Obama’s jobs council shutting down Thursday – President Barack Obama will let his jobs council expire this week without renewing its charter, winding down one source of input from the business community even as unemployment remains stubbornly high.When Obama in January 2011 formed his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, unemployment was hovering above 9 percent. Two years president later, more than 12 million people in the U.S. are out of work. The unemployment rate has improved to 7.8 percent, but both parties agree that’s still too high.A provision in Obama’s executive order establishing the council says it sunsets on Thursday. A White House official said the president does not plan to extend it.
Science Says, ‘Good Riddance, Sen. Tom Harkin’ – Progressive Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced his retirement recently, foregoing a re-election bid in 2014. Science Insider, the policy news arm of the journal Science, wished him a fond farewell, calling him a “longtime champion” of biomedical research.This is exactly backwards.In reality, Harkin has been one of the leading voices of alternative medicine, up to 95% of which is complete nonsense. His insistence upon funding woo, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) no less, has served to undermine biomedical research. Called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), this joke of an organization was created — and packed full of woo-loving cronies — by Senator Tom Harkin.
ObamaCare: Some families to be priced out of health overhaul – Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what’s being called a glitch in President Barack Obama’s overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president’s plan had hoped.As a result, some families that can’t afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can’t get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said.
“This is a very significant problem, and we have urged that it be fixed,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group that supported the overhaul from its early days. “It is clear that the only way this can be fixed is through legislation and not the regulatory process.”
But there’s not much hope for an immediate fix from Congress, since the House is controlled by Republicans who would still like to see the whole law repealed.
Jobless Claims Go Higher; Income Surges, Spending Up – The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose sharply last week but remained at a level consistent with moderate hiring, while income surged much higher than expected and spending inched higher as well.The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits leapt 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000. The increase comes after applications plummeted in the previous two weeks to five-year lows.Personal income rose 2.6 percent and spending was up 0.2 percent for the month, according to a separate report.
Rubio’s amnesty: A path to oblivion for the GOP – IT’S NOT AMNESTY! Rubio’s proponents cry. They seem to think they can bully Republicans the way the Democrats do, by controlling the language.Rubio’s bill is nothing but amnesty. It isn’t even “amnesty thinly disguised as border enforcement.” This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.Despite all the blather about how Rubio demands “Enforcement First!” the very first thing his proposal does is make illegal aliens legal. (Don’t call them “illegal aliens”!)
The ability to live and work legally in America is the most valuable commodity in the world; it’s the Hope Diamond of the universe. I know young, well-educated Canadians who waited a decade for that privilege.
Step One of Marco Rubio’s plan is: Grant illegal aliens the right to live and work in America legally. (Rubio’s first move in poker: Fold.)
People who have broken our laws will thus leap ahead of millions of foreigners dying to immigrate here, but — unwilling to enter illegally — waiting patiently in their own countries.
The only thing the newly legalized illegal immigrants won’t get immediately is citizenship. Rubio claims that under his plan, they won’t be able to vote or go on welfare. But in practice, they’ll have to wait only until the ACLU finds a judge to say otherwise.
A Pointless Amnesty – Illegal immigration is a curious subject: It is one of the few domains in which the authorities entrusted with enforcing the law feel obliged to negotiate the most concessionary terms and conditions with those who are breaking it, as though law enforcement were an embarrassing inconvenience. But the rule of law, national security, and economic dynamism are not mere pro forma matters — they are in fact fundamental, a reality lost on our would-be “comprehensive” immigration reformers.
Pushback: Gingrich, Vitter, National Review, Malkin, Coulter, Erickson oppose Rubio’s immigration plan – The key subplot to Rubio’s immigration push, of course, is how much of a headache it’ll be for him with conservatives in the 2016 primaries. The talk-radio charm offensive is mainly designed to get grassroots opinion-shapers like Rush to at least wait and see what the bill looks like before lobbying against it, but more broadly it’s designed to move the Overton window on what positions are acceptable for a good conservative to hold. Rubio can afford to have immigration reform fail; he can’t afford to be RINO-ized over it. Like I said yesterday, whether or not a bill ends up passing, he’s already achieved something significant by getting Rush et al. to acknowledge that “recognizing reality” in terms of a grand bargain on immigration is something “admirable and noteworthy.” No matter what happens now, unless he ends up voting for a watered-down Democratic bill with token enforcement (which he won’t), he’s got that as a soundbite for his primary ads in 2016. James Antle makes a good point too in noting that none of Rubio’s would-be rivals for the nomination have attacked him on this yet. Jindal, Paul, and Christie have all kept quiet and Ryan has actually endorsed Rubio’s plan. The likely candidates don’t want to alienate Latino voters and the pundits with big audiences don’t want to kneecap a guy who might end up being the party’s best chance to regain the presidency.
Marco Rubio: Applying Conservative Principles To Immigration – I appreciate the opportunity to respond to Erick’s post last night regarding the principles for immigration reform I have recently developed. Before diving into the details of the plan, I want to take a moment to point out how the debate about immigration reflects positively on the conservative movement in general. Unlike the left, whose default tactic is to attack and destroy the personal character of those who disagree with their views, the conservative movement is capable of accommodating a vibrant internal debate on important issues solely on the merits. RedState has always been a welcoming forum for that sort of debate.
Five reasons Republicans won’t win Latino voters with immigration reform – Here are five reasons why.1. ¡es la economía, estúpido!Latinos didn’t vote for President Obama because Mitt Romney was seen as insensitive on immigration. According to a Fox Latino poll before the election, only 6% of Latinos said that immigration was the most important issue to their vote. A Latino Decisions (LD) election eve poll allowed multiple answers to issues that were important and, still, 65% did not say immigration was important to them.
Latinos instead cared about the economy. About 50% said the economy was the most important issue to their vote. By a 75% to 19% margin, Latinos are more likely to believe in a bigger government, with more services, to a smaller one. President Obama got 75% of the Latino vote in the LD election eve poll – a perfect match.
2. Latinos are liberal
Latinos have said openly they won’t change their vote because of immigration policy. Only 31% of Latinos in the LD survey said they would be more likely to vote GOP, if the Republican party took a leadership role in immigration reform. A full 58% said they didn’t know or it would have no effect, while 11% said it would actually make them less likely to vote Republican.
The reason is that Latinos are 9pt more likely to say they are liberal than the general population. Most of that has to do with the economy, but even on social issues, Latinos, especially second- and third-generation, are no more conservative than the general population. In fact, second- and third-generation Latinos are more likely to believe abortion should be legal and homosexuality accepted by society than the general population.
Reid declines to endorse Feinstein’s assault-weapons ban – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday declined to voice support for Democratic legislation that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.Reid said he would bring gun-violence legislation to the floor and open it to a lengthy amendment process. But he declined to endorse the assault weapons ban introduced last week by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), which has the support of the 2nd- and 3rd-ranking Senate Democratic leaders.
“She’s talked to me about her assault weapons. The new one. She believes in it fervently and I admire her for that. I’ll take a look at that,” he said in response to a reporter’s question. “We’re going to have votes on all kinds of issues dealing with guns, and I think everyone would be well advised to read the legislation before they determine how they’re going to vote [on] it.”
Why Immigration Reform Won’t Cure the GOP’s Struggles with Hispanics – Leading Republicans are jumping on the immigration reform bandwagon, hoping that taking the issue off the table will give them a second chance to make inroads with Hispanic voters. But even with a bipartisan deal looking within reach, the Republican party may not benefit as much as strategists expect.Indeed, there’s evidence that Hispanic resistance to the Republican party is as rooted in the GOP’s skeptical view of government, as it is their disagreement with GOP hardliners on immigration. The Republican Party calls for smaller government, but many Latinos look to government assistance as a necessity. Forty-two percent of Hispanic voters say that a government job offers the best chance of gaining career success, compared to only one-third of white voters, according to a June Allstate/National Journal/Heartland Monitor poll.
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2012 Michigan Republican Primary – Romney 38%, Gingrich 23%, Santorum 17%, Paul 14% – Mitt Romney, coming off his big win in the Florida Primary on Tuesday, is the clear front-runner in the first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Republican presidential race in his home state of Michigan. Voters in this hard hit state see Romney as the much better choice to manage the economy. The Michigan Republican Primary is on February 28.
Romney earns 38% support from Likely Republican Primary Voters in Michigan, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich a distant second with 23% of the vote. Seventeen percent (17%) prefer former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, and nearly as many (14%) favor Texas Congressman Ron Paul. One percent (1%) like some other candidate in the race, and six percent (6%) are undecided
Coulter’s shameful defense of Romneycare – Ann Coulter’s support for Mitt Romney entered a new stage today with a column offering an all out embrace of Romneycare. In the process, she insults the intelligence of conservative critics of the law and doesn’t address their actual arguments against it.
Her first defense of the law is to name other conservatives who supported it at the time. So what? Many of us were opposed to it all along. For instance, in August 2006, before Barack Obama even announced he was seeking the presidency, I fretted that Romney’s support for universal health care made him the natural heir to President Bush’s big government “compassionate conservatism.” In July 2007, I wrote that, “It is hard to imagine anything representing a greater affront to conservative principles than using government to coerce private citizens into purchasing healthcare.” David Hogberg was another early critic, among many others.
Have Democrats Succeeded in Pre-Destroying Romney? – – Tuesday’s installment of the left’s crusade to destroy Mitt Romney began like this: an operator chirping, “I’d like to welcome you today to the Mitt Romney Would Destroy Social Security and Medicare Conference Call.”
A few moments later, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was on the line. “Thanks, everybody, for joining the call today,” she began. Within minutes, she had accused Romney of “political pandering,” supporting “the extreme tea party agenda,” and lying to senior citizens, Hispanics and supporters of the space program.
Just another day in the life of the vast left-wing conspiracy.
Practically every day for months, Democrats and their allies have been hammering Romney like this. Unions, party committees at the national and state levels, independent groups such as American Bridge and Americans United for Change, and the Obama campaign itself have undertaken an unprecedented effort to tarnish the front-runner while virtually ignoring the rest of the GOP candidates. And it appears to be working.
Even as he finds increasing success in the Republican primary, negative views of Romney have skyrocketed, particularly among independents, according to recent polls. An ABC News/Washington Post survey released last week, for example, found Romney viewed unfavorably by 49 percent of voters and favorably by just 31 percent. Among independents, just 23 percent viewed Romney favorably, compared to 51 percent who felt that way about President Obama.
One emerging strain of the conventional wisdom holds that it’s the harsh attacks on Romney from Newt Gingrich — and blowback from Romney’s own brutally negative campaign — that’s causing this to happen. Democrats have been pushing this line, in fact, arguing that Romney is winning at a steep cost and will limp into the general election bruised beyond repair.
Having told us only Romney was viable (with half-nods to Huntsman and Santorum) and having trotted out Elliot Abrams to smear Newt Gingrich with out of context quotes, even National Review is having trouble defending their candidate today.
This morning Mitt Romney said he wasn’t concerned about the poor. The poor, after all, have food stamps and Medicaid. But don’t worry. If the safety net is broken, Patrician Mitt Romney will fix it so the poor can stay comfortably poor. After all, just look what he did in Massachusetts. The poor can now wait 44 days to get in to see a doctor. Excelsior!
After making sure we all understood the poor were for the Democrats to be worried about, Romney decided to keep digging his hole even bigger. By the end of the day, Jim DeMint had to rebuke him.
Romney derangement syndrome (on the right) – So what gives? Perhaps it is frustration, especially among talk-show hosts, at not being able to derail Romney. Maybe some shrill bloggers understand that Romney threatens to prove that they are less in tune with Republicans than the “squishy” Republican candidates and officeholders. And maybe conservative political journalists have more in common with their mainstream counterparts than they’d like to admit — a suspicion of wealth, ignorance of the business world and a fixation on the candidates’ interaction with them. After all, Romney never really courted and flattered conservative pundits the way Newt Gingrich did (especially by bashing the mainstream media competition).
None of this is to say there isn’t strong and valid opposition to Romney in the conservative press. (Michelle Malkin, who recently endorsed Santorum, and staunch critics of Romneycare certainly fit this description.) But it’s hard to ignore the conclusion that for some in the conservative press there is an element of anti-Romney animosity that is not quite grounded in reason or ideological consistency — it is personal. And other than Romney’s being “handsome, rich and successful,” as Kathleen put it, it’s really hard to fathom where it comes from.
Romney Poised for Blowout Win in Nevada – A new Las Vegas Review-Journal poll in Nevada finds Mitt Romney leading the GOP presidential race with 45%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 25%, Rick Santorum at 11% and Ron Paul at 9%.
However, Carl Bunce, the Nevada chairman of the Paul campaign, “dismissed the poll results, saying most Paul supporters refuse to participate or lie in surveys because of a bad experience in Nevada four years ago. He said Sen. John McCain’s campaign did robocalls to identify Paul supporters and then sidelined them at the state party convention.”
U.S. military commanders had said in recent weeks they would begin a transition this year toward taking more of an advisory role as Afghanistan’s national army and police take greater responsibility for fighting the insurgency. But Panetta’s remarks were the first time the Obama administration has said it could foresee an end to regular U.S. and NATO combat operations by the second half of next year.
Figures on government spending and debt – Figures on government spending and debt (last six digits are eliminated). The government’s fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
Total public debt subject to limit Jan. 30 15,313,699
Statutory debt limit 16,394,000
Total public debt outstanding Jan. 30 15,356,140
Operating balance Jan. 30 158,596
Interest fiscal year 2012 through December 62,662
Interest same period 2011 56,780
Deficit fiscal year 2012 through December 321,735
Deficit same period 2011 368,960
Receipts fiscal year 2012 through December 555,437
Receipts same period 2011 531,797
Outlays fiscal year 2012 through December 877,173
Outlays same period 2011 900,757
Gold assets in January 11,041
The spokesman said the radiation levels were “barely measurable,” but the plant was shut down as a precaution.
“At no point were the public or our workers in any danger,” Southern California Edison spokesman Gil Alexander told ABC News.
Officials say the radiation leak likely occurred in the steam generator tubes of San Onofre’s reactor #3. The steam system, which is supposed to be shielded from exposure to radiation, was replaced in December 2010. Alexander said plant officials will be conducting an investigation into why the new steam tubes leaked.
Cities with highest and lowest unemployment rates – Nearly 90 percent of major U.S. cities had lower unemployment rates in December than the same month a year earlier, a reflection of stronger hiring nationwide.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates fell in 329 cities last year. They rose in 37 cities and were unchanged in seven.
The national unemployment rate fell in December to 8.5 percent – the lowest level in nearly three years. Employers added 200,000 net jobs, the sixth straight month of solid hiring.
Unemployment rates rose from November to December in a majority of U.S. cities. However monthly metro area unemployment data can be volatile because they aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, such as holiday hiring.
The government will report Friday on U.S. hiring and unemployment in January.
Below are the cities with the highest and lowest rates:
Best and Worst Metro areas
Figures are in percentages
Highest unemployment rates December 2011
El Centro, Calif. 26.8
Yuma, Ariz. 23.1
Merced, Calif. 18.7
Yuba City, Calif. 18.1
Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 16.2
Fresno, Calif. 16.2
Modesto, Calif. 16.1
Stockton, Calif. 15.9
Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 15.3
Ocean City, N.J. 15.1
Lowest unemployment rates December 2011
Bismarck, N.D. 3.2
Lincoln, Neb. 3.6
Fargo, N.D. 3.7
Burlington, Vt. 3.8
Logan, Utah 3.9
Midland, Texas 3.9
Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, La. 4.3
Sioux Falls, S.D. 4.3
Ames, Iowa 4.3
Iowa City, Iowa 4.3
Romney supports automatic hikes in minimum wage – epublican presidential contender Mitt Romney renewed his support Wednesday for automatic increases in the federal minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, a position sharply at odds with traditional GOP business allies, conservatives and the party’s senior lawmakers.
“I haven’t changed my thoughts on that,” the former Massachusetts governor told reporters aboard his chartered campaign plane, referring to a stand he has held for a decade.
He did not say if he would ask Congress to approve the change if he wins the White House this fall.
Congress first enacted federal minimum wage legislation in 1938 and has raised it sporadically in the years since. The last increase, approved in 2007, took effect in three installments and reached $7.25 an hour for covered workers effective July 24, 2009.
It has never been allowed to rise automatically, as Romney envisions.
As the housing market enters its fourth year of high foreclosures and sluggish sales, the president said his proposal — targeted at the middle class — would help homeowners save about $3,000 a year, without “red tape” or a “runaround” from banks.
Theodore Olson: Obama’s Enemies List – How would you feel if aides to the president of the United States singled you out by name for attack, and if you were featured prominently in the president’s re-election campaign as an enemy of the people?
What would you do if the White House engaged in derogatory speculative innuendo about the integrity of your tax returns? Suppose also that the president’s surrogates and allies in the media regularly attacked you, sullied your reputation and questioned your integrity. On top of all of that, what if a leading member of the president’s party in Congress demanded your appearance before a congressional committee this week so that you could be interrogated about the Keystone XL oil pipeline project in which you have repeatedly—and accurately—stated that you have no involvement?
Consider that all this is happening because you have been selected as an attractive political punching bag by the president’s re-election team. This is precisely what has happened to Charles and David Koch, even though they are private citizens, and neither is a candidate for the president’s or anyone else’s office.
Gingrich 2012? Going, Going, Gone – Last week, New York magazine’s John Heilemann pointed out a deep truth about Newt Gingrich’s peculiar presidential campaign: The very media elite that Gingrich delights in hammering has actually been in his corner all along. The press likes a horse race; the press likes outsize personalities; the press favors an underdog; and the press even takes a strange sort of delight in being ruthlessly attacked.
Of course most political reporters don’t want Gingrich in the White House. But they’ve had every incentive to keep him in the headlines and overrate his odds of defeating Mitt Romney for the nomination.
Tuesday night’s Floridian drubbing won’t change those incentives, so we can expect a last burst of media chatter about how Gingrich could still recover, ride a wilderness campaign to a Super Tuesday comeback and fight Romney tooth and nail all the way to the convention. But chatter is all it will be. For Gingrich and his media enablers alike, the dream died in Florida – and here are four reasons why.
If Gingrich can’t compete in Florida, he can’t compete nationally.