Apr 062012

Presidential contempt for the Supreme Court and inconvenient law is not new. But rarely has a president sounded so, well, dumb, as when Barack Obama lectured the justices on what they can and can’t do to his cherished Obamacare.

The court would take an “unprecedented, extraordinary step” if it overturns his health care scheme because it was enacted by a “strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,” the president declared. Obamacare actually cleared the House by only seven votes, 219 to 212, and on their face the president’s remarks betray an astonishing ignorance of the Constitution and how the republic works.

But Barack Obama is neither dumb nor ignorant. The man praised as the greatest orator since Demosthenes celebrated hope and change in ancient Greece knows better than to bandy words foolishly. So why would he say something so foolish and dumb?

~ Snippet…

President Obama’s rant against the court was of a piece with his earlier joining the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson — and much of the mainstream media — in race-baiting tragedy in the death of Trayvon Martin. Instead of quietly assigning the Justice Department to determine the facts and whether Trayvon Martin’s civil rights in federal law were violated, the president suggested the tragedy was all about race when there is still no evidence that it was about race at all. Race-baiting, ugly but often effective, was once the exclusive province of the right; it has become the default tactic of the left.

One outraged pundit decides that Mr. Obama has revealed himself to be “no longer a serious man. Nor an honest one.” This misses the point, too. Barack Obama never was.

Full Commentary

Apr 062012

By Thom Lambert

Imagine if you picked up your morning paper to read that one of your astronomy professors had publicly questioned whether the earth, in fact, revolves around the sun. Or suppose that one of your economics professors was quoted as saying that consumers would purchase more gasoline if the price would simply rise. Or maybe your high school math teacher was publicly insisting that 2 + 2 = 5. You’d be a little embarrassed, right? You’d worry that your colleagues and friends might begin to question your astronomical, economic, or mathematical literacy.

Now you know how I felt this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that my own constitutional law professor had stated that it would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the Supreme Court to “overturn[] a law [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” Putting aside the “strong majority” nonsense (the deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act got through the Senate with the minimum number of votes needed to survive a filibuster and passed 219-212 in the House), saying that it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” for the Supreme Court to strike down a law that violates the Constitution is like saying that Kansas City is the capital of Kansas. Thus, a Wall Street Journal editorial queried this about the President who “famously taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago”: “[D]id he somehow not teach the historic case of Marbury v. Madison?”

I actually know the answer to that question. It’s no (well, technically yes…he didn’t). President Obama taught “Con Law III” at Chicago. Judicial review, federalism, the separation of powers — the old “structural Constitution” stuff — is covered in “Con Law I” (or at least it was when I was a student). Con Law III covers the Fourteenth Amendment. (Oddly enough, Prof. Obama didn’t seem too concerned about “an unelected group of people” overturning a “duly constituted and passed law” when we were discussing all those famous Fourteenth Amendment cases – Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, Romer v. Evans, etc.) Of course, even a Con Law professor focusing on the Bill of Rights should know that the principle of judicial review has been alive and well since 1803, so I still feel like my educational credentials have been tarnished a bit by the President’s “unprecedented, extraordinary” remarks…

Read Full story…

Apr 062012

Unusual Nuclear Event USA: South Carolina Catawba Nuclear Power Plant

Rsoe Ref.no.: NC-20120405-34776-USA

YORK — Duke Energy says power was restored to the Catawba Nuclear Station on Thursday.

Generators had been running the plant since the day before, when the plant near York, S.C., about 18 miles south of Charlotte, N.C., lost offsite power. One of the plant’s two units was already shut down for an outage. The other unit automatically shut down after losing offsite power.

Federal regulators and power company officials are still trying to figure out what happened. Duke say steam seen coming out of the plant on Thursday is not harmful or radioactive.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it’s not planning to send an inspection team to the plant.

- source

From January:

North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corp.’s 1,129-megawatt unit 1 at the Catawba nuclear station in South Carolina returned to full power recently, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in its power reactor status report.

On January 19, the unit was operating at 61 percent of capacity to fix a seal leak in a feedwater pump. The company reduced the unit to about 60 percent on Jan. 12. The reactor can only operate at about 60 percent of capacity while one of its two feedwater pumps is out of service.

The 2,258 Catawba station is located in Lake Wylie in York County about 20 miles southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina. There are two 1,129 MW units 1 and 2 at Catawba.

Also See Sept. 2011:

MOX plant using weapons-grade plutonium being built at S. Carolina site with ominous looking reactors — Located on top of region’s most dangerous fault line.

– featured image (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File) the plant near York, S.C., about 18 miles south of Charlotte, N.C., l

Apr 062012

Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) has found a new ally in its fight against the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate’s coercive requirement that almost all employers, regardless of religious belief, provide and pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization.

Earlier this month, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange moved to join the case to defend the rights of the Alabama-based network. Among other things, the State claims that “the mandate requires Alabama to regulate its health insurance market in a way that violates” various state and federal protections for religious freedom.

Attorney General Strange took to National Review Online last week to further explain his position on the mandate and denounce the rule’s coercive trampling on religious liberty.

The contraception mandate is unconscionable and unconstitutional, but my reasons for joining EWTN’s lawsuit are broader than this single dispute. This latest mandate is the natural consequence of a federal government that has run amok and inserted itself into every corner of our lives. When the federal government took over one-sixth of the country’s economy and unconstitutionally mandated that individuals and businesses buy insurance, there were bound to be some unintended consequences. The contraception mandate is just the down payment on that bill.

To those who attempt to obscure the terms of debate over the mandate, Strange clarifies the true foundation of opposition to the rule:

[T]his debate is not about contraception. … This debate is about first freedoms and religious liberty. It is about whether we, as a society, value the right of conscience and support the freedom of individuals to say “no.” If the federal government can mandate what we have to spend our own money on, then the federal government can make us buy something even if we are morally opposed to paying for it.

EWTN’s lawsuit against HHS is one of seven similar legal complaints that have been filed over the coercive mandate. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is also representing Belmont Abbey College and Ave Maria University, both Catholic institutions, and Colorado Christian University, an interdenominational school. The Alliance Defense Fund has sued HHS on behalf of two Protestant schools, Louisiana College and Geneva College. In an interesting twist on growing number of complaints against the Obama Administration, the American Center for Law and Justice has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a private business owner who “does not want to be forced, under penalty of law, to comply with a mandate that violates his deeply held religious beliefs.”

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and EWTN welcomed Alabama’s intervention in the lawsuit and plan to continue litigating for a greater defense of religious freedom. Of course, as Mark Rienzi, a Becket Fund attorney, points out in a recent commentary, the most efficient restitution of religious freedom for employers like EWTN could reside in the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on the underlying health care statute. Whatever the decision from the Court, however, Congress can and should repeal Obamacare to eliminate the law’s disrespect for both religious freedom and freedom in general.


Apr 062012

Tasked with protecting First Lady Jackie Kennedy, Secret Service agent Clint Hill was the man standing between her and gunfire the day her husband was killed.

Now, nearly fifty years after the shooting, Hill has written a memoir, Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir, about his encounters with the first lady.

The book includes a detailed account of the harrowing minutes before and after the shooting of President Kennedy. Hill also spoke about the day on NBC’s Today show.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

‘I wrapped the president’s exploded head in my jacket': Jackie Kennedy’s secret service agent relives horrifying moments after JFK was assassinated

Horrifying: Hill climbs towards Mrs Kennedy, who he says was reaching for part of her husband’s skull

The gunshot was deafening, Hill writes. “The impact was like the sound of a melon shattering onto cement,” he said.

Kennedy held her husband in her arms shouting, “Jack, Jack, what have they done to you?”

She refused to let him go, not wanting people to see him die. “I recognized that the problem was she didn’t want anyone to see him,” Hill said on the Today show. “It was a gory situation. And so I took my jacket off and I covered his head and upper back. Then she let go.”

Hill knew exactly what he had to do. “Somebody had fired a shot at the President, and I had to get myself between the shooter and the President and Mrs. Kennedy,” he wrote. “Nothing else mattered.”

Hill still feels guilt over the shooting, saying that he could have taken the third bullet had he moved sooner. “I had problems sleeping,” he said on the Today show. “I had nightmares, I went into a very deep depression, I cut myself off from friends and family.”

Mourning: A military honor guard escorts President John F. Kennedy’s casket from the White House

Mrs Kennedy is shown on her husband’s funeral on November 26, 1963 (right), with her children and brothers-in law Ted (L) and Robert (R)


Secret Service agent shares memories of Jackie Kennedy

Business Insider

Daily Mail

– featured image: Hill and Mrs Kennedy are pictured in Washington, D.C.

Apr 062012

See First Story: Obama’s War on Catholic Church Began at His First Job

In 1999, then-State Senator Barack Obama invoked the late radical Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who passed away in 1996, to promote a universal health care law he co-sponsored and which Illinois voters had overwhelmingly rejected.

The bill incorporated language directly from the late cardinal’s 1995 pastoral letter, “A Sign of Hope,” which argued for a “fundamental right” to healthcare, reading, in part: “Health care is an essential safeguard of human life and dignity, and there is an obligation for society to ensure that every person be able to realize that right.”

Supporters of single payer health care, like Dr. Quentin Young of Physicians for a National Health Program, understood Bernardin to be calling for a government takeover of health care. “Cardinal Bernardin wrote on the moral questions we’re talking about,” Dr. Young told the Palm Beach Post on January 4, 1998. “His concept was that human dignity requires an ethic that assures health care to all people in a society.”

Supporters of the so-called “Bernadin Amendment” quickly roped in Dr. Warren Furey, the cardinal’s personal physician and chairman of the Department of Medicine at Mercy Hospital.

The law, had it passed, would have forced the state to enact a plan that, in the Orwellian words of the Chicago Tribune, “permits everyone in Illinois to obtain decent health care on a regular basis by 2002.”

Obama’s co-sponsor in the state House of Representatives was State Representative Mike Boland. In campaigning for universal health care, Boland told the Chicago Tribune that “he is writing to every labor union local and every chuch in the state in search of endorsements.”

Both Boland and Obama received endorsements for the Bernadin Amendment from some radical priests, including Father Michael Pfleger, who backed Obama in his failed congressional bid in 2000; and Father George Clements, the Black Panther-supporting priest who housed then-Black Panther and future member of Congress, Bobby Rush.

Other supporters of the Bernardin Amendment included the then newly elected Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and her husband, Robert Creamer, the head of the Illinois Public Action Council (IPAC), who would go on to do federal time for check kiting and write the playbook for passing Obamacare from prison.

Did Obama and Creamer learn their lessons from the fight over the Bernardin Amendment?

Clearly, they did. In 2010, Obama invoked another patron saint of liberal Catholicism in his next stab at universal health care—the late Ted Kennedy, whom Obama eulogized in a September 10, 2009 address to a joint session of Congress. Obama cited Kennedy, stating, “‘What we face,’ he wrote, ‘is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but the fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.’”

When the Affordable Care Act passed, Obama finally delivered on the dream of liberal Catholics–that the state would deliver “social justice” on health care. But he broke his promises to Catholic leaders as his government imposed birth control mandates on religious institutions.

Catholics–both liberal and conservative–now know that the price of faith in Obama: the destruction of the religious liberty in which all Americans, especially Catholics, believe.


Apr 062012

On his Wednesday radio show, Sean Hannity, host of the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” hinted at the possibility that he has knowledge of left-wing activist organization Media Matters dealing with the Obama White House.

According to Hannity, there has been a shift from President Barack Obama’s persona during the 2008 presidential election to the Obama’s persona in the 2012 campaign, but the media has ignored it. (RELATED: More on Media Matters)

“You know this whole 2008 Obama versus 2012 Obama, you talk about a bait-and-switch,” Hannity said. “And where is your news media? Where are they doing their job? Now, thank God there’s Breitbart, there’s Drudge, there’s The Daily Caller, there’s NewsMax, there’s WorldNet. There’s still talk radio out there, you know in spite of the efforts of Media Matters and ThinkProgress. There’s still Fox News out there. We’re still here. They’ve tried their best. So far, no luck.”

On the topic of Media Matters, Hannity said he wanted more information about “secret meetings” that organization had conducted with the White House, adding that he has some inside information on the subject.

“I’d like to know more about the secret meetings they have with the White House representatives as Media Matters built their enemies list, of which I was named,” Hannity said. “I have some inside information that I can’t reveal at this moment about Media Matters and as it relates to me. Believe it or not, we have people in the White House that tell us things. And believe it or not, we have people all over the place that tell us things, on-the-inside kind of people.”

So what is that “inside information?” Hannity said he’s waiting for the right time and place to announce it.

“We’ll just wait for the right place, time, moment for such things,” he concluded. “Then we’ll discuss.”

Daily Caller

Apr 062012

Instead of responding to the 5th Circuit Court’s explicit request regarding President Obama’s untoward comments about the Supreme Court’s power to overturn congressional statutes, Attorney General Eric Holder sent the judges a law student-level brief on the propriety of judicial review. The letter intentionally ignored the judge’s main question, which was, in essence: does the Department of Justice and the Attorney General of the United States agree with the comments by the President of the United States? The letter focused almost exclusively on the deference courts must pay to acts of Congress. As such, the Department’s response will only make matters worse for the administration, as this issue will now remain in the public spotlight for some time.

Appeals Court Fires Back

Recall that on Monday of this week, in a Rose Garden press conference, President Obama was asked about the prospect of the Supreme Court overturning his signature legislative achievement, Obamacare. The President said, “I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected congress.” He went on to express confidence that “an unelected group of people” would not “overturn a duly constituted and passed law.” The not-so-subtle inference being that the Supreme Court did not have the authority to overturn a law that was passed by Congress.

It is clearly improper (and unprecedented) for the President of the United States, while a case is pending before the high court, to comment on the litigation in the manner in which President Obama did. This is especially true where, as is the case here, the United States is a party to the litigation. The President’s comments were designed to intimidate members of the high court to vote the “right way,” and/or to incite public opinion if the Court rules in a manner that displeases the President.

Judicial activism is not when courts exercise their constitutional responsibility to overturn statutes that clearly violate the constitution. Rather, judicial activism is when courts ignore the constitution and instead rule on cases based on their policy preferences.

The three days of oral arguments in the Obamacare case last week demonstrated that there are serious constitutional concerns with Obamacare, most notably the individual mandate. Whether the federal government has the power under the commerce clause to regulate inactivity by ordering everyone to purchase a private product (insurance) and penalize you if you don’t is a legitimate constitutional question. The fact that the administration was not able to provide the high court with any limiting principle to their broad claims of constitutionality has left Obamacare vulnerable to being overturned, and the administration on the defense.

Unfortunately, Holder’s letter, rather than putting the issue to rest—which would have required them to acknowledge that the President “misspoke”—makes matters worse, and is further indication that the administration realizes that Obamacare may well be found unconstitutional.