If the current debt ceiling negotiations fail in time to avoid the drop-dead default date of August 2, liberal law professor Garrett Epps has the answer for President Obama: Ignore the ceiling and keep on spending.

With Wisconsin only days away from being the 49th state to enact legislation that allows for the concealed carry of firearms, pressure is growing for Illinois to finally concede to its citizens the right of self-defense enshrined in the federal constitution.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Washington that the only occasions on which the United States Constitution is invoked with any reverence by the political establishment is when it appears to support the expansion of federal power. The topic du jour in the capital is the 14th Amendment, and whether it authorizes President Obama, in effect, to ignore the congressionally-imposed debt ceiling and instruct the Treasury to issue new debt to pay for old. For the record, the 14th Amendment’s Section Four states:

In promoting the nation-building enterprises upon which President George W. Bush embarked the U.S. military, the most visible and loudest voices of the conventional right are forever reminding the rest of us of the need for interminable war against the dreaded “Islamo-Fascist.” Anyone who doesn’t endorse the neoconservative vision of “the War on Terror,” or anyone, like President Obama, who doesn’t prosecute it with the neoconservative’s zeal, is deemed weak. As neoconservative radio and television personality Sean Hannity typically says of his political opponents, they simply do not grasp “the nature of evil in our time.”

The cost to the United States of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan over the past 10 years has been somewhere between $3.2 and $4 trillion dollars, according to a study released this week by the Eisenhower Research Project, based at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.