These are my links for November 16th through November 19th:
OBAMA ORGANIZATION TO REMAIN ACTIVE NATIONWIDE – DEMS GETTING DATA JUMP ON 2016– The Obama campaign continues to refine, update and expand its vast database, working the muscle to increase its value for 2014 and 2016. The organization wants to avoid a post-2008 lull, when Obama’s high command was so focused on building a government and staving off a depression that some in the grassroots network felt neglected. This time, supporters are already being asked if they are interested in running for office, and “how many hours per week” they would be willing “to volunteer in your community as part of an Obama organization.”Campaign manager Jim Messina blasted a 24-question email to the campaign’s tens of millions of supporters and eavesdroppers last evening, with the subject line, “Your feedback needed: Take this quick survey.” Participants must enter email address, first and last name, ZIP code, birthdate and gender. This question makes it clear that Obama’s brain trust will keep the machine oiled and cranking: “What would you choose as the top priority for this organizations [sic] in the weeks and years to come?” Choices are: 1) “Passing the President’s legislative agenda”… 2) “Supporting candidates in upcoming elections” … 3) “Training a new generation of leaders and organizers” … 4) “Working on local issues that affect our communities.”
Requiem for the Twinkie? – Hostess Brands goes Ding Dong dead, leaps into the Dumpster– Friday’s news that the company making Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread is preparing to liquidate touched off a blame game among Americans shocked that these iconic products are in danger of going away forever.The move follows a strike that began Nov. 9 by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. It refused to swallow additional wage and benefit concessions to keep the bankrupt Hostess Brands afloat. Its 5,000 members were nearly unanimous in rejecting the company’s final contract offer.As a result, the company said, most of the 18,500 Hostess employees will lose their jobs. That includes members of the largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which did agree to the company’s concession demands.The bakery union’s self-defeating refusal to accept financial reality is only part of the story however. For Hostess, the strike was the final blow of many. High commodity costs hurt the company. Not only did it pay a fortune for food ingredients, but also for the energy to run its facilities and fuel its delivery trucks.
The recession hurt too. Hostess was unprepared to meet difficult business conditions that prevailed in 2009, when it emerged from a previous bankruptcy reorganization in which it obtained big concessions from its workforce. It had been, in fact, a poorly managed company for a long time. A string of short-sighted executives were quick to take money out of the business and slow to make the capital investments it needed to stay competitive.
Perhaps most damaging, the company failed to innovate in response to changing consumer tastes. Hostess didn’t have to make Ho Ho’s out of tofu to stay relevant. Food companies such as Kraft, Sara Lee and Nabisco have long understood their success depends on sophisticated market research, product development and creative marketing. It doesn’t come cheap.
The GOP’s Latino Opportunity– In winning re-election, President Obama carried nearly all the same demographic groups as in 2008, but by smaller margins. The major exception: Hispanics, America’s fastest-growing bloc. Having given Mr. Obama 67% of their votes in 2008, they gave him 71% this time.This has alarmed Republicans. Mr. Obama had offered Hispanics little more than a broken promise to reform immigration in his first term, yet he scored the largest victory among them since Gerald Ford visited Texas in 1976 and tried to eat a tamale without removing its husk.Mitt Romney’s margin of defeat among Hispanics in Nevada (47 points) and Colorado (52 points) made those states unwinnable. In Florida, where Republican winners routinely carry the Hispanic vote, he lost it by 21 points. Mr. Romney carried Arizona but lost Hispanic voters there by an astonishing 55 points. In 2004, George W. Bush lost Arizona Hispanics by only 13 points.Republicans—even outspoken ones like talk-radio and Fox News host Sean Hannity—are now claiming to have changed their views on immigration. Columnist Charles Krauthammer was frank with his prescription: “Yes, amnesty. Use the word. . . . The other party thinks it owns the demographic future—counter that in one stroke by fixing the Latino problem.”
Such open-mindedness is laudable and probably necessary, but the immigration issue is no silver bullet. And Mr. Krauthammer’s phrase—”the Latino problem”—helps illustrate the real problem. For too long, Republicans have been content to cram Hispanics into gerrymandered Democratic districts and forget about them. Some GOP candidates consciously avoid targeting Hispanics too aggressively, lest they actually turn out to vote.
In 1983, Republican pollster Lance Tarrance wrote a private memo urging the Republican National Committee to “redouble our efforts to attract the Mexican-American populations. We need to ‘double our budget’ in this area if we stand any chance for the future.” This warning went unheeded.
In 1999, when I worked in the RNC press shop, Chairman Jim Nicholson told me the GOP deserved an “F” for its outreach efforts to date. Republican presidential contender Bob Dole had won just 21% of Hispanics in 1996. A Univision survey from 1998 had shown that Hispanics overwhelmingly believed the Republican Party either “ignores me” (41%) or “takes me for granted” (22%). This left plenty of low-hanging fruit.
Why ObamaCare Is Still No Sure Thing– Champions of ObamaCare want Americans to believe that the president’s re-election ended the battle over the law. It did no such thing. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act won’t be fully repealed while Barack Obama is in office, but the administration is heavily dependent on the states for its implementation.Republicans will hold 30 governorships starting in January, and at last week’s meeting of the Republican Governors Association they made it clear that they remain highly critical of the health law. Some Republican governors—including incoming RGA Chairman Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Ohio’s John Kasich, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Maine’s Paul LePage—have already said they won’t do the federal government’s bidding. Several Democratic governors, including Missouri’s Jay Nixon and West Virginia’s Earl Ray Tomblin, have also expressed serious concerns.Talk of the law’s inevitability is intended to pressure these governors into implementing it on the administration’s behalf. But states still have two key choices to make that together will put them in the driver’s seat: whether to create state health-insurance exchanges, and whether to expand Medicaid. They should say “no” to both.
Can conservatives prevent the U.S. from becoming California?– As bad as last Tuesday night was for the national Republican Party, it was far, far worse for the California Republican Party. Not only did Golden State Democrats maintain control of every statewide elected office; not only did Gov. Jerry Brown’s $6 billion Proposition 30 tax hike pass by solid margins; but Democrats also secured supermajorities in both state legislative chambers. Now, Brown and the Democrats can raise taxes by as much as they want.The California Republican Party is functionally dead. And how is California doing, now that liberals have successfully terminated the state’s remaining conservatives?For starters, it’s still in debt. Despite Brown’s historic tax hike, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office announced this week that the state still faces a $2 billion budget deficit just for the next fiscal year. California’s liberal electorate has already racked up an additional $370 billion in state and local debt over that last decade. That is more than 20 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.According to the California State Budget Crisis Task Force, that comes to more than $10,000 in debt for every Californian. And because the state’s credit rating is so low, California taxpayers must fork over about $2 for every new dollar borrowed. In 2012 alone, the state budget included more than $7.5 billion in debt service — more than most states’ budgets.
Don’t think for a second that California’s chronic deficits are caused by low taxes. Even before last Tuesday’s tax hikes, California had the most progressive income tax system in the nation, with seven brackets, and the second-highest top marginal rate. Now it has the nation’s highest top marginal rate and the nation’s highest sales tax. And the budget still isn’t balanced.
The real cause for California’s fiscal crisis is simple: They spend too much money. Between 1996 and 2012, the state’s population grew by just 15 percent, but spending more than doubled, from $45.4 billion to $92.5 billion (in 2005 constant dollars).
Gallup Blew Its Presidential Polls, but Why?– Last week’s presidential election has widely been seen as a victory for pollsters who, on balance, saw President Obama as the favorite before Election Day. But that wasn’t the case for the esteemed Gallup Organization. Its polling showed Republican Mitt Romney with a significant lead among likely voters 10 days before Nov. 6 and marginally ahead of Obama on the eve of an election that Obama won by about 3 percentage points.At an event on Thursday at Gallup’s downtown Washington offices, Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport told a gathering of fellow pollsters that the organization was reviewing its methodology in light of these inaccuracies. But its fairly consistent Republican bias in 2012 and its overestimation of the white portion of the electorate raise important questions about sampling and the way Gallup determines which respondents are registered and likely to vote.”We don’t have a definitive answer,” Newport said.The day before Election Day, Gallup released data culled from the four previous days, showing Romney with a 1-point lead among likely voters, 49 percent to 48 percent. Before that final survey, Gallup had suspended polling for three days in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when nearly 10 million Americans were without electricity.
Immediately before the storm hit, Gallup showed Romney ahead by 5 points, 51 percent to 46 percent, and Romney led by as many as 7 points in mid-October. All the while, most other national polls showed a neck-and-neck race.
Are the DREAMers a Special Case? – DREAMERS vs. COMPREHENSIVISTS– Now that the GOP leadership has signaled its eagerness to again support the Democrat drive for amnesty and open borders, a fight has broken out on the other side. This is a revival of the public spitting match between the “comprehensive” amnesty crowd in D.C., who want amnesty for all illegal aliens or nothing, and the DREAMers, illegal aliens who came here as children, who are willing to cut a separate deal for themselves.The fight has resurfaced on NBC Latino’s website (why is there such a thing?), where a professor Stephen Nuno has written that “Immigration reform should not focus on Dreamers” because “I think Dreamers can be detrimental to the goal of immigration reform.”
Republicans at a crossroads – Stay the Course?– Republican governors are torn between essentially staying the course in the wake of Mitt Romney’s loss and a more proactive strategy aimed at radically shaking up their party in an effort to reach out to young and minority voters.Some governors believe that Romney’s loss two weeks ago to President Barack Obama was just that — a loss by a single candidate who ran a defensive campaign pummeled by negative ads and lacking in vision. They advocate sticking to a tried-and-true formula of running their own races and hewing to local instead of national dynamics.
Tribal America – Mark Steyn on our suddenly race-obsessed politics– To an immigrant such as myself (not the undocumented kind, but documented up to the hilt, alas), one of the most striking features of election-night analysis was the lightly worn racial obsession. On Fox News, Democrat Kirsten Powers argued that Republicans needed to deal with the reality that America is becoming what she called a “brown country.” Her fellow Democrat Bob Beckel observed on several occasions that if the share of the “white vote” was held down below 73 percent Romney would lose. In the end, it was 72 percent and he did. Beckel’s assertion — that if you knew the ethnic composition of the electorate you also knew the result — turned out to be correct.This is what less enlightened societies call tribalism: For example, in the 1980 election leading to Zimbabwe’s independence, Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU-PF got the votes of the Ndebele people while Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF secured those of the Shona — and, as there were more Shona than Ndebele, Mugabe won. That same year America held an election, and Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory. Nobody talked about tribal-vote shares back then, but had the percentage of what Beckel calls the “white vote” been the same in 2012 as it was in 1980 (88 percent), Mitt Romney would have won in an even bigger landslide than Reagan. The “white vote” will be even lower in 2016, and so, on the Beckel model, Republicans are set to lose all over again.
White House denies editing talking points on Benghazi attack, contradicting Petraeus– The White House yesterday denied it edited talking points about the terrorist attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya — contradicting remarks made a day earlier by disgraced ex-CIA chief David Petraeus.“The only edit that was made by the White House and also by the State Department was to change the word ‘consulate’ to the word ‘diplomatic facility,’ since the facility in Benghazi was not formally a consulate,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters aboard Air Force One.“Other than that, we were guided by the points that were provided by the intelligence community. So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made.”
Newt Gingrich on Romney’s “Gifts”– The former Speaker in colloquy with the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith:EVAN SMITH: So Governor Romney said yesterday now somewhat famously, that “the reason that the president won is because he gave gifts to minorities in the form of healthcare or to young people in the form of preferable college loan…”NEWT GINGRICH: I am very disappointed…EVAN SMITH: With Governor Romney saying that?
NEWT GINGRICH: With Governor Romney’s analysis, which I believe is insulting and profoundly wrong.
EVAN SMITH: Can you talk about that? Why is that?
NEWT GINGRICH: Well first of all, we didn’t lose Asian-Americans, because they got any gifts. He did worse with Asian-Americans than he did with Latinos.
EVAN SMITH: Right, seventy-three percent of Asian-Americans, seventy-one percent of Latinos.
NEWT GINGRICH: This is the hardest working and most successful ethnic group in America, okay. They ain’t into gifts. Second, it’s an insult to all Americans. It reduces us to economic entities who have no passion, no idealism, no dreams, no philosophy, and if it had been that simple, my question would have been “Why didn’t you out bid him?”
An Awakened Giant: The Hispanic Electorate is Likely to Double by 2030– The record number1 of Latinos who cast ballots for president this year are the leading edge of an ascendant ethnic voting bloc that is likely to double in size within a generation, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis based on U.S. Census Bureau data, Election Day exit polls and a new nationwide survey of Hispanic immigrants.The nation’s 53 million Hispanics comprise 17% of the total U.S. population but just 10% of all voters this year, according to the national exit poll. To borrow a boxing metaphor, they still “punch below their weight.”
These are my links for August 12th through August 14th:
Newt Gingrich Tells Piers Morgan ‘You Guys Almost Sound Like You’re An Extension of the Obama Campaign’– Piers Morgan on Monday picked the wrong guy to toss Democrat talking points at.After the CNN anchor spoke the typical liberal nonsense about Paul Ryan’s budget only benefiting rich people, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scolded, “I do wonder sometimes if you guys all get off in a little club and learn a brand new mantra and then all repeat it mindlessly…You guys almost sound like you’re an extension of the Obama campaign”
BUSTED: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Caught Using Liberal Blog To Attack Ryan Plan– In yet another classic display of the liberal media, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien has been caught red-handed using left-wing blog Talking Points Memo to counter Virginia House of Delegates member Barbara Comstock on the House GOP budget.As Ali A. Ackbar of Viral Read discovered:Tonight, she was the substitute host for Anderson Cooper, a program that boasts of its reputation for “keeping [politicians] honest.” During her interview with Virginia House of Delegates Republican member Barbara Comstock, O’Brien became visibly flustered and was actually caught doing finger stress exercises as she attempt to insert editorial commentary while her guest, a former skilled Republican operative, defended the House GOP budget, designed by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.Accidentally, a cameraman captured O’Brien furiously flipping through notes, only to cut out seconds later. What was she viewing?
Footage proves it was a printed email, talking points and opposition research.
The Forgotten History of Ryan’s Medicare Reform– There was a small but instructive moment in 2010, the summer after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, that shows why Paul Ryan is so unusual for Washington.A panel at the American Enterprise Institute featured Richard Foster, the Medicare actuary who estimates that ObamaCare’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts will cause one of six hospitals to become unprofitable. In the audience was Chip Kahn, the president of a for-profit hospital trade group that lobbied for ObamaCare, who stood up to defend the bargain his industry cut in return for 30 million new subsidized customers.Mr. Foster noted that the cuts, which come via a technical change to Medicare payment rates, apply in perpetuity. But the hospitals only get the extra patients once, so the wedge between costs and benefits for hospitals widens over time.”Well,” Mr. Kahn replied, “you can say, ‘Did you make a bad deal?’ Fortunately I don’t think I’ll probably be working after 2020.” When Mr. Foster pressed him, he joked again, “I’m glad my contract only goes another six years.”
This kind of short-range thinking—and intellectual exhaustion—dominates both parties and their many clients in Washington, in health care especially.Mr. Ryan’s political character has always been different. He saw before anyone else that one era of government was inexorably ending, and that if we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.
McCain Says Reid’s Claim on Romney’s taxes is Wrong– Sen. John McCain told Jon Ralston that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is wrong about his assertion that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years, saying his team that vetted the presumptive GOP nominee in 2008 found no such thing.Said McCain: “Nothing in his tax returns showed that he did not pay taxes.”
Paul Ryan veep selection draws Romney closer to House GOP– Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate draws his presidential campaign closer to Congress and the House Republican leadership, an association that could carry more risk than reward in the short term.As a former executive and governor who had never served in Washington, Romney had run an outsider campaign and kept a healthy distance from a historically unpopular Congress. The presumptive GOP nominee did not support the 2011 debt ceiling deal negotiated by his party’s congressional leadership (and which Ryan backed), and he did not immediately endorse the Ryan-authored budget plan that the House has passed two years in a row.
Marco Rubio, Chris Christie get key speaking roles at RNC– In a showcase role on his party’s biggest stage, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney for his speech to accept the nomination for president on the last night of the Republican National Convention.It is an introduction aimed at giving Romney a boost from a rising star in a must-win state, but it will almost certainly further enhance Rubio’s standing, too.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a favorite among fiscal conservatives in the party, will give the keynote address, the convention announced early Tuesday.”We have an opportunity in Tampa to make clear that if we tell each other the hard truths, tackle the big problems, and make bold choices, we will see America’s comeback,” Christie, a former federal prosecutor known for his take-no-prisoners speaking
Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin raise questions by moving into expensive $3.3 million Manhattan apartment– Anthony Weiner’s wife not only took him back, she took him back in style — moving with the shamed pol into a luxurious, $3.3 million Manhattan pad owned by a deep-pocketed Democratic donor, The Post has learned.After quitting his Queens House seat amid a notorious sexting scandal, Weiner and beautiful, brainy spouse Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, landed in the sprawling, 12th-floor Park Avenue trophy residence owned by Rosen Partners LLC, which is headed by close Clinton pal Jack Rosen, records show.Rosen — who oversees the American Jewish Congress — is an influential international political force. He’s been a guest at the White House, flies the Clintons in his private plane, and has poured money into both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s election campaigns over the years, according to campaign-finance records.
Treasury: U.S. to lose $25 billion on auto bailout– The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.In a monthly report sent to Congress on Friday, the Obama administration boosted its forecast of expected losses by more than $3.3 billion to almost $25.1 billion, up from $21.7 billion in the last quarterly update.The report may still underestimate the losses. The report covers predicted losses through May 31, when GM’s stock price was $22.20 a share.On Monday, GM stock fell $0.07, or 0.3 percent, to $20.47. At that price, the government would lose another $850 million on its GM bailout.
The government still holds 500 million shares of GM stock and needs to sell them for about $53 each to recover its entire $49.5 billion bailout. At the current price, the Treasury would lose more than $16 billion on its GM bailout.
The steep decline in GM’s stock price has indefinitely delayed the Treasury’s sale of its remaining 26 percent stake in GM. No sale will take place before the November election.
Hey Paul Ryan haters, your congressional insider trader suspect actually is Sheldon Whitehouse– Paul Ryan falsely was accused today by left-wing bloggers, most notably Matthew Yglesias (formerly of Think Progress now of Slate), of insider trading based on confidential information provided by the Treasury Secretary to Congress on September 18, 2008.That day, Ryan traded Citigroup stock.The accusation fell apart when someone noticed that the congressional meeting was in the evening of September 18, after the markets closed and Ryan already had completed his trades. Yglesias issued a retraction, and even New York Magazine defended Ryan on the charge of insider trading (which at the time would have been legal for members of Congress).If Yglesias and the rest of the left-blogosphere want to chase someone for insider trading based solely on the timing of trades around the September 18 congressional briefing, then they need look no further than their hero Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), as I detailed on November 19, 2011, Sheldon Whitehouse, luckiest investor in America?
Poll Watch: Positive views of Ryan jump higher after pick– Little known nationally before Saturday’s announcement, favorable impressions of Ryan jumped 15 percentage points among the overall electorate with positive views soaring from 49 to 70 percent among conservative Republicans.In Wednesday through Friday interviews, fully 45 percent of Americans expressed no opinion of Ryan, dropping to 30 percent on Saturday and Sunday. The increasing familiarity all went to the positive side of the ledger, giving Ryan an initial advantage in the sprint to define his candidacy.Overall, in interviews after his selection, 38 percent of all Americans express favorable views of Ryan, 33 percent negative ones. (Before the the announcement, Ryan was somewhat underwater, scoring 23 percent favorable, 32 unfavorable.) The most recent national numbers on Vice President Joe Biden are from a July Pew Research Center poll showing a split decision, 40 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable.One of the largest movements on Ryan’s favorability numbers was the 21-point jump among conservative Republicans, but the initial movement was positive among independents as well, doubling from 19 to 39 percent.
Retirees Shower Paul Ryan With Contributions– Democrats say presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan is a senior citizen’s worst nightmare, but retirees seem to have no problem writing him checks.One of the most prolific fundraisers in Congress, Ryan has drawn nearly $400,000 from retirees this election cycle, dramatically outperforming most House lawmakers, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.The seven-term Wisconsin Congressman and House Budget chairman has come under fire for the controversial budget proposal he released last year that called for dramatically reshaping Medicare and repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law. The plan would transition Medicare into a voucher-like system by 2022 and strike the 2010 health care law – two ideas that Democrats say would be devastating for older Americans.Just about 13 percent of residents of Ryan’s district, which blends the wealthy Milwaukee suburbs with some of the state’s largest industrial areas, are 65 years or older, ranking 203rd out of the 437 districts, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, according to 2010 census data.
By comparison, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), who represents more people over age 65 than any another Member of Congress, according to 2010 census figures, has raised just $113,000 from retirees so far this cycle.
California Pension Reform: Legal pension hikes: air time, golden handshake– If the Legislature attempts pension reform this month, one of the targets may be “air time,” a decade-old policy that allows CalPERS and CalSTRS members to boost their pensions by buying up to five years of additional service credit.Another older but also colorfully named policy, the “golden handshake,” allows management to encourage early retirement by boosting pensions with two years of additional service credit.Some regard air time as an abuse, even though employees make a payment that is supposed to cover the cost. There is the question of fairness, a benefit not available to all citizens, and of taxpayer risk if long-term investment earnings are below the forecast.The golden handshake, with employers presumably paying the cost, has the same investment risk and often is offered only to higher-paid employees. The CalPERS version also gets competition from a private firm, Public Agency Retirement Services.
Air time and the golden handshake were linked in a bill veto message in 2003 by former Gov. Gray Davis, who signed a major state worker pension increase, SB 400 in 1999, criticized for triggering unsustainable pension increases throughout the state.
California moving forward on plan to upgrade schools, seek 2014 bond– State officials have set to work on an ambitious plan to upgrade California’s aging and outdated school facilities and, in doing so, lay the groundwork for a 2014 bond measure to help pay for it.The goal is to transform existing school structures into 21st Century learning environments – clean, safe and technologically-advanced with sustainable, cost-efficient energy systems – for the state’s six million students.The first step, officials said, is to create a comprehensive inventory on the status of the state’s classrooms to assess what actually needs to get done.“It’s vital that we have a plan,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said during a hearing on school facility needs last week. “I think it’s going to be a springboard for action in a way that the Legislature can move to a place in 2014 where we can go to the voters to say ‘let’s re-up; let’s invest again in a program that’s even more targeted toward the needs of our students.”
Irish Pull Teeth as Europe Crisis Means Dental Cutbacks– Pedro Ruiz of Madrid, a 29-year-old unemployed plumber, has been putting off dental surgery to fix his crooked teeth.“I don’t want to spend in one visit to a dentist what it takes me 10 days to earn,” said Ruiz.In the midst of Europe’s worst financial crisis in a generation, countless other patients are making similar decisions across the continent, doing without everything from checkups to tooth implants as unemployment has surged and governments have reined in health spending. Many are putting their health at risk.Though no hard Europe-wide data on dental spending exists, the cutbacks by governments and individuals mean oral cancers and other illnesses won’t be spotted earlier, when they’re more easily treatable, said Kamini Shah, honorary secretary at the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry.
“The mouth is a mirror to the rest of the body,” said Shah.
The effects of the financial crisis on dental care are also evident for companies that supply equipment. Shares of the world’s biggest makers of dental implants, Nobel Biocare Holding AG (NOBN) and Straumann Holding AG (STMN), have plunged 90 percent and 67 percent, respectively, from their peaks in 2007.
Declining sales in Europe is “the new normal,” said Ingeborg Oie, an analyst with Jefferies International Ltd.
“If Europe continues to plod along this trajectory then we’re not going to be out of this for a few years,” she said.
In Spain, which has the highest unemployment rate among countries using the euro at 24.8 percent, patients are choosing cheaper, removable dentures costing a few hundred euros instead of permanent implants that can cost thousands of euros, Manuel “Alfonso” Villa, president of the Spanish Dental Association said in a telephone interview from his clinic in Gijon, northern Spain.
“People are very scared about spending,” he said. “We’ve noticed a significant slowdown since 2009, but 2011 and this year have been disastrous.” Patients are delaying procedures “unless it hurts too much,” he said.
Ruiz, the Spanish plumber, earned 2,500 euros ($3,070) a month before losing his job in January. He just finished a temporary job that paid him 1,200 euros and decided to bank it rather than spend it on his teeth because “it’s not a life-or- death matter.”
10 reasons why Paul Ryan could help Mitt Romney become US President – Mail Online – Toby Harnden’s blog– Until a fortnight ago, it looked like Mitt Romney wanted to make the safest, least dramatic vice-presidential pick possible, a running mate who would be the unPalin – someone who would be a news story for the day but would not alter the shape of the campaign.Someone like Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman. Either this approach was a feint all along or something changed as the 2012 campaign descended into petty, slimy negativity and Romney began to slip slightly in the polls despite a terrible economy and unemployment rising to 8.3 percent.Choosing Ryan is a bold and surprising – though by no means as outlandish as Sarah Palin in 2008 – choice. Vice-presidential running mates seldom have a major impact on the outcome of a presidential election. But this time, Ryan might a difference – here are 10 reasons why:
Why Romney Chose Ryan – A Choice Between Stagnation and Renewal– Mitt Romney did much more this weekend than announce a running mate. He unveiled a significant change in strategy. The 2012 election is now a choice, not just a referendum.Conservatives have spent much of this summer reassuring themselves. They’ve pointed out the extraordinary sums President Obama has thrown at crippling Mr. Romney. They’ve noted how ugly and brutal those attacks have been. They’ve comforted themselves that, for all the smears, Mr. Romney is within a few points of the incumbent in national tracking polls.Yet the same can be said on the other side. The economy is teetering, the deficit exploding, the nation unhappy with his signature legislation. Daily, Mr. Romney beats the White House with these failures. But he has barely moved the polling dial.
VP candidate Ryan returns to Wisconsin to adoring crowd– Brushing aside tears and responding to raucous cheers, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan returned to Wisconsin on Sunday for an emotional homecoming in front of thousands of people on the grounds of the Waukesha County Expo Center. “It’s good to be home,” Ryan said in a speech that wove personal history and national aspiration.A day after he was named Mitt Romney’s running mate and vaulted on to the Republican Party’s biggest political stage, Ryan spoke of his family’s deep roots in Wisconsin and his ties to Janesville, where “we live on the block I grew up on.”
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.
Attorney Paul Clement (R) argues on behalf of respondents challenging the constitutionality of U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law, while standing before members of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, March 27, 2012
These are my links for March 27th through March 28th:
Argument recap: It is Kennedy’s call – If Justice Anthony M. Kennedy can locate a limiting principle in the federal government’s defense of the new individual health insurance mandate, or can think of one on his own, the mandate may well survive. If he does, he may take Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and a majority along with him. But if he does not, the mandate is gone. That is where Tuesday’s argument wound up — with Kennedy, after first displaying a very deep skepticism, leaving the impression that he might yet be the mandate’s savior.
If the vote had been taken after Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., stepped back from the lectern after the first 56 minutes, and the audience stood up for a mid-argument stretch, the chances were that the most significant feature of the Affordable Care Act would have perished in Kennedy’s concern that it just might alter the fundamental relationship between the American people and their government. But after two arguments by lawyers for the challengers — forceful and creative though they were — at least doubt had set in and expecting the demise of the mandate seemed decidedly premature.
The Second Day of the Supreme Court’s Hearing on the Health Care Law – After two days of oral arguments, it seems quite likely that the Supreme Court will rule on the ACA, and that the mandate may not survive. The court seems unlikely to dodge the issue by saying that the penalty for failure to carry insurance is a tax about which no one can sue until they have paid it, some time in 2015. And the line is rather clearly drawn between two major issues that will, I think, prove pivotal in how the justices rule on the mandate to carry insurance.
US Supreme Court shuts down live tweeting from healthcare proceedings – A mini-scandal erupted yesterday at the US Supreme Court when right-wing non-profit group the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) was found to be live-tweeting oral arguments on the constitutionality of the ‘Obamacare’ healthcare law. Electronic communication is strictly forbidden from inside the court, but Casey Mattox, a lawyer for ADF, was caught “defending religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage & the family” by way of the Defense Fund’s official Twitter account.
“I think that this will be the best thing that ever happen to the Democratic party because health care costs are gonna escalate unbelievably,” Carville told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer of a possible Supreme Court decision to strike down the law. “I honestly believe this, this is not spin.”
Senate candidates queasy on healthcare – Senate candidates on both sides of the aisle have avoided embracing their party’s signature healthcare reform policies, a sign that few want to campaign on such a controversial issue.
Many Democratic candidates have sought distance from President Obama’s healthcare overhaul and a number of Republicans have dodged taking a stance on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed Medicare reforms — even after Ryan and House GOP leaders tweaked those reforms to include bipartisan policies suggested by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
This comes as healthcare has re-emerged as a hot topic: Obama’s law just hit its two-year anniversary; the Supreme Court is holding hearings on whether it is constitutional; and Ryan introduced a revamped version of his budget from last year that House Republicans are likely to vote on later this week.
Relatively few use hospital ranking and doctor review sites. – Hospital and doctor review sites have not yet become health care decision-making tools for most consumers. One national survey found that only 6% of American adults are aware of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid’s Hospital Compare tool.6 Our current survey finds a similarly low usage of such sites among adult internet users, matching trends we first reported in 2009.7
16% of internet users have consulted online rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers.
15% of internet users have consulted online rankings or reviews of hospitals or other medical facilities.
4% of internet users have posted a review online of a doctor.
3% of internet users have posted a review online of a hospital.
These are my links for March 13th through March 14th:
Santorum wins Ala., Miss.; Romney takes Hawaii – A resurgent Rick Santorum swept primaries in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday night, upending the race for the Republican presidential nomination yet again and nudging Newt Gingrich toward the sidelines.
Mitt Romney finished third in both states, but he salvaged a win in the Hawaii caucuses and won the support of all nine delegates at GOP caucuses in American Samoa.
“We did it again,” Santorum told cheering supporters in Lafayette, La. He added, “Now is the time for conservatives to pull together” in an effort to defeat Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who still is the faraway leader in the delegate competition to pick an opponent to President Barack Obama in the fall.
“Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would make a powerful team against Barack Obama,” the adviser said on the condition that his name not be used. “They have the capability to deny Gov. Romney the nomination.”
The proposal comes after rumors of a Gingrich alliance with Texas Gov. Rick Perry surfaced earlier this week. It does not come off as a sign of confidence. Rather, it is an indication that the Gingrich campaign senses their candidate’s position in the race slipping after the former House speaker’s losses to Santorum in Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday night.
Losing, Newt sets new goal: Keep Mitt from 1,144 – With losses in Alabama and Mississippi, Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign has changed. In the past, the campaign was about winning, or trying to win, or at least claiming to be trying to win. Now, it’s about keeping Mitt Romney from winning.
Gingrich no longer says he can capture the 1,144 delegates required to wrap up the Republican nomination. Instead, he now speaks frankly about a new plan: Keep Romney from getting to 1,144 by the end of the GOP primary season in June, and then start what Gingrich calls a “conversation” about who should be the Republican nominee. That conversation, the plan goes, would lead to a brokered GOP convention at which Gingrich would emerge as the eventual nominee.
Favorite Son Santorum Thumps Romney – Quinnipiac – Pennsylvania Republicans are going for favorite son Rick Santorum big time, giving the former U.S. Senator a 36 – 22 percent lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Keystone State’s presidential primary, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has 12 percent, with 8 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
In a head-to-head matchup, Santorum tops Romney 52 – 32 percent among Republican voters, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.
If Santorum gets to November, he gets 44 percent of Pennsylvania voters, to 45 percent for President Barack Obama – too close to call. In other possible November matchups:
President Obama tops Romney 46 – 40 percent; Obama beats Gingrich 50 – 37 percent; The president leads Paul 45 – 40 percent.
Britannica usually prints a new set of the tomes every two years, but 2010’s 32-volume set will be its last. Instead, the company will focus solely on its digital encyclopedia and education tools.
The news is sure to sadden champions of the printed word, but Britannica president Jorge Cauz said the move is a natural part of his company’s evolution.
“Everyone will want to call this the end of an era, and I understand that,” Cauz says. “But there’s no sad moment for us. I think outsiders are more nostalgic about the books than I am.”
CBO boosts its Obamacare Medicaid cost estimate – I’ve already noted in a separate post that new Congressional Budget Office projections show President Obama’s health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over 10 years, rather than the $940 billion originally advertised. But there are lots of other moving parts in the CBO’s updated estimates that are worth deeper elaboration.
The big picture takeaway is that due mostly to weaker economic projections, the CBO now projects that more people will be obtaining insurance through Medicaid than it estimated a year ago at a greater cost to the government, but fewer people will be getting insurance through their employers or the health care law’s new subsidized insurance exchanges. Overall spending will be higher than estimated a year ago, but increased revenue from penalties and taxes will more than offset this. Also interesting: CBO now expects two million fewer people to be covered as a result of the health care law than previously projected.
LA Times Profiles Jon Fleischman’s Flash Report; Fleischman Admits to Being a Monkey – In our recent appearance on KOC together, I had to correct a Fleischman claim that TARP was a program begin by President Obama. Fleischman was also unaware that Americans pay a lower percentage of taxes today as a part of their incomes than they did during the 1950s (its a documented fact) and that the effectiev corporate tax rate is basically 12 percent, the lowest its been in 40 years. But as far as Jon’s concerned, keep taking a meat clever to taxes is the only way to go.
Oh way, and he compares himself to a woman and a monkey; from the story:
“I’m not only Jane Goodall, who’s looking at the monkeys, I actually am one of the monkeys,” Fleischman said in an interview at his Newport Beach office. “The monkeys will talk to another monkey before they will talk to a reporter.”
New report finds low college attendance by California Latinos – While California’s Latino population is growing, and is likely to become the state’s largest ethnic group within a few years, only a tiny percentage of Latinos are seeking and receiving college educations, according to a new data compilation by the Campaign for College Opportunity.
The Los Angeles-based organization says in a new report that while 57 percent of Latino students graduated from high school in 2009 – markedly lower graduation rates than those for white or Asian American students – just 16 percent graduated with the course requirements for the state’s four-year colleges, and just 8 percent enrolled in one of those colleges.
The bottom line, the organization says, is that just 7 percent of California’s Latinos 25 years or older have baccalaureate degrees, while 30 percent of all Californians have at least bachelor’s degrees.