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On the Court, Colombia, Venezuela, NASA, Giant Carp, Etc.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

A random walk among issues currently in the news....

Comes now Big Brother. Not only do state and local governments have unfunded retirement obligations totaling at least $2 trillion. Also, of the 50 states, at least 31 are insolvent. So, with states and localities facing such massive debt issues, why put a gun to their heads and force them to bargain collectively with police, fire, and emergency personnel? It's a unionist priority, and the Senate is expected to vote soon on the blandly named Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act. Passage would mean federal overriding of state laws principally in the South, the West, and the Midwest, and would compel collective bargaining with public safety personnel nationwide.


Oil from the Deepwater Horizon undersea gusher now in Lake Pontchartrain. Monster Asian carp from an Arkansas fishery now in Lake Calumet -- just shy of Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes. Where's the federal cavalry? These days, does calling it do any good at all?

The New York Daily News reports that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is telling friends and relatives he will not retire from the court before the next presidential inauguration (in 2013). And that may tell us all we need to know about Kennedy's opinion of President Obama and his two nominees to the court. Kennedy is the fifth, or swing, vote between the court's leftist and conservative wings. He may feel that given the strange jurisprudential views of Mesdames Sotomayor and Kagan, an Obama nominee for a vacancy created by his retirement would secure the court among the far-left loons for generations.

Colombia is our most loyal Latin American ally -- and has won a war against narc-running Leninist guerrillas to boot. So why doesn't Congress approve the Colombia free-trade pact awaiting a vote since the Democrats took over Congress in 2006? Reason One: Barack Obama campaigned against ratifying the pact and evidently still doesn't like it. Reason Two: Not enough time. In early June, Sen. Chris Dodd termed ratification of the pact this year impossible because Congress had just 40 working days before recessing for vacation.


If Obama and his Democrats are having such difficulty extending a hand to a Colombia sitting in our dugout, why do we abide endless slaps from the other dugout's Venezuelan team, which has originated, harbored, and funded precisely the FARC guerrillas Colombia has been fighting and defeating? Venezuela's Hugo Chavez detests the United States and threatens to stop selling us oil. He loves Comrade Fidel, makes nice to Iran and China -- and is a wannabe member of the Axis of Evil. He locks up TV station officials (and just about anyone) daring to criticize the Chavez regime and undermines duly elected governments throughout Latin America. And he sponsors a guerrilla war in Colombia. Ah, Venezuela: Now, there's a candidate for most-favored-nation status.

So much for all the dismissive conjecture about Iran and its ability to develop nuclear weapons. CIA Director Leon Panetta now says Iran has the goods and the know how to build two nuclear bombs and deliver them to their designated targets within...two years.

Remember the Turkey-origined ship intercepted in May as it tried to run Israel's naval blockade of Gaza? Nine died when Israel commandos boarded the ship. And what did the ship contain besides peaceniks seeking to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza's needy Palestinians? According to a June 10 report by an Israeli think-tank with ties to Israeli intelligence, the ship carried among its "humanitarian" cargo 200 knives, 200 gas masks, 150 bulletproof vests, 100 iron clubs, 50 wooden clubs, several dozen slingshots, and 20 axes. Peace, bro'.


All along you may have believed the principal task of the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is to advance space exploration and to ensure the pre-eminence of America in space. You would have been wrong. The other day, NASA administrator Charles Bolden, at the American University in Cairo on the anniversary of President Obama's Cairo apology for America to the Muslim world, said President Obama gave him a different, more feel-good charge -- and you'd better sit down for this one.

As reported by the jihadist Middle East network al Jazeera, Bolden said:

When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the NASA administrator -- (Obama) charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math. (Second, Obama) wanted me to expand our international relationships. And third -- and perhaps foremost -- he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contributions to science...and math and engineering.

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