The race for the Republican primary has certainly been an eventful one, with candidates experiencing both campaign boosts and campaign blunders, scandalous revelations, and dramatic dropouts. The latest news out of the Republican primary trail is that neither Newt Gingrich nor Rick Perry obtained the 10,000 valid signatures required to get on Virginia’s March 6 primary ballot, something that the New York Times contends is likely to shake voter confidence.
Mike Shedlock, who has been watching the Jefferson County, Alabama, municipal bond bankruptcy and default closely, has turned up some more fraud. It appears that the original bonds issued to pay for the county’s new sewage treatment plant weren’t bonds after all, but warrants. But they were sold as the same thing, backed by the “full faith and credit” of the county. In the event of bankruptcy investors holding the warrants were to be first in line to receive their interest payments, ahead of any other creditors. And if there isn’t enough money even for that, the investors were assured that the county would do whatever is necessary to redeem them, even if it meant raising taxes or fees on the citizens.
Rep. David Reichert (R-Wash., left) along with two other House members has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) for acting more like a profit-making insurance company rather than a tax-exempt advocate for senior citizens. The AARP’s close control and micro-marketing management of companies it allows to use its brand amounts to profit-making activity that should be taxable, assert the lawmakers and others. But for years the AARP has largely successfully defended its non-profit status all the while growing into the seventh largest insurance company in the country.
When R.S. Radford, a principal attorney for the public interest law firm Pacific Legal Foundation, learned about the ruling against a property owner suffering under New York City’s rent control laws, he appealed the case to the Supreme Court. At issue in the case, Harmon v. Markus, is whether James and Jeanne Harmon, the owners of a handsome brownstone near Central Park, are entitled to relief from the city’s onerous rent control laws that force them to accept lower-than-market rents from three of their renters.
The “birther” movement was dealt another blow to its efforts to unseat President Obama on December 22 when a federal appeals court dismissed a legal challenge from a group, including former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, ruling that none of them had sufficient standing to sue the President. Those in the birther movement claim that Obama was not born in the United States and thus is constitutionally unqualified to be President.
The long string of Republican primaries and caucuses will begin in Iowa on January 3. Of course, candidates will gain delegates based on their performances in these contests — but the relationship between their voting performances and the number of delegates they earn will be different from in the past.
“It’s infuriating,” Bruce Schneier remarked. “We’re spending billions upon billions of dollars doing this — and it is almost entirely pointless. Not only is it not done right, but even if it was done right it would be the wrong thing to do.”
“Everything we know about [Mitt] Romney’s record tells us to not trust anything he says while he’s campaigning for office, because his positions will change when he’s trying to appeal to a different electorate,” observed Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner. Klein is correct, of course. In just a few short years Romney has, for instance, gone from being pro-choice to being pro-life and from describing himself as a “progressive” to saying he’s a “conservative Republican.”
A judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina issued a preliminary injunction on December 22 against key provisions of the South Carolina immigration statute. The plaintiffs in the case include a group of civil rights organizations and the United States Department of Justice.
On December 22, a judge from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order granting a motion to dismiss a complaint filed by Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al Janko (left), a former prisoner at the Navy’s Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility in Cuba.
President Obama signed into law yesterday a two-month extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut and emergency federal unemployment benefits. The new law also includes the "doc-fix," which delays scheduled reductions in the payments doctors receive for the services they provide Medicare patients. Earlier in the day, both Houses of Congress agreed to the legislation by unanimous consent, a procedure that enabled them to complete congressional action even though most lawmakers had already left Washington for the holidays.