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Obama at lunchIf you’re sitting at your computer waiting for the President’s speech to commence at N.C. State (or in the audience staring at your smart phone), here are a few interesting links to keep you occupied:

First off, it looks like our leftist-socialist President continues to fail in his crusade to bring down capitalism. The Charlotte O reports this morning that Bank of America is the latest financial institution to report huge profits — in this case, the largest in six years.

Meanwhile click here to see the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average — which has been going pretty much nowhere but up throughout the Obama years. Back to the drawing board, comrades!

As for Obama’s prominent NC critics, both Gov. (“It’s all Bev’s fault”) McCrory and Sec. Aldona (“Heck of a job, Donie!”) Wos are apparently showing up to pay their respects to the Prez today. Good for them for rising at least slightly above partisan politics. Perhaps they’re feeling some kinship with someone struggling in the polls.

If she gets to say “howdy,” though, Wos might want to ditch the “everything is Obama’s fault” rap. As Sarah Ovaska reported this morning on the main PW page, Read More

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In case you missed it, the Charlotte Observer explained yesterday why it’s time, at long last, to “go nuclear” on the filibuster in the U.S. Senate:

“[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid told reporters Tuesday that he was once again considering rules reform – which is shorthand for doing away with filibusters on judicial and executive nominations by allowing a simple majority vote for approvals. A senior aide made that “nuclear option” sound even more likely in an interview with the Washington Post, saying that it’s hard to envision Reid not changing the rules.

He should. The filibuster, once a useful tool designed to give the minority party more influence in confirmations and legislation, is now a tactic overused by both parties to strip the president of the appointment powers the Constitution has given him.

Well over 100 of Obama’s executive and judicial nominees – including U.S. Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte, who was nominated to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency – have seen their nominations stalled because the Senate requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. That means just 40 senators can stop nominees from getting the consideration and yes-or-no vote they deserve….”

Read the rest of the editorial by clicking here.

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Raleigh’s News & Observer was kind enough to publish this morning an essay I wrote on Richard Burr’s ongoing and inexcusable silent filibuster of President Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

If you haven’t checked it out, I hope you will by clicking here.

One thing I didn’t have space to mention in the N&O piece, however, is that Burr’s absurd obstructionism is part of a broader and pernicious pattern; the GOP has been blocking and delaying Obama’s court nominees simply as a matter of course for years. Even nominees who end up getting confirmed unanimously often find themselves waiting for months (or even years) for a simple hearing and up or down vote that ought to take a matter of weeks.

To see the extent of the ongoing and growing national judicial vacancy crisis, check out the “Why Courts Matter” website maintained by the good folks at the Center for American Progress.

One warning: The information contained therein may provoke you to put your fist through your computer monitor.

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In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, check out this NPR interview with Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania in which the congressman places the blame for the federal government shut-down squarely on the shoulders of a group of fire-breathers in his own House Republican caucus. Dent, who opooses much of the Affordable Care Act but thinks it folly to shut down government over the matter, says that there would be an overwhelming bipartisan vote to end the shut-down and pass a clean government funding bill if only House Speaker John Boehner would bring such a proposal to the House floor.

in other words, the GOP congressman confirmed the truth of what President Obama has been saying repeatedly: the shut-down has been brought on by a small faction of far right ideologues who are holding the nation hostage.

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It wasn’t that long ago — about five years to be precise — that critics of then-Senator Barack Obama were complaining mightily about the presidential candidate’s numerous “present” votes while serving in the Illinois General Assembly. It turns out that Illinois and some other states (but not North Carolina) allow legislators the “present” option when voting on proposed bills.

The gist of the criticism, of course, was that a “present” vote is the wimp’s way out — a way to get credit for being there to collect your legislative paycheck without doing your duty and taking a position. 

This week, it will be interesting to see if any of Obama’s critics in North Carolina step up to direct the same criticism at Gov. Pat McCrory. As reported on Friday, the governor has decided to, in effect, vote “present” on one of the year’s dumbest bills — the proposal to keep Islamic Sharia Law from being given any effect in North Carolina. According to a statement, the Governor thinks the proposal is “unnecessary” but will simply punt and not sign or veto the measure. Under state law, the bill now becomes law.

But, of course, the question that arises is: If you think it’s unnecessary, why don’t you do your duty and take a stand? At least Obama’s “present” votes had the same practical effect as a “no” vote under Illinois law. McCrory’s wimp out lets a potentially unconstitutional absurdity become state law in North Carolina because, in effect, the Guv didn’t want to be bothered — a silly result that was also, unfotunately, allowed to happen on occasion by his predecessors. What a way to run a railroad!