TheDC Morning: Does the Fourth Amendment allow for reasonable sniffs and seizures?

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) Catty Hill Dems can’t resist spinning a tragedy — Here are two good ways to win votes and influence people: Hours after a national tragedy, phone a reporter and spin the event this way: The Obama White House “need[s] to deftly pin this on the tea partiers….Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.” When Pres. Obama instead says before a crowd in Tucson, “What we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another….Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations,” the next best thing Democrats can do, apparently, is personally attack Rep. John Boehner for not flying to Tucson to hear Obama discourage personal attacks. Different aide, different day, same moral depravity: “Don’t you think they could have worked with the White House on timing to make sure he got on AF1?,” a senior congressional aide told The Daily Caller’s Jon Ward on Thursday. “Hell, as speaker, he could have taken a delegation to Arizona on military air.” When it was pointed out that Boehner was already attending a memorial, in Washington, the aide argued that the speaker was skipping Tucson for an RNC event. “Tell these guys to give me a break. Bottom line: he’s not there and he’s Speaker of the House. He’s not there and is at an RNC event tonight. Period.” The aforementioned statements have nothing to do with why House Democrats are in the minority, but are two good reasons why they should stay there.

2.) Does the debt ceiling matter? — The demagoguery of America’s debt obligations continues unabated. The White House continues to funnel doomsday default scenarios to lefty bloggers, who continue to write about Republicans’ refusal to raise the debt limit as if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Barack Obama had not both opposed raising the debt ceiling under Pres. George W. Bush. Meanwhile, conservatives continue to hold out for raising the debt ceiling only in exchange for massive spending cuts, despite the fact that they have a majority only in the House and that no such deal was struck in 2006, when the parties started this Freaky Friday routine. Cutting through the noise is Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal with the question, Who gives a hoot? “It sure doesn’t look like the debt ceiling promotes accountability,” Weisenthal writes. “It looks like it’s mainly a vehicle for opposition Senators to engage in pointless politics. Beyond that, if the debt ceiling had any delimiting effects, why has spending grown parabolically?” Good question!

3.) SCOTUS sniff-checks the Fourth Amendment — The Fourth Amendment may not be the best amendment, but it is right up there with getting to say whatever you want and and the right to arm bears. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments for eviscerating it. Kentucky police were following a drug dealer back to his apartment in order to conduct an arrest when they lost sight of the man. After hearing a door close, they narrowed the possible apartments down to two, and then chose the wrong one, in which a group of stoners (but not dealers) were doing their thing. There are exceptions to obtaining a warrant, such as “when police have reason to suspect criminal activity is underway, but think that if they take the time to get a warrant, a life may be endangered, a suspect may escape or evidence may be destroyed.” The Kentucky Assistant AG said that the smell of drugs combined with a sound of the drugs being destroyed constituted probable cause. Justices Scalie and Roberts seemingly agreed, while Justice Bader-Ginsburg expressed anxiety about a future where police “go to the apartment building and they sniff at every door.”

4.) Appropriations Committee ready to do some cutting, or so it says — “The subcommittee chairmen, who are under orders from GOP leaders to craft a spending-cut package for floor action at the end of January, met with staff for the first time this week to start identifying cuts,” reports The Hill. “Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), the new chairman of the subcommittee in charge of the Department of Transportation, plans to go after unallocated stimulus funding, something Republicans promised to target during the midterm campaign.” (Apparently, only $12 billion in stimulus funds haven’t been spent.) Meanwhile, Rep. Denny Rehberg will work to defund Obamacare, and Rep. Jack Kingston may be the first person in the history of the world to cut farm subsidies.

5.) Tucson crowd confused memorial service with massive party — “Never before in the annals of national moments of mourning have the words spoken been so wildly mismatched by the spirit in which they were received,” John Podhoretz wrote after last night’s memorial for those killed and wounded by Jared Loughner in Tucson last weekend. “The sentences and paragraphs of President Obama’s speech last night were beautiful and moving and powerful. But for the most part they didn’t quite transcend the wildly inappropriate setting in which he delivered them. There was something about the choice of place, a college arena with the appropriate name of the McKale Memorial Center, that made the event turn literally sophomoric.”

6.) Real live Texan responds to Paul Kurgman’s Texas bashing — “Last week NYT columnist and economist Paul Krugman wrote a very popular column pointing to Texas’ revenue shortfall and declaring it an example of the failure of conservative government,” writes Houston’s Tony Gattis. “The thing is, I don’t really get his point. The bad national economy was going to cut state revenues no matter what. Is he saying we’d be better off if we had a fat government with easy cuts, instead of a lean government with tough cuts? How much sense does that make?” Gattis then rounds up a slew of facts that prove the Nobel-winning Krugman knows even less about Texas than he does about civility: “Our unemployment rate, which is better than the national average, is even more impressive when you consider our huge population gains and the jobs we’ve had to provide just to keep up with it.” You see, while Krugman celebrates hard times in Texas, other Americans are continuing to flock there for the low taxes, the cost of living, and the plentiful job opportunities. Not exactly something one can say about New York.