HH: Joined now by the biggest newsmaker of the day, Gloria Allred. Hello, Gloria, welcome.
GA: Hi, Hugh. How are you today?
HH: I’m great. You made a lot of news, and I want to get to that. First question, though. You did this to Arnold in August of 2003 for Rhonda Miller. Did Rhonda ever win a judgment against Arnold?
GA: Well, I don’t know what you mean ‘I did this’. What’s the ‘this’ that you’re referring to?
HH: Hold a press conference making allegations against a gubernatorial candidate.
GA: Yeah, I made allegations. Yes, that’s true.
HH: Did Rhonda win a judgment?
GA: Rhonda did not proceed with her case through litigation.
HH: Is that a no?
GA: Well, she decided not to go…the case was litigated, and the case basically ended up being dismissed. She decided not to appeal.
HH: Oh, it was dismissed?
GA: Wait a minute. She decided not to appeal from the dismissal, which she had every right to do. She decided that she would just go on with her life.
HH: So she never got…
GA: So therefore, there never was a trial, and there was never a decision on the merit.
HH: So the court threw out her case?
GA: Well, the court never heard testimony in the case, if that’s what you’re saying.
HH: I’m saying they threw out her case. You got a summary judgment against you.
GA: Well, there was a legal issue having to do with the First Amendment, and it’s a very technical legal issue.
HH: Okay, speaking of that…
GA: It has nothing at all to do with this issue. That, those were allegations of sexual harassment. The allegations of sexual harassment were never proven or disproven. The court, there was never a trial in the case.
HH: Right. I got it. I just wanted to check my facts.
GA: If you would like to proceed to talk about that, I can call you back and we can talk more about it.
HH: No, I want to get to the press conference you held today. I want to start by I asked Erwin Chemerinsky…
GA: Yes, and our press conference today, I might add, has literally nothing to do with sexual harassment.
HH: Right. Gloria Allred, Erwin Chemerinsky, great, big lawyer, you know him. I had him on earlier today, big lefty, and I asked him about your allegations today. Here’s what Erwin had to say.
HH: What would you do, Erwin, if someone you had employed either as the nanny or the housekeeper, or one of those situations, and they’d given you all the documents, and they show up after many years, and they’re now a beloved member of the household. They’re not family, but they’re part of the household. What would you do?
EC: Well, it’s obviously a wrenching situation. I think that if that were to happen, you can’t continue to employ the person lawfully. You could decide you’re going to do it illegally and take the political and legal heat if it happens, because you don’t want to lose this person from your household. But as with any act of civil disobedience, if you violate the law, you know there might be consequences. And the more public you are, the more likely those consequences will be to happen.
HH: Gloria, that’s the dean of the UCI Law School, a great liberal. Is he wrong?
GA: Well, I’m not sure what your question is.
HH: Has Erwin got the law wrong? Should…
GA: Well, I’m not here to comment on Erwin. I’m only here to talk about my client and what happened to her. Now if you don’t want to talk about…
HH: No, but Erwin commented that Meg Whitman had no choice but to…
GA: She was employed by Meg Whitman in her home as a housekeeper, and as sometimes, and part of that time, as a nanny as well for nine years, then we will talk about her.
HH: Look, Gloria, this isn’t the Sacramento Bee. You can’t filibuster me. Erwin just said she had to fire the housekeeper. Is Erwin wrong?
GA: Well, apparently you didn’t hear our news conference today about what she knew and when she knew it.
HH: I’ve just asked you is Erwin wrong.
GA: I’m not here to comment on Erwin.
HH: All right. Let me ask you then.
GA: This is not about whether she should have terminated the housekeeper or not terminated the housekeeper.
HH: Well, what should she have done?
GA: This is about her treatment of the housekeeper.
HH: I know that, but I’m asking what you would do if you had a housekeeper who had defrauded you and then came forward and said I’m not in the country legally, Gloria. Would you keep them? Would you keep employing them?
GA: This isn’t about what I would do. It’s about what Meg Whitman would, and did do.
HH: But I know, but my audience…
GA: …and what those facts are. And apparently, you want to talk about everything except the facts of what Meg Whitman did.
HH: No, I think this is what everyone would like to know, is what to do in that situation.
GA: Okay, well I’m not here to give you legal advice.
HH: What would you advise your clients?
GA: Okay, Hugh, I’m not, nor do I pretend to be, although maybe you feel that you are, an expert on immigration law. That’s not my area. I am, what we do, our main focus, is employment, plaintiffs employment cases. And you know, the Daily Journal, which is a legal newspaper, had selected us a few years ago as the number one plaintiffs employment law firm in Southern California. So I need to talk about the employment issues…
HH: Gloria, I gave you your plug. I just let you get the publicity that you crave, and that you die for, and for which reason you bring stunts like this every time a campaign comes up. But just for the benefit of the audience, is it wrong to fire someone who has defrauded you under the law? Do you have a choice? Because I don’t think you have a choice. I think you have to fire them.
GA: Okay, Hugh, you, just like Meg Whitman, you, just like the rich and the powerful person that you are defending, can only engage in personal attacks. And the reason is you cannot defend against the facts which we set forth in six pages at our statement at the news conference today. You cannot defend her conduct…
HH: Actually, I’m not trying to defend anything.
GA: …that we laid out. Instead…
HH: …I’m asking you as a lawyer who brought these allegations to just state the law.
GA: …I’m telling, no, I’m telling you…
HH: Can you state the law, Gloria?
GA: Now for example, let me just tell you this.
HH: I mean, just state the law, then I’ll give you the rest of the time.
GA: No, I’m not. I’m not. No, if you want to go state the law, you can feel free to contact an immigration lawyer to do that.
HH: So you don’t know if Meg Whitman did the right thing or not.
GA: Okay, well, I think if you review my six page statement, we’re telling you that we do not…
HH: Well, if you don’t know the law, how could you object to what she did?
GA: Apparently, you don’t even want to let me finish the sentence, so you clearly don’t want to hear the answer.
HH: No, I want you to finish a question. (more…)
Davis Guggenheim has a new documentary out about failing public schools called Waiting for Superman.
Here is an excerpt from the Salon review of the film:
All too often, attacking the teachers’ unions is a lazy rhetorical tactic of the anti-government right, but Guggenheim does not shy away from the fact that union contracts — which can make it impossible to fire the worst teachers, or pay the best ones more money — have become a serious impediment to school reform. A former Milwaukee chancellor discusses his district’s annual “Dance of the Lemons” (known elsewhere as the “Turkey Trot”), in which underperforming teachers are shuffled from school to school.
Infamously, Guggenheim obtained footage clandestinely shot inside New York’s “rubber room,” where dozens of teachers awaiting disciplinary hearings sat every day for months, collecting their full salaries while reading or playing cards. (Since the film’s Sundance premiere, the New York rubber room has been closed down — but presumably the un-fired teachers are still stashed somewhere.)
As a member of the right, I am not anti-government. I am against unnecessary government monopolies.
Many public schools stink because they have no competition. Sweden faced this problem 15 years ago and privatized their school system.
The improvements have been dramatic. Parents know a bad school when they see it and refuse to send their kids there. Thus the bad schools are weeded out by the marketplace. No need for special reform commissions and all that.
And this is in Sweden, a social welfare state.
We could do that. But Democrats — who ironically called themselves progressive — won’t let go of a bad model. For one, they’re captive to unions. And two, they just think the government can do everything better.
Obamacare will spark more documentaries. These will feature people stuck in government run medical care hell. Here in LA, we’ve already seen the county hospital shut down because it was killing too many patients.
Public education, public health. It’s two plus two.
The California governor’s race turned ugly yesterday when attorney Gloria Allred staged yet another press conference.
This time it featured a sobbing illegal alien from Mexico, Nicky Diaz who is Meg Whitman’s former maid.
Here’s the gist:
- Diaz was hired through an employment agency and lied about her immigration status.
- Whitman further vetted her, checking her Social Security number and driver’s license. See copies here.
- Whitman paid her $23/hour and FICA etc.
- In 2009, Diaz confessed that she’d lied and Whitman, following the law, fired her.
Somehow, Diaz regards herself as a victim.
People hire illegals to save money. Whitman is a billionaire who not only didn’t need the money, but paid her help handsomely.
This ad is from Down Under, where naturally there’s an obesity “epidemic.”
Former Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis, the failed 1988 presidential nominee, recently visited the White House and delivered his strategy for the midterm elections: pound key precincts across the country with the message that Republicans want to implement the same policies that led to the Great Recession.
Dukakis, who said in a telephone interview that he “popped in” to the White House while on a trip here several weeks ago, said he told aides to President Obama that Republicans “want to go back and do exactly what got us in this mess in the first place.”
“It seems to me there has to be a single message coming from Democrats, from the president on down,” Dukakis said. “We’ve got to pound that message as hard as can from now until November.”
Obama should bring in Jimmy Carter while he’s at it. Two losers are better than one.
Meanwhile, Dick Morris predicts obliteration.
Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid, the Democratic Party is facing the biggest defeat in midterm elections in the past 110 years, perhaps surpassing the modern record of a 74-seat gain set in 1922. They will also lose control of the Senate.
Republicans are now leading in 54 Democratic House districts. In 19 more, the incumbent congressman is under 50 percent and his GOP challenger is within five points. That makes 73 seats where victory is within easy grasp for the Republican Party. The only reason the list is not longer is that there are 160 Democratic House districts that were considered so strongly blue that there is no recent polling available.
There is no Democratic message. President Obama is heralding education — an issue never mentioned on the campaign trail. Secretary of State Clinton is trying to restart the peace talks in the Middle East. Attorney General Holder is re-evaluating online national-security taps. And a hundred Democrats are scrambling about on their own trying to get reelected!
Senatorial candidate Christin O’Donnell:
“When I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional.”
Slate snark Dahlia Lithwick:
How weird is that, I thought. Isn’t it a court’s job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional?
Here is the oath all members of Congress swear to before taking office. It has been thus since 1884.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
The original oath was even more to the point:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”
Wolves, as you have undoubtedly heard, are once again thriving in Yellowstone. The 66 trapped in Canada and released in Yellowstone and the Idaho wilderness in 1995-96 have generated more than 1,700 wolves. To the delight of scientists and tourists — and the dismay of many ranchers — more than 200 wolf packs exist in the area today. Courts and government agencies are still sorting out how the wolves should be managed. But one thing is abundantly clear: The reintroduction has succeeded in ways that extend far beyond the health of the wolves themselves. It has reshaped an entire ecosystem.
When we exterminated wolves from Yellowstone in the early 1900s, we de-watered the land. That’s right; no wolves eventually meant fewer streams, creeks, marshes and springs across western landscapes like Yellowstone where wolves had once thrived.
The chain of effects went roughly like this: No wolves meant that many more elk crowded onto inviting river and stream banks. A growing population of fat elk, in no danger of being turned into prey, gnawed down willow and aspen seedlings before they could mature. As the willows declined, so did beavers, which used the trees for food and building material. When beavers build dams and make ponds, they create wetland habitats for countless bugs, amphibians, fish, birds and plants, as well as slowing the flow of water and distributing it over broad areas. The consequences of their decline rippled across the land.
Meanwhile, as the land dried up, Yellowstone’s overgrazed riverbanks eroded. Spawning beds for fish silted over. Amphibians lost precious shade. Yellowstone’s web of life was fraying.
The decision to put wolves back in Yellowstone was a bold experiment backed by the best conservation science available to restore a cherished American ecosystem that was coming apart at the seams.
The unexpected relationship between absent wolves and absent water is just one example of how large predators such as grizzlies, wolves and mountain lions regulate their ecosystems from the top down. The results are especially relevant in an era of historic droughts and global warming, both of which are stressing already arid Western lands.
Did Stalin commit genocide? Is the Pope German?
The past few decades have seen terrifying examples in Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur, Bosnia.
Murder on a national scale, yes – but is it genocide? “The word carries a powerful punch,” said Stanford history Professor Norman Naimark. “In international courts, it’s considered the crime of crimes.”
Nations have tugs of war over the official definition of the word “genocide” itself – which mentions only national, ethnic, racial and religious groups. The definition can determine, after all, international relations, foreign aid and national morale. Look at the annual international tussle over whether the 1915 Turkish massacre and deportation of the Armenians “counts” as genocide.
Naimark, author of the controversial new book Stalin’s Genocides, argues that we need a much broader definition of genocide, one that includes nations killing social classes and political groups. His case in point: Stalin.
The book’s title is plural for a reason: He argues that the Soviet elimination of a social class, the kulaks (who were higher-income farmers), and the subsequent killer famine among all Ukrainian peasants – as well as the notorious 1937 order No. 00447 that called for the mass execution and exile of “socially harmful elements” as “enemies of the people” – were, in fact, genocide. (more…)
In all the old horror movies, the master villain always had an assistant. More often that not, his name was Igor. He tended to lurch and he was usually a hunchback. I always wondered how he got the job. I mean, how would you go about finding someone who’d round up a human brain at a moment’s notice? Was it by referral? Did they hook up during Career Day at the Academy for the Criminally Insane? Did he answer an ad in the New York Times?
Nowadays, I ask similar questions regarding politicians. Who put them up to it? What made a harridan like Nancy Pelosi ever think that people would actually vote for her? And how was it that Harry Reid, a pickle puss who looks and sounds like he was born to play Uriah Heep, ever imagined he’d carve out a successful career in a profession that, at the very least, usually requires a modicum of charm and civility?
Speaking of mysteries, why is it that Obama’s approval numbers remain in double digits? Here’s a guy who not only lied about uniting blacks and whites, young and old, liberals and conservatives, but lied to his own base about shutting down Gitmo, providing illegal aliens with a general amnesty and getting rid of the military policy of “Don’t ask/ Don’t tell.”
On top of all that, what, I wonder, did you all make of his recent declaration that the U.S. and Iran have mutual interests in Afghanistan? Are he and Mahmud Ahmadinejad planning to co-produce “Karzai! The Musical!” on Broadway? And what comes next, an announcement that Russia and the U.S. have mutual interests in Czechoslovakia, Georgia and Poland?
To give you an example of how smitten the loonies on the left are when it comes to Obama, members of the UAW gave him an ovation when he said that Ford’s adding workers at its Chicago plant was proof that his bailing out Chrysler and GM saved the auto industry. As my friend, Don Melquist, a retired ironworker observed: “That’s like suggesting that Ford, which rejected the bail-out, wouldn’t be selling so many cars if Chevys and Chryslers weren’t also available. Obama might as well say that people would stop buying Pizza Hut pizzas if Dominos closed its doors.”
I don’t know where Barack Obama studied economics, but I suspect the teaching staff consisted of Saul Alinsky and Tim Geithner, along with tenured professors Larry, Moe and Curly.
Other current heroes on the left include Shirley Sherrod and Michael Bloomberg. It appears now that Mrs. Sherrod, who suffered the hardship of being unemployed for about 30 minutes before receiving a phone call from the president offering her Joe Biden’s job, is not quite as saintly as she’s been portrayed.
Ron Wilkins, a liberal black civil rights leader, infiltrated the New Communities farm commune back in the mid-70s. It was a commune managed by Shirley and her husband, Charles. Among other things, Wilkins discovered that the black work force, which included a great many children, were paid an average of 67 cents-an-hour, were constantly exposed to pesticides, were often forced to work at night, and were fired if they complained.
For good measure, Cesar Chavez’s far left-wing United Farm Workers joined in the condemnation of the Sherrods and their so-called commune.
When it comes to hypocrites, you would think we had already reached the saturation point. But the way the left keeps churning them out like sausage links, I can only imagine that some very odd place I’ve never heard of, and never wish to visit, must have a large standing order.
Consider Michael Bloomberg, if you will. Here’s a man who, combining the mental agility of a Joy Behar with the eloquence of Barney Fife, has taken it upon himself to teach Americans in general, and New Yorkers specifically, what religious tolerance is all about. Even though he’s the mayor of the city where Muslims slaughtered nearly 3,000 innocent Americans, he has given the Bloomberg seal of approval to the erection of a gigantic Islamic mosque next to Ground Zero.
It would be bad enough if the mayor was merely a run-of-the-mill left-wing moron. But according to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Bloomberg’s self-hyped ecumenical spirit has its limits.
For instance, Bloomberg has consistently opposed putting a nativity scene alongside a menorah in New York City’s public schools.
In 2007, when an “artist” created a huge vulgar “Chocolate Jesus” and sought to place it in a street-level gallery during Holy Week, Bloomberg, when asked about it, voiced no objection.
He also maintained his silence when Anthony Malkin, owner of the Empire State Building, decided not to join with other skyscraper owners in a tribute to Mother Teresa.
Finally, when a federal district court ruled that the Bronx-based Household of Faith, an inner-city Christian church, had the right to hold religious services on Sundays in a New York City school, Bloomberg’s administration sued to block the ruling.
In George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” the evil pig, Napoleon, declares that under his rule, all the animals are equal, but eventually gets around to pointing out that some animals are more equal than others.
Now, far be it from me to call the mayor a pig. However, I’ve always felt that if it grunts like a pig, rolls around in mud like a pig and answers to “sooey, sooey, sooey,” the chances are you could safely stick an apple in its mouth, pop it in the oven and invite the Crachits over for Christmas dinner.
See, kids? This is where the expression “dial” the phone came from.
And record albums? When records were 78 rpm, it took a lot of them to get much music so they collected several discs and sold them in albums, much like photo albums.
The arena of the administration’s incompetence is the issue of West Bank settlements. This is something of a misnomer since while some of the settlements are recklessly deep into the West Bank – Ariel (above), for instance – others are indistinguishable parts of Jerusalem. They are all, under international law, illegal. But some, regardless of legality, are going to stay. Even in the Middle East, common sense can play a role. The Jerusalem-area settlements are not going to be abandoned by Israel.…
Given the highly emotional nature of the settlement issue, it made no sense for the administration – actually, President Obama himself – to promote an absolute moratorium on construction as the prerequisite for peace talks. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu complied, under extreme pressure, but only to a 10-month moratorium. For Netanyahu, this in itself was a major concession. He heads a right-wing coalition that takes settlements very seriously. Netanyahu had a choice: accede to Obama’s terms and have his government collapse, or end the moratorium. On Sunday, with the 10 months being up, he chose the latter. We will see if the end of the moratorium means the end of peace talks. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has not yet ended negotiations. He’s going to confer with his fellow Arab leaders. Obama ought to also confer with someone who knows the region.
Trouble is, many experts have told him that his emphasis on settlements was the wrong way to go. As late as last week, it was clear that Netanyahu would not ask his cabinet to extend the settlement freeze. Yet not only did the White House reject this warning, the President repeated his call for a freeze. “Our position on this issue is well-known,” he told the UN General Assembly. “We believe that the moratorium should be extended.” Well, it wasn’t.
Henry Olsen in the Weekly Standard:
As a cradle-to-grave welfare state, Sweden has long been the northern light of liberals, the pole star of congressional progressives. And yet when the Social Democrats cast the recent election as a choice between tax breaks for the rich and more welfare, they were handed their worst electoral showing since 1914. By electing the four-party right-of-center coalition, Alliance for Sweden, voters opted for tax cuts. This unexpected Swedish victory is just the latest in an unprecedented run of success worldwide for fiscally conservative parties, beginning after the Greek debt crisis in April.
Since then, there have been eight elections in the developed world, six of which have been won by the right. In Central Europe, voters embraced center-right parties that pledged to reduce spending. The Czech Republic’s TOP 09 party fared well in May elections, as did Slovakia’s free-market Freedom and Solidarity party a month later. Results from Western Europe are even more telling, where in June Dutch voters gave their most fiscally conservative party, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, its first ever victory.
Despite particular differences, a few common themes emerge from this record, themes with which American conservatives are certainly familiar but which they might do well to internalize in the weeks ahead.
First, cap and trade has proved to be a successful foil. For instance, in Australia Liberal leader Tony Abbott argued that cap and trade would hurt mining interests, an approach that enabled the coalition he led to pick up votes and seats in working-class, especially mining, districts. In the Western Sydney suburbs, Abbot told working-class voters it would significantly increase their electricity bills. Even as green parties increased their share of the Australian vote, the Labor party shunned cap and trade and instead pledged multiparty talks on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Second, the Tea Party phenomenon is part of a surging populism worldwide, and traditional parties everywhere are feeling the crunch. The most attention has gone to anti-immigrant parties, like Geert Wilders’s Freedom party, which nearly tripled its representation in the Dutch parliament, or the far-right Sweden Democrats, which entered parliament for the first time. But there is also the populism that issues from frustration with an unresponsive, and fiscally irresponsible, ruling class. Accordingly, new parties pushing fiscal conservatism form the backbone of the Czech and Slovak governments. In the United Kingdom both currents did better than they have before. Both the United Kingdom Independence party, a fiscally conservative party, and the anti-immigrant British National party, siphoned votes away from Cameron.
Nonetheless, despite voters’ fiscal conservatism, they do not want to uproot entirely the welfare state. Australia’s Abbott started his campaign by pledging not to reintroduce WorkChoices, a law deregulating labor markets passed by the last Liberal prime minister, John Howard, which proved so unpopular that voters toppled Howard’s government despite a booming economy. In Sweden, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s right-wing New Moderates party has successfully argued that lowering taxes, increasing the number of Swedes at work, and decreasing those on the welfare rolls is the best way to pay for Sweden’s social model.
Polls show that each of these trends is in evidence on our shores. Voters say they want smaller government with fewer services, and independents are especially concerned with the deficit. Cap and trade may be popular in San Francisco and on college campuses, but Democrats who backed the bill in districts dependent upon fossil fuels for their electricity—or for their jobs—are paying the price. And anger at establishment leaders on both sides of the aisle has fueled the Tea Party, suggesting that the “plague on both your houses” sentiment is deep and widespread. Still, antigovernment attitudes don’t seem to affect the pillars of the American welfare state: Even ardent constitutional conservatives like Sharron Angle promise to protect Social Security and Medicare.
These trends sound both optimistic and cautionary notes for GOP leaders. Republicans can ride the wave of populism and fiscal conservatism to victory now, but they will need to reconcile Tea Party populism with Americans’ attraction to the welfare state if they are to simultaneously govern and forestall a third party effort in 2012. Republican leaders might look to their foreign counterparts for lessons in how to manage this challenge now, before the challenge manages them.
…Yet as familiar as the coyote seems, these animals remain remarkably poorly understood. They have remained elusive despite fantastic ecological success that has been described as “a story of unparalleled range expansion,” as they have moved over the last century from the constrictions of their prairie haunts to colonize every habitat from wild to urban, from coast to coast. And they have retained their mystery even as interest has intensified with increasing coyote-human interactions — including incidents of coyotes dragging off small dogs and cats, and even (extremely rarely) attacks on people, from Los Angeles to the northern suburbs of New York City, where four children were attacked in separate incidents this summer.
Coyotes have managed to elude much serious scrutiny by being exquisitely wary, so much so that even dedicated coyote scientists can struggle to find ways to lay eyes on them, not to mention hands.
Dr. Laura Prugh, a wildlife ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said trying to survey a population of coyotes in Alaska was “like working with a ghost species.” To even have a chance of catching a coyote, she said, traps must be boiled to wash away human scent, handled with gloves and then hidden extremely carefully with all traces of human footprints brushed away. Even then, the trap is likely to catch only the youngest and most inexperienced of animals.
Coyotes have remained so much in possession of their own secrets that it was not until this year that the real identity of the coyotes living in the eastern part of the country was revealed. Two separate teams of researchers studying the genes of coyotes in the Northeast reported evidence that these animals that have for decades upon decades been thought of as coyotes are in fact coyote-wolf hybrids.
The team headed by Roland W. Kays, curator of mammals at the New York State Museum, studied coyotes from New Jersey to Maine. Jonathan Way, wildlife biologist with the Eastern Coyote Research consulting firm, and colleagues examined coyotes around Cape Cod and Boston. Both teams found that the animals carry wolf and coyote DNA. The paper by Dr. Kays and his colleagues was published in Biology Letters; the paper by Dr. Way and his colleagues was published in Northeastern Naturalist.
Based on the wolf DNA found in the Eastern coyotes, Dr. Kays and colleagues hypothesize in their paper that Western coyotes dispersing eastward north of the Great Lakes across Canada during the last century mated with wolves along the way, bringing that wolf DNA along with them to the Northeast.
The findings may explain why coyotes in the East are generally larger than their Western counterparts — that is, more wolflike in size — and why they are so much more varied in coat color, as might be expected from a creature with a more diverse genome. It may also explain why Eastern coyotes appear to be more adept as deer hunters than their Western forebears, which tend toward smaller prey, like voles and rabbits.
The first evidence for domesticated dogs has just got earlier with the recent dating of a dog’s skull and teeth from Kesslerloch Cave in Switzerland. That puts the transition from wolf to dog to over 14,000 years ago. Previously, the earliest date was from a single jawbone that was found in a human grave at Oberkassel, in Germany, dating to about 13,000 years-ago. (There are earlier dates claimed for the first definite identification of dogs but these are usually discounted by experts).
The finds from Switzerland were uncovered in 1873 but it was only last year that archaeologists at Tubingen University in Germany recognised that the remains came from a dog rather than a wolf. The dating carried out on a tooth has revealed the animal died between 14,000 and 14,600 BP (before present).
These early dates are curious, as hunting strategies at that time would not necessarily require the assistance of dogs. Studies from northern France show that hunting was ambush based with animals speared as they passed through natural bottlenecks in the landscape, such as the Ahrensburg Valley. Here, the use of a spear-thrower increased the effectiveness of the weapon and the migrating reindeer died in great numbers. Interestingly, some people engraved their spear-throwers with scenes of the hunt but none shows the appearance of dogs. Indeed, in such a massacre, it is difficult to see how dogs would fit in at all and, yet, the remains from Switzerland suggest that they existed by this time.
First the Castro brothers, now the man who wanted to replace them as the next tin horn tyrant and general irritant.
The results of yesterday’s Venezuelan National Assembly elections have dramatically altered the country’s political landscape, sharply curtailing the power of President Hugo Chávez and inserting into government politicians not openly hostile to the United States. With a voter turnout of 66 percent, the opposition, Table for Democratic Unity (MUD), secured sixty-one seats while the government held onto ninety-four seats (with several still undergoing vote counting). This result has effectively robbed Chávez of the two-thirds majority he needs to pass “organic” laws–sweeping laws requiring an absolute majority. Since the defeat of his constitutional reform in 2007, Chávez has been using these laws, passed through the 100 percent Chavista National Assembly, to advance his Bolivarian Revolution and deepen his socialist project.
Chávez also has lost his ability to modify the constitution or call a constituent assembly. The multi-party assembly will also be able to influence the budgeting process, under which Chávez has been funneling 25 percent of the windfall oil revenue into a presidential discretionary account. This increased oversight will slow the financing he needs to expand twenty-first century Socialism at home and abroad, and will complicate his relationship with ALBA countries that rely heavily on Venezuelan money.
Even more significant is that the MUD collected 52 percent of the popular vote, placing it firmly as the primary political force in the country. This is nothing short of an unmitigated disaster for Chávez in an election billed by the opposition and the government as a referendum on Chávez and his Bolivarian Revolution. Looking toward the 2012 presidential elections, Chávez and his party now represent a minority despite the apparatus of the state and the handouts of thousands of electro-domestics and food stamps in the last days of the campaign.
For some reason the folks running Sesame Street were pressured into cutting this segment because it was deemed too racy.
It was a strange week for the loony strongman from Iran.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s six nights in New York featured a secret sit-down with militant minister Louis Farrakhan, heckling in a hotel bar, and a fear of being rubbed out that bordered on paranoia.
Paranoia only applies if the fear is irrational. Many would cheer his demise.
The president shared a hush-hush meal with Farrakhan and members of the New Black Panther Party Tuesday at the Warwick Hotel on West 54th Street.
On Thursday night, Sudanese diplomats trying to get in to see Ahmadinejad at the Hilton Manhattan East, on 42nd Street, squared off with security and a pushing match ensued. Two well-dressed women in their 40s came in, sat at the hotel bar and ordered drinks.
One of them caught the attention of the president’s security detail, which had set up a station in the hotel lobby. She was soon surrounded by eight angry Iranians, who ordered her to leave. She refused.
A manager tried to calm things down. Suddenly, the woman stood up and pointed at the Iranians, yelling, “You stoned my sister! You’re murderers!”
Michael Medved has noted the twisted irony of blacks identifying with Islam given that it was Arab traders who sold their ancestors into slavery.
Until this week, we’ve enjoyed a cool summer. Temps only rose above 80 degrees for 20 days, max.
But seasons in SoCal come in no particular order and now that autumn is here, we’re getting triple digit temperatures.
You can beat the heat with AC or you can head for the coast, which is what we did Saturday night. Santa Monica had a one-night “Glow Festival” with 20 art installations on the theme of glow scattered near the Santa Monica Pier.
Most of them disappointed, but I managed to grab a couple of shots that were, well, kinda cool.
The four surviving leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, including the former head of state, Khieu Samphan, have been imprisoned in Phnom Penh since 2007 and will be brought to justice in their own country. On September 16, a United Nations-backed Cambodian tribunal indicted them for genocide, crimes against humanity, and other crimes. The tribunal has already established its credibility with its first trial: this past July 26, it sentenced Kaing Guek Eav (better known as Duch), a cog in the Khmer Rouge’s extermination machine, to 35 years in prison. Duch ran a torture center from 1975 to 1979 that produced 15,000 victims. Unlike the Nuremberg tribunal that judged Nazi leaders in 1945, the Phnom Penh tribunal is not run by the victorious powers; it functions within the Cambodian justice system, sustained by Cambodian public opinion, though the U.N. provides financing. The tribunal’s legitimacy and objectivity are beyond reproach. Still, the Cambodian public did not see Duch’s sentence as sufficient in view of his crimes. The defendant apparently persuaded the court that he was obeying his superior’s orders—the same excuse Nazi leaders made at Nuremberg.
In the Western and Asian press, as well as in statements by various governments, a distinct effort has been made to reduce the crimes of Duch and of Khieu Samphan to matters of local circumstance. It is as if an unfortunate catastrophe had fallen on Cambodia in 1975 called the “Khmer Rouge,” killing 1.5 million Khmers. But who or what was behind what the tribunal has called the genocide of Khmers by other Khmers? Might this be the fault of the United States? Was it not the Americans who, by setting up a regime in Cambodia to their liking, brought about a nationalist reaction? Or, might this genocide not be a cultural legacy, distinctive of Khmer civilization? Archeologists are digging through the past in vain to find a historical precedent. The true explanation, the meaning of the crime, can be found in the declarations of the Khmer Rouge themselves: just as Hitler described his crimes in advance, Pol Pot (who died in 1998) had explained early on that he would destroy his people, so as to create a new one. Pol Pot called himself a Communist; he became one in the 1960s as a student in Paris, then a cradle of Marxism. Since Pol Pot and leaders of the regime that he forced on his people referred to themselves as Communists—and in no way claimed to be heirs of some Cambodian dynasty—we must acknowledge that they were, in fact, Communists.
What the Khmer Rouge brought to Cambodia was in fact real Communism. There was no radical distinction, either conceptually or concretely, between the rule of the Khmer Rouge and that of Stalinism, Maoism, Castroism, or the North Korean regime. All Communist regimes follow strangely similar trajectories, barely colored by local traditions. In every case, these regimes seek to make a blank slate of the past and to forge a new humanity. In every case, the “rich,” intellectuals, and skeptics wind up exterminated. The Khmer Rouge rounded up urban and rural populations in agricultural communities based on precedents both Russian (the Kolkhozy) and Chinese (the popular communes), and they acted for the same ideological reasons and with the same result: famine. There is no such thing as real Communism without massacre, torture, concentration camps, gulags, or laogai. And if there has never been any such thing, then we must conclude that there could be no other outcome: Communist ideology leads necessarily to mass violence, because the masses do not want real Communism. This is as true in the rice fields of Cambodia as in the plains of Ukraine or under Cuban palms…
While I’ve been talking about free speech in Copenhagen, several free speech issues arose in North America. I was asked about them both at the Sappho Award event and in various interviews, so here’s a few thoughts for what they’re worth:
Too many people in the free world have internalized Islam’s view of them. A couple of years ago, I visited Guantanamo and subsequently wrote that, if I had to summon up Gitmo in a single image, it would be the brand-new copy of the Koran in each cell: To reassure incoming prisoners that the filthy infidels haven’t touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Korans are hung from the walls in pristine, sterilized surgical masks. It’s one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it’s hard to see why it’s in the interests of us infidels to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry. What does that degree of prostration before their prejudices tell them about us? It’s a problem that Muslims think we’re unclean. It’s a far worse problem that we go along with it.
Take this no-name pastor from an obscure church who was threatening to burn the Koran. He didn’t burn any buildings or women and children. He didn’t even burn a book. He hadn’t actually laid a finger on a Koran, and yet the mere suggestion that he might do so prompted the President of the United States to denounce him, and the Secretary of State, and the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, various G7 leaders, and golly, even Angelina Jolie. President Obama has never said a word about honor killings of Muslim women. Secretary Clinton has never said a word about female genital mutilation. General Petraeus has never said a word about the rampant buggery of pre-pubescent boys by Pushtun men in Kandahar. But let an obscure man in Florida so much as raise the possibility that he might disrespect a book – an inanimate object – and the most powerful figures in the western world feel they have to weigh in.
Aside from all that, this obscure church’s website has been shut down, its insurance policy has been canceled, its mortgage has been called in by its bankers. Why? As Diana West wrote, why was it necessary or even seemly to make this pastor a non-person? Another one of Obama’s famous “teaching moments”? In this case teaching us that Islamic law now applies to all? Only a couple of weeks ago, the President, at his most condescendingly ineffectual, presumed to lecture his moronic subjects about the First Amendment rights of Imam Rauf. Where’s the condescending lecture on Pastor Jones’ First Amendment rights?
When someone destroys a bible, US government officials don’t line up to attack him. President Obama bowed lower than a fawning maitre d’ before the King of Saudi Arabia, a man whose regime destroys bibles as a matter of state policy, and a man whose depraved religious police forces schoolgirls fleeing from a burning building back into the flames to die because they’d committed the sin of trying to escape without wearing their head scarves. If you show a representation of Mohammed, European commissioners and foreign ministers line up to denounce you. If you show a representation of Jesus Christ immersed in your own urine, you get a government grant for producing a widely admired work of art. Likewise, if you write a play about Jesus having gay sex with Judas Iscariot.
So just to clarify the ground rules, if you insult Christ, the media report the issue as freedom of expression: A healthy society has to have bold, brave, transgressive artists willing to question and challenge our assumptions, etc. But, if it’s Mohammed, the issue is no longer freedom of expression but the need for “respect” and “sensitivity” toward Islam, and all those bold brave transgressive artists don’t have a thing to say about it.
Maybe Pastor Jones doesn’t have any First Amendment rights. Musing on Koran burning, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer argued:
[Oliver Wendell] Holmes said it doesn’t mean you can shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater… Why? Because people will be trampled to death. And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?
This is a particularly obtuse remark even by the standards of contemporary American jurists. As I’ve said before, the fire-in-a-crowded-theatre shtick is the first refuge of the brain-dead. But it’s worth noting the repellent modification Justice Breyer makes to Holmes’ argument: If someone shouts fire in a gaslit Broadway theatre of 1893, people will panic. By definition, panic is an involuntary reaction. If someone threatens to burn a Koran, belligerent Muslims do not panic – they bully, they intimidate, they threaten, they burn and they kill. Those are conscious acts, at least if you take the view that Muslims are as fully human as the rest of us and therefore responsible for their choices. As my colleague Jonah Goldberg points out, Justice Breyer’s remarks seem to assume that Muslims are not fully human.
More importantly, the logic of Breyer’s halfwit intervention is to incentivize violence, and undermine law itself. What he seems to be telling the world is that Americans’ constitutional rights will bend to intimidation. If Koran-burning rates a First Amendment exemption because Muslims are willing to kill over it, maybe Catholics should threaten to kill over the next gay-Jesus play, and Broadway could have its First Amendment rights reined in. Maybe the next time Janeane Garafolo goes on MSNBC and calls Obama’s opponents racists, the Tea Partiers should rampage around town and NBC’s free-speech rights would be withdrawn…
Yes, racial bias — against whitey.
A veteran Justice Department lawyer accused his agency Friday of being unwilling to pursue racial discrimination cases on behalf of white voters, turning what had been a lower-level controversy into an escalating political headache for the Obama administration.
Christopher Coates’s testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights was the latest fallout from the department’s handling of a 2008 voter-intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party. Conservatives and some congressional Republicans accuse Justice officials of improperly narrowing the charges, allegations that they strongly dispute.
Filed weeks before the Obama administration took office, the case focused on two party members who stood in front of a polling place in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008, one carrying a nightstick. The men were captured on video and were accused of trying to discourage some people from voting.
Coates, former head of the voting section that brought the case, testified in defiance of his supervisor’s instructions and has been granted whistleblower protection. Coates criticized what he called the “gutting” of the New Black Panthers case for “irrational reasons,” saying the decision was part of “deep-seated” opposition among the department’s leaders to filing voting-rights cases against minorities and cases that protect whites.
“I had people who told me point-blank that [they] didn’t come to the voting rights section to sue African American people,” said Coates, who transferred to the U.S. attorney’s office in South Carolina in January. “When you are paid by the taxpayer, that is totally indefensible.”
The rare spectacle of a Justice Department lawyer publicly rebuking the department’s leaders came amid heightened legal and political fallout from the case. The commission is to issue a report on the matter next month, and an internal probe by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is pending.
Glenn A. Fine, the Justice Department’s inspector general, recently began his own investigation into whether the agency’s Civil Rights Division enforces laws in a racially discriminatory manner. It is considered highly probable that House Republicans will hold hearings if they take control of the chamber after midterm elections in November.
“We’re not going to let this go,” said Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.). “There is something rotten going on at the Justice Department.”
A testy U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday blamed clueless voters with short attention spans for the uphill battle beleaguered Democrats are facing against Republicans across the nation.
“We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening,” Kerry told reporters after touring the Boston Medical Center yesterday.
Perhaps if Kerry were not preoccupied with dodging taxes on his yacht, he might have seen some of the folks who came to the townhall meetings last summer.
Though pudgy and unstylish, many were able to recite from the text of the Obamacare bill. (And who can properly pronounce Genghis.)
This is the same bill most members of Congress never bothered to read.
Now, who is clueless?
Humor from the New Yorker’s Paul Rudnick:
Are you sick and tired of the search for bogus eternal romance and some imaginary ideal “soul mate”? Are you interested in finding that special someone who’s just sort of O.K. in a dim light? Are you one of the millions of American singles who’ve decided to throw up their hands and admit that they’re fine with being almost alone?
Then SettlingDownward.com is the Web site for you—finally, there’s a matchmaking service for people who’ll be happy with whomever. First, a few questions to help us in creating your personal lowered-expectations profile. Let’s get started.
1. How would you rate your appearance?
(c) Why should I wear pants when I have no legs?
2. Why do you think you’ve never met that special someone?
(a) Because I’m not allowed to live near an elementary school.
(b) Because men/women are shallow, and are attracted only to people with money, good looks, and handkerchiefs.
(c) Because I still haven’t found the little door on the TV.
7. What is your minimum requirement in a mate? (Pick any three.)
(a) Closes the refrigerator door.
(b) Makes it to the bathroom.
(c) Never says, “I’m making a mental note.”
(d) Never gets angry at the judges while watching a televised dance competition.
(e) Never murmurs about my flaws to the cat.
(f) Remembers that even if we’re married it’s still my house.
Something significant is happening on the electoral battlefield, and it has an “Inc.” by its name. Many candidates running as Republicans could as easily be sitting for a business profile. Twenty months of Democratic business-bashing has not turned the electorate against entrepreneurs. Quite the opposite. This election is highlighting a political turn, not unlike that of the late 1970s, in which voters are looking to free-market, pro-growth candidates to turn back government.
The Senate field? California’s Carly Fiorina stewarded Hewlett Packard. Washington’s Dino Rossi was in commercial real estate. Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson and Arkansas’s John Boozman have both built family businesses. Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey even worked on Wall Street. Gubernatorial candidates? Ohio’s John Kasich was until last year an investment banker. California’s Meg Whitman helmed eBay. In House races you’ll find GOP small-business founders, venture capitalists, farmers.
Democrats initially greeted this boardroom flood with glee. The country was angry at Wall Street bailouts, a fury the left believed transferred to the business class as a whole. President Obama was blaming corporate America for the nation’s financial woes, for health-care costs, for dodging taxes. His agenda was designed to allow Democrats to brag that they had rescued Americans from corporate tyranny, class envy, populist wrath—the ground looked fertile for this most classic of liberal attacks.
But biz bashing is failing.
…One reason for the failure has been the ease with which Republicans have been able to shift the debate back to their opponents’ toxic records. But the fact that many GOP candidates are actually touting their business experience suggests they are reading a turn in the polls. A recent survey, from Independent Women’s Voice, found 63% of independents said they’d prefer a businessman who has new ideas to an experienced politician. A Bloomberg poll this week found that 77% of U.S. investors find Mr. Obama “anti-business.”
What’s behind this shift? Call it a supercharged dose of Democrats and failing liberal governance. As Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist notes, the country has been witness to “pure, distilled government.” It has been led by an administration staffed with career politicians and academics who have insisted that government can solve all. It hasn’t worked. “When Washington fails, what’s the alternative?” asks Mr. Norquist. “It’s people with real-life experience, who can do real-live things.” Business folk have real-life experience.
Americans have little tolerance for redistributionist policies, especially in periods of economic hardship. Voters see not an administration focused on jobs, but one obsessed with ballooning government and with taking from some and giving to others. Growth, they think, would be nice for a change. Business folk create growth.
Mike Connolly of the Club for Growth—which is backing some of the GOP entrepreneurs—notes that voters realize all businesses, not just the Fortune 500, are hurt by Obama policies. “Small business is hugely popular. And when these guys start having to lay off people, it’s not chalked up to corporate greed,” says Mr. Connolly. “Voters are understanding this is about health care, and regulations and taxes.”
Aroldis Chapman was summoned from the bullpen one batter too late to make a difference in the game. No matter.
The 22-year-old Cincinnati Reds left-hander made do by making history Friday night, throwing the fastest pitch recorded in a major league game, a 105-mph fastball.
But the lingering memory was of a now-you-see-it, did-I-actually-see-it fastball to Tony Gwynn(notes) in the eighth inning. The pitch was not a fluke: Chapman threw 25 pitches in his 1 1/3 innings of relief, and every one was at least 100 mph. He didn’t throw a slider. He didn’t throw a changeup.
Why would he?
When the Tea Party had its huge demonstration in Washington, D.C., the Democrats tried to portray the patriots as racists by taunting them, by having the undistinguished members of the Black Congressional Caucus parade up the steps of the House in single file. It was clearly Nancy Pelosi’s plan to use them as lightning rods for well-deserved invective. But in spite of a $100,000 offer to anyone who could supply visual or audio proof of racial epithets being hurled at the congressional boobies, nobody, including Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, has yet stepped forward to claim the dough.
Knowing how much Speaker Pelosi hates to have her plans thwarted, I’m guessing that at the next such event, she’ll have Henry Waxman, Brad Sherman and Anthony Weiner, march up those steps, so that the Tea Partiers can be condemned as anti-Semites. But once again, she’ll fail, unless, of course, I happen to be in the crowd. Guys like that always bring out the anti-Semite in me, and I’m Jewish!
Speaking of religion, it occurred to me the other day that Islamics and liberals have a great deal in common. For one thing, they regard everyone who doesn’t share their beliefs as not merely mistaken or foolish, but as evil infidels. For another, both groups want their respective governments to impose and enforce their beliefs on everyone. The major difference is that only one of the groups is honest enough to call it Sharia Law.
Although I am hoping that the Republicans trounce the Democrats in November, thereby taking control of the House, I have a couple of major concerns. The first of these is that lame duck liberals will then push through legislation involving illegal aliens, card checks and taxes, things they didn’t dare pass when they were campaigning and vulnerable to blowback at the ballot box.
My other concern is that a Republican House will do for Obama what Newt Gingrich’s House did for Clinton.
It’s easy to forget that in his first two years, Clinton tried to pass what was then called HillaryCare. But after ’94, with Gingrich running Congress, tax cuts and welfare reform were the order of the day. As a result, in ’96, Clinton was regarded as a moderate and, riding the wave of the phony dot.com economic boom, won re-election.
The same scenario could play out in 2012. The danger would be that if the Democrats were then to regain the House, Obama could revert to being the same left-wing demagogue that most of us have come to revile.
Speaking of the dot.com bubble of the 90s reminds me that in 2005, Barney Frank said that there was no such bubble when it came to housing and that, therefore, in spite of Congress insisting that home loans be made to people who possessed neither cash nor credit, there was no chance of a similar collapse. Rep. Frank, who should stick to those things he knows about, such as looking for love in all the wrong places and doing his dead-on impression of Elmer Fudd, also declared his abiding faith in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about a week before the financial meltdown.
Is it any wonder that he continues to chair the House Financial Services Committee? It’s not as if Bernie Madoff, Charles Ponzi or Lady GaGa were available. Comparing Frank’s position to a fox being hired to guard a chicken coop is unfair to foxes, who, to their credit, happen to know quite a bit about chickens and coops.
Finally, I believe I speak for everyone with a computer when I say that things sent out over the Internet should be time-stamped. There are things I receive every day that I first received five or six years ago. I don’t blame the folks who forward them. After all, if they have never received them before, they have no way of knowing the message has whiskers on it that are longer than Rip Van Winkle’s.
So, as a public service, let me say at this late date, please don’t pass along the apocryphal story about the Marine who rescues the little girl from the lion at the zoo, and the way that the NY Times covers the incident when they find out he’s a Republican.
Also, there is no further need to share the dumb quotes attributed to the likes of Mariah Carey, Brooke Shields, Joe Theisman and Miss Alabama of 1994. It would also be advisable that you cease passing around those strolls down Nostalgia Lane that ask us if we’re old enough to remember washboards, Red Rover and Blackjack chewing gum.
Next, when really intelligent remarks are credited to really dumb people, you should be at least somewhat skeptical. Robin Williams is a San Francisco lefty, so why on earth would you believe he said something that sounds as if its source was Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter or me?
Speaking of me, a line I wrote last year went viral. It seemed as if everyone I ever knew let me know they had read my line about Barack Obama’s being more concerned with a Jew building a house in Israel than a Muslim building a nuclear bomb in Iran. However, I did not write it, as it was claimed, in an article for the L.A. Times. It appeared right here. The Times would no more print something that sensible than Robin Williams would sound off like a conservative.
Finally, be warned, no matter how sincere they come across, those folks in Nigeria are not your friends and they will not be sending you cashiers checks for $32 million, and you will not — I repeat, not! — ever win a lottery you didn’t enter.
Liberals are in full assault mode on Christine O’Donnell. So much so they’re revealing their own ignorance as they attack her.
I have been fascinated by Christine O’Donnell’s constitutional worldview since her debate with her opponent Chris Coons last week. O’Donnell explained that “when I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional.”
How weird is that, I thought. Isn’t it a court’s job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn’t that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution?
I can just picture Dahlia with a Michael Mooreish faux-commoner grin as she wrote that. Haw haw.
What’s she think: senators are meant to ignore the Constitution, pass laws at whim and wait for the Courts to sort it all out?
David Bernstein at Volokh corrects:
Senators swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. Of course they are obligated to determine whether a bill they are considering is constitutional. Where did Lithwick get the idea that courts, and only courts, should be concerned with the constitutionality of legislation?
Somewhat longer answer: The Constitution doesn’t vest the authority to determine the constitutionality of legislation in any single branch of the government. In fact, not only does the Constitution not grant the judiciary the exclusive power to consider the constitutionality of legislation, it doesn’t speak of judicial review at all. I think that judicial review is implicit in the Constitution, for the reasons stated by Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison. But there is no contradiction between allowing the Court to exercise its authority in its own sphere (i.e., when a lawsuit comes before the Court) while the other branches determine the constitutionality of legislation in their own spheres. At least since the late 1950s (Cooper v. Aaron), the Supreme Court has asserted that if an elected official defies a Supreme Court precedent, that official is violating his oath to uphold the Constitution. But even if we accept that it would be a dereliction of a Senator’s duty to vote for a law that he knew the Court would deem unconstitutional, I don’t know of any reason why a Senator should vote for a law that he deems unconstitutional, even if the Supreme Court would uphold such a law; no defiance is involved in such an instance, just an independent assessment of constitutionality. Regardless, it’s hardly the case, as Lithwick suggests, that a Senator should ignore constitutional issues, vote completely based on policy preference, and wait for the courts to sort things out.
How weird is that, Dahlia?
Washington Examiner on ObamaCare:
Six months ago, President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rammed Obamacare down the throats of an unwilling American public. Half a year removed from the unprecedented legislative chicanery and backroom dealing that characterized the bill’s passage, we know much more about the bill than we did then. A few of the revelations:
» Obamacare won’t decrease health care costs for the government. According to Medicare’s actuary, it will increase costs. The same is likely to happen for privately funded health care.
» As written, Obamacare covers elective abortions, contrary to Obama’s promise that it wouldn’t. This means that tax dollars will be used to pay for a procedure millions of Americans across the political spectrum view as immoral. Supposedly, the Department of Health and Human Services will bar abortion coverage with new regulations but these will likely be tied up for years in litigation, and in the end may not survive the court challenge.
» Obamacare won’t allow employees or most small businesses to keep the coverage they have and like. By Obama’s estimates, as many as 69 percent of employees, 80 percent of small businesses, and 64 percent of large businesses will be forced to change coverage, probably to more expensive plans.
» Obamacare will increase insurance premiums — in some places, it already has. Insurers, suddenly forced to cover clients’ children until age 26, have little choice but to raise premiums, and they attribute to Obamacare’s mandates a 1 to 9 percent increase. Obama’s only method of preventing massive rate increases so far has been to threaten insurers. (more…)