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share save 120 16 The Afternoon Flap: April 13, 2012

Obama and Buffett The Afternoon Flap: April 13, 2012

These are my links for April 12th through April 13th:

  • Obama Family Tax Shelter – First family transfers wealth, avoids taxes – President Obama and his wife, Michele, gave a total of $48,000 in tax-free gifts to their daughters, according to tax records made public on Friday.

    The president and his wife separately gave each daughter a $12,000 gift under a section of the federal tax code that exempts such donations from federal taxes.

    There is nothing illegal about the president’s taking advantage of this tax shelter, but it does raise eyebrows given that he has lamented the myriad tax exemptions used by the wealthy—“millionaires and billionaires” like himself—to pay less in taxes. He has yet to propose a comprehensive plan to reform the byzantine tax code.

    The Obama’s tax return indicates that the gifts, likely for their daughter’s college educations, began in 2007, when the maximum exemptible amount was $24,000 per couple. The maximum exemption has since increased to $26,000 per couple.

    The Obamas paid a total federal tax rate of 20.5 percent on a gross adjusted income $789,674, which would typically fall within the top federal rate of 35 percent. According to an analysis of the president’s tax return, he may have paid a lower rate than his secretary despite making more than eight times as much money as she did.

    His most recent tax proposal—the so-called “Buffett Rule”—would increase taxes on about 4,000 millionaires and raise about $4.7 billion in new revenue per year, enough to cover about 0.4 percent of the projected budget deficit in 2012. Though the rule would apparently not hit the president himself.

  • Obama Releases Taxes, Does Not Qualify for Buffett Rule – President Obama earned $789,674 in 2011, the White House announced on Friday. However, with this income, he does not even qualify for the so-called Buffett Rule that he has promoted relentlessly and the Senate will take up on Monday.

    The Buffett Rule calls for those making over $1 million a year to pay a minimum tax rate, named after billionaire Warren Buffett. The president did earn over $1 million in previous years–$1.7 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2009.

    The president paid $162,074 in taxes with an effective federal income tax rate of 20.5 percent, according to the returns.

    The release, four days before Tuesday’s tax deadline, capped a week in which the president repeatedly spoke about the obligation of the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. It also provided Obama’s campaign the opportunity to once again jab Republican Mitt Romney for his refusal to release more information on his tax-paying history.

    The Obamas adjusted gross income was their lowest income since 2004 when he wrote his best-selling memoir, “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” This was the first year since 2006 that the Obama family income dipped below $1 million. In 2010, his adjusted gross income was $1.7 million; in 2009, it was $5.5 million.

  • Human Rights Campaign Quietly Removes Illegally Obtained Tax Information from Website – Following the release yesterday of proof by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the source of leaked confidential donor information, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) removed from its website all reference to NOM’s un-redacted 2008 1099 tax form, which it had previously posted. The action by the Human Rights Campaign comes within a day of NOM’s attorneys contacting them and demanding they remove the material is a clear indication of the seriousness of the criminal activity that has occurred.

    “They now realize that they have done something tremendously wrong here or they would not have removed the references,” NOM President Brian Brown said today. “A felony has been committed and the Treasury Department must investigate who within the IRS has committed it, and whether people with the Obama Administration or the HRC are co-conspirators in the criminal release of our confidential tax return. We demand that federal authorities immediately launch an investigation into this crime. This is not a routine leak of some obscure document. We’re talking about someone in the Obama Administration’s IRS releasing to a group headed by President Obama’s national co-chair the private tax return containing confidential donor information of their main opponent. This is reminiscent of Watergate, and the American people are entitled to know the truth of what has occurred.”

  • NC Dem official sexually harrassed staffer; Party fears credibility ‘doomed’ – A former North Carolina Democratic Party staffer was sexually harassed by a party official, made a financial settlement with the party and signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep the incident quiet.

    “If this hits the media, the Democratic Party, our candidates, and our credibility are doomed in this election,” reads one email exchange between state Democratic leaders.

    An email chain between those Democratic leaders, obtained by The Daily Caller, indicates the executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Jay Parmley, and the alleged sexual harassment victim both signed non-disclosure agreements.

    The email chain does not make clear who was guilty of the harassment, the status of that individual’s employment with the Democratic Party or the identity of the victim.

    State Democratic Party spokesman Walton Robinson did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment on the matter.

  • Statement by ALEC in Response to the Outpouring of Support in Wake of Intimidation Campaign Against Its Members – Ron Scheberle, Executive Director of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), issued the following statement today in response to the support the organization has received in response to the intimidation campaign against its members:

    “Over the last 24 hours, ALEC has been inundated with letters of support from elected officials, community leaders and concerned citizens in response to the intimidation campaign launched by a coalition of extreme liberal activists committed to silencing anyone who disagrees with their agenda.

    “I am thankful for the support and want to take this opportunity to remind people what we are facing:

    “First, the people now attacking ALEC and its members are the same people who have always pushed for big-government solutions. Our support for free markets and limited government stands in stark contrast to their state-dependent utopia. This is not about one piece of legislation. This is an attempt to silence our organization and it has been going on for more than a year.

    “Second, ALEC is one of America’s premier ideas laboratories when it comes to advocating free market reforms. We are a target because our opponents believe they have the opportunity to attack an effective, successful organization that promotes free-market, limited government policies that they disagree with. We work to promote the Freedom of Choice in Health Care initiative against ObamaCare’s individual mandate. We support fair tax policies and tort reform. This is an all-out intimidation campaign designed to promote government-based solutions rather than the free-market principles that we have seen work.

    “Finally, now more than ever, America needs organizations like ALEC to foster the discussion and debate of policy differences in an open, transparent way and not fall back on bullying, intimidation and threats.”

  • What’s Color of Change hiding about itself? – Coca Cola executives who recently decided to stop supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) did so in response to demands from an obscure left-wing activist group, Color of Change (COC). So were executives of giant candy-maker Mars, Inc. when they announced a similar decision earlier today.

    That is why Color of Change may be the most powerful group in America you’ve never heard about.

    The demand that Coke, Mars and other corporate donors stop making contributions to ALEC – a long-established conservative legislative group that researches and writes model legislation that is often adopted by state legislatures – is only the latest COC campaign to hit a nerve.

    Previous COC successes include pushing advertisers on Glenn Beck’s Fox News Show to withdraw their ads, a campaign that played a role in the cable news and opinion network’a decision to drop the controversial production in June 2011.

    Others who have felt the wrath of COC include now-former MSNBC opinion analyst Patrick Buchanan, Fox Business News anchor Eric Bolling, Lou Dobbs when he was on CNN, and the late Andrew Breitbart.

  • Video, Social Boost US Mobile Content Consumption – eMarketer – RT @katieharbath: 42.6% of mobile phone users will log in to social net sites via mobile at least monthly by 2014 -
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-13 – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-13
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » President 2012 Poll Watch: Mitt Romney 46 Vs. Barack Obama 44% – President 2012 Poll Watch: Mitt Romney 46 Vs. Barack Obama 44%
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Video: President Obama Throws Democratic Party Consultant Hillary Rosen Under the Bus – Video: President Obama Throws Democratic Party Consultant Hillary Rosen Under the Bus
  • Axelrod expresses no qualms at targeting Rosen, a ‘friend’ – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs – RT @PoliticalTicker: Axelrod expresses no qualms at targeting Rosen, a ‘friend’ -
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: April 12, 2012 – The Morning Flap: April 12, 2012
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Video: Charles Manson Parole Hearing – Parole Denied – Video: Charles Manson Parole Hearing – Parole Denied
  • 72% of Americans Follow Local News Closely – Nearly three quarters of Americans (72%) report following local news closely “most of the time, whether or not something important is happening.” Local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need.

    One-third of local news enthusiasts (32%) say it would have a major impact on them if their local newspaper no longer existed, compared with just 19% of those less interested in local news. Most likely to report a major impact if their newspaper disappeared are local news followers age 40 and older (35%), though even among younger local news followers 26% say losing the local paper would have a major impact on them.

    Local news enthusiasts are more likely than others to prefer newspapers for almost all of 16 topics that were asked about in a survey, with the exception of weather and breaking news. Three-in-ten or more local news enthusiasts prefer newspapers for following crime, local politics, community events, or arts and culture. About one-quarter prefer newspapers when seeking information about local schools, taxes, government activity, other local business, and housing issues. Two-in-ten primarily use newspapers for following restaurants, job openings, or local zoning issues.

    While this seems to be positive news for local newspapers, in many cases the reliance on newspapers is heaviest among local news enthusiasts age 40 and older, while younger local news followers rely more heavily on other sources. Specifically, among local news enthusiasts under age 40, the internet is the preferred source for eight of the 16 topics asked about, including:

    Local restaurants, clubs and bars
    Other local businesses
    Schools and education
    Local politics
    Jobs
    Housing
    Arts and cultural events
    Community or neighborhood events

  • Barrett & Falk Won’t Say How They Would Have Balanced Wisconsin’s Budget – Democrats have hammered Wisconsin governor Scott Walker over the past year for cutting nearly one billion dollars in state aid to school districts as part of his plan to close the state’s $3.6 billion deficit. Democratic anger with Walker’s budget cuts is a huge reason why Walker is facing a recall election on June 5. But the two leading Democrats vying to replace Walker, Dane county executive Kathleen Falk and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, were unwilling to say Wednesday night how they would have balanced the budget or even how much they would have cut from the state’s education budget.

    “Education is the top funding priority for the state budget,” Falk said at a Democratic candidate forum in Madison on Wednesday night. “I do not support public dollars for private school vouchers.”

    But when asked how much state aid to local school districts should have been cut in last year’s budget, Falk told THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “Well, nobody’s going to answer that, needless to say. But I have a track record as county executive what I’ve done, which was shared sacrifice.”

    During follow-up questioning, Falk refused to give even a ballpark figure of how much education funding she would have cut:

  • COMMENTARY: Dis-United Wisconsin? – Finally, the stage is set for the June 5 production of the one-show-only recall election of Gov. Scott Walker.

    There is one problem — one the scriptwriters camping in the capitol rotunda a year ago and the producers in their union halls and party offices forgot: the all-important casting of the candidates who will take over the governor’s job if Walker is indeed recalled.

    The auditions are proving a messy affair for all involved.

    Wisconsin’s largest teacher’s union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, or WEAC, and the state chapters of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, had settled on former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

    Then Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stepped up, crowding Falk for the spotlight. To add insult to his last-second entrance, Barrett — who lost to Walker 52-46 for governor in 2010 — has been racking up major endorsements from such party establishment types as former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, D-District 7, and former Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton.

    Some are calling the Falk-Barrett showdown evidence of a Democratic Civil War, but that’s only if you include Internet videos as the modern-day equivalent of cannon fire. No, what’s going on right now is more like the beginning of a four-week knife fight. The winner will not just take on Walker in June. He or she and his or her backers will run the Democratic Party in the Badger State.

    AFSCME never wanted Barrett as a candidate, reportedly telling him not to run in a meeting between the mayor and various union leaders. It’s also furious with Barrett for deploying the very reforms Walker made available through Act 10 — making changes in City of Milwaukee employee health-care and pension contributions without having to have them collectively bargained. In doing so, he helped cut $25 million from Milwaukee’s budget over the past year, all without raising taxes.

  • Obama on Why Michelle Was a Working Mom (at $316K Per Year): ‘We Didn’t Have the Luxury for Her Not to Work’ – Speaking Friday at what the administration called “The White House Forum on Women and the Economy,” President Barack Obama said that after his two daughters were born, he and his wife—both Harvard Law School graduates—could not afford the “luxury” of having her stay home with the children.

    In 2005, when Obama began serving in the U.S. Senate (and his daughters turned 4 and 7), he and his wife were earning a combined annual income of $479,062. Barack Obama was paid a salary of $162,100 by the U.S. taxpayers, and Michelle Obama was paid $316,962 to handle community affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center.

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share save 120 16 The Afternoon Flap: April 6, 2012

Unemployment graph The Afternoon Flap: April 6, 2012

 

These are my links for April 5th through April 6th:

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share save 120 16 The Afternoon Flap: February 28, 2012

Yzg4ZTljYyZvZj*w The Afternoon Flap: February 28, 2012 video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

These are my links for February 28th PM:

As Michigan Republicans headed to the polls Tuesday morning, President Obama delivered an aggressive defense of the bailout of the auto industry and his presidency in general, harshly criticizing GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney – though he never mentioned him by name.

“I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet,” the president said to a raucous crowd at the United Auto Workers Convention. “The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, ‘you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.’”

There’s no mistake who Harry Reid’s political target is as Republican voters head to the polls today in Arizona and Michigan.

On Monday, the Senate majority leader held a conference call blasting GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for touting endorsements from immigration “extremists” like Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. And on the Senate floor Tuesday, Reid attacked Romney’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s bailouts that many credit for saving the Detroit auto industry.

“I’m sorry to say that life support system that the Detroit auto industry was surviving on, Republicans wanted to pull the plug. One man who is now seeking the Republican nomination for president of the United States said, ‘We should kiss the automobile industry goodbye,’” Reid said, without naming Romney.

“He called the death of American auto manufacturers ‘virtually guaranteed,’ another direct quote. And so he argued we should just let Detroit go bankrupt,” he added. “But he wasn’t alone. Republicans in this chamber agreed, many of them agreed, Democrats weren’t willing to give up on American manufacturing” and manufacturing jobs.

Voters in Michigan head to the polls today, carrying the fate of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s presidential bid in their hands. Win Michigan and, as expected, Arizona, and Romney almost certainly reasserts himself as the clear frontrunner in the Republican race. Lose Michigan and the calls for Romney to reconsider his candidacy will begins. It’s that simple.

Turn-out in today’s presidential primary election looks to be about the same or less than it was four years ago, according to a sampling of clerks in key precincts the Free Press is using to analyze the vote.

“The absentee voter ballot requests are pretty much the same as last time,” said Farmington Hills City Clerk Pam Smith. “We’re right on par with that and we’re planning for that kind of turnout.”

Smith said there were no reported problems at precincts this morning and she expected to get updates later in the day on how many people voted in person.

  • Rockwall Texas Doctor Charged In Biggest U.S. Healthcare Fraud Ever – A North Texas doctor has been arrested and charged in what’s being described as the largest healthcare fraud case in U.S. history.Between January, 2006 and November of last year, Dr. Jacques Roy is accused of cheating Medicare and Medicaid, and ultimately taxpayers, nearly $380 million dollars.Top U.S. Justice department officials have flown to Dallas Tuesday to make the announcement along with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and the Special Agent in charge of the Dallas FBI, Robert Casey.
  • Santorum on top in second straight Ohio poll – For the second straight day, a new survey indicates Rick Santorum leading Mitt Romney in Ohio.With one week to go until the Buckeye State’s Republican presidential primary, Santorum has an 11-point lead over Romney, according to the latest Ohio Poll.
  • VA-Sen Poll: Allen leads Kaine in potential US Senate race – Republican George Allen has opened an eight-point lead (45%-37%) on Democrat Tim Kaine in a likely November matchup for the U.S. Senate seat from Virginia according to The Roanoke College Poll. Virginians are somewhat more positive about the situation in the country, but they are not enamored with any of the Republican Presidential candidates. In potential Presidential election scenarios, President Obama leads all Republican candidates except Mitt Romney, with whom he is statistically tied.The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 607 residents of Virginia between February 13 and February 26. The Poll has a margin of error of +4 percent. Another Roanoke College Poll of likely voters in the March 6 “Super Tuesday” Virginia Republican primary will be released later this week.
  • One More Michigan Poll – RT @politicalwire: One more Michigan poll out this morning. It’s still a toss up…
  • The Mounting Minuses at Google+ – WSJ.com – RT @kabster728: Visitors average 3 min/month at Google+ compared to 6-7 hours/month on Facebook via @WSJ.
  • The Morning Flap: February 28, 2012 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Morning Flap: February 28, 2012
  • Santorum robocall makes appeal to Michigan’s Democrats for votes – GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum hopes Michigan Democrats can help him earn a victory in Tuesday’s primary.That’s right. The former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign paid for a robocall asking Democrats to vote for him in Tuesday’s primary.Recent polls show chief rival and Michigan native Mitt Romney and Santorum virtually even heading into the primary.”We know that if we can get a Reagan Democrat in the primary, we can get them in the fall,” said Hogan Gidley, communications director for Santorum. He confirmed the campaign paid for the call.

    Political observers say the move is just another sign of how close the GOP race is — and a “logical ploy.”

    As Santorum has done during numerous Michigan visits the past two weeks, the call attacked Romney’s stance on the auto bailouts, saying the former Massachusetts governor’s opposition “was a slap in the face” to Michigan workers, according to audio obtained by online political news outlet Talking Points Memo.
    Santorum also opposed the auto bailout, but said his consistent stance against all bailouts, including the Wall Street bailout, sets him above Romney.

  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: More Americans Seeking Dental Treatment at Hospital Emergency Rooms – More Americans Seeking Dental Treatment at Hospital Emergency Rooms
  • Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 28, 2012 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 28, 2012
  • Innovate or Legislate – Reihan Salam & Patrick Ruffini – National Review Online – In 2012, a number of institutions that long defined how Americans communicated are teetering near the brink of collapse. Major newspapers in cities across the country have stopped publishing. Strip-mall anchors from Circuit City to Blockbuster to Borders have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The U.S. Postal Service struggles under the weight of crushing pension obligations, as e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype render it all but obsolete. In politics, traditional modes of wielding power are also being disrupted. One prominent example is the recent battle over the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, in which grassroots activists defeated once-powerful Hollywood lobbyists.What’s toppling these formerly invincible companies and institutions? In almost every case, the proximate cause is the Internet, and the disruption it has wrought on inefficient businesses in every corner of the economy. And so we are now engaged in a war over its future.
  • Newt Gingrich’s super PAC receives another ‘substantial’ contribution from Sheldon Adelson – An independent group supporting Newt Gingrich has received another “substantial” contribution from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and will launch TV ads in seven states this week, a source close to the group confirmed Monday.The source, who requested anonymity to speak freely, did not confirm the amount of the contribution but called it substantial and at least on par with two $5 million donations Adelson and his family have given previously. The group, known as Winning Our Future, will launch TV ads Tuesday in Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and Tennessee, with more to come Wednesday in Mississippi, Alabama and Kansas.The cash infusion comes at a critical moment for Gingrich, whose campaign has flagged as conservative rival Rick Santorum’s has flourished. While much of the political world has been trained on Santorum’s battle to beat former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in Michigan and Arizona, two states that hold their primaries Tuesday, Gingrich has focused on trying to revive his fortunes by winning a series of Southern states next week, on Super Tuesday and beyond.All four of the states where the group will begin advertising Tuesday vote on Super Tuesday; the others follow.
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  • Day By Day February 28, 2012 – Justify | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Day By Day February 28, 2012 – Justify
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share save 120 16 The Afternoon Flap: February 27, 2012

Newt Calls Santorum Big Labor GOP The Afternoon Flap: February 27, 2012

These are my links for February 27th from 06:55 to 13:48:

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share save 120 16 The Afternoon Flap: December 22, 2011

Ron Paul The Afternoon Flap: December 22, 2011

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas speaks during a campaign stop in Fort Madison, Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011

These are my links for December 21st through December 22nd:

  • Grappling With Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters – Did you know about the racist newsletters published in the late 1980s and early 1990s under Ron Paul’s name? As the Texas Congressman surges in the GOP primary, the story of the newsletters is garnering headlines, as it did during his 1996 House campaign and his 2008 presidential run. He’s always insisted that he didn’t write the egregiously offensive material, and long ago repudiated it (though not as soon as he should have). Is this an old story voters will look beyond, like Newt Gingrich’s affairs? Or a new story for the vast majority of voters and the plurality of journalists who are less familiar with Paul than the other GOP frontrunners? Is it coming up now “for political reasons”? Or because it’s a legitimate subject of inquiry despite having been aired before in the media?

    It seems to me that the story’s reemergence was inevitable and necessary to fully inform primary voters about their choices. This level of scrutiny is rightly what comes with contending for the presidency.

  • Mayor Calls For Budget Cuts To Offset Millions In Occupy LA Costs – The City of Los Angeles reportedly faces millions of dollars in expenses brought about by the Occupy LA movement.

    City agencies have been ordered to calculate what was spent on the Occupy LA protests.

    Repairs to City Hall’s lawn where the Occupy group set up camp on Oct. 1 will require an estimated $400,000. The police action to clear out the encampment on Nov. 30 cost more than $700,000.

    Additional expenses are attributed to hauling away debris from the camp, and cleaning up graffiti that defaced City Hall marble walls and trees.

  • Romney refines comments about deporting Obama’s uncle – Mitt Romney was more nuanced Thursday when questioned about radio show comments he made regarding deporting President Barack Obama’s uncle.

    According to The Hill, the former Massachusetts governor was asked by radio host Howie Carr if Onyango Obama, who is allegedly in violation of his immigration status and was arrested for drunk driving this summer, should be deported.

    In the Wednesday interview, Romney said the law must be followed.

    “Well, if the laws of the United States say he should be deported, and I presume they do, then of course we should follow those laws,” he said.

    Asked to clarify those comments in a press conference Thursday, Romney said his stance was not affected by the man’s relationship to the president.

  • Bush I: Read my lips, Romney’s the best choice – Former President George H.W. Bush, while stopping short of a formal endorsement, declared that Mitt Romney was the “best choice” for Republicans in 2012.

    The Houston Chronicle reports:

    “I think Romney is the best choice for us,” former President Bush told the Houston Chronicle this week. “I like Perry, but he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere; he’s not surging forward.”

    Bush said he had known Romney for many years and also knew his father, George Romney, a former Republican governor of Michigan who ran for president in 1968.

    Bush said he supported Romney because of his “stability, experience, principles.

    He’s a fine person,” he said. “I just think he’s mature and reasonable – not a bomb-thrower.”

  • Huffington Post Miami accused of over-aggregating – When Huffington Post Miami launched late last month, Arianna Huffington promised to “dig deeper in an effort to tell the stories of all the people who make up this unique city.”

    And how many Miami-based HuffPo journalists are doing that? Two, according to Bill Cooke. He reports that Miami Herald staffers are complaining that the HuffPo duo are rewriting their newspaper stories for Huffington Post Miami.

    Miami Herald managing editor Rick Hirsch declined to discuss this with Cooke. “I’ll say what I have to say directly to the Huffington Post. There are some things we’ll be discussing soon.”

  • McConnell offers a way out of the payroll tax cut thicket – As I predicted, the perennial adult in Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has stepped forward with a way out of the payroll tax box into which the House Republicans have climbed. He sent out this statement:

    “The House and Senate have both passed bipartisan bills to require the President to quickly make a decision on whether to support thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs through the Keystone XL pipeline, and to extend unemployment insurance, the temporary payroll tax cut and seniors’ access to medical care. There is no reason why Congress and the President cannot accomplish all of these things before the end of the year. House Republicans sensibly want greater certainty about the duration of these provisions, while Senate Democrats want more time to negotiate the terms. These goals are not mutually exclusive. We can and should do both. Working Americans have suffered enough from the President’s failed economic policies and shouldn’t face the uncertainty of a New Year’s Day tax hike. Leader Reid should appoint conferees on the long-term bill and the House should pass an extension that locks in the thousands of Keystone XL pipeline jobs, prevents any disruption in the payroll tax holiday or other expiring provisions, and allows Congress to work on a solution for the longer extensions.”

  • Ron Paul’s story changes on racial comments – Rep. Ron Paul has tried since 2001 to disavow racist and incendiary language published in Texas newsletters that bore his name, denying he wrote them and even walking out of an interview on CNN Wednesday. But he vouched for the accuracy of the writings and admitted writing at least some of the passages when first asked about them in an interview in 1996.

    Some issues of the newsletters included racist, anti-Israel or anti-gay comments, including a 1992 newsletter in which he said 95% of black men in Washington “are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
    Paul told TheDallas Morning News in 1996 that the contents of his newsletters were accurate but needed to be taken in context. Wednesday, he told CNN he didn’t write the newsletters and didn’t know what was in them.

  • Video: Ron Paul in 1995: Say, have you read my newsletters? – Mitt Romney can breathe a sigh of relief, because Andrew Kaczynksi has shifted his attention to Ron Paul this week. Andrew dug up a 1995 interview with C-SPAN, a year before running for Congress after a decade out of office. Paul tells C-SPAN that he was ready after the long hiatus to return to Washington, but that’s not the big catch in this clip. Starting at 1:45, Ron Paul explains that his private sector efforts are keeping him too busy — and starts plugging his newsletters:
  • What Ron Paul Thinks of America – Ron Paul’s supporters are sure of one thing: Their candidate has always been consistent—a point Dr. Paul himself has been making with increasing frequency. It’s a thought that comes up with a certain inevitability now in those roundtables on the Republican field. One cable commentator genially instructed us last Friday, “You have to give Paul credit for sticking to his beliefs.”

    He was speaking, it’s hardly necessary to say, of a man who holds some noteworthy views in a candidate for the presidency of the United States. One who is the best-known of our homegrown propagandists for our chief enemies in the world. One who has made himself a leading spokesman for, and recycler of, the long and familiar litany of charges that point to the United States as a leading agent of evil and injustice, the militarist victimizer of millions who want only to live in peace.

  • (404) http://t.co/ceSW4wND%E2%80%9D – Shocker Flip Flop Mitt strikes again “@ByronYork: Romney changes stance on Iraq invasion. #tcot
  • Flipper: Romney changes stance on Iraq invasion – Romney’s statement on MSNBC is not only a change from what he said on Fox a few days ago.  It’s also a change from his position during his first run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2007-2008.  In a January 2008 GOP debate in Florida, Romney was asked, “Was the war in Iraq a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent?”  Romney answered: “It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now.”
  • Paul abandons interview concerning controversial newsletters – Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) took off his microphone and left a contentious interview on Wednesday when a CNN reporter asked repeatedly about racist articles published in his newsletter in the 1980s and 1990s.

    “It’s been going on 20 years that I’ve been pestered about this and CNN does it every time,” Paul said, clearly adjitated by the line of questioning. “When are you going to wear yourself out?”

    The Texas congressman said that the articles – which did not carry a byline – were written by his publishing staff and that he did not know about them at the time.

    “I didn’t write them, I didn’t read them at the time, and I disavow them. That is the answer,” Paul said.

    When CNN reporter Gloria Berger defended her questioning as legitimate – noting that some of the articles were “pretty incendiary” – Paul began to remove his microphone.

    The newsletters, mainly a forum for essay’s on Paul’s brand of libertarianism, once referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and who “seduced underage girls and boys.”

    In another article, the author writes that “given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.” 

  • Mitt Romney Says ‘Yes’ To Deporting President Obama’s Uncle – Presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a Boston talk radio host on Wednesday that he supports the deportation of President Obama’s Kenyan-born uncle who was arrested this fall on drunken driving charges in Massachusetts.
    When asked by Boston radio personality Howie Carr whether the president’s relative, Onyango Obama, should be deported, Romney said, “the answer is ‘yes.’”
    “Well, if the laws of the United States say he should be deported, and I presume they do, then of course we should follow those laws,” Romney said. “And the answer is ‘yes.’”
    When Carr brought up Onyango Obama case, Romney first sought clarification: “Who is Uncle Omar, Howie?” the former Massachusetts governor asked the radio host.
    Carr explained that the uncle, nicknamed “Omar,” was recently arrested in Framingham, Mass.
    “Now he’s claiming he’s got a Social Security number and drivers’ license and no one knows how he got them,” Carr told Romney, “but they’re apparently legit even though he’s in the country illegally.” (Onyango Obama had reportedly defied a 1992 deportation order.)
  • Oh My! Gingrich Challenges Romney to Debate – In an interview with NBC News, Newt Gingrich responded to Mitt Romney’s comments that he can’t take the heat of negative ads.

    Said Gingrich: “I’ll tell you what. If he wants to test the heat, I’ll meet him anywhere in Iowa next week, one-on-one, 90 minutes no moderator, just a timekeeper. He wants to try out the kitchen? I’ll debate him anywhere. We’ll bring his ads, and he can defend [them].”

  • Ron Paul Storms Out Of CNN Interview – Ron Paul walked out of an interview with CNN’s Gloria Borger, following a heated exchange over the controversy regarding racist newsletters sent in his name during the 1990s. Borger asked the Congressman if he had ever read the newsletters. “Did you ever object when you read them?”

    “Why don’t you go back and look at what i said yesterday on CNN and what I’ve said for 20 something years. 22 years ago? I didn’t write them, I disavow them, That’s it.”

    “But you made money off them,”

    “I was still practicing medicine,” Paul responded. “That’s probably why I wasn’t a very good publisher, I had to make a living.”

  • Tom Del Beccaro, Chairman of the California Republican Party Response to ProPublica Report – “The ProPublica report vindicates my repeated contention that the redistricting process was hijacked. That report, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. The corruption of the process went far beyond what was disclosed in that report. No fair minded person can now say the process or the result was fair. I am calling for an immediate and thorough investigation, by Congressional and State authorities, to get to the bottom of this obviously corrupted process. Beyond that, the Congressional and Senate lines as drawn by the Commission should not be used in any way for the upcoming elections.”
  • How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission – This spring, a group of California Democrats gathered at a modern, airy office building just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The meeting was House members only — no aides allowed — and the mission was seemingly impossible.

    In previous years, the party had used its perennial control of California’s state Legislature to draw district maps that protected Democratic incumbents. But in 2010, California voters put redistricting in the hands of a citizens’ commission where decisions would be guided by public testimony and open debate.

  • Democrats skew redistricting effort to their benefit, investigation finds – California’s congressional Democrats ran a secret effort earlier this year to manipulate the work of the independent citizen’s panel that drew the state’s new political districts, foiling the intent of reformers who sought to remove the redistricting process from the control of party bosses.

    Democrats met behind closed doors at the party’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, hired consultants, drew their ideal districts and presented maps to the panel through proxies who never disclosed their party ties or “public interest” groups created specifically for the purpose. In many cases, the panel responded by doing just what the Democrats wanted.

    The New York-based nonprofit investigative foundation ProPublica released findings Wednesday from a months-long reconstruction of the Democrats’ stealth redistricting strategy, relying on internal memos, emails, interviews and map analysis.

    The success of the strategy has Democrats projecting they may pick up as many as seven congressional seats in 2012 under new district boundaries adopted last summer, far more than had been expected originally.

    “Every member of the Northern California Democratic Caucus has a ticket back to D.C.,” crowed one internal memo. “This is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated by advocates throughout the region.”

  • All the Companies Supporting SOPA, the Awful Internet Censorship Law—and How to Contact Them – Who’s officially on the record backing what could be the worst thing to ever happen to the internet? All of these companies listed below. Don’t take our word for it—this list comes straight from Congress. Just FYI.

    If you want to get in touch, we’ve provided a contact list below. Maybe you want to let them know how you feel about SOPA.

  • Shocker: Californa Democrats Manipulated Citizen’s Redistricting Commission » Flap’s California Blog – Shocker: Californa Democrats Manipulated Citizen’s Redistricting Commission
  • Rove: Republicans should fold in payroll tax cut standoff – The Hill’s Video – RT @TheRReport: Rove: Republicans should fold in payroll tax cut standoff
  • (404) http://t.co/Q5Xc08br%E2%80%9D – IDIOTS “@politico: .@marincogan reports: GOP frosh dig in hard on payroll tax cut:
  • NRSC Outraises Democratic Committee in November : Roll Call Politics – RT @rollcall: NRSC Outraises Democratic Committee in November. via @RollCallAbby
  • The Afternoon Flap: December 21, 2011 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Afternoon Flap: December 21, 2011
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