“REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R-VA): Professor Turley, the constitution, the system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of government from usurping another. It’s about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated government power. How does the president’s unilateral modification of act of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people?
JONATHAN TURLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in every single branch.
This Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration. There is two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress. One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction. (House hearing, December 3, 2013)”
US State Department spends $1 MILLION on a single granite sculpture to decorate new embassy in London
“The U.S. Department of State will spend $2.5 million next year on art to decorate its embassies, it was revealed Tuesday. The agency’s 2013 spending included $1 million for a single granite sculpture set to adorn the new American Embassy in London.
It’s part of the State Department’s ‘Art In Embassies’ program, which has 16 government employees curating art exhibits at diplomatic stations all over the world.
The State Department writes that the program ‘provides exhibitions to represent American art abroad.’ The $1 million art award will go to Sean Scully, an Irish-born artist who emigrated to the U.S. at age 30, and whose work resembles stacked piles of paving stones..”
Via The Daily Mail
“What would happen if someday medical science could essentially erase your real memories and replace them with phony ones? There’s no way this technology could be misused, right?
Well, according to published reports, Mankind may be on the verge of just that very thing. According to the magazine Popular Science, a small group of studies have demonstrated that scientists are on the cusp of being able to not just erase memories but rewrite them as well.”
Via Natural News
“The New York Times published a front-page article on Tuesday praising New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s “humble” rowhouse.
“It was Ms. McCray, after all, who selected the symbolically rich location for Mr. de Blasio’s speech announcing his candidacy: the yard in front of the family’s humble rowhouse in Park Slope,” the Times wrote.
However, according to smartertimes.com, the home is far from humble, with an estimated value of more than $1.1 million:”
Humble? The Real Deal reports that Mr. de Blasio “owns a pair of two-family homes on 11th Street in Park Slope that are valued at more than $1.1 million apiece.” You can bet that if Mr. de Blasio were a Republican calling for tax cuts instead of a Democrat former Sandinista activist calling for tax increases on the rich, the Times would be referring to his real estate holdings not as a “humble rowhouse” but as a “luxury townhouse.”
Via Free Beacon
“Some people getting switched to new expensive health insurance plans under Obamacare might not even be aware of it — until it’s too late.
If you have an insurance plan that isn’t compatible with the Affordable Care Act, your insurance company might be automatically rolling you into the plan “most similar” to your own.
For one Washington state resident interviewed by The Daily Caller, his new “Bronze” plan is 80 percent more expensive for him and his wife. His wife is paying $220 more and he’s paying $150 more with higher deductibles.”
Via The Daily Caller
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ( WMT ) said it posted record online sales on Cyber Monday, while its Internet sales from Thanksgiving Day through Monday marked the retail giant’s strongest five-day stretch of sales to date.
Wal-Mart’s website processed more than a billion page views during the period, the company said in a statement.
“We had an all-time record sales day yesterday as the momentum we saw on Thanksgiving carried through to Cyber Monday,” said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com U.S., although specific sales figures weren’t provided.
Via Weasel Zippers
“Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would require the government to study the most practical ways of taxing drivers based on how far they drive, in order to help fund federal highway programs.
Blumenauer’s bill, H.R. 3638, would set up a Road Usage Fee Pilot Program, which he said would study mileage-based fee systems. He cast his bill as a long-term solution for funding highway programs, and proposed it along with a shorter-term plan to nearly double the gas tax, from 18.4 cents to 33.4 cents per gallon.
“As we extend the gas tax, we must also think about how to replace it with something more sustainable,” Blumenauer said Tuesday. “The best candidate would be the vehicle mile traveled fee being explored by pilot projects in Oregon and implemented there on a voluntary basis next year.”
He said the bill would help answer questions about “how best to implement a vehicle miles traveled [VMT] system,” and said it “looks to the future and helps provide a more stable funding base for the next one hundred years.”"
Via The Hill