Tag Archives: Obama

Gettin’ a little crazy out there…

Vice President Joe Biden L'68

* except this smiling man. He always seems to have something witty on the edge of his tongue. Image via Wikipedia

No default. But no matter. It’s still not enough to make anyone happy.*

In fact, just to read the headlines, I can’t help but think that it’s getting a little crazy out there.

Check out a sampling of them from this screen shot of Real Clear Politics this afternoon:

Among other things, here’ s a few things that one might glean from the headlines:

Also, if this wasn’t painfully obvious to anyone not in the employ of the federal government: we’re in a bear economy, right now, and the light at the end of the tunnel might be a train. Or a bear.  If bears reflected light. And looked like this. 
In short, what I see in just the headlines is that everyone is obnoxious and no one is happy with the way things are going. Even the Chinese are getting in on the action. (Because, hey–they own a substantial part of the debt we almost defaulted on).

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Poll: Did you watch the State of the Union?

What did you think? Please take a moment and vote below.

VP Biden snoozing? Or checking his iPhone? And is that a tear in Rep. Boehner's eye?

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FBI snags a ‘femme fatale’ in spy ring

FBI agents from the Washington Field Office wi...
Image via Wikipedia

How often does the FBI snag a Russian spy ring that includes all the glamor of a bond girl, the secret signals of cold war espionage, and the prosaic reality that spies are just like us?  Answer: not often enough.  This kind of news is just too fun…especially when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is doing the “hamburger diplomacy” thing with our President.

This week the FBI arrested 11 people in connection with spying for Russia.  The actual charges  were  conspiracy to act as unregistered agents of a foreign government. Some were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. Ironically, none of them actually ever sent information back to Russia.  Described in the New York Times:

The only things missing in more than a decade of operation were actual secrets to send home to Moscow.

The assignments, described in secret instructions intercepted by the F.B.I., were to collect routine political gossip and policy talk that might have been more efficiently gathered by surfing the Web. And none of the 11 people accused in the case face charges of espionage, because in all those years they were never caught sending classified information back to Moscow, American officials said.

So…no spying?

“What in the world do they think they were going to get out of this, in this day and age?” said Richard F. Stolz, a former head of C.I.A. spy operations and onetime Moscow station chief. “The effort is out of proportion to the alleged benefits. I just don’t understand what they expected.”

Apparently, the so-called spies were given expense accounts, homes, and jobs to help them integrate into society.  When hearing of the capture (“you can’t take down one without taking down all of them,” one law enforcement official said), neighbors and friends were surprised.  “They couldn’t have been spies,” one neighbor quipped, awesomely, “Look what she did with the hydrangeas.”  That’s right; because spies don’t do gardening…

But they do imitate Hollywood.  In a throwback to [insert favorite spy flick here], the New York Post reported on how the suspected spies are alleged to have communicated with their handlers:

The undercover instructed her on how she would recognize her fellow spy and how to report back on the handoff, the feds said.

“Haven’t we met in California last summer?” the spy expecting the fake passport was supposed to say. Chapman was to respond, “No, I think it was the Hamptons,” according to the FBI.

Chapman allegedly was also supposed to hold a magazine under her arm so her counterpart would recognize her, and plant a stamp on a wall map indicate the handoff was a success.

Another time, one of the agents stepped into a cell store to buy a phone so her conversations with her handler could not be traced.  She registered the phone to an address at 99 Fake Street.  Yep. Really.

And our femme fatale?  That’s Anna Chapman, a New York socialite with her own glamor photos online.  This can’t be good for her social scene.

(via New York TimesNew York Magazine, New York Post, and Gizmodo)

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President Obama responds to HCR challenges

I’ve written before about the constitutional challenges to the Obama healthcare reforms.  As reported over at Paper Chase

The Obama administration is also facing health care lawsuits in Virginia and Florida, filed by numerous state attorneys general. Last month, Georgia joined 18 other states [JURIST report] in a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] filed [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida [official website]. The 18 other states involved in the suit are Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada, and Arizona. Seven more states are set to join the lawsuit [WP report] Friday. Meanwhile, Virginia has filed a separate lawsuit after that state’s legislature passed a bill barring mandatory individual health coverage [JURIST report].

Well, the first response to any of the lawsuits has finally been filed.  In response to a suit iby the Thomas More Law Center, the Obama Administration filed a brief in the Eastern District of Michigan asserting that the law was well within the powers of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, an unsurprising argument.  Among other things:

Congress determined that the health care system in the United States is in crisis, spawning public expense and private tragedy. After decades of failed attempts, Congress enacted comprehensive health care reform to deal with this overwhelming national problem. The minimum coverage provision is vital to that comprehensive scheme. Enjoining it would thwart this reform and reignite the crisis that the elected branches of government acted to forestall.

This sounds like the argument to uphold the government’s argument is that regardless of constitutionality, upholding the law is crucial to holding off the crisis that the law is intended to solve.  OR, the ends justify the means, so don’t mess with the ends.

Do they?  Your take?

(via Paper Chase)