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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rape Case Against Accused Former International Monetary Fund Leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn Falls Apart, And I Was A Vocal Skeptic All Along!

AP source: Accuser issues shake Strauss-Kahn case

NEW YORK — Questions that have surfaced about the credibility of a hotel housekeeper who has accused former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn

of raping her are leading prosecutors to seek a reduction in his pricey bail, a person familiar with the case said Thursday.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet made public in court, told The Associated Press that prosecutors have raised issues about the accuser's credibility in the case against Strauss-Kahn, but would not elaborate on what those issues were.

A separate law enforcement official who is familiar with the case, but not authorized to speak about it publicly, told the AP that the issue was not necessarily about the rape accusation itself, but about troubling questions surrounding the alleged victim's background that could damage her credibility on the witness stand. The official refused to elaborate.

The New York Police Department, which investigated the case, declined comment. The woman's lawyer did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

The New York Times first reported that investigators uncovered major holes in the woman, citing two law enforcement officials. One of the officials told the Times that the woman has repeatedly lied since making the initial allegation May 14.

The discoveries include issues stemming from the asylum application of the 32-year-old woman, who is from Guinea, and possible links to criminal activities such as drug dealing and money laundering, one of the officials told the newspaper. The Times reported that senior prosecutors and Strauss-Kahn's lawyers are discussing whether to dismiss the felony charges against him.

Another person familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said earlier Thursday that Strauss-Kahn may get his pricey bail and house arrest arrangement eased in the case at a court hearing scheduled for Friday. The person declined to detail what the new bail arrangements might be.

Strauss-Kahn lawyer William W. Taylor would say only that the hearing was to review the bail plan. The Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to comment.

Strauss-Kahn has been under armed guard in a Manhattan townhouse after posting a total of $6 million in cash bail and bond. He denies the allegations.

Strauss-Kahn was held without bail for nearly a week after his May arrest. His lawyers ultimately persuaded a judge to release him by agreeing to extensive - and expensive - conditions, including an ankle monitor, surveillance cameras and armed guards. He can leave for only for court, weekly religious services and visits to doctors and his lawyers, and prosecutors must be notified at least six hours before he goes anywhere.

The security measures were estimated to cost him about $200,000 a month, on top of the $50,000-a-month rent on a town house in trendy TriBeCa. He settled there after a hasty and fraught househunt: A plan to rent an apartment in a tony building on Manhattan's Upper East Side fell through after residents complained about the hubbub as reporters and police milled around the building.

Under New York law, judges base bail decisions on factors including defendants' characters, financial resources and criminal records, as well as the strength of the case against them - all intended to help gauge how likely they are to flee if released.

Defendants and prosecutors can raise the issue of bail at any point in a case. It's common, if asking a judge to revisit a bail decision, to argue that new information or new proposed conditions change how one or more of the factors should be viewed.

The maid told police that Strauss-Kahn chased her down a hallway in his $3,000-a-night suite in the Sofitel hotel, tried to pull down her pantyhose and forced her to perform oral sex before she broke free.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have said the encounter wasn't forcible, and that they have unreleased information that could "gravely undermine the credibility" of the housekeeper. The defense was using private investigators to aggressively check out the victim's background and her story.

The woman's lawyer has said she is prepared to testify despite a "smear campaign" against her.

The Associated Press generally does not identify accusers in sex crime cases unless they agree to it.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, was in New York on a personal trip. He left the hotel shortly after the alleged assault - to have lunch with a relative, his attorneys have said.

During his initial bail hearings, prosecutors noted that Strauss-Kahn was arrested on a Paris-bound plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and that they could not compel his return from France if he fled. His lawyers have underscored that it was a long-planned flight, and they've said he wants to return to court to clear his name.

He resigned his IMF post after his arrest.

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Are You Missing Your Million Dollar Bank Receipt In The Hamptons? Watch Video.

Audit Of Kentucky Retirement Systems May Spur Needed Reforms. Great.

Legislature may act on heels of retirement audit

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- A newly released audit that criticizes oversight of the state's $13 billion pension fund could provide the impetus needed to get the legislature to act, leading lawmakers said Wednesday.

Republican Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown and Democratic Rep. Mike Cherry of Princeton, co-chairmen of the Joint Committee on State Government, have been stymied in the past in their efforts to get pension reforms through the General Assembly.

But they will have new ammunition when the legislature convenes in January - the audit that documented management problems within the Kentucky Retirement Systems that serves some 330,000 employees and retirees.

The retirement plan isn't in immediate danger of collapsing, but it has been consistently underfunded, a point that state Auditor Crit Luallen made to lawmakers on Wednesday, just as she had to reporters at a news conference a day earlier.

"One overarching concern I want to emphasize is that the long-term viability of this retirement system has been dramatically impacted by the state's consistent underfunding of its employer contributions since 2003," she said.

Luallen was called on to perform the audit because of concerns about how some financial middlemen, known as placement agents, were selected. While no evidence of wrong-doing was found, Luallen said her staff did find instances where the board that oversees the pension plan could improve accountability, transparency and communication.

Luallen said the review found that one placement agent had an unusually close working relationship with the pension plan's former chief investment officer and received a high percentage of the investment contracts. That agent participated in seven of the 13 investment agreements in which placement agents were used, more than all the other agents combined.

Some of the information regarding placement agents will be forwarded to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to determine if further investigation is needed. The SEC previously opened an "informal inquiry" into investments made by the state's retirement system on Sept. 9. That inquiry was described in a letter by an SEC staff attorney as a "non-public, fact-finding inquiry" which "should not be construed as an indication that any violation of law has occurred."

Luallen presented the audit findings at a meeting of the state government committee on Wednesday afternoon, prompting Thayer to call for a fresh look at a bill Cherry sponsored in a legislative session earlier this year. That bill failed after being passed by the House and overhauled in the Senate.

"I think that this audit will help us take Rep. Cherry's bill from last session and strengthen it even more and give more credence to the need for its passage," Thayer said during the legislative hearing on Wednesday.

Recommendations for strengthening accountability and transparency regarding the pension plan have widespread support, even from the board that oversees the state's retirement plan.

One of the key recommendations calls for closer monitoring of investments, limiting the terms of the chairs and vice chairs of the board that oversees pension investments, and to develop a procedure for employees and citizens to report concerns anonymously.

Board Chairwoman Jennifer Elliott on Wednesday called the audit `thorough and thoughtful" and said that its recommendations were being implemented.

Gov. Steve Beshear said he was pleased Luallen's audit found the retirement fund investments to be secure, and that he is encouraged that managers already have agreed to take actions to improve accountability and transparency.

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Today Is A SAD Day In America: Defense Secretary Robert Gates Is Leaving (POTUS Barack Obama Gave Him The Presidential Medal For Freedom. Well Deserved, If You Ask Me).


If You Are Watching The Casey Anthony Murder Trial, Watch A Part Of The Defense' "Train Wreck" Today.

Update #1: Casey Anthony decides WISELY not to testify. Watch video:

Update #2: Watch spectator get his "15 minutes of JAIL fame" for "flipping the prosecutor the finger!":

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How NOT To Be An Antoine Walker.

Antoine Walker a one-man financial meltdown
Written by Rick Bozich

With the sixth pick in the 1996 NBA draft, the Boston Celtics selected Dr. Bo, Rick Bozich

from InMyDreams University.

OK, that didn't happen. The Celtics actually selected Antoine Walker from the University of Kentucky. That didn't upset me. I was always a Magic guy, not a Bird guy.

Sadly, here is another thing that has not occurred: I have fallen slightly short of earning $108 million either writing about or playing basketball, although I did receive several participation awards at the StreetBall Showdown.

According to multiple reports, Walker earned at least $108 million in NBA salaries from 1996 through 2009. He now lists $4.3 million in assets and $12.7 million in liabilities. That might explain why he played 43 games last season for the Idaho Stampede in the NBA Developmental League, which caps annual player salaries at $25,500.

Walker, who played two seasons for Rick Pitino at UK, returned to the headlines Tuesday after his attorneys entered a guilty plea on his behalf to one felony count of passing bad checks in Las Vegas

Walker, 34, is expected to draw only probation as long as he continues to work on repaying $750,000 in debts to three Las Vegas casinos. His official sentencing has been set for Nov.1.

At $25,500 per season, Walker would have to play 29.4 more Developmental League seasons to pay off his debts — as long as he didn't need to pay taxes or have any living expenses.

I know what you're thinking: Is inching into the dreaded nine-figure career salary territory the surest path to financial ruin? Should you be afraid to ring up $108 million in salary? Aren't you better off clipping coupons and searching for early-bird specials than shopping at Prada and dating Evelyn Lozada?

“I think you might be able to tough it out on $108 million,” said Carl Heick, a private wealth advisor with Heick, Hester, Smith and Associates in Louisville.

“You'd probably be able to buy a nice watch and lease a nice car, if you wanted to drive a new one every year. But I would recommend no entourage. And don't play blackjack at $25,000 a hand. If you go to Las Vegas, stick with the $5 tables. Once you're down $1,000, walk away. The last time I was there, I walked away when I got up $100.”

Feel better? Me, too.

I shared some of Walker's numbers with Heick. According to, Walker started his pro career making about $1.6 million with the Celtics in the 1996-97 season, a year after he played for UK's 1996 NCAA championship team. By 2004-05 he had moved to the Atlanta Hawks and bumped his salary to $14.6 million, a career high.

When his career finally ended with the Memphis Grizzlies two years ago, his total earnings had moved to $108,142,015 — not counting per diem, endorsements or playoff earnings. The media isn't chasing him. Creditors are.

Heick went to his calculator. To simplify the exercise, he averaged Walker's earnings over 13 years, then figured in the necessary taxes. Walker might not shimmy to the plan Heick created, but you can pull that blanket off your head.

Heick said that if you had Walker's career earnings he would put you on an annual net allowance of about $1.57million. He'd also make you save $3 million per year and, just to be safe, invest it in a “brutally conservative” portfolio of bonds. When your days of being a high-flying earner were over, you'd have to get by on about $1.75 million pre-tax annually for the rest of your life.

“Think you could do it?” Heick asked.

I guess. But only if you insist.

Reach Rick Bozich at (502) 582-4650 or Comment on this column, and read his blog and previous columns, at


POLL: GOP Voters Not Happy With Choices. Well ... DUH! You Can Count Me Among The UNIMPRESSED With My AWFUL Choices!!

Poll: GOP voters still not happy with choices
By Tucker Reals
CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Overwhelming dissatisfaction with the direction in which our country seems to be heading, and mediocre approval ratings for President Obama, should provide plenty of opportunity for Republican presidential candidates to find traction.

But a new CBS News/New York Times poll

suggests the current field have a long way to go to impress the nation's conservative-minded voters.

The narrowing GOP presidential field

While Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about the presidential elections in 2012, Republican voters remain entirely un-enthused by their current options -- they're still waiting for one of the field to step up and shine, or for a new face to spring from the shadows.

Only 23 percent of Republican voters said they were satisfied with the candidates running for their party's nomination,

while a solid majority of 71 percent said they'd like to see a new face in the mix.

That's in spite of the fact that President Obama's overall approval rating remains at a fairly unimpressive 47 percent - down one percentage point from a poll conducted just three weeks ago - and a consistent majority say they're dissatisfied with his handling of the economy.

The lack of enthusiasm is so pervasive that 67 percent of Republicans who responded to the CBS News survey couldn't even pick one candidate from the current field who they'd be happy to support.

Seven percent of self-described Republicans said they were enthusiastic about Mitt Romney's candidacy, and Michele Bachmann, who has stolen the spotlight in recent days, got the same backing. Two percent threw their backing to Herman Cain. None of the other candidates managed to garner more than 1 percent of the Republican respondents' backing.

Read the complete poll (PDF)

Editor's note: This poll was conducted among a random sample of 979 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone June 24-28, 2011. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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Joel Pett On POTUS Barack Obama And Mitch McConnell. You Gotta Laugh At This One.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Read The Message From Former FLOTUS, Laura Bush. In The Interest Of Public Disclosure, I Am A Chater Member Of The George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Dear K. Osi,

Your generous support through our years in the White House meant so much to President Bush and to me. George based his Presidency on what we believe are timeless principles: that freedom is universal . . . that all life is precious . . . that to whom much is given, much is expected . . . and that people can spend their money better than the government can.

I believe you also embrace these principles. That's why I'm sending you this email today.

We are now more than two years into the planning and development of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Great progress is being made on the building and grounds, and the Bush Center is already inspiring ideas, innovation, and action for a freer and better world.

We've accomplished so much, but there is much more that remains to be done.

Your support of the work at the Bush Center is very important to us, and we hope we can bring you on board for this new chapter in our lives. Having the support of individuals like you, who were loyal friends during George's Administration, would be such a great honor.

If you have already joined the Bush Center as a Charter Member, thank you. If not, please join us as a Charter Member and once again stand with George and me as we continue our public service.

Thank you.


Laura Bush

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Steve Nunn's Conviction And Sentence Do NOT Preclude State Pension.

Steve Nunn will receive state pension despite murder conviction
By Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT — Former state lawmaker and convicted murderer Steve Nunn is eligible to get about $28,210 a year in state retirement benefits, plus cost-of-living increases, once he turns 62.

Kentucky law does not allow the pension benefits of state lawmakers to be withheld unless they commit a crime while in office in their capacity as a legislator.

"There's no statutory provision to withhold a pension based on Nunn's circumstances," said Donna S. Early, executive director of the retirement system for legislators and judges.

Nunn, 58, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Fayette Circuit Court to the 2009 murder of Amanda Ross, his former fiancée. He was scheduled to go to trial in August. Nunn waived formal sentencing, and Judge Pamela Goodwine sentenced him to life in prison without possibility of parole.

It's doubtful that Nunn's state benefits can be stopped now, but the chairmen of the House and Senate state government committees said they want to study the issue.

House State Government chairman Mike Cherry, D-Princeton, and his counterpart in the Senate, Republican Damon Thayer of Georgetown, said they will ask legislative staff to look at the law and find out how other states handle retirement benefits for those who commit felonies.

"I would like to know about this not only for legislators but for across the board in state government," Cherry said. "I think the public will be concerned about this."

Thayer said a bill that would end pensions for convicted felons might be filed in the state Senate for consideration in next year's legislative session.

"The big question is whether Nunn's pension can be removed retroactively," he said.

In Kentucky's history, some lawmakers have been convicted of a felony and retained their state pensions. But none until Nunn has been involved in a capital offense.

Nunn, a Republican and the son of the late former Gov. Louie B. Nunn, became a state representative from Glasgow in 1991.

In 2006, Steve Nunn lost a bid for re-election. In 2007, he endorsed Democrat Steve Beshear for governor and subsequently landed a job as deputy secretary of the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Nunn and Ross started dating in September 2007 and became engaged after dating less than a year. In February 2009, Ross filed a domestic- violence petition against Nunn, and he was placed the next day on unpaid administrative leave from his state job. He resigned a few weeks later

Early, with the retirement commission, said Nunn's retirement benefits were based on his last three highest state salaries as a legislator and administrator. His legislative salary in 2006 was $38,801. As an administrator, his salary was $117,875, which boosted his pension.

A legislator may begin drawing retirement benefits at a reduced level before 62, Early said.

"I can't tell you whether Nunn is drawing a benefit now," she said. "I can say at 62 he can start drawing full benefits."

In Kentucky's judicial branch of government, judges may lose their pensions if they are removed by a judicial commission for cause. But that has never happened, Early said.

Often, judges who know their benefits might be threatened have resigned before being removed.

For executive branch employees and teachers in Kentucky, the law provides that any person hired on or after Aug. 1, 2000, who is convicted of a felony related to his or her job must forfeit retirement benefits. However, they would receive a refund of money they contributed to their accounts, plus accumulated interest.

A few states — Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, New Mexico and New York — have no laws on termination of state government pensions, said Sujit M. CanagaRetna, senior fiscal analyst for the southern regional branch of The Council of State Governments in Atlanta.

An April study by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators shows that other states have laws ranging from Arizona's, which allows courts to order forfeiture of retirement benefits for state workers convicted of felonies, to Nevada's, which voids retirement benefits only in cases involving a person convicted of murder or lying to receive benefits.

"Most states are going through tough times now with their pension plans," CanagaRetna said. "When you have a felon still getting state benefits, that's making it more stark. The symbolism and perception of that in the public's eye is not good."

Nunn's retirement benefits could be an issue in a wrongful-death lawsuit the family of Amanda Ross filed against him Sept. 28, 2009. A jury will determine whether Nunn owes money to the Ross family for damages.

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Pulaski County, Kentucky, Seeks Loan To Help Pay ACLU Legal Fees For Lost Ten Commandment Cases.

Bullock: Taxpayers will pay ACLU bill

Somerset — It appears it’s time for the county to pay up.

On Tuesday, a frustrated Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock announced that the county would be seeking a loan through the Kentucky Association of Counties, or KACo, to help pay off half of a nearly $457,000 legal bill resulting from the decade-long Ten Commandments court battle.

“I guess it’s at the end of the day now, and we owe the ACLU’s attorneys,” Bullock said during yesterday’s Pulaski County Fiscal Court meeting. “We’ll take care of that bill, and unfortunately the taxpayers of Pulaski County will have to pay that back over a period of time.”

The court battle began in 1999, during the tenure of former Pulaski County Judge-executive Darrell BeShears — who Bullock said he was “proud of for taking the initiative” — when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and citizens brought a lawsuit against officials in Pulaski, McCreary, and other counties claiming that the hanging of the Ten Commandments in government buildings was unconstitutional.

“This fight’s been going on for a long time,” said 4th District Magistrate Glenn Maxey during Tuesday’s meeting. “It was one that we inherited, but we were glad to pick it up and try to do our part to get it back in the courthouse, but it just didn’t go in our favor.”

The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court in 2005. The Supreme Court upheld the ban, saying the display had a predominantly religious purpose.

However, the court has also ruled that religious materials could be allowed as part of an educational or historical display — something which Pulaski County attempted when it responded to the ACLU’s lawsuit by including the Ten Commandments in a display featuring other historical documents.

The high court sent the case back to federal district court in Kentucky for more hearings after the counties altered the displays, and in 2008, U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman issued a permanent injunction against the counties. Since then, the 6th Circuit has upheld displays in Grayson and Mercer counties as being constitutionally sound.

The differences, justices said, was Pulaski County and McCreary County officials retroactively added the accompanying historical documents in order to be able to place the Ten Commandments in the courthouses.

The case came to a close in February after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to revisit the case through an appeal by the counties. Once that decision was handed down, ACLU attorneys were free to pursue legal bills connected with the 12-year case from both counties, which are splitting the bill.

Maxey said during the meeting that the county has collected around $6,000 in private donations to go toward the approximate $228,440 bill for Pulaski County. Local Christian radio host David Carr had even appealed to local churches, pastors and church-goers, asking that they donate toward payment of the bill.

Despite those donations, that still leaves around $222,440 left over to the county — and that total is accumulating quickly due to interest rates.

“Every day that we don’t pay that they’re adding interest to this thing and it’s costing us more and more money,” Maxey said. “We’re going to have to pay it.”

The counties enlisted the help of the Liberty Counsel during the court battle, which did not charge either county for its service.

“This is sad that we have to do this,” Bullock said Tuesday. “I think it’s very unfortunate to me that our Supreme Court ruled against us ... against our Ten Commandments.

“We owe the money, we’ve been court ordered to pay it, I guess we don’t have a choice,” Bullock finished.

The county is still accepting private donations and anything received after the loan is taken out through KACo will go toward repayment of the loan debt.

“Hopefully we’ll come up with some more,” Maxey said.

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So You Are Like Me And You Missed POTUS Barack Obama's Press Conference. Well, Wipe Your Tears And Watch The Whole Thing Here. Enjoy.

Federal Appeals Court Panel Wrongfully Stands With Obamacare's "Individual Mandate", So We Await Rescue By U. S. Supreme Court.

Wal Mart Announces 10 Cents A Gallon Nationwide Gas Price Cut.

Walmart Offers 10-Cents-a-Gallon Gas Savings at Participating Stations Nationwide

Today, Walmart

announces a 90-day Rollback at the pump to give customers a savings of 10 cents a gallon on all fuel, gas and diesel, at participating Murphy USA and Walmart gas stations. The discount applies to gas purchases made when using a reloadable Walmart gift card, reloadable Walmart MoneyCard® or Walmart credit card from June 29 through September 30, 2011.

Click here to get a card.

States with participating gas stations are:

New Mexico
North Carolina
South Carolina

Click here for a complete list of participating Walmart and Murphy USA locations.


U. S. Supreme Court Invalidates Arizona's Campaign Finance Law That "Substantially Burdens Political Speech" Of Privately Funded Candidates.

The US Supreme Court struck down an Arizona campaign finance regulation that provided publicly financed candidates with additional government subsidies, which are triggered by independent expenditure groups' speech against such candidates or by the candidates' privately financed opponents. The Court held such a law violates the First Amendment by system substantially burdening political speech and is not sufficiently justified by a compelling state interest to satisfy the First Amendment.


My obligatory court synopsis follows below:

The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act created a public financing system to fund the primary and general election campaigns of candi-dates for state office. Candidates who opt to participate, and who ac-cept certain campaign restrictions and obligations, are granted an initial outlay of public funds to conduct their campaign. They are also granted additional matching funds if a privately financed candi-date’s expenditures, combined with the expenditures of independent groups made in support of the privately financed candidate or in op-position to a publicly financed candidate, exceed the publicly financed candidate’s initial state allotment. Once matching funds are trig-gered, a publicly financed candidate receives roughly one dollar for every dollar raised or spent by the privately financed candidate—including any money of his own that a privately financed candidate spends on his campaign—and for every dollar spent by independent groups that support the privately financed candidate. When there are multiple publicly financed candidates in a race, each one receives matching funds as a result of the spending of privately financed can-didates and independent expenditure groups. Matching funds top out at two times the initial grant to the publicly financed candidate. Petitioners, past and future Arizona candidates and two independ-ent expenditure groups that spend money to support and oppose Ari-zona candidates, challenged the constitutionality of the matching funds provision, arguing that it unconstitutionally penalizes their speech and burdens their ability to fully exercise their First Amend-ment rights. The District Court entered a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the matching funds provision. The Ninth Circuit reversed, concluding that the provision imposed only a mini-mal burden and that the burden was justified by Arizona’s interest in reducing quid pro quo political corruption.

Held: Arizona’s matching funds scheme substantially burdens political speech and is not sufficiently justified by a compelling interest tosurvive First Amendment scrutiny. Pp. 8–30.
The matching funds provision imposes a substantial burden on the speech of privately financed candidates and independent expendi-ture groups. Pp. 8–22.
Petitioners contend that their political speech is substantially burdened in the same way that speech was burdened by the so-called“Millionaire’s Amendment” of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which was invalidated in Davis v. Federal Election Comm’n, 554 U. S. 724. That law—which permitted the opponent of a candi-date who spent over $350,000 of his personal funds to collect triple the normal contribution amount, while the candidate who spent the personal funds remained subject to the original contribution cap—unconstitutionally forced a candidate “to choose between the First Amendment right to engage in unfettered political speech and subjec-tion to discriminatory fundraising limitations.” Id., at 739. This “unprecedented penalty” “impose[d] a substantial burden on the ex-ercise of the First Amendment right to use personal funds for cam-paign speech” that was not justified by a compelling government in-terest. Id., at 739–740. Pp. 8–10.
The logic of Davis largely controls here. Once a privately fi-nanced candidate has raised or spent more than the State’s initial grant to a publicly financed candidate, each personal dollar the pri-vately financed candidate spends results in an award of almost one additional dollar to his opponent. The privately financed candidate must “shoulder a special and potentially significant burden” when choosing to exercise his First Amendment right to spend funds on his own candidacy. 554 U. S., at 739. If the law at issue in Davis im-posed a burden on candidate speech, the Arizona law unquestionably does so as well.
The differences between the matching funds provision and the law struck down in Davis make the Arizona law more constitutionally problematic, not less. First, the penalty in Davis consisted of raising the contribution limits for one candidate, who would still have to raise the additional funds. Here, the direct and automatic release of public money to a publicly financed candidate imposes a far heavier
burden. Second, in elections where there are multiple publicly fi-nanced candidates—a frequent occurrence in Arizona—the matching funds provision can create a multiplier effect. Each dollar spent bythe privately funded candidate results in an additional dollar of fund-ing to each of that candidate’s publicly financed opponents. Third, unlike the law in Davis, all of this is to some extent out of the pri-vately financed candidate’s hands. Spending by independent expen-diture groups to promote a privately financed candidate’s election triggers matching funds, regardless whether such support is welcome or helpful. Those funds go directly to the publicly funded candidate to use as he sees fit. That disparity in control—giving money directly to a publicly financed candidate, in response to independent expendi-tures that cannot be coordinated with the privately funded candi-date—is a substantial advantage for the publicly funded candidate.
The burdens that matching funds impose on independent expendi-ture groups are akin to those imposed on the privately financed can-didates themselves. The more money spent on behalf of a privately financed candidate or in opposition to a publicly funded candidate,the more money the publicly funded candidate receives from the State. The effect of a dollar spent on election speech is a guaranteed financial payout to the publicly funded candidate the group opposes, and spending one dollar can result in the flow of dollars to multiple candidates. In some ways, the burdens imposed on independent groups by matching funds are more severe than the burdens imposed on privately financed candidates. Independent groups, of course, are not eligible for public financing. As a result, those groups can only avoid matching funds by changing their message or choosing not to speak altogether. Presenting independent expenditure groups with such a choice—trigger matching funds, change your message, or do not speak—makes the matching funds provision particularly burden-some to those groups and certainly contravenes “the fundamental rule of protection under the First Amendment, that a speaker has the autonomy to choose the content of his own message.” Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, Inc., 515 U. S. 557, 573. Pp. 10–14.
(3) The arguments of Arizona, the Clean Elections Institute, and amicus United States attempting to explain away the existence or significance of any burden imposed by matching funds are unpersua-sive.
Arizona correctly points out that its law is different from the law invalidated in Davis, but there is no doubt that the burden on speech is significantly greater here than in Davis. Arizona argues that the provision actually creates more speech. But even if that were the case, only the speech of publicly financed candidates is increased by the state law. And burdening the speech of some—here privately fi-nanced candidates and independent expenditure groups—to increase the speech of others is a concept “wholly foreign to the First Amend-ment,” Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1, 48–49; cf. Miami Herald Pub-lishing Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U. S. 241, 244, 258. That no candidate or group is forced to express a particular message does not mean thatthe matching funds provision does not burden their speech, especially since the direct result of that speech is a state-provided monetary subsidy to a political rival. And precedents upholding government subsidies against First Amendment challenge provide no support for matching funds; none of the subsidies at issue in those cases were granted in response to the speech of another.
The burden on privately financed candidates and independent ex-penditure groups also cannot be analogized to the burden placed on speakers by the disclosure and disclaimer requirements upheld in Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. ___. A political candidate’s disclosure of his funding resources does not result in a cash windfall to his opponent, or affect their respective disclosure ob-ligations.
The burden imposed by the matching funds provision is evident and inherent in the choice that confronts privately financed candi-dates and independent expenditure groups. Indeed every court to have considered the question after Davis has concluded that a candi-date or independent group might not spend money if the direct result of that spending is additional funding to political adversaries. Ari-zona is correct that the candidates do not complain that providing a lump sum payment equivalent to the maximum state financing that a candidate could obtain through matching funds would be imper-missible. But it is not the amount of funding that the State provides that is constitutionally problematic. It is the manner in which that funding is provided—in direct response to the political speech of pri-vately financed candidates and independent expenditure groups.Pp. 14–22.
Arizona’s matching funds provision is not “ ‘justified by a com-pelling state interest,’ ” Davis, supra, at 740. Pp. 22–28.
There is ample support for the argument that the purpose of the matching funds provision is to “level the playing field” in terms of candidate resources. The clearest evidence is that the provision op-erates to ensure that campaign funding is equal, up to three times the initial public funding allotment. The text of the Arizona Act con-firms this purpose. The provision setting up the matching funds re-gime is titled “Equal funding of candidates,” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann.§16–952; and the Act and regulations refer to the funds as “equaliz-ing funds,” e.g., §16–952(C)(4). This Court has repeatedly rejected the argument that the government has a compelling state interest in“leveling the playing field” that can justify undue burdens on political speech, see, e.g., Citizens United, supra, at ___, and the burdens im-posed by matching funds cannot be justified by the pursuit of such an interest. Pp. 22–25.
(2) Even if the objective of the matching funds provision is to combat corruption—and not “level the playing field”—the burdens that the matching funds provision imposes on protected political speech are not justified. Burdening a candidate’s expenditure of his own funds on his own campaign does not further the State’s anticor-ruption interest. Indeed, “reliance on personal funds reduces the threat of corruption.” Davis, supra, at 740–741; see Buckley, supra, at 53. The burden on independent expenditures also cannot be sup-ported by the anti corruption interest. Such expenditures are “politi-cal speech . . . not coordinated with a candidate.” Citizens United, 558 U. S., at ___. That separation negates the possibility that the ex-penditures will result in the sort of quid pro quo corruption with which this Court’s case law is concerned. See e.g., id., at ___–___. Moreover, “[t]he interest in alleviating the corrupting influence of large contributions is served by . . . contribution limitations.” Buck-ley, supra, at 55. Given Arizona’s contribution limits, some of the most austere in the Nation, its strict disclosure requirements, and the general availability of public funding, it is hard to imagine what marginal corruption deterrence could be generated by the matching funds provision.
The State and the Clean Elections Institute contend that even if the matching funds provision does not directly serve the anti corrup-tion interest, it indirectly does so by ensuring that enough candidates participate in the State’s public funding system, which in turn helps combat corruption. But the fact that burdening constitutionally pro-tected speech might indirectly serve the State’s anti corruption inter-est, by encouraging candidates to take public financing, does not es-tablish the constitutionality of the matching funds provision. The matching funds provision substantially burdens speech, to an even greater extent than the law invalidated in Davis. Those burdens cannot be justified by a desire to “level the playing field,” and much of the speech burdened by the matching funds provision does not pose a danger of corruption. The fact that the State may feel that the matching funds provision is necessary to allow it to calibrate its pub-lic funding system to achieve its desired level of participation—without an undue drain on public resources—is not a sufficient justi-fication for the burden.
The flaw in the State’s argument is apparent in what its reasoning would allow. By the State’s logic it could award publicly financed candidates five dollars for every dollar spent by a privately financed candidate, or force candidates who wish to run on private funds to pay a $10,000 fine, in order to encourage participation in the public funding regime. Such measures might well promote such participa-tion, but would clearly suppress or unacceptably alter political speech. How the State chooses to encourage participation in its pub-lic funding system matters, and the Court has never held that a State may burden political speech—to the extent the matching funds provi-sion does—to ensure adequate participation in a public funding sys-tem. Pp. 25–28.
(c) Evaluating the wisdom of public financing as a means of fund-ing political candidacy is not the Court’s business. But determining whether laws governing campaign finance violate the First Amend-ment is. The government “may engage in public financing of election campaigns,” and doing so can further “significant governmental in-terest[s].” Buckley, 424 U. S., at 57, n. 65, 92–93, 96. But the goal of creating a viable public financing scheme can only be pursued in a manner consistent with the First Amendment. Arizona’s program gives money to a candidate in direct response to the campaign speech of an opposing candidate or an independent group. It does this when the opposing candidate has chosen not to accept public financing, and has engaged in political speech above a level set by the State. This goes too far; Arizona’s matching funds provision substantially bur-dens the speech of privately financed candidates and independent expenditure groups without serving a compelling state interest.Pp. 28–30.
611 F. 3d 510, reversed.

Editor's note: ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which SCALIA, KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined. KAGAN, J., filed a dissenting
opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined.

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WOW. How Time Flies.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Please No Laughing: Al-Qaeda Militant Leader Captured Dressed As Woman.

Al-Qaeda militant leader captured dressed as woman

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A senior leader of an al-Qaeda-linked terror group has been captured in northern Afghanistan dressed up like a woman — the latest in a recent series of cases involving male militants disguised as females, the U.S.-led military coalition said Tuesday.

A joint Afghan and coalition force apprehended a senior figure from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and two of his associates during a nighttime operation Monday in Kunduz city, NATO said.

It said the militant, who also supported the Taliban network, had planned attacks against the Afghan National Police, as well as various suicide bombings and assaults against other Afghan security forces.

NATO did not release the names of the three suspects caught in Kunduz.

"The leader attempted to disguise himself as a female by wearing a burqa, which is an all-enveloping cloak worn by some Muslim women," the coalition said in a statement. "In the last two months there have been several instances of targeted males wearing burqas in attempts to disguise themselves in order not to be caught by Afghan-led forces."

The coalition said there also have been a handful of recent reports of female combatants in burqas.

Kunduz and the surrounding provinces are known hide-outs for the Taliban, al-Qaeda and fighters from militant factions that include the Haqqani network, Hizb-i-Islami and the IMU, which aims to create an Islamic state across Central Asia.

The IMU was formed in 1991, originally aiming to set up an Islamic state in Uzbekistan, which neighbors Afghanistan, but later expanded its goal to seeking one across Central Asia. Aligning itself with al-Qaeda, it has been most active in the north where violence has been on the rise.

Earlier this month, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque in Kunduz where a remembrance ceremony was being held for a slain Afghan police commander. The blast killed four police officers. This spring, a suicide bomber killed 35 people at an Afghan army recruitment center and at least 30 others died when another suicide bomber blew himself up at a government office where Afghans were waiting in line for identification cards.

In October, a bomb killed Kunduz Gov. Mohammad Omar and 19 others in a crowded mosque in neighboring Takhar province. Omar was killed just days after he warned of escalating threats from Taliban and foreign fighters in the north.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a roadside bomb killed two women and injured a child who were walking in Panjwai district of Kandahar province in the south, said district police chief Mohammad Azeem.

Separately, the coalition said three NATO service members had been killed in the south. A roadside bomb killed one Monday and insurgent attacks killed two more Tuesday. No other details were released.

The deaths bring to at least 56 the number of NATO service members killed in June in Afghanistan, including at least 34 Americans.

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New Jersey's Governor Christie Miracle: Democrats In Congress Should Look At What State Did To Rid Itself Of Out Of Control Spending, Entitlements." YEP!

New Jersey miracle
Democrats in Congress should look at what state did to rid itself of out of control spending, entitlements


Something astonishing happened in New Jersey last week. A majority Democratic legislature and a Republican governor agreed on a measure that will cut benefits for the state’s 750,000 employees and retirees.

Like Wisconsin and other states that are being forced to deal with large budget deficits caused mostly by sweetheart deals struck in more prosperous times between politicians who need votes and labor unions who deliver them, New Jersey couldn’t afford to go on like this.

The new law “will sharply increase what state and local workers must contribute for their health insurance and pensions.” And in a major whack at rising costs, will also suspend “cost-of-living increases ... raise retirement ages and curb the unions’ contract bargaining rights,” writes Richard Perez-Pena in the June 23 issue of The New York Times.

Gov. Chris Christie’s administration estimates the deal will save New Jersey $132 billion over the next 30 years. That would be a real saving, unlike the Obama administration’s phony prediction of cost reductions with his national health insurance law, which is now being challenged in the courts.

Predictably, labor unions are excoriating Democrats who joined Republicans to pass the law, but even “tax and spend” Democrats are beginning to realize we can’t go on like this and the future of the country is more important than seeking short-term partisan political advantage.

A new study co-authored by Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Rochester, both finance professors, has concluded that without a change in their pension systems, federal, state and local governments “will need to raise taxes by $1,398 per household every year for the next 30 years if they are to fully fund their pension systems.” The study also found that New Jersey “will need to increase its revenue by the largest margin, requiring $2,475 more from each household per year.” That’s if the new law hadn’t passed.

Last week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a frightening report that concluded the ratio of debt to gross domestic product this year would be 69 percent. That’s 7 percentage points higher than last year. By 2021, the CBO predicts that without a serious recalibration in Social Security, Medicare and other spending, debt will quickly reach 76 percent of GDP and “the public debt will be 101 percent of GDP 10 years from now.” Interest on the debt is now more than the entire GDP of some nations.

The Federal Reserve last week issued a gloomy forecast for the U.S. economy. It noted “slower than expected growth” and warned of “higher inflation.” Can anyone say “Jimmy Carter”? This and many other signs give the lie to the Obama administration’s claims about last year’s “summer of recovery” and other rosy scenarios about sluggish economic growth and “job creation.”

Do I hear the echo of Ronald Reagan who said during his 1980 campaign for president, “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job; a depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

The Obama administration, which now “owns” the economy, as acknowledged by Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is incapable of turning things around as long as it remains mired in its Keynesian, redistributionist, punish the successful and subsidize the unsuccessful mentality.

In justifying his vote for meaningful entitlement reform in New Jersey, Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, a Democrat from Camden, told The New York Times, “These reforms are unquestionably bitter pills for us to swallow, but they are reasonable and they are necessary.”

Are there enough “reasonable” Democrats in Congress who will join with reasonable Republicans and do what is necessary to repair what out-of-control spending, unlimited benefits and entitlements are doing to the federal government and to the other 49 states? If not, in the coming election, voters will have another opportunity to increase reasonable representation in Congress and in the White House.

Whoever thought traditionally liberal states like New Jersey and Wisconsin would lead the way.


We Agree Teens, Such As Those In Bowling Green, Kentucky, Charged With Committing Heinous Crimes, Should Be Tried -- And Punished -- As Adults.

Teens should be tried as adults in death
By the Daily News

The beating death of Bowling Green resident Freddie Emberton was brutal and vicious and we believe the nature of this crime warranted the accused being tried as adults.

Emberton was beaten to death. A Warren County grand jury has indicted Dominick “Dom” Deshaun Cunningham, 17; Jaquavion “Dez” Shandez Bunton, 15, and Daniel “Monk” Terrell Beasley, 17, in the April 7 slaying. The accused are also charged with robbery.

Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron and Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken discussed the case before taking it to a district judge for a decision on whether to transfer the case to the adult court.

We agree with the court’s decision to try them as adults.

The reasoning behind the decision to ask the court to transfer the case makes sense.

“Any time we have juveniles that commit offenses that qualify them to be tried as adults, myself and our county attorney, Amy Milliken, go through an extensive review process in making sure we request transfer only on appropriate cases,” Cohron said. “With the nature of the offense and allegations that we’re aware of at this time, transfer was the only realistic option.”

Cohron said the process for trying someone as an adult begins with Milliken and him consulting on the case. Milliken then initiates a motion to a district judge to transfer, meaning trying the suspect as an adult. Once that is approved, an indictment is sought before a grand jury that looks at the evidence before it.

In this case, the grand jury returned indictments against the three teens.

Emberton, 51, died April 8 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, one day after the Bowling Green Police Department found him badly beaten and unconscious on Lewis Avenue. Blunt force trauma was indicated as the cause of death.

Emberton had severe injuries to his head and none to any other parts of his body. A doctor showed his daughter, Angela Green, a scan of her father’s brain, telling her that his injuries were so severe that his brain was pushed to one side of his skull. He suffered eight fractures to one side of his face.

Only time and trial by jury will tell if the accused are guilty of these crimes, but given the circumstances and the nature of the death, it was the right choice to try the accused as adults.

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Long Time Condemned Kentucky Inmate Could Go Free Because Of Prosecutor's Trial Miscue.

Long-time condemned Ky. inmate wins new trial

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A Kentucky inmate on death row for 29 years has been granted a new trial by a federal appeals court that found problems with the trial judge's legal interpretations and an argument made by prosecutors about a claim of extreme emotional distress at the time of two slayings.

A split U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ordered 62-year-old David Eugene Matthews retried within 180 days in the death of his estranged wife Mary "Marlene" Matthews, and mother-in-law, Magdalene Cruse in Louisville, on June 29, 1981.

Judge Eric Clay wrote that the trial judge misinterpreted Kentucky's law on an extreme emotional distress defense and allowed prosecutors to claim during closing arguments that Matthews and his attorneys concocted the issue in an attempt to avoid conviction.

"The prosecutor's comments during closing arguments regarding (Matthews') supposed exaggeration of EED, and collusion with his attorney and doctor, were both improper and flagrant," Clay wrote.

Clay, joined by judge Karen Nelson Moore, also ordered the state to determine if Matthews can legally be retried or must be released because the constitutional prohibition on being tried twice for the same crime applies in this case.

Judge Eugene Siler Jr. dissented, saying the judge properly interpreted the law, and noted that prosecutors withdrew the offending statement at closing arguments.

"First, the evidence against the defendant was strong, as counsel admitted that Matthews had killed the two victims," Siler wrote. "The evidence of whether Matthews was under the influence of EED at the time of the offense was not as compelling, but there was evidence that Matthews did not suffer from this impairment at the time of the killings."

The ruling overturns a decision by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn III upholding Matthews' conviction and sentence.

Kentucky's law at the time Matthews went to trial required prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Matthews did not suffer from extreme emotional distress if the defendant produced sufficient evidence of the disorder. Clay found that Matthews made his case on extreme emotional distress, but prosecutors "neither undermined nor contravened" the claim, leaving reasonable doubt in place.

"The prosecution presented no evidence of its own regarding the EED element," Clay wrote.

Kentucky has executed three men since 1976. The last person executed was Marco Allen Chapman by lethal injection in November. The state currently has 34 people on death row.

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Breaking News: Former Lawmaker/Kentucky Governor Candidate And Son Of Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn, Steve Nunn Pleads Guilty To Amanda Ross' Murder, Gets Life Imprisonment Without Parole. My Heart Breaks For All Involved -- Steve Is A Friend.

Steve Nunn pleads guilty to murder charge Tuesday
By Jennifer Hewlett

Former state lawmaker Steve Nunn

pleaded guilty to murder with aggravating circumstances in the 2009 death of Amanda Ross

in Lexington.

Nunn, who was set to go on trial in August, entered the plea Tuesday morning in Fayette Circuit Court. He waived formal sentencing and Judge Pamela Goodwine sentenced Nunn to life without parole.

He also was given 12 months for violating a domestic violence order of protection. That sentence is to run concurrently.

When Goodwine asked Nunn if he was guilty of the charges Nunn said "yes ma'am" in a quiet voice.

Afterward, Nunn's attorneys, Warren Scoville said first-degree manslaughter was the best case scenario and with that charge he would have still spent the rest of his life in prison.

"When we got closer to trial I think we scored some points with our (extreme emotional disturbance) defense," he said.

Scoville said he has handled seven death penalty cases.

"I love Steve Nunn; I've known him for 20 years," Scoville said. "He's taking it like a man. He is a good man. Good people sometimes do bad things."

Scoville said that Nunn had the greatest respect for the Ross family. He said that Amanda Ross' mother, Diana, agreed with the plea.

The Commonwealth objected to Nunn being sentenced Tuesday, because they wanted victim impact statements to be made.

Scoville said those could be entered into the court record. Scoville asked that Nunn be sent to LaGrange right away. He said he had minor medical issues.

When asked for comment, Ray Larson just walked by.

Read more:

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Better Warning Label To Scare Smokers. LMAO!


Monday, June 27, 2011

U. S. Supreme Court Sides With First Amendment, Says Violent Video Games Can't Be Banned. Parents, Try To Parent Your Children, Will Ya? Watch News Video, And Read More.

For fellow Lawyers, the case is BROWN, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL. v. ENTERTAINMENT MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION ET AL., No. 08–1448. You can read the entire case here, but the synopsis follows below:

Respondents, representing the video-game and software industries, filed a preenforcement challenge to a California law that restricts the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. The Federal District Court concluded that the Act violated the First Amendment and permanently enjoined its enforcement. The Ninth Circuit affirmed.

Held: The Act does not comport with the First Amendment. Pp. 2–18.
(a) Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like pro-tected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through fa-miliar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And “the basic principles of freedom of speech . . . do not vary” with a new and different communication medium. Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wil-son, 343 U. S. 495, 503. The most basic principle—that government lacks the power to restrict expression because of its message, ideas,subject matter, or content, Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Un-ion, 535 U. S. 564, 573—is subject to a few limited exceptions for his-torically unprotected speech, such as obscenity, incitement, and fight-ing words. But a legislature cannot create new categories of unprotected speech simply by weighing the value of a particular category against its social costs and then punishing it if it fails the test. See United States v. Stevens, 559 U. S. ___, ___. Unlike the New York law upheld in Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U. S. 629, Cali-fornia’s Act does not adjust the boundaries of an existing category of unprotected speech to ensure that a definition designed for adults is not uncritically applied to children. Instead, the State wishes to cre-ate a wholly new category of content-based regulation that is permis-sible only for speech directed at children. That is unprecedented and
mistaken This country has no tradition of specially restricting chil-dren’s access to depictions of violence. And California’s claim that “interactive” video games present special problems, in that the player participates in the violent action on screen and determines its out-come, is unpersuasive. Pp. 2–11.
(b) Because the Act imposes a restriction on the content of pro-tected speech, it is invalid unless California can demonstrate that it passes strict scrutiny, i.e., it is justified by a compelling government interest and is narrowly drawn to serve that interest. R. A. V. v. St. Paul, 505 U. S. 377, 395. California cannot meet that standard. Psy-chological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively. Any demon-strated effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects pro-duced by other media. Since California has declined to restrict those other media, e.g., Saturday morning cartoons, its video-game regula-tion is wildly underinclusive, raising serious doubts about whether the State is pursuing the interest it invokes or is instead disfavoring a particular speaker or viewpoint. California also cannot show that the Act’s restrictions meet the alleged substantial need of parents who wish to restrict their children’s access to violent videos. The video-game industry’s voluntary rating system already accomplishes that to a large extent. Moreover, as a means of assisting parents the Act is greatly overinclusive, since not all of the children who are pro-hibited from purchasing violent video games have parents who dis-approve of their doing so. The Act cannot satisfy strict scrutiny. Pp. 11–18.
556 F. 3d 950, affirmed.

Editor's note: SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY, GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed an opin-ion concurring in the judgment, in which ROBERTS, C. J., joined. THO-MAS, J., and BREYER, J., filed dissenting opinions.

Yes, you read it right: Thomas and Breyer are on the same page on this one,though INCORRECTLY I might add.

I will publish more opinions tomorrow. Meanwhile, you can watch news video below:

Update, 6/30/2011: read George Wills excellent piece on the opinion. Read also, if you will, Cal Thomas' piece.

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Rod "BLAGO The Crook" Blagojevich Is "Stunned" By Jury's Guilty Verdicts. We Are Not, And We Say: BYe, Bye, BLAGO. Have Fun In Prison, Next To Your Predecessor! Watch Video.

In Case You Didn't Know It, Michelle Bachman Is Now A Presidential Contender. What Is Our World Coming To? Watch Video.

KARL ROVE: Why [Barack] Obama Is Likely To Lose In 2012.

Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012
Even a small drop in the share of black voters would wipe out his winning margin in North Carolina.


President Barack Obama is likely to be defeated in 2012. The reason is that he faces four serious threats. The economy is very weak and unlikely to experience a robust recovery by Election Day. Key voter groups have soured on him. He's defending unpopular policies. And he's made bad strategic decisions.

Let's start with the economy. Unemployment is at 9.1%, with almost 14 million Americans out of work. Nearly half the jobless have been without work for more than six months. Mr. Obama promised much better, declaring that his February 2009 stimulus would cause unemployment to peak at 8% by the end of summer 2009 and drop to roughly 6.8% today.

After boasting in June 2010 that "Our economy . . . is now growing at a good clip," he laughingly admitted last week, "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected." The humor will be lost on most. In Wednesday's Bloomberg poll, Americans believe they are worse off than when Mr. Obama took office by a 44% to 34% margin.

The last president re-elected with unemployment over 7.2% was FDR in 1936. Ronald Reagan overcame 7.2% unemployment because the rate was dropping dramatically (it had been over 10%) as the economy grew very rapidly in 1983 and 1984. Today, in contrast, the Federal Reserve says growth will be less than 3% this year and less than 3.8% next year, with unemployment between 7.8% and 8.2% by Election Day.

Mr. Obama also has problems with his base. For example, Jewish voters are upset with his policy toward Israel, and left-wing bloggers at last week's NetRoots conference were angry over Mr. Obama's failure to deliver a leftist utopia. Weak Jewish support could significantly narrow Mr. Obama's margin in states like Florida, while a disappointed left could deprive him of the volunteers so critical to his success in 2008.

President Obama is now at the mercy of policies and events he has set in motion.

Mr. Obama's standing has declined among other, larger groups. Gallup reported his job approval rating Tuesday at 45%, down from 67% at his inaugural. Among the groups showing a larger-than-average decline since 2009 are whites (down 25 points); older voters (down 24); independents and college graduates (both down 23), those with a high-school education or less, men, and Southerners (all down 22); women (down 21 points); married couples and those making $2,000-$4,000 a month (down 20). This all points to severe trouble in suburbs and midsized cities in states likes Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

There's more. Approval among younger voters has dropped 22 points, and it's dropped 20 points among Latinos. Even African-American voters are less excited about Mr. Obama than they were—and than he needs them to be. For example, if their share of the turnout drops just one point in North Carolina, Mr. Obama's 2008 winning margin there is wiped out two and a half times over.

While many voters still personally like Mr. Obama, they deeply oppose his policies, and he tends to be weakest on issues voters consider most important. In the June 13 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 56% disapprove of Mr. Obama's handling of the economy. Fifty-nine percent in the Economist/YouGov poll of June 14 disapprove of how he's dealt with the deficit.

And his health-care reform still holds its unique place as the only major piece of social legislation that became less popular after it was passed. According to yesterday's average of recent surveys, 38% approve of ObamaCare, while its survey average when the bill was passed in March 2010 showed that 41% approved.

Finally, Mr. Obama has made a strategic blunder. While he needs to raise money and organize, he decided to be a candidate this year rather than president. He has thus unnecessarily abandoned one of incumbency's great strengths, which is the opportunity to govern and distance himself from partisan politics until next spring. Instead, Team Obama has attacked potential GOP opponents and slandered Republican proposals with abandon. This is not what the public is looking for from the former apostle of hope and change.

In politics, 17 months can constitute several geological ages. Political fortunes can wax and wane. And weak incumbents can defeat even weaker challengers.

At the same time, objective circumstances like an anemic economy and bad decisions not only matter; they become very nearly dispositive. Mr. Obama is now at the mercy of policies and events he has set in motion. He can't escape accountability, especially on the economy. He's not done yet, but it will be tough to recover. More in a future column.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

Editor's note:

About Karl Rove

Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process.

Before Karl became known as "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is the author of the book "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions).

Email the author atKarl@Rove.comor visit him on the web at Or, you can send a Tweet to @karlrove.