On Democrats …
On Democrats …
Remember that promise?
President Obama, who famously promised while a presidential candidate to have the most transparent and open government in American history hasn’t quite followed thru on his vow.
A recent study by The Associated Press says the Obama administration has refused to release any materials in more than one out of three FOIA requests and when it did respond, the average wait times got longer not shorter. Only one out of five “urgent” FOIA requests, according to the AP, received replies in a timely fashion. That too is lower than the previous year.
There were 544,360 FOIA requests last year, up nearly 41,000 from the previous year but the government actually responded to nearly 12,400 fewer requests than the year before.
A group known as Crossroads GPS hasn’t been able to get any answers, so they’re actually filing a federal lawsuit to try to get some.
[T]he group is seeking documents to better understand how HHS makes decisions to grant waivers to the new health care law.
At issue is the Obama administration’s criteria for granting 1,040 of the temporary health care reform waivers to businesses, labor groups and a handful of states. Those organizations are being allowed to opt out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — at least until 2014 — in order to let them develop systems and alternatives to meet the health care reform law’s strict coverage requirements.
HHS data suggest more than 2.6 million people, or 2 percent of people with private insurance, will not be required to enter the new federal system.
Crossroads GPS submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to HHS on Jan. 7, 2011.
HHS acknowledged receipt that day but despite repeated attempts to get a reply, Crossroads says there has been no action taken even though there is a 20-day statutory limit for federal agencies to respond. The group wants to find out who makes the waiver decisions, and with what input and guidance.
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for answers, if I were them.
Show me the term “separation of church and state” in the Constitution.
Please. Show me where the term appears. Actually, don’t bother wasting your time trying, because you can’t since there is no such clause. The clause widely touted as the separation clause (more accurately, the establishment clause) reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
That’s what the Bill of Rights says. There is nothing about “separation.” Article VI establishes the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and the first amendment prohibits Congress from establishing an official US religion or preventing citizens from their own personal beliefs about religion — be they atheist, agnostic, Christian, Judaic, Muslim or the worship of pink unicorns in leotards.
Although the Supremacy and Establishment Clauses might seem to preclude the judiciary from grounding a decision on Scripture or religious doctrine, state and federal courts have numerous times referred to various sources of divine law. The tenets of religious law can be (and are) applied in courts of law provided they do not violate any state or federal statutes.
And for the record: That doesn’t mean “no school prayer,” “no ten commandments in the courthouse” or “no nativity scenes on the statehouse lawn.” It doesn’t mean you have the right to never see a Star of David or feast your eyes upon a fifty foot tall cross. It doesn’t mean the Muslims can’t build a mosque at ground zero or that the Druids can’t hold a parade down Main Street.
It also doesn’t mean that “Sharia law” cannot be legally applied in this country if the portion of law in question does not conflict with state or federal laws. While one would think much (all?) of Sharia law would be in conflict with some existing law, there is no such guarantee (did you know Sharia covers a WHOLE lot more than just men’s supremacy over women? Did you know it even has rules for doing business and so on?). While it seems silly of Oklahoma to have passed a bill stating that Sharia law cannot be applied in the state of Oklahoma, and while it seems ludicrous for Missouri to be debating the very same thing, it’s not. It’s also not Islamophobia or freaking out about nothing, since CAIR has stated that one of their goals is for Sharia law to be legally acknowledged and respected in the US.
Incidentally, in Missouri, the constitutional amendment sponsored by Don Wells, a Cabool Republican, stipulates that Missouri courts “shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures” and specifically bars judicial consideration of Sharia law. Protecting the state from being influenced by legal precepts of other nations or cultures is not just a good thing, it’s common sense.
… to know that accounting is an “inexact science.”
This happened back in November — I’m sure several of my liberal friends will be shocked, since they seem to think I spend my every waking moment monitoring FOX News — but I only just learned about it via Michelle Malkin today. Michelle was commenting about the 2.3 trillion dollars by which the Obama administration has underestimated the deficit.
Michelle made reference to a November 2010 observation by Doug Powers, wherein he said …
President Obama brushed off criticism over his administration’s inaccurate reporting on job creation Wednesday, telling Fox News the accounting is an “inexact science” and that any errors are a “side issue” when compared with the goal of turning the economy around.
This from the same man who in a February 2010 speech to congress said:
I have told each member of my Cabinet as well as mayors and governors across the country that they will be held accountable by me and the American people for every dollar they spend.
Doesn’t really seem fair, does it, to hold people accountable for every dollar when accounting is such an inexact science.
Not to mention absolutes and assumptions
When did we lose the ability to disagree with one another without assuming the worst? When did we decide that anyone with an opposing viewpoint must automatically be the enemy? When did it come about that reasoned dissent is the sign of a character flaw?
As we approached the 2004 elections, I became aware that disagreement with certain people was resulting in the literal loss of friendships. I was shocked by this, because I’ve never turned my back on a friend over a difference in political or religious beliefs, and I never expected any true friends to do it to me. The first few times it happened, I wrote it off to “they weren’t *real* friends.”
But it kept happening. Even though my positions had not changed in any way, I was suddenly being branded with my views. I wasn’t just Kate, their friend who disagreed with them on God, politics, the military or the role of the government … suddenly I was Kate, their enemy. I was one of “them” and not to be trusted or really even tolerated, because I was wrong and apparently wrong was now beyond redemption. Tolerance was what I owed them, not something I was worthy of receiving.
In the intervening years, I have seen more and more friends fall by the wayside; people I would have cheerfully walked thru hell on Sunday in barefeet to help were turning away because they didn’t like my beliefs. I began refraining from expressing my opinions and I literally walked away from conversations rather than cause people I considered friends to feel uncomfortable. I even quit putting bumper stickers on my car or political signs in my yard so as not to offend or upset. I confined my opinions to online, reasoning that if they came to my pages to see what I had to say then they were “asking for it” and had no right to complain about what they found.
I didn’t ask anyone to stop feeling the way they felt. I didn’t say they were wrong and shouldn’t be allowed to breathe. I didn’t suggest that their opinions meant they were rotten people or that they deserved to be shot. I didn’t censor them or remove their commentary if they disagreed with me.
Yet time and time again, I am not given the same courtesy. I disagree with something Obama says and I’m a racist who can’t stand the thought of having a black president. I disagree with illegal immigrants and I’m a nazi, because we’re a nation of immigrants and I’m trying to deny others the same rights my forebears were given. I support a state exercising their right — as a state — to say “we don’t want legalized abortions except when necessary to preserve the life of the mother” and I’m trying to foist my beliefs on others and deny them their “constitutional right” to have an abortion. I say I respect the right of a family to save the life of their “vegetable” daughter and I’m accused of having no sympathy for her “right to die with dignity.” I say I have no problem with domestic partnerships or civil unions and that gay couples should be afforded the same rights as a married couple but that the actual institution of marriage should remain one man/one woman and I’m a hater. I disagree with unions and I’m wanting to stick it to the working man, deny him his right to a safe job at a livable wage, take away all his benefits and toss him and his family out in the streets.
If I dare post my dissenting views on their pages and my comments aren’t removed entirely, they’re discounted and ridiculed. Remember the old debate rule of “attack the idea and not the person?” Hah! That apparently doesn’t apply these days.
It doesn’t matter how sound my arguments are — most of them will be ignored and dismissed anyhow — and it doesn’t matter if I have stacks of data to support my position and reams of data to question theirs. It’s getting to the point where a person isn’t allowed to have any opinion that steps outside the pack. If you’re not one of the sheep, you must keep that to yourself, because otherwise you’re some kind of Trouble with a capital “t.”
I want to know when this happened, because this is not the America I grew up in.
Be aware! The definition of racism is changing!
Admit it … almost had you going there, didn’t it?
I didn’t even know he had been sentenced!
Three different people (among them my daughter Anna) sent this to me today so it must be making the ’rounds on the internet.
Remember the guy who got on a plane with a bomb built into his shoe and tried to light it? (Richard Reid) Did you know his trial is over? Did you know he was sentenced? Did you see/hear any of the judge’s comments on TV or Radio? Everyone should hear what the judge had to say.
Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say. After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his ‘allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah,’ defiantly stating, ‘I think I will not apologize for my actions,’ and told the court ‘I am at war with your country.’ The Judge then delivered the sentence.
The version being sent around is close but not identical to what was actually said by the Judge. Here is what the Judge said to Mr. Reid at his sentencing; this is taken from the transcript itself:
United States v. Reid — Final Statements by Judge Young
Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.
On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutive one with the other. That’s 80 years.
On Count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years consecutive to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you on each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 for the aggregate fine of $2 million.
The Court accepts the government’s recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.
The Court imposes upon you the $800 special assessment.
The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need not go any further.
This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and a just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you.
We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.
Here in this court where we deal with individuals as individuals, and care for individuals as individuals, as human beings we reach out for justice.
You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist.
And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists.
We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.
So war talk is way out of line in this court. You’re a big fellow. But you’re not that big. You’re no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.
In a very real sense Trooper Santiago had it right when first you were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were and he said you’re no big deal. You’re no big deal.
What your counsel, what your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing.
And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you. But as I search this entire record it comes as close to understanding as I know.
It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.
Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.
It is for freedom’s seek that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their, their representation of you before other judges. We care about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties.
Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.
Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here, in this courtroom, and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done.
The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.
See that flag, Mr. Reid? That’s the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag still stands for freedom. You know it always will. Custody, Mr. Officer. Stand him down.
Here’s the best part of this: he was sentenced on January 31, 2003. The man has been serving his sentence for more than seven years, and someone is only just now bothering to pass around the Judge’s commentary. I guess it didn’t make good press?
* – You Can’t Make This Shit Up
Here’s a trio of quickies for your reading pleasure. I ask you: with news like this, who needs fiction?
Here’s one from the “you gotta be kidding me” files: The victim was wearing skinny jeans, therefore, she could not possibly have been raped. You want to ask how the hell skinny jeans = not raped, don’t you? Well, let me explain that for you. Nicholas Gonzales (23) and a 24-year old woman met for drinks in April 2008 and then returned to his house to listen to music. Gonzales claims they then had consensual sex together; the victim says she was raped. She testified that “I struggled to try to get up for a while and then he undid my jeans and he pulled them off.” An Australian jury acquitted Gonzales of rape because they accepted his attorney’s argument that he personally believed it would be “difficult for skinny jeans to be taken off by someone else unless the wearer’s assisting, collaborating, consenting.” [The Frisky]
This being a Census year, we’ve all been faced with the form demanding answers to the list of Census questions (which go well beyond the data they’re supposed to be entitled to — name of the head of household and a headcount for how many persons live there). Failure to complete the form will result in a Census worker being sent to your home to demand the answers in person, and failure to answer the worker will earn you not only a fine, but can also result in the application of ever-increasing “inconveniences” like suspension of mail delivery to pressure you into providing the information. Now here’s something you may not have known: Census workers – all of them, even the brand new temporary worker hired just to gather data — are empowered under federal law to actually demand access to any apartment or any other type of home or room that is rented out, in order to count persons in the abode and for “the collection of statistics.” If the owner of your leased premises refuses to grant the Census worker access to your living quarters — whether you are home or not — the landlord himself will face sanctions and can be fined $500 per occurrence. In addition, some Census workers are demanding — and receiving – private cell phone numbers from landlords in order to call tenants to try to obtain Census information. [AJC - Bob Barr]
He’s the President of the United States … why should he have to honor the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery and lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for Memorial Day? Obama decided to skip out of DC and has gone home to Chicago for the long holiday weekend. On Monday, instead of the Commander In Chief being at Arlington, he is scheduled to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois and Joe Biden will lay the wreath at Arlington instead. But don’t worry, Obama will be back in plenty of time to preside over a June 2 ceremony at the White House, where Paul McCartney will be given the Gershwin Prize, a lifetime achievement award for contributions to pop music. Glad to see he’s got his priorities straight. [GJSentinel] & [Spinner]
Everything you need to know about some things …
American Idol season 9 — Paula Abdul left, her spot was taken by Ellen Degeneres whose qualifications for judging were debatable at best. She’s quickly become known for stupid commentary (“you’re like a banana”) mixed in with some surprisingly accurate observations from time to time. Simon Cowell announced this would be his final season. No major scandals erupted with the Top 24 (a few mediocre ones, but really, it was a ho-hum group this year). The final performance show was May 25 (Tuesday) and the final two are Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox. Crystal (a single mom from Ohio) has been a strong, and steady contender all season long. Lee (a former paint salesman from Illinois) has been the one who exhibited the most growth over the course of the season and though he is not a “showman” his voice is quite good. Throughout the season, Crystal has had many “moments” while Lee has only had a couple (his biggest and best was last week’s performance of Hallelujah, which was chosen for him by Simon). My prediction for this season’s idol: Crystal Bowersox. Honestly, though, I’ll be happy no matter which one wins, because I’ve liked them both from the start.
Cutest (recent) Quip – ”DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARRAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN”
How dare you! — When they were voting on which things to include and strike from the latest edition of textbooks to be used by Texas students (which influences what will be printed in *all* textbooks across the US), state Board of Education officials had a heated debate about whether or not to include Barack Obama’s middle name in the information being added about him.
Lawrence Allen, a black former high school principal from Houston offered a motion to enter President Barack Obama’s name in a section of the curriculum that recognized significant dates in U.S. History.
David Bradley, a white businessman from Beaumont, motioned that the president’s legal name should be used, Barack Hussein Obama. “I think we should give him the full honor and privilege of his full name.”
“I am getting pretty fed up with this,” said Democrat Mary Helen Berlanger. “You don’t have to be derogatory. We don’t always put in Jefferson in William Jefferson Clinton.”
“This is our first black president,” said board member Mavis Knight, who is black. “You are making it sound humiliating.”
“I ask the member to withdraw the motion and move forward in a dignified manner,” said Democrat Rick Agusto.
Bradley did, but said under his breath, he did so, “to put an end to the whining.”
Knight shot back, “I don’t consider it whining.”
His middle name is humiliating? Mentioning his middle name is derogatory? Other things being excluded from the books include mention of Joseph Smith and Nathan Hale in elementary school history books — the latter because reading about his hanging “upsets” children.
Biden’s Latest Faux Pas — Brussels, Belgium is more deserving of the title “Capital of the Free World” than is Washington, DC.
[Biden] suggested that Washington, D.C., his home, is undeserving of that title — notwithstanding its wealth of global organizations and the countless international summits that take place there.
“As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, D.C. as the ‘capital of the free world,’” Biden said. “But it seems to me that in this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.”
Biden’s Latest Faux Pas, Part Deux — At that same May 6th assembly referenced just above, our esteemed Veep also remarked that he was “particularly honored” to address the body, “as a lawmaker for more than 36 years in our parliament.”
Oh, those crazy Democrats, Part I — Remember Rod Blagojevich? Rod thought there was nothing wrong with selling off Barack Obama’s (then-newly-vacated) senate seat to the highest bidder. He was impeached in January of 2009 and is scheduled to go to trial June 3.
Oh, those crazy Democrats, Part II — In February, Joe Sestak alleged that the White House last summer offered him a high-ranking position in the administration if he would sit out the Pennsylvania primary against Arlen Specter — Specter was formerly a Republican before became a Democrat last year in the belief that his re-election would be secure if he jumped ship. Sestak refused to step aside, and handily won the primary against Specter. Now Sestak is facing Republican Pat Toomey in the election this November and is being asked to explain in detail about this job offer and the conditions for accepting it. An investigation is being sought and the White House is promising to comment “soon.”
Well, if the Democrats can do it, why can’t I? — Sarah Ferguson, the Dutchess of York, was caught on (hidden) camera offering to sell a “wealthy businessman” (played by a reporter) access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, for the paltry sum of £500,000 (about $725,000). Fergie is also on camera receiving $40,000 as a down payment from the businessman (reporter) and making arrangements for the balance to be wired to a bank account of her choosing later on but prior to the meeting. Sarah has since issued an apology and stated emphatically that the Duke knew nothing at all of her activities; Buckingham Palace has also released a statement insisting the Duke was unaware and above reproach.
“I don’t know why you’d care, but just so you know …” — Victoria Beckham says her marriage is legitimate and not just a sham put on to preserve the family image for their children or a business arrangement to protect their business empire.
“I don’t know why you’d want to, but you can’t” — take your iPad into Yankee Stadium, that is. Nor can you take a laptop computer. You know, though, conversely, why can’t you take your iPad or your laptop if you’re paying the price of the ticket and not disturbing or disrupting anyone? I’d rather see someone on their laptop (which I can ignore) than be forced to listen to some dumbass on their cell phone.
Her voice is toxic and so’s her jewelry — WalMart has pulled Miley Cyrus’ line of jewelry out of their stores because it was found to have dangerously high levels of cadmium. Cadmium is toxic if ingested (imagine your little girl putting the edge of her bracelet in her mouth to fasten the clasp, or idly putting her pendant in her mouth, for instance) and the levels in the jewelry were high enough to be potentially lethal.