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HRC Costs Law Firm a Client — and its Reputation

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:30 pm - April 29, 2011.
Filed under: Gay PC Silliness,Liberal Intolerance

Earlier this week, we learned that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) put pressure on clients of the law firm King & Spalding to get it “to end its representation of the “Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.”   After the law firm caved to pressure from this left-wing outfit, it has earned the opprobrium not just of conservative pundits and jurists, but also from left-of-center commentators, even from the editorial board of the New York Times!

Calling “the pummeling” that the law firm has experienced “entirely deserved”, Ruth Marcus dubs HRC, “the bigger culprit” as it “orchestrated the ugly pressure tactics against King & Spalding“:

But strong-arming the lawyer to drop or avoid the unpopular client is not an acceptable tactic. This is not, or shouldn’t be, a left-right debate. It is true whether the lawyer is defending murderers on death row, Guantanamo detainees or a federal law — a law, it must be pointed out, that was passed by overwhelming congressional majorities and signed by a Democratic president. The Human Rights Campaign and its allies ought to remember: Not so long ago, firms were squeamish about taking on gay clients or causes.

Exactly.  Read the whole thing. “King & Spalding had no ethical or moral obligation to take the case,” the editors of the New York Times write, “but in having done so, it was obliged to stay with its clients, to resist political pressure from the left that it feared would hurt its business.”  (Via Jennifer Rubin.)

John Hinderaker reports that “King & Spalding is starting to experience blowback: the Attorney General of Virginia has fired the firm from work it has been doing for the state since 2009. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent King & Spalding a blistering letter which apparently was copied to the Washington Examiner:” (more…)

Gallup: Americans Wary of Tea Party, but Embrace its Ideals

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:36 pm - April 29, 2011.
Filed under: Tea Party,We The People

According to Gallup, nearly “half of Americans, 47%, now have an unfavorable image of the Tea Party movement, the highest since it emerged on the national scene.”  That contrasts with 33% who have a favorable view.  This represents an increase of 5% in the grassroots movement’s unfavorable rating and a decrease of 6 points in its favorables, a pretty significant shift that.

At the same time, as Americans’ negative views of the movement are on the upswing, they continue to embrace its underlying ideal:

The large majority of Americans say spending too much money on unneeded or wasteful federal programs is to blame for the federal budget deficit, while 22% say the deficit is a consequence of not raising enough in taxes to pay for needed programs.

April 2011: Which do you think is more to blame for the federal budget deficit -- spending too much money on federal programs that are either not needed or wasteful, or not raising enough money in taxes to pay for needed federal programs?

This movement gained momentum two years ago, largely because of the vast increases in federal spending passed by the then-Democratic Congress and signed by President Obama.  In line with Tea Party protestors, “Americans generally favor spending cuts rather than tax increases as the way for Congress to reduce the deficit going forward”:

Given a choice, Americans of all political persuasions are more likely to say that too much wasteful and unneeded government spending is the cause of the federal budget deficit, rather than too little tax revenue. Americans of all political persuasions also say cutting back on federal spending should be a major focus of efforts to reduce the deficit going forward.

Via Washington Examiner.  Do hope the president is looking at this poll.  And that Republican leaders don’t lose sight of it.

Barack Obama: “Reactionary” Advocate of Beltway Status Quo?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:18 pm - April 29, 2011.
Filed under: HopeAndChange,Obamania

During the 2008 presidential campaign, as the fortunes of Barack Obama increased, I asked what this man, who billed himself as the hopeful agent of change, had done to effect real change.  What entrenched interests had he challenged?  What corrupt politicians did he expose and strip of power?

Once in office, as many on the right warned, he has been anything but an agent of change, unless by change you mean an increase in the rate of government growth and a widening of the scope of its regulatory power.  In short, as president, he has become the advocate for the governing class and the big-government status quo.

Suggesting the president’s “intellectualism” is “a mere imitation of the liberal dogma that has dominated elite opinion for 40 years“, Jennifer Rubin finds it “deeply ironic that the president who ran on a platform of change would be so reactionary”:

On domestic policy, Obama clings to Great Society statism and must be dragged into a post-Keynesian approach to economic recovery and fiscal control. On foreign policy, he’s treated popular revolutions ( most egregiously, Iran’s Green Movement) as annoyances that have only complicated his desire to do business with aging regimes. And in the Middle East, he seems stuck in an Oslo time warp long after the Israeli public, the PA and the Arab states have given up on “land for peace.”

What new ideas has this man put forward?  What cost-saving reforms has he effected?  What has he done to change the culture of our nation’s capital?

Paul Ryan Welcomes Criticism

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:48 pm - April 29, 2011.
Filed under: Noble Republicans

Seems Ryan learned from the immediate past president on how to deal with critical questions. From Moe Lane at RedState, we get this anecdote from the Republican leader‘s listening tour in his Wisconsin district:

At the last of four events on Rep. Paul Ryan’s “listening tour” of his district Thursday, he called on a man in the front row of a high school auditorium, then instantly recognized him.

“You changed clothes!” Ryan told Steve Jozefczyk. The 54-year old salesman from Franklin, Wis., had asked Ryan several critical questions from the front row of an event six hours earlier in Waterford, when he wore a shirt and tie. In Greenfield, it was a black “Faux News” parody T-shirt.

Josefczyk admitted trying to trick Ryan into calling on him again. But Ryan listened anyway.

I join Moe Lane is emphasizing that last sentence.  So, the Republican Congressman calls on a guy whom he knows to be a traveling critic.

Contrast his attitude to this particular critic to that of the incumbent president toward critics in general.

Paul Ryan: New Leader of the GOP

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:42 am - April 29, 2011.
Filed under: 112th Congress,Leadership,Noble Republicans

To the consternation of Roger L. Simon, whose guest I was on Pjtv on Election Night 2008, I proclaimed that, in the wake of Democratic victories that night, Rush Limbaugh was the interim leader of the GOP.  While I might have missed the mark a bit, the talk show host did offer a robust defense of conservatism at CPAC the following February at a time when many of us were despondent and liberal pundits were proclaiming the death of conservatism.  The Tea Party had just been born.  And Sarah Palin seemed content to remain in Alaska, governing the Last Frontier.

Well, the mainstream media may have declared that accomplished reformer and charismatic conservative the leader of the GOP, but while many on the right respected her, few acknowledge her at Reagan’s heir.  Then-RNC chairman Michael Steele never really gained a following with the rank-and-file (it’s fun to speculate how much better the GOP would have done last fall had we had a man with the political acumen and Washington experience of Haley Barbour helming the RNC in the early Obama years).  The Republican congressional leaders, House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, remain focused on running their respective chambers than aspiring to national leadership.

The media seem eager to declare Donald Trump, currently the most prominent Obama critic, as the GOP leader—without bothering to ask whether his political platform aligns with that of rank-and-file Republicans.  They do seem to forget that since Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party has been built on a set of principles, of small government, personal freedom and a robust national defense, principles of which (alack!) all too many GOP leaders have lost sight.

Until this month.  When, after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released the Republican budget plan, left-of-center pundit Jacob Weisberg wrote that if “the GOP gets behind” this proposal “in a serious way, it will become for the first time in modern memory an intellectually serious party—one with a coherent vision to match its rhetoric of limited government”, he all but declared Ryan the leader of the Republican Party, pending the party getting behind said proposal.  And get behind it they have.  To be sure, while most support its general outline, not all Republicans back the plan.  Four House Republicans voted against his budget.  And last week, Senator Susan Collins of Maine was “the first Republican senator to state publicly that she will not support the Ryan budget.

Back in his southeastern Wisconsin district where he is set to conclude today “his 19th town hall meeting of the last two weeks“, Ryan “is also garnering more attention and bigger crowds than the presidential hopefuls“.  As he meets with his constituents, he’s been explaining why we must cut federal spending and reform entitlements.  In short, he’s been standing firm not only on core Republican principles, but also defending an actual plan to enact them into law. (more…)

Big government prevents Obama recovery from resembling Reagan’s

Higher gas prices, severe storms and belt-tightening at the Pentagon,” AP Economics writer Jeannine Aversa contends, “slowed the economy in the first three months of the year.”  She forget to mention increased federal regulation, regulatory uncertainty and moratoria on energy exploration.  And the high corporate tax rate.

New economic data, Neil Irwin reports in the Washington Post, “show the recovery is so weak that it doesn’t take much to knock it off its stride“:

The 1.8 percent pace of increase in gross domestic product in the first quarter, according to a Commerce Department report Thursday, is down from a 3.1 percent gain in the final months of 2010. It is also lower than the level of growth that, over time, would be expected to drive down joblessness. The U.S. economy needs to grow about 2.5 percent annually to keep unemployment steady given continual growth in the labor force and in worker efficiency; even stronger GDP growth is needed to bring unemployment down.

Via Jennifer Rubin who also noted that “inflation also shows a marked change“.  We may officially be out of the recession, but Gallup reports that “Twenty-nine percent said the economy is in a depression and 26 percent said it is in a recession, with another 16 percent saying it is ‘slowing down’.”  (Via Instapundit.)

This ain’t, as Philip Klein details, Ronald Reagan’s recovery:

. . . first quarter GDP grew at a mere 1.8 percent clip. While the number is an advance estimate and could change, it’s not going to get near the 5.1 percent growth in the comparable quarter during Reagan’s first term (i.e. Q1 1983). And while growth is expected to pick up in the second quarter, it won’t get anywhere near the 9.3 percent rate of 1983′s second quarter. . . .

Yet it’s also important to note that Reagan was also fighting a battle on multiple fronts. He took office after a year of 13.5 percent inflation in 1980, and by 1984 it dropped to 4.3 percent. On the flip side, Obama took over at a time of low inflation, and we’re now starting to see prices rise, especially on food and gas, which Americans tend to notice.

Perhaps the Obama recovery is so anemic is because “the government,” as Irwin reports, “is straining for ways to jump-start the economy.”  Government is not going to jump-start this economy.  But, there is one thing it can do to bring it back: get out of the way.

UPDATE: The editors of the Washington Examiner show just why Barack Obama in no Ronald Reagan: (more…)

A Tale of Two Former Presidents

First, watch a clip of the immediate past President of the United States.  Note how that good man praises two men his successor will be tapping for key national security positions, including Leon Panetta, who was a leading member of the Democratic congressional caucus when serving in the legislature and a top official in the Clinton and Obama administrations when serving in the executive branch:

(Via Breitbart.tv via a newly trentagenarian reader.) Note further this Republican former president refrains from criticizing the policies of the Democratic incumbent.

Now watch this clip of another former U.S. president.  And read this report:

Wrapping up his visit this week to Pyongyang, former President Jimmy Carter says relations between North Korea and South Korea are “currently at rock bottom.” Nonetheless, he said he believes the North is committed to getting talks underway. . . .

Carter said Thursday at a press conference in Seoul that North Korean officials had “expressed deep regret … for the loss of life” from two military attacks against South Korean targets in late 2010. But they did not apologize and suggested that they wouldn’t, the former president said.

Why does this man always take the enemies of the United States at their word?  Has any other former U.S. President so criticized his country on foreign soil?  Why hasn’t Mr. Carter focused on the real source of the starvation in North Korea, the economic system its Communist leaders have forced into place through their ideological zeal and kept in place with military might and barbaric means, including forced labor, imprisonment and torture? (more…)

Thanksgiving 2022

Just got this in the e-mail from my brother and thought it quite clever.  Methinks the author chose the name Winston to honor the protagonist from another story of a dystopian future.  I have done a few google searches to try to identify that individual, but seems that the others who posted this piece, like me, received it in their e-mail:

Wednesday, November 24, 2022

“Winston, come into the dining room, it’s time to eat,” Julia yelled to her husband. “In a minute, honey, it’s a tie score,” he answered. Actually Winston wasn’t very interested in the traditional holiday football game between Detroit and Washington.

Ever since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its “unseemly violence” and the “bad example it sets for the rest of the world,” Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be. Two-hand touch wasn’t nearly as exciting.

Yet it wasn’t the game that Winston was uninterested in. It was more the thought of eating another TofuTurkey. Even though it was the best type of VeggieMeat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally-forbidden foods, (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce and mince-meat pie), it wasn’t anything like real turkey. And ever since the government officially changed the name of “Thanksgiving Day” to “A National Day of Atonement” in 2020 to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims’ historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster.

Eating in the dining room was also a bit daunting. The unearthly gleam of government-mandated fluorescent light bulbs made the TofuTurkey look even weirder than it actually was, and the room was always cold. Ever since Congress passed the Power Conservation Act of 2016, mandating all thermostats-which were monitored and controlled by the electric company-be kept at 68 degrees, every room on the north side of the house was barely tolerable throughout the entire winter. (more…)

MSNBC far more interested in Trump Sideshow than are Republicans*

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:00 pm - April 28, 2011.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Media Bias

Amidst all the hysteria over Donald Trump’s sideshow, Jennifer Rubin once again offers a dose of common sense.  She doesn’t “agree that this is all bad news for the Republican field of candidates and for the party as a whole“:

For one thing, those potential candidates not yet in the race can take their time, secure in the knowledge that nothing aside from the Trump travesty is going on for now. . . .

And we shouldn’t get carried away here. It is far from clear Trump will actually run for office, and unimaginable that a majority or even plurality of Republican primary voters will throw their votes and their chance to retake the White House down the drain by backing Trump. Eventually, a serious candidate or two will rise to the top of the heap and Trump will be a regrettable but ultimately irrelevant footnote in our political history.

In another post, she linksdata from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism” to show that the left-leaning network MSNBC showed a greater interest in this story than did FoxNews or CNN:

MSNBC devoted ten percent of its airtime last week to President Obama, and fully 92 percent of that was “airtime coded ‘citizenship and religion rumors’ and ‘birther’ coverage.” By comparison, CNN and Fox devoted just five percent of their airtime to the president. Of that, PEJ says CNN’s coverage of the president was 100 percent devoted to “citizenship and religion rumors,” while Fox’s coverage was only eight percent.

Wonder why MSNBC was so obsessed with this issue.

*NB:  changed title to make my meaning clearer.

Seniors Prefer Ryan Budget to Obama’s Alternative?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:15 am - April 28, 2011.
Filed under: 112th Congress,We The People

Last year, senior citizens were among the loudest opponents of the president’s health care overhaul.  But, with the Medicare reforms included in the Paul Ryan’s budget proposals, Democrats are optimistic the president could “regain lost ground in key battleground states and narrow the generation gap“:

But Ryan’s plan, embraced by most Republicans, gives Obama a big opportunity in 2012 to regain lost ground in key battleground states and narrow the generation gap. “It finally gives us an argument to make with seniors… It’s a godsend,” said a Democratic operative allied with Obama who sees the issue as a way to make up lost ground with seniors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Florida.

Citing actual polling data, Don Surber (who alerted me to the above article) disagrees:  ”People 65 and older like Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s plans for the budget and Medicare.”  In fact, as this chart from Gallup shows, they prefer Ryan’s plan to the president’s:

Preferred Long-Term Deficit Reduction Plan, by Age, April 2011

“Only those whippersnappers,” Surber quips, “who still . . . think Obama is the Justin Bieber of politics dislike Paul Ryan’s plan.”  Looking at the same poll, Ed Morrissey finds that it gives “Ryan an edge in the debate, although a thin one to be sure“:

Obama’s attempt to frighten seniors into panic at the idea of choice and self-management doesn’t seem to be working terribly well, and Ryan has a wide opening to argue for the American values of individual choice as a means for reform.

Obama Helped Make Trump’s Sideshow More Entertaining

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:00 am - April 28, 2011.
Filed under: Media Bias

For the record, I have found the Donald Trump sideshow one of the most amusing pieces of political theater in a long time. A long time. Perhaps, I might judge the real estate mogul more harshly and find his statements less entertaining if we were really in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign. While folks in the mainstream media may be wringing their hands about Republicans’ lack of enthusiasm for the current field, more sober and seasoned (and less biased) pundits know that the contest for next year’s Republican nomination has barely even begun, with most serious Republicans focused on the upcoming budget battles in Washington.

The media may see the current contest as one between Trump and Obama, but most conservative pundits know the real issue, as a recent Weekly Standard cover showed, is the debate between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and the president.

Fred Barnes contends the conversation about the 2012 race is “irrelevant” because that’s not where the story is.  The 2012 battle for the Republican presidential nomination hasn’t even begun to take shape.  Frank Luntz is betting $10,000 that Trump isn’t going to run.

This hasn’t been amusing just because of the way Donald Trump has attracted attention to himself.  It has also been fascinating to watch the mainstream media fall all over themselves to cover him.  He wouldn’t be making such a spectacle of himself if the media weren’t giving him a megaphone to amplify his message.  It seemed that John King devoted his entire CNN show yesterday to the circus created around the birther issue.  If this were indeed a circus, then King and his CNN cohorts were the ringmasters, bringing in Trump and the magical disappearing/reappearing birth certificate to entertain and edify the masses. (more…)

When politics becomes a distraction & blogging an effort

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:03 pm - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,LA Stories,Movies/Film & TV,Random Thoughts

One thing which makes a movie or story great is that its themes and episodes can help us describe situations in our lives, understand the actions of others or help elucidate the human condition. While many people fault The Godfather: Part III for being inferior to the first two flicks in the franchise, it does have its moments, particularly the scene where Al Pacino‘s Michael Corleone bemoans his inability to leave his mob past behind him:

I sometimes feel the same way about politics. When I moved to LA, I intended to keep out of politics, tired of how friends and acquaintances would steer our conversations to politics upon learning that this literature-loving, Beowulf- and Tolkien-quoting, well-read film buff happened to be a gay Republican.

And this week, I would rather have focused on other things, notably my fascination with the quality and success of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and developing a curriculum to teach mythology while looking for places to teach it.  Not to mention, debating whether I should write this fantasy epic that has been stirring in my subconscious for about eight years, how to go about naming the characters and researching its background.

Yesterday, while at the gym, I was delighted to find myself on a cardio machine next to someone else reading a volume from Martin’s opus.  He was reading the first book, Game of Thrones, on his iPad while I was beginning the third volume, Storm of Swords, in a mass-market paperback.  When I mentioned that I had blogged about the books, he asked the name of my  blog.  Even though he had heard of this site and had a background in left-of-center politics, he was content to keep the conversation focused on fantasy fiction with occasional considerations of literature (in general) and our own reading habits.

I treasure such conversations.

All that said, in a week when I would rather focus on my literary past-times, there are many items in the news worthy of consideration, particularly for a gay conservative blogger. (more…)

Questions for HRC

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:54 pm - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: Gay Marriage,Gay PC Silliness

Before blogging further (save to address Joe Solmonese’s comment below) about HRC’s bullying of King & Spalding because the law firm dared engage the United States House of Representatives as a client in order to defense a provision of a statute enacted in accordance with the provisions of the United States constitution, I will be contacting HRC’s press office with a series of questions.  (I may also inquire why they criticized Sarah Palin for her silence when her daughter used the term “faggot” while remaining silent when a union protestor used the same term in order to insult a political adversary.)

In his statement on King & Spalding’s decision, Solmonese, president of the HRC, got it exactly backwards.  “King & Spalding,” he held, “has rightly chosen to put principle above politics in dropping its involvement in the defense of this discriminatory and patently unconstitutional law.”  Actually, the law firm, as HRC, put politics ahead of principle on this one.  And to call an issue that the Supreme Court has not yet adjudicated — and about which solid arguments can be raised on both sides of the issue  – is to elevate his view of the case to that of settled law.

While I am busy crafting my questions, Jennifer Rubin has stayed on top of this issue, reporting that if the Coca-Cola Company, at the behest of HRC, “had pressured King & Spalding to dump another client, the House of Representatives“, it would be “a clean-cut violation of professional ethics”.  It’s Rubin, read the whole thing.

And in the meanwhile, please let me know if you have any questions for HRC that I should include in my e-mail inquiry.

UPDATE:  The indispensable Mrs. Rubin has more on the ethics of the matter, summarizing her conversation with law professor Ron Rotunda who points out  . . . (more…)

Trump’s Triumph: Obama Releases Birth Certificate

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:05 pm - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: Annoying Celebrities,Media Bias,Obama Arrogance

Once again, I turn to the indispensable Jennifer Rubin not just for news of this matter, but also for insight into its meaning:

It’s almost inexplicable. The White House bent to the will of the kook-squad and its kook in chief, Donald Trump, in releasing the president’s birth certificate. He’s going to speak on the subject later today.

. . . .

In essence, Obama has given a pass to the loony birthers by suggesting this was a legitimate issue deserving of a White House response. And, of course, he’s made Donald Trump into the uber-opponent. Trump, unsurprisingly, is gloating, declaring he’s “proud of himself for accomplishing something no one else has accomplished.” What’s next: Capitulate to his demand to release Obama’s college grades?

Read the whole thing.  And yes, Jennifer, the Donald is now calling for the president to release his college records.  And, um, Mr. Trump, I’d be kind of wary of that self-pride thing.  You might want to consult a Mr. O. Rex (understanding that unfortunate Theban monarch through the lens of Sophocles not Freud) before telling us how “very proud” you are of yourself.  We’ve all heard what sometimes happens to people who pat themselves on their back overmuch.

Yeah, I’ll grant that if Trump didn’t raise a ruckus, the president wouldn’t have done what he should have done long ago to quiet this furor.  It does seem the real reason the president didn’t release this sooner was a political one — to try to bait his political adversaries into beating the birther drum ever louder and so discredit themselves in the process.

It seems right now, we’ve been watching a media battle between two egomaniacs, Donald Trump and Barack Obama.  The latter would have been smarter to just release the certificate without making a “peevish” statement, indeed, without making any statement at all.

And with that statement, the president today gave Donald Trump a public relations victory. (more…)

HRC’s Thuggish Tactics

Well, last night after returning from a wonderful dinner with my Dad and his wife (including the best dirty martini I’ve had in a long while (thank you, Maureen!)), I went through my e-mail and read articles I had previously just skimmed on the decision of the law firm King & Spalding to end its representation of the “Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.”  While I was aware of HRC’s involvement in the efforts to intimidate influence the law firm, dubbing them a “hissy fit” in a previous post, it seems the left-wing organization threw more than just a “hissy fit,” but instead mounted a concerted effort to get the law firm to drop this bipartisan group of federal elected officials as a client.

Via the diligent and determined Jennifer Rubin, we learn of phone conversations her Washington Post colleague Greg Sargent had with the liberal outfit:

The latest round got started this morning, when the Weekly Standardpublished an internal email from the Human Rights Campaign detailing that HRC had “contacted many of the firm’s clients” as part of its campaign to get King and Spalding to drop the case. Right wing bloggers, such as Jennifer Rubin, are pouncing on this as proof that the left engaged in an “unprincipled campaign” of intimidation to deprive the House of Representatives of legal representation.

Far from being abashed about this campaign, Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, shared new details about it. He confirmed to me that his group did indeed contact King and Spalding clients to let them know that the group viewed the firm’s defense of DOMA as unacceptable.

You’d think they have better things to do with their time.  Instead of developing strategies to reach out to social conservatives and offer arguments about treating gay individuals with dignity or work with gay Republicans to develop better arguments about the merits of state recognition of same-sex unions, HRC has been busying itself trying to deprive an elected branch of the federal government of legal counsel in its defense of legislation enacted in accordance with the provisions of the United States Constitution.

Even Attorney General Eric Holder is defending “former Solicitor General Paul Clement, after gay rights advocates criticized his decision to take on the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court.”  Clement quit his job at King & Spalding when the firm dropped the case.

That HRC would go to such great lengths to get a law firm to drop its defense of DOMA come as no surprise to us nor to other gay people familiar with the work of this left-wing outfit.  They have long since stopped being, as Sargent styles them, a “gay advocacy group”.  They’re not advocating for gay people, but instead seeking to deprive their adversaries of the opportunity to defend their positions.  Indeed, they’re behaving as if their adversaries don’t even have a right to their defense.

And they’re celebrating a law firms decision that has earned it rebuke from jurists “on both sides of the ideological divide“. (more…)

Must be George W. Bush’s Fault

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:15 am - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: Blame Republicans first

H/t Heritage Foundation via Bruce.

What Jerry Brown could learn from his former TN counterpart

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:04 am - April 27, 2011.
Filed under: Politics & Government in the States

Today, the senior U.S. senator from Tennessee has something in common with the governor of California.  Back in 1979, both men served as chief executive of their respective states.  That year, then-President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter exhorted them (as well as their colleagues in the remaining forty-eight states) to “go to Japan. Persuade them to make here what they sell here.

The younger of the two, the Republican from the Volunteer State, did just that, meeting in Tokyo with “with Nissan executives who were deciding where to put their first U.S. manufacturing plant.”  They chose his state, then a jurisdiction “with almost no auto jobs.”  One reason they opted for Mr. Alexander’s home territory was “Tennessee has a right-to-work law” while neighboring Kentucky does not.   Kentucky workers, like those in California, “would have to join the United Auto Workers union. Workers in Tennessee had a choice.”

Now, the Tennessean writes in the Wall Street Journal,

Nissan’s success is one reason why Volkswagen recently located in Chattanooga, and why Honda, Toyota, BMW, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and thousands of suppliers have chosen southeastern right-to-work states for their plants. Under right-to-work laws, employees may join unions, but mostly they have declined. Three times workers at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., rejected organizing themselves like Saturn employees a few miles away.

Our goal should be to make it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs in this country. Giving workers the right to join or not to join a union helps to create a competitive environment in which more manufacturers like Nissan can make here 85% of what they sell here.

The latest figures show that unemployment in Tennessee is at 9.5%.  In California, it’s at 12.3%.  Maybe it’s time for the (once-)Golden State to take a lesson from its south-eastern counterpart and enact a right-to-work law.  Such legislation might not only help create jobs in Jerry Brown’s neck of the woods, but might also help him hold down the cost of government.  And California would start to regain its luster.

The politically correct bullying of King & Spalding

As expected, some of our savvier readers understood why I posed the thought experiment about a hypothetical business decision in Wisconsin in a post yesterday.  I was addressing both the failure of the state of California to defend Proposition 8 and of the federal government to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Not to mention the hissy fit HRC and its allies threw when the House of Representatives attempted to retain the law firm of King and Spalding to defend the constitutionality of a law overwhelmingly passed by Congress and signed by a (Democratic) President.

Now, I don’t like that law and grant that some of DOMA’s provisions may indeed violate the “full fail and credit” clause of the constitution.  I think Congress should overturn it.  But, it is the law of the land.

I have many more thoughts on this issue and expect to address them in due time.  But, my father is in town and family takes precedence over politics.  So, while he and his wife are taking a nap to recover from jet lag, I have a brief moment to blog — and to take care of other pressing tasks.

As always, Jennifer Rubin can be counted on for insightful observations on a controversial matter.   She has posted, by my count, five pieces on the matter. Calling DOMA “rotten legislation“, she still believes its supporters have the right to defend it and faults the left for favoring “politically bullying to deter lawyers from representing clients it doesn’t like”.  Also read her subsequent posts on why King & Spalding decided to drop their defense of DOMA here, here, here and here.

Glenn Reynolds has a mini-roundup here.

Stacey McCain wonders what happens “When You Give in to Thuggery” and places before us the common sense of the matter in terms so plain and simple that we all can understand what’s at stake:

It is important to understand that the heart of the question raised by the King & Spalding decision is not whether we approve or disapprove of homosexuality, or even whether we support or oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. What is at issue is whether the concept of “gay rights” should empower advocates of that agenda to bully and intimidate their critics.

John Hinderaker faults the left for politicizing the practice of law. (more…)

Paradigm Shift on Government Spending?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:18 pm - April 26, 2011.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,We The People

Over at the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein has a good analysis of a “a new USA Today/Gallup poll” which shows that, by and large, Republican arguments on spending are resonating with the American people:

This survey comes on the heels of a New York Times/CBS poll finding a plurality of Americans supporting the Ryan budget. While it’s far too early for either side to declare victory in the early stages of a long-term budget fight, we now have multiple polls suggesting that proposing changes to entitlement programs is not as politically toxic as we have been led to believe.

After the Ryan budget was proposed, Democrats were salivating and it became conventional wisdom that these programs still enjoyed their third-rail status and thus the GOP was taking a big risk by embracing changes to them. But if the opposite is true, and Democratic scare tactics prove ineffective, it will shatter a dynamic that has existed for decades that have made these programs untouchable in Washington.

To be sure, he notes, some Democratic critiques are resonating.  ”Two-thirds of Americans,” for example, “worry the Republican plan for reducing the budget deficit would cut Medicare and Social Security too much.”

That said, the real point to bear in mind that Klein raises in the last line quoted above.  We may well be experiencing a paradigm shift in American politics, where, in times of crisis, American people see spending cuts and fiscal solvency as the driving issues, rather than increased government spending as a necessary stimulus.  This paradigm has been shifting for thirty years — at least.  Only it’s started to become particularly manifest in the past two years, with increasing popular opposition to the president’s big-spending initiatives.

Thought experiment on constitutionality of employment non-discrimination laws

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:36 pm - April 25, 2011.
Filed under: Constitutional Issues,Freedom,Legal Issues

In 1982, Wisconsin was the first state to enact a non-discrimination law that prevented companies from firing individuals based on their sexual orientation.

Now, imagine if you will, a socially conservative business owner in rural Wisconsin who learns that a hard-working and  very reliable employee is gay.  In a misguided (but, from his point of view, well-meaning) action, this employer offers to enroll his worker in a conversion therapy program.  He refuses.   Their confrontation creates tension between the two, resulting in a decline in the employee’s work performance.  The employer fires him.

With the help of the ACLU and Fair Wisconsin, the employee takes the employer to court, contending the employer discriminated against the employee because he was gay (in violation of the 1982 statute).  The Alliance Defense Fund hears of the case and offers not just to defend the employer — but also to challenge the constitutionality of the Badger State’s 1982 law.

The Fund turns to the First, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to make a case for the employer’s rights of free association as well as his liberty and property interests.  Seeing this case as an opportunity to strike down not just the 1982 Wisconsin law, but other state mandates on employers’ rights, a number of libertarian groups join the suit.

Accepting these libertarian arguments, Governor Scott Walker and state Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen elect not to defend the law.

Now, while I contend that the libertarian argument may well have constitutional merit, I believe Walker and Van Hollen would be wrong not to defend the state’s law.

Before I write a post on a related matter, let me ask you, our readers to guess that related matter and why I offer this hypothetical.

NB: Tweaked the piece since I first posted it in order to improve the flow and make my point clearer.