Madison rallyAfter several days of enormous demonstrations organized by socialists, government-worker unions, and Democrats, a coalition of conservative and Tea Party groups rallied on Saturday, February 19, in Madison, Wisconsin, to support newly elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his proposals to rein in a massive budget deficit while reducing the power of state- and municipal-employee unions.

In what amounts to the next initiative undertaken by the Obama administration toward its escalating program of government expansion and nationalization of various aspects of the lives of the American people (such as the government takeover of health care, intervention in banks, and the nationalization of various automobile companies such as General Motors), the federal government is now embarking upon a program of government-directed wireless internet (Wi-Fi) delivery.

The U.S. Supreme Court next week will hear arguments in a case that may determine how far the government may go in detaining people as material witnesses. The court will hear a government appeal of a lower court decision upholding the right of Abdullah al-Kidd to sue former Attorney General John Ashcroft over Kidd's arrest and detention in early 2003 as a material witness in the prosecution of a terrorism suspect.  Kidd was detained for about two weeks as a witness against Sami Omar al-Hussayen, who was accused of using his computer skills to aid terrorists. A jury in Idaho acquitted Hussayen on that charge in 2004, but deadlocked on other minor counts. Hussayen agreed to be deported to avoid retrial on those lesser charges.

Capitol buildingPresident Obama is expected to sign a three-month extension of three provisions of the USA Patriot Act after Congress easily passed the measure, despite spirited opposition from congressional Democrats and a significant portion of the constitutionalist wing of the Tea Party movement.

As calls for cuts in the defense budget increased, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates knew what he would have to do: throw the cutters a bone, and then dig in against any further reductions. By admitting that he could shave $78 billion out of the defense budget over the next five years, Gates then went to work defending any further suggested incursions into the future spending plans by the military-industrial complex.