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Flotsam and Jetsam

Yes, even the media has noticed the irony that in the post-racial presidency the Sotomayor nomination has brought back “identity politics.” But that is really a passive formulation: the issue is whether Sotomayor is committed to identity politics from the bench. Todd Gaziano from Heritage and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights explains: “Her shenanigans in [Ricci] indicates to me that she holds a wrongheaded view on the Equal Protection Clause and she’s embarrassed by it. . .Senators should explore every important area of constitutional law and whether judges take the Equal Protection Clause seriously or fictionally.”

If you needed another reason to oppose release of the Uighurs into the U.S. here is one: they really don’t like America.

Yuval Levin wonders why Democrats are now obsessing over cost containment as a selling point for nationalized healthcare: “Most bizarre of all, the administration talks about all this as a way to bring the broader entitlement problem under control. How exactly? The notion that entitlement costs will be brought under control by the creation of a vast new entitlement just doesn’t add up. Yet somehow the Democrats are the ones pushing the cost argument.”

Obama “pivots” on taxing health benefits. That would be, even for him, an astounding flip-flop. “‘For the first time in American history, he wants to tax your health benefits,’ Obama said in September. ‘Apparently, Senator McCain doesn’t think it’s enough that your health premiums have doubled. He thinks you should have to pay taxes on them, too.’ Strongly desiring to declare a health-care victory this year, Obama is now taking a more nuanced approach, aides said.” Gotta’ love those nuanced pivots.

Aaron David Miller is stumped too: “As President Obama heads to Saudi Arabia and Egypt this week, his strategy is not altogether clear. The logic appears to be to get Israel to freeze settlements, the Arab states to offer up partial normalization and together this will somehow get Israel and the Palestinians into a successful negotiation on the toughest issues — Jerusalem, borders and refugees. The president would presumably be prepared to lay out his own peace plan if necessary.To make this work, the sun, moon and the stars would need to align almost perfectly.” Yes, Obama could have an inkling for regime change or it could be another ill-conceived, half-baked idea like closing Guantanamo.

Unfortunately not an Onion story: “The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked “highly confidential,” that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons. The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an on-line newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy.” Just fills you with confidence that the government is taking on so many new and exciting responsibilities. Perhaps it should work on getting the existing stuff right.

Joe Biden speaks truth on the stimulus: “There are going to be mistakes made. . .Some people are being scammed already.” Yeah, whatever.

Harry Reid gives know-nothingism a bad name: “I understand that during her career, she’s written hundreds and hundreds of opinions. I haven’t read a single one of them, and if I’m fortunate before we end this, I won’t have to read one of them.”

CBS News follows one of Rep. John Murtha’s scams. A defense contractor passing itself off as a charity? Yup.

Meanwhile the scandal spreads: “Chuck Brimmer has resigned as chief of staff to Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) after being served with a subpoena as part of the federal grand jury probe of the PMA Group, a now-defunct lobbying firm. The news came as Visclosky announced Tuesday that he is handing off control of the energy and water spending bill while the federal inquiry proceeds.”

And over in the Senate Dick Durbin has some explaining to do about a conversation with Blago. Aside from whatever was said why would any elected official have gotten on the phone with Blago?

No frontrunner in GOP 2012 presidential race,” says the headline. Probably because there isn’t a race yet.

Michael Gerson sounds a note of caution on the president’s upcoming speech in Cairo: “Any presidential speech abroad has multiple audiences. One of them, in this case, is the Egyptian government, whose cooperation is needed on issues that range from proliferation to peace. But another audience will be dissidents and reformers in Egypt and beyond. And a president who does not speak boldly for their political rights — their democratic rights — has little useful to say to them.”



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