June 27, 2013

Aaron Hernandez Killed Odin Lloyd to Cover Up Complicity In Two Other Murders?
— Ace

Wow.

Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, already facing charges in a murder last week in North Attleborough, is also being investigated in connection with a July 2012 double murder in Boston, according to two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation.

Investigators believe a fight broke out at Cure, a club in the South End, between two men and a group that included Hernandez.

...

[The men Hernandez had fought with] stopped at a traffic light on Shawmut Avenue, about to make a left onto Herald Street, when a silver or gray SUV with Rhode Island license plates pulled alongside the sedan. Someone from the SUV opened fire, killing Abreu, 29, and Furtado, 28.

The men who were with them survived the attack and the killings were left unsolved.

And speculation is that this is why Odin Lloyd was murdered -- and why Hernandez was concerned he was talking to the "wrong people." Perhaps friends of the previous victims?

Yesterday I suggested, based on my understanding, that Hernandez' concern about Lloyd talking to the "wrong people" was some kind of childish gang-mentality thing -- "Don't talk to people I'm feuding with," that kind of senseless gangbanger thing.

But it seems I was probably wrong. It looks like Hernandez wasn't just upset Lloyd was talking to people Hernandez didn't like. It looks like Hernandez was upset that Lloyd was breaking the first rule of Murder Club.

Posted by: Ace at 08:50 AM | Comments (235)
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Texas vs. California: 13% GDP Growth Over Past Five Years As Against Fool's Gold State's 0.3%
— Ace

Via Instapundit, it's a drubbingin all areas. If it was a fight they would have stopped it in round 1. Full article at The Hill.

The most telling indictment of California’s performance? If you removed oil and gas from the Texas economy, the Lone Star state has still outpaced growth in California. Apologists for the Golden State shouldn’t forget that it is in possession of two-thirds of America’s proven shale reserves, a treasure trove that rivals many resource-rich sovereign countries.

...

Finally, and most disturbingly, the US Census Bureau found that between 2009 and 2011, California had the highest supplemental poverty measure in America, with 42 percent more people in poverty as a share of the population than Texas. This can’t all be chalked up to immigration either: illegal immigrants account for the same percentage of Texas’s population as they do California’s.

California has a way to make up for lost ground, of course: They'll just demand the US government transfer wealth from citizens in well-managed states to the governments of poorly-managed ones.

And thus will terrible, destructive choices be disguised so that they'll never have to be corrected, like an alcoholic's habitual use of breath spray.

Posted by: Ace at 09:30 AM | Comments (245)
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Star Witness Rachael Jenteal: I Totally Wrote That Letter Explaining What Happened to Trayvon Martin That Night But I Sorta Don't Know How to Read It
— Ace

She's a star witness because she's the only witness to contradict George Zimmerman's claim that he stopped following Trayvon Martin. The defense suspects she's making this all up-- that she had nothing important to tell police, which is why she never bothered contacting them.

At some point, weeks later, the Martin family contacted her. She now explains her failure to step forward with critical information in a homicide case by saying she expected police to contact her, because that's what always happens on First 48 (one of those crime documentary news magazine shows).

"Don't you watch First 48?" she asked a defense attorney when pressed on this claim. As if she thought the attorney's knowledge of police procedure came from the same place hers (allegedly) did.

An alternate explanation is that she didn't contact police because she had nothing important to tell them at all, and that now she's been coached into how to deliver perjured testimony that could land Zimmerman in jail.

Yesterday she claimed that, over the cell phone, she could hear the sound of "grass, wet grass." Yes, of course everyone hears vegetation, and especially over a cell phone.

It's in this context that a letter supposedly written by her but not, alas, readable by her, is important.

A teenage friend of Trayvon Martin was forced to admit today in the George Zimmerman murder trial that she did not write a letter that was sent to Martin's mother describing what she allegedly heard on a phone call with Martin moments before he was shot.

In a painfully embarassing moment, Rachel Jeantel was asked to read the letter out loud in court.

"Are you able to read that at all?" defense attorney Don West asked.

Jeantel, head bowed, eyes averted whispered into the court microphone, "Some but not all. I don't read cursive."

It sent a hush through the packed courtroom.

Jeantel, 19, was unable to read any of the letter save for her name.

Posted by: Ace at 07:42 AM | Comments (886)
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The Numbers: 292 Tea Party Groups Targeted, Just 6 Progressive Groups
— Ace

An update to Drew's post below-- when only six organizations were looked at, they may be be being targeted, but they're being targeted for the easy treatment, not the rough treatment.

In a letter to congressional Democrats, the inspector general also said that 100 percent of Tea Party groups seeking special tax status were put under IRS review, while only 30 percent of the progressive groups felt the same pressure.

Let's unpack this whole claim -- liberals are clinging to the idea that if any of their groups were targeted, then this isn't a scandal at all, just equal application of the law.

But this is nonsense. The entire point is that the IRS is supposed to review these applications in order to determine whether the applicant fits under the rule for receiving special status. Progressives are now basically saying that if the IRS did its basic job with respect to progressive groups, and looked at a few of them, then there's no scandal.

But that's what the IRS was supposed to do. That doesn't mean it was "targeting" them.

What's targeting? Targeting is when the IRS applies special search terms to give your applications special scrutiny above and beyond the level that other groups receive.

All the progressive defenders of the IRS seem to be able to allege is that the IRS treated their groups properly and did in fact do some basic due diligence on a few of them.

But they weren't targeted for heightened scrutiny-- they got the regular ol' level of scrutiny.

And they know it, and now they're lying.

Meanwhile, 26% of Obama supporters believe the nation's top terrorist threat is The Tea Party, and, oh joy, I guess a lot of them work at the IRS.

new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters consider radical Muslims to be the bigger threat to the United States today. Thirteen percent (13%) view the Tea Party that way, and another 13% consider other political and religious extremists to be the larger danger....

However, among those who approve of the president’s job performance, just 29% see radical Muslims as the bigger threat. Twenty-six percent (26%) say it’s the Tea Party that concerns them most. Among those who Strongly Approve of the president, more fear the Tea Party than radical Muslims.


Posted by: Ace at 06:52 AM | Comments (370)
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Democrat: Hey The IRS Went After Liberal Groups Too! Treasury Department: Um, No.
— DrewM

Democratic Congressman Sander Levin claimed the IRS didn't just go after "tea party" groups but also ones that were "progressive".

Just one small problem, it's total BS.

“Our audit did not find evidence that the IRS used the ‘progressives’ identifier as selection criteria for potential political cases between May 2010 and May 2012,” [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Adminstration Russell] George wrote in the letter obtained by The Hill.

The inspector general also stressed that 100 percent of the groups with “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12” in their name were flagged for extra attention.

“While we have multiple sources of information corroborating the use of Tea Party and other related criteria we described in our report, including employee interviews, e-mails and other documents, we found no indication in any of these other materials that ‘progressives’ was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention,” George wrote to Levin, the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

The Democrats, for obvious reasons, desperately want this to go away but it just will not.

Republicans on the other hand need to figure out what they want from this. It's not going to end in Obama's impeachment or the flat tax, so what's the goal? Is it just politics for 2014 or is there some policy goal? I'd like to see civil service reforms along the lines of what Mitch McConnell was talking about last week. I hope the GOP starts pushing bills now while the issue is hot and not waiting for endless investigations. We know there were abuses and they were enabled by a corrupt system. Let's get to fixing it while there are new revelations to keep the public focused.

Posted by: DrewM at 04:44 AM | Comments (594)
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Top Headline Comments (6-27-2013)
— andy

Better late than never, I guess.

Whaddya got this morning, Vic?

Posted by: andy at 02:35 AM | Comments (666)
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June 26, 2013

Overnight Open Thread (6-26-2013)
— Maetenloch

The Immigration Bill AKA The Fire Americans Act

ObamaCare + the Amnesty Bill = the perverse incentive to fire American employees and replace them all with amnestied illegals.

Under the Gang of 8's backroom immigration deal with Senators Schumer, Corker and Hoeven, formerly illegal immigrants who are amnestied will be eligible to work, but will not be eligible for ObamaCare. Employers who would be required to pay as much as a $3,000 penalty for most employees who receive an ObamaCare healthcare "exchange" subsidy, would not have to pay the penalty if they hire amnestied immigrants.

Consequently, employers would have a significant incentive to hire or retain amnestied immigrants, rather than current citizens, including those who have recently achieved citizenship via the current naturalization process.

Just gets better and better doesn't it?

Hey Guess Who Wanted Leakers Tortured?

Hint: It's one of these men.

assange1_1688694creport-edward-snowden-took-a-job-with-booz-allen-to-gather-evidence-on-nsa-surveillance-programs220px-46_Dick_Cheney_3x4
more...

Posted by: Maetenloch at 05:13 PM | Comments (932)
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Patriots' Aaron Hernandez Arrested for Murder
— Ace

He may or may not have pulled the triggers; he had a little team to pull off this stupid little murder.

The murdered man was named Odin (!) Lloyd-- apparently guilty of "talking to the wrong people," whatever that means. I do think it just means "talking" -- that he was socializing with people Hernandez didn't like.

So he and two confederates killed him.

Surveillance footage from Hernandez's home showed him leaving with a gun, and he told someone in the house that he was upset and couldn't trust anyone anymore, the prosecutor said.

The three men picked up Lloyd at his home around 2:30 a.m., according to authorities. As they drove around in their rented car, they discussed what happened at the nightclub, and Lloyd started getting nervous, McCauley said.

Lloyd texted his sister, "Did you see who I am with?" When she asked who, he answered, at 3:22 a.m., "NFL," then, a minute later, he sent one final text: "Just so you know."

Within a few minutes, people working the overnight shift at the industrial park reported hearing gunshots, McCauley said. Surveillance video showed the car going into a remote area of the industrial park and emerging four minutes later, the prosecutor said.

A short time later, Hernandez returned to his house, and he and one of the other men were seen on his home surveillance system holding guns, McCauley said. Then the system stopped recording, according to the prosecutor.

This guy's got his priorities straight:

To review:

Aaron Hernandez, Biggest Loser.

Tim Tebow, Big Winner.

Also a Big Loser: Odin Lloyd, the guy Hernandez killed.

I shouldn't make a big deal but it is strange the guy analyzes the Hernandez Situation chiefly from the perspective of lineup changes on the Patriots.

Posted by: Ace at 03:10 PM | Comments (454)
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Press Suddenly Decides It Does Want to Cover Local Crime Stories
— Ace

A so-called "citizen filibuster" succeeded last night when abortion supporters blocked Texas from outlawing post-20th-week abortions by hooting the legislative session into disorder. Rich Perry has called for the legislature to reconvene on July 1st.

I didn't see the coverage, but apparently the media was fawning over the "citizen filibusterers."

Here's the most incredible example imaginable -- something that proves a profound bias. You'll remember previously that Sarah Kliff, who covers abortion policy for the Washington Post, explained that she wasn't covering the Gosnell story because she doesn't cover "local crime stories."

Well, here's how she gushed over a pro-choice legislator's filibuster and the "citizen filibuster" that shut the house down:


Ah. Not merely a "local crime story" about some disorderly conduct at a state house, then?

How long will the media continuing lying directly to our faces even as they claim for themselves special status as "truth tellers"?

From Hot Air, a flashback to this two part analsys by long-time newspaperman Carl Cannon on the press' most sacred of sacred cows, abortion. It's the second part that is directly on this subject, while the first part is about media disdain for religion and the religious generally.

Mollie Hemingway continues along these lines by exposing the AP's reliable Narrative Template for abortion stories.


Posted by: Ace at 01:40 PM | Comments (156)
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Ambassador Stevens' Diary's Last Page Features Words "Never-Ending Security Threats...," Then Page Goes Ominiously Blank
— Ace

"Like a movie," Sexton says, and it would seem hokey in a movie. But it's the actual truth of the matter.

Perhaps the most damning statement found in Stevens' journal is one reported by Foreign Policy dated September 6th "Dicey conditions, including car bombs, attacks on consulate, British embassy, and our own people. Islamist 'hit list' in Benghazi. Me targeted on a pro-Q [Qaeda? Qaddafi?] website (no more off-compound jogging)." This is similar to a paragraph found in early drafts of the Benghazi talking points:

Since April there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British ambassador's convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has [sic] previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.


Last night, @slublog p-shopped a picture. Look closely at the t-shirt.

The only person I know of who's suffered the consequences for this deadly fiasco is whistleblower Thomas Hicks.

Posted by: Ace at 12:58 PM | Comments (162)
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Calls Ringing "Non-Stop" Into Offices of Amnesty-Supporting Officials
— Ace

Heartening.

“Five hundred [calls] yesterday, and right now, they’re just ringing non-stop,” said an upset staffer at the office of Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who has voted on both sides of the dispute.

Protestors have sent “hundreds or thousands” of calls to Ohio Republican Sen. Robert Portman’s Republican office, a staff member told The Daily Caller.

“That vast majority of calls today have been on that… [and] we’ve been getting calls on that for a couple of weeks,” said a staffer working for Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. Robert Casey.

The calls have stiffened the spine of GOP Senators who might otherwise bend to pressure from business groups and from influential people in their home state, such as editorial writers and clerics, said Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, which provides a free phone service for Americans who oppose the massive rewrite.

That number is here: 888-995-8349.


Posted by: Ace at 12:25 PM | Comments (123)
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Unexpected: Original GDP Growth Figure of a Tepid 2.4% Reduced to a Puny 1.8%
— Ace

Unexpectedly, unexpectedly. The vaunted Best and the Brightest seem to be surprised a lot more than the actual best and the brightest should be.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-quarter GDP growth would be left unrevised at 2.4 percent. When measured from the income side, the economy grew at a 2.5 percent rate, slower than the fourth-quarter's brisk 5.5 percent pace.

Details of the report, which showed downward revisions to almost all growth categories, with the exception of home construction and government, could cast a shadow over the Federal Reserve's fairly upbeat assessment of the economy last week.

Though the data is fairly backward looking, it comes as financial market conditions are tightening after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week the U.S. central bank would likely begin to slow the pace of its bond-buying stimulus later this year and stop the program in 2014.

Economists fear that could undercut growth, which has recently shown signs of picking up.

And thus we set up the next round of "This Completely Unsurprising News Is Somehow Completely Unexpected."

Posted by: Ace at 11:10 AM | Comments (137)
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Conservatives May Take Australia's Elections After Unpopularity and Scheming of Labour Regime
— Ace

When I say conservatives I mean Liberals. Australia's right-leaning party is called the Liberal Party.

The unpopular Kevin Rudd was deposed in a palace coup a couple of years ago by his deputy Julia Gillard. Now that she's also unpopular, he's mounted a coup against her, and now he's Prime Minister again. But still unpopular.

Australia now has the chance – should it wish to take it – of joining Canada in leading the Conservative fightback in what remains of the free West. Tony Abbott's Liberals (that's Australian for Conservatives) look set to win an outright majority, without having to do any of the grotesque horsetrading with the Greens (which have been one of the more noisome and damaging aspects of Gillard's vile, principle-free Coalition).

This Australian blogger gets into the details of the situation and the coup.

via @conservatist

Posted by: Ace at 02:21 PM | Comments (168)
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George Zimmerman Trial Thread
— Ace

I see a lot of people are talking about this in comments.

The prosecution's "star witness" isn't such a star.

Jeantel is mumbling her testimony, leading to delays in the courtroom. She has already allegedly perjured herself months ago by stating that she missed Martin’s funeral because she was in the hospital.

She alleges that Trayvon said "White Hispanic is following me," or something like that, moments before the shooting.

Although I just started watching it, Shep and his legal expert say that Zimmerman's lawyer is doing a horrible job with this witness, avoiding every chance to impeach her, generally having no control over her. She's legal expert actually said the lawyer's malperformance could be the basis of an ineffective assistance of counsel appeal, should it come to that.

I doubt that but I guess he's doing a very poor job.

Live Video with Commentary: At Legal Insurrection, which also has several twitter timelines from people watching the trial.


Posted by: Ace at 10:42 AM | Comments (777)
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The Supremely Anti-Democratic Holding on Prop 8
— Ace

I was intrigued by AllahPundit's characterization of the holding:

Forget the gay-marriage stuff for a second and focus on the process. Am I right in understanding that the Court’s now essentially held that if the people of a state pass a popular referendum on whatever subject and then that referendum is challenged and struck down at the trial-court level, they have no right to appeal? They get one bite at the apple and then, if the executive decides he doesn’t like the referendum enough to choose to appeal it himself, there’s nothing a single member of the public can do to ask an appellate court to reconsider the lower court’s decision — even though many millions of voters voted directly to enact the law? That seems … odd.

Could this be the case? Has the Supreme Court ruled that citizens have no rights vis a vis the permanent political class when that class chooses to ignore their popular (I mean that in the neutral, technical sense) intitiatives and referendums?

Consider the entire point of the initiative and referendum mechanism: It exists as a safety valve by which the citizenry can bypass or overrule the permanent political class if the permanent political class refuses to accede to actual popular will. (And there I meant popular in the non-neutral sense.)

In the matter of Prop 8, the citizens passed an amendment. The permanent political class of the government did not like this amendment, and ignored it. That class refused to make the case in favor of the amendment when another member of the permanent political class, a federal district judge, struck it down as unconstitutional. Now the proponents of the amendment come forward before other members of the permanent political class to argue that, because no other members of the permanent political class are willing to argue in favor of the constitutionality of an amendment the citizens passed, and this latest tribunal of the permanent political class -- the Supreme Court -- tells them no, only members of the permanent political class are authorized to plead on behalf a a citizen-promulgated amendment.

The dissent* doesn't speak of a permanent political class per se, but he does speak of the Court's championing of elected officials versus citizen petitioners:

The Court’s reasoning does not take into account the fundamental principles or the practical dynamics of the initiative system in California, which uses this mechanism to control and to bypass public officials—the same officials who would not defend the initiative, an injury the Court now leaves unremedied. The Court’s decision also has implications for the 26 other States that use an initiative or popular referendum system and which, like California, may choose to have initiative proponents stand in for the State when public officials decline to defend an initiative in litigation.

What an outrageous situation! The whole point of the initiative system is to bypass the elected representatives and pass the sorts of laws the permanent political class does not like but the actual citizens do, and the Supreme Court has effectively ruled this system to be a nullity -- because the exact same permanent political class the citizens sought to bypass can render any initiative inoperative by refusing to recognize it and by refusing to defend it in court.

The permanent political class apparently has the power of veto over the citizenry -- no matter what state law may say about the initiative process or the rights of the proponents of an initiative to defend it in court, it is now, supposedly, the law of the land that the federal government invalidates such rights and claws them back in favor of the permanent political class' right to rule.

Extraordinary. An extraordinary claim for any American to make, let alone five in concert.

*Corrected: I said this was "Scalia's dissent." How wrong I was. He voted with the majority. Kennedy wrote this dissent, joined by Thomas, Alito, and Sotomayor, who, if I had to guess, wanted to rule on the actual law in order to say gay marriage was required under the Constitution.

Now that I see that, I wonder what's going on here. I wonder if the majority opinion isn't a bit of gamesmanship written in order to preclude a different majority from ruling that gay marriage is the law of the entire country if the decision were to reach the merits.

On the "Permanent Political Class:" Some may object that there is no permanent political class -- we hold elections. Some representatives are beaten, others take the office. Judges retire or die and are replaced by other judges.

But that speaks to individuals. Individual representatives of the class are not permanent, as no human being is permanent. But the class itself endures and is eternal.

Or, perhaps, so it imagines.


Posted by: Ace at 09:57 AM | Comments (322)
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Palin: Let's Primary Ayotte and Rubio
— Ace

Can't disagree.

I was never a super-fan of Ayotte. I favored Ovide Lemontagne over her in the primary, and was annoyed when Palin endorsed Ayotte.

Rubio probably can't be beat but there's no harm in trying.

Palin' pitch here is about honesty and fidelity, not the issues per se. Her main problem, per her statements, is that Rubio and Ayotte simply lied to primary voters (and she herself, I imagine) and aren't trustworthy.

“Conservatives are getting ready for the 2014 and 2016 primaries. We have long memories, and there will be consequences for those who break campaign promises and vote for this amnesty bill," Palin told Breitbart News. "Competition makes everyone work harder, be better, and be held accountable. This applies to politics, too. No one is ‘entitled’ to anything."

She continued, "Rigorous debate in competitive primaries allows candidates the opportunity to explain their flip-flops. So think of contested primaries as a win-win for politicians and their voters."

...

"Every politician should be held accountable for breaking their campaign promises," Palin said during an interview on the "John Gibson Radio Show" on Fox News radio. "They turned their back on the American public, so why should they not be held accountable?"

It seems hard to make a case in favor of less honesty, candor, and accountability in politics, but I'm sure the New York Times and the rest of the Liberal Cheer Squad in the media will make that case when these two get a primary challenger. We'll hear endless whining about "extremism" in the conservative movement, and very little at all about honoring promises made to voters.

Posted by: Ace at 11:54 AM | Comments (239)
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Rubio Takes To Senate Floor To Claim He's Still A Conservative
— DrewM

Via @allahpundit, Marco Rubio went to the Senate floor earlier today to defend his approach to amnesty and to remind people he's still the same old lovable guy he's always been.

“I have received numerous emails and calls from conservatives and tea party activists,” he said at the beginning of his remarks.

“To hear the worry, anxiety, and growing anger in the voices of so many people who helped me get elected to the Senate, who I agree with on virtually every other issue, has been a real trial for me,” he confessed.

But he said he told them that he would go to Washington to “fight to stop what is bad for America,” and that what we have now is, in fact, hurting America. ”I simply wasn’t going to leave it to Democrats alone to try to figure out how to fix it.”

“I got involved because I knew that if conservatives didn’t get involved in shaping this legislation, it would not have any border security reforms our nation desperately needs,” Rubio said.

I guess Rubio thinks he was elected by conservatives because they thought he was more likely to work with Democrats than Charlie Crist. Funny but my recollection is it was exactly the opposite.

I was live tweeting it and he said some things that just are flat out untrue.

First, he claims the money for border security is in teh bill and doesn't rely on future Congresses to spend it. This is untrue. Any future Congress can reprogram or delete money already authorized (which is different than appropriated).

He also said the country needs to fix the illegal immigration problem. True but this bill doesn't do that. You can do fences and agents on the border all day (and we should) but we also have to have interneal enforcement and a tracking system to make sure people who come here leave when they are supposed to. Rubio's bill doesn't have the bio-metric entry/exit system that's been mandated since the mid-90s but has never happened (sounds familiar).

Why is Rubio sounding so defensive?

Hint 1:


Hint 2:

Former Alaska governor and tea party darling Sarah Palin said Sens. Marco Rubio and Kelly Ayotte better watch out come election time: Voters angry with their support of an immigration bill seen as a cave on amnesty will likely voice their displeasure at the polls.

...

“I think that they should be challenged,” Ms. Palin said on Fox News radio. “I don’t have a problem with heated debates and contested primaries where they have to answer to constituents regarding their flip-flopping.”

Reminder why Rubio's words are meaningless:

Posted by: DrewM at 09:20 AM | Comments (369)
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Hi-Larious....Massachusetts Wants Waiver From ObamaCare
— DrewM

Popcorn.

Push back in the compliance effort is coming from an unexpected source, the senior Democratic budget writer in the State Senate, Senator Stephen Brewer, presumably with support from the Senate President as well. The amendment that was filed would force President Obama’s good friend Governor Deval Patrick (D), and his Administration, to seek a waiver from certain elements of Obamacare. The move could come to a head if the provision lands on the Governor’s desk, resulting in an embarrassing political moment for the Obama Administration since the ACA is forcing significant changes to a state law they claim acted as a model in Washington.

Keep in mind, thanks to RomneyCare Mass already has some of the highest insurance premiums in the nation.

Related(ish)- A Democrat pretending to be a Republican lost the special election to fill John Kerry's Senate term. One of his aides complains that the anti-conservative wing of the party didn't show up to help.

Personally I'm glad he lost. I'm all for RINOs if they help get the majority but this wasn't going to flip control of the Senate and even if he'd won, he'd have to run next year and would lose again.

If someone is going to vote straight Democrat, he might as well be a Democrat.

Posted by: DrewM at 08:34 AM | Comments (281)
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Scalia's DOMA Dissent
— DrewM

My simple rule of the thumb....if you find yoursefl on the opposing side of Scalia, rethink your position.

I wonder how many "conservatives" celebrating this decision were cheering on John Roberts yesterday in the Voting Rights Act case. Funny how quickly people can go from that to the Ginsburg school of "things I don't like are un-constitutional" school of jurisprudence.

I'm not going to get into the standing issue which is technical, though Scalia rips the majority apart there too. Here's some of what he said about the majority's decision on the merits (pdf).

(Emphasis mine)

There are many remarkable things about the majority’s
merits holding. The first is how rootless and shifting its justifications are. For example, the opinion starts with seven full pages about the traditional power of States to define domestic relations—initially fooling many readers,
I am sure, into thinking that this is a federalism opinion
. But we are eventually told that “it is unnecessary to decide whether this federal intrusion on state power is a violation of the Constitution,” and that “[t]he State’s power in defining the marital relation is of central relevance in this case quite apart from principles of federalism” be-cause “the State’s decision to give this class of persons the right to marry conferred upon them a dignity and status of immense import.” Ante, at 18. But no one questions the power of the States to define marriage (with the concomitant conferral of dignity and status), so what is the point of devoting seven pages to describing how long and well established that power is?

...

The majority opinion need not get into the strict-vs.- rational-basis scrutiny question, and need not justify its holding under either, because it says that DOMA is unconstitutional as “a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution,” ante, at 25; that it violates “basic due process” principles, ante, at 20; and that it inflicts an “injury and indignity” of a kind that denies “an essential part of the liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment,” ante, at 19. The majority never utters the dread words “substantive due process,” perhaps sensing the disrepute into which that doctrine has fallen, but that is what those statements mean. Yet
the opinion does not argue that same-sex marriage is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 720–721 (1997), a claim that would of course be quite absurd. So would the further suggestion (also necessary, under our substantive-due-process precedents) that a world in which DOMA exists is one bereft of “‘ordered liberty.’” Id., at 721
(quoting Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U. S. 319, 325 (1937)). Some might conclude that this loaf could have used a while longer in the oven. But that would be wrong; it is already overcooked. The most expert care in preparation
cannot redeem a bad recipe. The sum of all the Court’s nonspecific hand-waving is that this law is invalid (maybe on equal-protection grounds, maybe on substantive-dueprocess grounds, and perhaps with some amorphous federalism component playing a role) because it is motivated by a “‘bare . . . desire to harm’” couples in same-sex marriages. Ante, at 20. It is this proposition with which I will therefore engage.


more...

Posted by: DrewM at 07:34 AM | Comments (401)
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SCOTUS Strikes DOMA Sec. 3
— Gabriel Malor

flaming_skull2a.gif

SCOTUSblog reports that Justice Kennedy struck DOMA sec. 3 on equal protection grounds in a 5-4 decision.

The decision (PDF) is here.

The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out aclass of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognitionand protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.

Also, CJ Roberts telegraphed the outcome in the Prop 8 case in his dissent in Windsor:

We may in the future have to resolve challenges to state marriage definitions affecting same-sex couples. That issue, however, is not before us in this case, and we hold today that we lack jurisdiction to consider it in the particular context of Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Interesting. I'll be back with that PDF in a minute.

Back on DOMA: Let's talk consequences: Gay spouses may now file joint taxes, may donate jointly, may petition for legal residence for non-citizen spouses, may now obtain changes to their passports (married name corrections) the same as straight spouses. Military gay spouses are now entitled to the same survivor, housing, PX, and travel benefits as straight spouses.

That's off the top of my head. There are probably a great many other consequences under federal law.

Alright, and on Windsor: It's also a 5-4 decision by the Chief Justice, joined by Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan. Proponents did not have standing to appeal the district court judge's decision. The decision of the Ninth Circuit is vacated. Justice Kennedy dissents, joined by Thomas, Alito, and Sotomayor.

Fairly interesting break-down, but not unexpected. (No really.) Standing has been a particular project for CJ Roberts and Scalia, who view it as a gatekeeping function to keep inappropriate cases out of court.

If you will recall, the district court held that Prop 8 was unconstitutional.

Final update so I can get a chance to read the decisions: The Perry decision is here (PDF).

Also, I hate to say I told you so, but sometimes in this life we have to do things we hate, don't we.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 05:04 AM | Comments (1073)
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