Archive for January, 2010

Obama insults Supreme Court with uncivil remarks

Democrat partisans largely cheered President Barack Obama’s state of the union speech Wednesday night; Republican die-hards pretty much panned it.  Most Americans probably tuned out the far-too-long speech.  The media analyzed it six ways to Sunday because, well — because that’s just what they do. 

As with most such speeches in recent years by Republican and Democratic presidents alike, Obama’s first state of the union address was nothing more than a laundry list of sound bites and self-congratulatory remarks crammed into the ceremonial box of  a “state of the union address.” 

There was, however, one part of the president’s 70-minute speech that is deserving of serious opprobrium; and this has nothing to do with partisanship.  In a truly unprecedented display of incivility, Obama in his speech explicitly criticized a particular, recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, and then called on the Congress to pass legislation overturning the decision.  He did this …

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Air America’s competition will be missed

The New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts will duke it out in Miami on February 7th for the NFL championship.  Each of these two teams had to battle its way to the pinnacle of the sports world to reach the Super Bowl.  Regardless of whether one roots for the Saints or the Colts, or for neither team, we should all cheer the spirit and practice of competition embodied in the process by which each of these teams secured its place in the championship game.  As legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne noted many decades ago – in sports as well as in business, competition is good.  Competition builds not just character, but unlocks the very possibility for success in virtually any endeavor; including broadcasting.

While many conservatives are cheering the demise last week of the liberal-oriented Air America network, their glee is short-sighted and misplaced.  Many of those conservative broadcast pundits who mouth words extolling competition generally, seem to …

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Touchy-feely Ft. Hood Report won’t help protect anyone

The report issued earlier this month by the Department of Defense blue-ribbon panel tasked with assessing the November 5, 2009 mass shooting at Ft. Hood, is — or ought to be – an embarrassment to our government.  If this report is used as the basis for developing policies and programs to prevent future such incidents, then we’ve failed before we’ve even begun.

The first thing that strikes the reader of this report is the cover itself; which, in a sense, says it all.  The cover does not depict a military scenario that might illustrate a military response to an armed threat against a military installation or personnel.  Nor is it a straight-forward, official-looking report cover as found on most government documents. It is instead a touchy-feely picture of two hands grasping each other’s wrists, vaguely similar to the stylized logo depicting two clasped hands used by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  We “protect the force” against a crazed mass murderer by joining hands and …

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High Court blasts hole through McCain-Feingold campaign law

In a clear, straight-forward and constitutionally-based opinion , the US Supreme Court yesterday struck down a major portion of the 2002 “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act” (more commonly referred to by the names of its two primary sponsors in the Senate, “McCain-Feingold”).  The 5-4 majority opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, voided the law’s ban on corporations paying for “electioneering communications,” such as movies, newspaper ads, and the like, that support or oppose candidates. 

The plaintiff in this historic case was the Washington, DC-based, grass-roots advocacy organization, Citizens United, which in early 2008 was prepared to spend its corporate money to advertise and distribute a movie critical of then-primary presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (Hillary:  The Movie).  Because it feared the government would bring criminal charges against it if it actually spent money for this purpose (which the government is empowered to do under McCain-Feingold), …

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Top 10 reasons the Dems lost in Massachusetts

10.  Obama – who believed his own rhetoric that the country was ready for the change he hoped for.

 9.  Obama – who, like Newt Gingrich after the ‘94 election and George W. Bush after the ‘04 election, came to believe that just because the voters voted them in meant they had been given a carte blanche to do whatever they wanted.

 8.  Obama – who forgot that when all the dust of an election settles down, Americans favor incremental change rather than sudden, quantum leaps.

 7.  Obama – who views politics in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, and elsewhere through the lens of Chicago politics as practiced by Rahm Emanuel.

 6.  Obama – who forgot that an incumbent president with sinking poll numbers should not make an eleventh-hour, high profile visit to boost a candidate with sagging poll numbers herself.

 5.  Obama – who forgot that Independent voters pay attention.

 4.  Obama – who sloughed off the Tea Party movement as a fringe element that had no impact on elections.

 3.  …

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Keep the IRS out of healthcare

The Internal Revenue Service is an agency of the federal government like no other.  The IRS is more powerful than the Department of Justice; it is bigger than the governments of many small countries; it is able to strike fear in the hearts of the most self-assured and upright citizen with a single phone call; and if the Congress has its way, it will become even bigger and more powerful.  Under both versions of the health care legislation passed late last year by the House of Representatives and the Senate (totaling some 4,000 pages), the IRS will grow in size, budget and control.  It will become in many respects, the new gatekeeper for health insurance.

Considering that the IRS admitted in its most recent annual report to the Congress that it already is overwhelmed in its ability to respond to issues and questions raised by American taxpayers, it is indeed a troubling prospect that this single government agency would be empowered to decide if a family is maintaining the …

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Surprise — TSA body scanners will retain and transmit nude images

The federal government is hell-bent on installing full-body x-ray scanners in airports across the country in the wake of the failed, Christmas Day bomb attempt by the Nigerian Brainiac.  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has directed that the government will spend tens of millions of our dollars to purchase and install the fancy-dandy, but largely un-proven, ”back-scatter” machines as quickly as possible.  In an effort to quell serious privacy concerns that have been raised about the graphic images the devices create, the government repeatedly has assured the public that the images revealed to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees manning the consoles, cannot be retained or transmitted.

Well, surprise, surprise — the government is not telling us the truth.  In fact, the specifications for the manufacture of the machines mandates that they have the ability to store images on hard disk storage, and that they possess the ability to send the images.   …

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GOP should not press for Harry Reid’s defeat

As the poster child for the administration’s government-controlled health care legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada makes a tempting target for the GOP.  From a practical perspective, however, the GOP should be cooling the rhetoric against Reid, not gleefully tossing fuel on the fire and kicking him while he’s down. 

And down he is — recent polls of voters in Reid’s home state reveal a shockingly high “unfavorable” rating of 52%.   In other words, more than half of Nevada voters have an unfavorable opinion of their incumbent, four-term senator who serves in one of the two most powerful legislative posts in the government.  Only 33% of those voters harbored a “favorable”opinion of Reid.  Numbers like those are not just bad; for an incumbent they are pitiful. 

Reid indicates he will fight to maintain his seat, and his defeat certainly is not a foregone conclusion.  However, with numbers this low, and with Republicans already smelling blood as a result of …

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Prosecute Christmas bomber in federal court

In the aftermath of the foiled Christmas Day bombing, the media and several of my former colleagues in Congress have challenged the Obama administration’s decision to try Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in federal court rather than by military commission. The administration’s decision, however, should be welcomed not criticized, as a clear affirmation of the strength and resiliency of our criminal justice system.

As a former member of Congress and former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. In my opinion, that magnificent document is far stronger than critics of the administration’s decision in the Abdulmutallab case consider it to be; and it provides a robust and fully adequate mechanism for ensuring justice is done and America protected against actual and would-be terrorists.

Trials of terrorism suspects like Abdulmutallab in traditional federal courts are not only consistent with the …

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Critics of Obama way off base on this one

Yes — the not-so-bright, would-be terrorist from Nigeria got though international and domestic security mechanisms supposed to have stopped him long before the jerk lit his underwear afire before landing in Detroit.  And yes — the incident happened during the administration of President Barack Obama.  But the sniping at the president by Republicans, including former Vice President Cheney, and by conservative radio and TV commentators, borders on — if not passing into — asinine.

The criticism has included such childishness as blasting Obama for waiting a few days before making a national speech on the incident.  For heaven’s sake, the president was briefed on the incident from the moment it occured; he made statements almost immediately indicating his concern and that he was being regularly briefed; he took time to gather the facts and meet with his national security team; and then he appeared publicly to give a rational, measured, but hard-hitting response.  And for this, a …

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