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Monday, June 30, 2008

Dick Morris Asks, And Answers, The Question "AFTER HILLARY: CAN A WOMAN WIN?"

Read Dick Morris piece below:

Yes. Certainly. Absolutely. Undoubtedly. She can. In fact, Hillary, even in defeat, demonstrated the viability of a female candidate for president.

Hillary lost because she is Hillary and because she was outsmarted by Obama. She lost despite being a woman, not because of it.

In the early going, before Obama began seriously to challenge her, Hillary was winning easily in all the national polls. There was, indeed, a sense of inevitability to her impending triumph. This consensus was not illusory; it was based on solid polling data and very real advantages she had at the time in funding, name recognition, field organization, and political momentum. Hillary lost because of a myriad of factors, none of which had to do with being female:

Tim Russert's Heart Attack, What You Must Know!

1. She unwisely predicated her campaign her experience credentials. In a Democratic primary, particularly with its aversion to the dynastic interchange of Bushes and Clintons, change, not experience was the sine qua non. By stressing experience to an electorate that wanted change, Hillary badly misjudged the mood of the electorate.

2. Obama shrewdly realized that, since he might lose some of the contests in big states like New York and California, he needed to raise his money from sources that would not implode as his chances of victory seemed to ebb. So the Illinois Senator exploited his star power and charisma to raise money online from individual donors contributing small amounts. By the end of the primary season, he had amassed more than one million separate donors. Because of the financial independence this afforded him, Hillary could not score a first round knockout after she won the big Super Tuesday states. Obama survived to win eleven straight caucuses and primaries in mid size states.

3. Hillary focused too much on television advertising to develop a mass voter base in the primaries and not enough on the field organization she needed to get the warm bodies essential to carrying caucuses. By cultivating university students, in particular, Obama was able to beat Hillary in caucus after caucus, eroding the lead her primary victories had given her.

4. Faced with the need to substantiate her claims to experience, Hillary blundered and committed a series of gaffes in which she demonstrably overstated her role in events that ranged from th3e Irish peace process to the economic recovery to the resolution of the Bosnian civil war. Already beset by doubts about her integrity, spawned by two decades of scandal, Hillary's credibility was shredded by these mistakes.

But, despite these shortcomings, Hillary showed that a woman could draw the votes of downscale, often sexist, white men. In the her late primary victories in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indian, West Virginia, and Kentucky, Hillary won, not only by securing the votes of women of all ages, but by getting the backing of high school educated white men, formerly the toughest nut for a woman candidate to crack. Of course, she was helped along by the racism of many of these voters, catalyzed by the ravings of Reverend Wright. But the fact remains that she won these votes over a male opponent, something women candidates were not supposed to be able to do.

And, in the process, Hillary shattered a number of other myths that pundits had once cited to show that women couldn't win. She raised a prodigious amount of money, a sharp contrast to the enforced parsimony which had afflicted so many female candidates in the past. She was never seriously challenged for not knowing her substance on key issues. Her demonstrably high intelligence and familiarity with the facts made it clear that she was substantively qualified to be president, a far cry from the "airhead" label that had frequently been affixed to women running for office. And she allayed fears that a woman could not be an effective commander-in-chief. Almost all the polls showed that more voters trusted her than Obama on issues of defense, national security, and terrorism.

Of course her campaign demonstrated pitfalls for future female candidates to avoid. Voters were quicker to draw negative conclusions about Hillary's personality than they likely would have been had she been male. Concerns that she was "cold" or "unemotional" or "robotic" surfaced early in the polling, while candidates like Mitt Romney, who, arguabley, (sic) could have been subject to similar criticism, were not.

But most important, Hillary demonstrated the power of women voters to elect a female candidate. Her top heavy margins among upscale women and her strong performance among their downscale sisters, showed that women can get the female vote and use it as a platform from which to win.

After all, if we discount the February primaries and caucuses in which Hillary was caught flat-footed and out of money (because she assumed Obama would be knocked out on Super Tuesday), the New York Senator clearly outdrew Obama and would have captured the nomination easily.

The lesson is clear: Being a woman is not a handicap in running for president. It is, rather, a priceless asset. It is not, however, enough by itself to assure victory.

Editor's comment: I can't say I disagree with Dick, can you?


Here's Your Every Monday ONLY Redbox Promo Code. Enjoy.

Please remember that these promo codes are ONLY good for Mondays.

So this one is for today until midnight.

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Anyone Wondering Where Our Society Is Headed Can Check out This Story.

Read more from the Courier-Journal.

Here is an Excerpt:

When school starts in August, parents of sixth- through ninth-graders in New Albany-Floyd County schools can get a free home drug-testing kit to check their children for marijuana or other drug use.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics has raised concerns about such programs, this one operated through Project 7th Grade, a Phoenix, Ariz., group that provides the kits to school systems, police and other organizations at no charge.

Editor's comment: Another "sign of the times", indicating a need to "put a lid on crazy".

Heck even my Liberal "better half" agrees that this is WRONG.

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Mitch McConnell: In Case You Missed It.

In Case You Missed It

"I want you to think about this," Barack Obama said in Las Vegas last week. "The oil companies have already been given 68 million acres of federal land, both onshore and offshore, to drill. They're allowed to drill it, and yet they haven't touched it – 68 million acres that have the potential to nearly double America's total oil production." Wow, how come the oil companies didn't think of that?

Perhaps because the notion is obviously false – at least to anyone who knows how oil and gas exploration actually works. Predictably, however, Mr. Obama's claim is also the mantra of Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, John Kerry, Nick Rahall and others writing Congressional energy policy…

Democrats are in a vise this summer, pinned on one side by voter anger over $4 gas and on the other by their ideological opposition to carbon-based energy – so, as always, the political first resort is to blame Big Oil. The allegation is that oil companies are "stockpiling" leases on federal lands to drive up gas prices. At least liberals are finally acknowledging the significance of supply and demand.

-Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2008
(click to read full story)

There was a remarkable exchange on the floor of the Senate this past Thursday between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It offers pretty stunning evidence of how personally petty Reid is, as well as his penchant for defining “partisanship” as anything that keeps him from getting his way.

…The Senate was voting on a Medicare bill bloated with new spending. The bill was also an attempt to prevent cuts in payment rates to doctors who treat seniors on Medicare, and Democrats wanted to pay for that by taking the funds from Medicare Advantage, a private fee-for-service plan. The president would likely have vetoed the bill in its current form and Senate Republicans opposed the gutting of Medicare Advantage, so Senate Republicans blocked the bill. The trouble is that if the Senate doesn’t resolve the issue very soon, doctors will stop receiving Medicare funds. So Republicans proposed a 30-day extension to allow more time to hammer out a compromise. Democrats blocked the proposed extension…

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “I have said we are all here by virtue of being elected by our respective States. I had out here earlier today our Velcro chart, 79 filibusters. Is it any wonder that the House seats that came up during the off year — Hastert’s went Republican, a Republican district that went Democratic; a seat in Louisiana that was a longtime Republican seat went Democratic. Is it any wonder that the State of Mississippi sent us a Democratic House Member? It is no wonder because they see what is going on over here. . . . Mr. President, I am sure it was a Freudian slip — 59 Democrats voted for this. But next year at this time, there will be 59 Democrats at least.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.6233, 06/26/08)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Here we are a few days before the doctors receive this unconscionable cut, and the majority is saying it is more important to play politics with this issue, to brag about the fact there are 59 Democrats who voted to go forward, to talk, of all things, during the Medicare debate about who won special elections for the House of Representatives in Illinois, Mississippi, or Louisiana. What in the world does that have to do with the subject matter?

The subject matter before us is not playing political games. . . . And the reality is that the refusal of the majority to approach this issue on a bipartisan basis, as has been typically done in the past, will lead to a Presidential veto, a reduction in the reimbursement rates for doctors, an expiration at the end of the week. There is a way forward to get back together like we have typically done on this, and that is to approve a 30-day extension.

-National Review Online, June 30, 2008
(click to read full story)


John D. Minton, Sr., Father Of Kentucky Chief Justice, John D. Minton, Jr., Has Passed Away.

Here is the news release:

A former president of Western Kentucky University has died, and now those close to him are remembering his leadership and legacy.

Dr. John D. Minton, Sr. died early on June 29 of natural causes.

He was 86-years-old.

The Trigg County native was the fifth president of WKU, following the retirement of Dr. Dero Downing, and a member of the Western family for nearly 30 years.

Present leaders at the university who knew Dr. Minton say it's his sage advice and counsel they'll remember most.

"He was a great mentor and friend and for a lot of people who've come through the WKU family," said WKU President, Dr. Gary Ransdell.

"He's the one who guided me through graduate school, guided me through my first job at WKU. Really sent me on a path through higher education that has worked out quite well. I'll miss a friend, but a great mentor as well."

After experiencing some declining health in 2002, President Ransdell recommended WKU's Central Hall be renamed John D. Minton Hall in his honor.

During his time at WKU, Minton served as a history professor and Vice President of both Student and Administrative Affairs.

He chaired the Faculty Athletic Committee and served as President for the Sun Belt Conference.

He was also responsible for implementing Title IX at WKU, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination against students and employees.

Visitation for Dr. Minton, Sr. will be held on June 30, from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Broadway United Methodist Church, where Minton was a member.

The funeral will be held on July 1 at 2:00 p.m. at the church, with burial following in Fairview Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to Broadway United Methodist Church, and the John D. Minton Graduate Fellowship through the College Heights Foundation at WKU.

Dr. Minton is survived by his wife of 61 years, Miss Betty Redick Minton, two sons and five grandchildren.

Editor's comment: Dr. Minton was one of the nicest people to me. Always very amiable.

Our thoughts are with his family, as we wish the Dr. God's speed.

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Kentucky's 2008 State Property Tax Rate Set At 12.2 Cents, A Decrease From Last Year's 12.4 Cents Rate.

2008 State Property Tax Rate set at 12.2 cents

FRANKFORT, Ky.–The Kentucky Department of Revenue has set the 2008 State Real Property Tax Rate at 12.2 cents per $100 of assessed value. KRS 132.020 requires the Department of Revenue to set the real property rate no later than July 1 of each year.

This rate is based on the revenue generated from the increase in taxable real property assessments from 2007 to 2008. If the increase in revenue is more than 4 percent after the exclusion of new property added to the tax roll during 2008, then the prior year rate must be reduced. Since the assessment increase for 2008 is estimated at 6.65 percent, the state rate will decrease from 12.4 to 12.2 cents per $100 of assessed value to limit the increase in revenue to 4 percent.

All of the revenue generated from the state property tax rate will go into the state’s General Fund.


Terry Brooks: Reform KY.'s Juvenile Justice System.

Time to reform Ky.'s juvenile justice system
By Terry Brooks

At issue | June 13 Herald-Leader article by Brandon Ortiz, "Perils seen for juvenile justice; lack of attorneys is just one worry"

Every day in Kentucky juvenile courts, young people are placed in custody for disobeying their parents, cutting school or even bringing home bad grades.

Youths of color are routinely incarcerated at far higher rates for committing the same offenses as white children.

And each day, children who were previously taken into custody for minor infractions return after committing far more serious crimes.

This is the reality of the juvenile justice system in Kentucky today – a system in dire need of reform for young people of color and minor offenders.

The dysfunctional state of juvenile justice in Kentucky mirrors a larger national problem. The 2008 national Kids Count Data Book calls for urgent and massive change in juvenile justice policy, which it says has been shaped for too long by ”misinformation, hyperbole, and political prejudices.“

The report offers a roadmap for reform, including keeping low-level youthful offenders out of court, reducing the reliance on secure confinement for young people and taking strong actions to decrease the disparate treatment of youths of color in the juvenile justice system.

For Kentucky, such changes could not come soon enough. In several areas, our state's juvenile justice record is far worse than the rest of the nation's.

Kentucky has the second highest rate in the country for detaining youths charged with ”status“ offenses, infractions that would not be crimes if they were committed by an adult.

Kentucky also doles out punishment along racial lines at higher rates than the already troubling national average. Two youths who enter the system with the same charge and same history are often shuttled along different paths, with youths of color receiving worse outcomes. In 2006, for every four youths of color placed in custody in Kentucky, just one white youth was detained, compared with a national rate of three to one.

Several factors are to blame for these trends, most notably a lack of practical options for treating children whose behavior lands them in court. The result is an overreliance by judges on court orders and detention. This problem was exacerbated during the Fletcher administration, when the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice took a sharp turn away from treatment and rehabilitation of young offenders.

There is virtually no evidence that the harsher approaches reduce crime. Studies routinely show that 50 to 80 percent of youths released from juvenile correctional facilities are rearrested within two to three years — even those who were not serious offenders before confinement. Moreover, locking up kids is expensive, costing taxpayers typically about $200 to $300 per youth per day.

To address these problems, Kentucky Youth Advocates is setting up a commission made up of prosecutors and defense attorneys, judges, law enforcement officials, educators, child advocates and juvenile justice experts. The commission will consider recommending a variety of reform measures, including developing a database that would track kids as they move through the system and exploring options for creating more home- and community-based treatment alternatives to court-ordered detention.

In the last year, several factors that tend to trigger higher youth offenses increased. These include a 5 percent increase in children living in poverty and a 9 percent rise in children living in families where no parent works full-time year-round, according to Kids Count.

The time to act is clearly now. Kentucky can no longer afford to operate a juvenile justice system that fails to reduce crime and treats youth of color differently than other young people.

Terry Brooks is executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.

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Yep, You Guessed it: Another Laugh.


Words to live by.

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

— Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

“The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”

— Samuel Adams

“No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms.”

— Thomas Jefferson

“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

- Justice Joseph Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by our Constitution’s principal author, James Madison, wrote in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833)


Saturday, June 28, 2008

John Cheves: "McCain's Their Guy, But KY. GOP Does Love Pork" -- And John McCain HATES It!

John Cheves of the Herald-Leader does an excellent job of pointing out the dichotomy between where John McCain stands on "Pork" and where the rest of Kentucky's Congressional delegation stands on it. Instead of trying to paraphrase him, let me let you read his piece here. It is also reprinted below:

Republican John McCain says he'll veto all congressional earmarks if he's elected president and use the savings – about $18 billion a year – to help offset his tax cuts.

No surprise: Throughout his long Senate career, McCain protested the special projects tucked into federal spending bills by lawmakers with little review, calling them ”wasteful pork“ and ”outrageous and obscene.“

But McCain's war on earmarks could turn into friendly fire for Kentucky's two biggest Republicans now united behind his campaign, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressman Hal Rogers.

Both are senior members of their chambers' appropriations committees and have earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars over the decades. As a result, Kentucky is one of the porkier states, with an estimated $56 in earmarked spending per resident compared to the $33 national average.

Are McConnell and Rogers ready to kiss their earmarks goodbye if their man wins in November?

Hardly, said David Williams, vice president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a non-partisan spending watchdog in Washington.

”McCain has been battling earmarks in Congress, and folks like Mitch McConnell and Hal Rogers have been battling him,“ Williams said. ”Given their party loyalty, they're probably holding their noses and hoping that if McCain is elected president, they can – quote-unquote – "work with him' and see if they can't keep their status quo going.“

McConnell did not return calls this week seeking comment.

Calling the hogs

Rogers, of Somerset, said he supports McCain ”wholeheartedly“ – except on the subject of earmarks.

”Critical issues facing the people of southern and eastern Kentucky have long been ignored by federal and state bureaucrats, and without earmarks, many ongoing and worthy initiatives in my district would simply wither on the vine,“ Rogers said in a statement. ”Whether it's cleaning up the hillsides and roadsides through the PRIDE campaign, or eliminating the devastation of drug abuse through the UNITE program, I firmly believe that directed congressional spending can do a lot of good.“

Kentucky may be a conservative state that favors McCain in polls, but pork still wins votes here. Incumbents are happy to rattle the stick in the swill bucket – calling the hogs to supper – as Election Day approaches.

In his re-election bid this year, McConnell touts all the federal money he has hauled for public and private projects. McConnell sponsored or co-sponsored nearly $195 million in earmarks in 2008, including money for city buses in Paducah, computers for the Barren County sheriff's office and a Louisville technology venture represented by his former chief of staff, Hunter Bates, a lobbyist whose clients have enjoyed a number of McConnell earmarks.

”This was a tough year in the appropriations process, but after a long fight, Kentucky came out a winner,“ McConnell said in a Dec. 19 press release. ”I will continue to use my seniority in the United States Senate to help bring home funding.“

Rogers takes credit for bringing billions of dollars to his 5th Congressional District since he was elected in 1980, partly through earmarks. Government facilities he has brought to his counties, including three federal prisons, employ 1,600 people. Although he stands for re-election this year, he is so popular that the Democrats didn't bother to run anyone against him.

”Pork is the bad word for making good things happen,“ Rogers said in a 2006 interview.

In this environment, where local voters demand that national taxpayers get the bill for their wish lists, McConnell and Rogers can comfortably share a stage with McCain as he blasts the fiscal irresponsibility of earmarks, said Michael Baranowski, a political scientist at Northern Kentucky University.

”A lot depends on how you define earmark,“ Baranowski said.

”When people think "earmark,' they think of something like a National Polka Music Appreciation Museum somewhere else. They don't think about their local projects,“ Baranowski said. ”So Sen. McConnell can say, "Well, no, I don't support earmarks either, I support these fine projects that are essential public investments in my home state.'“

”There's a disconnect there, and I think Sen. McConnell and Congressman Rogers are counting on that disconnect,“ he said.

Losing patience?

However, 2008 could be the year that genuine conservatives lose patience with entrenched Republican incumbents who grease their path to re-election with deficit spending, said Jim Waters, director of policy and communications for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a free-market think tank in Bowling Green.

”True conservatives are getting to the boiling point,“ Waters said. ”Too many Kentuckians see government as the sole provider. The politicians play off that, saying, "You can't get rid of me! The next fellow won't have all the clout I have to bring you all this!'“

Kentucky's two Democratic congressmen – Ben Chandler of Versailles and John Yarmuth of Louisville – don't face the same dilemma in backing their party's choice for president, Barack Obama. While Obama has made noises as a senator about reforming earmarks and enacting a one-year moratorium, he hasn't shown anywhere near the fierce opposition of McCain, who has refused to submit earmarks on behalf of Arizona.

In a sense, McConnell and Rogers could be better off if Obama wins. Under a President McCain who vetoes their earmarks, the Republicans would have to decide whether to support their new president or vote with the expected Democratic congressional majorities to override the vetoes, said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-partisan watchdog.

”This isn't the first time that people in politics have had to hitch their wagon to someone they don't necessarily agree with and then hope they can figure out how to handle him after Inauguration Day,“ Ellis said.
Reach John Cheves at (859) 231-3266.

Editor's comment: I have ALWAYS supported Senator Mitch McConnell's GREAT efforts in bringing home the "BACON".

It is NOT because I feel that is how our government needs to be run, but it is because as long as the "BACON" is there to be brought home and nearly EVERY Senator is feeding at the trough, I am NOT going to be in the habit of preventing my elected official (and I have ALWAYS voted for and supported the Senator) from feeding at the trough, too.

UNTIL there is a consensus on this subject (and maybe, if John McCain becomes President he can make that happen), requiring ALL to abstain from the HABIT of "PORKING", I congratulate our Senator for getting OURS back home to US.

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NO Laughing As Zimbabwe's President, IDIOT Robert "Frankenstein" Mugabe, Aptly Demonstrates That "Absolute Power Corrupts ABSOLUTELY"!

You can read the sordid story here, though the cartoon below speaks volumes:

It is SO SHAMEFUL, indeed.

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You Gotta Laugh Sometimes.

Yes, laugh away, but urge your government to do something about them speculators.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Congressman Ben Chandler: Oil Companies Should Drill on Land They Already Have.

Oil companies should drill on land they already have
By Ben Chandler

On June 6, the price of a barrel of oil increased more in one day than an entire barrel cost a decade ago.

Today in Central Kentucky, some families are choosing between buying groceries and getting to work in the morning. As gas prices soar to more than $4 a gallon, Kentuckians need relief.

Gas prices are high for a number of reasons. Decades of failed policies and the increase in demand from new world powers such as India and China are catching up to Americans. The weakening dollar has helped make the price of a barrel of oil skyrocket, while price speculation by major investors further artificially drives up the price. With new international markets, price speculation and the weakening dollar, supply and demand are not as simple as they used to be.

Even so, why aren't the oil and gas companies producing on the millions of acres they already control? As you and I pay $4 a gallon, oil and gas companies are making record profits, receiving federal tax breaks and giving their executives salaries of tens of millions of dollars.

Given this, it is hard to believe that the oil companies are not taking advantage of consumers.

Providing oil and gas companies with more land to drill is often seen as the cure-all for our energy problems. The fact is, however, oil and gas companies are choosing to drill on only about a quarter of the 68 million acres (bigger than the size of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia combined) already leased to them by the federal government.

Even though these companies have 81 percent of all the known reserves in the United States, they refuse to extract the oil and natural gas they already control.

The Responsible Ownership of Public Lands Act would compel oil companies to produce on the millions of acres they already control. They either drill on the land already leased to them by the federal government, putting millions more barrels of oil on the market, or pay a per-acre fee that goes back to taxpayers.

While the solution to the oil problem is complicated, there is plenty of room for the oil companies to do more drilling on accessible property without opening up more federal land.

Some of my colleagues want to give oil companies more land, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, for drilling, but I do not think the solution is to give them more acreage to drill for resources they can already access.

Even if additional public lands were opened up for offshore drilling of oil, it would have little if any immediate impact on the price of gas. In fact, a 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that opening up offshore drilling ”would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before the year 2030.“

Congress has recently taken a number of steps to counter rising gas prices. We suspended new deliveries of crude oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, passed a law to protect consumers against price gouging during energy emergencies and authorized the Department of Justice to take legal action against the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries if its members conspire to artificially set the price of oil.

It is important, however, for us to realize that short-term fixes are not the solution to our long-term energy problem. In the last 18 months, Congress has passed more legislation encouraging energy efficiency and the development of homegrown biofuels — such as wind, solar and geothermal — than any other Congress. The best way toward energy security and economic stability is to invest in new, green technology and clean, domestic, renewable fuels that, over time, will reduce our reliance on oil.

Each of us has a responsibility to secure our energy future — oil companies, Congress and American consumers alike. We need to end the partisan finger-pointing and take action. It is time to protect the future of Central Kentucky families, not the future of oil companies.

Editor's comment: Have your say.


Jess Rivas: Chavez, not Bush, upholds U.S. ideals.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez often uses very harsh language when referring to President Bush. And the mainstream media in the United States always rushes to describe Chavez as ”anti-American.“

They neglect to report that Chavez always goes out of his way to show support for America's poor, who suffer from an oppressive ruling elite. He has gone far past the rhetoric, putting his checkbook where his mouth is.

Venezuela-owned Citgo has donated millions of gallons of heating oil to more than 200 indigenous communities, 250 homeless shelters and an estimated 2 million low-income Americans in 23 states — a $100 million-plus contribution.

This is not only solid support for America but also much better than U.S. oil companies, which have refused to engage in similar efforts despite repeated requests from various state representatives.

So, although Chavez's position is strongly anti-Bush, it is clear that it is not anti-American. I would like to think that the United States is more than just one person.

So, what is America? A superficial answer would say that it is a piece of land, and Americans are the people born on it. But some Americans blow off the tops of mountains to extract carbon for profit. They pour massive amounts of toxic sludge into open pits that ends up polluting and poisoning every thing that lives on the land.

America cannot be just a piece of land because these people exert unspeakable violence against the land, and no one calls them anti-American.

Furthermore, there was a time in which people born on this land where not American citizens; they were representatives of the many indigenous nations that once populated the continent. There was a later time when people born in this land were British subjects. What happened between then and now is what makes this America: the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

That is what America really is: an egalitarian nation of principles, laws and liberties.

So, is Chavez really anti-American? He has honored tremendously egalitarian principles in Venezuela, giving all the people the same rights regardless of their economic status, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or origin. He has shown unprecedented respect for every conceivable civil liberty and human right, including every right we have in the United States and others that are not regarded as such in the this country: the right to have three meals a day, to have decent housing, to earn decent wages while working humane hours, to have health care and an education.

Chavez has promoted the creation of 266 community radio and TV stations, giving real muscle to the principle of free speech. This gives people not only the right to speak their minds but also a voice with which they may be heard.

During his nine years in office, there have been more than 11 electoral processes monitored and certified by hundreds of international observers — a lot more than can be said about the U.S. elections.

Chavez's commitment to democracy, egalitarianism and civil liberties complies completely with the mandates of the U.S. Constitution, making him an exemplary American.

His only fault is that he extends those principles and rights to everybody, even those born outside Venezuelan and U.S. borders.

But that is not at odds with the idea that ”all men are created equal,“ which is the cornerstone of this country's foundation.

If we want to find someone who is truly anti-American, we should look for someone who claims the right to torture prisoners and creates overseas torture camps.

Someone who uses our military might to loot other countries in violation of basic principles and international laws.

Someone who violates the separation of powers by ignoring the U.S. Supreme Court rulings and adding signing statements to bills passed by Congress.

Someone who takes health coverage away from poor children and families, who spied on U.S. citizens, who rigged elections, who eliminated due process, who imprisons journalists.

If we found someone whose crimes against the Constitution were too many to list, we would have found a true anti-American.
Jess A. Rivas of Somerset is an assistant professor at Somerset Community College. E-mail him at

Editor's comment: This comes to us courtesy of the H-L. Have your say.


Some Republicans React To D. C. Gun Case U. S. Supreme Court Opinion.

Statement by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Supreme Court Ruling of D.C. v Heller

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell released the following statement Thursday following a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling upholding the Second Amendment rights of citizens of the District of Colombia:

"Today the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects the individual right of law-abiding citizens of the District of Colombia to protect themselves in their own homes. This landmark ruling will ensure that regardless of where citizens reside, the government will respect their rights that are guaranteed by the Second Amendment."


FRANKFORT – Kentucky State Senate President David L. Williams released the following statement today regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on the D.C. gun ban:

“The Supreme Court’s decision to lift the ban on the law abiding citizens of Washington, D.C. from exercising their fundamental right to bear arms is a victory to all citizens who value their Constitutional rights. Today we have seen first hand the significance of having strong judges that understand that their role is to interpret the law as written, not create new laws. The importance of this decision will also be a factor in the presidential election considering Barack Obama’s record of consistent opposition to gun owner’s rights.”

Statement by Brett Guthrie, Candidate for Congress in Kentucky’s Second Congressional District Regarding Today’s Supreme Court Ruling

“I am ecstatic about the Supreme Court’s ruling today affirming the right of an individual to keep and bear arms. Today’s ruling shows the importance of having judges on the bench who interpret the Constitution as written instead of legislating from the bench. As a Member of Congress, I will always vote to uphold the Second Amendment and the rights of gun owners and sportsmen and women everywhere.”

Editor's note: As we get more of these, we'll update this post.


Governor Steve Beshear Loses Vicki Glass, Signs Pension Bill Into Law, Thereby Ending Special Session.

A couple of news from the Governor's office.

1) Vicki Glass leaves to work for the Louisville Expo; and

2) The pension bill, passed by the General Assembly during the just concluded 5 day "special" session, has just been signed into law by the Governor.

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As I Predicted, The U. S. Supreme Court Says The Second Amendment Secures Individual Rights To Bear Arms. Amen To That!

The case is DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ET AL. v. HELLER, 07-290 (2008), and represents the FIRST REAL DEFINITE statement from the Court on what the Second Amendment's provision that "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" means.

The Court in a SHOCKINGLY SURPRISING 5 to 4 opinion (yes, you read it -- 5 to 4, NOT UNANIMOUS -- you go figure who could dissent from the CLEAR provision) held that the Second Amendment secures our collective individual right to bear arms, subject to REASONABLE regulation.

The nearly 160 page decision demands a read, but if you can't read it, I'll leave you with the Court's summary below:

District of Columbia law bans handgun possession by making it a crime to carry an unregistered firearm and prohibiting the registration of handguns; provides separately that no person may carry an unlicensed handgun, but authorizes the police chief to issue 1-year licenses; and requires residents to keep lawfully owned firearms unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device.
Respondent Heller, a D. C. special policeman, applied to register a handgun he wished to keep at home, but the District refused.

He filed this suit seeking, on Second Amendment grounds, to enjoin the city from enforcing the bar on handgun registration, the licensing requirement insofar as it prohibits carrying an unlicensed firearm in the home, and the trigger-lock requirement insofar as it prohibits the use of functional firearms in the home. The District Court dismissed the suit, but the D. C. Circuit reversed, holding that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess firearms and that the city’s total ban on handguns, as well as its requirement that firearms in the home be kept nonfunctional even when necessary for self-defense, violated that right.


1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Pp. 2–53.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Anti federalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.
Pp. 22–28.
(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.
(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms.
Pp. 30–32.
(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.
(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation.
Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264–265, refutes the individual rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.
2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
Pp. 54–56.
3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this
prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement.
Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.
478 F. 3d 370, affirmed.

Editor's (QUICK) comment: I believe the Majority is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT in its opinion.

The decision by the Court was the CORRECT one.

Our country's Founders mistrusted government and RIGHTFULLY concluded that the BEST check against DESPOTISM is to give the people the power to ARM themselves!

As for the opinion, I love how Justice Scalia uses the dissenting Justices premise against them. Thus, while the dissenters will urge an approval of the gun ban because of the high crime in Washington D. C., Justice Scalia retorts that THAT is precisely why people of the District need to own hand guns.


If only the people of Zimbabwe had their own Second Amendment, their President, Robert Mugabe, might NOT turn out to be a Mad man intent on killing ALL his opposition!

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U. S. Supreme Court Finds The So-Called "Millionaires Amendment" For Politicians Unconstitutional.

The U. S. Supreme Court, in a very fractured but near unanimous opinion, ruled in DAVIS v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, 07-320 (2008), that the so called "Millionaires' Amendment" to the federal election laws, which require a candidate for elective office who intends to spend more than $350,000.00 to inform his opponent and also suffer some monetary penalties, was unconstitutional on free speech and privacy of association and belief grounds.

Below are the facts of the case as articulated by the Court:

Federal-law limits on the amount of contributions a House of Representatives
candidate and his authorized committee may receive from an individual, and the amount his party may devote to coordinated campaign expenditures, 2 U. S. C. §§441a(a)(1)(A), (a)(3)(A), (c), and (d), normally apply equally to all competitors for a seat and their authorized committees. However, §319(a) of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), 2 U. S. C. §441a–1(a), part of the so-called “Millionaire’s Amendment,” fundamentally alters this scheme when, as a result of a candidate’s expenditure of personal funds, the “opposition personal funds amount” (OPFA) exceeds $350,000. The OPFA is a statistic comparing competing candidates’ personal expenditures and taking account of certain other fundraising. When a “self-financing” candidate’s personal expenditure causes the OPFA to pass $350,000, a new, asymmetrical regulatory scheme comes into play.The self-financing candidate remains subject to the normal limitations, but his opponent, the “non-self-financing” candidate, may receive individual contributions at treble the normal limit from individuals who have reached the normal limit on aggregate contributions, and may accept coordinated party expenditures without limit. See §§441a–1(a)(1)(A)–(C). Because calculating the OPFA requires certain information about the self-financing candidate’s campaign assets and personal expenditures, §319(b) requires him to file an initial “declaration of intent” revealing the amount of personal funds the candidate intends to spend in excess of $350,000, and to make additional disclosures to the other candidates, their national parties, and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as his personal expenditures exceed certain benchmarks. Appellant Davis, a candidate for a House seat in 2004 and 2006 who lost both times to the incumbent, notified the FEC for the 2006 election, in compliance with §319(b), that he intended to spend $1million in personal funds. After the FEC informed him it had reason to believe he had violated §319 by failing to report personal expenditures during the 2004 campaign, he filed this suit for a declaration that §319 is unconstitutional and an injunction preventing the FEC from enforcing the section during the 2006 election. The District Court concluded sua sponte that Davis had standing, but rejected his claims on the merits and granted the FEC summary judgment.

Editor's comment: While I am one who is EXTREMELY disgusted at the CHOKE HOLD special interest money has on our political system (and politicians), and the CORRUPTION it breeds, I TOTALLY agree with the Court that a person spending his/her "unlimited" personal funds for his/her own campaign does NOT present ANY DANGER to society's interests.

If you got it, you can BURN it, baby!


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Hillary Clinton Debuts As Barack Obama's "Surrogate", Husband Bill Volunteers To Help With The Women.


Talking About Justice, Kentucky Chief Justice, John Minton, Is Off To A VERY Good Start.

Read more here.

Again, I congratulate the Chief Justice, a man I have practiced extensively in front of, and whose judicial quality I admire, and who I can count as a friend.

I am optimistic that he will make a very admirable Chief Justice for ALL of us.

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Republican Knott County Judge-Executive, Randy Thompson, An Ernie Fletcher Appointee, Will Follow Predecessor To Federal Prison For Buying Votes.

It MUST be something in the water up in them mountains.

Here are excerpts:

A jury in U.S. District Court in Pikeville on Thursday convicted Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson in an alleged vote-buying conspiracy, according to an attorney involved in the case.

Thompson was charged with trying to buy votes by misusing taxpayers' money to improve privately owned driveways and build private bridges.

Jurors also convicted John Mac Combs and Phillip Champion, who are deputy judge-executives, and former Magistrate Ronnie Adams.

All were accused of taking part in the vote-buying conspiracy in 2006.

Thompson, a Republican in the heavily Democratic county, was appointed judge-executive in 2006 after the prior office-holder, Donnie Newsome, went to federal prison for buying votes. The judge-executive is the top administrator in most Kentucky counties.

Pikeville attorney Larry Webster, who represented Combs, said the jury convicted Thompson, Combs and Adams of conspiracy and misapplication of funds, but split its verdict on some other counts.


The case grew out of the November 2006 general election.

After replacing Newsome earlier that year, Thompson won a full term in that race — the first Republican ever elected judge-executive in the county.

But a federal grand jury charged that he cheated to do it.

Federal investigators began looking into the election after a state audit noted a large spike in spending for roadwork before the vote and questioned hundreds of thousands in road spending.

The indictment charged that Thompson sought votes in return for road and bridge work, while Combs and Champion directed where illegal work was to be done. Combs rode on a dump truck to show workers where to put gravel on private roads and drives, and later sought false receipts to cover up the work, the indictment charged.

Adams, who lost his race for magistrate in May 2006 but became county road foreman under Thompson, sought votes for his boss in return for free paving work, the indictment said.

Witnesses at the trial said the officials asked people who got free road and bridge work to lie and say they paid for it, and even hired a county employee to build bridges in the middle of the night.

But defense attorneys said the spike in road and bridge work before the election was the result of waiting for good working conditions — as well as the arrival of money for the work — and said Thompson and the other officials did not specifically seek votes in exchange for gravel and blacktop.

They also argued the work was needed to improve transportation conditions in the county, so the officials were acting in the best interest of residents.

Editor's comment: I notice there was NO wink with the comments of defense attorneys, so I'll supply one: WINK!

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BREAKING News: Blackwater In "HOTwater" Over Weapons Probe.

The story coming out of RALEIGH, North Carolina is that Federal agents raided Blackwater Worldwide this week as part of an investigation into whether the private security company sidestepped federal laws prohibiting the private purchase of automatic assault rifles, the company said June 26.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched Blackwater's armory at its corporate headquarters in Moyock on June 24 as part of the investigation. Court documents show that agents seized 22 guns as evidence from a vault dedicated to county authorities.

The company signed agreements in 2005 in which Blackwater financed the purchase of 34 automatic weapons for the Camden County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Tony Perry became the official owner of the weapons, but Blackwater was allowed to keep most of the guns at its armory.

Federal laws prohibit private parties from buying automatic weapons, but allows law enforcement agencies to have them.

Editor's comment: I guess you can say that Blackwater is in "HOTwater"!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

******************* SPECIAL EDITION: Words To Live By. *******************************

Editor's comment: I shall post the D. C. gun ban opinion and my analysis tomorrow. Meanwhile, enjoy my special edition of Words to live by below:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

— Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

“The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”

— Samuel Adams

“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

- Justice Joseph Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by our Constitution’s principal author, James Madison, wrote in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833)


Scott McClellan, President Bush's Former Aide Who Told Us "What Happened" Signals He'll Bolt From Republican Party!

Read more here, and listen to him here.

Can't say I blame him, can you?

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Barack Obama Attempts To Have It Both Ways On FISA.

Watch the video above.


Ralph Nader Slams Barack Obama For "Acting White", Obama's Campaign Responds.

Read about the Nader "acting White" comments.

Is Ralph Nader right or is he merely seeking FREE publicity?


Barack Obama's Campaign Strategy Is Revealed.

The strategy for the fall election for Barack Obama is no longer a secret.

Here is the low down (H/T Swampland):

1) Hold the states that Kerry won in 2004, which accounted for 252 electoral votes. Plouffe noted they are polling ahead in Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania – the three states he said McCain is targeting.
2) They will go on the offensive in 14 states Bush won in 2004, including North Carolina, Nevada, Montana and Georgia. Obama is already polling ahead in six of those states: Virginia, Missouri, Colorado, Ohio, Iowa and New Mexico.
3) An early and prolonged advertising offensive to help “fill in the gaps” and expand people’s knowledge of Obama’s biography and platform. They are already up with tv ads in 18 states and, speaking of states Bush won, those include Alaska, North Dakota and Indiana.
4) An emphasis of a 50 state strategy where they can draw every electoral vote they can, including, for example, Nebraska where they hope to break away one electoral vote in the eastern part of the state around Omaha.
5) Voter registration. They will be making an enormous push in all 50 states. “We think this is a place where we’ve going to have an enormous advantage over John McCain, it’s a place where George Bush had an advantage over Democrats in 2000 and 2004,” Plouffe said. The registration is not a random, set up a table in the mall kind of operation, “it’s highly targeted,” he added.
6) The Persuasion Army. Plouffe repeated this term often. “We’re absolutely committed to building the best persuasion army. We think that’s something Bush did really, really well in 2000 and 2004.” Plouffe said it’s much more powerful to have people from your own neighborhood not only explaining their support for Obama but being able to answer questions and correct wrong impressions. “And it’s not just about quantity, though a critical volume to get the work done is important, it’s about quality and we’re lucky that one of Obama’s strengths is that he draws some really talented people,” he said. Plouffe pointed to yesterday’s L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll: “If only 13% of your voters support you enthusiastically, your volunteer base will be very low, versus when more than 40% say they are very enthusiastic about you, your volunteer base is very high.”

Other points included reaching out to women and Latinos (polls show things are going well with both demographics) and registering African Americans and young people (big push that started more than a month ago) but these were the six he spent the most time dwelling on. Plouffe noted it’s obviously still very early in the campaign but they feel much better about defending the Kerry states than he suspects McCain feels about defending Bush states. Here is part of the slide show that the campaign released for your viewing pleasure. And for fun comparison purposes, here’s McCain’s slide-show strategy briefing from last month.


As I Predicted, U. S. Supreme Court Finds The Constitution FORBIDS Execution Of Child Rapists Who Do NOT Kill, Or Intend To Kill, Their Victims.

As I predicted here, the U. S. Supreme Court has held in Kennedy V. Louisiana, 07-343, (2008), that the U. S. Constitution's ban on "Cruel and Unusual Punishments" FORBIDS a state from executing a child rapist, who does not kill, or intend to kill, his victim.

Below is a summary from the court:

Louisiana charged petitioner with the aggravated rape of his then-8-year-old stepdaughter. He was convicted and sentenced to death under a state statute authorizing capital punishment for the rape of a child under 12. The State Supreme Court affirmed, rejecting petitioner’s reliance on Coker v. Georgia, 433 U. S. 584, which barred the use of the death penalty as punishment for the rape of an adult
woman but left open the question which, if any, other non homicide crimes can be punished by death consistent with the Eighth Amendment.

Reasoning that children are a class in need of special protection, the state court held child rape to be unique in terms of the harm it inflicts upon the victim and society and concluded that, short of first-degree murder, there is no crime more deserving of death. The court acknowledged that petitioner would be the first person executed since the state law was amended to authorize the death penalty for child rape in 1995, and that Louisiana is in the minority of jurisdictions authorizing death for that crime. However, emphasizing that four more States had capitalized child rape since 1995 and at least eight others had authorized death for other non homicide crimes, as well as that, under Roper v. Simmons, 543 U. S. 551, and Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U. S. 304, it is the direction of change rather than the numerical count that is significant, the court held petitioner’s death sentence to be constitutional.

Held: The Eighth Amendment bars Louisiana from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim’s death.

Editor's comment: The majority opinion based its holding on the principle that "when the law punishes by death, it risks its own sudden descent into brutality, transgressing the constitutional commitment to decency and restraint.
For these reasons we have explained that capital punishment must “be limited to those offenders who commit ‘a narrow category of the most serious crimes’ and whose
extreme culpability makes them ‘the most deserving of execution.’ ” Though the death penalty is not invariably unconstitutional, see Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U. S. 153 (1976), the Court insists upon confining the instances in which the punishment can be imposed."

So "confining the reach of the death penalty" became the Court's calling.

Another important statement made by the Court is this: After reviewing the authorities informed by contemporary norms, including the history of the death penalty for this and other non homicide crimes, current state statutes and new enactments, and the number of executions since 1964, we conclude there is a national consensus against capital punishment for the crime of child rape."

But then the Court did not care much about any "national consensus, as it declared that "[a]s we have said in other Eighth Amendment cases, objective evidence of contemporary values as it relates to punishment for child rape is entitled to great weight, but it does not end our inquiry. “[T]he Constitution contemplates that in the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty under the Eighth Amendment.”

So, according to the Court, consensus may be important, but not so important as "the resolution of the question before us, which is informed by our precedents and our own understanding of the Constitution and the rights it secures ...".

The good thing about the decision is that the Court limited its ruling to "... crimes against individual persons", as it chose not to "... address, for example, crimes defining and punishing treason, espionage, terrorism, and drug kingpin activity, which are offenses against the State."

But the end result is that "[a]s it relates to crimes against individuals, though, the death penalty should not be expanded to instances where the victim’s life was not taken", as the Court found it could NOT "... sanction [a death sentence] when the harm to the victim, though grave, cannot be quantified in the same way as death of the victim."

The Courts rationale for this?

The Court discusses the "twin goals of punishment" -- that of retribution and deterrence -- in rationalizing its decision.

According to the Court, "[t]he goal of retribution, which reflects society’s and the
victim’s interests in seeing that the offender is repaid for the hurt he caused does not justify the harshness of the death penalty here", especially when there are problems with "a special risk of wrongful execution" resulting from "unreliable, induced, and even imagined child testimony."

Continuing, the Court stated that "[w]ith respect to deterrence, if the death penalty adds to the risk of non-reporting, that, too, diminishes the penalty’s
objectives. Under reporting is a common problem with respect to child sexual abuse. ... As a result, punishment by death may not result in more deterrence or more effective enforcement. In addition, by in effect making the punishment for child rape and murder equivalent, a State that punishes child rape by death may remove a strong incentive for the rapist not to kill the victim."

Whether or not the Court's reasoning here "intrudes upon the consensus-making process" and risks "itself becom[ing] enmeshed in the process, part judge and part the maker of that which it judges" is a LEGITIMATE question.

And that question is made more relevant by the Court's conclusory observation that "[i]n most cases justice is not better served by terminating the life of the
perpetrator rather than confining him and preserving the possibility that he and the system will find ways to allow him to understand the enormity of his offense," though one MUST admit that the Court tried to redeem itself when it states that it's precedence allows it to conclude that "[d]ifficulties in administering the penalty to ensure against its arbitrary and capricious application require adherence to a rule reserving its use, at this stage of evolving standards and in cases of crimes against individuals, for crimes that take the life of the victim."

Not surprising, the five CONSERVATIVE Justices disagree with the majority.

Justice Samuel Alito, who delivered the dissenting opinion, writes thus:

The Court today holds that the Eighth Amendment categorically prohibits the imposition of the death penalty for the crime of raping a child.
The Court provides two reasons for this sweeping conclusion: First, the Court claims to have identified “a national consensus” that the death penalty is never acceptable for the rape of a child; second, the Court concludes, based on its “independent judgment,” that imposing the death penalty for child rape is inconsistent with “ ‘the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.’ ” Because neither of these justifications is sound, I respectfully dissent.

Editor's conclusion: I can't say that I disagree with the result reached by the majority opinion.

I just CANNOT see the need to kill someone who has NOT killed, in spite of the horror. I am in TOTAL agreement that the rapist deserves to NOT be let out of prison for his natural life, on the strength of my belief that he is a DANGER to little underage girls.

I also belief that the dissent is right when they conclude that the majority's opinion is "unsound" -- though I would characterization the opinion as bordering on the "bogus".

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Barack Obama Deserves This One laugh.

Yes, he does.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Republican Party Of Kentucky: In Case You Missed It ... More Hypocrisy From Bruce Lunsford!

Below is the RPK's press release:

The Audacity of Hypocrisy: Lunsford Profits from Energy Investments

Lunsford’s empty rhetoric doesn’t match his personal financial decisions

LOUISVILLE - Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford made his third stop at a Kentucky gas station today, wildly attacking Senator Mitch McConnell, oil companies, and Wall Street for high gas prices. In fact, Lunsford’s campaign website specifically attacks “Wall Street” for driving up gas prices.

But a search of Lunsford’s financial disclosure filed with the U.S. Senate on April 17, 2008, shows that he has profited massively from personal investments in hedge funds that invest in oil and gas companies. At least until April, Bruce Lunsford was potentially making millions from oil and gas industry investments. Ironically, during the primary, Lunsford attacked his opponent Greg Fischer for having invested in Lunsford’s healthcare companies, which Fischer had criticized. Now Lunsford is blaming the very hedge funds from which he profits for the energy crisis.

The Kentucky political blog, Elephants in the Bluegrass, picked up the story and outlined Lunsford’s investments:

Lunsford is invested in Goldman Sachs Capital Partners V, LP, an $8.5 billion private equity fund for "high net worth individuals." Lunsford valued his assets in that non-publicly traded fund as between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000. Lunsford's financial disclosure forms list GS Capital Partner V's investment as including: CVR Energy, Inc.; Knight, Inc.; McJunkin Red Man Corporation; SunGuard Data Systems, Inc.; and Cobalt International Energy.

· CVR Energy…operates an 113,500 barrels-per-day-throughput-capacity oil refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas, and a crude oil gathering system in Kansas and Oklahoma…

· McJunkin Red Man Corporation: Exclusively geared toward the distribution of industrial and oilfield PVF products…has a significant presence in the oil and gas industry…

· Knight, Inc. owns the general partner of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP), one of the largest publicly traded pipeline limited partnerships in America with an enterprise value of approximately $20 billion. KMP is the largest independent transporter of refined petroleum products in the United States…

· SunGard Data Systems, Inc., which acquired FAME Energy. SunGard FAME provides ‘data services to support energy traders, research analysts and risk managers of energy companies and financial institutions.’ Sounds like it helps the very energy speculators…Lunsford blames…

· Cobalt International Energy, LP…an oil and gas exploration and development company focused on pursuing…opportunities in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico and offshore international areas. Cobalt…wants to drill some of that oil that the Cubans and Chinese are extracting just miles from our shore. Lunsford recently said he opposes oil drilling off American shores…yet would profit from a company that exists to do just that…

“Maybe Barack and Bruce can get together and talk about audacity, because this is the height of it,” said McConnell campaign manager Justin Brasell.

“Lunsford’s plan to tax American energy companies and not expand domestic production, returning us to the failed policies of the Carter Administration, would make us more dependent on Middle Eastern oil. That’s wrong for Kentucky, and wrong for America,” Brasell added.

Paid for by McConnell Senate Committee 2008 /


Dick Morris: Obama's New Strategy.

Obama’s new strategy
By Dick Morris
Posted: 06/24/08 03:44 PM [ET]

Have you noticed a change in Barack Obama’s campaign? Instead of avoiding controversies over values, religion and race, he seems to welcome them and wade into the debates with an increasing enthusiasm.

Characterizing how the Republicans will attack him, he predicted that they would criticize his “funny name” and add “and by the way, did you notice that he’s black?”

Obama used to go out of his way to avoid this kind of reference, but now he brings it on. Deliberately.


Obama and the conservative right are mutually trying to keep the debate about his candidacy on the existential level — is he the hope for America’s future or a Manchurian Candidate, a kind of sleeper agent sent to destroy our democracy? That debate, which pits Obama’s rhetoric against the Rev. Wright’s rantings, is a contest that could go on all day, and Obama would win it. It is simply a bridge too far to believe that Obama is that evil and that invidious.

But the more the debate covers such fundamental questions, the more it ignores the details — details which could bring Obama down.

Quite simply, Obama would rather address his religious views and his optimism about America and his embrace of diversity than talk about his plans to raise taxes, let gasoline prices soar and socialize healthcare.

In our new book, Fleeced, we try to bring the debate back down to earth, focusing on the specific plans that Obama has announced during his presidential primary campaign and discussing the consequences. This is the debate Barack Obama hopes he can avoid.

Consider his proposals:

• In effect, he would legislate a 60 percent tax bracket for upper-income Americans, killing all initiative and innovation. He’d raise the top bracket to 40 percent. He’d apply FICA taxes to all income, not just that under $100,000 as at present. So add 40 percent plus FICA’s 12.5 percent plus Medicare’s 2 percent plus state and local taxes averaging, after deduction, at 5-6 percent, and you have a 60 percent bracket.
• He would double the capital gains tax, saddling the 50 percent of Americans who own stock with dramatically higher taxes.
• He’d double the dividend tax, hitting elderly coupon-clippers now retired and depending on fixed incomes.
• He wants to cover 12 million illegal immigrants with federally subsidized health insurance, dramatically driving up costs and forcing federal rationing of healthcare. As in the U.K. and Canada, you will not be permitted certain medical procedures if the bureaucrats decide you are not worth it.
• He proposes requiring Homeland Security operatives to notify terror suspects that they are under investigation within seven days of starting the investigation
• He says that unless they can establish that there is “probable cause to believe that a certain individual is linked to a specific terrorist group,” Homeland Security cannot seize his documents and search his business. The current standard is only that the search be “relevant” to a terror investigation.
• In effect, he would legislate a 60 percent tax bracket for upper-income Americans, killing all initiative and innovation. He’d raise the top bracket to 40 percent. He’d apply FICA taxes to all income, not just that under $100,000 as at present. So add 40 percent plus FICA’s 12.5 percent plus Medicare’s 2 percent plus state and local taxes averaging, after deduction, at 5-6 percent, and you have a 60 percent bracket.

He does not oppose $5-per-gallon gasoline but only says that he wishes there had been a more “gradual adjustment” to the higher prices.

Obama can talk about the Rev. Wright and flag lapel pins and his wife’s love of America all day long. But what he resists is a specific discussion of his own plans for our country. That’s the discussion he fears and he avoids. And it’s the discussion John McCain must force upon him if he is to have any realistic chance of winning the election.

Morris, a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of Outrage. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to . Also go to the site for a signed first edition of Fleeced.


Anne Northup Wants You To "Act", And Informs You That "Liberal Leo Rants On Energy".

Below is the Leo email:

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Former Kentucky House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Gross Clay Lindsay, Passes Away.

Pol Watchers is reporting that "Former House Judiciary Chairman Gross Clay Lindsay, a Henderson Democrat who was a key figure in modernizing the state's court system and changing criminal laws, died early Wednesday morning at his home of natural causes, Henderson County Coroner Bruce Farmer said. He was 77."

I appeared before Gross Lindsey's committee to testify on a few occasions and I found the Chair. to be very conscientious with his work. He always recognized me as "the Attorney from Bowling Green" and always apologized for having trouble pronouncing my surname.

I will not belabor the point, but to simply echo what others have said about him: "Most people -- Democrat or Republican -- would say he was looking to do what was right ... [e]ven if it weren't popular, he always was interested in doing what was right".

He will be missed.

Update, 8:19 PM: Below is Governor Steve Beshear's statememt:

Governor Beshear Remembers Gross Clay Lindsay

FRANKFORT, KY (June 25, 2008) – The following statement was issued today by Governor Steve Beshear:

“I was saddened today to hear of the passing of Gross Clay Lindsay. Gross was in the House of Representatives during my entire tenure there. Even then, he was quickly becoming an icon.

His quick wit, sharp intellect, and ability to “tell it like it is,” no matter where the chips fell, was legendary. He should be an inspiration to all elected public servants.

His ability and willingness to reach across party lines to find both friends and collaborators was clear evidence of his determination to serve ALL Kentuckians.

The people of Henderson and Henderson County have lost their senior statesman. I, and all who had the honor and pleasure of serving with him have lost a friend. I will miss him greatly.”

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Now Back To Kentucky, As Senate Race Gets A Little Crowded -- Yea, You Can Laugh at This One.

Read more from the C-J, but can the guy be a closet White Supremacist as a Native American?

Here's an excerpt from the C-J:

But the bid [os Sonny Landham] includes some campaign baggage that seems scripted for Hollywood, instead of socially conservative Kentucky. Early in his acting career in the 1970s, Landham bared it all in adult films.

Asked whether that could hurt him politically, Landham replied, "What can I do? That was a part of my life you cannot call back."

But he does express regrets.

"If I was going to do it now — knowing that I'm going to have four children, knowing that I was going to run for office — no, I wouldn't make that choice," he said. "But at the time I made the choice of getting a paycheck, staying alive for your big break."

Landham also served more than 2½ years in federal prison after being convicted of making threatening and obscene phone calls to his ex-wife.

The conviction was thrown out by a federal appeals court that found he committed no crime.

Libertarians, with their "live and let live" philosophy, look past his history.

"We look at the character of the man today, not what he did 30 years ago," Moellman said, noting the actor "asked his Maker for forgiveness, and that's all you can ask a man to do."

He said Landham lives "a better lifestyle" today, residing in Ashland with his fifth wife and three of his children.

The cast of 1987's "Predator" featured two future state governors: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. But the prospects of winning office seem far more remote for Landham.

Political scientist Michael Baranowski, of Northern Kentucky University, predicted minimal impact on the Senate race, though Landham could take some votes from McConnell.

"I'm not sure which is more of a hurdle for Landham, being a former porn actor or being a Libertarian Party candidate," he said. "But if the race between McConnell and Lunsford is tight enough, the votes Landham pulls from McConnell might be critical."

But what should be troubling to us ALL is that Sonny Landham is exposed as a member of the COUNCIL OF CONSERVATIVE CITIZENS.

(H/T to Barefoot and Progressive).

What is CCC?

Check out the group's principles on it's website, and check out one Blogger's take on the group:

"The Council of Conservative Citizens was founded in the mid-1990s as an outgrowth of the Citizens Councils of America. The Citizens Councils emerged in the mid-1950s as part of a white segregationist response to federally mandated integration of public facilities, especially following the 1954 Supreme Court ruling against separate-but-equal schools. This backlash movement, primarily based in the South, brought together whites of all classes and backgrounds.

Like the Citizens Council, the CCC constantly rails against communists and nonwhites. The anti-Semitism associated with the predecessor councils remains an underlying current in the CCC as well.

The group often invites speakers with extremist views to address its constituents. Various white supremacists and Christian Identity (a doctrine that maintains that Anglo-Saxons are the Biblical "chosen people," that nonwhites are "mud people" on the level of animals, and that Jews are the "children of Satan") preachers have been asked to speak at local and national events.

The Council of Conservative Citizens says it opposes interracial marriage, massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples, hate crime legislation, and multicultural and "Afrocentric" curricula in schools. While in Montgomery, Alabama in 2005 for a conference (which was addressed by George Wallace Jr.), members attended activities at the Capitol marking the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis."

And then consider that Sonny Landum co-hosted CCC's event last week.

Oh brother.

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Tomorrow, I Will Post My Analyses Of The U. S. Supreme Court's Opinions On The Child Rape Case, And Hopefully, The D. C. Gun Rights Case. Come Back!

As you are well away, or should be, the U. S. Supreme Court released its opinion in the Louisiana child rape case, where the court held that a state CANNOT execute a child rapist who has not killed his victim or has acted with intent to do so.

I shall post my analysis of the ruling tomorrow morning.

Also, I expect the Court to release its opinion in the Washington, D. C. case, where the District banned the possession of hand guns, while arguing that the Second Amendments right to possess firearms, is not a personal but a state right.

I expect the Supreme Court will pour water on the District's seemingly fiery argument and hold that the right is for the individual.

I shall analyze that case once it is issued by the Court (though professional duties will keep me occupied all day tomorrow).

So come back, will ya?

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U. S. Supreme Court: Right To Counsel Attaches At "Probable Cause" Hearing With Or Without "Prosecutor’s Knowledge Or Involvement".

In another important case released a couple of days ago, the U. S. Supreme Court held in ROTHGERY v. GILLESPIE COUNTY, TEXAS, 07–440 (2008), that a "probable cause" hearing is an "adversarial" one entitling the accused to a lawyer, whether or not a prosecutor was aware of, or was involved with, the prosecution.

Below is the Court's analysis:

Texas police relied on erroneous information that petitioner Rothgery had a previous felony conviction to arrest him as a felon in possession of a firearm. The officers brought Rothgery before a magistrate judge, as required by state law, for a so-called “article 15.17 hearing,”at which the Fourth Amendment probable-cause determination was made, bail was set, and Rothgery was formally apprised of the accusation against him. After the hearing, the magistrate judge committed Rothgery to jail, and he was released after posting a surety bond. Rothgery had no money for a lawyer and made several unheeded oral and written requests for appointed counsel. He was subsequently indicted and rearrested, his bail was increased, and he was jailed when he could not post the bail. Subsequently, Rothgery was assigned a lawyer, who assembled the paperwork that prompted the indictment’s dismissal. Rothgery then brought this 42 U. S. C. §1983 action against respondent County, claiming that if it had provided him a lawyer within a reasonable time after the article 15.17 hearing, he would not have been indicted, rearrested, or jailed. He asserts that the County’s unwritten policy of denying appointed counsel to indigent defendants out on bond until an indictment is entered violates his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. The District Court granted the County summary judgment, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed, considering itself bound by Circuit precedent to the effect that the right to counsel did not attach at the article 15.17 hearing because the relevant prosecutors were not aware of, or involved in, Rothgery’s arrest or appearance at the hearing, and there was no indication that the officer at Rothgery’s appearance had any power to commit the State to prosecute without a prosecutor’s knowledge or involvement.

Held: A criminal defendant’s initial appearance before a magistrate judge, where he learns the charge against him and his liberty is subject to restriction, marks the initiation of adversary judicial proceedings that trigger attachment of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Attachment does not also require that a prosecutor (as distinct from a police officer) be aware of that initial proceeding or involved in its conduct.

Editor's comment: This case is so rudimentarily first year law school stuff (though I must admit it was not yet settled, but logic EASILY dictated the same conclusion reached by the majority) that one would NOT have expected any Justice to dissent, but writing a dissent was where Justice Thomas found himself writing -- ALONE!

You may read that dissent, if you need to WASTE your time!!

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U. S. Supreme Court: Absent An Appeal By Government, Court Lacks Authority To Increase Sentence.

In a case decided a couple of days ago, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in GREENLAW v. UNITED STATES, 07–330 (2008), that without a government appeal or cross appeal of a sentence, an appeals court lacks authority to enlarge the defendant's sentence under a "plain error" doctrine.

Here is the Court's opinion analysis:

Petitioner Greenlaw was convicted of seven drug and firearms charges and was sentenced to imprisonment for 442 months. In calculating this sentence, the District Court made an error. Overlooking this Court’s controlling decision in Deal v. United States, 508 U. S. 129, 132–137, interpreting 18 U. S. C. §924(c)(1)(C)(i), and over the Government’s objection, the District Court imposed a 10-year sentence on a count that carried a 25-year mandatory minimum term. Greenlaw appealed urging, inter alia, that the appropriate sentence for all his convictions was 15 years. The Government neither appealed nor cross-appealed. The Eighth Circuit found no merit in any of Greenlaw’s arguments, but went on to consider whether his sentence was too low. The court acknowledged that the Government, while it had objected to the trial court’s error at sentencing, had elected not to seek alteration of Greenlaw’s sentence on appeal. Nonetheless, relying on the “plain-error rule” stated in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 52(b), the Court of Appeals ordered the District Court to enlarge Greenlaw’s sentence by 15 years, yielding a total prison term of 662 months.

Held: Absent a Government appeal or cross-appeal, the Eighth Circuit could not, on its own initiative, order an increase in Greenlaw’s sentence.

Editor's comment: The dissenters, Justices Alito, Stevens Breyer, objected to the Majority's ruling on the cross appeal requirement, finding instead that that requirement does NOT deprive an Appeals Court of the authority, sua sponte, to correct plain error.

I tend to agree with the Majority in this case. If the parties are OK with the outcome, why should the Court act on its own and meddle with it, especially where no SUBSTANTIAL miscarriage of justice has occurred?

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U. S. Supreme Court: Aggregators, Who Were Assigned Legal Titles To Claims, Have "Standing" In Federal Court To Bring Suit For Others.

In a case purely for lawyer's interest, SPRINT COMMUNICATIONS CO., L. P., ET AL. v. APCC SERVICES, INC., ET AL., 07–552 (2008), the U. S. Supreme Court held that the so called aggregators, who are non lawyers assigned legal claims to bring suit for others for a "service fee", have "standing" to do so in Federal Courts.

Below is the Court's 5 member Majority opinion analysis:

A payphone customer making a long-distance call with an access code or 1–800 number issued by a long-distance carrier pays the carrier(which completes the call). The carrier then compensates the pay-phone operator (which connects the call to the carrier in the first place). The payphone operator can sue the long-distance carrier for any compensation that the carrier fails to pay for these “dial-around”calls. Many payphone operators assign their dial-around claims to billing and collection firms (aggregators) so that, in effect, these aggregators can bring suit on their behalf. A group of aggregators (respondents here) were assigned legal title to the claims of approximately 1,400 payphone operators. The aggregators separately agreed to remit all proceeds to those operators, who would then pay the aggregators for their services. After entering into these agreements,the aggregators filed federal-court lawsuits seeking compensation from petitioner long-distance carriers. The District Court refused to dismiss the claims, finding that the aggregators had standing, and the D.C. Circuit ultimately affirmed.

Held: An assignee of a legal claim for money owed has standing to pursue
that claim in federal court, even when the assignee has promised to remit the proceeds of the litigation to the assignor.
(a) History and precedent show that, for centuries, courts have found ways to allow assignees to bring suit; where assignment is at issue, courts—both before and after the founding—have always permitted
the party with legal title alone to bring suit; and there is a strong tradition specifically of suits by assignees for collection. And while precedents of this Court, Waite v. Santa Cruz, 184 U. S. 302, Spiller v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co., 253 U. S. 117, and Titus v. Wal2lick, 306 U. S. 282, do not conclusively resolve the standing question here, they offer powerful support for the proposition that suits by assignees for collection have long been seen as “amenable” to resolution by the judicial process, Steel Co. v. Citizens for Better Environment, 523 U. S. 83, 102. Pp. 3–16.
Petitioners offer no convincing reason to depart from the historical tradition of suits by assignees, including assignees for collection.
In any event, the aggregators satisfy the Article III standing requirements articulated in this Court’s more modern decisions. Petitioners argue that the aggregators have not themselves suffered aninjury and that assignments for collection do not transfer the pay-phone operators’ injuries. But the operators assigned their claims lock, stock, and barrel, and precedent makes clear that an assignee can sue based on his assignor’s injuries. Vermont Agency of Natural Resources v. United States ex rel. Stevens, 529 U. S. 765. In arguing that the aggregators cannot satisfy the redressability requirement because they will remit their recovery to the payphone operators, petitioners misconstrue the nature of the redressability inquiry, which focuses on whether the injury that a plaintiff alleges is likely to be redressed through the litigation—not on what the plaintiff ultimately intends to do with the money recovered. See, e.g., id., at 771. Petitioners’ claim that the assignments constitute nothing more than a contract for legal services is overstated. There is an important distinction between simply hiring a lawyer and assigning a claim to a lawyer. The latter confers a property right (which creditors might attach); the former does not. Finally, as a practical matter, it would be particularly unwise to abandon history and precedent in resolving the question here, for any such ruling could be overcome by, e.g., rewriting the agreement to give the aggregator a tiny portion of the assigned
claim itself, perhaps only a dollar or two.
Petitioners’ reasons for denying prudential standing—that the aggregators are seeking redress for third parties; that the litigation represents an effort by the aggregators and payphone operators to circumvent Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23’s class-action requirements; and that practical problems could arise because the aggregators are suing, e.g., payphone operators may not comply with discovery
requests or honor judgments—are unpersuasive. And because there are no allegations that the assignments were made in bad faith and because the assignments were made for ordinary business purposes, any other prudential questions need not be considered here.
489 F. 3d 1249, affirmed.

Editor's comment: I have always had issues with these kinds of arrangements, and I think the dissenting opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts captures my sentiment on this issue EXACTLY:

"Article III of the Constitution confines the judicial power of the federal courts to actual “Cases” and “Controversies.” §2. As we have recently reaffirmed, “[n]o principle is more fundamental to the judiciary’s proper role in our system of government than the constitutional limitation of federal court jurisdiction to actual cases or controversies.” DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U. S. 332, 341 (2006) (quoting Raines v. Byrd, 521 U. S. 811, 818 (1997). Unlike the political branches,directly elected by the people, the courts derive their authority under Article III, including the power of judicial review, from “the necessity . . . of carrying out the judicial function of deciding cases.” Cuno, supra, at 340. That is why Article III courts “may exercise power only . . . ‘as a necessity,’” that is, only when they are sure they have an actual case before them.

Given the importance of assuring a court’s jurisdiction before deciding the merits of a case, “[w]e have always insisted on strict compliance with th[e] jurisdictional standing requirement.” Raines, supra, at 819. And until today, it has always been clear that a party lacking a direct, personal stake in the litigation could not invoke the power of the federal courts. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 573 (1992).

Here, respondents are authorized to bring suit on behalf of the payphone operators, but they have no claim to the recovery.
The absence of any right to the substantive recovery means that respondents
cannot benefit from the judgment they seek and thus lack Article III standing. “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone, on Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia Records 1965)."

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