I am happy to be back from about ten days of vacation.
By the way, the Supreme Court will be NOT be announcing their ObamaCare decision this morning!
These are my links for June 13th through June 18th:
Supreme Court’s Super Mondays Don’t Serve Justice– For court watchers, the drama is becoming unbearable. With just two Mondays left on the U.S. Supreme Court’s calendar to announce opinions — June 18 and 25 — the five most important cases of the term all remain undecided.The club of Supreme Court devotees (OK, junkies) likes to think of the first Monday in October as opening day, and the last Monday in June as game seven of the World Series. But many years, the series is a dud. Most of the cases are technical and unexciting, they enter the casebooks with little fanfare, and the public barely notices. This year will be the exception that proves the rule.
Defeat of healthcare law would erode voters’ trust in Supreme Court– Every political strategist working the fall elections sees a game changer coming by the end of the month.That’s when the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act.The Democrats have a nuclear option in this political game if the high court throws out the healthcare law as unconstitutional.
That blowup-the-system button, not pushed since FDR’s attempt to stack the court with Democrats during the New Deal, is for Obama to use the bully pulpit of the White House, and the national stage of a presidential campaign, to launch a bitter attack on the current court as a corrupt tool of the Republican right wing.
The Folly of ObamaCare – We pay our presidents for judgment, and President Obama committed a colossal error of judgment in making health-care “reform” a centerpiece of his first term. Ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — and regardless of how the court decides — it’s clear that Obama overreached. His attempt to achieve universal health insurance coverage is a massive feat of social engineering that, by its sweeping nature, weakens the economic recovery and antagonizes millions of Americans.
Looming health care ruling will be among Supreme Court’s most important– Winners and losers are the natural consequence of the American legal system. In the Supreme Court, five majority votes among the nine members are enough to fundamentally change lives and legacies.The high court in coming days will issue rulings in perhaps its most important appeal in a dozen years: whether the sweeping health care law championed by President Barack Obama will be tossed out as an unconstitutional exercise of congressional authority.The stakes cannot be overstated — what the justices decide on a quartet of separate questions will have immediate and long-term impact on every American, not only in the field of medicine but in vast, untold areas of “commerce.” Health care expenditures alone currently make up 18% of the U.S. economy, and the new law promises to significantly expand that share.
Five scenarios: Health care options before the justices
The Hill Poll: Voters fear US could slip into a double-dip recession– A massive majority of likely voters fear America could be slipping into a second economic downturn just four years after the Great Recession, according to a new poll for The Hill.But people remain split over which of the presidential candidates — Barack Obama or Mitt Romney — are offering the better prescription for economic health.
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts
These are my links for May 21st through May 22nd:
Targeting John Roberts – The left tries to intimidate the High Court on ObamaCare– You can tell the Supreme Court is getting closer to its historic ObamaCare ruling because the left is making one last attempt to intimidate the Justices. The latest effort includes taunting Chief Justice John Roberts that if the Court overturns any of the law, he’ll forever be defined as a partisan “activist.”Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy recently took the extraordinary step of publicly lobbying the Chief Justice after oral argument but before its ruling. “I trust that he will be a Chief Justice for all of us and that he has a strong institutional sense of the proper role of the judicial branch,” the Democrat declared on the Senate floor. “The conservative activism of recent years has not been good for the Court.”
Romney and the Right– This November, millions of conservatives will find themselves in the familiar position of holding their noses to vote for a problematic Republican presidential candidate, because the alternative is far worse.Although conservatives don’t exactly have fond memories of the candidacies of Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole in 1996 and Senator John McCain in 2008, the almost certain nomination of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has its own sting.In 2010, tea-party energy swept a new generation of conviction conservatives into statehouses, governors’ mansions, and the U.S. Congress. Many on the right held out hope that the big payoff would be putting a principled conservative in the White House.
Timing May Be Key in Romney’s VP Announcement– t Romney deliberates on his most important pre-convention political decision, the identity of whomever he selects as a running mate isn’t the only choice he and the vetting team must make.The timing of that vice-presidential unveiling can have a major impact on the race, as the experience of his 2008 predecessor demonstrated fully.
Obama Thinks He’s the Fairness Czar– Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., came across as a moderate, sensible Democrat when he said on “Meet the Press” Sunday that negative political ads are “nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright.”Booker, a Barack Obama surrogate, later tried to walk back his comments. He posted a video in which he explained that he was expressing his frustration with negative campaigning when he spoke out, effectively undermining the president’s re-election narrative. (Booker also referred to the biggest non-story in politics last week, about a political consultant who recommended that a super PAC use Wright in an anti-Obama ad. That ad didn’t get made.)
Obama Campaign Does Damage Control After Dems Question Anti-Bain Strategy– The Obama campaign is in full damage-control mode one day after Newark Mayor Cory Booker publicly derided Democrats’ assault on presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney over his record at Bain Capital.Chief Obama strategist David Axelrod today publicly rebuked Booker, a popular and high-profile surrogate for the campaign, saying he was “just wrong.””I love Cory Booker. He’s a great mayor. If I were, if my house was on fire, I’d hope he were my next door neighbor,” Axelrod said on MSNBC, referring to Booker’s rescue of a neighbor last month.
“I agree with what he said later. I think this was a legitimate area for discussion,” Axelrod said of Booker’s subsequent comments clarifying the issue.
As for the criticism that the Team Obama’s Bain attack is part of “nauseating” political discourse with which Booker has become “very uncomfortable,” Axelrod said, “on this particular instance he was just wrong.”
Hamid Karzai blows top over Dana Rohrabacher– Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Rep. Dana Rohrabacher will be banned from entering his country until the congressman “changes his tongue” and stops criticizing Afghanistan.“A democratically elected congressman of the United States of America should not be talking of an ethnic divide in Afghanistan, should not be interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, should not be asking the Afghan people to have a federal structure as against what the Afghan constitution has asked for, should not be speaking disrespectfully about the Afghan people or the various ethnic groups in Afghanistan,” Karzai said in an interview with CNN. “If an Afghan did that from Afghanistan, how would you react to him in America?”
Sarah Palin: ‘Shame’ Cory Booker backed down– Sarah Palin is applauding Cory Booker’s criticism of the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital as “candid,” adding that it was a “shame” that the Democratic mayor retreated from his initial remarks that have touched off a firestorm.“It was a shame to see Cory kind of back down from what his answer was, which was so candid,” Palin told Sean Hannity of Fox News on Monday
El Monte school district moving to dismiss employees who have been on paid leave for months– After 10 months of investigation, the local high school district is winding down its inquiries into a dozen employees accused of stealing.Four of the El Monte Union High School District employees no longer work for the district, for undisclosed reasons, and the school board is still figuring out what to do about eight other employees, according to Superintendent Nick Salerno and Thomas Madruga, the district’s attorney.Most the workers in question were on the district’s maintenance/facilities staff.
Several of the 12 employees have been on paid leave since late June or early July of last year. Officials would not reveal exactly how many.
The school board was briefed about the workers during a closed-session portion of a May 2 board meeting, according to Madruga. And resolutions for the remaining employees could come soon, he said.
Sources inside the district said the board rejected a proposal that would have let two of the employees come back to work, after facing a few days of unpaid leave as discipline.
Madruga and Salerno said the charges relate to accusations of theft that were brought to the attention of the district at the end of the last school year.
Some of the allegations were small, such as taking home the last few sheets of a roll of paper towels, according to Salerno and Madruga.
But others involved using the district’s lines of credit to acquire personal property.
“I mean costly equipment, major equipment,” Salerno said.
Some of the employees were accused of using district finances to buy a motor home.
Salerno said that district officials learned that a culture of taking things from the district had taken hold among a handful of employees in the district’s maintenance staff.
He said as far as he knew, the practices had been going on for decades.
“There seemed to be this small circle who accepted this stuff and thought it was OK,” he said.
Newt Gingrich will officially end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and formally express his support for Mitt Romney next week, two sources close to Gingrich tell CNN.
While details are still being worked out, Gingrich is likely to hold his final campaign event Tuesday in Washington, DC where he will make the announcement surrounded by his family and supporters.
It is not surprising that Gingrich is suspending his campaign for the White House as he has all but acknowledged it is winding down and Romney is the presumptive GOP nominee.
“When he says he is transitioning, what he means is that he is trying to determine as a citizen how he will pro-actively help Mitt Romney become president and the Republican Party win back the Senate and help (House Speaker) John Boehner keep his majority in the House,” said one of the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
It appears that Gingrich’s focus will be much broader than the presidential campaign, as the former speaker, who made his name and career in the House, plans to be actively involved in helping the GOP take back control of both sides of Capitol Hill.
The Arizona Faceoff – The Administration Tries to Nullify a State Immigration Statute – The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in that other major case that has the political class on edge—Arizona’s immigration law. As with health care’s individual mandate, the Obama Administration is again making claims about the scope of federal power that upset the Constitution’s federalist structure—in this case, to unilaterally nullify state laws that the President happens to oppose.The Justice Department sued Arizona for its 2010 law that requires police to enforce federal immigration statutes. Justice charged that Republican Governor Jan Brewer violated the Supremacy Clause that says federal laws pre-empt state laws. And ordinarily the Administration lawyers would have a point, since the Constitution expressly tells Congress to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” and the courts have long interpreted that to mean that Congress has plenary power over immigration policy.
5 Ways to Jumpstart Cancer Prevention – Know most cancers are preventable. Cancer isn’t all genetics or bad luck. Research confirms more than half of cancer in the U.S. is preventable. The top preventable causes of cancer are lifestyle choices: smoking, obesity, diet, and lack of physical activity (PDF). In 2011, there were 572,000 deaths from cancer. That’s at least 286,000 people that could be alive today had they modified just one of those risk factors. We as a society need to make changes in the way we live and shift our thinking about cancer prevention and wellness.
PokerStars Reaches Agreement to Buy Full Tilt, Settle with DOJ – PokerStars has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice, pokerfuse can reveal. Part of the deal involves the purchase of Full Tilt Poker and full repayment of all players.The specifics of the deal are not yet known, and no statement has yet come from any parties involved.
Rumors that PokerStars has reached a deal with the DOJ to purchase Full Tilt Poker began swirling early Tuesday morning on poker forum 2+2. Sources have corroborated the story with Pokerfuse that a deal has indeed been reached but could not confirm any specific details.
Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Chili Gaming, stated on twitter that PokerStars has paid $750m to acquire Full Tilt and settle its outstanding legal issues with the DOJ. A reported $330m of that price will go to repay Full Tilt account holders with the remainder believed to be in settlement of outstanding charges against PokerStars.
How a British Marathoner’s Death Inspired Over $825,000 in Online Donations – The death of a British runner during Sunday’s London Marathon has inspired over $825,000 in online donations for Samaritans, the charity she was was supporting.Claire Squires, 30, a hairdresser from Leicestershire, England, was just one mile away from the finish line when she collapsed. Squires was pronounced dead on the scene, and investigations into the cause of her death are expected in the coming days.
Squires’ death has sparked an outpouring of donations to her JustGiving page, which states, “I’m running the london (sic) marathon for Samaritans because they continuously support others.” As of writing, more than 45,000 individual donations have accumulated, and the number continues to grow.
Samaritans is the world’s oldest and largest suicide prevention network. According to the Daily Telegraph, Squires’ brother died from an overdose in 2001 at the age of 25. Her mother has also volunteered for the charity for more than 20 years.
The Long Stall – California’s jobs engine broke down well before the financial crisis. – Everybody knows that California’s economy has struggled mightily since the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession. The state’s current unemployment rate, 12.1 percent, is a full 3 percentage points above the national rate. Liberal pundits and politicians tend to blame this dismal performance entirely on the Great Recession; as Jerry Brown put it while campaigning (successfully) for governor last year, “I’ve seen recessions. They come, they go. California always comes back.”But a study commissioned by City Journal using the National Establishment Time Series database, which has tracked job creation and migration from 1992 through 2008 (so far) in a way that government statistics can’t, reveals the disturbing truth. California’s economy during the second half of that period—2000 through 2008—was far less vibrant and diverse than it had been during the first. Well before the crisis struck, then, the Golden State was setting itself up for a big fall.
California’s population growth is slowing dramatically, study finds – California’s population will grow much more slowly in the next few decades — and that is good news for the state’s still-struggling economy, according to new population projections by USC.The report by USC researchers John Pitkin and Dowell Myers says that through 2050, at least, the state’s population growth will not reach the boom rates of recent decades, especially the 1980s. But California’s population, now about 37 million, will still grow at “manageable” rate for years to come, Myers said.
The report, the third in a series of population projections by the Population Dynamics Research Group in USC’s public policy school, says the slowdown is mainly the result of a dramatic drop in immigration to the state, part of a nationwide trend.
The report expects the California population to grow at less than 10% for each of the next several decades. By comparison, the population surged 26% — more than 6 million people — in the 1980s, a decade the researchers now say was an anomaly. The growth rate was 14% in the 1990s and 10% in the decade just ended.