As a resident of tiny Smithville, Texas (between Austin and Houston), this past Labor Day I was able to observe firsthand the largest and most horrific wildfire in Texas history (which ravaged the area) and also its aftermath. The event — labeled the Bastrop County Complex fire — once again gave rise to the stories that restore one’s faith in people: Neighbors as well as citizens from states around the nation responded immediately to the plight of victims. Yet at the same time, the intrusion of the U.S. government agency FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), with its bureaucratic regulations, provided a clear lesson on why federal aid is not the answer in such situations.
A lawsuit filed by the state of Massachusetts seeking to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman, has received the support of a legal brief filed by scores of major corporations. According to LifeSite News, nearly 70 companies signed on to the friend-of-the-court brief filed in Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The companies include Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, NIKE, Levi Strauss and Co., CBS, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., Time Warner Cable, and Xerox. Also adding their influence to the brief, reported Keen News Service, a website focusing on homosexual issues, were nearly a dozen national law firms, seven trade and professional organizations, and the cities of New York and Boston.
LifeSite News reported that the brief “charges that DOMA causes ‘unnecessary cost and administrative complexity’ for employers located in states where same-sex ‘marriage’ is recognized by law. Since same-sex ‘marriage’ is recognized as legal in some states but not recognized by the federal government, employers must contend with a complex tax situation for ‘married’ homosexual couples, the brief says.”
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the individual mandate of ObamaCare is constitutional. Writing for the majority, Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, a Reagan appointee, affirmed that by enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, specifically the provision mandating that everyone purchase qualifying health insurance, Congress did not exceed the authority ceded to it by the states in the Constitution.
Despite an utter lack of fair coverage in the mainstream media, Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul continues to hold his own in the race for the GOP primary. In fact, Paul may be doing even better than some are aware. According to a survey conducted by Real Clear Politics, Ron Paul is the only other GOP presidential contender besides frontrunner Mitt Romney to have a chance at defeating President Obama in a 2012 presidential race.
As with the constitutional struggle that was stirred up by the passage of ObamaCare, the President’s latest pet proposal is brightening the battle lines between friends of federal power and those who advocate the protection of the sovereignty of states. The American Jobs Act contains several key provisions that apparently push the boundary between state and federal power back, expanding Washington’s sphere of authority.
The November 9 Republican presidential debate in Detroit highlighted the utter economic cluelessness of the overwhelming majority of CNBC hosts and another Rick Perry debate mental lapse.
CNBC host Maria Bartiromo began the debate by claiming, "We will be joined by an all-star lineup of the smartest people on CNBC."
But the debate only proved again why CNBC is the most economically ignorant "financial network." The bad predictions by CNBC hosts during the housing and financial bubble led comedian Jon Stewart to quip on Comedy Central's The Daily Show in 2009, "If I'd only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today... provided I started with 100 million dollars."
CNBC hosts and guests routinely mocked and laughed at sober analysts of the housing bubble, such as EuroPacific Capital's Peter Schiff. Schiff's fans famously put together YouTube videos of analysts mocking Schiff entitled "Peter Schiff was Right," and were able to put together a CNBC-only edition of bad economic advice being given against Schiff's sober analysis during the economic bubble.
Last Friday a superior court in New Jersey held that a “marriage equality” suit may proceed. The ruling had the effect of partially denying a motion to dismiss filed by New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow. The complaint against the state was filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of Garden State Equality (GSE), a statewide “gay rights” organization. Joining the suit as co-plaintiffs are seven homosexual couples and their children who all claim to have suffered under various provisions of the Garden State’s current civil union statute.
The complainants have requested that the court declare the civil union law unconstitutional and enjoin enforcement of it. Specifically, the suit argues that as applied to citizens of the state of New Jersey, the law at issue violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as similar provisions of the New Jersey state constitution.
On Tuesday night, GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain issued a formal response to the sexual harassment allegations levied by Sharon Bialek and his other accusers. During a news conference held in Phoenix, Cain declared the accusations to be “baseless” and in the case of Bialek, motivated by money. Any claims asserted by Bialek, according to Cain, “simply did not happen” because he contends he does not recognize Bialek.
Days ago, Bialek became the fourth woman to come forward and make charges against Cain, and the first to go public. During a New York City press conference on Monday, the Chicago woman claimed that Cain made aggressive sexual advances toward her in July 1997 after she had asked him for help finding employment. The Washington Post reports:
After being let go by the NRA foundation, Bialek, who had met Cain on several occasions during conferences and at a dinner, reached out to Cain to obtain guidance on getting a new job. The NRA confirmed on Monday afternoon that Bialek had worked for its education foundation from December 1996 to June 1997.
According to Bialek, Cain put his hand under her skirt and reached for her genitals. She adds that Cain pushed her head toward his crotch while they were in a car. She claims that she responded to these advances by saying, “This isn’t what I came here for, Mr. Cain.” She claims that his response to her statement was, “You want a job, right?”
Government programs often begin with limited, easily identifiable purposes, then grow over time to become expensive, wasteful, and even dangerous monstrosities. Such is the case with the federal War on Drugs, which began with little fanfare under a modest 1914 anti-narcotics law and has since grown to enormous proportions, eviscerating the Bill of Rights and entangling the United States in countries all around the globe in a futile effort to eradicate the supplies of highly sought-after commodities.
The National Education Association (NEA) held its most recent convention in Chicago in July 2011. While they expressed some dissatisfaction with President Obama and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, they decided to endorse the President for a second term as the lesser of the two evils. Nevertheless, the delegates did not hesitate to approve of a resolution directing the NEA’s president to “communicate aggressively, forcefully, and immediately” to President Obama and Secretary Duncan that the NEA was appalled with Duncan.
According to Phyllis Schlafly’s Education Reporter: “The resolution went on to lay out 13 charges against Duncan, including focusing too heavily on charter schools, failing to respect and honor the professionalism of teachers, weighing in on local hiring decisions, and focusing too heavily on competitive grants (i.e. Race to the Top).”
The resolution was endorsed by the union’s board of directors, which gave it its highest priority. The union has been screaming bloody murder over the lay-off of teachers and support staff due to budget cuts. But even the NEA has had to trim its own budget by $14 million by downsizing its national staff.