Under the guise of a “driveway fee,” the city council of Mission, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, has imposed a tax on churches based on the numbers that attend worship services. The fee, which is also being charged to non-profit organizations and charities in the community, is similar to a driveway tax that has been struck down as illegal in two other states, according to the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of two congregations in the community.
The federal judiciary has had a chip on its shoulder ever since Alexander Hamilton described it as the “weakest of the three departments of power.” From Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland through to its present day progeny, federal judges consistently misinterpret the Constitution and misinterpret the powers assigned to them therein. In fact, for decades the district courts, courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court have gone out of their way to show that they can obliterate the Constitution just as powerfully as their sister branches.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission took a big step forward toward legislating government regulation of the Internet Tuesday with a bureaucratic vote in favor of so-called “net neutrality” rules, despite the past rejection of such measures by Congress and the courts, not to mention the prohibition on government meddling in speech and the press listed in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Moments ago, the United States Senate voted 71-26 to approve ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, also known as New START. The treaty replaces an expired START that limits the number of nuclear weapons that may be maintained by Russia and the United States, and implements a joint system for verification.
Did you know that in 2010 the federal government spent $2.9 million for a study of the video game "World of Warcraft"? How about $1.8 million for a neon sign museum in Las Vegas? Or $823,000 for teaching South African men how to wash their private parts?
The census data, along with the Republican gains in state legislatures and governorships, means that Democrats face a grim decade in House elections. Regions and states which historically have supported Democrats lost seats or, in the case of California, for the first time did not gain seats in the House of Representatives. States that have become conservative Republican core areas — Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Utah, Florida, North Carolina, and Idaho — gained seats. Elected officials closely associated to the Tea Party, such as Senator DeMint, Senator-elect Rubio, Governor Brewer, and Governor Perry, are strengthened by these gains.
Moments ago, the United States Senate voted to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named after a police detective who worked at Ground Zero and died from lung problems as a result. Up until this morning, the future of the bill was questionable as Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma threatened to prevent the measure from reaching the floor. Once Coburn struck a deal with Senate Democrats that lowered the cost of the bill, however, the legislation was taken up by unanimous consent, without debate or a roll call vote.
On Monday, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey signed an order commuting Brian Aitken's sentence from seven years to time served.
Aitken was convicted in early 2009 in New Jersey for illegally possessing two handguns, a "high capacity magazine," and hollow point ammunition, all of which he purchased legally from a Bass Pro Shop outlet in Colorado.
According to the official White House website:
Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn announced that he will block the 9/11 Responders bill from coming to the Senate floor before Christmas. Coburn and his Republican colleagues have articulated numerous concerns with the bill, including the $6.2 billion cost.
The new START Treaty appears to be on its way to ratification as pressure to move forward on the treaty has increased. According to the AFP, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have targeted wary lawmakers to encourage support of the treaty. Meanwhile, a vote to end debate on the treaty is expected to take place today or tomorrow.