Do we really understand what courts are for in America? I mean, do even really smart, educated people like (I realize I’m going out on a limb here) lawyers and people with prestigious titles like “U.S. Senator” in front of their names really understand and appreciate the role of the courts? Or does it all get run over and crushed by the pressure of politics? Take Richard Blumenthal, please. The Connecticut Democrat is a freshman member of the U.S. Senate but hardly a novice in the fields of law and politics. He is a 65-year-old graduate of two of the nation’s most prestigious Ivy League institutions, Harvard College and Yale Law School. He is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and served for two decades as Connecticut’s Attorney General. All of which makes a recent statement by Blumenthal in a Senate debate all the more remarkable and all the more embarrassing, one hopes, to Harvard, Yale, and the sensible people of Connecticut. (I despair of finding anything capable of embarrassing the U.S. House or Senate.)
SEA ISLE, N.J. — Public-sector employees here now are regularly referring to Gov. Chris Christie as "Adolf Christie." Things got especially ugly when Christie signed legislation that requires each of the state's 500,000 teachers, police and other public workers to pay more for their pensions and health benefits and eliminates the issue for four years from collective bargaining. In this traditionally Democrat state, Republican Christie was victorious in a legislature with solid Democrat majorities, successfully arguing that the current and projected pension and health benefits for public-sector employees are unaffordable and unsustainable.
Eighty-year-old Dottie Bell is a volunteer at the Community Market food bank in Opelika, Alabama, and every day she sees the impact of high food prices on people in her community. In the last 12 months, more than 3,000 families have come to her food bank for food assistance. Michael Davis is just one of them. When Dottie asked him for his identification, he pulled out his driver’s license and Social Security card from a worn ZipLoc bag and handed them to her. When she asked when the last time was that he’d eaten anything, he said: "About two days. It’s not a good feeling. You have to think about it like fasting, like they did in the Bible, and pray for another blessing. That’s really the only way to get through it." Ten minutes later Davis was approved for 75 pounds of food. He picked up his documents and headed for the shelves in the back.
America’s new belligerent engagement in Libya, along with its NATO allies, has led me to think of our old engagement in Libya, which inspired the U.S. Marine anthem, “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli.” Not only have most Americans never heard of that war fought during Thomas Jefferson’s administration, but today’s schools don’t even bother to teach it. About a year ago, I visited a prestigious private school in Oregon and was joined at lunch by a group of the school's best students of high-school age. I assumed that they were well versed in American history. But to find out if I was right, I asked if they could tell me what was the first war the United States was engaged in after we had established an independent government under the new constitution.
There is a theme to news stories about the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) in the last few years: Rosy projections always turn out worse than expected. So it's of little surprise that Reuters announced on July 11 that the recession in Greece is worse than the “experts” had predicted. The interim budget, upon which so much of the bailout of the nation rested, greatly understated the budget gap. (The underestimation of the budget shortfall over an earlier projection was by almost one-third.)
As the space shuttle Atlantis orbits the earth on its final flight, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is attempting to chart a new course for a federal agency that has often given the impression of being “lost in space.” Bolden's tenure as administrator has been a time of transition for the agency. When he was nominated by President Obama in May 2009 and then confirmed by the Senate two months later, press reports focused on Bolden’s record as a Marine Corps major general, a veteran shuttle astronaut, and the historic role he would have as the first African American to serve as the head of NASA. As reported for The New American in July 2009:
As the scandal surrounding the Obama administration’s operation to put high-powered guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels continues to grow, new revelations suggest that American taxpayers might have actually paid for the weapons through the stimulus bill and multiple agencies. On top of that, Attorney General Eric Holder apparently lied about his knowledge of the scheme. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (still known as ATF) is facing growing pressure after whistleblowers exposed “Project Gunrunner” and “Operation Fast and Furious” to public and congressional scrutiny. It turns out many of the guns shipped to Mexican crime syndicates with ATF permission have ended up at crime scenes on both sides of the border. And at least three of the weapons were involved in the slaying of U.S. federal agents. 
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the Republican Party establishment—I refer to both politicians as well as the punditry class constituting the so-called “new” or “alternative media”—is not conservative.  It is neoconservative. Although this is not something of which readers of this site need to be informed, it is a point worth repeating nonetheless.   Few and far between are those neoconservatives who refer to themselves as such.  Usually, neoconservatives identify themselves as “conservative.”  But because the neoconservative’s is the face and voice of one of our two national political parties, his refusal to come to terms with his true identity means that in the popular American consciousness, the neoconservative ideology is confused with conservatism proper.  However, traditional or classical conservatism, the conservatism of which Edmund Burke is among the most notable and impassioned representatives, is not only distinct from neoconservatism; it is diametrically opposed to it.
While the ACLU worries about whether a Christmas decoration in the public library or a moment of silent prayer in school violates the First Amendment, other non-Christian nations have no trouble at all with combining religion and government. The notion that a “separation of church and state” is indispensable to civil liberty would have flabbergasted the Founding Fathers. In fact, when the Constitution was adopted, about half of the original states had a “state” religion. Eventually all of these states were disestablished (the “state” religion status was ended) but this had absolutely nothing to do with the First Amendment, whose clear words collectivists always seem unable to read:  “Congress shall make no law….” is how that amendment begins. Congress did not mean state legislatures.  
Last week, the Obama administration announced that it was in the process of preparing new gun safety measures. The announcement, which coincided with the six-month anniversary of the Tucson, Arizona, shooting, provoked criticism from pro-gun groups as yet another way for the government to infringe upon Second Amendment rights. The administration appears unmoved, and today is putting its words into effect, by way of executive order. The executive order will implement newer restrictions on the sale of weapons in states near the border, and will impose greater penalties on those who violate certain gun laws.  
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