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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 11, 2012

Boehner and Obama1 The Morning Flap: December 11, 2012

House Speaker and President Obama

These are my links for December 10th through December 11th:

  • Scalia quizzed at NJ’s Princeton on gay issue – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday found himself defending his legal writings that some find offensive and anti-gay.
    Speaking at Princeton University, Scalia was asked by a gay student why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder.
    “I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective,” Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.
    Scalia has been giving speeches around the country to promote his new book, “Reading Law,” and his lecture at Princeton comes just days after the court agreed to take on two cases that challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
    Some in the audience who had come to hear Scalia speak about his book applauded but more of those who attended the lecture clapped at freshman Duncan Hosie’s question.
    “It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,’” Scalia told Hosie of San Francisco during the question-and-answer period. “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”
    Scalia said he is not equating sodomy with murder but drawing a parallel between the bans on both.
    Then he deadpanned: “I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded.”
    Hosie said afterward that he was not persuaded by Scalia’s answer. He said he believes Scalia’s writings tend to “dehumanize” gays.
    As Scalia often does in public speaking, he cracked wise, taking aim mostly at those who view the Constitution as a “living document” that changes with the times.
    “It isn’t a living document,” Scalia said. “It’s dead, dead, dead, dead.”
  • An Increasingly Polarized Nation- Gerald Seib: “Based on nearly complete results, of the 234 Republicans elected to the House, just 15 come from districts that the Democratic president carried… Of 201 Democrats elected, just nine come from districts Republican Mitt Romney carried… Not only are House members coming from reliably partisan districts, many are winning in landslides. In this fall’s election, 125 House members — 42 Republicans and 83 Democrats — won their districts with 70% or more of the vote…””The situation is similar in the Senate. There will be 45 Republican senators in the new Congress. Only 10 of them come from states President Obama won. There will be 55 Democrats and independents who caucus with Democrats. Just 11 of them come from states Mr. Romney won…””Voting in that presidential race, meanwhile, was starkly partisan. President Obama won the votes of just 6% of Republicans, exit polls indicate. Mr. Romney won just 7% of Democrats.”New York Times: “Of the 234 House Republicans who will sit in the 113th Congress, 85 percent won re-election with 55 percent of the vote; more than half of next year’s House Republican Conference won more than 60 percent. And virtually every one of them ran on holding the line against tax increases and the Obama agenda.”
  • ‘Dr. No’ of Senate says ‘yes’ to taxes- The Oklahoma senator and obstetrician known as “Dr. No” has taken on the most unlikely of roles: getting Republicans to say “yes” to tax hikes.Tom Coburn, who has blocked dozens of bills, infuriated Democratic leaders and been on the lopsided end of some 96-3 votes, has been encouraging fellow Republicans both publicly and behind the scenes to break with the anti-tax orthodoxy that has come to define — some say hamstring — the modern GOP.
  • Cliff Talks Progress Between Obama, Boehner – Budget negotiations between the White House and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have progressed steadily in recent days, people close to the process said, breathing life into talks that appeared to have stalled.
    Related VideoLast August, President Obama and Congress put the U.S. economy on course to go over a “fiscal cliff.” With the 2012 presidential election decided, WSJ’s David Wessel tells you everything you need to know about the “cliff” but were afraid to ask.Both sides still face sizable differences before any agreement might be reached by the end of the year, and talks could well falter again over such controversial issues as taxes and Medicare before any deal is reached.The people familiar with the matter say talks have taken a marked shift in recent days as staff and leaders have consulted, becoming more “serious.” Both sides have agreed to keep details private, according to the people, who declined to detail where new ground was being broken.
  • The Demographics of Mobile News- In the growing realm of mobile news, men and the more highly educated emerge as more engaged news consumers, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, in collaboration with The Economist Group. These findings parallel, for the most part, demographic patterns of general news consumption.But there are some important areas of difference between mobile and general news habits-particularly among young people. While they are much lighter news consumers generally and have largely abandoned the print news product, young people get news on mobile devices to similar degrees as older users. And, when getting news through apps, young people say they prefer a print-like experience over one with high-tech or multi-media features.These are key findings of an analysis of mobile news habits across a variety of demographic groups. This report builds off an earlier PEJ and The Economist Group report, The Future of Mobile News, which found that half of U.S. adults now own mobile devices and a majority use them for news. Both reports are based on a survey of 9,513 U.S. adults conducted from June-August 2012 (including 4,638 mobile device owners). Men, especially young men, are heavier mobile news consumers than women. More than 40% of men get news daily on either their smartphone and/or tablet, compared with roughly 30% of women. On the tablet specifically, men check in for news more frequently and are more apt to read in-depth news articles and to watch news videos. Women, on the other hand, are more likely than men to use social networks as a way to get news.
  • Report: Bill Clinton really wants Hillary to run for president again | Mobile Washington Examiner – Report: Bill Clinton really wants Hillary to run for president again #tcot
  • Report: Bill Clinton really wants Hillary to run for president again- Former president Bill Clinton really wants his wife Hillary to run for president again according to a report by Jodi Kantor of the New York Times. From the article:Bill Clinton, however, sometimes cannot keep himself from verbally gaming out another campaign for her, said a friend who recently spent time with him. “Every indication is that he would really want her to run,” the friend said.It appears that someone is anxious to be America’s first “First Gentleman” in the White House.
  • Preparing for ‘fiscal cliff,’ investors move assets to avoid higher taxes- As lawmakers struggle to agree on a plan to avert the series of tax increases looming next year, many investors are taking preemptive action to get out of harm’s way.Americans are moving to sell investment homes, off-load stocks, expand charitable donations and establish tax-sheltering gifts before the end of the year. Financial advisers and accountants say people are trying to avoid the higher taxes that will take effect in 2013 if Washington does not avert the “fiscal cliff.”For the most part, the people moving their assets are the wealthy, who have the most to lose even if a deal is struck. Ordinary Americans also are in line for higher income and payroll taxes and fewer deductions and tax credits if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff. But since most of their earnings come through wages, there is little they can do to minimize the impact. Also, the majority of investment income earned by middle-income people comes through tax-deferred vehicles such as individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s, making the possible changes in taxes on investment returns largely immaterial.
  • GOP mute as Supreme Court tackles gay marriage – GOP mute as Supreme Court tackles gay marriage #tcot
  • Rubio, McCain huddle on immigration reform -
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-10 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-10
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-10 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-10 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-10 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-10
  • Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress | TechPresident – Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress | TechPresident #tcot
  • CDT Code for Resin Infiltration Gives Practices Additional Treatment and Billing Options- The American Dental Association (ADA) has announced that resin infiltration of incipient smooth surface lesions is now covered by a 2013 CDT Code classification. The newly defined classification allows practices to accurately code and bill for Icon® by DMG America, a resin infiltration technology that fills, reinforces, and stabilizes demineralized enamel for the purpose of arresting the progression of incipient carious lesions and removing cariogenic white spots. Resin infiltration is a new treatment that has been gaining popularity as an alternative treatment that ends the “wait and see” approach to caries management, without having to “drill and fill.”Icon is the first product to bridge the gap between prevention (fluoride therapy) and traditional caries restoration. Icon’s micro-invasive infiltration technology can be used to treat facial and proximal carious lesions up to the first third of dentin (D-1). Classification from the ADA gives more practices the ability to offer their patients a less invasive, pain free alternative to aggressive treatment techniques. This treatment is performed in a single visit without drilling, anesthesia or the sacrifice of healthy tooth structure. Clinicians can immediately treat upon discovery versus waiting to see whether the caries will progress.The official classification defines resin infiltration as: Application of a resin material engineered to penetrate and fill the sub-surface pore system of an incipient caries lesion to strengthen, stabilize, and limit the lesion’s progression, as well as mask visible white spots.
  • Caffeinated Coffee Reduces the Risk of Oral Cancer? – Locum Tenens Dentist – Caffeinated Coffee Reduces the Risk of Oral Cancer?
  • Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress | TechPresident – Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress #tcot
  • Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress- The Obama political operation took a big step today, sending out an email to its millions of supporters asking them to call Members of the House of Representatives to pass a Senate-approved bill aimed at preventing the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts on the bottom 98% of U.S. taxpayers. In some cases, recipients are being asked to call their own Member; in others, where their Member is already in favor of the Senate bill, Obama activists are being asked to call Obama supporters whose representatives may be a swing vote. In case there’s any doubt, these emails are aimed at putting heat directly on Republican House members.”We know we can affect change in Washington when we raise our voices together,” says the email from Stephanie Cutter, the 2012 deputy campaign manager. “So pick up the phone and make a few calls. Republicans in the House need to hear from their constituents.”This email represents a critical shift in Obama’s political strategy. Paid for by the Obama Victory Fund 2012, it is not aimed at re-electing the President–the ostensible purpose of that campaign entity–but at moving his legislative agenda. It is the President using his army to go directly in the face of Members of Congress who are perceived to stand in his way. Apparently, OFA’s lawyers have decided that they can use their email list in this manner, after some earlier doubts. (It’s not clear that this crosses any lines; for example, John Kerry continued to use his 2004 campaign email list to advance his political agenda for years after losing his run for the White House.)
  • The Afternoon Flap: December 10, 2013 – Flap’s Blog – The Afternoon Flap: December 10, 2013 #tcot
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: April 17, 2012

Renounce citizenship The Morning Flap: April 17, 2012

These are my links for April 16th through April 17th:

  • Tax time pushes some Americans to take a hike – A year ago, in Action Comics, Superman declared plans to renounce his U.S. citizenship.

    “‘Truth, justice, and the American way’ – it’s not enough anymore,” the comic book superhero said, after both the Iranian and American governments criticized him for joining a peaceful anti-government protest in Tehran.

    Last year, almost 1,800 people followed Superman’s lead, renouncing their U.S. citizenship or handing in their Green Cards. That’s a record number since the Internal Revenue Service began publishing a list of those who renounced in 1998. It’s also almost eight times more than the number of citizens who renounced in 2008, and more than the total for 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined.

    But not everyone’s motivations are as lofty as Superman’s. Many say they parted ways with America for tax reasons.

    The United States is one of the only countries to tax its citizens on income earned while they’re living abroad. And just as Americans stateside must file tax returns each April – this year, the deadline is Tuesday – an estimated 6.3 million U.S. citizens living abroad brace for what they describe as an even tougher process of reporting their income and foreign accounts to the IRS. For them, the deadline is June.

    The National Taxpayer Advocate’s Office, part of the IRS, released a report in December that details the difficulties of filing taxes from overseas. It cites heavy paperwork, a lack of online filing options and a dearth of local and foreign-language resources.

    For those wishing to legally escape the filing requirements, the only way is to formally renounce their U.S. citizenship. Last year, IRS records show that at least 1,788 people did, and that’s likely
    an underestimate. The IRS publishes in the Federal Register the names of those who give up their citizenship, and some who renounced say they haven’t seen their name on the list yet.

  • A Wisconsin Vindication – Property tax bills fall as Scott Walker’s reforms start to kick in #tcot – The public employee unions and other liberals are confident that Wisconsin voters will turn out Governor Scott Walker in a recall election later this year, but not so fast. That may turn out to be as wrong as some of their other predictions as Badger State taxpayers start to see tangible benefits from Mr. Walker’s reforms—such as the first decline in statewide property taxes in a dozen years.

    On Monday Mr. Walker’s office released new data that show the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin’s municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state’s largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998—by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner’s bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker’s collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts.

    The median home value did fall in 2011, by about 2.3%, which no doubt influenced the slight downward trend. But then values also fell in 2009 and 2010, by similar amounts, and the state’s take from the average taxpayer still climbed by 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. In absolute terms homeowners won’t see large dollar benefits year over year, but any hold-the-line tax respite is both rare and welcome in this age of ever-expanding government.

  • 2012-13 California state budget is a looming fiasco – It’s become a pattern in California. An exhausted Legislature finally completes work on a tardy state budget. Soon afterward, it becomes obvious the budget is a farce stitched together with funny numbers and delusional assumptions.

    With the 2012-13 budget, however, the process has accelerated. Even before Gov. Jerry Brown issues his May revised budget, decisions made by lawmakers, the courts and federal bureaucrats – combined with bad news on the revenue front – make it close to impossible to expect a spending plan with a shred of credibility or accounting substance.

  • Will We Defuse Our Debt Bomb? – The big question facing America now, and in the foreseeable future, is not who is going to win the next election but whether we are going to defuse a debt bomb that has put our very survival at risk.

    Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not exaggerating when he called our debt the greatest threat to our national security. History has shown time and time again that debt can bring nations to their knees. Great powers such as Britain, Spain, France, the Ottomans, the Soviet Union, and the Roman Empire declined economically before they contracted, collapsed, or were conquered. Our founders understood this history very well: John Adams warned, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Day By Day April 17, 2012 – Zip File – Day By Day April 17, 2012 – Zip File
  • Harry Reid Pushed to Allow Government Conferences in Vegas : Roll Call News – RT @PounderFile Roll Call: “Harry Reid Pushed To Allow Government Conferences In Vegas” #tcot
  • Romney hire means shift on Hispanics – Mitt Romney’s hiring of Republican strategist Ed Gillespie is being seen as a sign the campaign will heavily court Hispanic voters — perhaps at the expense of immigration hard-liners in the party.

    Gillespie, a former head of the Republican National Committee, has long advocated an aggressive outreach to the Hispanic community. He helped found the Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that recruits and trains GOP candidates for office and has emphasized finding female and minority candidates. He also heads up Resurgent Republic, an organization focused on messaging to independents, including Hispanic swing voters.

  • Insiders Oppose Scaling Back Missile-Defense Plans Amid Russian Objections – Monday, April 16, 2012 – Three-quarters of National Journal’s National Security Insiders oppose dropping or scaling back the Obama administration’s plans to deploy missile-defense systems in Europe amid Russia’s objections — even if Moscow offered to share intelligence with Washington.

    “Russia has adamantly opposed U.S. missile-defense strategy for three decades,” one Insider said. “The Obama change in European missile-defense architecture lessened any theoretical threat to Russia from the Bush system, but Russia has stayed on the warpath against U.S. missile defense as if nothing important has changed. U.S. concessions to Russia will bring neither reward nor gratitude. The best U.S. policy toward Russia on missile defense is benign neglect.”

  • Halperin: How the Buffett Rule could work for Obama – Halperin: How the Buffett Rule could work for Obama
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-17 – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-17
  • (404) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/scott-walker-leads-democratic-rivals-in-new-wisconsin-rec – (500) …
  • (500) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/scott-walker-leads-democratic-rivals-in-new-wisconsin-recall-poll/2012/04/16/gIQAeJbGMT_blog.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost – RT @washingtonpost: Scott Walker leads Democratic rivals in new Wisconsin recall poll:
  • AD-38: California State Senator Tony Strickland Endorses Patricia McKeon for Assembly » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: California State Senator Tony Strickland Endorses Patricia McKeon for Assembly via @flap
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Fundraising Totals Show Republican Tony Strickland Far in the Lead – CA-26: Fundraising Totals Show Republican Tony Strickland Far in the Lead
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: April 16, 2012 – The Morning Flap: April 16, 2012
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: November 15, 2011

These are my links for November 14th through November 15th:

  • Dr. Coburn Releases Report Exposing Billions in Giveaways for Millionaires – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new report “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous” illustrating how, under the current tax code, the federal government is giving billions of dollars to individuals with an Annual Gross Income (AGI) of at least $1 million, subsidizing their lavish lifestyles with the taxes of the less fortunate.

    “All Americans are facing tough times, with many working two jobs just to make ends meet and more families turning to the government for financial assistance. From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Multi-millionaires are even receiving government checks for not working.

    “This welfare for the well-off – costing billions of dollars a year – is being paid for with the taxes of the less fortunate, many who are working two jobs just to make ends meet, and IOUs to be paid off by future generations. We should never demonize those who are successful. Nor should we pamper them with unnecessary welfare to create an appearance everyone is benefiting from federal programs,” Dr. Coburn said.

    These billions of dollars for millionaires include $74 million of unemployment checks, $316 million in farm subsidies, $89 million for preservation of ranches and estates, $9 billion of retirement checks, $75.6 million in residential energy tax credits, and $7.5 million to compensate for damages caused by emergencies to property that should have been insured. All and all, over $9.5 billion in government benefits have been paid to millionaires since 2003. Additionally, millionaires borrowed $16 million in government backed education loans to attend college. On average, each year, this report found that millionaires enjoy benefits from tax giveaways and federal grant programs totaling $30 billion. As a result, almost 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax in 2009.

  • ObamaCare and the Limits of Government – The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether ObamaCare is constitutional, granting certiorari in a case brought by 26 states shortly after that law was enacted in March of last year. In so doing, it will be ruling upon the very nature of our federal union.

    The Constitution limits federal power by granting Congress authority in certain defined areas, such as the regulation of interstate and foreign commerce. Those powers not specifically vested in the federal government by the Constitution or, as stated in the 10th Amendment, “prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The court will now determine whether those words still have meaning.

    As we argued two years ago in these pages, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is unconstitutional. First and foremost, the law requires virtually every American to have health insurance. Congress purported to impose this unprecedented “individual mandate” pursuant to its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce, but the requirement is not limited to those who engage in any particular commercial or economic activity (or any activity at all). Rather, the mandate applies to everyone lawfully present in the United States who does not fall within one of the law’s narrow exclusions.

  • Dems fear Supreme Court will rule against Obama on healthcare reform – Democrats on Capitol Hill are worried that the Supreme Court will rule against President Obama’s healthcare reform law. 

    Over the last couple weeks, congressional Democrats have told The Hill that the law faces danger in the hands of the Supreme Court, which The New York Times editorial page recently labeled the most conservative high court since the 1950s.

    While the lawmakers are not second-guessing the administration’s legal strategy, some are clearly bracing for defeat.

    “Of course I’m concerned,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). The justices “decide for insurance companies, they decide for oil companies, they decide for the wealthy too often.”

    The pessimism is fueled in part by the John Roberts court’s decision in the 2010 Citizens United case on corporate spending in elections, which Brown has called the “worst” in his memory.

    The comments underscore the gamble the White House took when it opted not to seek to delay the high court’s review until after the 2012 election. That decision leaves the fate of Democrats’ signature domestic achievement in the hands of a right-leaning court that has consistently ruled against liberals on everything from campaign finance to the District of Columbia’s gun ban to Bush v. Gore.

  • Kagan to Tribe on Day Obamacare Passed: ‘I Hear They Have the Votes, Larry!! – On Sunday, March 21, 2010, the day the House of Representatives passed President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan and famed Supreme Court litigator and Harvard Law Prof. Laurence Tribe, who was then serving in the Justice Department, had an email exchange in which they discussed the pending health-care vote, according to documents the Department of Justice released late Wednesday to the Media Research Center, CNSNews.com’s parent organization, and to Judicial Watch.

    “I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing,” Kagan said to Tribe in one of the emails.

    The Justice Department released a new batch of emails on Wednesday evening as its latest response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by CNSNews.com and Judicial Watch. Both organizations filed federal lawsuits against DOJ after the department did not initially respond to the requests. CNSNews.com originally filed its FOIA request on May 25, 2010–before Elena Kagan’s June 2010 Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

    The March 2010 email exchange between Kagan and Tribe raises new questions about whether Kagan must recuse herself from judging cases involving the health-care law that Obama signed–and which became the target of legal challenges–while Kagan was serving as Obama’s solicitor general and was responsible for defending his administration’s positions in court disputes.

    According to 28 USC 455, a Supreme Court justice must recuse from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The law also says a justice must recuse anytime he has “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while he “served in governmental employment.”

  • Occupy Wall Street – How Long, How Many, Which Cities? – How is Occupy Wall Street faring—not broadly, but at this very moment? Below, we’ve compiled a few indicators that attempt to answer this question, from conditions in Zuccotti Park to the movement’s global spread. The metrics, which update every five minutes, are admittedly imperfect and far from comprehensive, but we hope they give you a sense of how things are going. If you would like to see a particular datapoint included, let us know in the comments.
  • The real Wall Street occupation is online – The Occupy Wall Street movement, now that it has broadened in scope beyond the financial district of Manhattan to attain a truly national — even global — scale has the potential to lay the groundwork for a new generation of start-ups capable of reshaping the financial system in radically new ways. These tech start-ups, while officially unaffiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, are nonetheless responding to the unmet needs of these protesters, individuals who feel abandoned by the current financial system.

    The breakout company of the Occupy Wall Street movement thus far has been Palo Alto-based WePay, a start-up largely unknown until the protest movement began September 17. Over the past 45 days, WePay has become the de facto official way to send money to the “Occupy” protesters while simultaneously bypassing the largest financial institutions. At a time when many payment alternatives already exist, it’s more than a coincidence that an unknown technology player, free of any associations with the banking establishment, has emerged as the financial intermediary of choice. Just a few months ago, the obvious choice for sending money to an organization like Occupy Wall Street would have been PayPal, but that was before the company decided to cooperate with the financial embargo against WikiLeaks.

  • Immigration from Mexico in fast retreat, data show – North of the U.S.-Mexico border, Republican presidential candidates are talking tough on illegal immigration, with one proposing — perhaps in jest — an electrified fence to deter migrants.

    But data from both sides of the border suggest that illegal immigration from Mexico is already in fast retreat, as U.S. job shortages, tighter border enforcement and the frightening presence of criminal gangs on the Mexican side dissuade many from making the trip.

    Mexican census figures show that fewer Mexicans are setting out and many are returning — leaving net migration at close to zero, Mexican officials say. Arrests by the U.S. Border Patrol along the southwestern frontier, a common gauge of how many people try to cross without papers, tumbled to 304,755 during the 11 months ended in August, extending a nearly steady drop since a peak of 1.6 million in 2000.

    The scale of the fall has prompted some to suggest that a decades-long migration boom may be ending, even as others argue that the decline is only momentary.

    “Our country is not experiencing the population loss due to migration that was seen for nearly 50 years,” Rene Zenteno, a deputy Mexico interior secretary for migration matters, has said.

    Douglas Massey, an immigration scholar at Princeton University, said surveys of residents in Mexican migrant towns he has studied for many years found that the number of people making their first trip north had dwindled to near zero.

  • Some Residents Cheer the Clearing of Zuccotti Park – Some Residents Cheer Clearing of Zuccotti Park
    As residents and office workers woke to a Zuccotti Park cleared of its protest encampment, some cheered the removal while others objected to the tough police action that brought it about, my colleague Cara Buckley reports:

     

    One young father, pushing his toddler son in a stroller, gave police officers guarding Zuccotti Park a thumbs up. Another man, rushing by in a cream suit, flashed them a mega-watt grin. The sight of the park, freshly cleared and washed, stopped a blonde woman walking by in her tracks. “Ooooooh, good,” she cooed.

    The clearing of Zuccotti Park struck a deep blow to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which had used the site as its physical and spiritual heart. But as the newly ousted protesters gathered in Foley Square to decide what to do next, many residents, workers and business owners near the park felt deep relief. ” Super ecstatic,” said a young office worker. “Definitely relieved,” said a young woman working behind the counter at Panini & Co., a cafe overlooking the park.

    Paul Bruno, 54, who lives in the Bronx but has serviced elevators in Lower Manhattan for 30 years, had lunched daily in the park. He agreed with the protesters’ message, he said, but not their means. “The movement is the right movement,” he said, “but the movement got lost.”

    Another man, who worked nearby and said he could not give his name because it was against his company’s rules, said it was time for the park to be cleared.

    “It started out as a cool grassroots movement, he said, ” and then it turned into a big homeless camp.”

    Still residents described a frightening scene last night, with police rushing into the park, bright lights glaring and helicopters whirring above. Mark Scherzer, a lawyer who lives half a block from the park, said he found the clearing deeply upsetting.

    “I think the protesters were doing a valuable service,” he said, “And I think it was lawful for them to be there.”

  • More Republicans say Cain allegations are “serious matter” – Most Republicans now see the allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain as a serious matter, according to a new Post-ABC poll, a switch from a poll taken just after the charges were first reported. And while two-thirds continue to say the accusations are not going to determine their vote, there’s also still a deep split between GOP men and women.

    Just after the harassment allegations surfaced publicly, 54 percent of all Republicans were skeptical of their seriousness. Now, by contrast, 64 percent assess the situation as a serious one, with the biggest shift among women.

    Fully 74 percent of Republican women call the charges serious, up from 39 percent in early November. Men are also reflecting the trend, but less dramatically so, rising from 36 to 53 percent.

  • Why Do I Need a Google+ Business Page? – Yesterday Google+ rolled out the much-anticipated Google+ Page feature, and now businesses, brands, products, entertainers, and lots of other entities can have their own accounts.

    I know what you’re thinking: Great, another social media page I have to manage for my company.

    Hey, I’m with you — just when you think you’ve figured out how to make business gains from Twitter and Facebook, along comes Google+, another widespread social tool that’s a big, wide-open question mark.

    But you know what? Reserving your spot for your brand now is probably a good idea, even if you haven’t figured out what you’re doing with it. I did.

    You can register a Google+ business page here, but keep in mind that you have to have a personal Google+ account first. Only one user per account so far, and vanity URLs are not available yet. But why?

  • Court order allows Occupy Wall St. protesters back – Hundreds of police officers in riot gear raided Zuccotti Park early Tuesday, evicting dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters from what has become the epicenter of the worldwide movement protesting corporate greed and economic inequality.

    Hours later, the National Lawyers Guild obtained a court order allowing Occupy Wall Street protesters to return with tents to the park. The guild said the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters.

    At a morning news conference at City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city knew about the court order but had not seen it and would go to court to fight it. He said the city wants to protect people’s rights, but if a choice must be made, it will protect public safety.

    About 70 people were arrested overnight, including some who chained themselves together, while officers cleared the park so that sanitation crews could clean it.

    By 9 a.m., the park was power-washed clean. Police in riot gear still ringed the public space, waiting for orders to reopen it.

  • Gingrich: I’m auditioning to be “conservative alternative” to Romney – On Fox News this morning, Newt Gingrich jabbed Mitt Romney while responding to polls showing him vaulting into the top-tier.

    “I think you’ve had a series of people — it started with Tim Pawlenty, and then Michele Bachmann, and then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain — there’ve been a series of people who’ve, sort of, auditioning for being the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.

    And Mitt Romney’s being very stable and very steady, and now, we’re in a situation where — to some extent — people are looking at Newt Gingrich and having to decide: do they like the solutions I’m offering?”

    So far, Gingrich has shown great restraint in hitting Romney, but this might be the beginnings of his case.

    Yesterday, a Public Policy Polling survey showed Newt leading Romney by 10%, while a CNN poll had Romney up by 2%.

    That earned Gingrich the rare distinction of being the lead story on both The Drudge Report and Huffington Post at the same time.

  • Twitter Can Predict Who’s Winning the GOP Presidential Race [Study] – Political candidates do better in the polls when they gain more Twitter followers, new research reveals. National polls happen all the time but it’s possible to predict when certain candidates will climb in the rankings based the rate they are followed.

    Zach Green, CEO of Twitter election researcher 140elect, wrote in a blog post Friday that he anticipated this trend, but now has the stats to prove it.

    “A lot of people were surprised [Newt] Gingrich is now in second place, but we’ve seen that coming since Sep. 7,” Green told Mashable. “Twitter indicates he’ll continue to pick up.”

    Gingrich (visualized below) gained a slew of new followers when he announced his candidacy on May 11 and on Sept. 7 after an impressive GOP debate performance. Both events led to poll gains. The candidate’s Twitter momentum has steadily increased over the last two months, which Green predicts will lead to continued poll gains.

  • Day By Day November 13, 2011 – Zombies | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Day By Day November 13, 2011 – Zombies #tcot #catcot
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-15 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-15 #tcot #catcot
  • Dilbert November 13, 2011 – The Invisible Man » Flap’s California Blog – Dilbert November 13, 2011 – The Invisible Man
  • The Afternoon Flap: November 14, 2011 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Afternoon Flap: November 14, 2011 #tcot #catcot
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: November 15, 2011
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share save 120 16 Flaps Links and Comments for July 13th on 16:06

These are my links for July 13th from 16:06 to 16:22:

  • Coburn may return to Senate’s ‘Gang of 6′ – Sen. Tom Coburn said Wednesday that he may rejoin the so-called Gang of Six, the bipartisan band of senators seeking to reach agreement on a big deficit-cutting deal that would blend spending cuts with a tax code overhaul.
    The Oklahoma Republican dropped out of the group two months ago saying Democrats weren't willing to cut enough spending from programs like Medicare. He says he may rejoin the group depending on how it responds to ideas he's sent over. The closely watched group has been working for months in hopes of a bipartisan deficit-cutting deal that might gain momentum despite the partisanship consuming Capitol Hill.
    Asked about rumors he's thinking of rejoining the group, Coburn said: "They're not rumors." But he said he doesn't know whether he will in fact return and that it would depend on how the group reacts to some ideas he's sent over.
    "We'll see" about rejoining the group, Coburn said. "I floated a couple of things. Let's see how they're responded to."
  • How are those debt talks going? – Badly – There are, I think, three likely outcomes. One is that Obama blinks on taxes, as he did in last year’s lame duck session. I rate the chances of that happening as slim. The second is that we hit “default” and everyone scrambles for a few days to, yes, get the Social Security checks out. Everyone is shaken and there is that “grand compromise.” I put the likelihood of that at close to zero. And finally, there is some other variation (McConnell’s or another backup plan) that avoids a default and does not force Republicans to vote for tax hikes. That seems the most likely for now.

    The real solution is for the voters to participate in a great referendum. More government and tax hikes or less government and no tax hikes? That’s what the 2012 election will be about.

    ======

    The GOP House should pass a 3 or 6 month all cuts budget deal raising the debt ceiling and force the Senate to filibuster or Obama to veto it.

  • Amazon Tax Referendum Filed – With the state budget not yet two weeks old, the first of what could be multiple challenges to its underpinning policies has been issued: a petition for the voters to overturn the new law requiring sales tax collection from online purchases.
    A formal request for a referendum on ABx 28 was filed with the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday afternoon by lobbyist Charles Halnan.

    Halnan lobbies for, among other companies, Amazon.

    The state constitution requires backers of a referendum to gather, within 90 days, voter signatures equaling five percent of the total vote in the most recent gubernatorial election. That looks to be about 504,000 signatures once the petition is cleared by the AG.

    Of course, one question raised during last year's debate over Proposition 25 was whether a budget-related bill like this one is eligible for a referendum. Before Prop 25, budget-related bills were generally seen as not eligible, given that they were approved by a supermajority and given that they took effect immediately. For those who would construe that to be synonymous with an "urgency" statute, the constitution would seem to say it's not eligible. But others will no doubt say that these aren't synonymous. A clarification by the courts may be needed on this one.

  • New GOP honcho Carly Fiorina is "focused on 2012,” but on future run for office? "Never say never" – Among the topics she addressed in conversation with the Chronicle:

    *On Republicans' shot at taking back control of the Senate:"It's a very achievable goal. It's one we have to work hard towards. The Democrats have more seats to defend than we do..and many of the seats in 2012 cycle are in states Barack Obama lost." While Republicans "have challenges,'' Democrats have more challenges, she said.

    *On the GOP anti-tax agenda, in California and nationally: "I think Republicans are on very solid ground to say that tax increases are bad for job creation. Everyone agreed with that just six months ago. President Obama was against raising taxes; the Democrats were…Bill Clinton has said the corporate tax rate was too high.'' The bottom line: "You can't raise taxes in the middle of an economic recession….there are only two things you can do during a budget crisis — cut spending, and grow the economy."

    *On raising the debt ceiling: "It's important that the U.S. government not default on its obligation. It's equally important that we put in place a set of longterm solutions that restore accountability and fiscal responsibility in Washington and that create the environment where businesses can grow."

    *On the "stark" differences between the messages of the two parties: "The Republican agenda is fundamentally different from the Democratic agenda…first, Republicans want to decentralize power, Democrats want to centralize it and they want to centralize it in Washington. Republicans generally will put their faith in the individual; Democrats will put it in an institution. Republicans will favor job creators and Democrats will favor government agencies."

    *On her own future in politics: "I'm focused on 2012 and helping other people win….(but) never say never….I've said from the moment that (my) campaign finished, I enjoyed every minute of it. I don't have a bad taste in my mouth. I had a wonderful experience, and I'm proud of the campaign we ran."

share save 120 16 Flaps Links and Comments for July 13th on 16:06
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