Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bieber's manager arrested in NY over mall frenzy

NEW YORK — The manager for teen pop sensation Justin Bieber surrendered to police Wednesday in connection with a fan frenzy last year at a mall in Long Island that sent five people to the hospital with minor injuries.

Scott "Scooter" Braun, awaits arraignment on charges of reckless endangerment and criminal nuisance. His lawyer said he will plead not guilty.

His arrest stems from a planned appearance in November by the 16-year-old Bieber at Roosevelt Field Mall.

When the crowd of 3,000 became unruly, Nassau County police canceled the event. But some fans refused to leave, crowding the narrow area outside the clothing store where Bieber was scheduled to sign autographs. Five people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.

According to a release from the district attorney, police efforts were hindered by a message from Bieber's Twitter account to fans stating: "On my way to Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, NY to sign and meet fans! I'm pumped. See u there."

The release said police asked James Roppo, a senior vice president of Island Def Jam Records, to send out a tweet telling fans that the event was canceled. Island Def Jam employees also contacted Braun to send out the tweet. An hour later, no tweet was sent and the crowd remained.

Roppo was arrested for not cooperating with attempts to break up the crowd. He was charged with a series of misdemeanors, including endangering the welfare of children and obstructing governmental administration. His case is pending.

When police called Braun, he told them he "was in a meeting in Manhattan without access to a computer," according to the district attorney. When told that he would be arrested, he asked police to make sure they spelled his name right on the warrant, the release said.

Braun sent two tweets 1 1/2 hours later about three minutes apart, once Roppo called him after being placed under arrest, according to the district attorney. The crowd dispersed within 15 minutes. Bieber never made it inside the mall.

Ravi Batra, Braun's lawyer, said his client responded promptly to the police request, finding a computer and sending the tweets in seven minutes. He is hoping the district attorney reopens the investigation.

The 28-year-old Braun faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

Bieber caught the attention of the music industry after he began posting videos of himself singing on YouTube. His album "My World 2.0" with the hit song "Baby" was released Tuesday.

A spokesman for the DA's office said the timing of the manager's arrest with the album release was a coincidence.

Robert Culp, who starred in `I Spy,' dead at 79

LOS ANGELES — Robert Culp, the versatile actor who teamed with Bill Cosby in the groundbreaking comedy-adventure TV series "I Spy," has died. He was 79.

The actor's agent Hillard Elkins says Culp died after collapsing Wednesday on a sidewalk outside his Hollywood home. Los Angeles police say he hit his head while on a walk and was pronounced dead after arriving at a hospital.

A preliminary investigation found that his death is accidental.

"I Spy," which aired from 1965 to 1968, was a television milestone. Its combination of humor and adventure broke new ground, and it was the first integrated television show to feature a black actor in a starring role.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert Culp, the versatile actor who teamed with Bill Cosby in the groundbreaking comedy-adventure TV series "I Spy," has died. He was 79.

The actor's agent Hillard Elkins says Culp died after collapsing Wednesday on a sidewalk outside his Hollywood home. Los Angeles police say he hit his head while on a walk and was pronounced dead after arriving at a hospital.

A preliminary investigation found that his death is accidental.

"I Spy," which aired from 1965 to 1968, was a television milestone. Its combination of humor and adventure broke new ground, and it was the first integrated television show to feature a black actor in a starring role.

Against Our Will

President scores a personal victory, but costly, unpopular health bill isn't a win for the country

President Barack Obama used his Democratic majority, buttered with promises and payoffs, to pass a health care bill he declares is good for the American people, but one that the people despise.

Passing such sweeping legislation against the public will, with the votes of just one party and by bending the rules of lawmaking, will make it much harder to convince taxpayers to endure the sacrifices that these changes will mandate.

In the end, passage is a solid personal political victory for Obama. His perseverance in driving the bill forward despite it repeatedly coming off the rails stands as a historic presidential achievement, and one that must be admired even by opponents of the measure.

But it is not likely to deliver a win for the country. For starters, there's the cost.

The Congressional Budget Office scored the cost of the bill at $950 billion over 10 years, keeping it under the $1 trillion threshold that many moderate Democrats said they would not cross. The CBO also says it will reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion. But achieving that feat on paper required fiscal sleights of hand and for congressional Democrats to pretend to have forgotten everything they know about how government works.

The CBO had to score the bill based on what Congress says it intends to do. But no one who voted for this bill could possibly believe that Congress will, for example, cut $500 billion out of Medicare costs by attacking fraud. Nor are lawmakers likely to trim payments to doctors and hospitals by the amounts required to make the numbers work.

Former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin estimates in reality the bill will add $562 billion to the deficit and cost 2 1/2 times what is projected.

In addition, the coverage mandates included in the bill will drive up health insurance premiums for both individuals and businesses. And it is paid for with direct tax hikes on high-income earners and indirect tax hikes on everyone else.

The bill also stands as the most impactful legislation ever passed without a single vote from the minority party. The only bipartisanship reflected in the bill is the few Democrats who joined Republicans in voting against it.

But the bill is done, at least for the moment, and is not likely to be undone. Carping about its costs and dangers is now pointless.

The challenge ahead is to make sure the nation can pay for it without piling on deficits and raising taxes to the point where they diminish quality of life and kill economic growth.

That starts with Congress turning into law the cost-cutting promises issued to make the bill look balanced.

Recognizing that the measure -- like every other entitlement program ever passed -- is likely to cost far more than projected, the president and Congress must commit to holding spending in other areas in check.

Obama claims to be fretful over rising deficits, and yet he keeps adding new spending programs that consume tax dollars in $10 billion clips. That has to stop. Spending should be restrained and the savings used to fund this bill.

The legislation levies 10 years of taxes to pay for six years of benefits. Congress must promise not to spend that money as it comes in on other programs, as it has always done with the Social Security surplus.

What's most important is that the partisan strong-arming used to force this bill into law not be repeated for other items of the president's ideological agenda, most notably a carbon cap-and-trade bill.

If Obama continues along that route, he will have earned the defeat his victories will cost Democrats this fall.

Wonderland: The World According to Goodwin Liu

By Bill Wilson

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to begin confirmation hearings on Barack Obama's nominee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Goodwin Liu. Liu's record itself is rather unremarkable. He has no judicial experience. He only practiced law privately for a little more than 20 months.

However, one thing certain to slow down the confirmation of Liu, a University of California at Berkeley law professor, is his highly controversial worldview on "distributive justice." One need look no further than Liu for a window into how Obama truly views the Constitution and rights, and importantly, what role of courts will have in adjudicating those rights.

What is a right? Whatever society says it is, according to Liu. Liu believes that federal courts have a responsibility to render decisions based upon a societal consensus that persons possess a right to certain goods and services, a consensus of "how a society understands its obligations of mutual provision."

In 2008, Liu wrote that "the existence of a welfare right depends on democratic instantiation in the first instance, typically in the form of a legislated program, with the judiciary generally limited to an interstitial role."

In lay terms, in Liu's world, the proper role of the federal courts is to distribute welfare. If the federal government offers a subsidy, a benefit or some other type of welfare, then everyone is entitled to it in the eyes of the law.

Under Liu's theories, it would be logical to say that everyone is entitled to Godiva chocolate because Congress subsidizes sugar production.

In the world according to Liu, if there were a societal consensus that everyone should have a horse because the government subsidizes the grazing of wild mustangs or the racing industry, then Congress would constitutionally be obligated to allocate a horse to every man, woman, and child.

Under his theory, it would be reasonable for NASA to produce a space rocket for every American. After all, why should just the astronauts get to see space? If there were a societal consensus to spaceflight as a welfare "right," then Congress would have to find the funds for the "Every American in Space" program, regardless of the cost.

Undereducated? Sue the government for a Pell grant. Undernourished? Sue the government to get on the National Lunch Program. Need a house? Sue the government for a two-story home with central heating. On a waiting list for a heart transplant? Sue the government to get to the head of line.

There would be neither extent nor limit to what could be argued for in court and then for what Congress would be forced to allocate the resources for.

Using his logic, Liu could take ObamaCare and turn it into a single-payer system by judicial fiat in a single court decision.

In short, Liu would legislate from the bench that taxpayers have a responsibility to pay for other people's lives. As one of our readers, Bill Matthews, wrote in recently in response to the passage of ObamaCare, "Why work? Why Save? Why invest?" He wrote that he was moving and going on welfare and Medicaid.

Mr. Matthews has it exactly right. In Liu's world, it would make more sense to sit around and do nothing. Why bother? Government will take care of everything.

The generations of immigrants from Italy, Poland, China, Mexico, and elsewhere who moved to America to work and get themselves ahead so they could one day pay for their children's education? Saps! They could have gotten it all for free in Liu's world.

Goodwin Liu would single-handedly destroy the American dream of working hard, saving for the future, and advancing oneself through the determination to succeed. He would replace it with a nation of idle government dependents who wait around for their checks to come in the mail before venturing out to merely consume, producing nothing.

In reality, who would want to invest in U.S. treasuries — i.e. lend money to Congress — if that money would just be wasted away by the unoccupied? Those investors know that eventually, if there are no taxpayers, there will be no interest paid on those treasuries.

Liu's worldview, if it were the law of the land, would make America a bad investment. Perhaps that is his goal: to weaken America by indenturing its citizenry.

His view on the Constitution? Liu believes the Constitution is as flexible as taffy on a hot summer day, to be bent and twisted into whatever he wants. As reported by National Review Online, in promoting his book, Keeping Faith with the Constitution for the American Constitution Society, Liu suggested in a podcast that, "What we mean by fidelity is that the Constitution should be interpreted in ways that adapt its principles and its text to the challenges and conditions of our society in every succeeding generation."

Whatever that means, he'd be okay with it, even if it means bankrupting the public treasury. So long as there is a societal consensus for a welfare "right," the means for providing for that right become secondary.

In sum, Liu would violate Thomas Jefferson's solemn proclamation of the limits of power: "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." Goodwin Liu would break what remains of those tattered, rusted chains of the Constitution and replace them with the elitist, Ivory Tower rule of the entitlement state.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

Editorial: ObamaCare Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

Yesterday, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a petition to the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of the Commonwealth against the federal mandate imposed by ObamaCare that individuals must purchase or obtain health insurance, whether from a private insurance company or from government.

Cuccinelli's efforts were joined by 13 other states, who separately filed a joint brief in Pensacola, Florida.

According to the Virginia brief, the government takeover of health care "contains an individual mandate which will require a majority of Virginians after December 31, 2013 to purchase health insurance for themselves and their dependents subject to a civil penalty." This contradicts Virginia law, which states that "No resident of this Commonwealth, regardless of whether he has or is eligible for health insurance coverage under any policy or program provided by or through his employer, or a plan sponsored by the Commonwealth or the federal government, shall be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual insurance coverage…"

In short, both laws cannot stand. For its part, the White House was optimistic that the individual mandate would be upheld by the courts. "The Commerce Clause of the Constitution does say that people need to meet certain requirements," said Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Care Reform. "The requirement to have coverage is one of them. So, we're not concerned about that."

They should be. First off, the Commerce Clause neither contains a requirement nor any obligation upon individual Americans. It states, from Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." What requirement does that place upon an individual? Does one have to hold the Constitution at a certain angle away from the light to find a penumbra requiring individuals to some sort of action?

The Commerce Clause solely includes commerce between states and other sovereign entities. So, for example, Congress could prohibit the sale of alcohol across state lines, or allow it. Or impose tariffs on imported goods from foreign countries, or not. But by no means does it provide Congress with the power to compel an individual to purchase alcohol or imported goods. Such would be a tyrannical usurpation, far afield from what the Constitution allows.

Cuccinelli said the individual mandate was unprecedented, and cited the dangers of interpreting the Commerce Clause in this fashion, as reported by CNS News: "Just being alive is not interstate commerce. If it were, there would be no limit to the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause and to Congress's authority to regulate everything we do. There has never been a point in our history where the federal government has been given the authority to require citizens to buy goods or services."

To be certain, whether Congress has the power to force individuals to purchase anything is untested, since it's never been attempted before, reports CNS. According to the Congressional Research Service, "Whether such a requirement would be constitutional under the Commerce Clause is perhaps the most challenging question posed by such a proposal, as it is a novel issue whether Congress may use this clause to require an individual to purchase a good or service." And, an August 1994 Congressional Budget Office report on the Clinton health care takeover stated that the government had never compelled Americans to buy anything.

All of which puts the lie to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's statement that "there is a pretty longstanding precedent on the constitutionality of this." Really? Which case was that? Per Cuccinelli's brief, there are precedents — against utilizing the Commerce Clause to regulate non-commercial activities, citing United States v. Lopez (1995) and United Sates v. Morrison (2000).

Further, Cuccinelli asserts that the decision not to purchase insurance is not a commercial activity: "The status of being a citizen or resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia is not a channel of interstate commerce; nor a person or thing in interstate commerce; nor is it an activity arising out of or connected with a commercial transaction. Instead, the status arises from an absence of commerce, not from some sort of economic endeavor, and is not even a non-economic activity affecting interstate commerce. It is entirely passive."

Truly, if the courts now uphold the provisions for the individual mandate in ObamaCare, they will have removed whatever limits once existed upon Congress' powers against regulating every aspect of living. They will have single-handedly turned what started out as an innocuous provision of the Constitution — that was perverted over time — into a mechanism for totalitarian control. A tyranny will surely have risen.

The Anti-Rebellion

By Trevor Sides

If Western Civilization is on its physical and philosophical deathbed – having been infected by cradle-to-grave welfare mononucleosis, multicultural whooping cough, green fever, and demographic sclerosis – then the riots in Greece aptly, ironically, sum up this death.

And what a slow, government-subsidized, mostly-painless death it's been.

What's happening in Greece is an anti-rebellion: the people are protesting in the streets not in an effort to get the state off their back, but to keep the state firmly on top of them. Clearly, we've come a long way from city-state democracy.

The Greeks have spent and borrowed their way into a financial crisis far deeper than our own pit of deficit despair. A lack of baby-making Greeks (the country's fertility rate is hovering around 1.3 – the "lowest low") have created an untenable situation for a full-blown welfare state: not enough workers to support the entitlement nanny state. And because those selfish, pragmatic Germans won't bail them out, the Greek government is now cutting the umbilical cord of entitlements just to keep the country afloat.

German tabloid Bild poured a healthy serving of salt on the Greek wound in an open letter to Greece Prime Minister George Papandreou. "Here, people work until they are 67 and there is no 14-month salary for civil servants. . . . Germany also has high debts but we can settle them. That's because we get up early and work all day."

Oh, snap.

But like a teenager who never separated emotionally from his mother, the Greek citizenry is rioting in the streets, bawling for their government-run everything back.

Having been suckled and swaddled from the day of their birth to now, the babes of Greece are throwing a hall of fame hissy because Mommy took their toys away. This might be the first time a society has revolted against its government because it is minimizing its role in the lives of her citizens.

The birthplace of democracy and Western Civilization burns in fits of government-reliant rage. The smoke from the tear gas and Molotov cocktails rises over the ruins that once served to celebrate individual responsibility and representative forms of government.

Across the Atlantic, America – the last tower of anything resembling the ethos of Western Civilization – is also nearing the boiling point. But it's a different kind of boiling point.

With Obamacare all but codified into law, the horrifying specter of socialized, government-operated health care looms more certain than ever before. If Obama, Pelosi & Co. get this through – by whatever means, including "deem and pass" – it cements European bureaucracized nannyism on American soil.

The Obama Administration hasn't, and won't stop at just socialized medicine, though. Cap-and-trade legislation is rearing its ugly head. Under Obama, we've seen the banks, the financial industry and the auto industry (just to name a few) acquiesce to the omnipotence of a State that is far from its roots of 1776.

So the votes (or lack thereof) draw near for Obamacare, the immovable stake of socialism, intended to be driven deep into the heart of the American spirit and Western heritage. What are we going to do if it passes?

Are we going to riot like the Greeks? Are the Tea Partiers going to rush the streets in libertarian rage? Do we even have the justification for such a response?

Or are we, as in previous years, going to extract our revenge at the ballot box? What if ballot-box vindication isn't enough? What if the GOP takes ownership of Washington and fails to remove the stake?

What then? What now? Our ancestors in democracy are rioting for more government. Should we be prepared to riot for less government?

Trevor Sides, former editor of the Akron News-Reporter, is a Liberty Features Syndicate writer for Americans for Limited Government.


Last night the cast of Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married Too” attended the red carpet for the sequel to the hit film at the SVA Theater.

Janet Jackson spoke on the Today who about how she coped with filming the movie after the death of her brother Michael Jackson. The movie opens in theaters on April 2nd.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Video: Prosecutors Want Arenas Behind Bars for 90 Days

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14 states sue to block health care law

-- Officials from 14 states have gone to court to block the historic overhaul of the US health care system that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, arguing the law's requirement that individuals buy health insurance ...

NFL's new overtime rules: Do you like them?

Latest entry to the NFL vocabulary is "modified sudden death." That's what the owners are calling the new overtime rules they adopted yesterday.

ALG Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Reject Goodwin Liu for Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

March 23rd, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Barack Obama’s nominee for Judge to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Goodwin Liu, on account of what Wilson termed “Liu’s radical views on law and wealth redistribution that leave him far outside the mainstream of American jurisprudence.”

Goodwin Liu, a Berkeley Law professor, will begin confirmation hearings at the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow.

“For Americans wondering ‘how this happened’ in terms of Barack Obama’s massive takeovers of the nation’s health care and other industries, one need look no further than Goodwin Liu to see what Obama really thinks about what a ‘right’ is,” Wilson said.

“Goodwin Liu’s judicial philosophy that judges should render decisions based on societal consensus at a given moment rather than foundational principles is incredibly dangerous. He shouldn’t be on any court, especially not a court of appeals,” said Wilson.

As reported by National Review Online, in promoting his book, Keeping Faith with the Constitution for the American Constitution Society, Liu suggested in a podcast that “What we mean by fidelity is that the Constitution should be interpreted in ways that adapt its principles and its text to the challenges and conditions of our society in every succeeding generation.”

Wilson said that while Liu was “a smooth talker,” that Senators “must not excuse his views on ‘distributive justice.’ Beneath the ‘nice guy’ exterior, Goodwin Liu, like Obama, is a radical redistributionist of the first order.”

In a 2008 Stanford Law Review article, “Rethinking Constitutional Welfare Rights,” Liu discusses at length the concept of judicially-imposed welfare rights. In this context welfare rights mean a societal consensus that persons possess a right to certain goods and services, a consensus of “how a society understands its obligations of mutual provision.”

“The 2008 law review article is quite revealing,” Wilson said, “Goodwin Liu’s view of a welfare ‘right’ is that if the federal government offers a subsidy, a benefit or some other type of welfare, everyone is entitled to it, regardless if the ‘right’ has any place at all in the Constitution.”

Get full story here.

Jerusalem approves contentious new building plan

JERUSALEM — The Jerusalem municipality has approved 20 new apartments for Jews in east Jerusalem, the city said Wednesday, in a move that could stir a new diplomatic crisis with the United States.

News of the approval came as Israel's prime minister was in Washington to try to calm a growing rift with the Obama administration over such construction plans.

The U.S. views Israeli building in east Jerusalem, the part of the city claimed by Palestinians as their future capital, as disruptive to Mideast peacemaking efforts. Israel insists that Jerusalem cannot be divided and reserves the right to build anywhere.

The new project is funded by American millionaire Irving Moskowitz. It calls for tearing down part of an old hotel, the Shepherd, and building 20 apartments and a three-level underground parking lot instead.

Last summer, the U.S. demanded that Israel suspend the housing project and even summoned Israel's ambassador to the U.S. over the issue.

The Jerusalem municipality said the final go ahead was given a week ago after a lengthy bureaucratic process.

City spokesman Gidi Schmerling said plans for the project have been known since last July and that last week's approval was merely a procedural step. He said media reports were blowing the matter out of proportion, saying they were "meant to create a provocation during the prime minister's visit in the U.S."

Israel annexed east Jerusalem after capturing it in the 1967 Mideast war, but no other country recognizes the annexation. The international community sees Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem as no different from settlements in the West Bank.

Moskowitz, an influential supporter of Israeli settlement in east Jerusalem, purchased the Shepherd Hotel in 1985. The hotel is located near a government compound that includes several ministries and the national police headquarters.

Vice Prez Joe Biden Drops the F-Bomb (video)

Before President Barack Obama's health care reform signing today, VP Joe Biden turned to the Commander in Chief -- and with the microphone on -- whispered to his boss, "This is a big f**kin' deal."