Andrew Napolitano on Obamacare's Threats to Religious Freedom

Statue of LibertyToday, writes Andrew Napolitano, the free
exercise of religion is under attack by the government. When
Congress enacted the Affordable Health Care Act—which Napolitano
prefers to call Obamacare because it is President Obama’s
brainchild, his signature legislation, and because there is nothing
affordable about it—members of Congress must have known that the
law would impose obligations upon persons that would force them to
engage in behavior in violation of their religious beliefs.

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Midnight on The Independents: Judge Napolitano, John Stossel, Peter Suderman, and TV’s Andy Levy Talk Executive Power, Obamacare, Economic Freedom, E-Cigs, and More!

Finally! |||Tonight
when the gong strikes 12 in the east, your latest episode of
The
Independents
will roll off the Fox Business Network
factory shelves. (As in
last night
and also this coming Friday, the usual 9 pm hour is
pre-empted by live coverage of the
Barrett-Jackson car auction
.) This installment is jam-packed
with hot libertarian action, including:

* Andrew
Napolitano
talking about the
National Security Agency
, America’s
recently reaffirmed

internal checkpoints
, President Barack Obama’s fondness
for executive
power
, and the tension between Obamacare’s contraception
mandate and
nuns
.

* John
Stossel
 previewing his Thursday night documentary about
the regulatory war
on the little guy
, and how stuff like that is causing the U.S.
to slip in global
indices of economic freedom
.

Handsome laddie. |||*
Beloved Reason Senior Editor Peter Suderman
discussing the
latest Obamacare setback
, and also what this week’s
appeals court ruling
means for Net
Neutrality
.

* TV’s Andy Levy on
the
bitchy letter
sent by several senators to the Hollywood Foreign
Press Association about the use of e-cigarettes on the Golden
Globes broadcast; plus the Los Angeles City Council’s latest
brilliant idea for a
$15 hotel-worker-only minimum wage
, and
Beyonce’s flawed gender stats
.

In addition to these topics there will likely be
devil babies
, Francois Hollande’s
First Lady
coin-toss,
shark stunts gone horribly wrong
, and more. As always, join the
heckling both in the comments to this thread, and on Twitter at
@IndependentsFBN.

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Washington, D.C., on Verge of Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

D.C. policy wonk cocktail parties are saved. Ha! Like the police would ever bust those.One more vote and
Washington, D.C., residents will see
marijuana possession
treated as a minor infraction rather than
a crime.

From Reuters:

The District of Columbia stepped closer to decriminalizing
marijuana on Wednesday when a city council panel approved a measure
that would make smoking a joint in the U.S. capital a violation
comparable to a parking ticket.

Approved unanimously by the city council’s public safety
committee, the bill reduces penalties for possessing less than an
ounce (28 grams) of marijuana to a fine as little as $25.

Eight times more blacks than non-blacks in Washington are
arrested for pot possession, and committee Chairman Tommy Wells
said the measure’s goal was fairness and reducing law enforcement
costs.

“This is a social justice bill that addresses disproportionate
impact,” said Wells, who is among nine candidates for mayor in the
April 1 Democratic primary.

Read more
here
.

Of course, because we’re talking about progressives in charge,
the justification is ill-defined “social justice” and not
individual liberty, but it’s better than nothing. I would like to
believe that if all races were equally arrested, they’d still vote
to decriminalize, right? Right?

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at 
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Orange County DA to Appeal Unlawful Ruling of Sex Offender Ban

A small victory for advocates of reforming sex offender laws may
be short lived.

The California Court of Appeal
ruled
on Jan. 10 that an Orange County ordinance banning sex
offenders from parks and beaches is unlawful, yet the Orange County
DA Tony Rackauckas will not concede. He has decided to appeal
the decision of the California Court of Appeal to the California
Supreme Court. The state Surpreme Court should decide within 90
days whether or not to take the case.

“It is foolish for the Office of the Orange County District
Attorney to request further review of the county ordinance,” Janice
Bellucci, president of California Reform Sex Offender
Laws
, said in a press release Tuesday. “After losing two court
battles, this is a waste of taxpayer funding which could be better
spent on addressing methods that increase public safety rather than
provide the public with a false sense of security.”

This ordinance is one of the harshest in the state for sex
offenders, and Bellucci argues that this kind of ban, like most sex
offender laws, is ineffective and does not provide the protection
it suggests.

ReasonTV reported on this ban when it was first enacted in 2011.
Watch below to find out more about the ban and “How Sex Offender
Registries Fail Us”:

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New Hampshire State House First Legislative Body to Vote Yes on Marijuana Legalization Bill

Great news in the long march of marijuana legalization through
the states.

From a Marijuana Policy Project emailed press release, which I
was not able to find on web yet:

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill
170-162 Wednesday that would regulate marijuana like alcohol. It is
the first time in history that a legislative chamber in the U.S.
has passed legislation to end marijuana prohibition and establish a
legal market for businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and
older.

The measure will be referred to the House Ways and Means
Committee to review the revenue aspects of the bill. Regardless of
how that committee votes, the bill will return to the full House of
Representatives for a second vote in February or March. If
approved, it will then be considered by the state Senate…..

HB 492, introduced by Rep. Steve Vaillancourt
(R-Manchester) with a bipartisan group of four
co-sponsors, would make the private possession and home
growing of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and
older. It would direct the New Hampshire Department of Revenue
Administration to license and regulate marijuana retail stores,
cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and
testing facilities. As amended by the House, it would enact a
wholesale tax of $30 per ounce and a sales tax of 15% per
ounce. The House voted down a similar bill 228-89 in
2012….

Sixty percent of New Hampshire adults support HB 492, according
to a WMUR Granite State Poll released in October by the University
of New Hampshire Survey Center. Just 36% said they are opposed. The
entire poll is available at
http://ift.tt/1apYk9h
.

Governor, alas,
vows to veto
.

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It’s a Jersey Thing: Why Chris Christie – or Any Pol From the Garden State – Can’t Go National

I’ve got a new column up at Time.com which discusses what being
from New Jersey means for Chris Christie, the embattled governor of
the greatest state in the country. Snippets:

Shows such as The
Sopranos
 and Boardwalk Empire only
make sense in a place like New Jersey, where everyone has a chip on
their shoulder, is hustling to make a buck, and is desperate for
prestige (as South Park memorably summarized it in 2010, “It’s a
Jersey thing”). That’s the reason, too, that Abscam, the FBI sting
operation that informs the plot of the acclaimed new
movie American Hustle, was centered around Atlantic
City and took down mostly New Jersey politicians, too. Even more
than the typical elected official, Garden State pols want money,
power, and respect.

But as Tony Soprano
(played so memorably by the late Jersey native James Gandolfini), could
tell you, the same forces that spur ambition and success also carry
within them their own demise. It quickly becomes difficult to know
when serious lines are being crossed or the wrong messages are
being sent to the people around you….

It’s telling that in his rise to national prominence, Gov.
Christie captured headlines less for what he did than how he did
it. Where other Republican governors have implemented major
structural changes to collective bargaining (Wisconsin’s Scott
Walker) or educational policy (Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal), Christie
has essentially governed as a big-government
conservative
, spending more money each year he’s been in office
and doling out conventional corporate welfare to favored
constituents. The State of the State address he
delivered yesterday
 didn’t change any of that.

What’s made him famous — or
infamous, depending on your politics — was his
willingness to shout down teachers
, reporters, and even voters
that he deemed idiots or worse. In short, it’s his Jersey attitude,
not his policies, that have put him on top
of potential
 Republican presidential candidates….

Even if he’s ultimately fully exonerated in these and any other
scandals, a question about his temperament will remain. Ironically,
the same 100 percent Jersey temperament that got him noticed may
disqualify him for life outside of Trenton. New
Jersey exports
tons
 of fruits, vegetables, pharmaceuticals, petroleum
products, and above all, smart people. What it hasn’t done in a
very long time — and probably for very good reason — is export a
president.

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It's a Jersey Thing: Why Chris Christie – or Any Pol From the Garden State – Can't Go National

I’ve got a new column up at Time.com which discusses what being
from New Jersey means for Chris Christie, the embattled governor of
the greatest state in the country. Snippets:

Shows such as The
Sopranos
 and Boardwalk Empire only
make sense in a place like New Jersey, where everyone has a chip on
their shoulder, is hustling to make a buck, and is desperate for
prestige (as South Park memorably summarized it in 2010, “It’s a
Jersey thing”). That’s the reason, too, that Abscam, the FBI sting
operation that informs the plot of the acclaimed new
movie American Hustle, was centered around Atlantic
City and took down mostly New Jersey politicians, too. Even more
than the typical elected official, Garden State pols want money,
power, and respect.

But as Tony Soprano
(played so memorably by the late Jersey native James Gandolfini), could
tell you, the same forces that spur ambition and success also carry
within them their own demise. It quickly becomes difficult to know
when serious lines are being crossed or the wrong messages are
being sent to the people around you….

It’s telling that in his rise to national prominence, Gov.
Christie captured headlines less for what he did than how he did
it. Where other Republican governors have implemented major
structural changes to collective bargaining (Wisconsin’s Scott
Walker) or educational policy (Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal), Christie
has essentially governed as a big-government
conservative
, spending more money each year he’s been in office
and doling out conventional corporate welfare to favored
constituents. The State of the State address he
delivered yesterday
 didn’t change any of that.

What’s made him famous — or
infamous, depending on your politics — was his
willingness to shout down teachers
, reporters, and even voters
that he deemed idiots or worse. In short, it’s his Jersey attitude,
not his policies, that have put him on top
of potential
 Republican presidential candidates….

Even if he’s ultimately fully exonerated in these and any other
scandals, a question about his temperament will remain. Ironically,
the same 100 percent Jersey temperament that got him noticed may
disqualify him for life outside of Trenton. New
Jersey exports
tons
 of fruits, vegetables, pharmaceuticals, petroleum
products, and above all, smart people. What it hasn’t done in a
very long time — and probably for very good reason — is export a
president.

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Justices Skeptical About Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones, Yet Another Obamacare Deadline Delay, Yemeni Drone Strike Kills Farmer: P.M. Links

  • "He could have avoided this by not being born in a country full of terrorists."Supreme Court justices seem
    skeptical that a mandated protest-free
    buffer zone around abortion clinics
    in Massachusetts is
    constitutional.
  • Another day, another
    Obamacare delay
    : The deadline for people with pre-existing
    conditions to enroll for health coverage has been pushed back to
    March.
  • A poll shows New Jersey voters
    don’t blame Gov. Chris Christie
    for the politically motivated
    George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal. They do, however,
    think it’s going to bite him in the ass if he runs for president in
    2016.
  • A farmer was allegedly
    killed in a drone strike
    in Yemen meant to target Islamist
    militants.
  • A third civil lawsuit has been filed against
    disgraced former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner
    , this time alleging
    he offered to perform favors for a disabled vet if her nurse
    “performed favors” for him – wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
  • The Marines are investigating a series of photos published by
    celebrity gossip site TMZ.com showing Marines
    burning the bodies of dead Iraqis
    in Fallujah in 2004. The
    Marines are trying to authenticate that the photos are real.

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Matthew Feeney on How Islamist Infighting in Syria is a Reminder Why Intervention is a Bad Idea

The relatively new rebel group in Syria, the
Islamic Front, is estimated to have up to 60,000 fighters and
has recently been fighting the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) alongside the Western-backed
Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jabhat al-Nusra, another Al Qaeda-linked
group, in northern Syria. However, Matthew Feeney explains,
although the Islamic Front has been fighting ISIL alongside the
FSA, they are hardly secular moderates, and the fighting with ISIL
should serve as a reminder to the Obama administration that
non-intervention is the best policy when it comes to Syria.

View this article.

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