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Evidence is mounting that Obama will have another opportunity to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court when Justice Stevens retires next summer.
Justice John Paul Stevens, age 89, raised some eyebrows when he hired just one law clerk to his staff for the current term. Full-time Justices can hire as many as six clerks, and retired Justices usually hire two.
When the New York Times announced in their lead article on the front page of their Christmas Eve edition that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Goldman Sachs for allegedly self-dealing, it was a moment of surprise for many and, for others, a moment of clarity and confirmation.
It was a simple announcement, really: The Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating some potential self-dealing by a large financial services company. But, like Toto pulling away the curtain to expose the imposter behind the Wizard of Oz, the world could see, however briefly, the inner workings of how business is really done at Goldman.
When MSNBC headlined the report that existing home sales surged by 7.4 percent in November (according to the National Association of Realtors), it suggested that such an improvement boosted “recovery hopes.” Others jumped on the recovery bandwagon, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Blinder.
According to Geithner, it’s now reasonable to expect “positive job growth” by spring and correct to assert that people should have confidence in an improving economy. “I think most people would say the economy actually is strengthening now,” he added.
In Monday’s editorial, the New York Times reported the results of a Frank Luntz poll indicating that NRA members are much softer on key issues than the National Rifle Association itself.
Unfortunately, the editorial was rife with filters in the form of hot labels and emotionally-laden words and phrases that immediately impugned the validity of the results of the study.
Nearing the end of his first year in office, President Obama and his Democratic Party are taking a beating in polls by NBC News/Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post/ABC.
After defying the laws of political gravity for much of his first term, Obama and his party’s poll numbers are starting to reflect increasing public unhappiness over the economy, healthcare, and Afghanistan.
For the first time in his presidency, Obama’s overall approval rating has fallen below 50% to 47%. More of those polled also see the Democrat party in a negative light, and believe the country is “on the wrong track”, with a negative 55% rating, the highest since inauguration.
The impact Oral Roberts had on the latter half of the 20th century was staggering. From a dirt-poor childhood to a ministry that touched hundreds of millions worldwide, Roberts, who passed away on December 15 at age 91, set in motion waves that continue to be felt today.
Born outside of Ada, Oklahoma, in 1918, Roberts was raised in poverty with his sister and two brothers. At age 16 he contracted TB so severe that he wasn’t expected to live. A traveling evangelist, George Moncey, held a tent service in Ada that Roberts attended. It was at that service that, Roberts said, he first heard God talking to him: “It was as if I was totally alone. I heard that voice that I’ve heard many times since: ‘Son, I am going to heal you, and you are to take my healing power to your generation. You are to build me a university and build it on my authority and the Holy Spirit.’”
He instituted a number of innovative programs that have been effective in preventing or reducing crime, including bicycle registration; block watches; child ID; “Operation Identification”; “Operation Notification”; “Hard Knocks High,” which gives credits for a high school diploma; ALPHA, a highly successful anti-substance abuse “Project Lifeline;” and an annual summer camp for kids.
Long-renowned economist Paul Samuelson died on December 13 at his home in Belmont, Massachusetts, at the age of 94. In addition to writing Economics in 1948 — which became the best selling economics textbook for several decades, having been translated into forty-one languages and selling over four million copies — Samuelson also won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1970.
The chorus of accolades of effusive praise continues to resonate:
According to the Associated Press, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “railed against gun violence” on December 11, one day after a street peddler died in a shootout with police in Times Square. Unfortunately, this type of crime is increasingly typical in high-crime areas of major U.S. cities, especially where gun control laws make it extremely difficult for law-abiding citizens to possess a gun. Yet Bloomberg, founder of the anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, viewed the shootout as evidence that there are “too many guns on the streets.”
When congressional negotiators agreed to a final version of a transportation bill, it included an amendment to allow Amtrak passengers to take their guns with them—unloaded, locked, and only in their checked baggage.
While only a small skirmish in the long war against the right of citizens to “keep and bear arms” under the Second Amendment, the process by which this amendment was added is worth examining as a microcosm of “representative government” in action.
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