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How Jon Huntsman Could Debut With a Bang

In the Morning Jolt, you’ll see some conservative bloggers expressing great skepticism about the potential presidential bid of Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and soon to depart as ambassador to China. Scoff if you want, but there’s at least one way for a Huntsman bid to quickly generate a lot of buzz. Picture it: It’s early summer 2011. Huntsman has launched his campaign to a generally “meh” reception, and now, in his first major policy address, he goes to Washington, D.C. He gives a lunch speech at the Brookings Institution or some other centrist, non-conservative foreign policy think tank — his natural base of support, really. With the campaign correspondents in the back and all of Washington’s foreign-policy cognoscenti sitting in front of him, Huntsman begins by hitting predictable notes: He joined the Obama … Read entire article »

Filed under: Political Campaigning

Colin Powell on Libya: 'Don't Just Jump In'

Video here. Greg Pollowitz Read more CompleteColin Powell on Libya: 'Don't Just Jump In' … Read entire article »

Filed under: Where is the Main Stream Media?

Facebook About to Give Third Parties Your Phone Number, Address

Yahoo! News: It's been a while since we've had an uproar over Facebook's handling of its users personal information, so we suppose the time is ripe. So cue the online outrage: Facebook announced today in a letter to Congress that the social-media platform is moving forward with plans to give third parties access to user information, such as phone numbers and home addresses. In a letter to Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who both expressed concerns over Facebook's plan to make such data available, company officials reiterated their now-familiar pledge to leave it up to users to decide whether they want their personal contact information to go out to app developers and outside websites. Markey has previously said that "Facebook needs to protect the personal information of its users to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Where is the Main Stream Media?

Mississippi Democrats Concede, 'It's a Rebuilding Year.'

I'm going to make a bold prediction that in this year's elections in Mississippi, Republicans will sweep the offices of lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and state auditor. I'm more confident than usual in that prediction, because the Democrats couldn't find anyone to run for those offices. Republicans are running for all eight statewide offices in Mississippi this year, but Democrats are running for only five. Both major parties are fielding candidates for governor, attorney general, treasurer, agriculture commissioner and insurance commissioner. . . . Mississippi Democratic Party chairman Jamie Franks said Tuesday he's disappointed the party doesn't have a full slate of candidates. "This is going to be a year of rebuilding," Franks said in an interview. The four Democrats who qualified to run for governor are William Bond Compton of Meridian, who ran a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Political Campaigning

Thinking Ahead to Hawaii's Primaries . . .

A Campaign Spot reader in Hawaii who is tuned in to local political circles checks in on Sen. Daniel Akaka's retirement: Lots going on in the state right now that is going to make voters yearn for the days of Lingle's governorship. No real obvious challenger to her on GOP side — Charles Djou will probably opt to not challenge her, but instead wait to take on Governor Abercrombie, or maybe take a shot at Inouye's seat when he retires. It will likely be a bloodbath in the primary on the Democrat side — Inouye doesn't have the political machine he once did to clear the decks for an anointed Democrat to run for the seat.  Several factions of the Democrat establishment are really "feeling their oats" with their successes over … Read entire article »

Filed under: Political Campaigning

Obama Learns to Love Military Trials at Gitmo

Then-candidate Barack Obama, February 13, 2008: Obama said the desire to punish the perpetrators of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, shouldn't blind people to the flaws of the military tribunals that the Bush administration established to try Guantanamo inmates. "These trials will need to be above reproach," the Illinois senator said in a statement Monday. "These trials are too important to be held in a flawed military commission system that has failed to convict anyone of a terrorist act since the 9/11 attacks and that has been embroiled in legal challenges." The news today: President Barack Obama approved Monday the resumption of military trials for detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ending a two-year ban. Under Obama's order, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will rescind his January 2009 ban against bringing new … Read entire article »

Filed under: Political Campaigning

Is a Pence Gubernatorial Announcement Coming Soon?

A reader in Indiana sends along word: Pence at a small private fundraising dinner Thursday night: ". . . we [Karen and he] are strongly considering a run for Governor next year." This is his first clear, explicit pronunciation of this — he has beat around the bush for months. The reaction was ovation. He is giving a big speech tomorrow to the Indianapolis Lincoln Roundtable to 400+ people over lunch. Expect a more public announcement to this tune. This isn't exactly surprising, as Pence already announced he wasn't running for president, and the Republican Governors Association is heavily recruiting him. Jim Geraghty Read more CompleteIs a Pence Gubernatorial … Read entire article »

Filed under: Political Campaigning

Atlanta Lecture Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I'll be speaking at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, under the rather cumbersome but mostly accurate title (for which I have only myself to blame, as I supplied it weeks ago), "Charging 'Hate' in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate: How to Stop an Argument You're Losing and Endanger Freedom While You're At It."  My gracious host is my friend Joe Knippenberg of the OU political science faculty.  The talk is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in the Talmage Room of the Emerson Student Center.  Atlanta Bench Memos readers welcome, as it is open to the public. Matthew J. Franck … Read entire article »

Filed under: From the Bench

Obamacare Decision Clarified and Stayed, for Now

Judge Vinson of the Northern District of Florida ruled in January that the individual mandate of the new health-care law was unconstitutional and that the entire law must be struck down as a result. The federal government has spent the last month with its fingers in its ears, trying to find a way to continue implementing the law despite this ruling, which applies to over half the states in the nation. Today, Judge Vinson "clarified" his decision (scare quotes his own) while reiterating the already-clear lack of constitutional grounding for the law.  Judge Vinson affirmed that the Obama administration's arguments "could be used to require that individuals buy (under threat of penalty) virtually any good or service that Congress has a 'rational basis' to conclude would help the national economy, from … Read entire article »

Filed under: American Constitution, From the Bench

Painter Shouldn't Distort Whelan's Arguments

I've seen Richard Painter's post criticizing Ed Whelan for his posts on the nomination of Goodwin Liu. Painter accurately reports that I've said that Liu (a colleague of mine at Berkeley Law) is a good nominee to the Ninth Circuit for a Democratic president. However, I don't want that to be thought of as endorsing, in any way, what Painter says about Ed's writings on Liu. What bothers me about Painter's post is that he accuses Ed of distorting Liu's record, but I believe that that's what he has done to Ed. He should provide in full or link to Ed's criticisms of Liu and let the reader decide, rather than describing (or misdescribing) and dismissing Ed's posts in a short sentence or two. I don't think the Painter post is … Read entire article »

Filed under: From the Bench

Originalism and the Meaning of Words

It's often cited as a good sign for originalism that judges have been referencing dictionary definitions more often in their opinions. But a modern linguistic technique known as "corpus analysis" — which entails, more or less, digitally analyzing an immense body of text to detect usage patterns — could make courts even more accurate in determining what words were understood to mean in various time periods. Over at The Atlantic, Ben Zimmer has a piece about the meaning of the word "personal" as revealed by such an analysis, and how it affected a recent Supreme Court decision. Robert VerBruggen … Read entire article »

Filed under: From the Bench

Prop 8 Plaintiffs’ Frivolous Motion to Vacate Stay Pending Appeal

A week ago, on the same day that the Obama administration announced its decision to abandon its defense of DOMA, the plaintiffs-appellees in the Prop 8 appeal filed a motion to vacate the stay pending appeal that a Ninth Circuit motions panel (with two very liberal Clinton appointees) had previously issued. The plaintiffs’ motion is objectively frivolous, but given the fact that Judge Stephen Reinhardt sits on the merits panel that will rule on the motion, that fact doesn’t guarantee that the motion will be denied. (I think, though, that it ought to be very difficult for Judge Michael Hawkins, who is on the merits panel with Reinhardt and was on the motions panel that issued the stay, to reverse course.) Prop 8 plaintiffs cite three new developments—the Ninth Circuit panel’s … Read entire article »

Filed under: From the Bench

The Case of the Deadly Dolphin

Cold weather, not oil, seems responsible for the recent spate of baby-dolphin deaths along the Gulf coast, according to researchers at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab: They point to an apparent correlation between large pulses of chilly water that flowed into Mobile Bay during January and February and the subsequent discovery of dozens of stillborn dolphin calves in area waters. Data on water temperature and river flows show periods in each month when bay waters dipped into the 40s for days at a time. Shortly after bay temperatures dropped precipitously, dead stillborn dolphins began washing ashore in Alabama. Melting snow — a rarity for the state — was behind the water temperature drop. Most reporting on the mysterious dolphin deaths has, like this Reuters story, fingered the BP spill as the culprit. The Sea … Read entire article »

Filed under: Global Warming Hoax

The Murdoch Empire Is Now Carbon Neutral

Over to you MSDNC and CNN. Let's see if you can step up like your enemy, Rupert: An email has linked Fox News to deliberately casting doubt on climate change, but their parent company — Rupert Murdoch's News Corp — seems to take climate change very seriously. News Corp announced it is now carbon neutral, claiming it is no longer contributing to global warming. It's no small feat for the huge company, which also owns the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones. On the site for the company's Global Energy Initiative, Murdoch never utters the words "climate change" or "global warming," but he says: "we have become carbon neutral across all of our global operations and we are the first company of our kind to do so." Their next goal: cutting their absolute emissions by 15 percent by … Read entire article »

Filed under: Global Warming Hoax

'The End of the Drilling Permitorium? Guess Again.'

Jazz Shaw has a great piece on the Team Obama drilling moratorium over on Pajamas Media: Supporters of a sane, productive national energy policy must surely be popping champagne corks and blasting their vuvuzelas all across the land this week.  After 314 days of the United States government holding the nation’s oil industry hostage in a fashion which hearkened back to the Carter administration, the first deep water drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico has been issued. Or has it? As The Hayride points out, this wasn’t actually a new permit. It was awarded to Noble Energy for a well at the Santiago project, located off the coast of Louisiana, not far from the scene of the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Last summer the operators had already drilled more than 13,500 feet down, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Global Warming Hoax

Another Climate Fail for NASA

Prepare for liftoff. . . The earth observation satellite Glory failed to reach orbit on Friday after its protective cover did not detach following its launch, a NASA official said. "The fairing did not separate and the vehicle does not have sufficient velocity with the fairing on to achieve orbit," an official said on NASA TV, adding that there was "no indication as to why it did not separate." He said there would be a press briefing at around 7:30 am (1230 GMT). The launch of the satellite — which was to measure aerosols in the Earth's atmosphere to help clarify their impact on climate — was delayed on February 23 after an unexpected ground control reading 15 minutes before liftoff. On Friday it rocketed away from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Global Warming Hoax

Winning the Future with Electric Cars

Or not: GM sells just 281 Chevy Volts in February, Nissan moves only 67 Leafs. Greg Pollowitz Read more CompleteWinning the Future with Electric Cars … Read entire article »

Filed under: Global Warming Hoax

Obama Calls for the Release of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

In 2008: LANSING, Mich. — Senator Barack Obama altered his position on Monday to call for tapping the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gasoline prices as he outlined an energy plan that contrasts with Senator John McCain’s greater emphasis on expanded offshore drilling and coal and nuclear technology. In a speech here and in a new advertisement, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, also sought to portray his Republican rival, Mr. McCain, as “in the pocket” of oil giants that are profiting from gasoline priced at more than $4 a gallon. And in his speech, Mr. Obama called for a windfall profits tax on oil companies to finance rebates for Americans. But, see, it's more complicated today — just like closing Gitmo, renegotiating NAFTA, bringing troops home from Afghanistan, etc., etc. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Global Warming Hoax

MMFA Attacks Muslim Veteran Dr. Zudhi Jasser … For Being American

This has to qualify as one of Media Matters’ longer, more bizarre and unfounded attacks against an individual –  physician and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. They must be chasing Wahhabist petro dollars. Their attack makes no sense at all given what we know of the Left. But that doesn’t stop […] … Read entire article »

Filed under: Where is the Main Stream Media?

Tina Brown Unveils New Newsweek

Yawn. The new cover features United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the magazine’s special edition, “150 Women Who Shake the World.” Brown, who previously captained Vanity Fair and the New Yorker magazines, took over the flailing news-weekly in November when it merged with her website, The Daily Beast, which launched in October 2008. Brown is now […] … Read entire article »

Filed under: Where is the Main Stream Media?