Saturday, June 30, 2012

Arizona Man Dies After Being Found Guilty of Burning Down His $3.5 Million Home

I saw this out of the corner of my eye yesterday, when Fox News ran a brief blurb. But it never occurred to me that he killed himself. People do die and collapse upon the incidence of extreme stress, so that's sad, I thought. But watch the clip. Clearly, it looks like he downs some medication. He appears to be swallowing. See the Independent UK, "A guilty verdict, a mouthful of poison – and minutes later he was dead." And at Telegraph UK, "Man appears to commit suicide after guilty verdict":
A former Wall Street trader who faced 16 years in prison for burning down his $3.5m mansion collapsed and died in an Arizona court minutes after appearing to take some sort of suicide pill following a guilty verdict.

'The Girl From Ipanema' Turns 50

I love this story, because 'The Girl From Ipanema' reminds me of my parents when I was a small child. At the Wall Street Journal, "The Elusive Girl From Ipanema":

Before 1962, if John Q. Nobody gave any thought to South America at all, it probably didn't range much beyond banana republics, fugitive Nazis and Carmen Miranda. That changed 50 years ago this summer when a tall and tan and young and lovely goddess was born.

She was "The Girl From Ipanema."

Like a handful of other international crossover hits ("Day-O" from Jamaica, "Down Under" from Australia), "The Girl From Ipanema" pretty much put an entire country's music and ethos on the map. In this case, the land was Brazil, the genre was bossa nova, and the atmosphere was uniquely exotic and elusive—a seductive tropical cocktail "just like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gently," as the lyrics go.

At the time, bossa nova wasn't exactly unknown in the U.S., as shown by the Grammy-winning success of "Desafinado" from the 1962 album "Jazz Samba" by Stan Getz and Charlie Parker. But "The Girl From Ipanema" ("Garota de Ipanema" in the original Portuguese) was something else altogether. Not only was it one of the last great gasps of pre-Beatles easy listening, it was an entire culture in miniature.

"To the layperson, 'The Girl From Ipanema' sounds like 'a nice song,' " says the Brazilian-American guitarist and musical director Manny Moreira. "But to the trained ear it is perfection."
Continue reading.

And watch the original Astrud Gilberto performance with Stan Getz here.

Reports: Natalie Morales May Leave After 'Today Show' Snub

Morales is an old school journalist. Her reporting on 'Dateline's' "My Kid Would Never Do That" was excellent, and I remember watching Morales yeas ago as an anchor at the MSNBC news desk. She's got a serious style. And she's obviously a looker.

In any case, at the New York Post, "‘Today’ to lose Natalie too?"

And at Fox News, "Natalie Morales Snubbed? Savannah Guthrie Replacing Ann Curry." And, "Natalie Morales Rumored to Leave ‘Today’ if Savannah Guthrie Gets Co-Host Gig."

Natalie Morales
Veteran journalist Natalie Morales might be telling the 'Today' show to take a hike if she is not offered the co-host gig with Matt Lauer on the popular morning show, The New York Post is reporting.

Morales, who is Puerto Rican and Brazilian, is technically next in line to take over as No. 2 after media giant NBC reportedly decided to let go of their current co- host, Ann Curry due to a ratings plunge. The show was the top morning show for 852 weeks, until ABC's "Good Morning America" broke their winning streak in April.

The New York Times is reporting that the show's third-hour anchor, Savannah Guthrie, was offered the job as co-host.

If Morales is passed over for the job, which she has reportedly sought for years, she's leaving, a source told the New York Post.

For now, Guthrie has kept mum about the job offer.
Well, actually, Guthrie's in. See the Wall Street Journal, "Guthrie to Move Into Co-Anchor Seat at 'Today' Show."

And see Radar Online, "Matt Lauer's Wife Threatens Divorce If Natalie Morales Gets Today Co-Host Gig."

Actually, it's sounds like Lauer's wife has some hang ups. See London's Daily Mail, "Matt Lauer's wife 'to follow him to London to keep tabs on him while he covers Olympics'."

NFIB v. Sebelius: It's Exactly the Big-Government Disaster it Appears to Be

More analysis on Thursday's ruling.

John Yoo cites both Charles Krauthammer and George Will as "apologists" at his essay at the Wall Street Journal, "Chief Justice Roberts and His Apologists":

Road to Surfdom
Some conservatives hope that Justice Roberts is pursuing a deeper political game. Charles Krauthammer, for one, calls his opinion "one of the great constitutional finesses of all time" by upholding the law on the narrowest grounds possible—thus doing the least damage to the Constitution—while turning aside the Democratic Party's partisan attacks on the court.

The comparison here is to Marbury v. Madison (1803), where Chief Justice John Marshall deflected President Thomas Jefferson's similar assault on judicial independence. Of the Federalist Party, which he had defeated in 1800, Jefferson declared: "They have retired into the judiciary as a stronghold. There the remains of federalism are to be preserved and fed from the treasury, and from that battery all the works of republicanism are to be beaten down and erased." Jeffersonians in Congress responded by eliminating federal judgeships, and also by impeaching a lower court judge and a Supreme Court judge.

In Marbury, Justice Marshall struck down section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, thus depriving his own court of the power to hear a case against Secretary of State James Madison. Marbury effectively declared that the court would not stand in the way of the new president or his congressional majorities. So Jefferson won a short-term political battle—but Justice Marshall won the war by securing for the Supreme Court the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional.

While some conservatives may think Justice Roberts was following in Justice Marshall's giant footsteps, the more apt comparison is to the Republican Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes. Hughes's court struck down the centerpieces of President Franklin Roosevelt's early New Deal because they extended the Commerce Clause power beyond interstate trade to intrastate manufacturing and production. Other decisions blocked Congress's attempt to delegate its legislative powers to federal agencies.

FDR reacted furiously. He publicly declared: "We have been relegated to a horse-and-buggy definition of interstate commerce." After winning a resounding landslide in the 1936 elections, he responded in February 1937 with the greatest attack on the courts in American history. His notorious court-packing plan proposed to add six new justices to the Supreme Court's nine members, with the obvious aim of overturning the court's opposition to the New Deal.

After the president's plan was announced, Hughes and Justice Owen J. Roberts began to switch their positions. They would vote to uphold the National Labor Relations Act, minimum-wage and maximum-hour laws, and the rest of the New Deal.

But Hughes sacrificed fidelity to the Constitution's original meaning in order to repel an attack on the court. Like Justice Roberts, Hughes blessed the modern welfare state's expansive powers and unaccountable bureaucracies—the very foundations for ObamaCare.
Still more at the link.

I think Yoo raises two points, one legal and one political. I don't disagree with the legal reasoning, that by calling the mandate a tax Roberts essentially rewrites the legislation and in fact expands Commerce Clause powers --- because, really, any non-entry into mandatory commercial markets could then be penalized taxed. But I think both Krauthammer and George Will (cited earlier in Yoo's piece) are making political arguments. And it's the political arguments that will matter the most in the short term. Republicans and tea party conservatives are energized, and Mitt Romney has declared his agenda on "day one" is to repeal ObamaCare. It'd be hard to solidify the opposing sides more forcefully. But I'm a political scientist, not a lawyer (see Linkmaster Smith for more on that distinction). I'm seeing virtually all political upside at the moment. Indeed, the White House is already denying that the mandate is a tax after all, the poor babies. And as John Podhoretz argues at the New York Post, "It's on to November" (via Memeorandum).

Check back for more analysis. This is the most interesting "lull" between the primaries and the general election ever.

Previously: "Supreme Court's Decison on ObamaCare — A Substantial Win for Conservatives."

Image Credit: The People's Cube (via Maggie's Farm).


The original Chris Crocker video is here: "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!" And the dude's Facebook page is here.

Okay, when the Soros-backed hate-monkeys at Media Matters start defending right wing Supreme Court justices against Matt Drudge, you know something is out of whack. See: "Drudge Smears Justice Roberts Over His Seizures." And at the loathsome attack website Think Progress: "Conservatives Claim Roberts Upheld Obamacare Because of ‘Cognitive Problems’ Due to Epilepsy Medication" (via Memeorandum).

There's a screencap of Drudge at Media Matters. I don't see it there now, but earlier Drudge linked to a nasty radio segment from Michael Savage. That's up at RCP: "Michael Savage: Roberts Epilepsy Medication Affects His Cognition."
"Let's talk about Roberts. I'm going to tell you something that you're not going to hear anywhere else, that you must pay attention to. It's well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures. Therefore he has been on medication. Therefore neurologists will tell you that medication used for seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, can introduce mental slowing, forgetfulness and other cognitive problems. And if you look at Roberts' writings you can see the cognitive dissociation in what he is saying," Michael Savage said on his radio program this evening.
That's just despicable gutter politics. Seriously. And I know there were lots of folks on Twitter who were just eviscerating the Chief Justice (and called out here). Folks can disagree, but don't become the enemy. It's pathetic.

The tea party revolt against the decision is fine. Indeed, the ruling's not helping the administration, for all the media bloviating to the contrary. And as I've noted, technically, the A.C.A. should have been struck down. But no doubt Roberts' decision has galvanized the opposition to the law and the Democrats who rammed it down our throats. See: "Supreme Court's Decison on ObamaCare — A Substantial Win for Conservatives."

Daily Kos Won't Link Reliapundit at Astute Bloggers!

Look, when the Daily Kos vermin take your notice and try to minimize your influence by sneering, "One lower-tier righty blogger (by the name of 'Reliapundit,' no less, so you know it's got to be legit, and no I'm not linking, Google if you care, etc.)" ... then you know you're getting too close for progressive comfort.




Here's the reference to Bettina Viviano, "Did Barack Obama Campaign Threaten Life of Chelsea Clinton to Keep Parents Silent on Obama’s Ineligibility?"

Look, Barack Obama's life is one big political cover-up. Read the first chapter of Monica Crowley's new book to be swept off your feet with a tour de force exegesis of this president's detestable stealth politics of deceit, which includes a full outing of a Democrat-Media-Complex that's remorselessly foisted an endless stream of lies on the American people.

And if you want real conspiracies, ugly racists conspiracies, just head back over to Daily Kos: "Eulogy-before-the-Inevitability-of-Self-Destruction-The-Decline-and-Death-of-Israel." That kind of "Protocols of the Elders"-style of anti-Semitism is right there at home at Markos Moulitsas' hate site.

Majority of Americans Would Repeal Some Parts of ObamaCare

And 31 percent would like to see the entire law repealed.

See Gallup, "Americans Issue Split Decision on Healthcare Ruling."

And get this part at the report, "One in Five Will Vote Based on Candidates' Healthcare Positions":
Four in five Americans tell Gallup they will take candidates' views on healthcare reform into account to at least some degree when voting for major political offices this fall. This includes 21% who say they will vote only for a candidate who shares their views on healthcare reform and 59% who say healthcare will be just one of many important factors they will consider when voting. A relatively small 12% say healthcare reform will not be a major factor in their vote.
And check Rasmussen, "Health Care Law Has Already Lost in Court of Public Opinion":
A week after President Obama’s health care law was passed, 54% of voters nationwide wanted to see the law repealed.  Now, as the Supreme Court is set to issue a ruling on the law’s constitutionality, the numbers are unchanged: 54% want to see the law repealed.

In polls conducted weekly or biweekly for over two years since the law's passage in March 2010, the numbers have barely moved. In fact, for more than a year before the law was passed, a similar majority opposed its passage.

The dynamics have remained the same throughout as well. Most Democrats oppose repeal, while most Republicans and unaffiliated voters support it. Older voters, those who use the health care system more than anyone else, favor repeal more than younger voters. The number who Strongly Favor repeal has remained over 40%, while the number Strongly Opposing has remained in the 20-something percent range.

Most voters have consistently expressed the view that the law will hurt the quality of care, drive up costs and increase the federal deficit. They also don’t like the government ordering people to buy health insurance and don’t think the Constitution permits that anyway.

This strong and consistent opposition led Scott Rasmussen to conclude in a recent syndicated newspaper column that the “health care law is doomed regardless of what the court decides.”

And remember, the law will drive up costs and drive insurers from the market, ultimately meaning that the federal government would be the provider of last resport --- which is what progressives have wanted all along.

BONUS: At Hot Air, "Gallup: Public split evenly on Court’s ObamaCare decision, 46/46; Update: Go on offense, WH urges Dems" (via Memeorandum).

Shera Bechard, Playboy's Miss November 2010, Gets 'Genius Visa' From U.S. Government

I guess she was on of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends as well.

See London's Daily Mail, "Should Playboy Playmate have received 'Genius' Visa? Controversy after former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner granted status for 'extraordinary ability'."

And check Ms. Bechard's Twitter feed. I think she got the visa for all those frisky photos she posts.

BONUS: Zion's Trumpet did a Rule 5 post on her a couple of weeks back.

Nanny of the Month: Banned Bikinis? And You Thought ObamaCare Was Bad!

If bikinis are banned that is the end of America!

Via Theo Spark:

And see London's Daily Mail, "New Jersey councillor wants to enforce 54-year-old law banning bathing suits on boardwalk."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Erin Andrews Leaving ESPN

Apparently this Sports Illustrated story sparked the media coverage: "Erin Andrews leaves ESPN; Fox Sports next?"

And see Huffington Post, "Erin Andrews Leaving ESPN: FOX Could Be Landing Spot For Sideline Reporter (PHOTOS)", and Hollywood Reporter, "Erin Andrews Leaves ESPN, Likely to Take Her Game to Fox."

Erin Andrews is always good for traffic. I hadn't blogged about her in awhile, and after I linked those new bikini photos at Daily Mail, I got Instalanched.

Finnish Driver Toomas Heikkinen Crashes at X-Games Los Angeles Rally Car Event

This is brutal.

At the Los Angles Times, "X Games: RallyCross driver injured in crash during practice."

There's another clip looking from the other side, here.

Stalker 'Threatened to Stab and Decapitate' Sexy Los Angeles Model Kourtney Reppert

You know, there's stalking, and then there's F-KING STALKING!

No doubts about this one, at London's Daily Mail, "Stalker 'threatened to stab and decapitate' lingerie model known as Philadelphia's hottest blonde'."

L.A. Weekly broke the story: "Kourtney Reppert, Sexy L.A. Model, Facebook-Stalked by Luis Plascencia, FBI Says: PHOTOS."
The FBI this week came down hard on a Chicago man they say has been cyberstalking an L.A.-based model the Weekly has determined is Kourtney E. Reppert.

An FBI affidavit in the case against 47-year-old Luis F. Plascencia identifies the victim as "K.E.R.," indicates she's originally from "Philly," and says she's affiliated with a website called Bombshell Marketing, all of which led to Reppert.

Plascencia, a winner who lived with his mom, allegedly cyberstalked her this spring and sent her hateful, venemous messages via Facebook and from several different email addresses, according to the FBI's allegations:

According to the affidavit Plascencia posted personal information about Reppert (he had her family's home address) and threatened to "cut your fucking head off," "kill your parents" and cut her family "to pieces" if she didn't stop modeling.

The messages were sent via Facebook and email, according to the agency.

Plascencia was upset that she was engaged in semi-nude, lingerie and bikini modeling although, at one point, he posed as someone else and asked Reppert to model nude for him, according to the allegations. In another instance he allegedly wrote:
I'm going to stab you in the fuckin' heart and cut your head off.
At various times he called her a "slut," "whore" and "gutless bitch" in messages to Reppert, the FBI says, and he even criticized her looks, saying she was a "fat ass."
Continue reading.

No one should be treated like that, ever.

But then again, there are evil people in the world.

Ms. Reppert's homepage is here.

Supreme Court's Decison on ObamaCare — A Substantial Win for Conservatives

I mentioned William Jacobson's case already (and Mark Levin's), but here's the conservative case for a political win in yesterday's ObamaCare ruling. From David Horowitz, "Supreme Decision: The Best Possible Result for 2012":

John Roberts
Politically speaking there couldn’t have been a better Supreme Court decision. If Obamacare had been declared unconstitutional, the Democrats’ campaign in November would have been those horrible Republicans have politicized the Supreme Court and denied affordable healthcare to everyone. The focus would be on the court’s “unfairness.” The Democrats would have a plausible if unfair case (and in politics lack of fairness is a given). Advantage Democrats. Advantage because the last things they want to talk about are Obamacare and taxes. And that’s the second big plus from this decision. The focus – thanks to Justice Roberts – is going to be on the biggest tax increase in human history on everyone, not just the rich. And on the lies of Obama which dwarf those of Clinton. Obama promised no tax hikes on the middle class and then defended Obamacare before the Supreme Court as …. a tax.

As for the constitutionalists. Roberts’ argument makes sense to me. Yes the power to tax is the power to destroy, but it’s in the Constitution. So this decision doesn’t really change anything constitutionally. If you don’t like Obamacare, the remedy is to repeal it. Let the elections begin.
And see George Will, at the O.C. Register, "Obamacare Ruling a Substantial Conservative Win":
The court held that the mandate is constitutional only because Congress could have identified its enforcement penalty as a tax. The court thereby guaranteed that the argument ignited by the mandate will continue as the principal fault line in our polity.

The mandate's opponents favor a federal government as James Madison fashioned it, one limited by the constitutional enumeration of its powers. The mandate's supporters favor government as Woodrow Wilson construed it, with limits as elastic as liberalism's agenda, and powers acquiring derivative constitutionality by being necessary to, or efficient for, implementing government's ambitions.

By persuading the court to reject a Commerce Clause rationale for a president's signature act, the conservative legal insurgency against Obamacare has won a huge victory for the long haul. This victory will help revive a venerable tradition of America's political culture, that of viewing congressional actions with a skeptical constitutional squint, searching for congruence with the Constitution's architecture of enumerated powers. By rejecting the Commerce Clause rationale, Thursday's decision reaffirmed the Constitution's foundational premise: Enumerated powers are necessarily limited because, as Chief Justice John Marshall said, "the enumeration presupposes something not enumerated."
I would have preferred personally that Roberts had stood up to the left's bullying and ideological thuggery --- that he would have joined with the four conservatives to strike down the law, as per Anthony Kennedy's words: "In our view, the entire Act is invalid in its entirety." But I'm not going to lament how quickly the decision has energized the conservative base. See Roll Call for more: "Health Care Decision Re-Energizes Tea Party."

Obama for America 2012: Health Care Reform Still a BFD

Via Anne Sorock, at Legal Insurrection:
So in case you thought gloating was beneath the POTUS, consider this proof to the contrary. Obama is not ashamed to hawk t-shirts through twitter the same day a divisive Supreme Court decision further divided the country that he claimed he was here to unite.

Chief Justice Roberts Switched His Vote in NFIB v. Sebelius


And I don't know, but the pressure was on. Even the Wall Street Journal comments:
One telling note is that the dissent refers repeatedly to "Justice Ginsburg's dissent" and "the dissent" on the mandate, but of course they should be referring to Ruth Bader Ginsburg's concurrence. This wording and other sources suggest that there was originally a 5-4 majority striking down at least part of ObamaCare, but then the Chief Justice changed his mind.

The Justices may never confirm this informed speculation. But if it is true, this is far more damaging to the Court's institutional integrity that the Chief Justice is known to revere than any ruling against ObamaCare. The political class and legal left conducted an extraordinary campaign to define such a decision as partisan and illegitimate. If the Chief Justice capitulated to this pressure, it shows the Court can be intimidated and swayed from its constitutional duties. If this was a play to compete with John Marshall's legacy, the result is closer to William Brennan's.
More at Memeorandum.

Taliban Release Video of 17 Beheaded Pakistani Soldiers

I looked around for the clip the other night, when AP first reported the story.

Didn't see it then, but Rusty Shackleford has it now, at Jawa Report: "Video: Taliban Behead 17 POWs."

Queen Elizabeth Shakes Hands With Martin McGuinness, Former IRA Terrorist Whose Group Murdered Her Cousin Lord Mountbatten

I guess time heals all wounds, but it must have been rough.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Queen Elizabeth, ex-IRA leader share historic handshake":

LONDON -- In a meeting symbolizing the end of years of enmity between British rule and Northern Ireland republicans, Queen Elizabeth shook hands Wednesday with a former Irish Republican Army commander.

Martin McGuinness, now a deputy first minister of Northern Ireland and a member of the pro-republican Sinn Fein party, was a senior IRA member in the years of sectarian violence. During that time, the group was responsible for blowing up the yacht of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the queen's cousin, killing him and three others while they vacationed off the coast of Northern Ireland in 1979.

The once unthinkable handshake took place away from media eyes -- apart from one camera crew -- behind closed doors at a charity arts event in Belfast, witnessed by the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, and leading politicians including Irish President Michael Higgins and Northern Ireland’s first minister, Peter Robinson.

The seemingly mundane greeting was widely heralded as a turning point. Peter Sheridan, host of the event, told reporters, "It's a huge act of reconciliation, you cannot underestimate how important this is."

The queen, wearing a pale green coat and hat, also toured a local art exhibit, the work of a cultural charity aimed at fostering cross-community relations between Catholics and Protestants. As she left the Lyric Theatre, the carefully chosen apolitical context where the event took place, the queen smiled as she shook hands again with McGuinness, this time publicly as he was standing in line with other officials.

Afterward, McGuinness told reporters he spoke to the queen in Gaelic telling her his words meant “Goodbye and God speed.”

The show of reconciliation was generally judged to have cost both leaders a price. Some hard-line republicans view McGuinness as a traitor, but most agreed that it was a step forward.

"From the queen's point of view, she lost a member of the family, so it's a big step for her," Joe McGowan, a Northern Ireland historian, told Sky News. "Martin McGuinness is conceding something. He has to recognize that the struggle over the past 30 years was lost, in a military sense anyway."
ADDED: At the Belfast Telegraph, "Queen handshake with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness bridges centuries-old gulf."

ObamaCare: The Case for Repeal is Now Stronger Than Ever

Flashback to 2010, from Yuval Levin, "Repeal: How ObamaCare Must Be Undone":

Conservative and liberal experts generally agree on the nature of the problem with American health care financing: There is a shortage of incentives for efficiency in our methods of paying for coverage and care, and therefore costs are rising much too quickly, leaving too many people unable to afford insurance. We have neither a fully public nor quite a private system of insurance, and three key federal policies—the fee-for-service structure of Medicare, the disjointed financing of Medicaid, and the open-ended tax exclusion for employer-provided insurance—drive spending and costs ever upward.

The disagreement about just how to fix that problem has tended to break down along a familiar dispute between left and right: whether economic efficiency is best achieved by the rational control of expert management or by the lawful chaos of open competition.

Liberals argue that the efficiency we lack would be achieved by putting as much as possible of the health care sector into one big “system” in which the various irregularities could be evened and managed out of existence by the orderly arrangement of rules and incentives. The problem now, they say, is that health care is too chaotic and answers only to the needs of the insurance companies. If it were made more orderly, and answered to the needs of the public as a whole, costs could be controlled more effectively.

Conservatives argue that the efficiency we lack would be achieved by allowing price signals to shape the behavior of both providers and consumers, creating more savings than we could hope to produce on purpose, and allowing competition and informed consumer choices to exercise a downward pressure on prices. The problem now, they say, is that third-party insurance (in which employers buy coverage or the government provides it, and consumers almost never pay doctors directly) makes health care too opaque, hiding the cost of everything from everyone and so making real pricing and therefore real economic efficiency impossible. If it were made more transparent and answered to the wishes of consumers, prices could be controlled more effectively.

That means that liberals and conservatives want to pursue health care reform in roughly opposite directions. Conservatives propose ways of introducing genuine market forces into the insurance system—to remove obstacles to choice and competition, pool risk more effectively, and reduce the inefficiency in government health care entitlements while helping those for whom entry to the market is too expensive (like Americans with preexisting conditions) gain access to the same high quality care. Such targeted efforts would build on what is best about the system we have in order to address what needs fixing.

Liberals, meanwhile, propose ways of moving Americans to a more fully public system, by arranging conditions in the health care sector (through a mix of mandates, regulations, taxes, and subsidies) to nudge people toward public coverage, which could be more effectively managed. This is the approach the Democrats originally proposed last year. The idea was to end risk-based insurance by making it essentially illegal for insurers to charge people different prices based on their health, age, or other factors; to force everyone to participate in the system so that the healthy do not wait until they’re sick to buy insurance; to align various insurance reforms in a way that would raise premium costs in the private market; and then to introduce a government-run insurer that, whether through Medicare’s negotiating leverage or through various exemptions from market pressures, could undersell private insurers and so offer an attractive “public option” to people being pushed out of employer plans into an increasingly expensive individual market.

Conservatives opposed this scheme because they believed a public insurer could not introduce efficiencies that would lower prices without brutal rationing of services. Liberals supported it because they thought a public insurer would be fairer and more effective.

But in order to gain 60 votes in the Senate last winter, the Democrats were forced to give up on that public insurer, while leaving the other components of their scheme in place. The result is not even a liberal approach to escalating costs but a ticking time bomb: a scheme that will build up pressure in our private insurance system while offering no escape. Rather than reform a system that everyone agrees is unsustainable, it will subsidize that system and compel participation in it—requiring all Americans to pay ever-growing premiums to insurance companies while doing essentially nothing about the underlying causes of those rising costs.

Liberal health care mavens understand this. When the public option was removed from the health care bill in the Senate, Howard Dean argued in the Washington Post that the bill had become merely a subsidy for insurance companies, and failed completely to control costs. Liberal health care blogger Jon Walker said, “The Senate bill will fail to stop the rapidly approaching meltdown of our health care system, and anyone is a fool for thinking otherwise.” Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos called the bill “unconscionable” and said it lacked “any mechanisms to control costs.”

Indeed, many conservatives, for all their justified opposition to a government takeover of health care, have not yet quite seen the full extent to which this bill will exacerbate the cost problem. It is designed to push people into a system that will not exist—a health care bridge to nowhere—and so will cause premiums to rise and encourage significant dislocation and then will initiate a program of subsidies whose only real answer to the mounting costs of coverage will be to pay them with public dollars and so increase them further. It aims to spend a trillion dollars on subsidies to large insurance companies and the expansion of Medicaid, to micromanage the insurance industry in ways likely only to raise premiums further, to cut Medicare benefits without using the money to shore up the program or reduce the deficit, and to raise taxes on employment, investment, and medical research.

The case for averting all of that could hardly be stronger. And the nature of the new law means that it must be undone—not trimmed at the edges. Once implemented fully, it would fairly quickly force a crisis that would require another significant reform. Liberals would seek to use that crisis, or the prospect of it, to move the system toward the approach they wanted in the first place: arguing that the only solution to the rising costs they have created is a public insurer they imagine could outlaw the economics of health care. A look at the fiscal collapse of the Medicare system should rid us of the notion that any such approach would work, but it remains the left’s preferred solution, and it is their only plausible next move—indeed, some Democrats led by Iowa senator Tom Harkin have already begun talking about adding a public insurance option to the plan next year.
Amazing to reread that.

Continue reading here.

And here's Levin's latest, at National Review, "The New and Even Worse Obamacare: The Court’s Rewriting of the Law Strengthens the Case for Repealing It."

'Stop Interrupting Me!' — Katie Pavlich Eviscerates Charles Blow on 'Piers Morgan Tonight'

She's a freakin' conservative rock star!

It gets especially hot near the end of the clip. Charles Blow literally blows his lid attempting to shut down Ms. Pavlich. Typical progressive thug style, the creep:

Mark Levin Rips Chief Justice John Roberts' ObamaCare Ruling

Here's the first 10 minutes, and the rest is at the Right Scoop, "Mark Levin analyzes SCOTUS ruling upholding Obamacare."

William Jacobson says Levin is basically channeling his post from early yesterday: "Stop the self-delusion."

It's an awful decision, but understandable from Roberts' perspective, remember?

Custodian of the Court: Charles Krauthammer Explains Chief Justice John Roberts' ObamaCare Ruling

Makes good sense to me.

See Krauthammer at National Review, "Why Roberts Did It":

It’s the judiciary’s Nixon-to-China: Chief Justice John Roberts joins the liberal wing of the Supreme Court and upholds the constitutionality of Obamacare. How? By pulling off one of the great constitutional finesses of all time. He managed to uphold the central conservative argument against Obamacare, while at the same time finding a narrow definitional dodge to uphold the law — and thus prevented the Court from being seen as having overturned, presumably on political grounds, the signature legislation of this administration.

Why did he do it? Because he carries two identities. Jurisprudentially, he is a constitutional conservative. Institutionally, he is chief justice and sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the Court’s legitimacy, reputation, and stature.
More at that top link, via Bookworm Room: "Second and third thoughts about the ObamaCare decision, which does have some saving grace."

RELATED: "Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC Host and Tulane University Professor, Claims ObamaCare Insurance Mandate 'Just Like Buying Groceries'."

Nancy Pelosi Spikes the ObamaCare Football: Teddy Kennedy 'Can Rest in Peace'

My goodness, the melodrama's enough to kill ya:

And see Pat Dollard, "Pelosi to Ed Schultz: Today’s Ruling a Victory ‘‘For Health Care As a Right, Not a Privilege’’."

Progressives Freak at GOP's Pledge to Repeal ObamaCare

Nothing's impossible in politics, so I was surprised at how quickly some on the left pushed back against GOP calls to repeal the ObamaCare monstrosity.

See Ryan Lizza, for example, "WHY ROMNEY WON’T REPEAL OBAMACARE." It's a good case, but it depends on a lot of unknowns. Democrats have been jumping ship on the president, and should we see a transition of power in the White House after November, perhaps Democrat sympathies might shift a bit in the Senate. Never say never on getting 60 votes on cloture. And don't dismiss a possible GOP majority in the upper chamber next January.

Plus, at the despicable Soros-back hate site, "4 Reasons Why Republicans Won’t Be Able to Repeal Obamacare."

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Reacts to Supreme Court's Ruling on ObamaCare

She's the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference:

RELATED: See Emily Miller, at the Washington Times, "Getting Rid of Obamacare."

Mitt Romney: Job One. Repeal ObamaCare

Via Theo Spark:

Georgia Salpa FHM Maple Syrup Video

Sexy lady:

And see: "Behind the sexy scenes with Georgia Salpa on her first FHM shoot."

Ann Curry's Emotional Farewell at 'Today Show'

I've been watching CBS News This Morning with Charlie Rose, Erica Hill, and Gayle King, but Ann Curry seems like a wonderful lady. NBC's treating her f-king harshly.

See Big Journalism, "Ann Curry Fired as 'Today Show' Co-Host."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Today's Decision in NFIB v. Sebelius Being Frequently Compared to Marbury v. Madison (1803)

I would normally be posting a few more frequent updates to today's news out of the Supreme Court, but as I noted this morning, I'm trying to carefully digest all the information. No matter how things shake out with all the partisan debates (watch MSNBC for those), I expect Mitt Romney's pledge to act on "day one" against ObamaCare will have a galvanizing affect on the tea party grassroots of the Republican coalition. More on all of that later. Here I just want to highlight that aspect of Chief Justice Roberts' opinion that's generating some attention among legal scholars. Glenn Reynolds called the decision a Marbury moment, and others are now echoing that theme.

See David Kopel at SCOTUSblog, "Major limits on the Congress’s powers, in an opinion worthy of John Marshall":
The Roberts opinion also brings to mind Chief Justice Marshall’s opinion in Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803). Under intense political pressure from a president and his allies who demand that the judiciary submit to their unchecked will, the Chief Justice gives them the result they want in a particular case. Yet wrapped within that victory is a dramatic strengthening of the power of the federal courts to check the current President and Congress, and every future one.

In Marbury, the strengthening was the affirmation of judicial review itself. In NFIB, it is the first decision  striking a Spending Clause enactment because of coercion; the Necessary and Proper Clause restored to its pristine 1819 status; and a vibrant, broad construction of the commerce clause limits from United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995).

None of this comes for free. Marbury was unjustly denied his commission as Justice of the Peace for the District of Columbia. Chief Justice Roberts’ ruling that the individual mandate is justified under the Tax Power is intellectually indefensible. He expressly says that the mandate is not a direct tax (e.g., a tax just for being alive). Accordingly, if the tax is constitutional, then it must be some form of “indirect tax”—such as an excise tax, or a duty. He writes that the individual mandate merely “makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.” (p. 32). Taxes on buying gasoline, or on the salary from your job, are straightforward excise taxes.

But the problem for Roberts is that excise taxes have always and only been applied for doing something (e.g., buying gas) or for owning something (e.g., a carriage). (Hylton v. United States, 3 U.S. 171 (1796).) There is literally no constitutional or tax law precedent for the notion that an individual can be subject to an excise tax merely for choosing not to buy a product. (The only thing that is even close to an exception to this rule is that a trust can be taxed for not distributing its assets pursuant to the terms of the trust. But a trust, unlike an ordinary American citizen, is an artificial legal person which was created for the sole purpose of performing an activity which the trust then refused to perform.)

Some modern scholars say that Chief Justice Marshall, too, had to cheat to get the result he wanted: that Marbury was incorrect to claim that Article III of the Constitution barred Congress from giving the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus. Perhaps so.

But the bottom line is this: whatever political benefit President Obama gains from the continuing legal enforceability of his unpopular health control law and its widely-disliked individual mandate, plaintiffs who wish to challenge congressional and presidential overreaching have much stronger Supreme Court precedent than they did yesterday.
And see Daniel Epps at the Atlantic Online, "In Health Care Ruling, Roberts Steals a Move From John Marshall's Playbook," (via Memeorandum). And Tom Scocca at Slate, "Obama Wins the Battle, Roberts Wins the War":
Roberts' genius was in pushing this health care decision through without attaching it to the coattails of an ugly, narrow partisan victory. Obama wins on policy, this time. And Roberts rewrites Congress' power to regulate, opening the door for countless future challenges. In the long term, supporters of curtailing the federal government should be glad to have made that trade.

Cable Networks Jumped the Gun on ObamaCare Ruling: 'The Supreme Court Has Struck Down the Individual Mandate'

I woke up a little before 8:00am Pacific Time. When I turned on the TV the folks CBS Morning Show were talking about something besides the Supreme Court. I think the volume was down but it was a variety feature so I started surfing around. Both CNN and Fox were at commercial breaks, but then MSNBC was talking about the ruling, although they didn't have any banner headlines or anything. I started saying to myself, "Okay, WTF is going on here?" Then I went downstairs to put on a pot of coffee, and when I came back up CNN and Fox were reporting that the Court had upheld ObamaCare. But Megyn Kelly looked confused at Fox News, and that's not like her. I didn't go online until after I got my coffee, so I was getting my news just from the cable networks. And frankly, I felt like I wasn't getting good information. That was just around 11:00am Eastern Time, so it would have been about an hour since the decision was announced.

In any case, that's what happened with my morning channel surfing. As I've said many times now, I get my news by blogging and it was no exception today. I found out that both CNN and Fox News botched the initial reports from the Supreme Court by checking over at some of my regular YouTube channels. Imagine that. Partisan outlets like Talking Points Memo turn out to be a better place to get accurate updates than the networks themselves. Watch TPM at the link: "Fox, CNN Jump the Gun On Health Care Ruling."

Plus, another video at Daily Beast, "Fox News Mourns the Supreme Court Obamacare Decision."

And here's this, from Buzz Feed, "CNN News Staffers Revolt Over Blown Coverage" (via Memeorandum):

News staffers at the cable network CNN, long the gold standard in television news, were on the verge of open revolt Thursday after CNN blew the coverage on the most consequential news event of the year.

As Chief Justice John Roberts began reading his decision on the future of President Obama's health care overhaul, the CNN team inside the courtroom jumped the gun, believing that Roberts was saying the individual mandate was unconstitutional and would be overturned.

A producer inside the courtroom, Bill Mears, communicated the information to a relatively junior reporter, Kate Bolduan, the face of the network's coverage outside on the courthouse steps.

Bolduan then reported, on air, that the invidual mandate was “not valid,” citing producer Mears.

“It appears as if the Supreme Court justices struck down the individual mandate, the centerpiece,” of the law, she said.

Bolduan, a 2005 graduate of George Washington University who previously worked for a local news station in North Carolina, was named the network's congressional correspondent last year.

The 29-year-old was also named one of Washington's 50 Most Beautiful people in 2011 by The Hill.

Moments after Bolduan spoke, the false story began to metastasize inside the network's online operation.

The erroneous breaking news was made into a chyron at the bottom of the screen. CNN also sent out a breaking news alert.

And a half dozen top on-air reporters and producers within the esteemed news organization told BuzzFeed they are furious at what they see as yet another embarrassment to a network stuck in third place in the cable news race, and torn between an identity as the leader in hard news and the success of their opinionated, personality-driven rivals, Fox News and MSNBC.

“Fucking humiliating,” said one CNN veteran. “We had a chance to cover it right. And some people in here don’t get what a big deal getting it wrong is. Morons.”
More at Memeorandum. I'm amazed at the colorful language.

See also Jeff Sonderman at Poynter, "CNN, Fox News err in covering today’s Supreme Court health care ruling" (via Mediagazer).

Expect updates...

Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC Host and Tulane University Professor, Claims ObamaCare Insurance Mandate 'Just Like Buying Groceries'

I noted previously that I'm being careful to learn about this decision and listen to what people are saying about it. Thus I'm literally taken aback by the comments from MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry.

Watch the clip at just after 1:00 minute. She says the individual mandate is a matter of personal responsibility.:
"Just like you have to take care of your own kids and buy your own groceries, you have got to buy health insurance because it is a matter of personal responsibility..."

That's a fundamentally ignorant interpretation of the Court's decision. Well, that, and an ideologically extreme interpretation of the Court's decision. Instapundit, as usual, has a great roundup of the reactions. I'm especially interested in the notion that Chief Justice Roberts' decision was a super savvy political ruling akin to the 1803 decision in Marbury v. Madison. That is, Roberts diced up his reasoning to allow the individual mandate to stand not on Commerce Clause grounds but because of the provision of the IRS penalty for failing to purchase individual insurance. That's a tax and it's in Congress's authority.

Here's Instapundit's initial reactions:
Text of the opinion is still not online. But here’s ScotusBlog’s summary:
In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding. . . . Yes, to answer a common question, the whole ACA is constitutional, so the provision requiring insurers to cover young adults until they are 26 survives as well.
So there you are. The Supreme Court has refused to save us from ourselves. The remedy now will have to be political.

FINALLY: Here’s a link to the opinion. I should also note that for those who thought the Lopez case dead, this opinion indicates that it remains very much alive. It appears that there may also be support on the Court for limiting Congress’s spending power. Has Roberts pulled a Marbury, appearing to give ground while actually laying the foundation for change in the future? Call that an optimistic reading.
The key points are (1) there were "not five votes" to uphold the law on Commerce Clause grounds; (2) the Court "has refused to save us from ourselves," i.e., the Court's not going to fix legislation that the political branches established; and (3) Chief Justice Roberts "has pulled a Marbury" by essentially paving the way for a repeal of the law when Republicans come to power. So again, as noted previously, Chief Justice Roberts in 2012, just like Chief Justice Marshall in 1803, is committed to maintaining the institutional legitimacy of the Court by protecting it from partisan attacks in one of the biggest cases since Bush v. Gore (2000). And Robert's is especially interested in preserving his natural court's legacy as a constitutional court and not a political one. In 1803 Chief Justice Marshall ruled that Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional because Congress could not change the Article III powers of the Supreme Court (to issue writs of mandamus under the Judiciary Act of 1789). Only the Constitution determined the Court's original jurisdiction, and hence that portion of the 1789 Act was struck down as an unconstitutional grant of power to the judicial branch.

The decision was seen as brilliant politically, because it saved Marshall's Supreme Court --- which was essentially a Federalist court ruling against a Jeffersonian administration --- from being attacked as hopelessly partisan.

In today's ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts also split the difference, in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, and returned the question of a remedy for the law to the political branches.

So, returning to Professor Harris-Perry, it is exactly not the ruling of the Court that Congress can make people buy groceries. Justice Roberts didn't agree with the mandate and only upheld the law by way of upholding Congress's power to regulate and tax commercial activity in the marketplace.

Perhaps we'll see more commentary from Professor Harris-Perry. But if her initial take is any indication, she's badly reading way to much into the Court's ruling, and hence has over-interpreted any kind of legal mandate flowing from the outcome of this case. And remember, she's a political scientist!

See also this post at Instapundit: "HEALTHCARE HEADLINE: Obama Imposes Huge Tax On American Middle Class."

Chief Justice Roberts Sides With Court's Progressives to Uphold Constitutionality of ObamaCare

I'm not surprised by today's ruling. I noted previously (somewhere around here) that the Court's decision on Arizona's SB 1070 was a warning against premature football-spiking. Chief Justice John Roberts, I suspect, is being extremely careful about preserving the institutional legitimacy of the Court --- and by extension, the legacy of "the natural court" under his leadership.

There's going to be a lot of news all day, so check back here for updates on developments. I'm just trying to digest all of the information and I'm actually trying to listen to some of the speeches. Here's President Obama's reaction:

Check the New York Times, "Supreme Court Lets Health Law Largely Stand," and the Los Angeles Times, "Chief justice leads Supreme Court's support of healthcare law." (Via Memeorandum.)

Ann Althouse has an analysis of the ruling: "Chief Justice Roberts writes an opinion limiting the commerce power and the spending power." Plus, Lyle Denniston, at SCOTUS Blog, "Don’t call it a mandate — it’s a tax (UPDATED)." And see the ruling plus related documents here: "National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius."

Finally, Neal Munro at the Daily Caller captures the essence of the decision, "In 5-4 decision, Supreme Court rules Obamacare constitutional":
The individual mandate in President Barack Obama’s health care reform law has been upheld, as a tax, in a 5-4 decision by the United States Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four-vote bloc of progressive judges to uphold the sweeping law, after reinterpreting it as a tax-related law.

The majority opinion, authored by Roberts, said the federal government does not have the constitutional power to compel “individuals to become active in commerce… [so] the individual mandate cannot be sustained.”

But in a stunning move, Roberts reinterpreted the law, allowing it to stand, because he said the federal government has the constitutional authority to tax people — even though the law’s advocates originally denied it was a tax while pushing for its approval in 2010. The Obama administration later argued that it was a tax.

He and the four progressive judges upheld the far-reaching law as a tax law.

Roberts then said the court is not deciding whether the law is fair or wise.

“It is not our role to forbid it or comment on [the law’s] fairness,” said Robert’s decision, which was opposed by four GOP-nominated judges, including Justice Anthony Kennedy, widely considered the court’s swing vote.

And keep checking back here for updates and analysis, and other unrelated blogging, like babe blogging!

Freedom to Blog Update June 28, 2012

First, ICYMI, see "Obsessed Progressive Who Shall Not Be Named Is Ideological Kith and Kin to Brett Kimberlin, And I Suspect He'd Like to Put Me Under Just As Fast."

And in no particular order, here's a few choice bits on developments.

Before I go into more discussion, let me make my opinion clear:  the person (or persons) doing the SWATting is not merely a coward and bully, they are without honor, integrity, and provide the definition of moral and intellectual cripple.  They not only lack significant testes or ovaries, I can state that in my opinion I've met four-year-old girls with a bigger pair than they will ever have.  No one need fear them doing anything face-to-face, for such pathetic creatures would only do so as part of a mob, and even then they will most likely be to terrified to be in the front of the mob.  I sincerely doubt they have the capability to shoot one in the back from a distance, as they must always depend on others for anything other than talk.

That said, this is exactly why I write about the subject here, a military blog.  If you go through military crests, you will see words that often talk about protecting various rights and liberties, and opposing despots and despotism.  If you take your oath seriously, it applies not only overseas, but here at home as well.

Efforts like this are designed to intimidate, to brutalize, and to destroy those who would exercise their right to free speech.  This is the tactic of tyranny, and has no place in the Republic or the marketplace of ideas.  This I am sworn to fight....

Free speech is never free.  It is something bought and paid for in blood by our troops. It is bought and paid for by the blood of those who continue to speak despite threat, pain, suffering, and loss.  It is bought and paid for by the courage of those who stand against thugs and other tyrants.

Do you have it in you to make even a token payment by reading and sharing?
Okay, now see Bob Belvedere, "The #BrettKimberlin Report D+32 33: Ring Around the Rauhauser." And The Web Agents, "The Long Game of Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd."

Also at Patterico, "Brett Kimberlin Threatens Even More Unconstitutional Peace Orders Against Aaron Walker."

More at Lonely Con, "Brett Kimberlin Used Picture of Glenn Reynolds as Exhibit E in Response to Aaron Walker’s Motion."

And The Other McCain, "‘The Gaped Crusader’: Brett Kimberlin Associate Neal Rauhauser Stalked and Taunted SWATting Victim Patrick Frey."

Plus, at Aaron Worthing's, "Exclusive: Convicted Terrorist Brett Kimberlin’s Associate Neal Rauhauser’s Attempt to Manufacture the Appearance of a Conspiracy." Also, "My Motion and Convicted Perjurer Brett Kimberlin’s Response."

BONUS: From That Mr. G. Guy's Blog, "An Incomplete Transcription of #Webinair By the #FranklinCenter."

More later...

Politico's DEFCON 1 Pre-Spin for Thursday's ObamaCare Ruling

At AoSHQ, "Politico in Full Spin Mode: Whether ObamaCare Is Upheld Or Struck Down, It's Bad for the GOP and Mitt Romney," and "Even More Fun From Politico: Democrats Warn -- The Very Worst Thing the Right-Wing Supreme Court Could Possibly Do Would Be to Issue a 5-4 Decision Overturning ObamaCare."

Pamela Geller Speaks to Michael Coren About Controversy at Jewish Federation of Los Angeles

Video c/o Small Dead Animals.

And at Atlas Shrugs, "Pamela Geller on the Michael Coren Show: LA Jewish Federation Enforces Sharia."

PREVIOUSLY: "Jewish Federation of Los Angeles Cancels Pamela Geller Event After Threats from Council on American–Islamic Relations."

Microsoft Headquarters in Athens Attacked by Terrorists

At Melbourne's Herald Sun, "Microsoft offices fire-bombed in Athens."

Bar Paly

The video's from some time back, but Ms. Paly is beginning to make a name for herself.

See London's Daily Mail, "Meet director Michael Bay's latest supermodel obsession! The Rock shows his softer side as he flirts with busty co-star Bar Paly."

I first found out about Paly here: "Transformers Director Michael Bay Steps Out With Smokin' Hot Mystery Woman."

Blake Lively at 'Savages' Premier in New York City

Watching TV last night with my wife, she said the preview looked intense. I'm way behind on my movies, so this one will have to wait until cable.

'Jumpin' Jack Flash'

If there was ever a signature Stones song, isn't this it? Background at Wikipedia:

Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, recording on "Jumpin' Jack Flash" began during the Beggars Banquet sessions of 1968. Regarding the song's distinctive sound, guitarist Richards has said:
I used a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic tuned to open D, six string. Open D or open E, which is the same thing – same intervals – but it would be slackened down some for D. Then there was a capo on it, to get that really tight sound. And there was another guitar over the top of that, but tuned to Nashville tuning. I learned that from somebody in George Jones' band in San Antonio in 1964. The high-strung guitar was an acoustic, too. Both acoustics were put through a Philips cassette recorder. Just jam the mic right in the guitar and play it back through an extension speaker.
Studio version here.

Keeley Hazell at FHM

She's lovely: "At long last… Keeley Hazell is back!"

Amanda Jemini Wins Miss Hooters International 2012

Busted Coverage has a roundup: "2012 Hooters Miss International Pageant Primer [68 PHOTOS]." (Via Linkiest.]

Supreme Court to Decide on Health Law

At the Wall Street Journal:

The Supreme Court will decide the fate of President Barack Obama's health-care law Thursday morning.

On the final day of its 2011-12 term, the high court will deliver its opinion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Mr. Obama signed on March 23, 2010. The first constitutional challenge to the law was filed that same day.

The central question before the court was whether Congress could require most Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty. The court could uphold the entire law, nullify part of it or strike it down completely.

All of Washington was prepared to react within minutes of the ruling, which was expected to come shortly after 10 a.m. EDT. Republicans said they would push to repeal any parts of the law that survived the court's review.

"Regardless of how the court rules, the law is a huge issue for the American people, and it has to be repealed completely," House Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans Wednesday, according to someone who was in the room.

White House officials have said they were confident the court would uphold the law, but they were preparing for other outcomes including pressing ahead with the remainder of the law if part is struck down.

The Supreme Court has three cases left to decide, and it may announce the other two rulings first. That is because many court watchers expect Chief Justice John Roberts to write the health-care opinion, and the court announces rulings in order of the seniority of the justice delivering the majority opinion. The chief justice has the highest seniority by virtue of his position.

The court will begin its session at 10 a.m. sharp. Usually on decision days, the court completes the release of opinions within a half-hour. After Thursday's final session of the current Supreme Court term, the justices aren't scheduled to take the bench again until October.

The Obama administration says the insurance mandate is legal because the Constitution gives Congress the power to tax and to regulate interstate commerce. Opponents say it is unprecedented for Congress to compel Americans to buy a particular product—in this case, health insurance—or be penalized.

If the court finds the insurance mandate unconstitutional, the consequences for the health-care law depend greatly on how much of the rest of the law survives. The court could leave the rest of the law intact, including two additional provisions requiring insurers to accept all customers and barring them from charging higher premiums to those who have pre-existing medical conditions. Insurers say that would cause chaos in the market because people might wait until they were sick to sign up for coverage.
More at the link.

And at Neo-Neocon, "I haven’t been this nervous…"

BONUS: At Washington Wire, "Obama Prepares Three Speeches Ahead of Health-Care Ruling" (via Memeorandum).

Natasha Smith, Journalist In Egypt, Details Horrific Sexual Assault in Tahrir Square

Ms. Smith reports at her blog, "“Please God. Please make it stop”" (via Blazing Cat Fur):

I have been forced to leave Cairo prematurely following a horrific sexual and physical attack in Tahrir Square.

The atmosphere was one of jubilation, excitement, and happiness as I walked, accompanied by two male companions for safety along Kasr El Nil bridge. I had had an awful day, caused by problems in personal relationships, so I was so happy to be in such a wonderful environment, getting such amazing footage. Women, children and fathers smiled, waved, and cheered happily at the camera, calling out the widely used phrase “welcome to Egypt! Welcome!”. Fireworks lit up the sky. It was a moving and captivating experience.

Just as I realised I had reached the end of the bridge, I noticed the crowd became thicker, and decided immediately to turn around to avoid Tahrir Square. My friends and I tried to leave. I tried to put my camera back in my rucksack.

But in a split second, everything changed. Men had been groping me for a while, but suddenly, something shifted. I found myself being dragged from my male friend, groped all over, with increasing force and aggression. I screamed. I could see what was happening and I saw that I was powerless to stop it. I couldn’t believe I had got into this situation.

My friend did everything he could to hold onto me. But hundreds of men were dragging me away, kicking and screaming. I was pushed onto a small platform as the crowd surged, where I was hunched over, determined to protect my camera. But it was no use. My camera was snatched from my grasp. My rucksack was torn from my back – it was so crowded that I didn’t even feel it. The mob stumbled off the platform – I twisted my ankle.

Men began to rip off my clothes. I was stripped naked. Their insatiable appetite to hurt me heightened. These men, hundreds of them, had turned from humans to animals.
Continue reading.

And see London's Daily Mail, "'Please God, make it stop!' British female journalist, 21, describes horrific sexual assault in Egypt's Tahrir Square after election result."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nader Amram, Muslim Brotherhood Representative, Spews Anti-Semitic Diatribe During Live Debate on France 24 News Channel (VIDEO)

The Weekly Standard reports, "Brotherhood Representative Won’t Speak to Israeli Journalist":
News channel France 24 hosted a panel Monday night to discuss Egypt’s first civilian president, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi. One of the guests on the panel, via satellite from Cairo, was Nader Amram, a member of the Freedom & Justice Party’s foreign relations committee. (The Freedom & Justice Party (FJP) is the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party.)

When Amram learned that an Israeli journalist was also included on the panel, he protested that he had not been informed beforehand that he would have to appear with an Israeli. He then launched into a mini-diatribe about how Israel is the real problem in the Middle East and refused to discuss matters further with the Israeli.

Amram’s unwillingness to take part in a discussion with an Israeli is a good indication of the possible troubles ahead in relations between Egypt and Israel. When the panel’s host pointed out that the two countries are at peace, Amram said he was not speaking for his country, just himself. The problem is that the Brotherhood certainly has many, many more men like Amram in its ranks. Anti-Semitism is in the Brotherhood’s DNA.

See the 15:10 mark in the video...

Britney Spears on Fire!

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

At London's Daily Mail, "She's on fire! Britney Spears spills curves into blood red bandage dress as she finally looks comfortable at X Factor USA auditions."

Progressives Fall for Fortune's Fantasy Story About 'Fast and Furious' — Charles 'Jazzy McBikeshorts' Hardest Hit!

Here's the Fortune hack job, "The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal" (via Memeorandum).

I'm not linking to Idiot McBikeshorts, although you can find the sleazeball's post at Memeorandum.

"Fast and Furious" expert Katie Pavlich scoffs at Fortune's report, at Townhall, "Fortune Magazine Tries to Tell the 'Truth' About Fast and Furious, Fails Miserably." Pavlich indicates the report is "a full out distortion and dismissal of the facts in the Fact and Furious case." Read it all at the link. Pavlich debunks a few sections then suggests that "The rest of my rebuttle to Fortune can be completed by my book." And she also posts the response to Fortune by Becca Watkins, the spokeswoman for the House Oversight Committee:
“Fortune’s story is a fantasy made up almost entirely from the accounts of individuals involved in the reckless tactics that took place in Operation Fast and Furious. It contains factual errors – including the false statement that Chairman Issa has called for Attorney General Holder’s resignation – and multiple distortions. It also hides critical information from readers – including a report in the Wall Street Journal – indicating that its primary sources may be facing criminal charges. Congressional staff gave Fortune Magazine numerous examples of false statements made by the story’s primary source and the magazine did not dispute this information. It did not, however, explain this material to its readers. The one point of agreement the Committee has with this story is its emphasis on the role Justice Department prosecutors, not just ATF agents, played in guns being transferred to drug cartels in Mexico. The allegations made in the story have been examined and rejected by congressional Republicans, Democrats, and the Justice Department.”

Be sure to check out Pavlich's book, and get the facts: Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.

Oh, For God's Sake Leave the Oreo Cookies Alone!

I'm snagging the title from Blazing Cat Fur.

Background here: "Oreo Wants You to Taste the Gay Pride Rainbow," and "Rainbow-Stuffed Gay Pride Oreo Cookie Sparks Kraft Foods Boycott."

Quinnipiac's Swing State Ohio Poll is Huge Outlier

You know, when I first saw this Quinnipiac survey my thought was, "Shoot, perhaps Baracky might be able to eek out a victory in November after all." And I'm not talking aboutt the poll's findings on Florida and Pennsylvania, which are basically head-to-head, especially Florida. But Quinnipiac has Obama up 9 points in the Buckeye State, and that sounds a bit much.

Anyway, I checked around. Daily Kos pollster Public Policy Polling is out today with new poll showing Obama up by just 3 points in Ohio: "Obama lead in Ohio down to 3":
Barack Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney in Ohio, 47-44.  But that's Obama's weakest showing in the state in PPP's polling since last October. He had led by 50-43 and 49-42 spreads in our two previous 2012 polls.

The big decline for Obama over the last couple months has been with white voters. He and Romney were basically tied with them earlier this year, but now Romney has opened up a 49-42 advantage with them. It's actually white Democrats with whom Obama's seen the biggest decline recently. In early May he had an 89-6 lead with them, but that's now declined to 78-16.

Obama's approval rating in Ohio has dipped to 44/51, a net 7 point drop from the polls earlier this year when voters split evenly on him at 48/48. That Obama has a small advantage in the state anyway is a testament to Romney's weakness as a candidate. Only 35% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 54% with a negative one. With Obama's approval numbers where they are he would almost definitely be trailing if the GOP had a top notch candidate against him- but it really just doesn't.
The key will be how O's lead holds up with Ohio's independents. I'd code this state a toss up.

See RCP's aggregation of polls for Ohio's general election as well: "Ohio: Romney vs. Obama." Especially important there is Rasmussen's findings: "Election 2012: Ohio President: Romney 46%, Obama 44%." Note that Rasmussen's findings are a month old, and it's likely we'd see Obama's numbers deteriorating even further in Ohio for Rasmussen, whose findings tend to favor Republicans.

More at Memeorandum. At this point, for all my bluster about how Obama's gonna get crushed in November, the fact is you have go around the country assess the swing state races to see who it's shaping up. I'll be doing more of that as we go forward.

Ed Morrissey offers a similar take: "Dueling polls: Obama lead narrowing or expanding in Ohio?" (Via Memeorandum.)

Laura Ingraham Hosts the O'Reilly Factor — Obama Administration's Response to Immigration Law Ruling

An outstanding Talking Points Memo from last night, at Fox News.

See: "Laura Ingraham: Obama administration's response to the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law."

Members of Law-School Class of 2011 Had Little Better Than 50-50 Shot of Landing a Job

But if you graduated from one of the top 14 law schools you were sitting pretty.

See the Wall Street Journal, "Law Grads Face Brutal Job Market":
Members of the law-school class of 2011 had little better than a 50-50 shot of landing a job as a lawyer within nine months of receiving a degree, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of new data that provides the most detailed picture yet of the grim market for law jobs.

Under pressure from disillusioned graduates and some professors, the American Bar Association for the first time released a tally of the previous year's graduates who have secured full-time, permanent jobs as lawyers. Until recently, the ABA required law schools to report only general data about how their graduates fared, such as how many were employed full-time or part-time in any kind of job, whether or not it required a law degree.

The numbers suggest the job market for law grads is worse than previously thought. Nationwide, only 55% of the class of 2011 had full-time, long-term jobs that required a law degree nine months after graduation. The ABA defines "long-term" jobs as those that don't have a term of less than one year.

Of course, it isn't uncommon for people to attend law school to advance their career without practicing law. Several law-school deans cautioned against placing too much emphasis on jobs requiring a law degree.

Nationally, 8% of 2011 graduates were said to be in full-time, long-term jobs for which a law degree was preferred but not required, according to the Journal's data analysis. Another 4% were employed in full-time, long-term positions for which professional training was required but for which a law degree offered no advantage....

debate about the value of a law degree. More than 40,000 students enter the law-job market annually. In the past year, law-school graduates have filed more than a dozen lawsuits around the country alleging that some schools misled students with job-placement statistics.

The 2011 data reinforce the notion in the industry that students from the top 14 U.S. law schools have little trouble finding work. The top-ranked schools sent graduates into long-term legal jobs in high numbers, but 87 lower-tier schools had placement rates of 50% or less.
More at the link.

RELATED: Glenn Reynolds keeps linking to this Brian Tamahana piece at the New York Times, so here you go: "How to Make Law School Affordable."

Sometimes I wish I'd gone to law school, mostly for the intellectual enrichment. But more often I think about it now since political science has become so sucky. See Timothy Burke, "Should You Go to Graduate School," and more recently, PM at Duck of Minerva, "Should I get a Ph.D.?"