Capitol Notebook's blog

Conservative cheat-sheet on Kagan?

With Obama'a nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to fill Justice Stevens' seat on the high court, the commentary is all over the map.  Some of the most interesting criticism is the supposed liberal complaints that she's not liberal enough.  Uh-huh.  Sounds a lot like the folks in the White House spin lounge are trying to make conservatives feel better by making them think liberals are worried she'll be their version of David Souter.

Not buying it.

On the right side of the aisle, there's plenty to be concerned about, as David Weigel point out today...

Students sent home for wearing stars and stripes on Cinco de Mayo

Believe it or not, in the United States of America, students have been forced to go home from school for wearing patriotic shirts with the colors or design of the American flag.

Why you might ask?  Because it was Cinco de Mayo and deemed to be inappropriate by school administrators. 

Yes, really...  (Via KTUV in Morgan Hill, California):

Five students at a South Bay high school stirred up some controversy Wednesday for wearing t-shirts depicting red, white and blue American flags on Cinco de Mayo.

School officials at Live Oak High in Morgan Hill told the students they had to go home if they wouldn’t turn the shirts inside out.

One of the students said it appeared school administrators were worried the patriotic shirts could trigger fights. ...

Four of the five students who wore American flags or patriotic colors on campus walked into a meeting with the superintendent of the Morgan Hill unified school district Wednesday night.

They were facing unexcused absences because they chose to go home early rather than take off what they were wearing. ...

Student Anthony Caravalho was also sent home for not turning his shirt inside out.

“They said we had to wear our t-shirts inside out and then we could go back to class and we said no,” said Caravalho. “It would be disrespectful to the flag by hiding it.” ...

Another Democrat retires: (US map showing retirements inside)

This week's retirement by Wisconsin Democrat David Obey spells more trouble for the Dems this fall.  First, it's yet another open seat that they will have to defend, and it's not a "solid blue" seat by any means.  Second, it says something about how Democrat leaders are reading the November tea leaves if a major committee chairman retires, (Obey chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee).  It says that either he thinks he'll have trouble winning another term, or he's pretty sure that the GOP will take back the House and he'll no longer be a major committee chairman...or both.

In any event, it's getting interesting.

Here's a Google map put together by Michael Barone at the Washington Examiner which details each major congressional retirement so far.


View Democrats exiting the sinking ship? 2010 in a larger map

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English preacher jailed for calling homosexuality a sin

So it's come to this (at least in England at this point...).  Several days ago (May 2nd), a Baptist preacher on the streets of Workington, Cumbria (Unitied Kingdom) became involved in a heated discussion with a pedestrian who disagreed and took offense when the preacher said that he believe that homosexuality was a sin.  But that wasn't the end of it.

It turns out that merry old England is a good bit farther down the "political correctness" road than America and, as a result, the preacher was put in jail for "abusive or insulting" language.

So how did it get to this point?  The law in question began with the English 1986 "Public Order Act", which was initially meant to deal with actual violence.  But like everything else having to do with government, it metastasized and grew into a legal code covering everything from violence and public disorder to simple speech that the hyper-sensitive, politically correct crowd (read: liberals) might be offended by.

In fact, the law has "evolved" to the point where they have "Police Community Support Officers" which are essentially busybody citizens who have power to enforce things like this speech code and, as you can guess, the offended liberal dutifully reporter the street preachers "hate speech" to one of these officers and he was arrested and thrown in jail.

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Our latest poll: How involved will you be in the 2010 elections?

We're still conducting our poll of attitudes among Christian conservatives about the upcoming 2010 elections. 

The question: "Who much do you think you will participate in the 2010 elections in terms of volunteering and donations as compared to the past?

Possible responses:

  • Much more involved
  • Somewhat more involved
  • About the same
  • Somewhat less involved
  • Much less involved

Click here and tell us how involved you plan to be.

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What can states do to oppose ObamaCare?

As everyone knows by now in the aftermath of the "loud" debate over ObamaCare, the feds will be working to implement this massive (expensive) new program over the next several years, but it will take time. 

Of course, many people and politicians are looking for ways to stop and/or overturn the program via legal and political means.  "Legal", in the sense of the budding lawsuits that are being filed to challege various aspects of the program, not the least of which is the fact that it forces individual Americans to buy a commercial product for the first time in American history.  And "political" in the sense of introducing legislation to re-write and/or repeal the bill entirely - which of course will rely on having majorities in Congress that are so inclined, which will have to wait until after the coming November elections.

But this overlooks the individual state governments, which do have some options themselves that could be used to resist ObamaCare, not the least of which because they are called on to play such a large role in the program.

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Supreme Court hears case on Christian student club

The Supreme Court heard a case this week involving the First Amendment rights of the Christian Legal Society and whether or not it's lawful for public schools and colleges to deny Christian groups the same recognition or benefits that are offered to other campus organizations which are secular.

The case hinges on the fact that the society maintains a membership clause that requires members to sign a statement attesting to their Christian Faith.  As a result, they've been denied recognition by the University of California's Hastings College of Law in (you guessed it) San Francisco.

As one can imagine, the Court is "divided" along the usual liberal/conservative lines, with newly added Justice Sotomayor seeming to come down on the "liberal" side of things and taking the position of the school's right to dictate policy.  On the other hand, Justice Scalia pointing out that the school's policies would "require this Christian society to allow atheists not just to join, but to conduct Bible classes...", adding that "That's crazy".

Does President Obama think you've made enough money?

Did Barack Obama accidentally admit what he thinks about capitalism?  Perhaps.  This week he was out on his latest political swing, making speeches to push the benefits of things like the "stimulus", ObamaCare and the Democrats version of financial regulation reform.  In the course of his travels he happened to make a speech were he seems to have gone a little "off script".

He stated:

"We're not, we're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money. But, you know, part of the American way is, you know, you can just keep on making it if you're providing a good product or providing good service. We don't want people to stop, ah, fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy."

Since when is at any business of anyone in government whether or not an individual has earned enough?  And on what basis should they make that determination?

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Another ObamaCare surprise: an avalanche of new paperwork for businesses

In what is becoming almost a daily occurrence, yet another previously unknown (to the public) provision has been found in Obama's new health care law.  In this case, it has to do with new reporting requirements for business...and LOTS more paperwork.

Via Cato:

Most people know about the individual mandate in the new health care bill, but the bill contained another mandate that could be far more costly.

A few wording changes to the tax code's section 6041 regarding 1099 reporting were slipped into the 2000-page health legislation. The changes will force millions of businesses to issue hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of additional IRS Form 1099s every year. It appears to be a costly, anti-business nightmare.

Under current law, businesses are required to issue 1099s in a limited set of situations, such as when paying outside consultants. The health care bill includes a vast expansion in this information reporting requirement in an attempt to raise revenue for an increasingly rapacious Congress...

So how does it change the 1099 requirements?  Get this:

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Recent polls (and the ObamaCare dead cat bounce)

In the course of the debate over ObamaCare many administration officials and members of the Democrat leadership did their best to twist the arms of fellow Democrats in Congress in order to wrangle a majority and pass the bill.  Part of their argument in their efforts to convince those Democrats was that, once the bill became law, it would become more popular than it was at the time because, they said, Republicans and Fox News were just being temporarily successful in demonizing the bill.  Better days were ahead.

So how's that working out?  Well, according to the latest poll - not to mention one conducted by James Carville - not too good.

The most recent Democracy Corps poll, (done by James Carville and Stan Greenberg) shows NO BOUNCE whatsoever for Obama in the wake of the health care bill becoming law.  Part of their analysis states:

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