These are my links for the afternoon of December 10th
The Republicans’ dour problem– But there was one breakdown by subgroup that showed a marked divide on the hope factor. By a 57-17 margin, Democrats felt California will be a better place a dozen years from now. Republicans, by a margin of 54-23, believe the state is headed downhill.To some extent, these responses may reflect a chicken-or-the-egg situation. With Democrats in control of all the state’s political offices and institutions, Democratic voters might naturally believe things are headed in the direction they believe is upward. The inverse is likely true among Republicans.But no one wins elections by being dour.As California Republicans regroup and consider a turnaround strategy that must include outreach to the minority and women voters they lost badly this fall, they might also consider taking on one other challenge. Instead of focusing so heavily on what they believe will be the inevitable negative consequences of Democratic policies, they need to begin framing their arguments on why they believe their policies will create a brighter, more hopeful future.
I love how the Left-wing Democratic Ventura County Star California State editor likes to lecture the California GOP.
Timm, California has been a Democratic state for decades.
Now, it is deeply Blue due to the exodus (decline of California Aerospace economy, businesses moving to to other less taxed and regulated states) and retirement exodus/death of white middle class voters and the influx of non-white immigrants who vote predominantly Democratic.
Republicans will be a minority of voters, like New York and Massachusetts for decades to come.
Caffeinated coffee may reduce the risk of oral cancers– A new American Cancer Society study finds a strong inverse association between caffeinated coffee intake and oral/pharyngeal cancer mortality. The authors say people who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day were at about half the risk of death of these often fatal cancers compared to those who only occasionally or who never drank coffee. The study is published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The authors say more research is needed to elucidate the biologic mechanisms that could be at work.Previous epidemiologic studies have suggested that coffee intake is associated with reduced risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer. To explore the finding further, researchers examined associations of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea intake with fatal oral/pharyngeal cancer in the Cancer Prevention Study II, a prospective U.S. cohort study begun in 1982 by the American Cancer Society.
Census Report: California lost more people to other states than it gained in 2011– About 100,000 more Californians moved to another state in 2011 than California gained from other states, a new Census Bureau report reveals.However, more than a quarter-million persons relocated into California from other countries during the year and that, coupled with what demographers call “natural increase” – births minus deaths – meant that the state still gained population.The Census Bureau calculated that 562,343 Californians moved to other states during 2011 with the most popular destinations being Texas (58,992), Arizona (49,635), Nevada (40,114), Washington (38,421), Oregon (34,214), New York (25,761), Colorado (23,234) and Florida (22,420).Meanwhile, 468,428 residents of other states moved to California during the year, with the most numerous domestic immigrants coming from Texas (37,387), Washington (36,481), Nevada (36,159), Arizona (35,650), New York (25,269) and Florida (22,094).
RNC launches official review on 2012 election– The Republican National Committee is rolling out a plan to review what worked and what didn’t for the party in the 2012 cycle, appointing five people at the top of a committee that will make recommendations on things like demographics, messaging and fundraising.The Growth and Opportunity Project is going to be chaired by RNC committee member Henry Barbour, longtime Jeb Bush adviser and political operative Sally Bradshaw, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, Puerto Rico RNC committee member Zori Fonalledas, and South Carolina RNC member Glenn McCall. Priebus, who is running for a second term, is holding a call with committee members to roll out the plan this afternoon.The plan is to focus on: campaign mechanics, fundraising, demographics, messaging, outside groups, campaign finance, the national primary process and, last but not least, what the successful Democratic efforts revealed about the way forward, and recommend plans for the way forward, sources familiar with the plan said.
Delta Dental of California wins five-year $2.6B Defense Department contract – Delta Dental of California said Thursday that it’s been awarded a new five-year. $2.6 billion U.S. Department of Defense contract for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program.
However, most of the $2.6 billion is paid out to dentists who provide services for enrollees in the program, according to a Delta Dental of California spokeswoman. On other contracts, Delta Dental has said it gets roughly 10 percent of the total.
The contract renews an existing five-year deal. The program, first authorized by Congress in 1997, offers voluntary dental benefits to the nation’s 5 million uniformed services’ retirees and family members, according to the company. Currently, it serves 1.3 million enrolleess.
(404) http://t.co/xgS – RT @nikkihaley: As I continue to consider the impending U.S. Senate vacancy, many have discussed the possibility of a… …
Marriage and Self-Government – National Review– The Supreme Court should reverse these lower-court rulings, and straightforwardly affirm the right of the people in any state to act, constitutionally or legislatively, to adopt the traditional view of marriage as a relationship oriented toward procreation. The justices need not themselves hold that view — they may consider it outmoded or rationally inferior to a conception of marriage that treats it first and foremost as an emotional union of adults — to see that the Constitution erects no barrier to it, and that states therefore have the freedom to act on it.Of the various arguments advanced for a constitutional “right” of same-sex marriage, none withstands even momentary scrutiny by accepted standards. Are gays and lesbians a powerless and oppressed minority? One can hardly say that after the November elections, in which the cause of same-sex marriage was victorious in four states, in a year when it was also embraced by the president of the United States and enshrined in the platform of the larger of our major parties. Is it rationally indefensible to reserve the institution of marriage to the only kind of union — one man and one woman — that is capable of procreation, and to the kind of union that is proven to be the best general setting for the rearing of children? The question answers itself.
The Sebelius Coverup – Obamacare’s insurance exchanges need scrutiny – Many states are wisely signaling that they aren’t interested in doing the Obama administration’s bidding on Obamacare. As a result, many if not most of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges — the heart of the beast — will have to be set up and run by the Obama administration at the federal level.
When Obamacare fails: The playbook for market-based reform – Amid a protracted rollout, the real-world evidence keeps mounting: the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is too costly to finance, too difficult to administer, too burdensome on doctors, and too disruptive of health care arrangements that Americans prefer. The need to replace it has never been stronger, yet full repeal is unviable in the short-term. The long-term task for reformers is to lay out a convincing case, not for a return to the former status quo, but for the kind of patient-centered health care system only a market-based model can deliver. But what policy changes would that entail? And what would they mean for patients and providers? American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Tom Miller answers these and other questions:
Notre Dame Professor: Upwardly Mobile Mexican-Americans Not Moving Right– Professor Jose E. Limon, director of the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame, made an interesting contribution to the discussion of the Latino vote Monday night at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington. He suggested that identification with the Democratic Party has solidified as an enduring feature of Mexican-American identity.Here are some excerpts from his comments, which came during a discussion of a new book, Mexico & Mexicans in the Making of the United States:After observing that the Latino vote comes “substantially” from the middle class and lower-middle class, Limon said:We have this model of political behavior that also says to us that when a class acquires middle-class status, it starts shifting to the right. That has not happened with Mexican-Americans. I can’t tell you it might not happen 30 years from now, but right now that doesn’t seem to be happening. We are seeing the emergence of a Mexican-American middle class that is decidedly bicultural in many ways, in some cases decidedly bilingual, and that is also still upholding its traditional historical adherence to the progressive Democratic Party.
November election was a tipping point for California ethnic voters– It’s no secret that California’s population has been getting more diverse for decades. More recently, the composition of the state’s electorate has begun to mirror the population. But the people who actually showed up and voted on Election Day have remained whiter, and older, than the pool of registered voters.No more.It appears that for the first time, California Latinos, Asian-Americans and blacks voted last month in numbers roughly equivalent to their share of registered voters. About 40 percent of California’s electorate is now non-white. And ethnic voters made up about 40 percent of those who mailed in their ballots or went to the polls Nov. 6.This should be a wake-up call to Republicans, here and across the country.
While white voters in California still lean conservative and will support Republican candidates, ethnic voters are overwhelmingly Democrats or independents who sympathize with that party. If Republicans can no longer count on large numbers of those voters to stay home on election day, the party is going to have to appeal to them — or risk permanent irrelevance.
No tipping point Dan.
California is a blue state that has become more blue with the decline of the white population (deaths and out migration).
The California GOP except in a few areas of the state where whites and the affluent predominate will be irrelevant – just like in New York and Illinois.
PUC set to OK free phones for homeless – Come and Get Your Obama Phone Californians– Homeless and other poor people in California are on track to soon get virtually free cell phones and service so they can keep in touch with family, potential employers and others crucial to improving their lives.The cell phones would be handed out through a federally funded Lifeline program – already operated by service provider Assurance Wireless in 36 other states – that is likely to win final approval in the next couple of weeks from the California Public Utilities Commission.========California has gone mad…..
These are my links for February 8th through February 9th:
Where’s the Rest of Them? – The biggest problem with the GOP Presidential field is that each of the candidates seems to be running to represent only part of the Republican coalition. Mr. Romney sounds like he thinks conservatives can be won over with a few poll-tested lines like “I’ll repeal ObamaCare,” while Mr. Santorum sounds like he only needs conservative votes to become President. To adapt Ronald Reagan’s famous line, Where’s the rest of them?
Path to a Brokered GOP Convention Emerges – For many conservative Republicans, the dream outcome of the primary season is a brokered convention. Disappointed in the four remaining choices, they hope to change horses in August, and draft their preferred candidate, be it Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, or Paul Ryan.
I’ve been adamant that such an outcome is extremely unlikely. For a brokered convention to occur, there has to be an almost perfect storm of events; the GOP elites can’t just declare shenanigans on the primary season and select a new nominee. Instead, something has to prevent any of the current candidates from clinching a majority of the delegates; if one of them amasses that majority, he will be the nominee on the first ballot at the convention in Tampa.
My assumption — and the assumption of many — was that the GOP fight would eventually degenerate into an ideological battle between the very conservative and somewhat conservative/moderate wings of the party, with Romney on one side and a single alternative on the other. Unless there was a late entrant or Ron Paul caught fire in the caucus states, someone was virtually assured of claiming the requisite number of delegates in that scenario. But for the first time, the two way faceoff doesn’t seem inevitable, and a viable path to a brokered convention is beginning to emerge. Let’s start with something else I overlooked. The GOP does have super-delegates of a sort, in the form of the 63 RNC members. They aren’t as numerous as they are in the Democratic Party, but they are still there. While many of them have already declared allegiance to one candidate or another, those commitments can evaporate quickly, as Hillary Clinton learned to her sorrow in 2008.
20% of Republicans leaning to Obama! – For critics of Barack Obama, 2012 has been portrayed as a do-or-die year for the country – an election that will determine whether America stays on the road to European-style socialism or veers right to reclaim its positions as the most vibrant economy in the world and the home of individual liberty.
But the 2012 election is looking more like a replay of 2008 than a do-over.
The latest WND/Wenzel Poll shows none of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates has solidified the base of the party, with one in five GOP voters leaning toward support of Obama in November.
The results are from the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies. The poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 1-3, 2012, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.44 percentage points.
News from The Associated Press – RT @AP: U.S. Justice Department plans to announce a settlement between states, top mortgage lenders in 15 minutes: -EF
Keep an Eye on Ryan – Tomorrow night, Paul Ryan will speak at CPAC. National Review Online has obtained an embargoed copy of the speech. It’s powerful stuff. He’ll talk about how Republicans share responsibility for the fiscal crisis. And he’ll detail President Obama’s dismal record. But the big theme is that Republicans need to make 2012 more than a “referendum.” He wants it to be a “choice.”
“The easy way is always tempting,” he’ll tell conservatives, urging them to avoid a victory “by default.” Bold ideas, he’ll say, are the only way to win a mandate:
Missile Defense Program Weakened under the Obama Administration – Abstract: In passing the FY 2012 defense authorization and appropriations bills, Congress missed an ideal opportunity to reverse the damage that the Obama Administration inflicted on U.S. missile defense programs in 2010. Congress specifically failed to move the U.S. toward a more defensive nuclear posture, protect U.S. missile defense options against the President’s arms control agenda, or prepare layered U.S. missile defenses against potential threats, including an EMP attack or an Iranian attack on the East Coast. To properly defend against the missile threat, the U.S. needs to build on the Navy’s proven Aegis missile defense system, integrate other vital components into the missile defense system, and develop and deploy space-based missile defenses.
Thoughts on the Ninth Circuit’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision – 1. This is going up to the Supreme Court. I suspect that the backers of Prop. 8 won’t even ask for en banc review by the Ninth Circuit, since they’re unlikely to win there. Depending on how quickly they file their petition for certiorari, the Court will either decide in late September to hear the case, or will decide this late this Spring. Either way, the Court will hear the case next Term, though probably not before the election. Though, for reasons I describe below, the decision only applies to states, like California, that recognized civil unions but not same-sex marriages, it’s still a conclusion of national importance, one on which the Supreme Court is likely want to speak. And even if, as described below, the decision is limited just to California, I think the Court will still think it’s important for it to resolve the question.
2. The Ninth Circuit did not decide that all opposite-sex-only marriage recognition rules are unconstitutional. Rather, it concluded that when a state has already recognized same-sex civil unions that are functionally equivalent or nearly equivalent to marriage, denying the symbolic recognition provided by the label “marriage” is no longer rationally related to a legitimate government interest. The court did not decide whether the general constitutional right to marry that applies to same-sex couples, or whether opposite-sex-only recognition rules are generally unconstitutional on the grounds that discrimination based on sexual orientation requires “strict scrutiny” or “intermediate scrutiny” and fails that scrutiny. It only applied the rational basis test, and held that the regime of civil unions but not same-sex marriage lacks a rational basis.
(1) Some of the analysis seems limited to high-level “policymaking” employees, such as a university Associate Vice President.
(2) But some of the argument suggests that any time any government manager with hiring and firing authority — or even with substantial input into hiring and firing decisions — speaks out in opposition to civil rights laws protecting gays, the government may fire the manager on the grounds that the speech (a) “could disrupt the … [d]epartment by making homosexual employees uncomfortable or disgruntled,” (b) might lead “homosexual prospective employees [to] reconsider applications,” and (c) might “lead to challenges to her personnel decisions.”
(3) This in turn highlights the danger to government managerial employees who want to participate in, for instance, campaigns opposing same-sex marriage or proposed laws banning sexual orientation discrimination. If you’re such an employee, you’d be wise to keep your mouth shut on such matters, whether it comes to letters to the editor, to blog posts, to yard signs, to campaign donations, or to signatures on initiative or referendum petitions (in states that disclose such signatures). After all, any of these might be noticed by people who will publicize what you said or did, and who will directly or indirectly inform your supervisors about it.
Archbishop of San Francisco says Obama ruling strikes at religious freedom – Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer of the Archdiocese of San Francisco has written a letter that will be distributed at all Masses this weekend about the Obama administration’s decision to require Catholic institutions to administration would require Catholic institutions such as hospitals and universities to provide contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act. See Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ statement here.
The ruling has raised a huge row with many Catholics, who make up 27 percent of the electorate and constitute a large share of independents. They are also concentrated in the battleground states that will decide the presidential election. Catholic hospitals serve an estimated one sixth of the population. The Archdiocese of San Francisco includes San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties and includes, according to the Archdiocese, more than 550,000 Catholics.
Babs Boxer Comes up with the Dumbest Defense (So Far) of the ObamaCare Abortifacient Mandate – This policy is among the most illiberal ever foisted on the American public by its elected officials. They literally lied, even to members of their own party, to get this policy passed along purely partisan lines. Their own leadership told us that we have to pass the bill even to find out what’s in it. One must be a fellow traveling liar, or simply intolerant to the core, to defend this affront.
Liberals claim the mantle of tolerance, but this policy is deeply intolerant. It forces aactions on a sizable number of Americans who disagree with undertaking those actions for reasons explicitly protected in the Constitution. The numerous ObamaCare waivers, granted mainly to unions that have supported Democrats with campaign cash, open up equal protection issues and expose the politics at the core of what was sold as a “health care” bill. It was a government power bill, from the start. And this mandate has placed the administration in a very awkward political spot. Continue the abortifacient policy to appease Boxer et al, but risk losing millions of votes that went Obama’s way in 2008. Or, scuttle it, and dispirit the illiberal, intolerant progressive mob.
Barbara Boxer weighs in on Catholic contraception controversy – Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., probably the Senate’s leading pro-choice voice, stepped into the debate over the Obama administration’s rule requiring Catholic institutions to provide birth-control coverage. The Archdiocese of San Francisco has called the rule an assault on religious freedom and the Obama administration is in damage-control mode with a critical voting bloc. Obama reportedly weighed the politics before approving the decision.
One analysis of these politics calculates that Obama’s decision will help him with young, secular women, Catholic or not, and that’s why the White House is standing firm while making noises about a compromise. Obama is touting the decision on his campaign website.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, where the lead editorial lambasts the rule, Boxer and Democratic colleagues Patty Murray of Washington and Jeanne Shaheen, defend the decision and accuse its critics (led by the Catholic bishops and joined by GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich) of mounting “an aggressive and misleading campaign to deny this benefit to women,” that is “being waged in the name of religious liberty.”
A state Health Care Authority rule putting a three-visit limit on unnecessary ER use by poor patients was blocked in court on procedural grounds. The agency has replaced it with a new policy planned to take effect April 1 that would reduce the number of conditions deemed non-emergencies but would forbid even a single unnecessary visit.
The doctors and hospitals who sued over the old rule blasted the new plan Tuesday, saying it would leave it up to a “faceless bureaucrat” to decide what’s an emergency. They weren’t ready to say they’ll go to court again over it.
Medical providers would foot the bill if they treat patients and the state doesn’t pay. They couldn’t bill the patients, as was possible under the old rule, the Health Care Authority says.
“The client is not at risk anymore for the ER bills,” said Dr. Jeffery Thompson, chief of the state’s Medicaid program. “This is invisible to the client. The client’s going to get treatment regardless.”
The move is part of an ongoing attempt by state government to crack down on excessive ER use. Other kinds of treatment have such limits, Thompson says.
He points to patients seeking ER treatment for diaper rash and other ailments better treated by a primary-care doctor, and to hospital frequent fliers who show up twice a day, as he said one patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder did recently. The hope is to divert such patients to other providers.
The conservative think tank’s annual Index of Dependence on Government tracks money spent on housing, health, welfare, education subsidies and other federal programs that were “traditionally provided to needy people by local organizations and families.”
The increase under Obama is the biggest two-year jump since Jimmy Carter was president, the data show.
The rise was driven mainly by increases in housing subsidies, an expansion in Medicaid and changes to the welfare system, along with a sharp rise in food stamps, the study found.
These are my links for February 7th through February 8th:
Santorum revives campaign with wins in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota – Rick Santorum had a breakthrough night Tuesday, winning GOP presidential contests in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, all of which is expected to breathe life into his struggling campaign and slow Mitt Romney’s march to the Republican presidential nomination.The Santorum triumphs promise to, at least temporarily, alter the face of the campaign going into the crucial “Super Tuesday” contests, as the caustic tone of the primaries is expected to continue and intensify. Romney and his allies have signaled that they will use their financial advantage to launch stepped-up attacks on Santorum and on former House speaker Newt Gingrich, the other main challenger.
Three-state sweep revives Santorum’s White House hopes – Former U.S. senator Rick Santorum rejuvenated his presidential hopes on Tuesday with a shocking sweep of the three nominating contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, dealing a blow to wounded front-runner Mitt Romney.Even though Romney still holds strong advantages in financing and organization, his campaign will now have to refocus to fight back the challenge from the surging conservative Santorum.
Backed by a wealthy “Super PAC” that pays for attack ads against rivals, Romney had excelled in major contests thus far in the race. After big wins in Nevada and Florida in the previous week, he did little campaigning in Minnesota and Missouri and had been expected to win easily in Colorado.
WR man charged with practicing dentistry without a license – A dentist who surrendered his license in 1993 was indicted Tuesday on allegations he practiced dentistry without a license in 2011.
Chester Kyle Little, 58, of Warner Robins, is accused of performing dentistry from June 30, 2011, to Aug. 25, 2011, at an office located at 2533 Hillcrest Ave. in Macon, according to an indictment filed Tuesday in Bibb County Superior Court.
Little’s license initially was issued in 1977, according to licensing records held by the Georgia Secretary of State.
He surrendered the license following allegations he “knowingly made misleading, deceptive, untrue or fraudulent representations” in connection with claims submitted to the Georgia Department of Medical Assistance in 1986 and 1987, and allegations that he possessed cocaine with the intent to distribute, according to the records.
Ninth Circuit to 7 Million California Voters: You Are Irrational Bigots – In a breathtaking exercise in ill-natured illogic, a divided Ninth Circuit ruled 2–1 that because Prop 8 does not take away civil-union benefits for same-sex couples, it’s an unconstitutional exercise in irrational animus towards gay people.Dishonestly, the court claimed it did not require any heightened scrutiny to reach this result.
The very timid dissent (“please don’t go after me!”) points out that Baker v. Nelson is ruling precedent and that the differences between same-sex and opposite sex couples in terms of the state’s interest in responsible procreation could be rationally related to a legitimate state interest.
Back in 2004, when we fought about a Federal Marriage Amendment, gay rights advocates said we were alarmists for claiming that they would go to federal court seeking a right to impose gay marriage on all 50 states.
That was so last decade.
Ban on gay marriage struck down (FINAL UPDATE) : SCOTUSblog – In dissent, Judge Smith argued that the Supreme Court’s Romer decision did not control the outcome in this case. He went on to conclude that California had sufficient interests to justify the enactment of the same-sex marriage ban: steering childbearing into the realm of marriage among couples biologically capable of having a child together, and promoting strong parenting by providing for children to be born into the more stable relationship of such marriages. He credited the arguments of the backers of Proposition 8 that their measure would further those interests sufficiently to justify its enactment.The Smith dissent thus provides a basis for more conservative judges on higher courts to decide differently than the panel majority did.
On Monday morning, Obama reviled the “negative” tone of the super PACs, a dominant fundraising source in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. But by the evening, word leaked to POLITICO that Obama had offered his support for Priorities USA Action, which thus far has raised a fraction of what GOP-backed groups have raked in.
Obama’s top campaign staff and even some Cabinet members will appear at super PAC events. The president himself will not address super PAC donors, although there’s nothing to legally prohibit the president, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden from expressing their support for the group — as GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney has done for the super PAC that backs him.
“We decided to do this because we can’t afford for the work you’re doing in your communities, and the grass-roots donations you give to support it, to be destroyed by hundreds of millions of dollars in negative ads,” campaign manager Jim Messina told supporters in an email Monday night.
The timing of the announcement seemed rushed, several Democrats told POLITICO. It was made in a 10 p.m. call to Obama’s top bundlers, known as the National Finance Committee. Several party fundraisers raised the possibility that the campaign wanted to offset bad publicity generated by a Monday New York Times story, which reported that the campaign had returned $200,000 to the family of a wealthy Mexican fugitive seeking a pardon for drug and other criminal convictions.
Obama campaign to support super PAC fundraising – In a change of position, Barack Obama’s reelection campaign will begin using administration and campaign aides to fundraise for Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing the president.
Obama has been an outspoken critic of current campaign financing laws, in particular a Supreme Court ruling that allowed the creation of super PACs. Until now he has kept his distance from Priorities USA Action.
But in the wake of the group’s anemic fundraising, made public last week, the campaign decided to change its position, and announced the new stance to members of its national finance committee Monday evening.
Two Obama campaign aides confirmed that senior campaign and administration officials who participate at fundraising events for the president’s campaign will also appear at events for Priorities USA Action, the PAC supporting Obama.
“This decision was not made overnight,” one campaign official said. “ The money raised and spent by Republican super PACs is very telling. We will not unilaterally disarm.”
The president, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will not appear at super PAC events, the aides said.
In an e-mail to supporters, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said the decision was a reaction to massive fundraising posted by super PACs supporting GOP presidential candidates.
Judge Michael Hawkins Is No “Moderate” – Lyle Denniston’s SCOTUSblog preview of tomorrow’s Ninth Circuit ruling in the Prop 8 case includes the assertion that one of the panel members, Clinton appointee Michael D. Hawkins, “is considered to be a moderate.” Hawkins has described himself that way—“I think of myself as being entirely moderate in all things”—but even he has hastened to add the disclaimer, “but others might say otherwise.” Indeed, they might.
As I reported when the panel members were initially made public, a source I trust told me that of the nearly 50 active and senior judges then on the Ninth Circuit, there were only five or six other judges who were as aggressively and reflexively leftist as Hawkins and his fellow panel member, the ultraliberal Stephen Reinhardt.
Prop. 8: Final ruling due – The Ninth Circuit Court will issue a ruling tomorrow — apparently, in a single opinion — to decide the challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage, approved by the state’s voters more than three years ago. In a brief announcement Monday, the Circuit Court said it would issue an opinion at 1 p.m. Tuesday Washington time (10 a.m. in San Francisco) dealing both with the constitutionality of the measure (“Proposition 8″) and with the issue of whether the trial judge should have disqualified himself from the case.
The three-judge panel actually has three issues before it: whether the backers of Proposition 8 had a legal right to appeal the District Court ruling striking down Proposition 8 (the “standing” issue), whether — if “standing” to appeal did exist — the ballot measure is unconstitutional, and whether now-retired District Judge Vaughn R. Walker should have recused and thus whether his ruling should now be vacated by the Circuit Court.
Although the wording of the announcement Monday was not entirely clear and made no promises about the scope of the ruling, it could be interpreted as indicating that the panel will find that the measure’s proponents did have the right to appeal, and thus the panel would be free to move on to rule on the merits and on the disqualification issue. Given the makeup of the panel and the past records of the three judges, the chances would appear to be quite strong that Proposition 8 would be struck down.
The company says 26 Fisker employees have been let go from the Delaware factory where renowned automotive engineer Henrik Fisker promised to one day begin producing affordable electric sedans. A Delaware newspaper also reported that subcontractors working on the car venture have been let go.
“It’s temporary,” said Roger Ormisher, a company spokesman. “We’re being prudent and sensible as a company.”
Because the initial phase sounds like it’s been such an unqualified success, the company is asking for terms of the federal loan to be altered so the company can have faster access to their line of time-released taxpayer-backed credit:
Continetti: Combat Journalism | Washington Free Beacon – We can pinpoint the moment that foretold the arrival of combat journalism. At 11:59 p.m. on September 8, 2004, a pseudonymous blogger on FreeRepublic.com accused 60 Minutes of publicizing forged documents to cast suspicion on President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard in the early 1970s. The charge was publicized by conservative new media and soon proved correct: CBS was flaunting materials that had been produced using technology unavailable during the twilight of the Vietnam War. The ensuing backlash claimed the jobs of four at CBS and pushed anchor Dan Rather into early retirement. Conservatives had used the techniques of investigative journalism—documentary research, interviews, detailed reporting on the minutiae of typography and word processing—to debunk a media smear and force CBS and the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry into a defensive crouch.
Religious conservatives play culture war defense – Between the media’s uproar after a cancer-research charity temporarily suspended grants to the nation’s leading abortion provider, and the Obama administration’s recent decision to force Catholic schools to pay for 100 percent of their employees’ contraception, the last two weeks have helped clarify the shape of the culture war in America today.
The battleground is this: The Secular Left is on the offensive, while the oft-demonized Religious Right is mostly playing defense, trying to preserve the liberty of religious adherents to conduct their lives according to their own consciences.
“The right’s recent jihad against Planned Parenthood is about as loathsome as anything I’ve ever seen come out of them,” seethed Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum after Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a leading breast-cancer charity, briefly decided to not give new grants to Planned Parenthood for the coming year.
Drum was writing about conservatives’ opposition to taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood, and, in this case, a charity under pressure from pro-lifers temporarily suspending funding for the abortion provider. It’s a peculiar “jihad” whose main weapon is refusing to give away your money to the enemy.
Prop 8 Merits Ruling Tomorrow – The Ninth Circuit has announced that it expects to issue tomorrow—by 10 a.m. Pacific time, 1 p.m. Eastern—its ruling on the merits of the Prop 8 appeal. Its opinion will address both the constitutionality of Prop 8 and the question whether former judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling should be vacated because of his failure to recuse.
As I’ve said, I think that it’s a sure thing that Judge Reinhardt and Judge Hawkins will vote to affirm Walker’s ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. I expect that they will stay their ruling from taking effect until the process of Supreme Court review is complete.
High-speed rail tapped state funds for unusual lobbying contract – In an extremely unusual use of taxpayer money, the leaders behind California’s $99 billion high-speed train quietly hired a lobbyist to sway the Legislature — the same politicians who appointed them to build the project in the first place.
Documents filed this week show the California High-Speed Rail Authority last year paid $161,103 to one of the country’s biggest public relations firms to lobby the state’s politicians as they consider spending $2.7 billion to launch the polarizing bullet train project.
Rail officials paid the lobbyists by issuing debt that will total about $300,000 with interest. It must be paid back through California’s impoverished general fund budget.
High-speed rail officials defended the spending as a “vital need” when their staff was too small. But both Democratic and Republican lawmakers and even die-hard bullet train backers decried the lobbying as a wasteful and unethical use of taxpayer funds, saying it essentially amounts to the state spending money to lobby itself.
“That is appalling to me. I’ve never heard of such a thing,” said Quentin Kopp, who helped launch the rail authority and was its longtime chairman before retiring in March. He said he never approved the expenses and that the state should go to court to keep the money. “That’s nonsense, absolutely nonsense. It’s embarrassing.”
Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers relied on mandatory Medi-Cal copayments to save $511 million in last year’s state budget and presumed that the state would continue saving in future years.
The governor’s latest budget, which estimates a $9.2 billion deficit, acknowledges the lost savings in 2011-12. But it is relying on $296 million to help balance next year’s budget, according to Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer.
In Arizona, Obama Approval at 41% – Many Democrats have high hopes for the Southwest in Election 2012 and some even think that President Obama even has a decent shot to move Arizona from Republican to Democrat in the Electoral College column this November. However, the president may have an uphill fight to achieve that goal as most voters in the Grand Canyon State disapprove of the way he’s done his job.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone poll found that just 41% of Likely Voters in Arizona approve of the way President Obama has performed his role. Fifty-six percent (56%) disapprove. Those figures are significantly lower than the president’s national ratings. They include 28% who Strongly Approve and 48% who Strongly Disapprove.
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