Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) used her congressional office funds to pay for a fancy $20,000 luncheon for some of her constituents in May, calling it a "briefing" to get around House rules prohibiting such expenditures. Jay's Catering handled the details of the party complete with singing, dancing, and "special consideration of [guests'] dietary and medical needs." Chris Kuhles, catering manager, said "It was a Polynesian-themed event — Huli Huli Chicken, fried rice, green salad, Hawaiian sweet rolls [and} for dessert, truffle cake."
It was all according to Hoyle, said Richardson's spokesman Ray Zaccaro: "All expenses associated with the event were in keeping with the rules and standards of the House Members Representational Account (MRA)." However, a close look at those rules showed that Richardson's "briefing" violated at least three of the MRA rules including these:
In an effort to create an ultimate Nanny state, the California Assembly has recently passed legislation that legislates the proper treatment of babysitters, as per the Assembly’s standards. The new legislation requires that babysitters receive rest and meal breaks. Additionally, parents who hire babysitters would be required to provide workers’ compensation benefits.
Written by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) Assembly Bill 889 makes these requirements and more. The bill applies to all “domestic employees,” to include housekeepers, nannies, caregivers, and babysitters.
A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a law, passed by the Texas legislature in May, that requires a woman seeking an abortion to receive a sonogram at least 24 hours before the procedure so she can see the baby’s features and hear its heartbeat. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin ruled that the law, set to go into effect on September 1st, “compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen.”
In his August 31st injunction, reported the Baptist Press News, “Sparks wrote that the law’s requirements expand beyond medically necessary information and ‘are unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment right to be free from compelled speech.’” Specifically, continued the BP news story, “Sparks argued that the First Amendment rights of doctors and patients are violated in the law’s requirements that doctors show the patient an ultrasound of the baby, make the heartbeat audible and give a verbal description of the child.”
A woman in Idaho has filed the first ever lawsuit against the “fetal pain” abortion ban. Filed by Jennie Linn McCormack against Bannock County, the lawsuit contends that the new law that bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy because of fetal pain is a violation of the Constitution.
Idaho is one of six states — the others being Kansas, Alabama, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Nebraska — to enact the fetal pain abortion ban in six years. Nebraska was the first to pass legislation that bans abortions after 20 weeks because of fetal pain at that stage of development. LifeSiteNews.com explains the premise behind the bans:
Declaring a First Amendment right to videotape police making an arrest in public, the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has denied a police claim of immunity and allowed a civil rights suit against three Boston police officers to go forward. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston on behalf of Simon Glik, a Boston attorney who was arrested on the evening of October 1, 2007 for using his cellphone to record police officers making an arrest on the Boston Common.
Glik's suit claims police violated his First Amendment rights by stopping him from recording and his Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him without probable cause. The officers appealed a district court ruling denying them qualified immunity from the suit. A ruling by a three-judge panel of the appeals circuit on Friday of last week upheld the lower court's decision.
One of the terms of the recent debt ceiling deal between Congress and the White House was that Congress would vote on, but not necessarily pass, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. The deal did not, however, specify the language in the amendment, giving legislators plenty of opportunities to sneak in loopholes that might very well render any amendment that does pass meaningless.
One Senator, in fact, is doing just that. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has proposed an amendment with more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese — “the worst idea of them all,” according to Colin Hanna, president of the Pennsylvania public-policy organization Let Freedom Ring. While Udall’s amendment does require the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress, it also provides Congress with several ways to skirt the same requirement for the budget it passes.
For instance, if 60 percent of both houses of Congress votes to override the balanced budget requirement for the current fiscal year, it’s a goner. (Hanna notes that this “effectively applies only to the House, since the Senate typically requires 60% for nearly everything already.”)
Despite accusations by some that Ron Paul is being ignored by the mainstream media, there has been an uptick in coverage of the good doctor’s campaign. Scan the channels and you're likely to see Ron Paul's face more than once.
The fact remains, however, that many subsidized media outlets dismiss Ron Paul’s candidacy as a chimera is indisputable, though. Even a cursory review of the headlines in scores of newspapers and magazines reveals the prevailing wisdom that Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and Mitt Romney are all more viable choices then the congressman from Texas.
Evidence of such relegation to second banana status on the part of the traditional sources of news is everywhere. Take for example the fact that CNN spotlighted a Sarah Palin appearance instead of covering a speech by Ron Paul, a declared candidate for president. As the U.K.’s Telegraph put it:
The decision of local union bosses to ban Republican politicians from this year’s labor-day parade in Wausau, Wisconsin, is sparking nationwide attention and criticism, adding even more fuel to the political turmoil in the state following months of partisan battles over the power of government-sector unions.
In addition to the national outcry from activists on both sides, locals are fighting back as well. Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple, who is not affiliated with either party, said the union organizers would have to foot the bill for the parade themselves if their decision to bar the GOP stands.
“The banning of a political party from participation at any event co-sponsored by the City is against public policy and not in the best interest of all the citizens of the City of Wausau. And therefore, we encourage the event organizer to invite all interested parties, or reimburse the city for other costs,” the Mayor said in a statement.
Not long after Rick Perry became Governor of Texas, according to an Associated Press release on May 12, 2001 he signed the James Byrd Hate Crimes Act (HB 587) named for a black man in Jasper, Texas, who was dragged to death behind a pickup in 1998.
In a bill-signing ceremony on May 11, 2001 Perry said:
As the Governor of our diverse state, in all matters it is my desire to seek common ground for the common good. In the end, we are all Texans and we must be united as we walk together into the future. That’s why today I have signed House Bill 587 into law. Texas has always been a tough-on-crime state. With my signature today, Texas now has stronger criminal penalties against crime motivated by hate.
President Obama signed a similar law, and the Texas statute signed by Perry does effectively establish a special “protected class” status including enhanced sentencing for crimes allegedly motivated by bias against it.
A federal district judge has blocked Alabama’s tough new immigration law from going into effect and says she will decide whether it is constitutional.
Sharon Lovelace Blackburn, chief judge for the Northern District of Alabama (a post for which she was nominated by the elder President Bush), acted on behalf of a coalition of Hispanic activists and leftist lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Obama administration, and various leftist churches.
The Montgomery Advertiser reported that Blackburn's ruling will last in until September 29 "or until she issues an order on the specific injunction requests, whichever comes first. That order would come no later than Sept. 28."
The law was scheduled to go into effect on September 1.