Obama to Deploy Executive Powers Against GOP Hill

From washingtonexaminer.com -President Obama challenged congressional Republicans to embrace the "shared responsibility" of governance even as the White House appears ready to use unilateral executive powers to battle Capitol Hill. With Republicans taking over the House and increasing their number in the Senate, Obama faces the possibility of having his agenda stalled with limited room to maneuver -- making for tough sledding in the two years leading up to his 2012 re-election bid. In response, Obama is expected to make more frequent use of executive orders, vetoes, signing statements and policy initiatives that originate within the federal agencies to maneuver around congressional Republicans who are threatening to derail initiatives he has already put in place, including health care reforms, and to launch serial investigations into his administration's spending. "There is going to be an effort on the president's part to use [executive powers] to satisfy his base and institutionalize what he can," said John Kenneth White, professor of politics at the Catholic University of America.  More here

Newt Announces his Run for President

Newt Gingrich
From hotair.com - In the last 24 hours, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich has touched base with several prominent Republicans in his former home state, telling them that he intends to make a run for president in 2012 using Georgia as his base – and that he already has his eye on office space in Buckhead for a campaign headquarters…The visits and conversations – some face-to-face, others on the phone — appear to be an attempt by Gingrich to revive his old campaign network and lock down as much support as possible in a state won by Republican Mike Huckabee in the 2008 presidential primary.  More here

Hawaii: First State to Ban Daily Prayer in Senate

From mercurynews.com -Fearing a possible court challenge, Hawaii's state Senate has voted to silence the daily prayer offered before each session began—making it the first state legislative body in the nation to halt the practice. A citizen's complaint had prompted the American Civil Liberties Union last summer to send the Senate a letter noting that its invocations often referenced Jesus Christ, contravening the separation of church and state. That prompted the state attorney general's office to advise the Senate that their handling of prayers—by inviting speakers from various religions to preach before every session—wouldn't survive a likely court challenge, said Democratic Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.  "Above all, our responsibility is to adhere to the Constitution," Galuteria said after Thursday's vote to halt the daily blessings. A three-member Senate committee formed to evaluate the issue recommended allowing nonsectarian, nonpolitical invocations that avoided references to deities, but the legislative body decided to do away with prayers altogether rather than constrain them. More here

Bingaman and Udall with Reid and Pelosi on Obamacare

Jeff Bingaman
With the vote to repeal Obamacare passing overwhelmingly in the U.S. House of Representatives without the support of New Mexico House members Martin Heinrich or Ben Ray Lujan, attention shifts to the U.S. Senate and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. For his part, Reid has said he will never allow the legislation to see the light of day in the chamber he controls. And apparently he has the full support of both New Mexico Senators in blocking efforts to repeal and replace the controversial law.
Tom Udall
Last spring Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall both voted with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid when Obamacare passed through both houses of Congress. Bingaman was particularly supportive of Obamacare characterizing the two thousand page law as one of the most “carefully crafted pieces of legislation” he had come across in all his years on Capitol Hill. Time will tell in the days and weeks ahead if Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell’s prediction that eventually the repeal bill would come up for a simple up or down vote in the Senate will hold true.


Chavez: Civility NOT Censorship

Linda Chavez
Townhall - Civility in public discourse is important, but it should not be used as an excuse to stifle legitimate debate or denude our language of color, passion, or good metaphor. Unfortunately, some in the media don't seem to understand the difference. CNN's John King, for example, apologized on air this week for a guest's use of the phrase "in the cross hairs" in reference to the Chicago mayoral race. Others have suggested that words like "target" shouldn't be used as either a verb or noun when discussing political campaigns. In the wake of the horrific murders of six people in Tucson and the maiming of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen others, reluctance to engage in shooting metaphors might be understandable. But it's foolish to think using such words had anything to do with what happened -- and curbing such metaphors lends credence to that theory. Read full column here: