THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Is Obama Already A Lame Duck?: The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty notes that during yesterday’s 63-minute news conference in the East Room of the White House “[a] defensive President Obama sought Thursday to quell doubts about his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill” but that “[a]s oil continues to foul the gulf, the conflicting signals coming from the president and his team have imperiled his reputation for competence and coolness in the face of crisis.”
Also pointing out that “Obama was supposed to be competent,” The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan predicts that “[t]The disaster in the Gulf may well spell the political end of the president and his administration” and fears the global consequences of “a president in this position - weakened, polarizing and lacking broad public support - less than halfway through his term.”
The actions of a leader who is in charge speak for themselves; he doesn’t have to tell people he is “in charge.” By now it should be clear to everyone, if not to Obama, that you can’t BS your way through a presidency.
† Is This Any Way To Run A Transition?: After forcing out Adm. Dennis Blair, President Barack Hussein Obama is “reevaluating” the choice of retired Air Force Lt Gen James Clapper, currently serving as undersecretary of defense for intelligence, to take over as director of national intelligence, reports The Washington Post:
[S]enior administration officials [say] the process of finding a new intelligence chief could take longer than they had intended. …
One senior administration official said that Clapper is "still a candidate" and "still a possibility" but declined to call him the front-runner, as officials had done just days before.
White House officials floated Clapper's name "as a trial balloon," one intelligence official said, and were "hopeful" that the nomination would be well received. But in the face of objections from important lawmakers, including the leaders of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the administration is considering other options more actively, the intelligence official said.
"Nobody who knows this stuff wants this job," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive deliberations.
† Daycare Workers Allegedly Gave Sleep Aid To Children At Nap Time: A Hamilton County (OH) Municipal Court judge found a former worker at a suburban Cincinnati church day care center guilty of three counts each of child endangering and misrepresentation by a child care provider. The 56-year-old woman, who fed children candy laced with the over-the-counter dietary supplement melatonin so they would sleep at naptime, could get as much as 18 months in prison.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, Pearson's Knickers Still In A Knot Over His Pants): Only the Uighurs have as bad a track record in court as former administrative law judge Roy Pearson (see next item). A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a lower court’s dismissal of Pearson’s wrongful termination lawsuit. Now, Pearson has ample time on his hands to take a sewing class and make himself a pair of pants just like the ones he claimed his dry cleaner lost.
† Updates To Previous Posts (seventh item, Why We Need Gitmo): As per the U.S. Supreme Court’s instructions, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reconsidered a suit by five Chinese Muslim Gitmo detainees claiming a constitutional right to be resettled in the U.S. - and then rejected it, reinstating a 2009 circuit court decision which held that it is within “the exclusive power of the political branches to decide which aliens may, and which aliens may not, enter the United States, and on what terms,” reports The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes:
The three-judge panel declined to remand the case to the district court for an evidentiary hearing on whether any of the resettlement offers was “appropriate.” The panel noted that in 2009, only the executive branch had opposed the prisoners’ release into the United States.
“Since then, the Legislative Branch has spoken,” the panel wrote. “In seven separate enactments – five of which remain in force today – Congress has prohibited the expenditure of any funds to bring any Guantanamo detainee to the United States.”
These five Uighurs are the last of a group of 22 to accept offers of resettlement by other countries. Five are currently residing in Albania, four are in Bermuda, six in Palau, and two in Switzerland. The holdouts have received and turned their noses up at three offers, prompting panel member to note that “[P]etitioners hold the keys to their release from Guantanamo: All they must do is register their consent. The habeas court thus is no longer confronted with the choice between either releasing petitioners into the continental United States or dooming them to indefinite detention at Guantánamo.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (eighth item, Defending The Indefensible): The American Bar Association, National Institute of Military Justice and American Civil Liberties Union are protesting a provision inserted into the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2011 by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) to require the Department of Defense's inspector general to investigate "the conduct and practices" of Guantanamo lawyers participating in the John Adams Project, reports The National Law Journal:
In a letter Wednesday to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Minority Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., ABA President Carolyn Lamm said the inspector general provision will have a "chilling effect" on the ability of lawyers to give zealous advocacy and effective assistance of counsel to their Guantanamo clients.
"It will compromise the professional independence of counsel and divert already starved defense resources from defending clients to defending the conduct, practices, actions and strategies of their lawyers," she wrote. Lamm added that the Department of Justice, not the Department of Defense, is the appropriate agency to investigate any legal wrongdoing by these lawyers.
The bill has not yet been scheduled for a vote on the House floor.
† Updates To Previous Posts (fifth item, Scientists Who Refuse To Toe The Line On Global Warming: Part II): The Competitive Enterprise Institute has filed an 18-page Freedom of Information Act lawsuit alleging that NASA tried to cover up erroneous data, used by the agency’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies to claim that temperatures in the U.S. have risen dramatically during the past 10 years and that 1998 was the “hottest” year on record, reports The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes:
In [its] complaint … the Competitive Enterprise Institute says that, in 2007 and 2008, it submitted, but not yet received adequate responses to, FOIA requests seeking NASA documents and information related to changes made to NASA’s temperature data in response to questions raised by Steven McIntyre. McIntyre runs Climate Audit, a blog devoted to the analysis and discussion of climate data.
The complaint says McIntyre discovered errors in NASA’s data that resulted in an overstatement of the amount that temperatures have risen in the United States since 2000. …
CEI, which is being represented by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Andrew Tulumello pro bono, alleges in the complaint that, once the errors were pointed out in August 2007, NASA made a series of changes to the data and then “sought to reverse-engineer the temperature data so that 1998 could again be deemed the warmest year on record.”
CEI filed three FOIA requests with NASA. The agency forwarded two requests filed in August 2007 about these amended data to the Office of the Chief Counsel for review, which supplied “heavily redacted” documents 2-½ years later. A third FOIA request made in January 2008 alleged that during working hours NASA scientists were writing posts on the Website RealClimate.org that were tantamount to “public relations and advocacy” for NASA. CEI’s latest complaint requests a court order compelling NASA to comply with the previous FOIA requests and to cover CEI’s legal fees.
† Updates To Previous Posts (eighth item, NJ Taxpayers Must Choose Between Dollars And Dolphins): Municipal councils throughout NJ - which are required by state law to review school budgets rejected by voters - are thumbing their noses at the will of the people by making minimal cuts, reports The New York Times:
After years of frustration over school taxes, New Jersey residents turned out in record numbers last month to reject 58 percent of their school districts’ budget proposals, sounding an unmistakable protest.
But in the weeks since, many of the 316 defeated budgets have been adopted with few, if any, changes by municipal councils, where members risked thwarting the will of voters - and incurring their wrath - rather than cut sports, lay off teachers or increase class sizes.
In Ridgewood, an affluent village in Bergen County known for its schools, the Council whittled $100,000 from the proposed $84.9 million budget, or 0.1 percent. Average savings to taxpayers: $12 per year.
In Woodbridge, a working-class township in Middlesex County, the Council shaved $1 million - 0.5 percent - from a $182.5 million budget, saving taxpayers an average of $25 each. And in Parsippany-Troy Hills, in Morris County, where the school budget had been voted down for the second consecutive year, the Council trimmed $800,000 - 0.6 percent - from a nearly $127 million spending plan (the average savings is $52).
“To have the Village Council go through and save a dollar a month is a joke,” said Greg May, 39, a recording engineer who is among the 25,000 residents of Ridgewood. “It almost makes me feel like what good was my vote? I think that’s the general consensus.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (fourth item, A To Z Approach On Illegal Immigration In AZ): In a Washington Post op-ed Kirk Adams (R-Mesa), speaker of the AZ House of Representatives, complains “it's offensive” that “cities … far removed from the problems that we face here on the southern border, have announced boycotts against Arizona” over the state’s new anti-illegal immigration law (S.B. 1070), because “[i]f such drug- and gang-related crimes were affecting public safety in Manhattan or Boston, East Coast elites would be declaring a national emergency.”
Adams adds that President Barack Hussein Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and other detractors not only haven’t read AZ’s law, they also haven’t read CA’s Penal Code Section 834b, which is strikingly similar in substance:
With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following:
Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status.