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The Skinny on Anti-Obesity Soda Laws

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2013 11:09 pm by HL

The Skinny on Anti-Obesity Soda Laws
Michael Marlow, Wall St. Journal
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-obesity campaign to ban the sale of certain sugary drinks in large servings, especially sodas, was struck down last month in state court. A proposal for a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sweetened beverages also floundered in Vermont's House of Representatives in February.

Case Against Gay Marriage Has Collapsed
Albert Hunt, Bloomberg
The substantive case against gay marriage collapsed in the Supreme Court last week.Legally, Supreme Court watchers say, advocates won't win the sweeping victory they once anticipated as they made arguments last week. The court is likely to overturn a California law that precludes same-sex marriage, on technical grounds. The 17-year-old federal Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as between a man and woman, and thus denying federal spousal benefits to gays and lesbians, almost certainly will be thrown out on the grounds that such decisions should be left to the states.

A Slipping Middle Class Agenda
Chris Stirewalt, FOX News
This is an unhappy time for President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency to announce new gasoline regulations.The agency claims that the new rules will add only a penny to the price of a gallon of regular unleaded while industry groups say it will be closer to a dime. Whatever the estimate, American consumers are not in the mood to hear about higher pump prices.

Nature’s Lessons About Sexual Orientation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

Nature’s Lessons About Sexual Orientation
David Haskell, NY Times
This invocation of nature echoes other voices. Last December, before Pope Benedict XVI resigned, he used his Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia to deplore what he called a “new philosophy of sexuality” that manipulates and denies nature. Roy S. Moore, re-elected last fall as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, once let rip with less measured language, exclaiming in a child-custody case that homosexuality was “a crime against nature and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” Meanwhile, Tennessee legislators have…

Administration Yanks a Missile That Upset Russia

The Attack of the Killer Surplus
Gail Collins, New York Times
The State Legislature has been in a kind of anti-abortion meltdown, piling up bills with what-the-heck abandon. The House and Senate passed a “fetal heartbeat” bill that would prohibit abortions when a woman was about six weeks into pregnancy. They also each passed a “fetal pain” bill that would prohibit abortions at around 20 weeks. Plus a resolution giving fetuses the rights of personhood, which would not only prohibit abortion altogether, but would also outlaw some forms of infertility treatment and contraception. There was also a bill banning…

Charlton Heston’s Cold Dead Hand

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 29th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

Charlton Heston’s Cold Dead Hand
Jim Carrey, Funny or Die
Jim Carrey's anti-gun comedy video provoked controversy. 

America Needs an ObamaCare Exit Strategy
Shikha Dalmia, Examiner
Not even the most ardent defenders of Obamacare — aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — claim anymore that the law will lower health coverage costs for Americans. How, then, will it achieve universal coverage, its central goal?The short answer is, it won't.

Why Not Separate Marriage and State?
John Fund, National Review
There is no question that the media, political, and cultural push for gay marriage has made impressive gains. As recently as 1989, voters in avant-garde San Francisco repealed a law that had established only domestic partnerships.But judging by the questions posed by Supreme Court justices this week in oral arguments for two gay-marriage cases, most observers do not expect sweeping rulings that would settle the issue and avoid protracted political combat. A total of 41 states currently do not allow gay marriage, and most of those laws are likely to remain in place for some time. Even should…

How to Close Tech Industry’s Gender Gap

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 28th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

How to Close Tech Industry’s Gender Gap
Lydia DePillis, The New Republic
Every week, it seems, there’s another gender-related dustup in the technology world. The leader of a hacker movement quits over misogyny. A person in charge of recruiting Web developers is fired after publicly calling out sexual comments at a conference. Silicon Valley gets outed, once again, as a haven for bros. Each time, outrage and calls for reform ensue.By the time these things happen, of course, it's too late to do much about them. The field is dominated by men, and its social norms are predictably guy oriented. Founders pay lip service to diversity but have enough things…

Israel’s Insightful Cynicism
Robert Kaplan, Stratfor
Israel is in the process of watching a peace treaty unravel. I don't mean the one with Egypt, but the one with Syria. No, I'm not crazy. Since Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy in 1974, the Israelis have had a de facto peace agreement of sorts with the al Assad family. After all, there were clear red lines that both sides knew they shouldn't cross, as well as reasonable predictability on both sides. Forget about the uplifting rhetoric, the requirement to exchange ambassadors and the other public policy frills that normally define peace treaties. What counts in this case…

White House Yawns as ObamaCare Premium Spikes Loom

Global Warming: If Only We’d Listened to Experts?
James Delingpole, DT
Sir John Beddington, the government's retiring Chief Scientist has been doing the media rounds today, telling anyone who'll listen how “Climate Change” is still a serious problem about which we should all worry greatly.Has he looked out of the window recently?Looking out of my window just now, I noticed that the Northamptonshire landscape was completely blanketed in Dr David Viner. Just like it was yesterday. And the day before that, when we rescued two orphaned lambs from the frozen fields. Which isn't something you normally expect in March, is it?

Republicans Could Hold House, Senate, Presidency by ‘16
Matt Lewis, DC
As bleak as things look for the GOP in the short-term (and they do look bleak), it’s stunning to consider the entirely possible scenario whereby Republicans could control the presidency and both houses of Congress in the very near future.Consider this: As Romney learned, history says it’s difficult to defeat a sitting president in the modern era. But it is arguably even harder for a political party to win three consecutive presidential elections.Only George H.W. Bush (who was essentially awarded Reagan’s third term) has pulled it off in the last fifty, or so,…

The Youth Vote & University Utopia

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

The Youth Vote & University Utopia
Robert Tracinski, RealClearMarkets
Of young voters, by far the largest constituency for the left is college students and recent college graduates. They made up the core of Obama's non-minority support, and this includes an especially influential cohort: upper-middle-class elites who went to graduate school. (Obama won their votes last year by 57 to 39 percent.) This group provides the left with a huge source of fundraising and a large pool of activists. More important, this group dominates the arts, the media, Hollywood, and the universities themselves, perpetuating the left's outsized cultural influence. 

Gay Marriage: Freedom Is Central Issue
Reed Galen, RealClearPolitics
This week the Supreme Court hears two cases regarding same-sex marriage and its attendant issues, and the battle lines are no longer neatly drawn.Following the lead of former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, I signed the amicus brief opposing California's Proposition 8, the 2008 state referendum codifying in the state constitution the view that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized."When asked why I added my name to the list, I simply reply: "You either believe in individual freedom or you…

An Initiative to Seize on Gun Control
Ruth Marcus, Washington Post
WASHINGTON — In a normal legislative battle, there comes a point when advocates have to stop letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. When it comes to gun control, the calculus is different: You have to stop letting the adequate be the enemy of the incremental but significant.That maddening fact is why the recent uproar over assault weapons is so dangerously misplaced. I'm all for limiting access to assault weapons, although the impact would be more symbolic than practical.But reinstating the ban was never in the cards. The best that could be realistically hoped for was a Senate…

Unchain the Charter Schools

Marriage Equality or Big Government?
Adam Serwer, Mother Jones
Even with the usual caveats about reading too much into questioning at a Supreme Court hearing, the big takeaway from this week’s oral arguments on gay marriage was the reluctance of several justices to impose a national standard on an issue that Americans have seriously debated for only a few years. The questioning during the case concerning California’s Proposition 8, which overturned a state Supreme Court ruling authorizing gay marriage, suggests the Court is hesitant to prevent states from going their own way on same-sex marriage. That raises big questions…

Harvest of Uncertainty Over ObamaCare

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 26th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

Harvest of Uncertainty Over ObamaCare

A Bitter Bailout in Cyprus

Will Gay Rights Infringe on Religious Liberty?
Mark Stern, CNN
(CNN) — It was inevitable that the debate over same-sex marriage would have a strong religious component. This is partly because it involves such questions as the interpretation of biblical passages that, on their face, condemn homosexuality as a sin. But it also involves squaring the authority of ancient texts with modern theological understanding and developments in biology. And of course, the importance of love and human autonomy as religious values should be considered.

GOP Growth & Opportunity? Not

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

GOP Growth & Opportunity? Not
Steve Rosenthal, Politico
The Republican National Committee released a report this week by its Growth and Opportunity Project that makes it abundantly clear that: (1) the only thing the Republicans are trying to grow is their vote, and (2) the only real opportunity they are providing is for GOP apparatchiks.

As it Retools, GOP Must Remember the Message Matters

Cyprus: It Ain’t Over Yet
Felix Salmon, Reuters
This was not a good weekend for Russian billionaires. First, Boris Berezovsky was found dead at his English country estate. Now, all the uninsured depositors (read: Russian plutocrats) at Cyprus’s two largest banks are going to be hit much, much harder than they feared they might be when the Cyprus crisis first erupted last week. Back then — a long, long week ago — Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades stood firm: there was no way he would allow uninsured depositors to lose more than 10% of their money. What a difference a week makes: now, if your…

Matt Lauer and the Decline of the Today Show
Joe Hagan, NY Magazine
The knife springs open with a satisfying snap.Matt Lauer, the co-host of the Today show, turns it over in his hand, marveling at the blade."Come to papa!" he says.Sitting at his glass-topped desk on the morning-show set, Lauer, meticulously outfitted in a green-gray plaid suit and a burnt-?orange tie, has asked the crew for props for a segment on new TSA rules allowing small knives on commercial airliners. A crewman offered up this specimen from his belt holster."You know how long it is?" inquires a producer who sits alongside Lauer with a sheaf of…

ObamaCare a Disaster for Dems in 2014
Betsy McCaughey, New York Post
Democrats hope to retake the House of Representatives in next year’s elections. They won’t — and they’ll have themselves to blame, because 2014 is when ObamaCare kicks in. With a vengeance. The authors of the Obama health law postponed the pain until after the 2012 election. Some popular provisions went into effect immediately, such as allowing children to stay on their parent’s plan until age 26. And the White House granted 1,472 waivers to various companies and unions, exempting them from insurance reforms so they…

Dems, GOP Engage in Fairy-Tale Budgeting

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 24th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

Dems, GOP Engage in Fairy-Tale Budgeting
Jack Kelly, Pitt Post-Gazette
The farthest known galaxy is about 13.3 billion light years away. But MACS0647-JD may be closer to Earth than Democrats and Republicans are to each other on taxes, spending and debt — and that either is to reality.Last week House Republicans presented their proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Senate Democrats (for the first time in four years) offered a budget, too.The Congressional Budget Act requires the Congressional Budget Office to project federal spending and tax revenues 10 years into the future. This lets lawmakers and staff try their hand at writing…

Has Israel Forgotten That It’s in the Mideast?
Tom Friedman, NY Times
READING the news from the wider Middle East and then watching President Obama visiting Israel triggered this thought: The president looked as if he were visiting an atoll in the Pacific, or maybe New Zealand — but definitely some kind of island state surrounded by roiling seas.

Gay Marriage Has Already Won
Frank Bruni, New York Times
While they're watching this moment raptly and hopefully, it's not with a sense that the fate of the cause hangs in the balance. Quite the opposite. They're watching it with an entirely warranted confidence, verging on certainty, that no matter what the justices say during this coming week's hearings and no matter how they rule months from now, the final chapter of this story has in fact been written. The question isn't whether there will be a happy ending. The question is when.

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