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House votes to repeal ObamaCare - but will the Senate vote?

On Wednesday, the Republican led House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (245-189) to repeal the big-government ObamaCare legislation that the Democrats pushed into law last March.

Just as when it was first being debated and passed, Obama's signature "reform" bill was opposed by a majority of the American public, and recent polls show a similar majority being in favor of its repeal.

But now that repeal legislation has passed the House, what of the Senate?  Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he will not bring the bill up for a vote, claiming that Americans support ObamaCare, which, if true, means he should have not trouble getting a majority of the Senate to reject a repeal, right?  That prompted Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to "dare" him to let the Senate vote on it.  The real reason Reid wont schedule a vote is because there are 23 Senate Democrats that are up for re-election next year, and many of them are in "red" states.  The last thing they want is to have another big public debate and vote on an issue that their constituents despise.

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Federal Court rules cross unconstitutional

Here we go again.

The radically liberal 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court and found that a San Diego war memorial, shaped in the form of a cross, is unconstitutional, simply because it is on public land...which would constitute a government endorsement of religion.

Really?  Just curious, but does anyone really believe our government "endorses" religion?  How could a government that sanctions the killing of a million or so unborn babies every year be said to "endorse" religion?

From the story:

Capping a legal dispute brewing since the late 1980s, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower-court decision that threw out a legal challenge to the hilltop cross brought on behalf of Jewish war veterans.

The three-judge panel concluded in its 47-page opinion that the U.S. "district court erred in declaring the memorial to be primarily nonsectarian and granting summary judgment in favor of the government and the memorial's supporters." ...

The appeals court, recognizing volatile feelings generated on both sides by the case, wrote that America's war veterans can and should be honored, "but without the imprimatur of state-endorsed religion."

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"Death panels" finding their way back into ObamaCare

Despite the fact that they had to drop this idea from the original legislation...and despite the fact that promoters of health care "reform" promised that no such thing would ever happen, here it is, just months removed from ObamaCare being signed into law.

In case you missed it, the White House is planning to put forward regulations that will incentivize doctors to meet with patients and discuss their "end of life" options.

Via the NY Times:

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

School sends parents permission slips for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance

From the "yes, really" category, we have the recent decision by a public school principal in Brookline, Massachusetts to send parents a form asking them to indicate whether or not their child should participate in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, (which teachers are required to lead, according to state law).

The form tells parents to check either: "Yes, my child will participate in the weekly Pledge of Allegiance", or "No, my child will not participate in the weekly Pledge of Allegiance."  The letter goes on to urge parents to "have a conversation as a family to help your children understand why I will be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and to support them in feeling comfortable and confident in the decision on whether or not to participate."

So what does this tell us?

In the case of this particular PUBLIC, tax-dollar supported school, it indicates that they are only just now getting around to leading children in the Pledge...despite the fact that it's a state law.  And this principal is doing so in an almost apologetic manner...only once a week...and sending parents a permission slip, letting them know that they can avoid having their child's delicate conscience injured.

Then there's this...

New census numbers look bad for Obama and Democrats

On Tuesday the US Census will issue its 2010 report, and the result will be more bad news for Obama and the Democrats.

In short, the national headcount will show population shifts away from "blue" states, and to "red" states - a shift that will impact the apportionment of the 435 members to the US House of Representatives as well as members of the Electoral College.

As for the 2012 presidential race, this will result in a net shift of at least six electoral votes to states the habitually vote Republican in presidential elections, essentially the equivalent of adding another small state to the GOP column.  This comes on top of an almost identical shift in population (and political power) as a result of the 2000 census. 

In order to be elected President, a candidate must win 270 out of 537 electoral votes.

From the Associated Press:

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Why the omnibus spending bill died and tax cuts won

It's been an interesting week in Washington.  Democrats went along with extending the same tax cuts that they have spent the better part of the last decade criticizing, and Harry Reid had to give up his attempt to push through an omnibus spending bill that would keep the government on an Obama spending track for the next year.

So what gives?

As for the tax bill, it passed because Republicans went along with extending unemployment benefits for another thirteen months.  As almost always seems to be the case, the benefits were set to expire around Christmas, as the newly empowered GOP didn't want to deal with the PR problem. Democrats, on the other hand, knew that the Republicans will be running the house in less than a month, so they had to take what the GOP would agree to now, or risk getting less of what they want later.

Call this one a draw.

As for the spending bill, the election killed it.  Well, sort of. 

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New effort to end taxpayer funding of abortion

Several new pieces of legislation are being introduced that aim to end any taxpayer funding of abortion and/or groups such as Planned Parenthood.

The "No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act" is being introducted by Republican Rep. Chris Smith (NJ) and Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL), which would institute a government wide ban on any federal funding for abortion, as well as provide conscience protections for health care providers.  (By the way, Lipinski was one of the rare Democrat incumbents that was re-elected in November, largely because he remained pro-life and voted against ObamaCare).

Indiana Republican Rep. Mike Pence will be introducing a bill that would specifically defund Planned Parenthood, (which received over$350 million in federal dollars in 2008.

Of course introducing a bill is just a first step in a legislative battle, but given the new GOP control of the House, we can be pretty certain they would receive a full, fair hearing and a floor vote...and then we'll see what happens with the Senate.  As LifeNews reports, 80 of the 87 incoming freshmen Republican House members are pro-life.

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New poll: More Americans consider themselves Republicans for first time ever

For the first time ever, a Rasmussen public opinion poll shows more Americans self-identifying themselves as Republicans as opposed to Democrats or independents.

The survey shows 36% of adults identifying themselves as Republicans, with 35% calling themselves Democrats, and 29% independents.  What makes this numbers even more interesting is that the poll applies to "all Americans", not just "registered voters", or "likely voters", (which are almost always more Republican in their responses that the general public).

After the 2008 presidential elections, Democrats had an almost 8% advantage over Republicans in the same poll, which points to a net swing of 9% since Obama became President.

The poll also notes that the number of self-identified Democrats is only just above the lowest level ever recorded.

The biggest reason for this result would seem to be that voters continue to trust Republicans more on key issues than Democrats...but even this has a lot to do with just a plain, old-fashioned rejection of Obama and the Congressional Democrats agenda of the past two years.

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