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Thursday, Jul 24, 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.

Obamacare’s flesh wound

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By Tom Jackson

That shiver of excitement shared by Obamacare opponents Tuesday shouldn’t be mistaken for ultimate triumph. Yes, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second highest court in the land, dealt a blow to Obamacare when it ruled in favor of the law as it is written and against after-the-fact regulatory whim.

At issue is whether Obamacare applicants through federal exchanges qualify for tax subsidies. The law as written lays out plainly that only those who apply through state exchanges are eligible. Just this moment, however, 36 states have not set up their own exchanges, affecting about 4.7 million subscribers. No matter, said the IRS, which unilaterally rewrote the law to include federal exchange applicants, too.

Not so fast, said the D.C. Court. Conceding that there would be disruption caused by their ruling, Judge Thomas Griffith — a George W. Bush appointee known as a moderate — wrote this for the majority:

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Extrapolating the Jolly standard

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By Tom Jackson

Whether David Jolly’s epiphany is one of conviction or simply a matter of having deciphered the political tea leaves is an open question, but either way, on the matter of same-gender marriage, the freshman Republican congressman from Pinellas County has crossed the bridge of no return. In an email reply to a question from the Washington Post, Jolly had this to say on the matter:

“As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage,” said Jolly. “But as a matter of constitutional principle I believe in a form of limited government that protects personal liberty. To me, that means that the sanctity of one’s marriage should be defined by their faith and by their church, not by their state. Accordingly, I believe it is fully appropriate for a state to recognize both traditional marriage as well as same-sex marriage, and therefore I support the recent decision by a Monroe County Circuit Judge” in which Florida’s ban was ruled unconstitutional.

Thus did Jolly put his name to an exquisite threading-of-the-needle. His faith preference is for one arrangement, but his political philosophy compels him to acknowledge the reasonableness of the other. What his of-the-moment statement does not do, however, is anticipate what must, inevitably, come next. Indeed, he invites it.

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Warren’s fantasyland: A ramification-free world

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By Tom Jackson

Elizabeth Warren — she of the imagined American Indian heritage that launched a thousand puns — addressed her real tribe the other day, laying out a warpath agenda for delegates to the far-left Netroots Nation conference.

The venue could not have been more ideal: A stage in a dying city — Detroit — that is the poster child for unrestricted liberal impulses. Not that anyone with a Netroots Nation credential would have noticed, or admitted as much. In their world, when liberalism fails, it’s because it wasn’t tried hard enough, or long enough, or it was sabotaged by insidious right-wing forces.

Such purity of faith helps explain why the delegates whooped as Warren described her us-vs.-sinister-them platform for 2014 and beyond. Why, John Nichols, columnist for The Nation, was practically rhapsodic.

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Another lost-hard-drive improbability

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By Tom Jackson

From the “You-Can’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up” file comes news confirming your suspicion that no matter how corrupt you thought the current administration is, it’s worse.

It seems a Federal Elections Commission lawyer, known to her coworkers as “Obama Girl,” breezily violated the Hatch Act — a prohibition against federal employees advocating for campaigns during work hours — during the run-up to the 2012 election. It also seems, despite her admission, she won’t/can’t be prosecuted, because her office hard drive was recycled by efficient agency IT professionals.

According to London’s MailOnline:

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The eye of our latest ‘man-caused disaster’

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By Tom Jackson

Remember, way back a week or so, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry invited President Obama down to the centers near the Rio Grande where the surge of illegal immigrant children find accommodation? Remember, though it was so long ago, how Perry urged Obama to visit and, surrounded by the sad truth of the crisis and national TV cameras, announce to restive Central Americans that their plans to circumvent U.S. immigration laws would not be tolerated?

And remember how Obama chose instead to flee to a Denver pub, where he spent the evening — sleeves expertly rolled up and tie dangling, but still firmly knotted — shooting pool, quaffing beer and declining the offer of a perfectly legal marijuana joint? Because, as he said reassuringly to the American people alarmed about their increasingly irrelevant borders, “this isn’t theater” and he wasn’t “interested in photo ops.”

Well. Didn’t that make you feel better, more confident that the commander-in-chief had a plan to make things all right?

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Bibi gets off Sunday’s best line

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By Tom Jackson

Interviewed by Brit Hume on Fox News Sunday, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu distilled the essence of his nation’s current conflict with Hamas forces in Gaza — in which Israel explodes incoming missiles with its “Iron Dome” defense and Hamas stores rockets in mosques and sites launchers near schools — in a quip:

“Here’s the difference between us. We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

Done and dusted.

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A cynical assault on the First Amendment

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By Tom Jackson

There is enormous mischief in the proposed constitutional amendment voted out (10-8, along party lines) by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. Enormous and purposeful.

Drafted, ostensibly, to deal with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, the amendment would grant Congress unprecedented and ultimate authority over the First Amendment. No, silly. Nekkid dancing, flag burning and street-corner begging would remain protected forms of expression.

If, on the other hand, you and your neighbors decided you weren’t happy with your congressman, so you pooled your money to support a rival, you would most likely come to the attention of whatever agency sprung from the absolute horror proposed by Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat.

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Scott’s choo-choo troubles (mostly) refuted

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By Tom Jackson

Rick Scott is catching heat for what seems to be double-talk coming out of his administration over its support for passenger rail. Let’s have a peek.

On one hand, citing concerns over the risk to Florida taxpayers, the governor killed the high-speed rail scheme linking Tampa and Orlando that was part of the Obama administration’s first-term “stimulus” package.

On the other hand, the state has committed more than $230 million for a variety of projects that will benefit, directly or otherwise, “All Aboard Florida,” a privately funded rail project connecting the Gold and Treasure coasts, with Miami at the southern tip, to Orlando. The bulk — $217 million — is committed to what the Department of Transportation describes as a “multimodal” terminal at Orlando International Airport.

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Retreating from a bad idea

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By Tom Jackson

About that plan to eliminate valedictorian and salutatorian designations from future Pasco County high school graduations: Suddenly it seems we’re closing in on an Emily Litella moment.

This is welcome news. Not because the district was about to embark on a dumbed-down, everybody-gets-a-trophy approach to education — although there was a little of that in the argument touting Latin standards (the varying degrees of “cum laude”) as a substitute — but because policy-makers were about to dump generations of honorable tradition to cure an administrative headache.

That’s simply bad form.

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The left’s Hobby Lobby hokum

Published:   |   Updated: July 1, 2014 at 11:19 PM
By Tom Jackson

One of the best things about the modern world of social media is we no longer have to guess what our political opposites are thinking — using the term expansively, because in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s aggressively misinterpreted decision about certain forms of contraception and religious liberty, our friends on the left have eschewed thinking in favor of going full-out, wall-to-wall, barbed-wire-chewing, bats-over-the-moon hysterical.

Yes, the margin was the latest in a series of maddening 5-4 decisions, and it’s not hard to remember a similar moment suddenly, last summer, when the right lapsed into temporary insanity over a razor-thin outcome that conservatives still argue was contrived and coerced and liberals smugly describe as “the law of the land.”

Now out of that judgment about the constitutionality of Obamacare has emerged another thorny issue, one in which the administration attempted to force its will regarding all things contraceptive — including a class of drugs and devices designed to expel fertilized eggs from the uterus — on corporations whose owners whose religious convictions compels them to abhor such activities.

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