These are my links for October 9th through October 11th:
Biden: ‘You Ever See Me Rope-a-Dope?’– Joe Biden, on his way to tonight’s vice presidential debate in Kentucky, asks the press, “You ever see me rope-a-dope?”From the pool report:Vice President Biden arrived at about 10:50 a.m. at New Castle Airport. He climbed out of a gray SUV, greeted some military (see below) and then walked toward the press gathered near the wing.Asked about tonight’s debate he said, “Looking forward to it.”
Asked about his strategy, whether it was rope-a-dope, he responded:
“You ever see me rope-a-dope?”
A bunch of Bidens are joining the VP, including: sons Hunter and Beau, daughter Ashley, sister Valerie. Debate partner Rep. Chris Van Hollen and former Sen. Ted Kaufman are on board, as is Shaleigh Murray, who played moderator Martha Raddatz in debate practice.
GOP Turnout Effort Tests Obama Campaign’s Prowess– Republicans are narrowing Democrats’ organizational advantage in critical swing states, but the latter say they are on track to improve upon President Obama’s 2008 early-vote count.Now that the election has moved full-throttle into get-out-the-vote mode, both campaigns are tracking the daily tabulation of absentee ballots requested in key battlegrounds along with the number of early votes already cast. In half of the most critical swing states — Colorado, Florida and North Carolina — Republicans have requested more absentee ballots than have their counterparts. And in Nevada, the two sides are nearly even.
ObamaCare: Health Care Direction Awaits Verdict of Presidential Race– Joyce Beck, who runs a small hospital and network of medical clinics in rural Nebraska, is reluctant to plan for the future until voters decide between President Obama and Mitt Romney. The candidates’ sharply divergent proposals for Medicare, Medicaid and coverage of the uninsured have created too much uncertainty, she explained.“We are all on hold, waiting to see what the election brings,” said Ms. Beck, chief executive of Thayer County Health Services in Hebron, Neb.When Americans go to the polls next month, they will cast a vote not just for president but for one of two profoundly different visions for the future of the country’s health care system. With an Obama victory on Nov. 6, the president’s signature health care law — including the contentious requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty — will almost certainly come into full force, becoming the largest expansion of the safety net since President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed through his Great Society programs almost half a century ago.If Mr. Romney wins and Republicans capture the Senate, much of the law could be repealed — or its financing cut back — and the president’s goal of achieving near-universal coverage could take a back seat to Mr. Romney’s top priority, controlling medical costs.
Given the starkness of the choice, historians and policy makers believe this election could be the most significant referendum on a piece of social legislation since 1936, when the Republican Alf M. Landon ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal programs. (Nearly eight decades have passed, but the debate sounds strikingly familiar: Landon described the Social Security Act, passed in 1935, as “the largest tax bill in history” and called for its repeal.)
California gas prices are a warning– California’s record gasoline prices and long service station lines are a warning to all of us about what green energy can do to our pocketbooks.On Monday, California gasoline cost $4.67 per gallon, compared with the $3.81 U.S. average. California’s environmental standards are the most stringent in the country, and Californians are paying the price.The price spike started with an August fire in Chevron’s Richmond refinery. Then, two other refineries, operated by Tesoro and Exxon Mobil, went down for maintenance. Because California requires different blends of gasoline from other states, and pipelines across the Rockies are limited, gasoline can’t be shipped in from elsewhere.On Sunday, in an attempt to lower gasoline prices, Gov. Jerry Brown suspended the environmental regulations that kept California prices above those in the rest of the United States.
Rove: The Dividends of Romney’s Debate Victory– How big an impact did Mitt Romney’s performance in last week’s debate have? Huge. Mr. Romney not only won the night, he changed the arc of the election—and perhaps its outcome. Surveys have him leading the RealClearPolitics average of polls for the first time since securing the GOP nomination in mid-April.Prior to Oct. 3, Mr. Romney trailed President Barack Obama by an average of 3.1 points in national polls tallied by RealClearPolitics. Since the debate, Mr. Romney now leads Mr. Obama in the RCP average by a point, 48.2% to 47.2%, and the bounce is likely to grow. By comparison, Sen. John Kerry was widely seen to have bested President George W. Bush in the first 2004 debate (held on Sept. 30 of that year), but he never led in the RCP average in October.In seven of the past nine presidential debate series, the challenger has gained more in the polls than the incumbent (or the candidate of the party in power). The first debate generally frames the series and establishes whether the bounce will be large or modest. Mr. Romney’s bounce is significant.
Greek Unemployment Rises Above 25 per cent– The unemployment rate in Greece rose to 25.1 percent in July, from 24.8 percent the month before, as the financial crisis continued to destroy jobs.Greece’s statistical authority says in a statement Thursday that 1.26 million Greeks were jobless in July, with more than 1,000 jobs lost every day over the past year.In the worst-affected 15-24 age group, unemployment was 54.2 percent.In July 2008, a year before Greece’s acute financial crisis broke, there were only about 364,000 registered unemployed.
Greece is surviving on international bailout loans, granted on condition of harsh austerity measures to curtail the country’s large budget deficits. The economy is set to enter a sixth year of recession in 2013.
CBS 5 Poll: Romney Gains 8 Points On Faltering Obama In California– The effects of President Barack Obama’s falter in the first debate with Mitt Romney are not just being felt in battleground states, according to KPIX-TV CBS 5?s latest tracking poll of California which shows Romney slicing eight points off Obama’s lead.Obama had led by 22 points in the CBS 5 tracking poll released four weeks ago. Obama now leads by only 14 points, an 8-point improvement for Romney. At the same time, the poll found U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s support for her re-election bid remained largely unchanged, month-on-month, suggesting that the erosion in Democratic support is not across-the-board, but contained to Obama. Unclear is whether the Obama erosion is fleeting or long-lasting.
11 Of Lance Armstrong’s Teammates Testified Against Him To The USADA– The USADA is releasing a full report of evidence that Lance Armstrong was doping during his cycling career.Eleven of Armstrong’s former teammates testified against the seven-time Tour de France winner saying he used performance enhancing drugs.The teammates who testified against Armstrong were: Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie.
Lawyer who filed complaint has ties to multiple anti-ALEC groups– The lawyer who filed an IRS whistleblower complaint against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on behalf of a shadowy organization known as “Clergy Voice” has ties to Common Cause, the liberal government watchdog group and renowned ALEC foe.Marcus Owens, former director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS from 1990 to 2000, filed a whistleblower complaint in July against ALEC, alleging the group was violating IRS tax law.“ALEC has deliberately and repeatedly failed to comply with some of the most fundamental federal tax requirements applicable to public charities,” Owens wrote in his complaint against the influential free-market group. “The information in this submission also suggests, quite strongly, that the conduct of ALEC and certain of its representatives violates other civil and criminal tax laws and may violate other federal and state criminal statutes as well.”As reported by the Free Beacon, the “grassroots” movement against ALEC is a well-coordinated campaign orchestrated by well-funded and often secretive progressive groups.
Barack Obama, VP debate moderator wedding guest– President Barack Obama was a guest at the 1991 wedding of ABC senior foreign correspondent and vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz, The Daily Caller has learned. Obama and groom Julius Genachowski, whom Obama would later tap to head the Federal Communications Commission, were Harvard Law School classmates at the time and members of the Harvard Law Review.After TheDC made preliminary inquiries Monday to confirm Obama’s attendance at the wedding, ABC leaked a pre-emptive statement to liberal-leaning news outlets including Politico and The Daily Beast Tuesday, revealing what may have been internal network pressure felt just days before Raddatz was scheduled to moderate the one and only vice-presidential debate Thursday night.
Jack Welch: I Was Right About That Strange Jobs Report– Imagine a country where challenging the ruling authorities—questioning, say, a piece of data released by central headquarters—would result in mobs of administration sympathizers claiming you should feel “embarrassed” and labeling you a fool, or worse.Soviet Russia perhaps? Communist China? Nope, that would be the United States right now, when a person (like me, for instance) suggests that a certain government datum (like the September unemployment rate of 7.8%) doesn’t make sense.Unfortunately for those who would like me to pipe down, the 7.8% unemployment figure released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last week is downright implausible. And that’s why I made a stink about it.Before I explain why the number is questionable, though, a few words about where I’m coming from. Contrary to some of the sound-and-fury last week, I do not work for the Mitt Romney campaign. I am definitely not a surrogate. My wife, Suzy, is not associated with the campaign, either. She worked at Bain Consulting (not Bain Capital) right after business school, in 1988 and 1989, and had no contact with Mr. Romney.
The Obama campaign and its supporters, including bigwigs like David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, along with several cable TV anchors, would like you to believe that BLS data are handled like the gold in Fort Knox, with gun-carrying guards watching their every move, and highly trained, white-gloved super-agents counting and recounting hourly.
Let’s get real. The unemployment data reported each month are gathered over a one-week period by census workers, by phone in 70% of the cases, and the rest through home visits. In sum, they try to contact 60,000 households, asking a list of questions and recording the responses.
State Dept reveals new details of Benghazi attack– All was quiet outside the U.S. Consulate as evening fell on Benghazi and President Barack Obama’s envoy to Libya was retiring after a day of diplomatic meetings.There was no indication of the harrowing events that night would bring: assailants storming the compound and setting its buildings aflame, American security agents taking fire across more than a mile of the city, the ambassador and three employees killed and others forced into a daring car escape against traffic.Senior State Department officials on Tuesday revealed for the first time certain details of last month’s tragedy in the former Libyan rebel stronghold, such as the efforts of a quick reaction force that rushed onto the scene and led the evacuation in a fierce gun battle that continued into the streets. The briefing was provided a day before department officials were to testify to a House committee about the most serious attack on a U.S. diplomatic installation since al-Qaida bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania 14 years ago.The account answers some questions and leaves others unanswered. Chief among them is why for several days the Obama administration said the assault stemmed from a protest against an American-made Internet video ridiculing Islam, and whether the consulate had adequate security.
State Department: No video protest at the Benghazi consulate– Prior to the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi late in the evening on Sept. 11, there was no protest outside the compound, a senior State Department official confirmed today, contradicting initial administration statements suggesting that the attack was an opportunistic reaction to unrest caused by an anti-Islam video.In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, two senior State Department officials gave a detailed accounting of the events that lead to the death of Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The officials said that prior to the massive attack on the Benghazi compound by dozens of militants carrying heavy weaponry, there was no unrest outside the walls of the compound and no protest that anyone inside the compound was aware of.
The liberal media loved Obama to death – It was in Denver one week ago that the long-running romance between Barack Obama and the national press — aka the “Slobbering Love Affair,” as Bernard Goldberg put it — hit the wall. The motel bill, unpaid these many long months and ages, at long last came due.
It had been the real thing, not a commonplace fling with your generic Democrat, but the love of a lifetime, the genuine article, the sum of all dreams: He was not just a Democrat, he was also a liberal. He was not just a liberal, he also biracial, also multinational; also hip, cool, and clever. He was themselves as they wanted to be. Like them, he was gifted at writing and talking (and, as it turned out, not much beyond that), like them, he stood up for Metro America; like them, he viewed the people outside it with a not-very-measured disdain. “I divide people into people who talk like us and people who don’t talk like us,” said David Brooks, speaking for all of them. “You could see him as a New Republic writer … he’s more talented than anyone in my lifetime … he IS pretty dazzling when he walks into a room.”Dazzled indeed, they turned on their old flames, Bill and Hillary Clinton. They dumped John McCain, with whom they had flirted; and when Romney appeared — rich, square, and looking like Dad in a mid-50s sitcom — it was clear the long knives would be out.
The LEFT melts down over Obama Debate Performance– Let me suggest something that many conservatives realized after the debate: Obama did not do that badly. For Obama. He was the same listless, droning, exhausted-of-ideas scold we have seen for at least two years now (and maybe three).He was Obama. This is what he is. He is not quick-witted. He is not, as I think I saw Mickey Kaus note, a wonk. He has never been a wonk, a detailed-policy guy.He is a guy who speaks vacuously of hopes and dreams and change and fairness.He always has been.
The problem, for the liberals, is not Obama. This is what you bought. This is your guy. It wasn’t his A game, but it was something close to his B+ game.
The problem was Romney, who was commanding, fluent, reasonable, articulate, sharp-witted, warm, occasionally funny, full of ideas, full of facts, full of thoughtful, detailed criticisms of Obama policy (who the hell expected him to bring up, as an afterthought, Dodd-Frank’s failure to specify what a “reasonably qualified” mortgage applicant was, and how that chilled lending? Obama sure didn’t!), and, therefore, ultimately, full of qualification for the job and yes, full of gravitas.
That’s the problem.
Not Obama. I repeat: This is who Obama is. He has never been this brilliant intellect and keen policy analysts liberals have, in their BubbleWorld, dreamed him as.
After Debate, Obama Protection Dam Breaks– President Obama might think sagging polls are his biggest post-debate problem. But it’s really people like Buzz Bissinger, Stacey Dash and Bill Maher showing it’s now acceptable in polite society to attack The One.In an eye-opening piece Monday on the Daily Beast, “Friday Night Lights” author and lifelong Democrat Buzz Bissinger announced he was voting for Romney.The tipping point, he wrote, “was last week’s debate in Denver,” which showed Obama out of energy and out of ideas. Obama is “no longer the chosen one. He is just too cool for school in a country desperate for the infectiousness of rejuvenation.”
Angst grows among Obama supporters– First came the nausea. Then came the anxiety.After months of watching Mitt Romney twist in the media glare, a growing number of President Barack Obama’s supporters — though confined for now to a noisy minority of liberals — are peering into the Obama-might-actually-lose abyss for the first time after last week’s disastrous first debate.
NASA – NASATV – RT @NASA on @SpaceX #Dragon capture: “Looks like we’ve tamed the Dragon. We’re happy she’s on-board with us.”
Rep. Issa closes in on Clinton on Libya– Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is setting his sights on his biggest political target yet: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is treading more carefully than he did with his investigation of Attorney General Eric Holder and the Fast and Furious gun-tracking program, which led to a House vote placing Holder in contempt.Issa has not called on Clinton to testify at a hearing Wednesday morning meant to investigate security lapses at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.Issa’s staff has also praised Clinton for vowing to cooperate with the investigation of how an attack on the consulate left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American diplomats dead.
“After dealing with the Department of Justice’s stonewalling in Operation Fast and Furious, the State Department and Secretary Clinton have been a breath of fresh air,” said Frederick Hill, a spokesman for Issa, in an interview with The Hill. “They pledged their cooperation when we
These are my links for April 25th through April 26th:
Biden: ‘The president has a big stick’ – Referring to President Roosevelt’s foreign policy quote about “speaking softly and carrying a big stick,” Biden told the crowd that Obama followed a similar path while negotiating with Iran.
“I promise you, the president has a big stick. I promise you,” Biden said as the crowd laughed.
Dick Lugar trails by 5, poll says – Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar has fallen behind state Treasurer Richard Mourdock by five points, according to a new poll released Thursday.
The survey, taken Tuesday and Wednesday by Wenzel Strategies on behalf of Citizens United, places Mourdock at 44 percent and Lugar at 39 percent. Nearly 17 percent remain undecided with just 12 days to go until the Indiana Senate primary.
Old Troubles Dog GSA Official Jeff Neely – Jeff Neely, the embattled General Services Administration official at the center of a scandal over a lavish Las Vegas conference, was reprimanded in 2011 for appearing in a campaign ad for Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), documents obtained by Roll Call show.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said Neely’s participation in the ad for Inouye’s 2010 re-election campaign violated the Hatch Act, but it did not discipline him beyond a warning.
The footage of Neely used in the ad was from a June 2010 groundbreaking ceremony heralding the $212 million renovation of the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building and Courthouse in Honolulu.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by Aaron Scheidies, a 30-year-old athlete. Scheidies says the rule violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Having a legally blind person compete in the running portion of a triathlon with blackout glasses “poses substantial danger to not only the competitor but those around them,” the complaint says.
Surveying the crowd, the globe-trotting secretary of state added: “I was delighted to see our wonderful governor Andrew Cuomo is on the Time 100 list, along with others, like Marco Rubio, and … the two of them and I have ended up on some other lists this past couple of months.”
Clinton had barely finished the sentence before the crowd laughed knowingly. Yet with that coy nod to two other people who are frequently mentioned as 2016 presidential contenders, Clinton fanned the speculation about whether she’s planning to make a second-act presidential run in four years.
Gingrich to end White House bid – Newt Gingrich will officially end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and formally express his support for Mitt Romney next week, two sources close to Gingrich tell CNN.
While details are still being worked out, Gingrich is likely to hold his final campaign event Tuesday in Washington, DC where he will make the announcement surrounded by his family and supporters.
It is not surprising that Gingrich is suspending his campaign for the White House as he has all but acknowledged it is winding down and Romney is the presumptive GOP nominee.
“When he says he is transitioning, what he means is that he is trying to determine as a citizen how he will pro-actively help Mitt Romney become president and the Republican Party win back the Senate and help (House Speaker) John Boehner keep his majority in the House,” said one of the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
It appears that Gingrich’s focus will be much broader than the presidential campaign, as the former speaker, who made his name and career in the House, plans to be actively involved in helping the GOP take back control of both sides of Capitol Hill.
My column this week is a follow-up to last week’s piece on ALEC vs. the progressive mob/corporate appeasers. Be sure to read the entire column (plus my e-mail exchanges with several cowardly businesses that caved to the Van Jones crowd), click on all the links, get educated, educate others, and use this information to help fight back. The conservative movement needs all hands on deck.
Related: ALEC now faces a frivolous IRS complaint from longtime nemesis and anti-ALEC mob partner Common Cause.
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.”
“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.
“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.
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
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:
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.
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.