** Appointed Senator Dean Heller’s (R-NV) opposition to the confirmation of Elissa Cadish to the federal bench may doom the nomination. [LVSun] It seems the nominee once said that “reasonable restrictions” might be applied to gun ownership and use. It is always so much nicer when an excuse can be found, than admit that the Senate GOP leadership has been slow rolling the confirmation of federal judges and other administration candidates. [See Judicial Nominations.Org]
** Senator Heller’s position, that gun ownership is an absolute Constitutional right, and should not be subject to case by case consideration, leaves several important questions unanswered. (1) Does an individual with a documented and immediate medical history of mental illness have a constitutional right to obtain and use a firearm? (Think: Tucson, Virginia Tech) (2) Does an individual who has been incarcerated for a felony involving the personal injury or death of another person have a constitutional right to obtain and use a firearm? (3) Does a person having a known affiliation with a violent drug cartel have the constitutional right to obtain and use a firearm? The argument that with rights come responsibilities is often offered by gun ownership advocates, so if a person uses, or is very likely to use, a firearm in an irresponsible way then does the community have no recourse but to endure the consequent tragedy?
** Senator Heller’s position on firearms regulation most closely aligns with that of married white men over the age of 50, who have incomes between $75,000 and $99,000 per year, who self identify as conservative Republicans, belong to evangelical Protestant churches, and live in rural areas. [Pew Research pdf]
** So, if it is necessary to “Drill Baby Drill,” and some supposed shortage of gasoline responsible for higher gasoline prices, then why is Flint Hills Resources Alaska shutting down their North Pole Refinery for the next five months? [ADN] The firm cites high global crude prices.
** Bring it on, Planned Parenthood filed suit against the state of Texas asserting that the state improperly excluded its clinics from participating in the Medicaid women’s health program. [Austin]
** Department of No Surprises: “Mid-Incomers Suffer in Polarized U.S. Job Market,” [Bloomberg] “Americans at the top and bottom of the income scale are benefiting most from the jobs recovery while those in the middle are getting left behind. ”
** Wendy’s is the 6th firm to pull its support from ALEC. [PR Watch]
** What war on women? In Arizona it is now illegal to have an abortion after 18 weeks of pregnancy because the state will start the clock on the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. [Think Progress] Mississippi is now considering a bill to ban abortions after six weeks of gestation even if the woman’s health is at serious risk. [ThinkProgress] Anti-abortion advocates are launching a new constitutional amendment campaign in Florida. [NewsPress] An ultrasound bill is up for consideration in the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee. [BostonGlobe] Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed 50 bills into law including one requiring an emphasis on abstinence only sex education, barring abortion coverage in health insurance exchanges, and repealing the state’s Equal Pay for Equal Work non-discrimination statute. [FDN] More than 50% of all women in the U.S. of reproductive age now live in states hostile to abortion. [Guttmacher]
** The federal government increased online access to conflict of interest data as a result of the newly enacted STOCK Act. [OMBWatch]
** Congressional pressure is increasing for the Pentagon to rein in its increasing reliance on private contractors. [POGO] The GAO is questioning the Pentagon’s expenditures with private contractors. [GovExec]
** Right wing’ers are attacking a 17 year old Ohio high school student for wearing a T-shirt saying “Jesus Is Not A Homophobe.” [RightWingWatch]