These are my links for December 22nd through December 27th:
- Why States May Want to Fall off the ‘Cliff’ – Falling off the “fiscal cliff” is a bad thing, right? Not necessarily for some state governments that could begin collecting more in estate taxes on wealth left to heirs if the United States goes over the “cliff,” allowing sharp tax increases and federal spending cuts to take effect in January.In an example of federal and state tax law interaction that gets little notice on Capitol Hill, 30 states next year could collect $3 billion more in estate taxes if Congress and President Barack Obama do not act soon, estimated the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.
The reason? The federal estate tax would return with a vengeance and so would a federal credit system that shares a portion of it with the 30 states. They had been getting their cut of this tax revenue stream until the early 2000s. That was when the credit system for payment of state estate tax went away due to tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush.
- The Year the Dreams Died – 2012 – Barack Obama in 2008 won an election on an upbeat message of change amid hopes that the first black president would mark a redemptive moment in American history. Four years later, the fantasies are gone. In continuing dismal economic times, Obama ran for reelection neither on his first-term achievements — Obamacare, bailouts, financial stimuli, and Keynesian mega-deficits — nor on more utopian promises.Instead, Obama’s campaign systematically reduced his rival, Wall Street financier Mitt Romney, to a conniving, felonious financial pirate who did dastardly things, from letting the uninsured die to putting his pet dog Seamus in a cage on top of the family car.
Obama once had mused that he wished to be the mirror image of Ronald Reagan — successfully coaxing America to the left as the folksy Reagan had to the right. Instead, 2012 taught us that a calculating Obama is more a canny Richard Nixon, who likewise used any means necessary to be reelected on the premise that his rival would be even worse. But we know what eventually happened to the triumphant, pre-Watergate Nixon after November 1972; what will be the second-term wages of Obama’s winning ugly?
- Obama’s Numbers Went Down, but Romney Never Inspired Voters to Vote | RealClearPolitics – The 2012 election was different. Barack Obama got 6 percent fewer popular votes than he had gotten in 2008. And Mitt Romney got only 1 percent more popular votes than John McCain had four years before.In retrospect, it looks like both campaigns fell short of their turnout goals. Yes, examination of election returns and exit polls indicates that the Obama campaign turned out voters where it really needed them.
That enabled him to carry Florida by 1 percent, Ohio by 3 percent, Virginia by 4 percent, and Colorado and Pennsylvania by 5 percent. Without those states, he would have gotten only 243 electoral votes and would now be planning his presidential library.
But the conservative bloggers who argued that the Obama campaign’s early voting numbers were below target may have been right. If Mitt Romney had gotten 16 percent more popular votes than his predecessor, as John Kerry did, he would have led Obama by 4 million votes and won the popular vote 51 to 48 percent.
Romney, like Kerry, depended on voters’ distaste for the incumbent; he could not hope to inspire the devotion Bush enjoyed in 2004 and that Obama had from a diminished number in 2008.
But to continue this counterfactual scenario, if Obama had won 23 percent more popular votes this year than in 2008, he would have beaten Romney by 85 million to 69 million votes and by 54 to 44 percent.
In reality, Obama’s vote and percentage went down. Considering what happened in Bush’s second term, that suggests a course of caution and wariness for the re-elected president and his party.
- Piers Morgan: Bible And Constitution ‘Inherently Flawed,’ ‘Time For An Amendment To Bible’ – On Monday, CNN host Piers Morgan invited Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren on his program to discuss gay marriage and the bible. Fresh off his feud with Second Amendment rights activists following his full-throated defense of stricter gun control laws in the wake of the Newtown massacre, Morgan inspired further outrage among the religious when he told the pastor he thought it was time for an “amendment to the bible.” In Morgan’s opinion, the bible, like the American Constitution, is “inherently flawed.”
- Supreme Court won’t block Obama health law’s contraception mandate – he Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block the Obama administration’s contraception mandate from taking effect.Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected a request for an emergency injunction that would have shielded employers from the mandate.
by Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain. The company’s Catholic owners say the contraception mandate violates their religious freedom.
Hobby Lobby might eventually win on that point, Sotomayor said, but the company didn’t meet the standard for an injunction blocking the mandate from taking effect.
The administration’s policy requires most employers to include contraception in their employees’ healthcare policies, without charging a co-pay or deductible. Churches and houses of worship are exempt, and religious affiliated institutions such as Catholic hospitals don’t have to cover contraception directly. (Their insurance companies cover the cost of making it available at no cost to the employee.)
But some Catholic employers say they should be able to opt out of the mandate simply because it violates their personal faith, no matter what type of business they run.
- Poll: 46% say Obama’s second term will be better – President Barack Obama looks primed to do a “better job” in his second term than he did in his first term, a plurality of Americans say.According to a CNN/ORC poll out Thursday, 46 percent of Americans think the president’s job performance will improve this time around, while 22 percent say Obama will do a worse job. Another three in 10 see Obama offering “about the same” performance as he did during his first administration.
- When will the right start hating Hillary Clinton again? – Her poll numbers are staggering. Fellow Democrats fear her. So do some Republicans. The main question now is, when will the right start hating Hillary Clinton again and kick a “Stop HRC” movement into high gear?You could hear the sounds of the ignition being turned during the past 10 days as an illness that led to a concussion (under circumstances that the public still knows little about) forced Clinton to cancel Senate testimony about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. That led to charges of a cover-up from some dependably anti-Clinton quarters, such as the New York Post and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
- Obama looks to retain upper hand as ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations resume – President Obama will strive to retain the political upper hand in negotiations over deficit reduction when he returns to Washington Thursday morning.Obama had been in Hawaii with his family since Saturday but is scheduled to arrive back at the White House just before noon as the nation approaches the year-end fiscal cliff.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-26 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-26 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26
- Ed Driscoll » The Howard Kurtz Recursion – RT @rsmccain: Wow, @EdDriscoll is all over David Gregory like a cheap suit
- U.S. to Hit Debt Limit Monday | Fox Business – LOL Obama, you really put it to the House GOP, now didn’t you? #tcot
- Where’s Hillary? | The Weekly Standard – I she isn’t in a hospital having surgery then is she in the Middle East?
- Day By Day December 26, 3012 – The Princess American – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 26, 3012 – The Princess American #tcot
- Jerry Brown pushes new funding system for California schools – After California schools eliminated art programs and increased class sizes to survive budget cuts, they are finally on the verge of getting more money thanks to voter-approved taxes and economic recovery.But K-12 districts may not share equally in the expanding budget pie.
Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing hard to overhaul California’s convoluted school funding system. His plan has two major objectives: Give K-12 districts greater control over how they spend money, and send more dollars to impoverished students and English learners.
- Labor beat Prop. 32 via social media – Leaders of the California unions that spent $75 million to defeat Proposition 32’s union-busting campaign in November discovered something during the bruising battle: 40 percent of likely voters were not watching any Prop. 32-related TV commercials, even though the spots droned on nonstop throughout the fall.So the forces opposed to the measure, which would have banned the use of union payroll deductions for political contributions, changed tactics.
Fusing a sophisticated data-mining operation with messages sent through social media platforms such as Facebook, the unions changed how they were singling out voters younger than 40 who don’t watch TV. Within weeks, they saw support for their position among younger voters climb from 40 percent to 60 percent.
- In 2013, Millions Of Americans Face Obamacare Tax Hikes – As part of the negotiations over the fiscal cliff, Congress and President Obama are battling over whether to raise marginal tax rates at the very top of the income ladder.Regardless of how these talks turn out, millions of Americans are already facing tax hikes thanks to Obamacare.
Obamacare’s authors chose to offset about half of the trillion-dollar cost of the law through higher taxes. Since the Supreme Court upheld the law’s individual mandate and allowed states to opt out of its Medicaid expansion, though, the cost estimate has swelled to $1.76 trillion between 2012 and 2021.
In 2013, a number of Obamacare’s taxes will go into effect. Each will increase the cost of health care, yield job losses, and deprive our struggling economy of investment. These are the true costs of Obamacare.
- FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard – The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.
The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.
Stephenson, the founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a director on the FreedomWorks board, agreed to commit $400,000 per year over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s agreement to leave the group.
- Gallup poll: Public’s fear of falling over ‘fiscal cliff’ grows – A new poll finds the public’s fears over the looming “fiscal cliff” growing, as the year-end deadline for a deficit deal nears.Fifty percent of those surveyed in a new Gallup poll released Wednesday believe President Obama and lawmakers will reach an agreement to avoid January’s set of tax increases and automatic spending cuts. Forty-eight percent are doubtful a deal will be reached in time.
- Starbucks makes political push on fiscal cliff – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs – RT @PoliticalTicker Starbucks makes political push on fiscal cliff –
- Fiscal Cliff: Fears mount over dive, poll says – POLITICO.com – RT @politico Poll: Americans are rapidly becoming more pessimistic about averting the fiscal cliff
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-25 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-25 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25
- Affordable Care Act presents many unknowns for California officials – As California positions itself at the vanguard of the national healthcare overhaul, state officials are unable to say for sure how much their implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act will cost taxpayers.The program, intended to insure millions of Americans who are now without health coverage, takes states into uncharted territory. California, which plans to expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of people when the law takes effect in 2014, faces myriad unknowns. The Brown administration will try to estimate the cost of vastly more health coverage in the budget plan it unveils next month, but experts warn that its numbers could be way off.
The costs will be astronomical and the POLS will be scrambling to pay for it all.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-24 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-24 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24
- Merry Christmas 2012 – Flap’s Blog – Merry Christmas 2012 #tcot
- Realignment’s unintended consequence: No supervision, rehabilitation for criminals – The first wave of felons sent to county jails instead of state prisons under Gov. Jerry Brown’s public safety realignment plan are back on the streets after serving their sentences, and local law enforcement officials are worried they will trigger a spike in crime.Almost all of the felons are under no obligation to report to a parole agent or probation officer, and many did not get job training and other rehabilitation services while behind bars.
“Of those 9,000 who have been sentenced to jail in lieu of prison, about 90 percent of them are going to come out without supervision by a probation officer or a parole agent,” county Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers said during a recent meeting of the Southern California Association of Governments.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-23 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-23 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-22 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-22 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22
- Gregory Flap @ Ronnie’s Diner – The pre- Christmas 10 miles is finished. Now, the protein plate at Ronnie’s! (@ Ronnie’s Diner) [pic]:
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-21 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-21
- President Obama’s dilemma – Carrie Budoff Brown – POLITICO.com – President Obama’s dilemma – Carrie Budoff Brown – #tcot