That pesky First Amendment:. “A federal court in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday struck down a federal ban on corporate campaign contributions, in a case with potentially dramatic ramifications for a campaign finance regulatory system under siege by legal and regulatory attacks.” Campaign “reform” worshiper Fred Wertheimer is naturally miffed.

That darn speech. “One prominent Jewish leader who attended Obama’s AIPAC speech told me that ‘the Jewish community has a political form of IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] with the president. They’re unsettled. It’s safe to say,’ the source added, ‘that about $10 million [in Jewish donations to the Obama campaign] evaporated in that speech.’”

That mythical “reformer” is showing his true colors. “Interviews with a Syrian woman and two men who said they were detained — as well as accounts from activists, human rights organizations and others — suggest security forces are arresting not only protesters but others, including men ages 15 to 40, professionals, women and older Syrians. Detainees are held in several cities, these people say, in schools, soccer stadiums, security-force facilities and military hospitals, and subjected to various forms of physical and psychological abuse.”

That silly pandering isn’t going to help him with Tea Partyers. “Likely GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday voiced his support for ethanol subsidies during his first visit of the year to Iowa. Asked about his position on federal ethanol subsidies following a talk at the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Presidential Forum Speaker Series, Romney said that ethanol is an important part of the nation’s energy supply.” No, he really doesn’t have gut-level conservative instincts.

That fickle audience — refusing to be force-fed liberal spin! If you’ve not been in a coma, it turns out “conservative talk radio is far more successful than Air America ever was.”

That devoted “ally” told our secretary of state to get lost. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beseeched Pakistan to take ‘decisive steps’ against Islamist militants in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death — a message greeted coolly in a country that sees itself as stretched to the limit in a fight against extremists. Mrs. Clinton was joined in a tense, day-long sweep through Islamabad by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

That dedicated partner for peace has checked out. Elliott Abrams writes: “Mahmoud Abbas is 76 years old and will retire from politics next year, having announced that he will not seek reelection. His tenure as chairman of both the Fatah movement and the PLO (which began when Arafat died in late 2004) has been disastrous, for he lost first the 2006 elections and then control of Gaza to Hamas. A man without charisma or great political courage, he was never a serious candidate to make the difficult compromises that a peace deal with Israel would require and then defend himself against charges of treason and betrayal. . . . Abbas will retire happily to Amman or Doha (where he keeps homes) next year, but his true legacy to his people may be disaster.”

That wacky idea to feature the car company bailouts in Obama’s reelection campaign would be an easy target for Republicans. “According to the Government Accountability Office, U.S. taxpayers have spent $49.5 billion bailing out GM. They will likely never recoup the full $27 billion still tied up in the deal, especially considering that the entire company is only worth $46 billion. And the Chrysler situation is far worse: The government has spent $12.5 billion so far to bail out a $5 billion company. To whatever extent Americans understand the real story behind the auto bailouts, they will be an albatross around the neck of Obama’s reelection prospects, not a political asset.”

That happy news rarely gets to the front pages. The West Bank economy grew by 9 percent. “At the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference this week that attracted top U.S. and Israeli military, political and diplomatic leaders, the Israeli military leaders said a dramatic reduction of checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank is a key factor in allowing trade and growth to increase. In 2008 there were 42 checkpoints in the West Bank compared with 16 today.”