The U.S. Senate has returned to the debate over whether the proceedings of the Supreme Court should be televised. Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have cosponsored the Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2011. The measure was introduced on December 5, 10 years after the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act was authored by Senator Grassley and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).   A companion bill of identical name was introduced in the House the following day by Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). That bill is currently under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.   The legislation, presented on Monday, would "permit television coverage of all open sessions of the Court unless the Court decides, by a vote of the majority of justices, that allowing such coverage in a particular case would constitute a violation of the due process rights of 1 or more of the parties before the Court."   Setting aside the rare reference by anyone in Congress to the protection of constitutional civil liberties, there is the more interesting question of whether or not the Congress has the constitutional authority to mandate anything to one of the other branches of the federal government.
In a letter sent last week to members of the state legislature, Alabama's Attorney General recommends repealing key provisions of the state's well-publicized anti-illegal immigration statute. Attorney General Luther Strange suggests the repeal of at least two of the law's more controversial sections, both of which are currently not being enforced per an injunction handed down by a federal appeals court. Specifically, the sections suggested for scrapping include one that makes it a crime for illegal aliens to be to be detained while not in possession of proper immigration documentation, and another mandating that the state's public schools maintain a registry of their students' immigration status.   In the memo dated December 1, Strange set out his purpose in making the recommendation for removal of elements of the state statute: "My goals are to (1) make the law easier to defend in court; (2) assist law enforcement in implementation; and (3) remove burdens on law abiding citizens. All while not weakening the law."   In October, both of these portions of the law (HB 56) were blocked from being enforced by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in Atlanta. The Obama administration sued Alabama, asserting that by enacting the law the state legislature and Governor violated the Constitution by legislating in an area over which the federal government has exclusive authority.
As the White House released a memorandum outlining President Obama’s strategy for promoting homosexuality globally, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was busy hectoring the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva with the same discordant anthem. Speaking on behalf of the President, Clinton exhorted the UN body concerning the evils of “gay and lesbian discrimination,” reported the Associated Press, “declaring the U.S. will use foreign assistance as well as diplomacy to back its insistence that gay rights are fully equal to other basic human rights.” Harkening back to rhetoric she used over 15 years ago at a UN confab on women’s rights, Clinton “compared the struggle for gay equality to difficult passages toward women’s rights and racial equality,” noted the AP, “and she said a country’s cultural or religious traditions are no excuse for discrimination.” “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” intoned Clinton. “It should never be a crime to be gay.” The Secretary of State’s UN audience included a healthy representation of officials whose cultures are repulsed by the immorality of homosexual acts, and where the retribution for such behavior is wont to reach beyond civilized boundaries. Hillary made it clear that anything less than the civil — if not loving — embrace of gays, lesbians, transvestites, and other “LGBT persons” wouldn’t fly in an increasingly global community patrolled by U.S.-funded and -encouraged anti-discrimination police.
Democrats are reportedly thrilled by Newt Gingrich's recent rise in the polls and hopeful that he will be the Republican nominee — because they believe that President Obama could easily defeat Gingrich.  The Democrat most noticeably excited about the prospects of a Gingrich nomination is Nancy Pelosi, who worked with Gingrich for many years. Talking Points Memo (TPM) explains,  
The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began releasing documents last week related to what it calls the “mass surveillance industry,” a little-known but expansive underworld of contractors offering tools for governments — from brutal dictatorships to more moderate Western states — to monitor citizens and hunt down dissidents. Furious activists reacted to the revelations by calling for stricter controls and measures to hold the firms accountable as “accomplices” to mass murder.  The information released so far covers over 150 companies spanning more than two dozen nations. The documents highlight the nature and growth of a multi-billion-dollar industry that, in addition to supplying espionage assistance to the most murderous regimes on earth, has been quietly turned against citizens in supposedly “free” countries as well. “Who here has an iPhone? Who here has a Blackberry? Who here uses Gmail? Well you are all screwed,” WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange told a press conference in London announcing the new project. “The reality is intelligence contractors are selling right now, to countries across the world, mass surveillance systems for all of those products."
Most shifts in history do not come with easy-to-remember dates associated with them. I could not tell you exactly when the U.S. war with Mexico began, though that war gave flesh and blood and considerable real estate to the U.S. claim that our "Manifest Destiny" was to push on through our western frontier “from sea to shining sea” and eventually become a power in the Pacific, where we would come into conflict with imperial Japan at a place called Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Officials at the Walter Reed military hospital have found themselves publicly back-peddling on a recently implemented policy that banned those visiting patients at the medical center from bringing with them such religious resources as the Bible. An official memo sent out by the hospital’s chief of staff was meant to provide guidelines for those visiting wounded and ill military personnel at the hospital. But buried at the tail end of the document is the following prohibition: “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.” The Family Research Council, which discovered the memo, passed it on to U.S. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), who quickly took the matter to the floor of the House, where he blasted the policy. “Mr. Speaker, these military men and women who are recovering at Walter Reed and Bethesda have given their all for America,” declared the angry King. “… They’ve defended and taken an oath to the Constitution, and here they are. The people that come to visit them can’t bring a religious artifact? They can’t bring a Bible?”
On December 2, the headline on businessweek.com read: “Boehner Leads Drive to Take Away Obama Power to Issue Rules.” Seems the Speaker of the House wants to preserve to Congress the right to sign off on any rule promulgated by an executive branch agency that would cost more than $100 million to the businesses to be regulated. The Speaker’s effort to restrain the runaway executive branch is a far cry from the tone he struck in his victory speech on election night last year as his party won a powerful majority of seats in the lower house. In that jubilant address, Boehner said, “While our new majority will serve as your voice in the people’s House, we must remember it is the president who sets the agenda for our government....”  For a man who prides himself on his devotion to the Constitution, the foregoing assessment of the power of the President is woefully ignorant and absolutely constitutionally unsound.   Were the Speaker of the House to spend a bit of time himself reading the document he insisted be read at the opening of the 112th Congress, perhaps he would understand that the “agenda” for the federal government (all three branches) is established by way of the enumerated powers set out in the Constitution. The authority granted to each branch is specifically set forth in the various articles of the Constitution (particularly Articles I-III), and they are few and well-defined.
The Democratic Party in Washington is an empty shell that has been filled by a radical leftist entity called the Shadow Party. For all practical purposes, it is the Socialist Party of America pretending to be the Democratic Party. The Shadow Party could have easily been conceived as a new radical leftist third political party, but by filling the shell of the Democratic Party it can take advantage of all the power that the Democrats have in Congress.  
Another French actress has landed in hot water with government authorities in connection with the country's Muslims — this time well-known singer and actress Marie Laforêt. Her trouble began when she advised potential Muslim employees that she had a dog that might offend them should they work for her. That’s the latest from France, where Muslims have, over the past several years, repeatedly sent actress Brigitte Bardot to the doghouse because of her comments about Muslim immigrants.  
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