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Another week, another set of reports biased in favour of the government party. Journalism – by which I mean real, actually practiced, journalism, not the thing that journalists tell themselves they are doing, or the platonic ideal of neutral, just-the-facts-ma’am journalism that never existed anywhere – is a serious problem for democracy. As the gatekeepers […]

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Reporting on The Hill Blog, Ben Gemen notes this story about Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, being interviewed on Morning Joe. [We’re a bit slow out here in flownover country, so I’m asking some kind coastal Ricochetti to read what she says and translate it for me because it is beyond my ability […]

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It’s fair to say that about half of us here at Ricochet are cool with DOMA being struck down.   It’s pretty divisive and I don’t want to get into it here. BUT, I think one thing we can all get behind, pro-DOMA or anti-DOMA, is shoving the list of Democrats who cynically voted for […]

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Senate Passes Immigration Reform

 

A few moments ago, the U.S. Senate voted 68-32 to pass its comprehensive immigration reform bill. The next step, of course, will be for the House of Representatives to take up the issue. Every Democrat in the Senate voted for the bill, as did 14 Republicans. They are:

Lamar Alexander — Tennessee

An Embarassing Decision on DOMA

 

Today’s gay marriage opinions deflated the balloon on the Prop 8 case, but made DOMA the centerpiece. On first glance, the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor, is embarrassingly deficient. It does not identify the right at stake clearly, it does not specify the standard of review, and it does not explain why Congress is assumed to be acting purely out of bad motives.

Most of the opinion is devoted to a discussion of federalism, but most of it is tangential. The Court cannot quite hold that Congress is not allowed to adopt definitions of words like “marriage” for federal law purposes, so it instead says that the federal definition shows an intent by Congress to harm gays. The conclusion assumes, without explicitly saying so, that 342 Members of the House, 85 Senators, and President Bill Clinton were all guilty of anti-gay bias in 1996, when DOMA was enacted. As Chief Justice Roberts says, “I would not tar the political branches with bigotry.”  

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I’m coming to the end of Ross Douthat’s book, Bad Religion, which means that I’ve been listening to his final analysis of how religion and politics have, in his view, become too intertwined. I agree with him on some things, but have some objections as well. For one thing, it’s sort of hard for me […]

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 Yesterday’s Supreme Court rulings will hardly end the Gay marriage debate.  At best, it was a flag thrown at mainstream America and a forced punt.  It was wholly unsatisfying no matter which side of the debate you are on.  As a married, heterosexual Christian man, the SCOTUS simply elevated my annoyance, to use the old […]

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I have, for the first time in my life, a close relationship with a number of liberal friends. The good news is that all of them have absolutely thrown in the towel regarding politics. They are as disgusted with all the recent political scandals as I am. My liberal friends have arrived at the conclusion that our […]

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The Supreme Court’s DOMA decision is certainly a blow to traditional marriage, and is effectively the end of it for state laws which define marriage as solely between a husband and wife. In his Dissent, Justice Scalia is certainly correct that language from the majority opinion can only mean that state law will be pre-empted […]

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Everything Within the State …

 

Most of you probably heard the news earlier this week that the Department of Health and Human Services is reportedly in talks with the NFL about a partnership to promote Obamacare (“This concussion timeout brought to you by the Independent Payment Advisory Board”). This is nettlesome for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s a further sign of the Obama Administration’s deathless belief that every policy shortcoming is just one clever ad campaign away from resolution. This I can forgive, because all White Houses at all times think that the only problem they have is “messaging.” If you can’t traffic in self-serving denial, you’re not long for a job in Washington.

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I’m pretty sure no one raped Mrs Smith or Mrs Wesson.  In fact, if anyone tried for Sarah Winchester, they’d have fallen out of an unfinished third story hallway.  Women need to be empowered.  You either need a weapon, martial arts training, a big strong man, or a big dog in this brave new world. […]

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Chaos in the Texas Senate, Or, Rick Perry, One Serious Hombre

 

As a special session of the Texas Legislature ticked down to its final hours the day before yesterday, Wendy Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth rose to begin a filibuster. The bill she was blocking: A pro-life measure that would have made illegal most abortions after the twentieth week of gestation and raised medical standards at abortion clinics. (All but invariably, the press reported this last measure as an effort to shut down such clinics. By “requiring tighter medical standards,” as USA Today put it, the bill would  have “effectively close[d] most abortion clinics in Texas.” Since clinics would of course remain free to meet the new standards, such reporting represented–no surprise here–mere puerile bias.)

images-1.jpgSenator Davis talked on and on, blocking a vote on the bill–and, as the hour approached midnight, the moment when the legislative session would officially end, pro-choice demonstrators in the galleries began shouting and chanting, making it impossible for the senators to hear well enough to vote on procedural measures that would have brought the filibuster to an end. (You can see all this for yourself right here.)  

No More Secrets

 

It’s difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at the news that CIA director John Brennan is going to launch an “Honor the Oath” campaign at the agency to remind employees that they’re required to keep certain classified secrets quiet and, according to the memo, to “reinforce our corporate culture of secrecy.” The Brennan memo was unclassified but marked for internal use only … but then someone leaked it to the AP. 

How’s the culture of secrecy going? Obviously not too well. 

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The Supreme Court handed down two decisions earlier today on the gay marriage issue. The first struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as being enacted solely because President Bill Clinton, who signed the legislation into law, hates gay people. The second decision was to sidestep ruling on California’s Prop. 8, which stated that marriage […]

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I enjoy the live-chat podcasts because of the “very similar to” reality of them, but the technical glitches such as the one today are disconcerting and they mean I will have to wait until tonight to hear the polished version.  At any rate, keep up the innovative work fellows and let’s see that new version […]

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Andrew Ferguson is at his best, as usual.  In this month’s Commentary he reflects on the now deceased liberal journalist Haynes Johnson, who practiced what Ferguson calls “Jeremiah journalism.” Johnson would roam the country to unearth unpleasant truths about American life and then, of course, take it upon himself to make Americans confront such truths in long, sanctimonious books.  […]

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Marriage affects people’s tax bills in different ways, yielding tax penalties in some cases and tax subsidies in others. There are some couples for whom legally divorcing, even if they continued to live together and regard themselves as married for private purposes, would yield tax advantages. There are others who would save money by marrying, […]

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