Today I will have the distinct honor of speaking at the 25th anniversary conference of the Association of Administrative Law Judges (AALJ) in San Diego. The AALJ is an assemblage of 1300 Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) employed by the Social Security Administration. They handle hundreds of thousands of cases each year in a critical adjudicatory role in our federal system. I will be speaking about the rise of the Fourth Branch of federal agencies in our tripartite system and the dangers that it presents to our constitutional system. I will also be discussing how this massive shift of power to the agencies has presented serious ethical and practical problems for our ALJs who are faced with ever rising dockets with limited resources. I will be speaking at the Windham Bayside at 9:00am.
Newly released emails from Wikileaks show that aides became alarmed when President Barack Obama assured the public that he had learned about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.” Cheryl D. Mills, a top aide who featured prominently in the email scandal and insisted on immunity before turning over a laptop with classified information, flagged the issue to say that Obama sent emails to Clinton’s private email. There is also an exchange of campaign officials complaining that close Clinton aides withheld the information of the email scandal because “they wanted to get away with it.” As I discussed in a recent column, these Wikileaks memos have confirmed the worst assumptions of voters about the dishonesty and evasion of their government. It has turned this into America’s Game of Thrones election.
In a surprise Vatican ruling for many Catholics, the Church has declared at Catholic are forbidden from keeping the ashes of cremated loved ones at home, scattering them, or dividing them between family members. This widespread practice has been deemed one of the “new ideas contrary to the church’s faith”.
Below is my column in USA Today on the start of the World Series today and specifically a few historical disagreements involving the Chicago Cubs. In a true nightmare for a lifelong Cubs fan, I have to fly to San Diego today for a speech Wednesday to federal administrative law judges at their 25th anniversary conference. I am counting on in-flight entertainment to avoid hyperventilating at 25,000 feet. I am however moving ahead with plans to rent goats to help break the infamous curse that has plagued our team since 1945. On Sunday (assuming we do not have a sweep!), we will make these goats the happiest bovidae in the world. In the meantime, my students are allowed to claim “Cubbies” in class to decline to answer any question from me in celebration of the rise of the Cubbies. While the Ottoman Empire may have disappeared since our last World Series win, the Cubbies have lived to rise again.
Here is the column:
One of the least pursued stories in the mainstream media has been the denial of Donna Brazile that she sent the controversial email leaking a question to Hillary Clinton that would be asked at the CNN presidential downhill. Of course the easiest way to confirm that story is to ask the recipient campaign adviser Jennifer Palmieri who is readily available to the media. However, reporters have not pressed Palmieri. In the meantime, Brazile gave a rambling denial of the story that would normally trigger a feeding frenzy. In addition, some techies have posted a research that they say strongly support claims of authenticity, but the response of the media has been crickets.
We previously discussed the ridiculous case of prominent Jordanian writer, Nahed Hattar, 56, who was charged with blasphemy for merely sharing this cartoon. The charge was a disgrace for a nation that long prided itself on being a moderate Arab nation. It is increasingly succumbing to extreme Islamic voices and the charges against this writer were a worrisome development. Now he is dead. A man dressed in traditional Islamic garb shot and killed Hattar as he walked outside of the court in Amman.
While a curious 28 percent are happy with the current meltdown of our political system, most Americans are disgusted by the choices and tenor of this election. With the two most unpopular nominees to ever run for president for the main parties, both campaigns long ago abandoned the hope of getting voters to actually vote for their candidates. Instead, they are focusing on simply getting voters to hate the other candidate more than their own. In the midst of this race to the bottom, Wikileaks has given the public a new insight into the communications of political operatives, media, and activists. While stolen (and allegedly the product of Russian hacking), the public has been fascinated — and disgusted — by the contents of the emails. The emails have exposed a cesspool of hypocrisy, betrayal, and dishonesty in Washington. The more one reads, the harder it is to understand how this country could fallen into such absolute control of so few with so little integrity. While the Wikileaks emails recently have focused on the Clinton campaign, there is little in Washington that resembles any notion of civil virtue on either side. Strangely, the longer the campaign goes on, the more this election looks like a season of Game of Thrones. Below is my column in USA Today for those seeking insights from the “Seven Kingdoms.”