NY Times distorts what Boehner did with the Cap & Trade bill

The New York Times has an amazingly biased analysis of Representative John Boehner's recent speech on the Carbon Cap legislation. Boehner gave an hour long talk, it was hardly a filibuster. But worse all Boehner did was read part of the bill just so some congressmen would know part of what was in the amendment that was only filed at 3 AM that same morning. The NY Times piece starts off this way:

Representative John A. Boehner came to Washington in 1991 as a rabble-rousing Republican willing to disrupt the House to score points against powerful Democrats. Now, as the House Republican leader in a town again dominated by Democrats, the Ohioan is back to his old tricks.

Trying to build opposition to a climate change measure being considered as the Fourth of July recess loomed, Mr. Boehner commandeered the floor for an hour to mount an unofficial filibuster and ridicule the legislation. He has sanctioned efforts by rank-and-file Republicans to tie up the House with dozens of procedural votes. During the debate on the economic stimulus, he threw the huge bill to the floor with a theatrical thump.

“There are times when the majority just does such outrageous things that you have to find a way to make your point to the American people,” said Mr. Boehner, who began his House career as one of the so-called Gang of Seven, a group of Republican upstarts that confronted Democrats over the House banking scandal and other institutional abuses. . . . .

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"Biden Says Violence May Cause Disengagement From"

Is this really the message that you want to send to the other side? The article entitled "Biden Says Violence May Cause Disengagement From" is from Bloomberg.

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Ohio had 159,000 concealed handgun permit holders in March

There is apparently a big increase in the number of permit holders this year in Ohio. From LimaOhio.com:

Through March, Ohio reported 159,000 residents with concealed carry licenses, which represents about 1 percent of the population. Of that number, 16,323 were new licenses issued in the first three months of the year, a number that continues to climb at a high rate.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates 25 percent of the U.S. population owns a gun of some type, and half the households in the country have at least one gun inside. . . . .

Farmer, a former police chief who is also a police firearms trainer, said people with concealed carry licenses are among the most law-abiding. He said he rarely came across people with their concealed carry licenses during traffic stops, saying it's because they follow the law to begin with.

Allen County Sheriff Crish said people with their concealed carry licenses typically are the most law-abiding citizens. Otherwise, they would not have been issued a license.

"We're not worried about those individuals," he said. . . . .


Congress is having trouble making expense accounts public

The WSJ has this.

Members of Congress said Thursday that details of their expense claims wouldn't be posted online before mid-November at the earliest -- two and a half months later than the deadline previously set for publishing them in an electronic format for the first time.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the House Chief Administrative Officer to put information about expenses claimed by members of the House on the Internet "at the earliest date," in an announcement reversing a longstanding policy of providing the information only in books totaling about 12,000 pages a year. The chief administrative officer, a congressional employee, set an Aug. 31 deadline. The Senate hasn't announced any plans to put its expenses claims online.

The announcement last month followed a series of Wall Street Journal articles on bonus payments and expense claims for luxury cars and high-end technology made by congressional offices. . . .

According to another article in the WSJ, the costs that are being report are much lower than the true costs.

The travel-disclosure form the Pennsylvania Democrat filed for the trip reported the seven-country tour with his wife, an aide and two military officials on a private military jet cost $571 a person, or a total of about $2,800.

The real cost was far higher, in excess of $70,000, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

Mr. Specter's travel report is one of scores of examples of the gap between the expenditures congressional delegations are required to report and what the trips actually cost taxpayers.

A Journal analysis of 60,000 travel records shows that lawmakers disclosed spending about $13 million in 2008 on overseas congressional delegations, or codels. That is nearly a tenfold increase since 1995, the analysis shows.

But the total tab disclosed by Congress is only a fraction of the true cost to taxpayers, according to the Journal's analysis.

Under a 1970s law that authorizes taxpayer-funded codels, lawmakers only must disclose how much they spent on lodging, meals, ground transportation and other incidental expenses. Members of Congress also must make public their spending on commercial airfare, though most lawmakers fly on military planes, which don't have to be disclosed.

Mr. Specter's disclosure form reports that he spent $1,103 for food and accommodations. The aide that accompanied him spent $1,750, according to the disclosure form. The cost of food, hotels and transportation for the two military officials was not disclosed.

Kate Kelly, a spokeswoman for Mr. Specter, said her boss "meticulously complies with Senate reporting requirements, reimburses the Treasury with unused per diem, and customarily files an extensive trip report describing the substance of his meetings with foreign officials." She added that the cost of codels is a "good investment considering the insights gained on billions of dollars of foreign aid." . . .

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Is there a pattern here?

The WSJ has this:

WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON - A civil rights group advised by Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor in the 1980s brought several discrimination lawsuits that sought to scrap the results of job tests because too few Hispanics scored well, according to new documents that are fueling GOP criticism of the judge.

The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund represented Hispanic sanitation workers in New York City who wanted to stop white employees from getting promotions because, they argued, the qualifying exam unfairly disadvantaged minorities. The case unfolded as Sotomayor chaired the organization's board of directors' litigation committee, although there is no evidence that she had any role in the group's decision to participate in the lawsuits, or in formulating or drafting any of their legal arguments.

Still, the case bears strong similarities to a much-discussed case Judge Sotomayor ruled on last year as a federal appeals court judge, which involved the reverse discrimination claims of white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., who sued after the city threw out its promotion test because too few minorities qualified. A panel she joined ruled against the white firefighters in the case, Ricci v. DeStefano. The Supreme Court reversed the decision last Monday.

The sanitation workers' case and similar ones -- including a series of lawsuits against the New York City Police Department that ultimately resulted in the department consulting with a PRLDEF expert in drafting its job tests -- are detailed in hundreds of pages of new material the group sent the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. The documents were placed on the committee's Web site. . . . .

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White House won't give Republicans Sotomayor documents claiming that they are irrelevant

So why isn't this getting really any attention in the news? If Sotomayor hadn't already made so many controversial statements, I might think that the WH had a point here, but Sotomayor is already over the top. The AP has this:

A top Republican pressed for more information Thursday about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's ties to a Puerto Rican civil rights group he said took extreme positions on race, as the White House argued that the material was irrelevant to the judge's nomination.
White House Counsel Greg Craig told Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., in a letter that board meeting minutes and other papers detailing the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund's activities while Sotomayor was an outside adviser shouldn't impact her nomination because she had no role in writing or approving them. But Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate committee that will consider her nomination, said the papers could shed light on Sotomayor's judicial approach, particularly her view of racial preferences in hiring. . . . .

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Colin Powell worries that Obama is expanding government too much

From the Washington Times:

"I'm concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them," Mr. Powell said in an excerpt of an interview with CNN's John King, released by the network Friday morning.

Mr. Powell, a retired U.S. army general who rose to political prominence after a long and accomplished military career, said that health care reform and many of Mr. Obama's other initiatives are "important" to Americans.

But, he said, "one of the cautions that has to be given to the president -- and I've talked to some of his people about this -- is that you can't have so many things on the table that you can't absorb it all."

"And we can't pay for it all," said Mr. Powell, who was the first African-American to serve as secretary of state, under former President George W. Bush. He was also national security adviser to President Reagan, and was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993. . . . .

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A craigslist.org for guns?

Zach Terhark, the Gunlistings.org Owner and Operator, sent me this link.

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How do they count "saved" jobs from stimulus?

A transcript from the Rush Limbaugh show:

RUSH: Dick, Maple Valley, Washington. Nice to have you with us. Hello. . . . . .

CALLER: Okay. Well, I found out yesterday one way the Obamas may be keeping score on jobs created or saved, my wife and I own a manufacturing company, and one of our customers received stimulus money. So they send us a form from the Department of Administrative Services, about 50 questions to go through and two of them were how many jobs were created or how many jobs were sustained. So I put zero because there really wasn't any, and sent it in. They called back and said, "Well, didn't anyone..."

RUSH: Well, now, wait, I'm confused. You didn't get the stimulus money, somebody else did. Why are you filling out the form?

CALLER: They bought our product.

RUSH: Oh. So stimulus money bought your product and then you had to report back to Washington?

CALLER: Correct. Yeah. And so they said, "Well, how can it be zero, didn't someone process our order or make the product?" And I said, "Well, to me a job sustained is if I didn't have to lay-off or fire someone because you ordered something and that's not the case." And he had a guide that the government provided that explains their logic on each line item, and they said, "No, sustained would mean that someone actually worked on the product and made it and so that counts as a job sustained." And so I said, "So the person that answers the phone would be one, the person that boxed it up would be two," and I said I can't do that.

RUSH: What happens if a machine answers like if you call 211?

CALLER: Yeah. So I gave 'em one, but, you know, that's one too many, and, you know, I'm sure that's what they're going to use --

Regarding Oregon, here is a discussion about counting the jobs.

The testimony from the heads of a dozen state agencies was much more positive than a report released last week by the Department of Administrative Services. That report, based on information almost a month old, said less than one-third of the projects had begun. . . . .

The terms "created" and "saved" have fairly loose definitions. According to the agency keeping track, for someone to be employed -- and thus counted -- they must be paid to help complete one of the stimulus projects. There is no differentiating between a job that employs someone for hours and one that employs someone for months. . . . .

Here is an example of the type of reporting form that the caller appears to be referring to.

Some information on the New Hampshire job counting process is here.

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Obama appoints a lot of donors to be Ambassador Corps

Another broken promise from Obama. From the WSJ:

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has seen its share of luminaries in the ambassador's suite. Former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Senate Majority Leaders Mike Mansfield and Howard Baker and former House Speaker Tom Foley are among those who have brokered relations with a complex and critical ally in a region bristling with military and trade tensions.

President Barack Obama's pick for the post is from a different mold: John Roos, a San Francisco Bay area lawyer, was the president's chief Silicon Valley fundraiser and contributions "bundler." He has no diplomatic experience.

Mr. Obama's choice of Mr. Roos, along with other political boosters -- from former investment banker Louis B. Susman, known as the "vacuum cleaner" for his fundraising prowess, to Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney -- has raised eyebrows among some who thought the president would extend his mantra of change to the diplomatic corps.

"We're not only insulting nations [that] we're appointing these bundlers to, we're risking U.S. diplomatic efforts in these key countries," said Craig Holman, a government-affairs lobbyist at watchdog group Public Citizen.

This tension can be traced back to Mr. Obama's claim during last year's campaign that President George W. Bush engaged in an "extraordinary politicization of foreign policy." Mr. Obama said he instead would ensure that hires are based on merit, rather than party or ideology. The American Academy of Diplomacy, an association of former diplomats, seized on the comments in lobbying him to lower the portion of ambassadors drawn from outside the foreign-service establishment to as little as 10% from the 30% average since President John F. Kennedy's tenure. (Mr. Bush's score was 33%.)

Of the Obama administration's 55 ambassadorial nominees so far, 33 -- or 60% -- have gone to people outside the foreign-service ranks, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That ratio is almost certain to tilt back toward career diplomats as dozens of the remaining posts are filled. . . . .

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Regulating fireworks: "Not having the freedom to celebrate freedom"

Regulation gone out of control. From the Washington Times:

Americans will celebrate their freedom on Independence Day with a certain irony tomorrow. Not all Americans have the freedom to celebrate the holiday with the traditional festive bang. That's because many places ban fireworks.

Although about 94 million of us live in states that allow all sorts of fireworks and firecracker use, 43 million Americans live in six states - including New York and New Jersey - where you need a permit to even light a sparkler. California bans some types of fireworks and allows cities to expand what is prohibited. Safety is supposedly the major concern of those who ban our celebratory backyard light-and-noise shows, but their fears are overblown.

Banning personal use of fireworks may actually result in more accidental fires because some of those who try to avoid getting caught set them off in remote fields, causing fires that take longer to discover.

This issue is badly distorted by the media. . . . .



Finally an air safety movie worth watching

This one actually got me to watch it, and I had stopped watching these years ago when I flew on planes. Possibly it was that the flight attendants and pilot just worn body paint in addition to their shoes and possible hat.


IBD: "Al Franken — Democrat From Acorn"

IBD has this:

Incumbent Republican Norm Coleman conceded defeat in the mother of all recounts in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race after the state's Supreme Court unanimously rejected his lawsuit.
Arguably, his seat may have been lost the day in 2006 when Democrat Mark Ritchie defeated two-term incumbent Republican Mary Kiffmeyer to become Minnesota secretary of state.
It was Ritchie who orchestrated the recount that gave Democratic challenger Franken a lead some six weeks after Coleman appeared to win by 725 votes on Election Day. Ritchie has extensive ties to the Acorn organization now under federal investigation for vote fraud and was endorsed by the community activist group in 2006.
In 2006, the Minnesota Acorn Political Committee endorsed Ritchie and contributed to his campaign. Other contributors to his campaign included George Soros, along with the likes of Deborah Rappaport, a Saul Alinsky disciple who co-founded the Midwest Academy, a radical Acorn clone.
"Mark Ritchie as we all know is a hard-core liberal who was endorsed by Acorn and funded by Acorn," Matthew Vadum, senior editor of CapitolResearch.org, a nonprofit think tank, recently told NewsMax. "It is not surprising that he has a permissive attitude toward the recount process."
Also contributing to Ritchie was James Rucker, the former director of grass-roots mobilization at MoveOn.org and reportedly a co-founder of the Secretary of State Project that played a critical role in this and other elections and will do so in the future.
Ritchie gave partial credit for his 2006 election to the liberal 527 political organization, the stated goal of which is to replace conservative secretaries of state with liberal Democrats.

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Congressional travel expenditures have risen by 50 percent in two years

There hae been a huge increase in other things such as franking privileges over the last two years as well. From the WSJ:

Hundreds of lawmakers traveled overseas in 2008 at a cost of about $13 million. That's a 50% jump since Democrats took control of Congress two years ago.

The cost of so-called congressional delegations, known among lawmakers as "codels," has risen nearly 70% since 2005, when an influence-peddling scandal led to a ban on travel funded by lobbyists, according to the data. . . .



After the Huffington Post incident, the administration might finally have hit a raw nerve with the press.


NY state Senate Democrats sitting through the Pledge of Allegiance

The crazy part of this news segment is at the end of it. It is difficult for me to understand why the Democrats refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance. Why pull down the one Democratic state Senator who tried to stand to say the pledge?

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Obama opposes tort reform in health care

From the Washington Times:

President Obama can't fix health care without taking on trial lawyers. David Axelrod, the president's chief strategist, warned about "punishing health care costs" again on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "That's something that we have to deal with," he said. In a June 15 speech to the American Medical Association, Mr. Obama complained about how excessive defensive medicine drives up costs. This is a regular theme in White House talking points.

We agree there's a problem, but at heart and by training, Mr. Obama is a lawyer. That's why he won't address one major cause of the high costs of medical care: There are too many lawsuits, and they are too lucrative.

Mr. Obama is against capping malpractice awards to reflect actual damage done to patients. He is against doing away with strict liability rules, which means a vaccine maker or a doctor can be held liable for a bad outcome even if the doctor or manufacturer did not create the problem. . . . .


A generally amusing piece about what one needs to know about Canada

Admittedly there is nothing that many will already know here, but it is still amusing.


Stuart Taylor explaining why the Supreme Court rejected Sotomayor's position by a 9-0 vote, not 5-4

Stuart Taylor's piece is available from the National Journal here:

What's more striking is that the court was unanimous in rejecting the Sotomayor panel's specific holding. Her holding was that New Haven's decision to spurn the test results must be upheld based solely on the fact that highly disproportionate numbers of blacks had done badly on the exam and might file a "disparate-impact" lawsuit -- regardless of whether the exam was valid or the lawsuit could succeed.

This position is so hard to defend, in my view, that I hazarded a prediction in my June 13 column: "Whichever way the Supreme Court rules in the case later this month, I will be surprised if a single justice explicitly approves the specific, quota-friendly logic of the Sotomayor-endorsed... opinion" by U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton.

Unlike some of my predictions, this one proved out. In fact, even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's 39-page dissent for the four more liberal justices quietly but unmistakably rejected the Sotomayor-endorsed position that disparate racial results alone justified New Haven's decision to dump the promotional exam without even inquiring into whether it was fair and job-related.

Justice Ginsburg also suggested clearly -- as did the Obama Justice Department, in a friend-of-the-court brief -- that the Sotomayor panel erred in upholding summary judgment for the city. Ginsburg said that the lower courts should have ordered a jury trial to weigh the evidence that the city's claimed motive -- fear of losing a disparate impact suit by low-scoring black firefighters if it proceeded with the promotions -- was a pretext. The jury's job would have been to consider evidence that the city's main motive had been to placate black political leaders who were part of Mayor John DeStefano's political base.

Disparate-impact law, as codified by Congress in 1991, specifies that an employer whose qualifying exam or other selection criterion produces racially disparate results can be held liable for unintentional discrimination only if (1) the test is not "job-related... and consistent with business necessity," or (2) the employer is presented with and refuses to adopt another, similarly job-related test with less disparate impact.

Contrary to the Sotomayor-endorsed opinion, the Ginsburg dissent states (on page 19) that an employer's decision to jettison a promotional test under circumstances like this case would be legal only if the employer had "good cause to believe the [test] would not withstand examination for business necessity."

Ginsburg added (on page 26 and page 33) that "ordinarily, a remand for fresh consideration" would be proper because the lower courts (including Judge Sotomayor) had not carefully considered the evidence of "pretext" and racial politics. . . .

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"89 Year-Old Lady With a PISTOL in her OLD Car!"

This older lady is ready to protect herself with her permitted concealed handgun. This is a very cute video.

Thanks very much to Peter Buxtun for this link.


So much for ending earmarks: What happened with the Cap & Trade Bill

From the Washington Times:

When House Democratic leaders were rounding up votes Friday for the massive climate-change bill, they paid special attention to their colleagues from Ohio who remained stubbornly undecided.

They finally secured the vote of one Ohioan, veteran Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, the old-fashioned way. They gave her what she wanted - a new federal power authority, similar to Washington state's Bonneville Power Administration, stocked with up to $3.5 billion in taxpayer money available for lending to renewable energy and economic development projects in Ohio and other Midwestern states.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, included the Kaptur project in a 310-page amendment to the legislation unveiled at 3 a.m. Friday, just hours before the bill was to be debated on the House floor. The amendment was packed with other vote-getting provisions, both large and small, that had been sought by dozens of wavering Democrats. . . . .

Thanks to Tony Troglio for this link.

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — As the most ambitious energy and climate-change legislation ever introduced in Congress made its way to a floor vote last Friday, it grew fat with compromises, carve-outs, concessions and out-and-out gifts intended to win the votes of wavering lawmakers and the support of powerful industries.

The deal making continued right up until the final minutes, with the bill’s co-author Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, doling out billions of dollars in promises on the House floor to secure the final votes needed for passage.

The bill was freighted with hundreds of pages of special-interest favors, even as environmentalists lamented that its greenhouse-gas reduction targets had been whittled down.

Some of the prizes were relatively small, like the $50 million hurricane research center for a freshman lawmaker from Florida.

Others were huge and threatened to undermine the environmental goals of the bill, like a series of compromises reached with rural and farm-state members that would funnel billions of dollars in payments to agriculture and forestry interests.

Automakers, steel companies, natural gas drillers, refiners, universities and real estate agents all got in on the fast-moving action.

The biggest concessions went to utilities, which wanted assurances that they could continue to operate and build coal-burning power plants without shouldering new costs. The utilities received not only tens of billions of dollars worth of free pollution permits, but also billions for work on technology to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from coal combustion to help meet future pollution targets.

That deal, negotiated by Representative Rick Boucher, a conservative Democrat from Virginia’s coal country, won the support of the Edison Electric Institute, the utility industry lobby, and lawmakers from regions dependent on coal for electricity. . . . .

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EPA quashes report that is skeptical of global warming

Slashdot has this interesting report:

"CNET reports that less than two weeks before the EPA formally submitted its pro-carbon dioxide regulation recommendation to the White House, an EPA center director quashed a 98-page report that warned against making hasty 'decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.' In an e-mail message (pdf) to a staff researcher on March 17, the EPA official wrote: 'The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward...and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.' The employee was also ordered not to 'have any direct communication' with anyone outside his small group at EPA on the topic of climate change, and was informed his report would not be shared with the agency group working on the topic. In a statement, the EPA took aim at the credentials of the report's author, Alan Carlin (BS Physics-Caltech, PhD Econ-MIT), describing him as 'not a scientist.' BTW, the official who chastised Carlin also found himself caught up in a 2005 brouhaha over mercury emissions after top EPA officials ordered the findings of a Harvard University study stripped from public records."

Fox News has this discussion of Sen. Inhofe calling for an investigation into the report being suppressed.

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The President who keeps the Oval Office at "tropical hot house" temperatures wants to micro manage even further the light bulbs that others can use

This president has no understanding of efficiency. His only goal is to minimize energy use, but efficiency involves using efficiently lots of things that are scarce (e.g., people's time). I also don't think that he has an idea about the number of jobs. He talks about new jobs that are created by government regulations or spending, but what about the jobs that are lost. CBS has a story on "Obama touts new light bulb standards."

He pointed to the state of California as an example of what stricter energy efficiency standards could achieve. In the late 1970's, California enacted tougher energy policies, which the president said, helped create millions of jobs. Today, he said, Californians consume 40 percent less energy per person than the national average. . . . .

If we are concerned about the country's wealth, why do we care about whether California was able to force down its energy use? Wouldn't that simply be a measure of how much poorer California was relative to what it otherwise could have been?

Of course, all this comes from a President who keeps the thermostat in the Oval Office well above 72 degrees -- "aides have likened it to a tropical hot house."

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Obama knows better than the Honduras Supreme Court who is the legitimate president of Honduras

John Fund has this over at the WSJ:

Many foreign observers are condemning the ouster of Honduran President Mel Zelaya, a supporter of Hugo Chavez, as a "military coup." But can it be a coup when the Honduran military acted on the orders of the nation's Supreme Court, the step was backed by the nation's attorney general, and the man replacing Mr. Zelaya and elected in emergency session by that nation's Congress is a member of the former president's own political party?

Mr. Zelaya had sacked General Romeo Vasquez, head of the country's armed forces, after he refused to use his troops to provide logistical support for a referendum designed to let Mr. Zelaya escape the country's one-term limit on presidents. Both the referendum and the firing of the military chief have been declared illegal by the Honduran Supreme Court. Nonetheless, Mr. Zelaya intended yesterday to use ballots printed in Venezuela to conduct the vote anyway.

That apparently isn't good enough for President Obama. The AP has this:

Obama says Honduras coup was "illegal" and Zelaya remains the president.

The UK Telegraph has this:

Honduras supreme court 'ordered army coup'

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Biased Headline in NY Times Piece on New Haven Fire Fighters' case

Notice that the NY Times piece mentions only white fire fighters when the plaintiffs were both white and Hispanic firefighters. The same is true for their first paragraph. It isn't until the seventh paragraph that they mention Hispanics, and even then they mention only one Hispanic was denied promotion when there were actually two of them.

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New Fox News Op-ed: Serious Questions About Sotomayor and Race: With today's Supreme Court ruling there are even more questions about Sonia Sotomayor

My new piece at Fox News starts this way:

With the Supreme Court narrowly striking down Judge Sonia Sotomayor's decision in the New Haven fire fighter's case, it emphasizes the importance of a single vote and there are renewed questions about her judgment on race. It brings back into focus not only her comments on the superiority of certain racial groups and women, but when combined with her recent comments on the Belizean Grove club indicate a very selective and self serving decisions on deciding when discrimination is occurring.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor can't take back her seven speeches over a decade where she talked about women's (or Latina women's) judgment being superior to men' (or white men's). But, about a week ago, almost a month after her Supreme Court nomination, Judge Sotomayor resigned as a member of the extremely exclusive all-woman club, the Belizean Grove. If she were a Republican man, such a withdrawal would have come too late. Worse, her letter announcing her withdrawal from the organization raises questions about her judgment.

In June 1990, all but one of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and one then Republican, Arlen Specter, warned future judicial nominees that membership in an organization that determines membership based on gender could be sufficient to deny confirmation. Further, it would be held against the nominee unless they "actively engaged" in efforts to get underrepresented groups into the organization. . . .

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300 boxes of new Sotomayor material discovered, Republicans ask for time to look at it

With the New Haven fire fighters case just being so narrowly decided, Judge Sotomayor's views on race will become even more of an issue in her confirmation hearings. Her work at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund could provide some explosive materials. Roll Call has this:

“Just a day or so ago, we discovered that there are 300 or so boxes of additional material that has just been discovered from her time working with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund,” McConnell said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

“The committee needs to have access to that material and time to work through it so we know all the facts before we vote on a person who is up for a lifetime job,” McConnell said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up the nomination on July 13. Republicans have complained bitterly about the timetable for considering the nomination. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is aiming for a floor vote before the Senate breaks in August. . . . .

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Want an investment where you can lose 36 percent in one year

How much is TARP costing American taxpayers? Of the $700 billion authorized by Congress for TARP, $439 billion has been given out. CBO gives us an estimate of how much of that money are taxpayers likely to see again. The answer is pretty depressing. The above chart says it all. The $439 billion is now worth about $280 billion. That is a loss for taxpayers of 36 percent in a half a year.

The biggest losers are Housing, Autos, and AIG.

During the first Presidential debate, Obama said that taxpayers "have the possibility of getting that money back and gains, if the market -- and when the market returns."



Three big Supreme Court cases to come out tomorrow

Fox News has the story here.


The Washington Post goes after Obama's budget deficit

From the Washington Post:

. . . . Now comes the CBO with yet more news of the sort that neither Capitol Hill nor the White House is likely to welcome: its freshly released report on the federal government's long-term financial situation. To put it bluntly, the fiscal policy of the United States is unsustainable. Debt is growing faster than gross domestic product. Under the CBO's most realistic scenario, the publicly held debt of the U.S. government will reach 82 percent of GDP by 2019 -- roughly double what it was in 2008. By 2026, spiraling interest payments would push the debt above its all-time peak (set just after World War II) of 113 percent of GDP. It would reach 200 percent of GDP in 2038.

This huge mass of debt, which would stifle economic growth and reduce the American standard of living, can be avoided only through spending cuts, tax increases or some combination of the two. And the longer government waits to get its financial house in order, the more it will cost to do so, the CBO says.

The CBO's new long-term forecast is considerably more pessimistic than the one it issued 18 months ago, mostly because of the recession, which has driven the budget deficit above 12 percent of GDP. But the report makes clear that the recent economic downturn did not cause the government's predicament and that the situation will not necessarily improve once the economy does. The principal cause of long-term fiscal distress is the aging of the U.S. population, coupled with rising health-care costs -- which, together, will drive spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to new heights. Unchecked, federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid combined will grow from almost 5 percent of GDP today to almost 10 percent by 2035 -- and to more than 17 percent of GDP by 2080.

Like his predecessors, Mr. Obama is aware of this issue. Like them, he has promised a plan to deal with it. And like them, he has not come up with anything credible yet. It's time for that to change.

Personally, I think that the CBO has dramatically underestimated the costs of many of Obama's programs -- cap & trade and health care.

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Sotomayor and the death penalty

The main part of the story here is that 300 or so boxes of additional material have just been found on Sotomayor. But there was also this info here:

Sotomayor served on the group’s board of directors from 1980 to 1992. Conservatives opposed to her nomination have seized on a 1981 memo signed by her and two other directors of the group, which is now called LatinoJustice PRLDEF. In it, the directors argued against reinstating the death penalty in New York state, making the case that capital punishment is racist because it is disproportionately imposed on minorities.

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Democrats and media's double standard on releasing information

From the Washington Times:

Just last week, the administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for White House logs showing the names of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Mr. Obama's "clean coal" policies. This is the same Mr. Obama who as senator castigated the "secret energy meetings" with oil executives at the White House during the Bush administration.

Unfortunately, as if that isn't enough, the Democrats have yet another new transparency problem.

Now we even have the man that Mr. Obama picked as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, refusing Freedom of Information Act requests in Virginia. Mr. Kaine has been traveling the country raising money as head of the DNC - which is obviously what he should be doing for his party. But Mr. Kaine may be raising money with Virginia taxpayers covering some of the his fund raising costs. . . . .

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"Tom Brokaw and NBC are confused about media ethics"

From the Washington Times:

What were the people at NBC News thinking? Long-time NBC anchor Tom Brokaw was being considered for a White House appointment when he interviewed President Obama on Jan. 5 and covered him on the news.

The position in question was to become a commissioner on the White House Fellows Commission. Neither NBC nor Mr. Brokaw ever made any disclosure that Mr. Brokaw had been offered or was considering the position. It was not until June 17 that NBC made public that Mr. Brokaw was joining the commission.

According to the White House Web site, the White House Fellows program is "America's most prestigious program for leadership and public service. White House Fellows typically spend a year working as full-time, paid special assistants to senior White House Staff, the vice president, Cabinet secretaries and other top-ranking government officials." For many, being involved firsthand in the formation of government policy is undoubtedly a heady experience. The commission selects who receives these fellowships.

The White House Press Office has refused to respond to multiple press inquiries from us over the past week. This includes basic questions such as when they started to talk to Mr. Brokaw about the position and when he accepted it. . . .

We asked Kelly McBride, the Ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute, a leading school for journalists, whether she thought there were any ethical problems with what Mr. Brokaw did. "Yes, it creates a perception of an appearance of a conflict," Ms. McBride told us. "Talking to your boss is always a good idea, but it doesn't solve the problem because [Mr. Brokaw] is supposed to be a watchdog. That is what his job is. It is not that it is a Republican or Democratic thing." . . .

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