Hunters across America are wary of the political intentions of groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.) In particular, hunters are worried that PETA and other animal rights activists may be able to exert enough influence to get laws or local ordinances passed that make it difficult or impossible to continue hunting.
President Obama is ubiquitous in public life. Newsweek has even asked our chief executive to write an article on Haiti, in light of the recent disaster there. Michelle Obama is constantly in the news as well, first showing off her latest change in fashion, then helping some television cook show host prepare food. It is doubtful that any President or any presidential family in our national history has had more opportunities to look good in front of the nation or express the sort of broad platitudes that nearly all Americans will find nice and agreeable.
Errol Southers, President Obama's nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration, faced additional confirmation problems with revelations about misuse of criminal history information. Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had already been opposing confirmation because Southers, the senator believes, will not oppose the unionization of TSA screeners. When the Department of Homeland Security was created, the unionization of staff was a major issue. DeMint has indicated that the responses from Southers regarding future unionization of screeners (something the senator opposes) are unsatisfactory.
The Defense appropriations bill signed by President Obama last month was filled with 1,720 different special earmarks. These earmarks seldom had anything to do with national defense or security policy.
Democrats are attacking Republican Senator John DeMint (S.C.) for placing a hold on the confirmation of Erroll Southers to be head of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). The heart of the controversy is the insistence by Republicans, dating back to the establishment of the office of Homeland Security, that employees of TSA should not be allowed to unionize. DeMint raised this issue by letter almost three months ago.
When the U.S. Congress passed the massive stimulus package earlier this year, California Governor Arnold Swarzenegger created a state-level inspector general to insure that the stimulus funds for California would not be used wastefully or improperly. This is a big job for any auditor, because California is receiving about $50 billion dollars in stimulus funds.
The IRS has announced that it will be forming a new unit to focus on the very wealthy, particularly the wealthy who have complex business organizations and international operations. This new unit will focus on trusts, real estate, privately held businesses and other business entities controlled by the rich.
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, one of the architects of the Republican victory in 1994, has urged his fellow Republicans to pay closer attention to the Constitution. In an interview with CBS News, Armey said that Republicans did not need to worry as much as ideology as they did to be dutiful. Congressman Armey noted that every member of Congress takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. Duty, Armey reiterated, is different from ideology or philosophy of government. He did not leave out free spending by Republican controlled congresses from his scolding.
The House of Representatives passed a bill on December 10 that would allow the government of the District of Columbia to use public funds to pay for abortions and also allow the city government to legalize the medical use of marijuana. If enacted into law, this legislation would move the District closer to exercising the same sorts of sovereign powers as state governments, with profound long-term structural implications for our federal system.
CBS News reported on December 9 that Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have determined that at least 15 percent of the $217 Billion dollars spent through November in the economic stimulus package has been pure waste. The list of dubious projects funded by federal stimulus funds includes some odd uses of tax dollars. These included $219,000 to study the "hookup" behavior of college coeds and $389,357 for people to keep journals of their malt liquor and marijuana use. Funding was also provided to renovate martini bars in Missouri and to conduct fossil research in Argentina.