Archive for October 27, 2010

Justice Elena Kagan cast her first vote on the Supreme Court late Tuesday, joining the liberals in dissent when the high court cleared the way for the execution of an Arizona murderer.

The 5-4 ruling overturned orders by a federal judge in Phoenix and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that had stopped the execution by lethal injection of Jeffrey Landrigan.

His lawyers, in a last-ditch appeal, had raised questions about one of the drugs used in the execution. Since the only U.S. manufacturer of sodium thiopental had suspended production, Arizona officials said they had obtained a supply of the drug from a British company.

Democrats on Capitol Hill and K Street are increasingly convinced that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have little interest in being Minority Leader — and may start preparing to leave Congress altogether — if Republicans win the House next week.

Pelosi and her allies adamantly refuse to entertain questions about a possible Democratic minority. But Democratic sources say they have a hard time imagining the 70-year-old, independently wealthy California Democrat would want to return to the less-powerful post that she held for four years before becoming Speaker in 2007, particularly after having spent the past four years driving the Congressional agenda.
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Should Republicans sweep into power on Nov. 2, the pivotal question that some Democrats have begun contemplating is one of timing: Does Pelosi step aside immediately, or does she stick around for a few months as Minority Leader to help smooth the transition to her successor? Both scenarios assume Pelosi heads for the exits within a few weeks or months.

“It’s pretty clear that what she does is just leave,” said a former House leadership aide who now works downtown. The Democrat had no direct knowledge of Pelosi’s plans but predicted she would probably resign from Congress in fairly short order. “Once you’ve been Speaker of the House, why would she just want to be a Member of Congress?”

Pelosi’s predecessor, former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), opted not to run for Minority Leader when Republicans lost the House in 2006; he resigned from Congress slightly more than a year later, on Nov. 26, 2007, after fading into obscurity.

But Pelosi’s backers think that while Republicans could get by without Hastert at the helm, Democrats would have a harder time functioning without Pelosi: They point to her hands-on leadership style and her near-unmatched fundraising ability.

Still, one Democratic lobbyist with ties to members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition said: “If the losses are as big as projected, I just don’t see how she hangs on. … She’s been a very active, very powerful Speaker, and I just have a hard time seeing her going back to being a rank-and-file Member.”

And no one thinks Pelosi has designs on the Senate or White House, unlike former Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), who kept his House seat for two years after having abandoned his leadership post, in large part because he was mounting a presidential bid.

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Version promises to be just as patriotic, provocative and antagonistic to Obama as American version; opening rally held at ZOA house in TA.

Move over America. Israel is joining the tea party.

A new grassroots effort is beginning that is modeled after the American conservative social movement. The Israeli version promises to be just as patriotic, just as provocative and just as antagonistic to US President Barack Obama.

The immediate goal of the movement will be to pressure Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to give in to Obama’s demand that Israel renew the construction moratorium in Judea and Samaria.

Israeli Tea Party spokeswoman Sarah Tiktinsky predicted that Obama would renew efforts to push Israel following next Tuesday’s midterm elections in the US, and said Obama’s leverage on Netanyahu must be countered with equal force by the Right.

“Netanyahu has been under intense pressure from Washington,” Tiktinsky said. “History has proven that Bibi caves in to pressure, so something must be done to stop him. No one in the Likud faction is taking the serious steps to stop him, so it must come from the grassroots.”

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Clark County is where three quarters of Nevada’s residents and live and where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s son Rory is a county commissioner. Rory is also a Democratic candidate for governor.

Since early voting started, there have been credible reports that voting machines in Clark County, Nevada are automatically checking Harry Reid’s name on the ballot:

Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Harry Reid’s name was already checked.

Ferrara said she wasn’t alone in her voting experience. She said her husband and several others voting at the same time all had the same thing happen.

“Something’s not right,” Ferrara said. “One person that’s a fluke. Two, that’s strange. But several within a five minute period of time — that’s wrong.”

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said there is no voter fraud, although the issues do come up because the touch-screens are sensitive. For that reason, a person may not want to have their fingers linger too long on the screen after they make a selection at any time.

Now there’s absolutely no independently verified evidence of chicanery with the voting machines (yet), but it is worth noting that the voting machine technicians in Clark County are members of the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU spent $63 million in elections in 2008 and is planning on spending $44 million more this election cycle — nearly all of that on Democrats. White House political director Patrick Gaspard is formerly the SEIU’s top lobbyist, and former SEIU president Andy Stern was the most frequent visitor to the White House last year.

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New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday lauded conservative activist James O’Keefe’s video, that showed teachers railing on the governor and bragging about the benefits of tenure at a teachers’ union conference, for demonstrating what he has been saying about New Jersey teachers’ unions for a long time.

“This is what I’ve been talking about,” Christie said. “This is another exhibit as to what I’ve been talking about. The arrogance, the greed, the self-interest, the lack of introspection, the lack of standards. And it hurts the great teachers just as much as it hurts the kids.”

So says Cleta Mitchell, the same woman who tried to get Scott Ashjian, the Tea Party of Nevada candidate out of the race, in an astonishing fundraising letter:

As Sharron Angle’s campaign attorney, I am sorry to report that the Democrats and their cronies are up to their same old tricks, of trying to manipulate the election in hopes of skewing the results in their favor.

Two days ago, the Democratic Secretary of State announced that voters can be provided “free food” at “voter turnout events.” Harry Reid has been offering free food and, according to other reports, some Democratic allies such as teachers’ unions are offering gift cards in return for a vote for Reid.

Before we were even able to document the reported infractions to report to the authorities, the Democrat Secretary of State slammed the door shut on preventing this behavior and issued a public statement permitting these ACORN-style tactics. THESE are the kinds of shenanigans that can turn this race.

Harry Reid intends to steal this election if he can’t win it outright. As a result, we need to deploy literally dozens of election law attorneys and poll watchers to combat these tactics at a cost of nearly $80,000. That’s over and above our current budget. We need to raise $80,000 and we need to do it RIGHT NOW, because even as I am writing this, Harry Reid and his Machine are trying to steal this election. I’m sorry that we have to come to you yet again and ask for you to reach deep and contribute, but we must.

Understand, EVERYTHING we have worked for in the last year could be destroyed by dirty tricks and criminal acts in the next 8 days. As Sharron’s first line of defense on these matters I am absolutely committed to making sure this won’t happen.

What Harry Reid is doing is clearly illegal. Nevada law (NRS 293.700) provides that, “A person who bribes, offers to bribe, or use and other corrupt means, directly or indirectly, to influence any elector in giving his or her vote or to deter the elector from giving it is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.”

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Halloween is the day when America market-tests parental paranoia. If a new fear flies on Halloween, it’s probably going to catch on the rest of the year, too.

Take “stranger danger,” the classic Halloween horror. Even when I was a kid, back in the “Bewitched” and “Brady Bunch” costume era, parents were already worried about neighbors poisoning candy. Sure, the folks down the street might smile and wave the rest of the year, but apparently they were just biding their time before stuffing us silly with strychnine-laced Smarties.

That was a wacky idea, but we bought it. We still buy it, even though Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, has researched the topic and spends every October telling the press that there has never been a single case of any child being killed by a stranger’s Halloween candy. (Oh, yes, he concedes, there was once a Texas boy poisoned by a Pixie Stix. But his dad did it for the insurance money. He was executed.)

Anyway, you’d think that word would get out: poisoned candy not happening. But instead, most Halloween articles to this day tell parents to feed children a big meal before they go trick-or-treating, so they won’t be tempted to eat any candy before bringing it home for inspection. As if being full has ever stopped any kid from eating free candy!

So stranger danger is still going strong, and it’s even spread beyond Halloween to the rest of the year. Now parents consider their neighbors potential killers all year round. That’s why they don’t let their kids play on the lawn, or wait alone for the school bus: “You never know!” The psycho-next-door fear went viral.

Then along came new fears. Parents are warned annually not to let their children wear costumes that are too tight—those could seriously restrict breathing! But not too loose either—kids could trip! Fall! Die!

Read more here.

PHOENIX — A federal appeals court has struck down a key part of Arizona’s law requiring voters to prove they are citizens before registering to vote or casting ballots.

Tuesday’s decision by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law requiring voters to prove their citizenship while registering is inconsistent with the National Voter Registration Act. That federal law allows voters to fill out a mail-in card and swear they are citizens under penalty of perjury, but doesn’t require them to show proof as Arizona’s law does.

Appeals Court Judge Sandra S. Ikuta’s opinion was joined by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who heard the case as a temporary appeals court judge. The 9th Circuit’s chief judge, Alex Kozinski, dissented.