Republicans from the South have a built-in advantage in the nominating process, but a credible candidate is so far elusive.
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On May 9, 2001, President George W. Bush held a special White House gathering to announce his first eleven nominees to the United States Court of Appeals. From a lawyer's perspective, it was a Murderer's Row (in the baseball sense, not the murdering sense) of young conservative lawyers with an opportunity for influential lifetime posts and, someone of them, being groomed and credentialed for a Supreme Court nomination down the road. Indeed, GHWB administration veterans John Roberts and Miguel Estrada (DC Circuit) was among that first group of nominees, as were Edith Clement and Priscilla Owen for the Fifth Circuit. If you were a conservative who cared about the federal judiciary, that was a day to make you proud.
It's ten years later, and President Obama hasn't quite given us a day like that, a day to spotlight the next generation of judges who would take seriously the Constitution's role in protecting individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law. On a day like that, you'd know in the back of your head, even if a few of them are filibustered, the ones who are confirmed will make a lasting impact.
To be sure, much of the White House's judicial energies had to be concentrated on the two Supreme Court vacancies, and we are all hopeful that Justices Sotomayor and Kagan are strong voices for progressive values on the Court for a long time to come. But when a Democratic President gets to make another Supreme Court nomination a decade from now, who will be the young, credentialed progressives capable of being confirmed?
That's why tomorrow's cloture vote on Goodwin Liu's nomination to the 9th Circuit matters so much -- both because of Liu's own sterling credentials and remarkable potential, but also to give the President confidence to nominate ten more like him soon.
Liu was first nominated by the President for the 9th Circuit in 2010. He's a former Rhodes Scholar who clerked for Judge David Tatel on the DC Circuit and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the Supreme Court, and since 2003 has been a Professor (and now Associate Dean) at the University of California?s Berkeley School of Law.
I got to know Professor Liu through his writings. With Pam Karlan and Chris Schroeder he wrote Keeping Faith With The Constitution, a remarkable book (it's all there, online, free) on proper constitutional interpretation, explaining to the general public how to understand the Constitution as "a basic charter of government whose practical meaning arises from the continual adaptation of its enduring text and principles to the conditions and challenges facing each generation."
At a minimum, Goodwin Liu deserves the same up-or-down vote that any judicial nominee not presenting "extraordinary circumstances" warrants. But if you don't believe me, ask Ken Starr, who wrote Sen. Leahy to say that ?Goodwin Liu is a person of great intellect, accomplishment, and integrity, and he is exceptionally well-qualified to serve on the court of appeals.? And as the Sacramento Bee notes today:
With some of their stands on immigration, Republicans have alienated wide swaths of Latino voters.It takes seven Republican Senators to break the filibuster; eleven of them broke ranks last week to allow the confirmation of trial lawyer Jack McConnell to the Rhode Island District Court. If one of them is your Senator -- Alexander (TN), Brown (MA), Chambliss (GA), Collins (ME), Graham (SC), Isakson (GA), Kirk (IL), McCain (AZ), Murkowski (AK), Snowe (ME) and Thune (SD) -- call the Senate at (202) 224-3121 and ask your Senator to allow Goodwin Liu to have an up-or-down vote. [Argh: Graham, Isakson and McCain announced Wednesday afternoon that they will support a filibuster. Jim Webb, meanwhile, will vote to end the filibuster, but against confirmation.]
With their stands on President Obama's judicial picks, will they similarly alienate Asian Americans?...
[Liu] is exceptionally well qualified for an appeals court seat. The son of Taiwanese immigrants who grew up in Sacramento, he went on to become a Rhodes scholar and clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He is a highly respected constitutional scholar and is the recipient of UC Berkeley's highest teaching award.
Yet rather than labeling him as unqualified, Republicans appear to be opposing his nomination because he is too qualified, and might give Obama the chance to nominate the first Asian American to the U.S. Supreme Court.
That's a dangerous game for the GOP. The Senate could avoid it by confirming Liu.
More at Jonathan Singer's ConfirmGoodwin.com.
Democrats were willing to cut $400 billion from Medicare, Coburn wanted another $130 billion lopped off. Not a pretty picture.[...]
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By Frederik Joelving ? Tue May 17, 3:28 pm ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) ? Terminally ill patients who opt to receive hospice care won’t die any faster as a result of that choice, according to Korean researchers.
Their findings add to a recent U.S. debate over hospices, which some fear might accelerate the decline of very sick people.
Hospice care focuses on easing the pain and distress of people whose doctors have ruled out any chance of recovery, instead of offering aggressive medical treatment, which often comes with side effects.
In the U.S., most people receive hospice care at home. The major goal is to make patients comfortable as the end of life nears, using techniques that are not available from other medical specialties.
I think some people live longer on Hospice, with the extra care and attention to comfort.
Even if it turns out that he is innocent, it does not appear as though he will be cleared of this any time soon. With the Greek bailout talks faltering, the IMF needs leadership and he is not a realistic option in these circumstances.
Pressure is building on Dominique Strauss-Kahn to resign as head of the International Monetary Fund, with the US treasury chief and European finance ministers questioning if he can carry on in the light of his arrest.In France this continues to be the news story in the media. Politicians having affairs is uninteresting to the public but serious charges like this makes it different. The fact that it is happening during an election year in a country known for dirty tricks on the campaign trail does leave many wondering. For the average observer though, sure, he looks bad but there are enough small side issues that raise doubts. That said, even if it was a setup, was he really unable to avoid temptation? Or, is this a sign of a much larger illness? So many questions and we won't have answers for a long time but any outcome would not be a complete surprise.
In a speech in New York on Tuesday, Tim Geithner, the US treasury secretary, said Strauss-Khan was "obviously not in a position to run the IMF". He said: "I think it's important that the board of the IMF formally put in place for an interim period somebody to act as managing director."
Geithner's comments came after Austria's finance minister, Maria Fekter, and others, said Strauss-Kahn was damaging the IMF: "Considering the situation, that bail was denied, he has to figure out for himself, that he is hurting the institution," she told journalists at a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels.
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Well, it looks like someone at MSNBC decided it was alright for Ed Schultz to bring back his Psycho Talk segment after they pulled it some time back under the guise of wanting their broadcasts to be less inflammatory and that being used as an excuse to show Keith Olbermann the door.
Ed knocked Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, otherwise known as the Brown-Haired Guy Who Isn't Steve Doocy if you watch Colbert for their ridiculous claim on Fox & Friends that Donald Trump might have been a serious presidential candidate for 2012 except for the fact that he wasn't treated fairly in the media. In their world, the evil liberal media attacked poor old Donald when he didn't deserve it and ruined his hopes for another fake presidential run.
Trump was never a serious candidate and the media sadly gave him way too much air time so he could get his ratings up for his show on NBC. But the crew over at Fox & Friends think that somehow he wasn't given enough time on the air to defend himself from the countless hours he was given on the air to look like a raving mad racist nut job who will say anything whether he believes it or not to get attention.
As usual, it's upside down world at Fox. These people apparently have lost the capacity to be embarrassed by the fact that they look like complete buffoons every morning, day after day, on a network that has the audacity to call itself a "news" channel.
After Republican proposals to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities died in Congress this year, it might have seemed like there was a momentary lull in the fight over public funding for the arts. But at the state level, Republican governors and Republican-dominated legislatures are using difficult economic times as an excuse to slash the budgets of arts agencies and public broadcasters, or to try to eliminate them entirely.
In five states, Republican governors or legislatures have proposed either dismantling arts agencies or entirely eliminating some of their funding streams:
KANSAS: The most pitched battles are in Kansas, where in February, Gov. Sam Brownback signed an executive order dismantling the Kansas Arts Commission to make way for its replacement by a privately-funded group. That move meant Kansas will likely lose $778,200 from the National Endowment for the Arts and $437,767 in funding from the Mid-American Arts Alliance. Both organizations require states to support the arts before they’ll kick in funding. The Kansas legislature pushed back, overriding the executive order and approving $700,000 to fund the agency, but on May 10, Brownback told the entire staff of the Commission that their jobs would be eliminated in June. He has suggested he will veto the legislature’s appropriation when the budget arrives on his desk, a move that will have the same effect as the executive order.
Brownback may also line-item veto $1.5 million in state funding for public broadcasting, though the budget the legislature approved last Friday produces a $50 million surplus even with arts and broadcasting funding included.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Gov. Nikki Haley said in her State of the State address in January that “the role of South Carolina?s government in the year 2011 can no longer be to fund an Arts Commission that costs us $2.5 million. … When you release government from the things it should not be responsible for, you allow the private sector to be more creative and cost efficient.” State lawmakers essentially ignored her requests, moving forward budgets with a 6 percent funding cut and amendments that require the Commission to spend most of its funding to provide grants. Haley reaffirmed her desire to eliminate state funding for the Commission in April, raising the prospect that she will line-item veto funding for the Arts Commission and South Carolina’s educational television program, which she also targeted in her January address.
ARIZONA: Gov. Jan Brewer entirely eliminated funding for the Arizona Commission on the Arts’ general fund, though the agency still gets some money through its Trust Fund, which is supported by businesses filing fees in the state.
FLORIDA: Gov. Rick Scott initially proposed keeping the Division of Cultural Affairs alive, but declined to fund its grant programs; the state legislature sent him a budget with $2.5 million in grant funding. Scott’s still considering line-item vetoes to trim the budget further.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Republican-dominated House of Representatives moved to dissolve the state’s Department of Cultural Resources in March, but the Senate Finance Committee has stood behind the Department’s continued existence, though it has proposed $530,000 in cuts.
The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, which has been tracking proposals to eliminate or reorganize the organizations it represents, is also following proposals in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin to cut state arts funding by between 30 and 80 percent.
And state-level public broadcasting also remains vulnerable:
VIRGINIA: Gov. Bob McDonnell used a line-item veto to eliminate $424,000 in funding for public broadcasters to develop educational materials for the state’s public schools, efforts he said were “not core services of government.”
MAINE: Last week, Gov. Paul LePage proposed cutting all state funding for the Main Public Broadcasting Network.
The sums of money involved in these fights are minuscule: at $11 million, New Jersey’s subsidy to the New Jersey Network is the largest appropriation at stake. Cutting funds for arts agencies and public broadcasters won’t balance state budgets. But it does give Republicans an excuse to strike a blow in the culture wars that it will be very hard for arts organizations to recover from.
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, a strong majority of Ohio voters favor repealing the recent Republican-backed legislation known as SB 5. Among many other heinous provisions, SB 5 strips collective bargaining rights for public employees.
Quinnipiac, 5/10-16, 1,379 registered voters, MoE 2.6, no trendlines:
16. As you may know there is a proposed referendum to repeal this new law. Do you think this new law which limits collective bargaining for public employees should be kept or repealed?
While Quinnipiac does not have trendlines on this question, they do have trendlines on other questions which suggest these numbers might actually be a slight improvement for the other side. For example, Governor John Kasich's net job approval is up a bit from the last Quinnipiac poll in Ohio in March:
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way John Kasich is handling his job as Governor? [March results in parenthesis]
Disapprove: 49 (46)
Approve: 38 (30)
These are hideous approval ratings for someone who has been in office for only four months, but they are still better, on net, than they were back in March.
Additionally, Public Policy Polling surveyed Ohio in mid-March, and found a 54%-31% margin in favor of repeal. This is another indication that those opposing repeal might be picking off undecided voters at a faster rate than those in favor of repeal. So, while we remain in a very strong position in Ohio, we must also remember that this campaign is not yet won. We have work left to do.
Our regular featured content-On This Day In History May 18 by TheMomCatPunting the Pundits by TheMomCatEvening Edition by ek hornbeckWednesday is mishima's much deserved day of restthese featured articles-The Mighty Atchafalaya by ek hornbeckExposing[...]
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The top cybersecurity guy at DHS, Phil Reitinger, announced his resignation today. Which is pretty odd, given that Obama just rolled out his cybersecurity strategy a few days ago.[...]
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