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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

So let it be written, so let it be done (but only that which is written)

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By Tom Jackson

The sad condition of America’s court system today has come to this: When judges’ rulings are based on a plain readings of unambiguous statutory text, it’s not just news, it’s Big News.

So it was Tuesday when federal Judge Ronald White of the Eastern District of Oklahoma decided the Affordable Care Act means what it says. At issue, astonishingly, is whether applicants for insurance through federal exchanges set up under Obamacare are eligible for subsidies. The law says otherwise.

We’ve been through this before, in Halbig v. Sebelius. So far, it’s not good for anyone but the Humpty Dumptys of the world, people who are able to get away with deciding, moment to moment, what a word means. This is how “created by the States” — the explicit text as written — becomes, voila, “created by the States and federal government.” Once the door opens to such creative interpretation, subsidies might even be dispensed through exchanges “created by the States and the federal government and the European Union and the Acme Novelty Co.”

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More chilling news for climate-change alarmists

Published:   |   Updated: September 30, 2014 at 12:07 PM
By Tom Jackson

Don’t believe me. I am not a scientist, as my correspondents have been quick to and forceful about pointing out.

But just as you don’t have to have played in the NFL to present an authoritative opinion about who has emerged as the best quarterback to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or have served in the White House to analyze responsibly what’s going on there, neither is an advanced degree in climate science necessary to ascertain that the verdict about humankind’s effect on global temperatures is far from settled.

Multi-platform contributor Steven Hayward does yeoman’s work on this, and he delivers again Monday in his column published at Forbes.com. He’s not kind to the loopy extremists, which included more than a few household names, who blocked streets in Manhattan last week. What they’d like to wreak on us, they don’t deserve kindness.

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Why ending ‘emergency’ unemployment benefits creates job openings

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By Tom Jackson

Remember the argument advanced by President Obama and congressional Democrats on behalf of extending unemployment insurance far (far, far) beyond its traditional 26-week cutoff as the nation dragged itself out of the Great Recession ditch? Boosting payments to the unemployed for up to 99 weeks was essentially the perfect public policy: Not only was it compassion at a time of crisis, a clear, codified indicator of America’s concern for workers displaced through no fault of their own, that steady supply of weekly $300 checks was simultaneously about the best economic stimulus going.

“Unemployment insurance is part of the safety net of our country, not just for individuals but for the economy,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in December. “It is one of the biggest stimuli for the economy. Every dollar creates about $1.70 in demand.”

See that? It’s an absolute two-fer. In fact, given Pelosi’s magical multiplier, it’s a wonder Washington didn’t cut unemployment checks to everybody, yes, indeed, including the employed. Who wouldn’t want to expand GDP by 70 percent?

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An Orwellian war on women?

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By Tom Jackson

The tale of the White House intruder who, back on Sept. 19, got deeper into the home of the president than anyone previously let on gets better: Monday’s original version of the Washington Post story detailing Omar Gonzalez’s invasion all the way into the East Room — which took him past the stairs to the residence — noted Gonzalez overpowered a guard of the female persuasion just inside the front door.

Is that significant information? Maybe, although perhaps in his mania, Gonzalez, an Iraqi war veteran, would have whipped a surprised male guard, too.

Nonetheless, subsequent versions of the Post story scrubbed the gender of the guard, raising suspicious eyebrows. Did the reporter get it wrong, or, as noted by Ed Driscoll of Pajamas Media, is there some other agenda at work? Based on the maxim laid out a while back by savvy Daily Caller contributor Jim Treacher — “Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats” — Driscoll knows which way he’s leaning.

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Biggest global threat: Studies disputing gospel according to Leo

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By Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson’s “The Right Stuff” blog updates throughout the week at TBO.com.

Well. This is inconvenient, indeed. Even as a parade of preening, angst-filled hypocrites was taking turns at the United Nations telling the rest of us how to live (because that’s what our betters do) Tuesday, news was spreading that an environmentally sensitive region well known to famous climatistas owes virtually all of its warming in the past century to — wait for it — natural forces.

Oh, the humanity!

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Another strike against early voting

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By Tom Jackson

Here’s another reason to dislike early voting: It’s the reason Congress is not in Washington just now, avoiding the question of whether it should vote to authorize President Obama’s war-making in the Middle East.

Thirty-three states participate in early voting schemes, with polls opening from seven to 45 (!) days before Election Day. That’s right. In some states (Vermont, Minnesota, New Jersey, South Dakota and Wyoming, if you’re keeping score at home), legal ballots already are being cast. Iowa begins Thursday. Seven others join the fun no later than Oct. 6. (For the record, Florida begins Oct. 20.)

That’s more than a quarter of the states where candidates, incumbents included, needed to be back home making their pitches nearly eight weeks before Election Day. Since you can’t very well ask one-quarter of the states to forego representation in the nation’s capital for the better part of a month, Congress was obliged to suspend its business.

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Biggest global threat: Studies disputing what Leo DiCaprio preaches

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By Tom Jackson

Well. This is inconvenient, indeed. Even as a parade of preening, angst-filled hypocrites was taking turns at the United Nations telling the rest of us how to live (because that’s what our betters do) Tuesday, news was spreading that an environmentally sensitive region well known to famous climatistas owes virtually all of its warming in the past century to — wait for it — natural forces.

Oh, the horror! Oh, the humanity!

And yet, there it is. Even as Leonardo DiCaprio (!) was warning world leaders (those who showed up, anyway; having weighed agenda-driven “scientific consensus” against economic reality, chiefs some of the globe’s biggest producers of carbon dioxide took a pass) they risked being vilified by history, the Hollywood star’s hometown newspaper was taking off the wraps unsupportive of his doomsday scenario.

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‘Viable third party’ fantasyland

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By Tom Jackson

The Right Stuff ran across a thread on its Facebook news feed where people largely in harmony regarding what ails the world and its appropriate cures had nonetheless managed to become sidetracked. One was extolling what he regarded as the incremental but persistent shifting of Republicans toward more sensible positions; the other declared his impatience and said he’d abandon the GOP in a heartbeat if only there were a — you know where this is going — viable third party.

Obviously, you don’t have to be a Republican or a conservative to have this conversation with someone who shares your general political philosophy. Democrats who find common cause with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s string-up-the-rascals bluntness would break from the world’s oldest political party to coalesce around her if she gave so much as a nod.

But not only are third-party successes rarer than Chicago Cubs World Series victories, we’ll sooner see the Cubs triumphant than a third party take hold. The Cubs, at least — now in their second century of rebuilding since winning the 1908 World Series — have equal access to baseball’s well-established winning formula. Third-party dreamers, however, have the entirety of the U.S. Constitutional architecture working against them.

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9th Circuit affirms ‘hecker’s veto’ against American flag

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By Tom Jackson

The idea that school administrators do and should have broad authority to set peacekeeping rules strikes The Right Stuff as self-evident. In this, it finds itself in rare agreement with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. But, as the saying more or less goes, with great authority comes great responsibility.

If only what the 9th Circuit did Thursday was as simple as that. It is anything but.

By declining to rehear, en banc (that is, an 11-member panel) the case decided by three judges in February, the court affirmed that by declaring an activity a safety hazard, school officials needn’t be rational or balanced or even particularly concerned with the rights of the students whom they regard as posing the threat. In this case, the provocateurs were a handful of students who wore T-shirts bearing the American flag to Live Oak High School, near San Jose, Calif., on Cinco de Mayo, marking an unlikely victory of Mexican forces over the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla.

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Obamacare as Jenga

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By Tom Jackson

Another Obamacare shoe dropped Tuesday, but because it happened in faraway Minnesota, you might not have noticed. Although Minnesota’s NFL team idled one of the league’s top running backs over a charge of child abuse, and everybody noticed that. So maybe it’s something else. Lefty pundits have been saying for a while Obamacare has slipped off the radar as a campaign issue for Republicans in competitive midterm races, so perhaps that’s it.

It’s also conceivable that things have gotten so much worse in so many other areas (ISIS, the border, Ebola, disappointing jobs numbers, flagging middle class incomes) that Obamacare, though still as unpopular as ever, had shrunk to mildly irritating background noise.

Well. Brace yourself for a comeback.

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