Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Richard N. Palmer, part of a 4-3 majority in a controversial ruling that upheld the taking of the homes of several New London residents to make room for a private commercial development, apologized years later to the woman who led the fight against it. In a September 18 article in the Hartford Courant, Jeff Benedict, author of a book about the case, called Little Pink House, recalled witnessing the apology after a talk he gave on the subject at a dinner honoring the Connecticut Supreme Court at the New Haven Lawn Club in May 2010. Benedict was talking with Susette Kelo, the lead plaintiff in Kelo v. New London, when Judge Palmer approached.
"Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently," he said.
"I was speechless," Benedict recalled. "So was Susette. One more vote in her favor by the Connecticut Supreme Court would have changed history. The case probably would not have advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Susette and her neighbors might still be in their homes." Then the judge took Kelo's hand and offered his apology.
When a woman in a Los Angeles, California neighborhood placed a two-story cross in her front yard, neighbors grew frustrated and called in city officials. Homeowner Laly Dobener said she put the religious symbol in her yard to express devotion to her Catholic faith. But according to neighbors’ complaints, the cross is an eyesore which attracts unwanted attention to their cul-de-sac and hurts their property values.
Laurie Beiner, a resident in the West Hills neighborhood, complained, “When you turn down our cul-de-sac, it looks like there is a church on our street.”
Others bemoan what they have called the “graphic nature” of the cross, as it is adorned with a crown of thorns and features drops of blood on each of its ends, where the hands and feet of Jesus would have been nailed. Atop the cross is a sign reading, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Although William F. Buckley, Jr., died more than three and a half years ago, his spirit clearly lives on in the National Review, the neoconservative political magazine he founded in 1955. The September 19 cover story, “Ron Paul’s Last Crusade,” by Kevin D. Williamson, purports to be an investigative piece about Congressman Ron Paul and his latest run for the presidency, but is instead a snide character assassination of Paul and an all-purpose smear on anyone who shares his convictions, including The John Birch Society.
“Ron Paul is kind of a dork,” Williamson declares in the article’s opening paragraph — this allegedly in favorable contrast to “Mussolinian” Barack Obama, “cowboy” Rick Perry, and “self-parodically ‘presidential’ ” Mitt Romney. Decrying the “raging personality cult” that has supposedly elevated Ron Paul far beyond what his limited natural merits could possibly justify — the congressman checks his watch too often, according to the article, and isn’t much of a public speaker, transgressions that make him America’s “most successful awful retail politician,” whatever that means — Williamson effuses paragraph after paragraph of scornful prose intended to portray Ron Paul supporters as nut jobs and ignorant wackos. Dislike the Federal Reserve? How dare they, those ignorant booboisie! Oppose interventionist American foreign policy? What are they thinking, given the shining success of America’s incessant warmaking in the Middle East and Central Asia over the past generation!
Proclaiming his innocence to the end, Troy Davis (left) died at 11:08 Wednesday night, executed by lethal injection for the 1989 murder of Savannah, Georgia Police Officer Mark MacPhail. The execution at the Georgia State Prison in Jackson was delayed for four hours past its scheduled time of 7 p.m. by order of the U.S. Supreme Court, which deliberated over final appeals for clemency for the 42-year-old Davis, whose impending execution had sparked national and international opposition from death penalty opponents — and even prominent supporters of capital punishment. Some of the latter pointed to recanted witness testimony, the lack of physical evidence linking Davis to the murder, and accounts of police and prosecution coercion of witnesses as raising reasonable doubt of Davis's guilt. The Court declined to intervene, however, and allowed the execution proceed.
Strapped to the gurney for the lethal injection, Davis made a final declaration of his innocence, according to reporters at the execution. "I did not personally kill your son, father, brother," he said, looking directly at members of the MacPhail family.
A condemned man on Georgia's death row appears certain to die Wednesday night, despite strong evidence that his trial for murder 20 years ago was seriously flawed and key witnesses against him have since recanted their testimony. An appeal for clemency was denied by the state pardons board Tuesday morning and prison authorities early Wednesday morning turned away lawyers who wanted to administer a polygraph test in a desperate, last-minute attempt to show that Troy Davis is not the man who killed Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989.
The planned execution has been met with national and worldwide protests. Amnesty International claims more than one million people have signed its petition for clemency and the NAACP has joined in condemning the execution planned for the 42-year-old African-American. Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter and former FBI director William Sessions are among those who have joined the international appeal for clemency. Davis is scheduled for execution by lethal injection at the state prison in Georgia tonight at 7 p.m.
The American Jobs Act has already faced a flurry of criticism for a variety of reasons, including the cost and the likelihood that it will do little to create jobs. The most recent cause for criticism, however, follows the revelation that the bill could potentially destroy state sovereignty.
Section 376 of the bill reads:
SEC. 376. FEDERAL AND STATE IMMUNITY.
Abrogation of State Immunity — A State shall not be immune under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution from a suit brought in a Federal court of competent jurisdiction for a violation of this Act.
In other words, under the authority of the jobs bill, states are not immune from federal prosecution if they are in violation of the act. The Blaze explains, “In the event this bill passes, it will override a state’s sovereign authority as defined and protected under the 11th Amendment.” It reads:
During the recent GOP presidential debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that Social Security is a "monstrous lie" and a "Ponzi scheme." More and more people are coming to see that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, but is it a lie, as well? Let's look at it.
Here's what the 1936 government pamphlet on Social Security said: "After the first 3 years — that is to say, beginning in 1940 — you will pay, and your employer will pay, 1.5 cents for each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year.... Beginning in 1943, you will pay 2 cents, and so will your employer, for every dollar you earn for the next 3 years.... And finally, beginning in 1949, twelve years from now, you and your employer will each pay 3 cents on each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year." Here's Congress' lying promise: "That is the most you will ever pay."
Another lie in the Social Security pamphlet is: "Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States government will set up a Social Security account for you.... The checks will come to you as a right."
During the fallout following the government bailout of banking, investment, insurance, and the auto industry, President Obama justified the extension of corporate welfare by informing the American people that these businesses were “too big to fail.”
Regardless of the logic of such a stance, in the history of republican political thought, the opposite of the Obama Doctrine has been asserted as axiomatic. As the theory went (goes), a republic cannot function properly toward the end of preserving liberty if it grows too large. One might say of republics that they can be “too big to succeed.”
That is the sentiment behind a recent collection of essays addressing the increasingly untenable size of the federal government and the possibility and desirability of its perpetuation.
Rethinking the American Union for the Twenty-first Century is a collection of seven essays compiled and edited by Donald Livingston. The collection is an extension of the Abbeville Conference held in Charleston, South Carolina in 2010. Contributing scholars include Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo, Yuri Maltsev, Kent Masterson Brown, Marshall DeRosa, Kirkpatrick Sale, and Rob Williams.
Shequita Walker, a 40-year old disabled woman from Atlanta, Georgia, asserts that she was arrested merely for sitting outside in a chair. Her account of the events indicates that she was sitting outside when she was approached by a police officer, who asked her to move from her chair. When she refused, she said she was thrown to the ground and arrested.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution provides some background:
Shequita Walker, 40, suffers from severe joint pain and has a limited range of motion. For several years, Walker has enjoyed sitting in a metal chair in the vacant lot next to her apartment complex on Boulevard. Walker says she isn't on the sidewalk or in anyone's way, and has spent many hot afternoons waiting on the ice cream truck to drive by so she can buy a cold treat.
On April 21, however, police officer Kenneth Thomas asked Walker to move from her usual spot. Walker replied that she was not in violation of any law and was within her rights to remain in place. She also told Thomas that other officers had seen her in that spot on numerous occasions and had never given her any trouble.
An atheist group has turned its attention to the federal tax code, but not because of its astronomical size and scope. Instead, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is concerned with what it alleges to be an unconstitutional exemption for Christian ministers.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation, which typically launches battles to ensure the oft-used maxim of “separation of church and state,” has joined three of its officers in filing a lawsuit against Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman.
A portion of the lawsuit reads:
Section 107 has the effect of fostering governmental entanglement with religion, precisely in order to limit the tax break provided by §107 to religious clergy; the IRS must make complex, intrusive and subjective inquiries into religious matters when applying §107 in order to limit its preferential scope to ministers of the gospel.