If the Republican majority in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., wants to shake up the political establishment, lawmakers there might look for inspiration to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives in Concord, New Hampshire. The rebels in New Hampshire did not fire the "shot heard 'round the world" — not yet anyway — despite Michelle Bachmann's Midwestern confusion on that subject. But they have fired a few salvos that may be worth Washington's attention.
"There cannot be the slightest doubt that the First Amendment reflects the philosophy that Church and State should be separated," said Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas in the 1952 Zorach v. Clauson decision. Ten years later, Justice Potter Stewart said in his dissent to Engel v. Vitale: "Moreover, I think that the Court's task, in this as in all areas of constitutional adjudication, is not responsibly aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the 'wall of separation,' a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution."
Hillary Clinton will not easily be mistaken for Sir Winston Churchill, but our nation’s Secretary of State borrowed a metaphor from old “Winnie” recently when lecturing on the importance of freedom on the Internet. As the former British Prime Minister warned of the communist “iron curtain” descending on Eastern Europe at the beginning of the Cold War, Secretary Clinton has warned of an “information curtain” falling in those nations where governments have used modern technology to suppress and plunder, rather than facilitate, the flow of information among peoples and nations.
The U.S. government's Operation Fast and Furious was a plot to subvert gun rights in America, National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre (pictured at left) charged October 14 in an interview with Newsmax.TV.
Former FBI agent Ali H. Soufan remembers being at the American embassy in Yemen on September 11, 2001 when, a few hours after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, a CIA official finally produced material, including photographs of two of the hijackers, that the FBI had requested months before.
Two federal officials have been reassigned and a third has resigned in the wake of controversy over "Operation Fast and Furious," the controversial sting that is also known as the "Gunwalking Scandal." Kenneth Melson (pictured at left), acting director for the past 28 months of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, will become senior advisor on forensic science in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Programs, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday. U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke, who approved the flawed operation that allowed weapons to be delivered to drug gangs, submitted his resignation to President Obama effective immediately. Emory Hurley, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix who worked on the Fast and Furious investigation, has been reassigned from criminal cases to civil casework.
Police in Midway, Georgia shut down a lemonade stand run by three girls trying to make money for a trip to a water park in Savannah because the youngsters didn't have the license and permits required for their fledgling enterprise. City ordinances require a business license, a peddler's permit, and a food permit for the vending of food or beverages, even on residential property in the small city (pop. approximately 1,100) just south of Savannah. The license and permits cost $50 a day or $180 a year, according to Coastal Source, a website of Savannah TV stations WJCL and WTGS.
The theories abound. Osama bin laden is not really dead. Or he has been dead for years, in which case the headlines should read, "Osama Still Dead!" At least one blog proclaims the al-Qaeda leader and alleged mastermind of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 was actually dead before 9/11. In other words, our government for all these ensuing years has been chasing the wrong terrorist — and the wrong corpse, even.
A pre-born infant may not be a legal person under current law, but some New Hampshire legislators want pre-borns who are killed by someone other than their mothers and their mothers' physicians classified as homicide victims. A bill in the New Hampshire House would allow criminal prosecution of persons whose actions result in the death of an "unborn child." It would make the death of the unborn an additional crime in cases where a pregnant woman is assaulted, for example, or is hit by a drunk driver. The bill exempts actions taken by the pregnant woman or her physician, however, so abortions would not be affected. Still, testimony at a public hearing in Concord on February 17 showed the usual division on the abortion issue, with abortion opponents supporting the measure and "pro-choice" advocates fearful of the implications of a bill that describes an "unborn child" as someone between conception and birth.
The recent shooting rampage in Tucson that killed six and wounded 14, including a member of Congress, has inspired some predictable calls for new gun legislation. But it has also focused attention on state laws for dealing with the mentally ill and the call from some quarters for involuntary commitment or at least treatment of people with mental disorders — whether or not they have committed a crime.