PanettaOn Thursday, June 9, the U.S. Senate conducted confirmation hearings on current CIA Director and former U.S. Congressman Leon E. Panetta (D-Calif.), who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to replace Bush-era appointee Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Obama's nomination of Panetta was originally announced on April 28, when the President announced that he would be making changes to his National Security team.

As Americans are already struggling with unemployment and inflation, Democrats are seeking to increase revenue, i.e. tax hikes, in order to avoid a default as Congress continues to debate the debt ceiling. Republicans have remained steadfastly opposed to any tax increases, which has ultimately resulted in a standoff between the two parties.

Congressional Democrats have adamantly supported tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, but Republicans argue that such increases would hurt job growth, and have instead advocated changes to entitlement programs.

Ever astute, the political observers at NationalReview.com have noted that the "resignation of (Newt) Gingrich's top men in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina would appear to be ... not good for his chances there." Or here, or there, either. The next sentence is more interesting. "Likewise the presence on the list of two advisers close to (Texas Governor) Rick Perry will only fuel speculation that Perry will seek the nomination himself."

One of the most egregious crimes of statist politics is to hold the few important government services hostage to layers and layers of pork. So when a government shutdown lurks at the federal level, the first offices to close are the national parks and memorials or the Coast Guard or some other financial micron in the federal budget that is actually valued by the public.

U.S. taxpayers are being soaked to the tune of $2 million a day for President Barack Obama’s illegal war in Libya, according to a Defense Department memo obtained by the Financial Times. The document, entitled “United States Contribution to Operation Unified Protector,” says that the government is spending about $60 million a month on the mission and had spent $664 million by mid-May.