Archive for October 16th, 2013


10.16.13 … RIP, Dr. Spencer … a man of all seasons …


“Sam Spencer was, in a single word, a giant. He was a man of visionary leadership at a pivotal time in the life of Davidson College,” said President Carol Quillen. “For me, as for so many in the college family and far beyond, he was a ready exemplar of attributes we need most in the world today. He was a man of grace, of humility and of quiet and unwavering moral courage. I join with the college family in boundless gratitude for his life so well lived.”

During Spencer’s presidency, Davidson witnessed the introduction of co-education, the active recruitment and admission of minority students, the establishment of a self-selection social system for fraternities, a reevaluation of the college’s relationship with the Presbyterian Church and student unrest over the Vietnam War. Through it all, Spencer led a new emphasis on faculty research, more and deeper foreign study opportunities for students and an increase in the college’s endowment from $13.8 million to $30 million. Enrollment during his tenure increased from 1,000 to 1,350.

via College Family Mourns Passing of President Emeritus Samuel R. Spencer Jr., a Davidson Leader for 80 Years – Davidson College.


10.16.13 … what should we call a reverse dixiecrat? …

reverse dixicrats, new order: what should we call a reverse dixiecrat? A rinocrat? … “the cowardice of Republican non-extremists (it would be stretching to call them moderates)” … harsh …

And right now we have all the necessary ingredients for a comparable alliance, with roles reversed. Despite denials from Republican leaders, everyone I talk to believes that it would be easy to pass both a continuing resolution, reopening the government, and an increase in the debt ceiling, averting default, if only such measures were brought to the House floor. How? The answer is, they would get support from just about all Democrats plus some Republicans, mainly relatively moderate non-Southerners. As I said, Dixiecrats in reverse.

The problem is that John Boehner, the speaker of the House, won’t allow such votes, because he’s afraid of the backlash from his party’s radicals. Which points to a broader conclusion: The biggest problem we as a nation face right now is not the extremism of Republican radicals, which is a given, but the cowardice of Republican non-extremists (it would be stretching to call them moderates).

The question for the next few days is whether plunging markets and urgent appeals from big business will stiffen the non-extremists’ spines. For as far as I can tell, the reverse-Dixiecrat solution is the only way out of this mess.

via The Dixiecrat Solution –

Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  ideological antagonists, Supreme Court, judicial activism:

JUSTICES Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are ideological antagonists on the Supreme Court, but they agree on one thing. Their court is guilty of judicial activism.

“If it’s measured in terms of readiness to overturn legislation, this is one of the most activist courts in history,” Justice Ginsburg said in August in an interview with The New York Times. “This court has overturned more legislation, I think, than any other.”

But Justice Ginsburg overstated her case. If judicial activism is defined as the tendency to strike down laws, the court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is less activist than any court in the last 60 years.

Nonetheless, Justice Ginsburg’s impression fits with a popular perception of the court. In 2010 in Citizens United, it struck down part of a federal law regulating campaign spending by corporations and unions, overruling two precedents in the bargain. In June, it struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act.

The court will no doubt be accused of yet more activism if it continues to dismantle campaign finance restrictions, as it seemed ready to do Tuesday at arguments in a case about limits on campaign contributions from individuals.


Three months after Mr. Obama’s remarks, Chief Justice Roberts broke with his usual conservative allies and voted with the court’s four liberals to uphold the law. In a joint dissent, the four conservatives said the majority was wrong to portray its ruling as “judicial modesty” when “it amounts instead to a vast judicial overreaching.”

Writing in Public Discourse last year, Joel Alicea, then a law student at Harvard University, said “the clash between the chief justice’s opinion and that of the joint dissenters” is “a clash between two visions of judicial restraint, and two eras of the conservative legal movement.”

Justice Scalia said last month that he used another definition “when I complain about the activism of my court.” His colleagues were activist, he said at George Washington University, when they identified rights, like one to abortion, that were not in the text of the Constitution.

The Roberts court may not be especially activist in the classic sense of striking down a lot of laws. But there does appear to be an element of politics in its rulings.

“In a nutshell, liberal justices tend to invalidate conservative laws and conservative justices, liberal laws,” Professor Epstein and Andrew D. Martin of Washington University in St. Louis wrote last year in The Emory Law Journal in a look at the Roberts court’s first five terms.

Only Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the justice at the court’s ideological center, is a puzzle. In remarks this month at the University of Pennsylvania, he said his court should play only a modest role. “Any society that relies on nine unelected judges to resolve the most serious issues of the day is not a functioning democracy,” he said.

Yet Justice Kennedy “is the most aggressive of the Roberts justices,” voting with the majority 94 percent of the time when the court struck down a law, Professors Epstein and Martin found. “Unlike the other Roberts justices,” they added, “no underlying ideological pattern seems to exist to Kennedy’s votes.”

Justice Ginsburg said there was a theory behind her votes to strike down some laws and not others. In general, she said, “we trust the democratic process, so the court is highly deferential to what Congress does.”

via How Activist Is the Supreme Court? –

Congress, Separation of Powers, 2013 Shutdown:  I realize this is the conservative analysis, but this is the only analysis that I have read that makes sense.

There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.

This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the Congressional Record.

As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity.

Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.

ObamaCare is indeed “the law of the land,” as its supporters keep saying, and the Supreme Court has upheld its Constitutionality.

But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.

The hundreds of thousands of government workers who have been laid off are not idle because the House of Representatives did not vote enough money to pay their salaries or the other expenses of their agencies — unless they are in an agency that would administer ObamaCare.

Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who — if anybody — “wants to shut down the government.” But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare.

The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he wants a “clean” bill from the House of Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word “clean” like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid everything he wants?

If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run ObamaCare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility.

via Who Shut Down the Government? – Thomas Sowell – Page full.

Navy Yard scandal, Charles Krauthammer:  Where has the compassionate society gone? The problem here was not fiscal but political and, yes, even moral.

This would generally have relieved the hallucinations and delusions, a blessing not only in itself, but also for the lucidity brought on that would have allowed him to give us important diagnostic details — psychiatric history, family history, social history, medical history, etc. If I had thought he could be sufficiently cared for by family or friends to receive regular oral medication, therapy and follow-up, I would have discharged him. Otherwise, I’d have admitted him. And if he refused, I’d have ordered a 14-day involuntary commitment.

Sounds cruel? On the contrary. For many people living on park benches, commitment means a warm bed, shelter and three hot meals a day. For Alexis, it would have meant the beginning of a treatment regimen designed to bring him back to himself before discharging him to a world heretofore madly radioactive.

That’s what a compassionate society does. It would no more abandon this man to fend for himself than it would a man suffering a stroke. And as a side effect, that compassion might even extend to potential victims of his psychosis — in the event, remote but real, that he might someday burst into some place of work and kill 12 innocent people.

Instead, what happened? The Newport police sent their report to the local naval station, where it promptly disappeared into the ether. Alexis subsequently twice visited VA hospital ERs, but without any florid symptoms of psychosis and complaining only of sleeplessness, the diagnosis was missed. (He was given a sleep medication.) He fell back through the cracks.

True, psychiatric care is underfunded and often scarce. But Alexis had full access to the VA system. The problem here was not fiscal but political and, yes, even moral.

via Charles Krauthammer: The real Navy Yard scandal – The Washington Post.

Georgia’s Senate race, Michelle Nunn:  Given that I am a longstanding fan of Sam Nunn (a true Dixiecrat?) his daughter’s run for US Senate interests me.  But I personally don’t like any state race should be financially influenced  by corporate bigwigs, celebrities and D.C. types, making it a National election.

If you need a reminder that Georgia’s Senate race is a national one, then take a look at the names behind Democrat Michelle Nunn’s $1.7 million fundraising haul.

We got a hold of her disclosure last night, and the names of corporate bigwigs, celebrities and D.C. types join the local Democratic stalwarts donating to Nunn.

Among them are former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, ex-U.S. President Jimmy Cater, real estate mogul Tom Cousins, actress Jane Fonda, former Sen. Bob Graham, Washington fixer Vernon Jordan, Home Depot executive Carol Tome, retired federal judge Marvin Shoob, singer Nancy Sinatra, ex-Georgia Supreme Court chief Leah Ward Sears, Howard Dean\’s PAC and former U.S. ambassador Andrew Young.

Many of these bold-faced names gave $5,600, a two-cycle sum that accounts for her fundraising strength in their early going. Now she faces the question of whether she can keep it up.

via Your daily jolt: Johnny Isakson points to Heritage PAC as… | Political Insider |

kith/kin, Ga 11th District, :  And on a more personal level …

Not every candidate has reported in, but we have enough to paint at least a partial picture of the money that’s flowing into the Republican race to replace U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta:

— Former congressman Bob Barr reports $165,560 raised in the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, with $101,057 in cash on hand. He raised $251,782, and had $146,740 in the bank as of June 30. So there\’s that.

— Tricia Pridemore, a Marietta businesswoman and former state agency head, declared $103,541.93 raised – up slightly from the second quarter. The campaign also reported $188,535.63 in cash on hand.

— Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk of Cassville reported raising $78,760, with $64,122 in the bank. He raised just over $97,000 last quarter.

— State Rep. Ed Lindsey, R-Atlanta, $75,903.84, including a $20,000 personal loan, and has $161,673 in cash on hand. He raised in the neighborhood of $157,000 in the second quarter.

via Your daily jolt: Johnny Isakson points to Heritage PAC as… | Political Insider |

Also, I am tired of hearing the term “gerrymander” … It is a political reality that who is in control of the redistricting process in a given state following the census establishes districts that will protect its interests to the greatest extent.  In my own state of NC, we have a district that runs from Charlotte to Durham up the 85 corridor …. it’s jokingly called the Mickey Mouse district.  Mickey’s District? . – Google News via nc mickey mouse district – Google Search.


A few thoughts from ed lindsey  …

First of all, we need to show the general public that we can govern. We need to be able to not just talk about problems but to actually promote a positive conservative reform agenda, and that’s the strength that I bring to the process. Furthermore, we need to explain how a conservative agenda will impact people’s lives. When we talk about economic issues and job growth, we need to do so not only in terms of economic development, but in terms of the importance of work and employment to the human soul, to our work ethic. That tends to get lost in the discussion. We need to be focused on issues that are “gateway issues.” These are issues that, while most importantly being good policy, give groups that haven’t traditionally been with our party a chance to give us a second look. Education and school choice are good examples, and I have been actively involved with those issues in the General Assembly. Criminal justice is another. We need to be willing to go into communities where we don’t currently have a strong voice.

via Q&A: Ed Lindsey | The Arch Conservative.

TAC: What do you see as the future of the conservative movement and what can we as a movement do to stay vibrant and relevant in American politics?

Lindsey: Don’t allow our own actions or the words of others to tag us as the folks for the status quo. We must be the movement for reform and change, the movement that takes an honest look at problems in society and applies conservative principles to them. We have to attack problems. That’s how we remain relevant – we stay totally engaged with today’s problems. We can’t just be the party of “no.” We also have to be a big tent. We can’t just toss people out. I don’t agree with a lot of Chris Christie’s positions – but he’s pretty fiscally conservative, took on the unions… I appreciate the fact that he’s a Republican governor of New Jersey. I want him at the table. I’ll have an honest fight with him and debate him on a number of issues, but I want him at the table. I want a party that’s big enough to hold myself, Rand Paul, Chris Christie… and Bob Barr.

via Q&A: Ed Lindsey | The Arch Conservative.

President Barack Obama,  presidential war powers: 

President Barack Obama just turned decades of debate over presidential war powers on its head.

Until Saturday, when Obama went to Congress to ask for permission to strike Syria, the power to launch military action had been strongly in the hands of the commander in chief. Even the 1973 War Powers Resolution allows bombs to start falling before the president has to ask Congress for long-term approval.

That makes the move by Obama to hand a piece of the messy situation in Syria to Congress a clear step in the other direction — an abdication of power to Congress at a moment when he has no good solutions.

And even if Obama ultimately balks at Congress if they vote down his ask, prominent conservatives who fueled the expansion of presidential power — especially Bush administration alums — are beside themselves, arguing that Obama has weakened the presidency.

John Yoo, who wrote the legal opinions that justified the Bush administration’s interrogation tactics with sweeping views of executive power, says Obama has undermined the quick-strike ability that gives presidents much of their power in dealing with military threats.

via Bushies fear Obama weakening presidency – David Nather and Anna Palmer –

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October 2013