Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain speaks during the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana June 17, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)
Herman Cain has generated some buzz in the Tea Party community, but he’s showing that he’s not ready to mount a serious campaign for the presidency. His latest comments offer a good example:
Herman Cain said Sunday that Americans should be able to ban Muslims from building mosques in their communities.
“Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state,” Cain said in an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “Islam combines church and state. They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people of that community do not like it. They disagree with it.”
Last week, the Republican presidential candidate expressed criticism of a planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, telling reporters at a campaign event that “This is just another way to try to gradually sneak Sharia law into our laws, and I absolutely object to that.”
If you’ve graduated from high school, it should be easy for you to recognize the stupidity of these comments given that we have a First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
It’s not uncommon for someone from the business community to generate buzz on the left or the right with common sense criticisms of our government. That’s the easy part. But these businessmen are not disciplined, and many of them are used to being surrounded by people who let them spout off ridiculous statements without any pushback.
So you end up with egomaniacs like Donald Trump spouting off outrageous comments, and then people like Herman Cain who are ignorant about basic policies and constitutional principles.
He might scores some points with the Angry Right, but his candidacy is finished.
This article from Politico is quite disturbing. Anyone associated with the radical thinking of Catherine MacKinnon would never make my short list. The fact that Kagan just recently made an argument centered around the notion of restraining speech of “minimal value” is even more disturbing. Fortunately, even the current conservative court smacked down her ridiculous argument in an 8-1 decision.
Will any liberal Senators challenge Kagan on this? It’s hard to imagine filling one of the “liberal” seats on the court with someone who willing to gut the first amendment in the same manner we’ve some to expect from religious ideologues on the right. Unfortunately, radical feminists like MacKinnon were anxious to impose their sense of morality on the rest of us, and with Kagan we might have one of their allies on the court.
Hopefully Kagan will clear this up in the hearings, though I won’t be holding my breath.
With the opening statements from Senator Leahy and Senator Sessions, we might be looking at an ugly fight in the confirmation hearings of Judge Sotomayor. Leahy basically called out those who are trying to twist her words, and Sessions shot right back, basically alleging in his opening remarks that Sotomayor is not an impartial judge.
Given the colorful history of Senator Sessions, I’m wondering how many Republicans and conservatives will cringe when hearing some of his statements.
Of course, it’s up to Sotomayor to explain her philosophy, but Sessions seems to be itching for a fight, regardless of what she might say in these hearings.
The thugs who stole this election didn’t count on the Iranian people rising up against this farce.
It’s stunning to see young and old people in Iran saying “Enough!” Many people there realize that Ahmadinejad is a disgrace to their country, and his bigoted, divisive and incompetent leadership must come to an end.
Whatever happens with the green revolution, nothing will ever be the same in Iran.
Andrew Sullivan has some of the best coverage of this unfolding story. He’s also reporting how most of the mainstream media has been AWOL for most of the weekend as this story developed. No wonder more people are turning to blogs and the Internet for their news.
The Rockefeller drug laws is the term used to denote the statutes dealing with the sale and possession of “narcotic” drugs in the New York State Penal Law. The laws are named after Nelson Rockefeller, who was the state’s governor at the time the laws were adopted. Rockefeller, a staunch supporter of the bill containing the laws, signed it on May 8, 1973.
Under the Rockefeller drug laws, the penalty for selling two ounces (approximately 56 grams) or more of heroin, morphine, “raw or prepared opium,” cocaine, or cannabis, including marijuana (these latter two being included in the statute even though they are not “narcotics” from a chemical standpoint), or possessing four ounces (approximately 113 grams) or more of the same substances, was made the same as that for second-degree murder: a minimum of 15 years to life in prison, and a maximum of 25 years to life in prison. The original legislation also mandated the same penalty for committing a violent crime while under the influence of the same drugs, but this provision was subsequently omitted from the bill and was not part of the legislation Rockefeller ultimately signed. The section of the laws applying to marijuana was repealed in 1979, under the Democratic Governor Hugh Carey.
The New York Times has an editorial arguing for the repeal of the laws.
After 35 years of filling the state’s prisons with drug offenders who needed treatment and disproportionately punishing poor and minority offenders, New York is on the verge of dismantling its infamous Rockefeller drug laws. To get there, Gov. David Paterson and some prosecutors will have to drop their objections to a reasonable provision on second-time offenders.
The Assembly voted last week to restore judicial discretion and end mandatory sentencing for many nonviolent low-level drug crimes. The bill, which has been introduced in the State Senate as well, would limit the longstanding and widely discredited system under which prosecutors decide who goes to jail and for how long.
Once the measure becomes law, courts would be able to sentence many addicts to treatment instead of cramming them into prisons where addiction generally goes untreated.
Republican senators who represent prison districts have long obstructed reforms like these. The latest attempt seems likely to succeed now that Democrats control the governor’s mansion and both houses of the Legislature — if Assembly lawmakers can broker a deal with the governor and some prosecutors in the state.
The last paragraph struck me. It’s stunning that Republican politicians blocked reform of these laws just to keep prison populations high to protect prison jobs in their districts. Disgusting.
All around the country, our prisons are bursting and states are going broke. We need to stop locking up non-violent offenders and focus on violent criminals.
Eric Holder made it pretty clear the other day that the Obama administration will respect state laws and stop arresting sick people who are using medical marijuana.
Holder joked, “What the president said during the campaign, you will be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement.” After a bit of laughter, he repeated, “What he said during the campaign is now American policy.”
Just like we’re seeing with the budget, President Obama meant what he said in the campaign.
President Obama continues the clean break from the policies of the Bush administration. Today he signed new executive orders regarding the closure of the Guantanamo detention facility within a year, the review of military trials of terror suspects and a ban of the harshest interrogation techniques. Obama made his intentions clear:
The message we are sending around the world is that the US intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism and we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively, and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals … We intend to win this fight, and we intend to win it on our terms.
I find it interesting that he did not use the phrase “war on terror.” I have no idea if that was intentional, but as I’ve said in the past that phrase was always overly broad and misleading. Hopefully we can move beyond simple slogans to a more sophisticated policy that effectively fights those who wish to do us harm and rebuilds our bonds with moderate and peace-seeking peoples around the world.
I’m watching Countdown and Keith Olbermann is interviewing former NSA analyst Russell Tice. Tice has been explaining how the NSA has been snooping on ordinary Americans, including phone calls, faxes, emails etc. He specifically stated that the NSA was tracking major American news organizations and their reporters.
This is outrageous and scary as hell. It will be interesting to see what the Obama administration does with this.
14 seats are open on appeals courts or will be by the end of January. Democratic appointees are a majority on one of the 13 federal appeals courts, the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit.
These are the courts that as a practical matter have the final say on everyday issues that affect millions of people because the Supreme Court accepts fewer than 2 percent of the cases appealed to the justices.
“Most of the action is in the lower courts, from labor and employment law to civil rights to punitive damages to affirmative action and how the death penalty is administered,” said Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington.
The traditionally conservative 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, is the first court on which Obama can change the balance of power quickly. It has four openings and has five judges appointed by Republican presidents and five named by Democrat Bill Clinton.
Covering Maryland, the Carolinas and Virginia, the 4th Circuit hears a large share of national security and intelligence cases because Virginia is the home of the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Shapiro estimates that within four years, Obama can name enough judges to give Democrats majorities on nine of the 13 appeals courts.
Both Clinton and Bush had trouble getting some nominees through the Senate. Bill Clinton wasted precious time in his first two years in office as he was slow to nominate judges. Then, he was stuck with a Republican Senate that made it much more dificult to get his nominees through the confirmation process. George W. Bush had epic battles with the Senate over judges.
Obama has the advantage of a healthy majority in the Senate. As we’ve seen from his transition team, Obama isn’t wastin any time. Expect the nominations to come fast in the first year.