A recent article in the Washington Post posited that the obstruction by the Congress of presidential recess appointments is unconstitutional. This debate emerged in light of the fact that currently, there is a backlog of presidential appointments. There are two explanations for this. First, President Obama has yet to nominate people to fill various executive and judicial branch openings. For example, a new chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers has yet to be named and there are two empty seats on the Federal Reserve board. The second reason behind the logjam is the Senate’s reluctance to confirm those nominees already submitted by the President for that body’s approval.
There is, however, a third less obvious factor slowing the appointment process. Using a potent parliamentary tactic, the House of Representatives has acted to keep both houses of the legislative branch in “pro forma” session throughout the August break in order to prevent President Obama from bypassing the advice and consent of the Senate by making what is known as recess appointments.
It is hard not to be amazed by the blackout of media coverage of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Had Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, or any second-tier candidate been performing remotely as well as Paul has, he would no longer be regarded as a “second-tier” candidate. To the credit of such left-leaning outlets as Jon Stewarts' The Daily Show and The Huffington Post, this phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by everyone.
Let’s think about this.
In spite of the extent to which Paul has been ignored by the establishment media in both of its leftist and rightist varieties, he unfailingly elicits explosive applause in every GOP presidential primary debate in which he has participated. A Fox News poll, of all places, shows that the overwhelming majority of its respondents hold that Ron Paul achieved a decisive victory over all of the other candidates in the most recent debate in Iowa. Of 7,991 “active” cities nationwide that participated in the poll, and 43,293 total votes, 27,459 people thought that Paul won the debate. Newt Gingrich came in second place — with 5, 906 votes.
California Governor Jerry Brown proposed a new tax plan to the state legislature Thursday that would boost levies on large corporations located outside of California. Brown’s request to state lawmakers is to revert the sales tax structure back to the formula adopted before 2009, which would require multi-state corporations, which employ few California workers, to pay higher sales taxes for goods they sell within state boundaries.
These dollars would shift to California companies in the form of sales-tax exemptions, with the intent to nudge companies to manufacture products and hire people within the state.
Under the 2009 budget plan, out-of-state companies were allowed to choose between two tax formulas, which the Brown administration claims left California-based businesses at a competitive disadvantage. The new plan would calculate out-of-state companies’ tax liability solely on the portion of sales they earn in California, an approach called the "single-sales factor."
Sometime in the early summer of 1497, a small caravel, the Matthew, with a crew of 18 men, spied land after weeks of perilous sailing across the dangerous, then-unknown waters of the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Captained by an Italian seaman, John Cabot, whose original name was Giovanni Caboto, the ship had departed Bristol in late May with King Henry VII’s blessing to look for new lands across the ocean. What Cabot and his men saw was a rugged coastline of deep, narrow bays, towering cliffs, and soaring headlands teeming with nesting seabirds — a landscape not unlike many portions of the coastline of Britain and Ireland. Cabot was undoubtedly inspired by the success, only a few years earlier, of fellow Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus, in discovering the islands of the Caribbean. But this was no subtropical paradise peopled with friendly natives; the seas here were rough, cold, and full of icebergs carried south from Greenland. Instead of waving palm trees, the land was forested with fir and spruce, with the more exposed headlands as barren as the Arctic tundra. John Cabot had discovered the eastermost portion of North America, the huge island that soon came to be known as Newfoundland.
Rarely does a government official call for himself — and his entire department — to be canned. But that is, in effect, what Secretary of Education Arne Duncan did in a recent webcast, according to a video and partial transcript posted at CNSNews.com.
During the course of the webcast, in which Duncan answered questions submitted via Twitter, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was raised. NCLB is the 2001 version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) signed into law by President George W. Bush that imposes national standards on schools and measures schools’ success in meeting those standards primarily via standardized testing. Its emphasis on testing and its lack of flexibility have caused consternation in state capitals and school districts across the country, especially since failure to meet the standards could mean a loss of federal money.
Only about one in seven obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States is willing to perform abortions, a new survey has found, down from the numbers claimed by a similar 2008 poll. LifeNews.com reported that the latest research, published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology medical journal, “finds 97 percent of physicians surveyed say they have encountered patients wanting an abortion while only 14 percent of doctors are willing to do an abortion. That’s lower than the 22 percent of doctors who said they would do an abortion in the last poll, from 2008.”
The nationwide survey of 1,144 ob-gyn physicians, conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, found female doctors more inclined to perform abortions than their male colleagues (18.6 percent versus 10.6 percent). Regarding age demographics, physicians 35 and under were the age group most likely to perform abortions (22 percent), with those 56 to 65 right behind them, and doctors between the ages of 35 and 45 the least likely to offer the procedure.
New York's Eric Schneiderman is the only Attorney General who doesn’t like the foreclosure settlement agreed to by the major banks behind the mortgage-backed-securities (MBS) and foreclosure (robo-signing and faked-documents) frauds that helped bring on the economic crisis in 2008. And he is feeling the heat. In exchange for a small fine, the settlement agreement would end the years-long investigations by New York and other states into the frauds, and would prevent them or any of the investors hurt by the frauds from ever bringing additional charges in the future.
But Schneiderman’s investigation into the shady practices behind the development and sale of MBSs isn’t complete, and signing off on such an agreement now would end his efforts and forever protect the banks from further public exposure to their back office practices. Danny Kanner, a spokesman for Schneiderman, said, “The attorney general remains concerned by any attempt at a global settlement that would shut down ongoing investigations of wrongdoing related to the mortgage crisis.” And it’s the “ongoing investigations” that the banks would like to end, and they’re willing to pay a token amount to make the whole issue go away.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's nationally known political victory over the powerful labor unions in his state has inspired yet another state to tackle its public-employee unions. Michigan, where organized labor is perhaps more entrenched than anywhere else, is on the verge of enacting a law that would require local governments to cap healthcare spending or lose state aid. The legislation would have the practical effect of requiring school system employees to pay more of their healthcare costs.
Unsurprisingly, local government associations have criticized the measure. Ben Bodkin, legislative affairs director for the Michigan Association of Counties, commented:
The state has never been involved in negotiating our benefits before. We believe helping counties specifically with additional tools to help control their costs themselves are a good idea across the board, but we do not support mandates.
As the newest entrant into the GOP presidential race, Texas Governor Rick Perry is finding some tough sledding in the early going — from a group of Republicans in his own state. Dave Nalle, secretary of the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) of Texas, wrote an article earlier this month on the RLC website, outlining the group’s warnings about the Lone Star State Governor, entitled “Meet the Real Rick Perry."
Nalle observed that even though Perry “may be the flavor of the day” for a lot of Republicans, Texas Republicans more familiar with his record “are a lot less enthusiastic” about his run for the presidency.
The RLC, a nationwide group, was founded in 1991 to, in their words, "restore the principles of individual liberty, limited government and free market economics to America through the Republican Party.” The group's values — personal responsibility and small government — are not only reminiscent of those of the Republican Party of bygone years, but seem to have been lifted right out of Rick Perry’s book Fed Up.
President Obama has signed yet another Executive Order, making it his 94th to date. This Executive Order creates an Office of Diversity, for the purposes of boosting minority participation in the federal work force.
The mission for the Order reads:
By this order, I am directing executive departments and agencies to develop and implement a more comprehensive, integrated, and strategic focus on diversity and inclusion as a key component of their human resources strategies.