Archive

February 26th, 2016

Before Trump, the sad history of when Christians anointed another political bully

    Evangelical Christians have just delivered Donald Trump - the Republican presidential candidate most out of sync with their biblical values - a resounding victory in South Carolina. Of the 65 percent of Republican voters who identify as evangelicals, a third of them cast their ballot for Trump, more than any other candidate. Why?

    For roughly the same reason that a medieval pope, Leo III, anointed another political bully, Charles the Great, better known as Charlemagne. Put simply, they want a Protector in Chief. Facing a political culture increasingly hostile to their beliefs-and a government riding roughshod over their religious freedoms-evangelicals believe Mr. Trump will be the best guardian of their liberties.

    "Trump is a fighter," Mark Burns, pastor of the Greenville, South Carolina-based Christian Television Network, told Fox News. "He is the one to fight for Christianity and for our conservative values we hold dear."

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Highest court in U.S. shouldn't always pull rank

    Who's in charge of patent law? The answer lies in an ongoing conflict between two courts: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which was created by Congress in 1982 and given control over the entire patent law docket, and the U.S. Supreme Court, which gets to choose which Federal Circuit cases to review and which to leave untouched.

    The struggle is before the Supreme Court again Tuesday in a consolidated pair of cases with significant stakes for the patent bar. The court will consider under what circumstances lower courts can award "enhanced damages" of up to three times the amount of actual damages to a patent holder whose patent has been infringed. But the real issue is who gets to make the call about the meaning of the federal law that authorizes the damages. If you're interested in who's going to win the struggle, I've got a hint for you: It's the court with "supreme" in its name.

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Sanders Hits a Roadblock

    Bernie Sanders’ loss in the Nevada caucuses, 47 percent to 53 percent, reveals a very real weakness of his insurgent challenge to Hillary Clinton.

    According to entrance polls — which may have had some problems of their own, problems that we’ll discuss shortly — Sanders’ appeal is not broad enough among key groups that traditionally make up the base of the Democratic Party.

    He lost among women, blacks, nonwhites, and self-described Democrats. But the loss was even more troubling for his camp than that. He also lost highly educated caucusgoers with postgraduate degrees, both the poorest and wealthiest groups, and moderates. He lost those who saw health care and the economy as the most important issues of the election, even though those are key parts of Sanders’ platform and issues on which he is most eloquent and persuasive.

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Expect a few more surprises from Cruz

    The conventional wisdom now is that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has no chance to win the Republican nomination, but that he'll fight on until the end anyway.

    Both of those assumptions are jumping ahead of the facts.

    Yes, his third-place showing in South Carolina, a state with demographics matching his strengths and one where he dumped considerable resources, was bad news for the Texas senator. He is now down to 2 percent in the Predictwise market assessing his nomination chances.

    Yet he's one of five remaining candidates, and two of them, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former neurosureon Ben Carson, are fringe efforts at this point. Cruz has plenty of money, and he'll receive a fair amount of media attention ahead of Super Tuesday, which is March 1. At least six of the 12 states voting that day remain good battlegrounds for him: Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia.

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Escape From Bushworld

    The Bushes always bristled at the “d” word. And now they don’t have to worry about it any more.

    The dynasty has perished, with a whimper. The exclamation point has slouched off.

    The Bushes are leaving the field to someone they have utter contempt for: Donald Trump.

    And the main emotion in Bushworld is relief. No one could bear one more day of watching Jeb get the flesh flayed off him by Trump.

    With his uncanny bat-like sonar, sensing how to psychologically gauge and then gut an opponent, Trump went straight for the Bushes’ biggest bête noir: wimpiness.

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Congress is best to decide the Apple-FBI case

    The fight over whether Apple should write new software to unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernardino, California, killer may be poised to go to Congress -- and that's the first good news I've heard about the confrontation.

    The case raises profound matters of public policy with constitutional, domestic and international ramifications. A magistrate judge working for the federal district court isn't the right person to decide these issues, nor would higher courts be in a good position to make wise judgments on appeal. What we need here is a law -- one that reflects, to the extent possible, the legitimate competing values in play.

    The reason the magistrate is even involved derives from the misleadingly simple nature of the problem. When a federal criminal investigation is under way, magistrates are deputed by federal district judges to issue warrants. In this instance, the Department of Justice asked the magistrate to issue an order to Apple to enable it to unlock Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone.

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Cranks on Top

    If prediction markets (and most hardheaded analysis) are to be believed, Hillary Clinton, having demonstrated her staying power, is the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination. The Republican race, by contrast, has seen a lot of consolidation — it’s pretty much down to a two-man race — but the outcome is still up for grabs.

    The thing is, one of the two men who may still have a good chance of becoming the Republican nominee is a scary character. His notions on foreign policy seem to boil down to the belief that America can bully everyone into doing its bidding, and that engaging in diplomacy is a sign of weakness. His ideas on domestic policy are deeply ignorant and irresponsible, and would be disastrous if put into effect.

    The other man, of course, has very peculiar hair.

    Marco Rubio has yet to win anything, but by losing less badly than other non-Trump candidates he has become the overwhelming choice of the Republican establishment. Does this give him a real chance of overtaking the man who probably just won all of South Carolina’s delegates? I have no idea.

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Ben Carson and Cornel West actually agree: Obama's 'not black enough'

    Ben Carson and Cornel West are polar opposites, ideologically, politically, socially. But they are kindred spirits when it comes to their disdain for President Barack Obama. For these guardians of blackness, the first African-American occupant of the Oval Office is not black enough. Better not tell Virginia McLaurin, the 106-year-old who was so excited to meet "a black president" that she danced her way into our hearts.

    Carson's presidential campaign is so anemic that a tear dropping into the ocean causes more waves. Yet he had time to crack wise on the president's upbringing during an interview with Glenn Thrush. He told the ace Politico reporter and podcaster that he "did not" derive any joy out of Obama's election.

    Carson: I mean, like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but I also recognize that his experience and my experience are night-and-day different. He didn't grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination.

    Thrush: That's right.

    Carson: Not even close.

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Cruz and Rubio, Separated at Mirth

    Ted Cruz described Marco Rubio last week as “Donald Trump with a smile,” saying that both are quick to call their critics liars, though Rubio does it amiably.

    Cruz is right about Rubio’s affect, wrong about which candidate it distinguishes him from. He and Rubio are the pair twinned in so many respects beyond the curve of their lips.

    That makes these two U.S. senators — both in their first terms, both Cuban-American, both lawyers, just five months apart in age — a uniquely fascinating study in how much the style of a person’s politics drives perceptions of who he is and in how thoroughly optics eclipse substance.

    Rubio, 44, is routinely branded “mainstream” and occasionally labeled “moderate.” There’s a belief among Republican leaders, along with evidence in polls, that he has an appeal to less conservative voters that Cruz doesn’t.

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February 24th

Neglected Stories

    March is Women's History Month so designated to focus on all the neglected stories of women's contributions to this nation's society.  Due to  the same type of neglect, February has long been named Black History Month. 

    Mitigating the latter is a museum due to open on our National Mall next September. A group chartered as the National Women's History Museum (www.nwhm.org)is attempting to build a like museum.  Congress has at long last established a committee to look into the possibility of a women's museum but unlike the one that resulted in the building of others on the mall the women are left to raise the entire funding - just to investigate the possibility!  A major part of the quest is to secure the last site on the mall.

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