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2051  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 10th Amendment and the individual on: February 25, 2011, 05:28:12 AM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704071304576160763576641114.html?mod=djem_jiewr_PS_domainid

The Supreme Court seemed ready Tuesday to hand criminal defendants a new weapon against federal prosecutors, allowing them to contend they were charged under laws that usurp authority the Constitution reserves for state governments.
2052  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PsyOps used on US Senators? on: February 24, 2011, 07:13:09 PM
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/another-runaway-general-army-deploys-psy-ops-on-u-s-senators-20110223?page=1
2053  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McDonald's oatmeal on: February 24, 2011, 07:09:25 PM
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/how-to-make-oatmeal-wrong/
2054  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Voting issues on: February 24, 2011, 07:02:12 PM
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/is-anyone-watching/?emc=eta1
2055  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: February 22, 2011, 04:46:26 AM
This is a very cool video of a college QB doing trick shots.  Check it out:

2056  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: February 22, 2011, 04:43:05 AM
Very much so.  An imperfect student in these things that I value so highly, I am grateful for your extensive knowledge and perspective in these matters and your integrity in how you present the various POVs.

Thank you, sir. 
2057  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: February 21, 2011, 05:22:52 PM
Thank you BD.

May I ask you please to expand upon the basis for thinking Lincoln's waging of the war unconstitutional?

Yes sir.

1.  President Lincoln did, in fact, wage a war without congressional approval for months.  Congress was in recess, back when that meant something, and despite the presidential power to recall it to Washington (U.S. Constitution Art II, section 3), he did not.  That said, the majority opinion in the USSC's The Prize Cases, penned by Justice Grier, makes a very fine statement (one which was used by the Bush (II) adminstration to defend its powers in the war on terror, with the caveat that civil war not present): "As a civil war is never publicly proclaimed... against insurgents, its actual existence is a fact in out domestic history which the Court is bound to notice and to know."  However, note that Congress is given the power to suppress insurrection (Art. I, section 8, clause 15).

2.  Lincoln did suspend the right of habeus corpus, which is allowable in a time of "rebellion or invasion."  However, as that power is present in Article I, section 9, the intention was that only Congress could suspend this right.  The power of the president to suspend habeus corpus was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Ex parte Milligan (1866). 

Is this discussion the type of thing you desired, Guro? 
2058  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: R.I.P. C-Desert Dog on: February 21, 2011, 05:05:06 PM
I've struggled for a day to say what I want to in a manner worthy of C-Desert Dog.  I did not meet him, but I still have a sense of loss.  My heart goes out to his family and friends, and to those on this forum who were both.  When we lose a piece of the puzzle, we lose a piece of ourselves.  RIP warrior. 
2059  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Napolitano on: February 21, 2011, 01:17:33 PM
Is Napolitano correct that the C. was formed by the States?  Or was it formed by the American people?  Is the claim that slavery in The South was susceptible to withering away as it did elsewhere correct?  Was succession triggered by the entry of non-slave states into the Union, thus leading slave states to demand more slave states?  What of the federalism principles in light of the Dred Scott decision's imposition of requiring northern states to enforce southern slave claims within their (northern) territories?

Maybe BigDog will weigh in here , , ,
===============================
Judge Napolitano on Lincoln
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

The recent discussions in the media about Ron Paul's comments regarding Lincoln and his political legacy got me to thinking, wouldn't it be great if Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, would weigh in on the subject. I had this thought because Judge Napolitano included a chapter entitled "Dishonest Abe" in his brilliant book, The Constitution in Exile. Judge Napolitano is a very busy man, hosting a radio show as well as appearing on television, making speeches all around the country, writing books, and practicing law — in addition to (hopefully) having a private family life. Since I am a big fan of his writing I thought I would try to pique our readers' interest in what the judge has to say on this subject.
The first two sentences of the "Dishonest Abe" chapter of The Constitution in Exile are hard hitting: "The Abraham Lincoln of legend is an honest man who freed the slaves and saved the Union. Few things could be more misleading." He then goes on to say exactly what Ron Paul told the Washington Post, and which seemed to mystify and confuse Tim Russert in his "Meet the Press" interview with Congressman Paul: "In order to increase his federalist vision of centralized power, ‘Honest' Abe misled the nation into an unnecessary war. He claimed that the war was about emancipating slaves, but he could have simply paid slave owners to free their slaves . . . . The bloodiest war in American history could have been avoided." And, as Ron Paul would likely add, all the other countries of the world that ended slavery in the nineteenth century, including Britain, Spain, France, Denmark, the Dutch, did so without a war. This, by the way, included the Northern states in the U.S. There were no "civil wars" to free the slaves in Massachusetts, New York (where slavery existed for over 200 years), or Illinois.
Lincoln's "actions were unconstitutional and he knew it," writes Napolitano, for "the rights of the states to secede from the Union . . . [are] clearly implicit in the Constitution, since it was the states that ratified the Constitution . . ." Lincoln's view "was a far departure from the approach of Thomas Jefferson, who recognized states' rights above those of the Union." Judge Napolitano also reminds his readers that the issue of using force to keep a state in the union was in fact debated — and rejected — at the Constitutional Convention as part of the "Virginia Plan."
He also discusses Lincoln's Confiscation Act of 1862, under which "any slaves behind the Union lines were captives of war who were to be freed and transported to countries in the tropics. This was in keeping with Dishonest Abe's lifelong position (his "White Dream," according to Ebony magazine managing editor Lerone Bennett, Jr, author of Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream) of deporting all blacks from the U.S. "Colonization" was the euphemism that was used for this.
"The Confiscation Acts," writes Judge Napolitano, "show that Lincoln did not have much concern for the slaves. He did not suggest to Congress that freed slaves should be granted civil rights or citizenship in Northern states. Once the freed slaves were transported out of the United States, they would no longer be Lincoln's problem." This is also why Lincoln tinkered with proposals for compensated emancipation in the border states while they were under U.S. military occupation during the war. These proposals included immediate deportation of any freed slaves. He saw the occupation of the border states during the war as an opportunity to begin ridding the country of "The Africans," as he referred to black people, as though they were from another planet. Judge Napolitano quotes Lincoln in one of his debates with Stephen Douglas as saying what he repeatedly said throughout his adult life: "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes." "Lincoln was more concerned about the failure of [the seceding] states to collect tariffs than he was about slavery, " says Napolitano.
Unlike all those hopelessly miseducated neocon pundits who sneered at Ron Paul's statements regarding how Lincoln did tremendous damage to the principles of the American founders, Judge Napolitano is well schooled in constitutional history. He writes of Lincoln's complete trashing of the Constitution by "murdering civilians, declaring martial law, suspending habeas corpus, seizing . . . private property without compensation (including railroads and telegraphs), conducting a war without the consent of Congress, imprisoning nearly thirty thousand Northern citizens without trial, shutting down . . . newspapers, and even deporting a congressman (Clement L. Vallandigham from Ohio) because he objected to the imposition of an income tax."
"Saying that Lincoln abolished slavery and calling him the ‘Great Emancipator' are grossly inadequate mischaracterizations," writes the judge. "Lincoln was interested in promoting his political agenda of centralizing government power, and freeing the slaves was only a means of advancement of that end."
Lincoln destroyed the union of the founding fathers. He "replaced a voluntary association of states with a strong centralized government. The president and his party eagerly lifted the floodgates to the modern thuggish style of ruling that the U.S. government now employs" (emphasis added). This "opened the door to more unconstitutional acts by the government in the 1900s through to today."
The next time you see Lincoln's portrait on a five-dollar bill, the judge concludes, "remember how many civil liberties he took away from you."

The first half is largely nonsensical.  Some sticking points: 1, South Carolina secceeded before Lincoln was sworn into the presidency, effectively limiting the possibility that President Lincoln could have freed the slaves by paying the owners.  2, Lincoln could not have paid the owners to free the slaves.  Congress is responsible for outlays, and the idea that the president would take a unilateral action of the type described here did not really occur until several decades later, even with the powers Lincoln used during the CW.  3, the states did not ratify the Constitution.  The people of the states did.

That said, much of the discussion is right on point.  Lincoln did, at the very least, wage a war of questionable constitutionality.  Judge Napolitano is right in saying that the actions of Lincoln did lay some groundwork for future presidential actions and national centralization.  This is not to say, as GM points out, that the holding of slaves was right, with or without the permission of the Constitution.   In the end, was the freeing of slaves, whether intentional or otherwaise, worth the cost of the war?  I think many, myself included, would say yes.  In much the same way, I would argue that WWII was worth the fight no matter what the consequences of, for example, the United Nations (even if you disagree with the organization its roles globally).   
2060  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Police officers and suicide on: February 21, 2011, 08:24:12 AM
This is the story of a particular police officer, William Vize.  There is a subtext of the article that deals with the difficulty of policing, and the impact on the officers' lives.  A story worth reading, in my opinion.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_0166a14c-fef0-5b3d-b0f5-110292423e84.html
2061  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: February 20, 2011, 08:22:04 AM
http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

This is a talk on creativity killing schools.  For those of you who don't know, TED talks are consistently interesting and thought provoking, and the talks cover a wide range of material.  You might want to spend some time poking around.
2062  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: February 20, 2011, 08:19:25 AM
DougMacG: My family homeschools, and I think it is a wonderful choice for us.  We have two extremely bright, kind children who also have peculiar learning styles.  So, they get, at worst (when at home), 2 "students" for one teacher.  It is often 1-1.  We also have field trips consistently.  It helps that we live close to major zoos, art and other museums, a large university and in a small town with two liberal arts colleges.  There are often events in and around our home town.  
2063  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / P. on G.H.W. Bush on: February 19, 2011, 08:41:05 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-02-17-column17_ST2_N.htm
2064  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Vegetarians in MMA on: February 19, 2011, 08:38:01 AM
http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/news?slug=dm-mmavegetarians021711
2065  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: February 10, 2011, 04:49:03 AM


This is a trailer of a forthcoming documentary of the rise of homeschooling.  It looks like it may be interesting.
2066  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 09, 2011, 08:49:31 PM
Are you saying that the MSM might have an agenda, BD?   wink

I've never said otherwise, 
2067  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 09, 2011, 01:53:57 PM
This is just political drivel by POTB.  Can't trust anything coming from this source.   grin

That comment out the way, my statement above is true, but not necessarily due to politics.  It has to do with the author's inability (or lack of willingness?) to read the Gallup Poll.  As with any good poll, the Gallup provides information with the results it publishes.  In this case, if one is willing to read the "fine print" one learns that "For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points."  In other words, according to the poll, statistically speaking there has been no change (68-4= 64, the results of the previous polls). 

This information is something that college students are aware by the end of introductory course on political science and/or statistics.  Shame on the author. 

2068  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 09, 2011, 07:51:51 AM
If the Reps are not both shrewd and careful while being aggressive, they are going to get outplayed.

Yep.  And the Republicans also need to hope that in the primary season they don't do the political equivilant of eating their young.  The winner of the nomination might have too much dirt associated with him (or her) to beat President Obama. 
2069  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Will today's GOP embrace Reagan's real legacy? on: February 09, 2011, 05:26:34 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-02-08-column08_ST_N.htm
2070  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Federal judicial vacancies reaching crisis point on: February 08, 2011, 09:47:56 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/07/AR2011020706032.html?hpid=topnews
2071  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 08, 2011, 09:46:12 AM
DougMacG: I think you misunderstood Tribe's intention in regard to Scalia and Kennedy.  As you are no doubt aware, there is much made about the "political decisions" of the Court, and the view of a few justices in particular.  I think what Tribe is trying to do, at least in part, is to take a pure legal view of the merits, and note that the justices in question have voted in a particular way in prior cases.  This would suggest, Tribe asserts, that the justices will follow precedent rather than follow the politics that they are often accused of.  (I would think that, on its face, this is something you would agree with.)

What may be less apparent from the article is the ongoing battle between legal scholars and political scientist who study Supreme Court decion making.  Legal scholars opine, not surprisingly, that the law matters, and that the value of stare decisis helps to understand why cases are decided in a particular fashion.  Some political scientists, with Jeffrey Segal and Harold Spaeth being the most cited examples, believe that we can predict how a Supreme Court justice will vote based on personal preferences.  I suspect that much of Tribe's article was aimed at political scientists. 
2072  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lawrence Tribe on the constitutionality of "Obamacare" on: February 08, 2011, 05:34:24 AM
This is an interesting discussion of the legality of the health care law, two Supreme Court justices, and the role of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.   

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/opinion/08tribe.html?_r=2&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1297162948-Ry0HQx71YHQsncxJVfxlvw
2073  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Guns in Illinois???!!! on: February 07, 2011, 01:55:44 PM
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/illinois/article_5e279c3c-3856-54b6-bea8-87de914a45fa.html
2074  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sports fans and political change on: February 07, 2011, 01:50:52 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/dave_zirin/01/31/egypt.soccer/index.html
2075  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Declaration of Independence on: February 07, 2011, 05:56:08 AM


This was one of my favorite parts of the Super Bowl. 
2076  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President Obama and O'Reilly on: February 07, 2011, 05:54:13 AM


I thought that both President Obama and Bill O'Reilly did a great job. 
2077  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 06, 2011, 10:34:46 AM

"This stance is just plain silly.  Interstate commerce clause?  Airline traffic certainly pertains.  FAA?  I have no problem with him, or anyone for that matter, questioning national government involvement in regulation.  But he should pick his fights with more care. "

Yup. If there is anything today that is clearly interstate commerce, aircraft would fall into that definition.

Holy $hi+!  Did we just agree on something GM???!!! cool cool cool grin
2078  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 06, 2011, 05:09:24 AM
"Sen. Obama, another non-compromiser, voted against raising the debt limit, against the surge, and against all Presidential picks to the Supreme Court, even against Roberts who won 78 votes in the Senate.  It didn't seem to hurt his career."

On the other hand, I don't recall Senator Obama, or Durbin, for that matter, calling out Lincoln (my best guess as to who would be Illinois' most influential statesman like Kentucky's Henry Clay).  

"Rand Paul was the '1 in a 96-1 vote to ban aiming pointing devices at airplanes (Different story: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2011/02/rand-paul-lone-dissenter-in-la.html).  'Paul told reporters after Thursday's vote that he believed the laser-pointer issue was one best handled by the states, not the federal government.'"

This stance is just plain silly.  Interstate commerce clause?  Airline traffic certainly pertains.  FAA?  I have no problem with him, or anyone for that matter, questioning national government involvement in regulation.  But he should pick his fights with more care.  



2079  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rand Paul vs. Henry Clay on: February 05, 2011, 02:54:55 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/02/AR2011020204773.html
2080  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The new civility on: February 03, 2011, 01:25:08 PM

I have no words that aptly describe my frustration with those people at this moment.   
2081  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / GPS and picture posting on: February 02, 2011, 03:20:59 PM
http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/video?id=7621105&syndicate=syndicate&section
2082  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: February 02, 2011, 11:05:27 AM
Bigdog,

You posting this because you find it interesting or because you agree?

GM: Fair question.  Because it interested me.  I'll try to remember to clarify reasons for posting pieces.  Thanks for asking.  

Guro: I actually thought of putting it in the Media Matters thread.  I agree that it is not meaningful, except in the sense that it is being said.  
2083  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Beck and Father Coughlin on: February 02, 2011, 09:04:01 AM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/feb/02/far-right-glenn-beck
2084  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mubarak supporters take to the streets on: February 02, 2011, 09:02:51 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110202/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_egypt
2085  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Egypt shuts down the Internet on: January 29, 2011, 05:08:24 AM
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/The-day-part-of-the-Internet-apf-1092937415.html?x=0

 (AP) -- About a half-hour past midnight Friday morning in Egypt, the Internet went dead.

2086  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: January 27, 2011, 12:13:22 PM
Indeed!

It was yesterday or the day before that Glenn was discussing something (I haven't seen the whole broadcast yet) about which I had not heard previously:  Working from memory here, apparently in September 2010 (i.e. during the height of the election compaign) a hard lefty with a huge trail of his leftness attempted to assassinate a Democratic governor with a knife-- only he mis-identified his target and instead stabbed the Dean of the university that had invited the governor to speak.

You never heard of that?  Me neither-- until GB.

IMHO GB is a remarkable man in search of Truth for the good of America.  The powers that be fear him-- and they should.

I had:

http://www.nbcactionnews.com/dpp/news/crime/report%3A-missouri-gov.-jay-nixon-was-intended-target-in-penn-valley-community-college-stabbing
2087  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ILSC takes Rahm's appeal on: January 25, 2011, 07:04:32 PM
http://www.suntimes.com/3483600-417/emanuel-court-illinois-appellate-ballot.html


2088  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: January 25, 2011, 10:00:28 AM
Further evidence that the independent judiciary should remain as such.  And, even if Justices Scalia and Thomas "should" have recused themselves, it would hardly have been the most egregious examples of a justice sitting on a decision in a case where he had obvious ties. 
2089  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rahm's ineligible on: January 24, 2011, 02:44:22 PM
Although this is a legal opinion, I place here because of the subject matter. 

http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2011/1stDistrict/January/1110033.pdf
2090  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Intelligence on: January 24, 2011, 09:46:58 AM
Whether it "matters" or not, it appears mine was lacking!  Sorry about that, Guro!
2091  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Private Intel firm on: January 24, 2011, 04:47:54 AM
http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/article_59308dcd-3092-5280-92fb-898f569504e4.html

Ousted CIA agent runs his own private operation
With U.S. funding cut, he relies on donations to fund his 'operatives' in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

2092  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: January 22, 2011, 09:38:44 AM
I mostly agree with you Guro.  I read these articles about 4 hours after talking about the politics of recusal in class.  I am often struck at the sheer dumb luck of what I teach and what goes in politics.  At any rate, I found them interesting, but mostly due to timing. 
2093  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: January 21, 2011, 07:31:16 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/sc-dc-0121-court-conflict-20110120,0,2463815.story

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/us/politics/20koch.html?_r=1
2094  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Truth Wears Off on: January 20, 2011, 12:18:07 PM
The Truth Wears Off
Is there something wrong with the scientific method?by Jonah Lehrer

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer#ixzz1BbJXgS5h
2095  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From Russia With Envy on: January 20, 2011, 10:08:37 AM
http://www.postbulletin.com/news/stories/display.php?id=1441481

2096  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama mustn't neglect Mexico's drug war on: January 20, 2011, 06:07:35 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-01-19-column19_ST_N.htm

SAN DIEGO — Many Americans see Mexico as a dysfunctional family in the neighborhood. With the start of a new year, and a new Congress, President Obama needs to persuade the American people to see Mexico in a different light — as one of the most explosive countries in the region capable of creating a major foreign policy crisis for the U.S. There's no better time to start than with Obama's upcoming State of the Union address.


Thanks to Mexico's narco nightmare, our backyard is on fire. According to figures recently released by Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chavez, the number of deaths in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon took
office four years ago has surpassed 30,000.

You can chalk up a few of those killings to a notorious drug cartel hit man who has admitted to beheading his victims — even though he isn't old enough to shave. A few weeks
2097  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 19, 2011, 11:53:01 AM
George Romney and Barry Goldwater also had questions about their eligibilty arise during their quests to become president. 
2098  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why Our Best Officers Are Leaving on: January 19, 2011, 08:32:42 AM
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/01/why-our-best-officers-are-leaving/8346/1/
2099  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 17, 2011, 02:01:58 PM
"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in early 2009 found himself dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression without his team of deputies in place. The attempted bombing of an American airliner on Christmas Day 2009 occurred when the Transportation Security Administration was without an administrator."

Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't that in great part because BO (Geithner) did not nominate anyone?

NOT DENYING THE LARGER ISSUE, but

a) the Dems strated it with their outrageious borking of Reagan's Judge Bork nomination (contrast the Reps subsequent  treatment of Ruth Bader Ginsberg;
b) BO has nominated some seriously radical people.


I don't think that a "he started it" is all that helpful.  That may be the case, and I do feel that Bork deserved a seat on the Bench, but there is more than that.  (Here's an opening) As the size of the government increases, which it has consistently across adminisitrations regardless of party, that then increases the number of political appointments that the president, with the Senate, is responsible for filling. 

And, whether you like it or not, the Senate has been responsible for preventing people from taking a place on the Supreme Court under necessary circumstances, as well (Fortas and the early Nixon defeats come to mind as examples).  I recognize that the Senate should not abdicate its advice and consent role, but I do think that a reform of the process could help the president, regardless of party. 

Small tangent: I think that reform should focus primarilt on the executive branch positions.  I think the president should have more latitude as on appointments for those who will work for him than for those in a co-equal branch of government with lifetime appointments. 
2100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Confirmation changes in the Senate? on: January 17, 2011, 06:41:38 AM
http://hosted2.ap.org/WTICAM/b7538a1b675b4d059de3e728edc01923/Article_2011-01-15-Presidential%20Appointments/id-22927b442e824facb162b13e5a8efff0

Presidential nominees stymied; Senate seeks change

JIM ABRAMS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate, in its inaugural session, rejected George Washington's nominee to be a naval officer in Savannah because the two Georgia senators wanted their guy in the job. The way of naming and confirming the nation's top officials hasn't become much smarter in the years since.

It's become a lot more of a problem.

President George W. Bush had only about half his political appointees on the job at the time of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in early 2009 found himself dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression without his team of deputies in place. The attempted bombing of an American airliner on Christmas Day 2009 occurred when the Transportation Security Administration was without an administrator.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell, in a rare moment of agreement, opened the new Congress this month by endorsing a bipartisan effort to find ways to improve an unwieldy, unproductive system.

It's a challenge because there are so many ways to bog down a nomination.

Reid noted that the slow-moving Senate is now responsible for confirming 1,215 executive branch nominees and the number keeps rising. Brookings Institution senior fellows E.J. Dionne Jr. and William Galston wrote in a study that the number of core policy positions the president must fill has risen from 295 when Ronald Reagan took office to 422 for Barack Obama.

Then there's the onerous screening process, even for lower-level appointees. It's meant that an administration can take months to send a nomination to the Senate for confirmation. Finally, there's the increasingly partisan Senate, where a single lawmaker has the power to bottle up a nomination for months or kill it, sometimes for reasons unrelated to the person in line for the job.

Like their Georgia counterparts of old, Louisiana's two senators stood in the way of nominations last fall to protest the freeze on offshore drilling after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The White House said there would be a one-week delay in making public the president's budget proposal this year, partly because Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., had blocked a vote on Obama's choice to be budget director, Jack Lew, for more than a month.

"Among the democracies, the United States has created — without intending to — what is almost certainly the most ungainly  process of filling a government with qualified people," Dionne and Galston wrote.

A Commission on Public Service headed by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker recommended in 2003 turning one-third of all Senate-confirmed political positions into career jobs. The Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit group that promotes service in the federal government, wants the Senate to commit to voting on the president's top 50 national and economic security officials immediately after inauguration and having the top 500-plus appointees in place by the summer recess.

Those studies dealt primarily with executive office nominees and not the equally vexing issue of judges. There are more than 90 judicial vacancies in U.S. district and appellate courts today. Chief Justice John Roberts complained in a year-end report that "each political party has found it easy to turn on a dime from decrying to defending the blocking of judicial nominations, depending on their changing political fortunes."

Reid, D-Nev., and McConnell, R-Ky., suggested that the chairman and the top Republican on the Senate Rules Committee — Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. — lead a working group to study ways to streamline the confirmation process. But progress probably depends on Democratic-led efforts to change Senate rules to make it harder for single senators to hold up legislation and nominees and to reduce the number of filibusters.

At the end of the last session of Congress, 43 nominees, including judges, awaited a vote by the full Senate. That compared with seven at the end of Bush's first two years in office, Reid's office said. Seven have been on the waiting list since 2009.

One result is that many competent people are dissuaded from accepting positions in government, said Max Stier, president of Partnership for Public Service.

"It's the rare individual who is both qualified and willing to run the obstacle course that is required," he said. Stier said there are examples of people, even those without background problems, who had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to get through the screening process.

Presidents sometimes turn to recess appointments — putting people in the jobs temporarily when the Senate is not in session. Obama warned Republicans last February that he would resort to this strategy because of holds on nominations he said were "motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a senator's state or simply to frustrate progress. It is precisely these kinds of tactics that enrage the American people."

Among his recess appointees: Donald Berwick, a Harvard professor now heading the agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid; James Cole, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department; Craig Becker, as a member of the National Labor Relations Board.

Obama also avoided a drawn-out fight with Senate Republicans on Elizabeth Warren, his choice to head the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, by naming her to oversee creation of the fledgling agency. That post doesn't require confirmation.




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