--With states facing budget deficits, pension shortfalls, unfunded Medicaid mandates, vast new costs related to ObamaCare, and blue-sky demands by unionized public employees, some applause please for state senator Chris Steineger of Kansas. Last month, he submitted a bill to reduce the Kansas legislature from 165 members to 120. Among the seats abolished might be his. "Every legislator thinks he or she is so important that we could not possibly get by with fewer of us," Sen. Steineger says. "You just simply don't need this many people to make the decisions we make." Amen to that, bro'.
--With "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) now effectively dead, will Yale and other self-important colleges -- their sensibilities so offended by DADT -- restore ROTC to their campuses? There hardly has been a rush to do so, yet Yale is, you know, thinking about bringing ROTC back after a four-decade absence. From, you know, a diversity aspect -- offering students a full menu, even it means a soupcon of military. Says the undergraduate dean, "At this point, we are in a really energetic data-gathering phase."
--Where does the administration get off with not enforcing the law? (a) The Justice Department has declared it thinks the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) -- signed by Bill Clinton -- which defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman, is unconstitutional and so will not defend it. (b) Despite knowing that it needed to, Justice failed to appeal Federal District Judge Roger Vinson's ruling that ObamaCare is unconstitutional -- until Judge Vinson essentially ordered it to do so.
--Campaigning in 2008, Barack Obama insisted he would close Guantanamo in the first year of his administration; later, he said he would close it in the second year. In this his third year, he has lifted his January, 2009, freeze on new military trials of Islamists at Guantanamo, and adopted the prior (Bush) policy of indefinite detention of prisoners unfit for trial yet too vicious for release.
--So much for that campaign pledge. Maybe Obama's reversal on Guantanamo derives in part from taking to heart -- at last -- a September 15 report by a 19-member panel of national security experts urging his administration to abandon its posture that Islam is not linked to terrorism. The panel added that radical Muslims are using Islamic (Shariah) law to subvert the United States. As recently as last summer, White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan stressed his disagreement with the argument that "there is an Islamic dimension to terrorism." Maybe the change on Guantanamo implies a delayed recognition by Obama that, as the panel noted, proponents of Shariah are Islamofascist "supremacists" waging "civilization jihad."
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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