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.
U.S. GSA Administration Regional Commissioner Jeffrey Neely
These are my links for April 13th through April 16th:
Photos Show Embattled GSA Official Enjoying Wine and Soak in Spa Tub at M Hotel During “Pre-Conference” Meeting – The government official on the frontlines of the scandal involving a wasteful government conference, U.S. General Services Administration regional commissioner Jeffrey Neely, will invoke his 5th amendment right against self-incrimination, his lawyer Preston Burton tells ABC News. He won’t comment on the $822,751 conference, many of the expenditures for which the GSA Inspector General called “excessive” and “wasteful.” He won’t comment on the bizarre awards ceremony, or the commemorative coins, the mind-reader/motivational speaker.
Mr. Neely bares a bit more in a photo collection on his wife’s Google+ page. There visitors can see photos of Neely staying in a luxurious suite at the M Resort Spa & Casino in November 2009, during one of the eight scouting and off-site pre-conference meetings to prepare for the October 2010 conference.
DNC Chief Called on to Release Tax Returns – Democratic National Committee chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been called on to release her personal income tax returns. The request was made by her congressional opponent, Republican Karen Harrington of Florida.
“This week millions of taxpaying Americans will fulfill their requirement of filing their tax returns by paying any and all taxes due to the federal government,” Harrington’s campaign writes. “Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been asking Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney to release his 2011 tax return even after Governor Romney released his 2010 tax return.”
“Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s request of Governor Romney to release his tax returns screams of hypocrisy, because to the best of our knowledge, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has never released a single tax return of her own. As a member of Congress, she is required to release a yearly ‘financial disclosure,’ this yearly disclosure is not a tax return.
“While asking for Governor Romney to release his past tax returns, and In keeping with the spirit of President Obama’s call for ‘full transparency,’ we ask Congressman Wasserman Schultz to release her own tax returns.”
There are no records of Wasserman Schultz having ever released her personal income tax returns, though, as the Harrington campaign states, members of Congress are required to disclose assets, holdings, and various other financial information.
Wisconisin Property Taxes Go Down for the First Time in 12 Years Statewide – Today Governor Walker announced that statewide property taxes for the typical homeowner have gone down for the first time in 12 years. The tax bill for the median value home is $39 per homeowner lower than originally estimated by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau when the 2011-2013 budget was passed.
“Our reforms have reversed a decade of property tax increases from previous administrations,” said Governor Walker. “For the first time in over ten years, the average property taxpayer will have more money in his or her pocket than the year before.”
Since 1998, property taxes paid by homeowners have risen 43 percent. This year property taxes paid by the typical homeowner went down .4 percent. Without the Governor’s reforms the average homeowner would have paid an additional $700 over the biennium.
Romney Specifies Deductions He’d Cut – Mitt Romney, speaking at a private fundraising event on Sunday, offered the first details of deductions he would eliminate or limit in order to offset the income tax cut he has proposed for all taxpayers.
Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, said he would eliminate or limit for high-earners the mortgage interest deduction for second homes, and likely would do the same for the state income tax deduction and state property tax deduction.
He also said he would look to the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for budget cuts.
Gingrich’s Billionaire Backer Turns Sights to House – Sheldon Adelson, a wealthy casino owner who has spent millions to boost the presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich, has donated $5 million with his wife to a super PAC for House Republican candidates, according to campaign filings released Sunday.
The Adelsons made their donations in February to the Congressional Leadership Fund, which was formed last year to be “focused solely and exclusively” on maintaining the GOP majority in the House.
The super PAC has the backing of the top GOP brass in the House. Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy were each among the 60 GOP lawmakers who attended the super PAC’s inaugural event last fall.
Martinez has worked 41 years as a community college educator, including the last five as president of Rio Hondo.
“It is now time for a new generation of leadership to take Rio Hondo College into the next 50 years, which will surely be as outstanding as the milestone year the college will be celebrating,” Martinez said. “I am truly proud of our collective accomplishments these past five years.”
Martinez said he is proud of the progress the college has made during his five years, including the near-completion of the $245 million facilities construction program, receipt of full accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and restoration of the Rio Hondo College Police Academy program.
However in the last year, he’s had issues with faculty members.
In December, he filed an internal grievance against three professors whom he said have been critical of him to the point of creating a work environment so hostile as to cause him to suffer a mild stroke.
Martinez experienced his stroke in February 2011 and was “out for a time,” college spokeswoman Susan Herney said in December.
His doctors cleared him to resume his regular schedule, she said.
For example, on April 2 ,I had a post on Big Government that highlighted how former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, used her Current TV show to lambaste Stand Your Ground laws, and to blame Republicans for the existence of such laws in the first place. However, as I showed, the dirty little secret is that Granholm signed Michigan’s Stand Your Ground bill into law in 2006.
Now it’s been discovered that an even more prominent Democrat, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, signed Arizona’s Stand Your Ground bill into law while governor of that state in 2006. And it’s important to note that Napolitano didn’t sign the bill half-halfheartedly, rather, she even countered anti-gunners’ opposition in the signing.
A bad back doomed any chance Perry stood to break through. It became an open secret that he was using painkillers in sufficient dosages to keep him standing through the two-hour debates. The manager of a rival campaign was at a urinal in an empty bathroom in Hanover, New Hampshire, before the Bloomberg News debate on October 11, when he heard someone come through the door loudly singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” Wondering who was making all the noise, the campaign manager turned his head and saw, to his surprise, the governor of Texas. Perry came down the row of about twenty urinals and stood companionably close by. Nonplussed, the campaign manager made a hasty exit; as the bathroom door closed, he could hear Perry still merrily singing away: “I-I-I’ve been working on the ra-a-i-i-l-road, all-l-l the live-long day . . .”
Asked about the episode, a top campaign official said, “He whistles. I wouldn’t read anything into it.”
Mitt Romney has lost the 2012 election, and he’s lost it because women are deserting the GOP over its opposition to ObamaCare’s contraceptive coverage mandate. That’s been the press drumbeat for the last few weeks. Now the argument appears to be backed up by a new USA Today/Gallup poll of swing-state voters. It shows Barack Obama out front for the first time since the poll started last November—largely because of the 2-1 advantage he enjoys over Mr. Romney among women under age 50.
Leave it to the liberal Salon website to sum up the conventional wisdom: “This is very likely a result of the prominence that contraception and women’s issues have assumed in the public debate since February, when Republicans revolted against the Obama administration’s efforts to make birth control a mandatory component of health insurance coverage.”
One problem with this explanation: The same USA Today poll reports that 63% of those surveyed say they don’t even know what Mitt Romney’s position on government and birth control is. For that matter, 46% say they don’t know President Obama’s position either
Mitt Romney image-makers split on strategy – Members of Mitt Romney’s inner circle acknowledge they still have yet to solve the key challenge they face in trying to help him win the presidency — finding a way to make an emotionally remote and fabulously wealthy candidate connect with average voters
California Relaunches High Speed Rail Plan – Supporters of California’s ambitious high-speed rail project began their hard sell with lawmakers and the public Monday after releasing an updated business plan that scales back the scope of the project and speeds up construction to save money, but still relies heavily on speculative funding sources that might never materialize.
In addition to money from voter-approved bonds and startup funds from the federal government, the plan hinges on receiving billions more from a skeptical Congress, fees from an untested cap-and-trade system that is at the heart of California’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and unnamed private investors to jump aboard and risk their own money once construction begins.
Obama Will Shred The Paul Ryan Budget In Today’s Big Speech – In an election-year pitch to middle-class voters, President Barack Obama is denouncing a House Republican budget plan as a “Trojan horse,” warning that it represents “an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country” that would hurt the pocketbooks of working families.
Obama, in a speech to newspaper executives, is sharply criticizing a $3.5 trillion budget proposal pushed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which passed on a near-party-line vote last week and has been embraced by GOP presidential hopefuls. The plan has faced fierce resistance from Democrats, who say it would gut Medicare, slash taxes for the wealthy and lead to deep cuts to crucial programs such as aid to college students and highway and rail projects.
“It’s a Trojan horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country,” Obama said in excerpts of his speech released Tuesday. “It’s nothing but thinly veiled social Darwinism.”
(404) http://t.co/D – RT @GOP12: By 74%-17%, likely GOP voters in PA view Romney’s shifts in positions as motivated by politics; not principles. …
The Rubio Assumption – The deepening assumption that Florida Senator Marco Rubio will be his party’s vice presidential nominee is beginning to put Mitt Romney candidate in a box, deepening the expectation of a Hispanic running mate and setting a trap for presumptive Republican presidential candidate should he make another choice.
“I think there could be backlash, in that Rubio is beloved by many, and Romney is not,” said Javier Manjarres, the editor of the conservative Florida blog The Shark Tank. “Romney would have to try to find someone of Rubio’s caliber to suffice the followers who would be disappointed that he did not pick Rubio.
Solar Trust of America’s Chapter 11 filing on Monday listed assets between $1 million and $10 million, and liabilities between $10 million and $50 million.
The filing comes amid the ongoing controversy surrounding Solyndra, a solar firm that received a half-billion dollar federal loan and was touted by the Obama administration before declaring bankruptcy last year.
A new Rasmussen Reports statewide survey shows that, if the recall election was held today, 52% of Likely Voters would vote to recall Governor Walker and remove him from office. Forty-seven percent (47%) would vote against the recall and let him continue to serve as governor.
Though Obama said he was confident the court would uphold the law, the centerpiece of his political legacy, he appeared to be previewing campaign trail arguments should the nine justices strike the legislation down.
In a highly combative salvo, Obama also staunchly defended the anchor of the law — a requirement that all Americans buy health insurance — as key to giving millions of people access to treatment for the first time.
“Ultimately, I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,” Obama said.
Pointed comments from Supreme Court justices last week during three days of compelling hearings have convinced many commentators that the court, expected to rule in June, will declare the law, dubbed ObamaCare, unconstitutional.
GSA chief resigns amid reports of excessive spending – The chief of the General Services Administration resigned, two of her top deputies were fired and four managers were placed on leave Monday amid reports of lavish spending at a conference off the Las Vegas Strip that featured a clown, a mind reader and a $31,208 reception.
Administrator Martha N. Johnson, in her resignation letter, acknowledged a “significant misstep” at the agency that manages real estate for the federal government. “Taxpayer dollars were squandered,” she wrote. At the start of her tenure in February 2010 she called ethics “a big issue for me.”
Public Buildings Service chief Robert A. Peck, a fixture in the Washington area real estate community on his second stint running the department, was forced out, along with Johnson’s top adviser, Stephen Leeds. Four GSA managers who organized the four-day conference in October 2010 have been placed on adminstrative leave, officials said.
The leadership collapse came hours before GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller released a scathing report on the $823,000 training conference, held for 300 West Coast employees at the M Resort and Casino, an opulent hotel in Henderson, Nev., just south of Las Vegas. From $130,000 in travel expenses for six scouting trips to a $2,000 party in Peck’s loft suite, event planners violated federal limits on conference spending.
The episode is an embarrassment for the Obama administration at a time when the role and size of government have taken center stage in the presidential campaign. How much government should spend, and on what, will be at the heart of the election-year battles between Democrats and Republicans.