewed.  The two lead paragraphs:

Like fashion and food, political analysis of the Middle East has its fads, too.  At one time, there was the “days are numbered” fad, as in “King Hussein’s days are numbered” or “the Saudis’ days are numbered.”  In fact, the former died of natural causes after nearly five decades on the throne while the latter have proved surprisingly resilient, leader after leader.  For many years, there was the “linkage” fad, the fervently held belief that resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unlocked the secret elixir to heal all of the region’s ills.  No serious person makes that case any more, marveling instead at the impermeable bubble in which Secretary of State John Kerry keeps Israeli-Palestinian peace talks quarantined from the chaos swirling around the region.

The current fad is about “the collapse of Sykes-Picot,” a phrase that triggers no fewer than 5.7 million hits in a Google search.  This thesis takes various forms but, at its core, it is the idea that the system of largely artificial nation-states invented by the British and French at the end of World War I to safeguard their colonial interests—a system kept in place in the post-colonial period by decades of strong-man rule—is finally collapsing.  In most versions of the story, the competing and often violently conflicting loyalties of tribe, sect, ethnicity, and religion are chiefly responsible for erasing these century-old lines in the sand.

Not so, says Satloff.  For those who like to delve a little deeper into understanding Middle Eastern affairs, the entire article 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.

Obama Snatches Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory, Redux

After the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama has consistently maintained that Al-Qaeda is a waning threat.  Real-world assessments show that to be merely a politically self serving view, however, and none of the articles written in recent months have demonstrated that better than the one from earlier this week by Dr. Shaul Shay, a Colonel in the Israeli reserve forces, former Deputy Head of the Israeli National Security Council, and currently, a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.  Dr. Shay writes that the Sunni Salafi Muslim are confronting not only the western forces in the Middle East, but also the Shiite and Aliwite factions.  This on Al-Qaeda in Iraq, from Dr. Shay’s article:

In the face of successful US counterterrorism efforts and the Sunni tribal awakening, AQI’s violent campaign has diminished since the peak years of 2006-2007, though the group remains a threat to stability in Iraq and the broader Levant.  Since the withdrawal of US forces in late 2011, AQI has accelerated the pace of attacks on predominantly Shiite targets in an attempt to reignite conflict between Iraq’s Sunni minority and the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Meanwhile, AQI has expanded its reach into neighboring Syria.  In April 2013, AQI announced that it was changing its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and that the Syrian group Jabhat Nusra would join it.  Jabhat Nusra’s leaders objected, however, and the two groups have remained independent.

Much of the violence in Iraq is blamed on ISIS, which has launched a vicious bombing campaign in Iraq as part of an anti-Shiite insurgency that claimed more than 8,000 lives in 2013.  On January 3, ISIS asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah, declaring it an Islamic state.  The capture of Fallujah came amid a campaign of violence across the western desert province of Anbar, in which local tribes, Iraqi security forces, and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have been locked in fighting.  The ISIS fighters have steadily asserted their control over Anbar’s desert regions for months, and resisted assaults by both Iraqi government forces and local tribal leaders to maintain control of all of Fallujah, and perhaps as much as half of Ramadi, Anbar’s capital.

The sectarian tensions between Iraq’s Sunnis and the Shiite-led government have been further inflamed by the war in Syria.  Al-Qaeda’s growing influence in Syria has given terrorists control over the desert territories spanning both sides of the ­Iraqi-Syrian border, enabling them to readily transfer weapons and fighters between the two arenas.

The complete article, HERE, also goes into detail on the activities of Al-Qaeda in Syria and Al-Qaeda in Lebanon.

In related news, the Daily Caller has published THIS piece reminding us that:

Four-star General David Patraeus and former Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker effectively predicted much of the conflict that is sweeping post-war Iraq in a 2007 report.

The report named troop withdrawal, an issue that has divided U.S. voters and politicians since 2004, as a major turning point in deciding state stability.

In the joint Petraeus and Crocker report, released Sept. 10, 2007, the pair questioned whether the divided country could withstand the inevitable sectarian violence that a majority-Shia led government was expected to take on, without the backing of substantial U.S. forces.

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.

Amazon Begins Collecting NC Sales Tax On February 1st

WSOC-TV in Charlotte is reporting that Amazon will “be required” to collect sales taxes from NC customers beginning February 1st (Hat Tip to the Daily Haymaker).

The question is, why?  It seems unlikely that they were forced to do so by the McCrory administration, so it may be that they have established a warehouse and shipping hub in the state (a “nexus”) that would trigger the applicable conditions under which the SCOTUS has ruled that states may require an online vendor to collect state sales tax.

In any case, bummer.

Certificate Of Need No Longer Needed (and it never was)

One of the issues that came up early in my career with the North Carolina DHS (Department of Human Resources, now the Department of Health & Human Services, DHHS) was the implementation of North Carolina’s new Certificate Of Need (CON) law, enacted to comply with a Federal mandate.  The idea was that health care providers ought to have to convince the State planners that there was a genuine need for any new and substantive (meaning expensive) health care capacity (such as new hospitals, new equipment for existing hospitals, etc.), else those providers in their reckless, willy-nilly way would spend large amounts of money on unwarrented facilities and equipment.  If the customer (patient) base did not expand fast enough to absorb this new spending, the providers would jack up their rates on the existing customer base in order to pay for their new toys, thereby creating a hardship on those patients.

An example that was often cited to support this view was that of medical imaging equipment (MRI, CAT), as it was very expensive at the time and hospitals were competing with each other to see which one could acquire the equipment first.

Most of the accountants in the fiscal section of DHS (myself included) thought that this was a ploy to stifle competition and just another form of rent-seeking behavior on the part of the existing health care providers, particularly the large hospitals and the BCBS establishment.  We also knew that anything that reduces competition will eventually result in higher costs.

And that is exactly how it has played out.  As was stated by John Locke Foundation reporter Jon Sanders in a comprehensive JLF piece last October:

Four decades’ worth of data and research into CON laws have produced a recurring theme in the research literature: CON laws fail to lower health care costs; if anything, they raise them.  In 1987 Congress repealed the mandate, and subsequently 14 states (but not North Carolina) ended their CON regimes.  North Carolina hosts one of the most restrictive CON programs in the country, regulating 25 different services.  While patients and rural communities are negatively impacted by CON restrictions (especially the poor, elderly, and those with emergencies), existing hospitals and medical service providers reap the benefits of CON laws insulating them from competition.  Fewer than one-fourth (23 out of 100) of counties in North Carolina have more than one hospital.  Seventeen counties still have no hospital.

The 2013 General Assembly began to address this issue, but no legislation was enacted.  This year, the CON law should be repealed, or extensively revised in order to promote competition rather than suppress it.

Jon Sanders summarizes the issue in this video, just over two minutes long:

UPDATE
Law professor Timothy Sandefur, guest blogging at The Volokh Conspiracy, just posted a lengthy article about how CON laws can be made to apply to many business endeavors other than the provision of medical services.  His focus is mainly on states that require CONs for moving companies, but there are many other examples including taxi companies in New York City.  Sandefur’s piece, lengthy but informative, is HERE.

Bad Omen For NC’s Voter ID Bill?

Karen Langley of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports HERE on Friday’s ruling by a Pennsylvania court judge that struck down the State’s new Voter ID law on the grounds that it unduly burdens those that do not have one of the prescribed forms of identification.  A key excerpt, slightly edited for brevity:

The Republican-controlled Legislature in March 2012 passed the law, one of the strictest in the nation, over objections from Democrats, who, along with other critics, said the measure would suppress voting by poor people, minorities, and elderly residents.  The law requires all Pennsylvania voters to show one of certain forms of photo identification — a driver’s license or passport, but not welfare cards or the many college IDs that lack expiration dates.

The legal challenge on behalf of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the Homeless Advocacy Project, and a number of voters was met with an initial Commonwealth Court ruling declining to stop the law for the 2012 election and then a state Supreme Court order that the lower court reconsider.  The law’s full requirements have been blocked at each election since its passage.

In a determination issued Friday morning, the judge found that a lack of compelling governmental interest in imposing the requirement — the state acknowledged at the start that it knew of no cases of in-person voting fraud, the kind addressed by voter ID — could not justify the law in the face of “overwhelming evidence” that hundreds of thousands of qualified voters lack acceptable documentation.  “Certainly a vague concern about voter fraud does not rise to a level that justifies the burdens constructed here,” the decision states.

The ruling concludes that the law unnecessarily restricts the types of acceptable identification, leaving out welfare cards, school district employee cards, gun permits, and Pennsylvania college IDs that lack expiration dates.  Noting that military retiree IDs and most student IDs lack expiration dates, he went so far as to conclude: “The voter ID law as written suggests a legislative disconnect from reality.”

We should not read too much into this ruling, as it was in a state court rather than a Federal court, and it may yet be reversed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  However, the Pennsylvania law has a lot in common with the North Carolina legislation, so we must hope that our law has been more carefully crafted so as to withstand this sort of litigation, as such lawsuits are already underway.

AFP Calls Out Senator Hagan On Promoting ObamaCare

The Washington Free Beacon put up a piece yesterday noting the multiple television ads that Americans For Prosperity (AFP) is putting up targeting Democrats that went out of their way to support ObamaCare.  This is the North Carolina version, targeting Senator Kay Hagan, who is being opposed by Greg Brannon and others for her Senate seat in the primary and general elections this year.

AFP’s website is HERE.  And by the way, when President Obama visited North Carolina yesterday, Senator Kay Hagan chose to remain in Washington even though the Senate had no votes scheduled.  I guess the expression “run, Kay, run” now means that she will hot-foot it away from Obama at every opportunity.

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.

Ariel Sharon, R.I.P.

After living for months in a coma, former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon has died.  For most of his tenure, I thought highly of Sharon’s leadership.  But then, to the dismay of many including myself,  he agreed to give the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in 2005.  Although the Gaza Strip is a very small piece of land, turning it over to the Palestinians (essentially to Hamas, the predominate Sunni Muslim faction) significantly increased Israeli’s exposure to hostile borders at it’s western corner, and Hamas has taken advantage of that geography to smuggle in lots of weaponry for use against Israel.

President George W. Bush’s former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams, now an author and senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, has written an informative and realistic assessment of Sharon at the online Commentary Magazine, HERE, and it may be the best of the many written in the days since his passing.

 

ADDENDUM:

Also an interesting read, this account (from the Times of Israel via PowerLine) of how a 20yo Sharon was wounded in a battle during the 1948 struggle for Israeli independence.

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.

Senator Burr Wants to Consolidate Federal Departments

Along with Senate co-sponsors James Inhofe (R-OK) and Dan Coats (D-IN), Senator Richard Burr want to consolidate the current Departments of Commerce and Labor into a new Department of Commerce and the Workforce.  A part of the legislation would also move the Small Business Administration (SBA, currently a stand-alone agency) into the new Department.

Burr’s bill is aimed at saving money, and in addition to combining Commerce and Labor, it would also transfer the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) out of the Commerce Department and into the Department of the Interior.

Full details are in the News-&-Observer article, HERE.