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Saturday, April 17, 2010

SHORT NOTES

FT. HOOD



The case of the Ft. Hood murderer seems to have gone into legal limbo. It was last November that Major Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers and wounded more than 30 others. Hasan has recovered from his own gun shot wounds sufficiently to be transferred from a military hospital to a county jail in Texas. How long should it take for a military court martial to be convened? Meanwhile the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has been seeking Defense Dept. documents relating to information the Army had on Hasan and how it was handled prior to the shootings. Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has blasted the Pentagon for "stonewalling" the issue. Strangely, SecDef Gates has said the Pentagon would continue holding off sharing information with the Committee that "could make it harder" for prosecutors to convict Hasan. This seems bizarre. Hasan was shot down in the act of murder at the scene which was witnessed by hundreds of others. "Hard to prosecute"? Of course, his lawyer will demand a psychiatric evaluation of this psychiatrist in an attempt to prove that he was temporarily insane and thus not legally responsible. But this is a nonsensical defense any military court will reject out of hand. This court martial should move on.





LIBERAL JUDGES



If Obama’s recent nomination of Goodwin Liu for the 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Ct. is any indication of his likely picks to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Ct., a major battle is in the offing. Liu is a professor at the law school of the ultra liberal Berkely campus of the University of California. The 9th Circuit already is easily the most liberal of the Federal Appeals Courts and the most overturned on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Liu has never been a judge and his comments in opposition to the nomination of Supreme Ct. Justice Alito were described by committee member Senator John Kyle (R-AZ ) as “vicious and emotionally and racially charged”. Liu said: “Alito’s vision was an America where police may shoot and kill and unarmed boy...where federal agents may point guns at ordinary citizens during a raid, even after no sign of resistance...where the FBI may install a camera where you sleep...where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man, absent...analysis showing discrimination.”

“Liu said he used “unnecessarily colorful language’”. The Judiciary Committee should show some common sense and toss this “unnecessarily colorful nominee”.



FINANCIAL REFORM



Senate Republicans have gained a new ally in the debate over Senator Chris Dodd’s financial reform bill, whether they want him or not. President Obama has threatened to veto Dodd’s bill unless the provision for a 50 billion dollar bail out fund is deleted. This has been the Republicans main objection to the bill. Now they are in a quandary. If their opposition was part of the political game plan to oppose all Democrat legislation that strategy might not fit the bill if amended as Obama wants. Opposing reform/regulation of “Wall Street” would not be politically popular given public anger over the financial sector melt down of 2008-09. The bill still isn’t flawless without the “bail out “ provision but the lesser issues can be corrected by amendment. The increased complexity( exotic derivatives) and instant (electronic) movements of the markets make increased regulation a common sense and politically popular necessity. Republicans should climb on board and help pass the bill.

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