President Obama is receiving plenty of criticism for his selfie cellphone portrait at the funeral of South Africa's revered leader, Nelson Mandela. What the president had to say in tribute to Africa's greatest statesman was largely overshadowed by the press pictures of Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron, and Denmark's shapely blonde chief of government, Helle Thorning Schmidt. The three leaders are shown, dressed appropriately enough in mourning black. But they are seen yucking it up like teenagers while First Lady Michelle Obama sits up attentively, the perfect picture of dignity and respect - and keeping her distance from the antics.
It's not as if President Obama didn't have time to prepare himself for the passing of this man he called Madiba. That respectful name is an important one to consider in light of the disrespectful behavior of the three leaders. We have known this day was coming for many years.
One of the first and most symbolic acts of the Obama presidency was his removal of the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office. That was a signal of many changes to come, not all of them hopeful. Mr. Obama might have learned some lessons from the life and death of Winston Churchill. more >>
In the United States of America, whenever a cause wants to garner national awareness, it often attempts to do so by staging an event in Washington, DC.
Indeed, one of the many hazards of driving in the District of Columbia is simply never knowing when a road will be blocked off so that a large group of people with signs, flags, and chants can cross.
Although plenty of protests, rallies, and demonstrations have seen immense success, getting a certain number of people at a given place for a given event is never guaranteed. more >>
On Tuesday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) announced a two-year budget agreement that could potentially offer a respite from the fiscal fights of the past few years. But many conservative House Republicans are already balking at the deal because it breaks the spending caps called for under the sequester. Some conservative groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth, have already come out in opposition, offering threats to GOP incumbents who vote for it.
Our bet is that the bill will pass, perhaps handily. But legislative politics is trickier in some ways than electoral politics because the number of "voters" is far smaller, and they are all highly informed and strategic in their thinking. Therefore, let's suppose the Crystal Ball is wrong in its prediction of passage. How would the budget compromise be defeated in Congress?
At present, there are 432 members in the U.S. House. While the special election to replace now-Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) took place on Tuesday and saw Katherine Clark (D) duly elected, she hasn't been seated yet. It's also unlikely that Rep. Mel Watt (D, NC-12) will vote considering he was just confirmed in the Senate as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. This means that we can expect about 430 votes on the Murray-Ryan deal, as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R, OH-8) may not vote (the speaker rarely votes, although he did vote for the deal to end the shutdown). For simplicity's sake, let's just say 216 votes are needed to stop the deal. more >>
The Baby Jesus has been kicked off Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, according to an organization who relishes any opportunity to eradicate Christianity from the U.S. military.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation praised officials at Shaw Air Force Base for removing a Nativity scene located near Memorial Lake on Friday. The traditional Nativity included plastic statues of Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus and an assortment of animals.
Apparently, an undisclosed number of Airmen were so emotionally troubled by the sight of a manger scene that they immediately notified the MRFF. more >>
"Family Talk," a Christian radio ministry, and its president James Dobson are suing the federal government for subjecting them to the Affordable Care Act's, or "Obamacare's," "abortion mandate," despite the nonprofit's religious and moral objections to the mandate.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, claims the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' birth control mandate violates the First Amendment as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The suit says forcing Family Talk to offer coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, such as Plan B or Ella, or devices that could result in the destruction of an embryo would also force the nonprofit and its president to violate their religious convictions.
"The government shouldn't be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman in a press release. "Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear." more >>
Tell Santa to bring President Obama a stocking stuffer: a copy of the U.S. Constitution with the words "Laws be faithfully executed" underlined in red. Those words define the President's most important duty. But Obama, himself a constitutional lawyer, is ignoring the Constitution and governing like a dictator.
His latest ploy exempts unions from a fee that the Affordable Care Act imposes. Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, who voted for Obama and professes to agree with him on healthcare and other issues, didn't mince words when he testified before the House Judiciary Committee on December 3. Turley warned that Obama's power grabs are causing "the most serious constitutional crisis I've seen in my lifetime." Several law professors and policy experts laid out a litany of the president's constitutional transgressions. He has delayed and rewritten key provisions of his healthcare law, and weaseled a special insurance subsidy for members of Congress that the law did not provide. When Congress refused to enact his immigration and environmental policies, he imposed them by edict, granting amnesty to illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and forcing regulations on coal plants that will likely bankrupt that industry.
Most recent is Obama's trick to spare unions from a fee that section 1341(b)(1)(A) of the Affordable Care unambiguously imposes on all large group health plans. Faithfully executing the law means applying it even-handedly. Dictators do the opposite, playing favorites. more >>