These are my links for June 19th through June 20th:
Obama grants Holder request on ‘Furious’ documents as contempt vote looms– President Obama has granted an 11th-hour request by Attorney General Eric Holder to exert executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents, a last-minute maneuver that appears unlikely to head off a contempt vote against Holder by Republicans in the House.The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to forge ahead Wednesday morning with its meeting on the contempt resolution anyway.If the vote proceeds, Republicans have more than enough votes on committee to pass the resolution. However, Holder would not be considered held in contempt of Congress unless and until the full House approves the measure.The move by Holder and Obama to lock down some requested documents only complicates the fight over the botched anti-gunrunning operation between the legislative and executive branches.After Holder made the request to Obama via letter on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on Wednesday informing him that the president has granted the request.
Obama asserts executive privilege on Fast and Furious documents– President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting, according to a letter to the panel Wednesday from Deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole.The move means the Department of Justice can withhold the documents from the House Oversight Committee, which was scheduled to consider a contempt measure Wednesday against Holder.”I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents,” Cole wrote in a letter to committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California.”We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the committee’s concerns and to accommodate the committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious,” Cole continued. “Although we are deeply disappointed that the committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the department remains willing to work with the Committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues.”
Food Stamp Fiasco – The Senate refuses to cut $20 billion out of $770 billion– The next time someone moans about Washington “austerity,” tell them about the Senate’s food stamp votes on Tuesday. Democrats and a few Republicans united to block even modest reform in a welfare program that has exploded in the last decade and is set to spend $770 billion in the next 10 years.Yes, $770 billion on a single program. And you wonder why the U.S. had its credit-rating downgraded?When the food stamp program began in the 1970s, it was designed to help about 1 of 50 Americans who were in severe financial distress. But thanks to eligibility changes first by President George W. Bush as part of the 2002 farm bill and then by President Obama in the 2008 stimulus, food stamps are becoming the latest middle-class entitlement.
So, What’s up with Marco Rubio? – This morning, I reported that Mitt Romney had not asked Marco Rubio to take the first steps in the vice presidential vetting process. As my report said, “He has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.”
This afternoon the Washington Post matched that reporting. And in a taped interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Romney brushed off questions about whether Rubio was being vetted.
“I get a kick out of some of the speculation that goes on,” Romney told Hannity. “And I’m not going to comment on the process, of course. But I can tell you this. Only Beth Myers and I know who’s being vetted.”
A few hours later, however, Romney called in reporters traveling with him to give an entirely different response.
“Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process,” Romney told reporters, adding reports that said Rubio was not being vetted were “entirely false.”
“There was a story that originated today, apparently at ABC, based on reports of supposedly outside, unnamed advisers of mine,” Romney said. “I can’t imagine who such people are but I can tell you this. They know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process. There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not, and that’s Beth Myers and myself.”
Obama’s grandfather Stanley Armour Dunham tortured by the British?– A new biography of Barack Obama has established that his grandfather was not, as is related in the President’s own memoir, detained by the British in Kenya and found that claims that he was tortured were a fabrication.’Barack Obama: The Story’ by David Maraniss catalogues dozens of instances in which Obama deviated significantly from the truth in his book ‘Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance’. The 641-page book punctures the carefully-crafted narrative of Obama’s life.One of the enduring myths of Obama’s ancestry is that his paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, who served as a cook in the British Army, was imprisoned in 1949 by the British for helping the anti-colonial Mau Mau rebels and held for several months.
Elizabeth Warren loses it, lashes out at “right wing extremist” (me)– As you know, Elizabeth Warren has been caught in a series of at best misleading and at worst false responses since The Boston Herald first broke the story in late April that Harvard Law promoted her as Native American in the mid-to-late 1990s.First she played dumb and said she didn’t know why. But over the course of several weeks digging by bloggers and newspapers punctured Warren’s story, and revealed or forced Warren to admit she listed herself as Native American to get on a list of “Minority Law Teachers” in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, that she informed both Penn Law and Harvard Law that she was Native American for federal reporting purposes, and that she was on a list at Harvard during her “visiting year” of “Women of Color in Legal Academia.”Genealogical tracing of Warren’s alleged Cherokee ancestry by a group of Cherokees led by Twila Barnes has shown that Warren has no Cherokee heritage. The documentation and research has been posted for all to see. Anger at Warren extends beyond Cherokees.Yet Warren persists in the claim to this day, raising bizarre defenses such as her Aunt Bea told her her ancestors had high cheekbones “like all the Indians” and that her parents supposedly had to elope because her mother was 1/16 Native American.
Working-Class Whites a Barrier to a Democratic House – Wednesday, June 20, 2012 – Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously remarked that all politics is local. But this year, it’s the rhetoric of John Edwards that rings truer–in assessing the House race landscape, there are indeed two Americas. President Obama believes the way to win a second term is by rallying elements of the party base, but House Democrats trying to take back the majority face the added burden of winning the votes of increasingly disillusioned white working-class voters.
These are my (Flap) links for June 18th through June 19th:
A White House mess– One little-known fact about the world of journalism is that news organizations prepare obituaries of famous people while those people are still alive, so that packages of material will be ready to go when a death is announced.Over the past week, journalists have been writing articles that have the quality of these sorts of pre-obituaries — only the event they’re anticipating isn’t the last breath of an individual but the defeat of President Obama’s re-election bid.Even more striking, these journalists aren’t conservatives indulging in their deepest wish, but rather liberals who admire Obama and want to see him win a second term.Al Hunt, who was for decades the voice of liberal conventional wisdom as the Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, declared yesterday in his Bloomberg column that Obama “needs an intervention.”
The Sad Demise of the Occupy Movement– Remember when the Democratic Party saw the Occupy movement as the Left’s equivalent of the Tea Party? That lasted until it became obvious that 1) Occupy wasn’t actually much of a movement, and 2) to the extent it existed, it was an embarrassment. Occupy is in the process of fading away, not with a bang but a whimper, and with more criminal prosecutions to its credit than normal citizens converted to the leftist cause.But, much as a dead frog’s legs will continue kicking for a while, a few remnants of Occupy cling to a fitful existence. To see what the “movement” is up to these days, check out this online diary that documents the Occupy Caravan. The Caravan is a group of nine leftists who are driving, in two minivans, from California to Philadelphia. The diary, by one James Jennison, is hilarious but sad. You can’t help feeling sorry for this ragtag band of misfits who evidently think they are making some kind of political statement
Another Ridiculous Lie From Liberal Media – Distorting Romney’s “WAWAs” Hoagie Speech– Another example of how ridiculous the media is in their uncompromising struggle to distort the truth in order to make sure Obama wins and Conservatives lose.Today it’s being widely reported that Romney had a moment were he was amazed at the existence of WAWAs, a convenience/gas store, and the electronic touchtone ordering of sandwiches. They have spun this to make it seem like he’s out of touch – BUT THE VIDEO IS EDITED DECEPTIVELY:
MSNBC mischaracterizes Romney remarks– MSNBC aired footage today that inaccurately portrayed Mitt Romney’s remarks at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.Discussing how the public sector suffers from a lack of competition, Romney told the audience about an optometrist who wanted to change his address and subsequently received 33 pages of paperwork from the federal government, which begat a months-long bureaucratic nightmare during which the optometrist in question wasn’t receiving his checks. “That’s how government works,” Romney said.Then, to illustrate the advantages of competition in the private sector, Romney shared an anecdote from his visit to the local WaWa chain store. “I was at WaWas, I went in to order a sandwich. You press a little touchtone keypad — you touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier — there’s your sandwich. It’s amazing. People in the private sector have learned how to compete. It’s time to bring some competition to the federal government.”
Will GOP demand Plame-style leak investigation?– A lot of lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, are angry about the damaging national security leaks that have come out of the Obama administration. But Republicans are probably angrier, and their feelings can be explained in two words: Valerie Plame.The Plame affair was a complicated, tortured episode in which the George W. Bush White House was accused of having deliberately leaked classified information — the identity of an undercover CIA agent — to score political points during a particularly intense time in the Iraq war. Now, many Republicans believe the Barack Obama White House has deliberately leaked classified information — among other things, details of the U.S. cyberwar against Iran — to score political points during a particularly intense time in the presidential campaign.
Dem hopes of taking House dim– Democratic hopes of recapturing the House are dimming as a series of race-by-race setbacks and economic uncertainty suggest that the 25 seats they need to net might be out of reach.The Hill projects that Democrats will net somewhere between 10 and 15 seats, assuming the presidential election remains a close contest.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has given her party a better than 50-50 chance of wresting control of the lower chamber — but missed opportunities in specific races and increasing economic worries have put that prediction in doubt.“The environment certainly isn’t as good as it was six months ago for Democrats,” a senior Democratic strategist who works on House races told The Hill, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to comment candidly.“Democrats are way off track of where they need to be to regain the majority,” said David Wasserman, the House race editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report
Marco Rubio Not Being Vetted to Be Mitt Romney’s Running Mate– Even before the Republicans chose a presidential nominee it was widely assumed that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would be at the top of anybody’s list of vice presidential candidates. The reasons are obvious: Not only is he young, charismatic and wildly popular with conservatives, but he could also help Republicans win a key state (Florida) and make inroads with Hispanics.But knowledgeable Republican sources tell me that Rubio is not being vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential search team. He has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.
After spat with former construction management company, officials get projects back on track– Months after the El Monte Union High School District cut ties with its former construction management company, details are emerging about related issues that have come at a hefty expense to the district.A construction update last week revealed that the district is paying the price for design plans that didn’t have the required state approval before the construction work began at several campuses.In one case, work began on a new two-story classroom building without the plans getting state approved, resulting in the district being forced to make extensive revisions.In another a much publicized case, the state didn’t sign off on plans for new heating and air conditioning systems in two high school auditoriums before they were installed. The buildings have been closed for months as officials work to rectify the issue.The projects are part of a $148 million bond measure approved by voters in 2008. After parting ways with its construction management company Alsaleh Project Management (APM) last year and hiring another firm, officials have been working to get projects back on track. But it hasn’t been easy, or cheap.The costs of some construction projects under the bond measure have increased by up to 36 percent over what was originally budgeted, according to last week’s construction update.
While some of the rising costs were the result of upgrades desired by district leaders, part of the increase is related
A Guide to How Obama’s New Immigration Policy Will Work, And a Word of Caution– The policy memo directs ICE and Customs to begin using their on-the-ground discretion immediately. Citizenship and Immigration Services is ordered to implement what is known as “deferred action” for this category of immigrants within 60 days. It’s a good sign that the administration is moving quickly. But bear in mind, deferred action is exactly what it sounds like. It means the federal government isn’t placing you in removal proceedings now. In fact, the memo says specifically that the deferral is good for two years before the next re-evaluation. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. “The question becomes: What if the person is granted deferred action and then they turn 30,” Schwamkrug asks. “Does that mean it won’t be renewed?”If it isn’t, and that person doesn’t have some sort of legal status, current policy is to automatically forward them to immigration court for removal proceedings. Two years-worth of work authorization may be small recompense for imminent deportation.Perhaps the biggest wild card here is the November presidential election. Obama’s policy is just that. It doesn’t amount to citizenship, nor is it law, enacted by Congress. You can bet one of Mitt Romney’s first acts as president would be to rescind Napolitano’s memo. And then what? Young people who have lived their lives as Americans announce their presence as undocumented immigrants and become subject to removal proceedings. “You’re luring people out, dangling a carrot of employment authorization in exchange for putting themselves on the radar,” Schwamkrug says. “As attorneys, we’d have to lay everything out to our clients and let the clients make the choice. We can’t tell them what to do. But I personally think there’s cause for concern.”In other words, the undocumented American may rejoice, but must remain mindful that there’s no permanence to Obama’s extended hand. And in just five short months, it may be snatched away altogether.
Scalia and Ginsburg Drop Hints about Obamacare’s Fate at the Supreme Court– The Supreme Court is set to issue its ruling on the epic Obamacare case, Florida v. HHS, at the end of June. Two of the High Court’s justices, Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dropped hints this weekend as to what the Court might do. Between what they said, and the scuttlebutt I’ve been hearing, we can start to think about what the Court may do—and when.On Friday, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at the annual Court review of the American Constitution Society, a group “dedicated to…countering the activist conservative legal movement.” Ginsburg said that she was quite aware of the controversy surrounding the Obamacare case. “Some have described the controversy as unprecedented and they may be right if they mean the number of press conferences, prayer circles, protests, counter protests, going on outside the court while oral argument was under way inside.”
Dental Abuse Seen Driven by Private Equity Investments – Isaac Gagnon stepped off the school bus sobbing last October and opened his mouth to show his mother where it hurt.
She saw steel crowns on two of the 4-year-old’s back teeth. A dentist’s statement in his backpack showed he had received two pulpotomies, or baby root canals, along with the crowns and 10 X-rays — all while he was at school. Isaac, who suffers from seizures from a brain injury in infancy, didn’t need the work, according to his mother, Stacey Gagnon.“I was absolutely horrified,” said Gagnon, of Camp Verde, Arizona. “I never gave them permission to drill into my son’s mouth. They did it for profit.”
Isaac’s case and others like it are under scrutiny by federal lawmakers and state regulators trying to determine whether a popular business model fueled by Wall Street money is soaking taxpayers and having a malign influence on dentistry. Isaac’s dentist was dispatched to his school by ReachOut Healthcare America, a dental management services company that’s in the portfolio of Morgan Stanley Private Equity, operates in 22 states and has dealt with 1.5 million patients. Management companies are at the center of a U.S. Senate inquiry, and audits, investigations and civil actions in six states over allegations of unnecessary procedures, low-quality treatment and the unlicensed practice of dentistry.
Democrats look to California in bid to retake House– No state figures more prominently in Democratic plans to retake the House than bright blue California.With 25 seats separating them from the speaker’s gavel, Democrats have settled on a blueprint targeting nearly a dozen seats across the Golden State — a yawning figure that highlights the emphasis party officials have placed there.
Exit, stage Wright– Yesterday’s breathless campaign hysteria arose out of a not-really-much-of-a-scoop from the broadsheet across town: A rich guy in Omaha wants to spend a lot of money defeating Barack Obama.Stop the presses. Eek.Said rich guy sought the advice of a controversial consultant (who’d very much benefit from getting the rich guy’s commission) on a strategy. The consultant proposed reviving the 2008 controversy over Obama’s relationship with his egregious pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
You’d have thought, from the mainstream-media tweets yesterday morning, that the mere act of mentioning Obama and Wright in the same breath was nothing less than a hate crime in itself. How dare anyone mention the president in the same breath as the anti-American demagogue who officiated at his wedding, baptized his children and gave him the title of his second book.
For those of us who enjoy seeing such folk sputter and squirm, the idea of a Wright attack against Obama instantly seemed rather piquant. But it only took a moment’s reflection to see how senseless and even stupid such an approach would be.
Ricketts’ aide: Jeremiah Wright plan was DOA– The head of the Super PAC that considered a proposal to attack the president based on his associations with controversial preacher Reverend Wright said Friday that the pitch was a non-starter.“I was immediately troubled by the proposal. It surprised me,” Brian Baker, president of Ending Spending Action Fund funded by billionaire Joe Ricketts, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We run an organization based on fiscal responsibility. They know we asked for a document based on ending spending, fiscal responsibility and jobs in the economy. This is far afield from that.”
Romney Launches First General Election Ad– Mitt Romney’s campaign is out with its first television ad of the general election, describing what a Romney presidency would look like on “day one.”The spot will be launched in four swing-states –Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa and Virginia — with a $1.2 million buy, CNN reports.A generally positive ad, the narrator outlines different Romney initiatives that he would launch from the start of his time in office, which include approving the Keystone XL pipeline and replacing President Obama’s heath care reform legislation.
Explaining Why Minority Births Now Outnumber White Births | Pew Social & Demographic Trends– The changing profile of the nation’s youngest residents also stems from the fact that some groups, especially Hispanics, have higher numbers of children than do non-Hispanic whites. One illustration of this difference is in the “total fertility rate,” or the number of children the average woman is predicted to have in her lifetime, based on current age-specific birth rates. For the U.S. as a whole, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of American Community Survey data, the number is 2.0. (American Community Survey data in this posting come from a Pew Research Center analysis of the 1% sample of the 2010 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series [IPUMS])Among Hispanics, the total fertility rate is 2.4. For non-Hispanic whites and for non-Hispanic Asians, it is 1.8. Non-Hispanic blacks (2.1) have higher fertility than whites but lower fertility than Hispanics.Immigration is an important contributor to higher birth rates among Hispanics, because foreign-born women tend to have more children on average than U.S.-born women. Most growth in the Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010 was due to births, not immigration, a change from the long-time pattern. But most births to Hispanic women are to those born outside the U.S.
Latinos will soon be California’s largest ethnic group, Census says– Latinos will become California’s largest ethnic group very soon, a new Census Bureau report indicates.The bureau issued its first post-2000 census estimates of population growth, birth rates, age cohorts, and racial and ethnic characteristics.It pegs California’s Latino population (it uses the term “Hispanic”) at 14.4 million, 38.2 percent of the state’s 37.7 million residents, while the non-Hispanic white population is just under 15 million or 39.7 percent, dropping below the 40 percent mark for the first time.
For several years, demographers have predicted that the state’s Latino population would surpass whites by 2015, but the new Census Bureau reports indicates that the crossover may occur somewhat sooner.
Although immigration from Latin America has slowed to almost a stop, other findings indicate, Latinos tend to be younger than the white population and have much-higher birthrate, thus expanding their population while that of whites continues to shrink..
USC sued in deaths of 2 students– A wrongful death suit has been filed against USC by the parents of two USC graduate students slain near the campus on April 11.Wanzhi Qu and Xiaohong Fei, father and mother of Ming Qu, and Xiyong Wu and Meinan Yin, parents of Ying Wu, filed the suit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. They are seeking unspecified damages.Wu and Qu, both 23-year-old electrical engineering students from China, were fatally shot during a downpour about 1 a.m. while sitting in Qu’s recently purchased 2003 BMW, which was double-parked in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue.
Wu was found in the passenger seat and Qu on the steps of a nearby house where he collapsed while trying to summon help, Los Angeles police said.
USC attorney Debra Wong Yang today issued a statement in response to the suit.
President Barack Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline, on March 22, in Cushing, Oklahoma. Obama was pressing federal agencies to expedite the section of the Keystone XL pipeline between Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.
These are my links for April 19th through April 20th:
Obama faces defeat on Keystone pipeline – While much of the political world obsesses over Twitter fights and Seamus the dog, Barack Obama has set himself up for a high-profile defeat on one of the most important issues of the campaign.
The president has put his feet in cement in opposition to the Keystone oil pipeline. But on Capitol Hill, more and more Democrats are joining Republicans to force approval of the pipeline, whether Obama wants it or not.
The latest action happened Wednesday, when the House passed a measure to move the pipeline forward. Before the vote, Obama issued a veto threat. The House approved the pipeline anyway — by a veto-proof majority, 293 to 127. Sixty-nine Democrats abandoned the president to vote with Republicans. That’s a lot of defections.
When the House voted on the pipeline in July of last year, 47 Democrats broke with the president. Now that it’s an election year and the number is up to 69, look for Republicans to hold more pipeline votes before November. GOP leaders expect even more Democrats to join them.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney rolled out a new accessory at a speech in Ohio today, delivering his remarks in front of a black banner that said “Obama Isn’t Working,” which is also the name of a website his campaign set up several months ago (in case you didn’t get the message from the banner, it was also on the front of Romney’s podium).
The slogan is a multiple entendre, but one of those entendres, intentionally or not, is evocative of a nasty racial stereotype about black men.
Romney’s Father Came from “Polygamy Commune” – Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) told the Daily Beast that Mittt Romney would have a “tall order to position Hispanics to vote for him” even though his father was born in Mexico.
Schweitzer admitted that it is “kinda ironic given that his family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico, but then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico, given the gender discrepancy.”
Schweitzer noted that women are “not great fans of polygamy, 86 percent were not great fans of polygamy. I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico.”
Mickey Kaus: No Romney Immigration Pivot Needed – Thank You! – No Pivot Needed: Mitt Romney has taken a harder line on illegal immigration than expected, which has led many commentators to declare that the primaries have hurt his chances by drawing him too far in that direction (costing him support among Latino voters, especially). Yet today’s Quinnipiac poll finds Romney favored over Obama on the issue of … immigration (by a margin of 43% to 39%, about the same lead that Romney has on “the economy”). He’s ahead by fifteen points on the immigration issue among independents. … So why is a “pivot” on immigration needed, again? … What good is Hispandering if it wins Romney New Mexico but costs him Ohio? …
The 2012–13 California Budget: Unwinding Redevelopment – On February 1, 2012, all redevelopment agencies in California were dissolved and the process for unwinding their financial affairs began. Given the scope of these agencies’ funds, assets, and financial obligations, the unwinding process will take time. Prior to their dissolution, redevelopment agencies (RDAs) received over $5 billion in property tax revenues annually and had tens of billions of dollars of outstanding bonds, contracts, and loans.
This report reviews the history of RDAs, the events that led to their dissolution, and the process communities are using to resolve their financial obligations. Over time, as these obligations are paid off, schools and other local agencies will receive the property tax revenues formerly distributed to RDAs.
The report discusses these major findings:
Although ending redevelopment was not the Legislature’s objective, the state had few practical alternatives.
Ending redevelopment changes the distribution of property tax revenues among local agencies, but not the amount of tax revenues raised.
Decisions about redevelopment replacement programs merit careful review.
The decentralized process for unwinding redevelopment promotes a needed local debate over the use of the property tax.
Key state and local choices will drive the state fiscal effect.
The report recommends the Legislature amend the redevelopment dissolution legislation to address timing issues, clarify the treatment of pass–through payments, and address key concerns of redevelopment bond investors.
California Recovery: No, It Is Not East vs. West – There are two reasonable measures of recovery, jobs and real estate values. You can forget the real estate values measure. Values throughout California are down from pre-recession highs. They are down a lot. Only San Francisco and Marin counties, with median home prices down 27.7 percent and 32.3 percent, respectively, have seen net median home price declines of less than 40 percent. Monterey and Madera counties top the state in median home price declines, in excess of 67 percent.
So let’s use jobs. An area has recovered if it has as many jobs today as it had at the beginning of the recession, December 2008.
We monitor 37 California MSAs. Combined they represent about 96 percent of California’s population. By jobs, only one of California’s larger MSAs has recovered, and that county does not fit the story. Not only is Kings County not on the ocean, it doesn’t even border or have a naturally occurring year-round piece of water. Kings County, with 37,700 jobs, has about 900 more jobs than it had at the beginning of the recession. Still, Kings County’s unemployment rate is 17 percent. Some recovery!
For Brown the last minute decision to go with a compromise initiative prohibited a choice on the use of direct mail. However, foolishly for most ballot measure proponents, fear or desperation is now the moving factor in virtually all use of large-scale ballot qualification petition mailings.
Even when time permits, ballot measure proponents rarely even test mailed petitions. Why? Because it is just so bloody easy to place one call to any of several very capable companies that handle every aspect of paid signature qualification. For the consultants, no muss, no fuss, virtually no work and probably the same fees will be realized. And it is an easy sell to the measure’s proponents, as the initial cost of paid signature gathering is often lower. Paid signatures are the conventional, accepted way to go…no need to think or act outside the box.
But the hidden price paid is very dear indeed!
My former partners Arnold Forde and Stu Mollrich and I started using mailed petitions as a first option, and were the first to entirely qualify ballot measures by mail. The reason we did so was simply because it so much better served our client’s interests.
In the letter, dated Dec. 8, 2011 — which local news outlet WRAL first published with redactions of alleged victim Adriadn Ortega’s name — Ortega alleges that Parmley “frequently gave me unwanted shoulder rubs despite my verbal objections” and that Parmley “often solicited my opinion on his clothes.”
“He would point both hands to his crotch area and ask me how his crotch looked in those pants that day,” Ortega wrote, adding that Parmley “would frequently pretend to punch my crotch and make a popping noise with his mouth.”
“On July 28, 2011, the executive director discussed, in detail, his sexual activities from the past when he was living in South Carolina,” Ortega then said. “In addition, he discussed in detail his sexual activities from when he moved to North Carolina, where he solicited sex from gay websites such as [REDACTED].”
The next day — on July 29, 2011 — Ortega alleged that Parmley “showed me a picture of a penis.”
Cantor: GOP will expand majority – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Thursday he is confident that Republicans will not just hold but will expand their majority in the lower chamber in November.
“I’m very bullish on the House,” Cantor said at an event in downtown Washington. “I am very confident that we will strengthen our majority.”
The second-ranking House Republican said he believes the GOP will be on offense in 30 to 40 districts with the goal of adding to its 242 House seats. His comments stand in contrast to those of many political analysts, who project that Democrats will gain seats in November but fall short of wresting back control of the House.
“I don’t want to be the vice president,” the Florida Republican said during an interview with Major Garrett of the National Journal.
“So, if Mitt Romney asks, you will you say no?” Garrett asked.
“Yes. But you know he’s not going to ask. That doesn’t work. He’s watching this interview right now,” Rubio, 40, responded.
Rubio even went as far as suggesting another U.S. Senator for Romney to consider in his VP vetting – Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
“The bigger point is we’ve got a lot of really talented people out there that Mitt Romney can get to pick from. And I think a lot, Senator Rob Portman would be a phenomenal choice for vice president, that’s where I would encourage him to look because I’m enjoying my service in the senate.”
Rubio’s name is often floated in the top tier list of potential vice presidential candidates, but the Florida senator has not been shy about his disinterest in the position. Rubio instead says he wants to focus on advancing policy in the senate, joking that if he were running as vice president, he’d have to answer a lot of questions about dogs, a topic which has consumed both parties in the past week.
Rubio: Arizona Immigration Law is Not Model for Nation – Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday that he did not view Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration as a “model,’’ distancing himself from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has embraced the legislation.
The Cuban-American senator, who spoke at The University of Phoenix/National Journal’s Next America’ forum in Washington, D.C., is viewed as a top name on Romney’s vice presidential shortlist.
Rubio said he understood why frustration with illegal immigration led Arizona to pass a law allowing local police to demand proof of citizenship. He also disagreed with the Obama administration’s contention that the law is unconstitutional. But he added, “I do not believe (laws like the one in Arizona) should be a model for the country.’’
As a Senate candidate in 2010, Rubio vacillated on the Arizona law. He initially expressed some concerns but later said he would have voted for it.
Rubio’s reservations about the law come at a time when polls show the Republican Party facing a yawning deficit of support among Hispanic voters. Both national parties have launched national campaigns to reach out to the Hispanic community, the fastest growing part of the electorate and the key to victory in a number of swing states.
Democrats have been zealously attacking Republican opposition to the DREAM Act, potentially popular legislation that would grant citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who go to college or enroll in the military. In recent weeks, Rubio has started countering the criticism by proposing an alternative that would allow these children to obtain legal status but not citizenship.
A Barred Owl is shown near Mount Vernon, Va. To save the endangered spotted owl, the Obama administration is moving forward with a plan to shoot barred owls, a rival bird that has shoved its smaller cousin aside. The plan is the latest government attempt to protect the northern spotted owl, the meek, one-pound bird that sparked an epic battle over logging in the Pacific Northwest two decades ago.
These are my links for February 28th through February 29th:
“We all know that this institution has an abysmally low approval rating, and the American people are asking for change in Congress, and so I’m announcing today that I will leave the Congress at the end of this year,” the 16-term member joked.
Police said officers in riot gear charged against a crowd of students outside the stock market in Spain’s second largest city in the country’s northeast and made an unspecified number of arrests. They had broken away from a larger rally of thousands of striking students.
The fire set to the containers spread to a car and protesters smashed a bank window.
Some later made their way toward the University of Barcelona and took refuge in a plaza inside the campus.
The plan is the latest federal attempt to protect the northern spotted owl, the passive, one-pound bird that sparked an epic battle over logging in the Pacific Northwest two decades ago.
Catholic school fires gay teacher planning wedding – The Rev. Bill Kempf, St. Ann’s pastor, said in an emailed statement that the parish was “recently informed by one of its teachers of his plan to unite in marriage with an individual of the same sex. With full respect of this individual’s basic human dignity, this same-sex union opposes Roman Catholic teaching as it cannot realize the full potential a marital relationship is meant to express. As a violation of the Christian Witness Statement that all Catholic educators in the Archdiocese of St. Louis are obliged to uphold, we relieved this teacher of his duties.”
The Christian Witness Statement, which educators sign when applying for Archdiocese work, says all who serve in Catholic education should, among other requirements, “not take a public position contrary to the Catholic Church” and “demonstrate a public life consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
The Roman Catholic Church does not condemn homosexuals who remain “chaste,” but it takes a strong stance against same-sex marriage and homosexual acts.
Robin said his partner did, indeed, sign a witness statement. “We just didn’t realize we were making a ‘public’ stand,” Robin said. “There’s nothing that’s been hidden about our relationship at any point. I go to the staff parties. I show up at the school concerts. … It doesn’t matter until somebody with the Archdiocese is sitting in the room.”
Romney Camp Will Haunt Santorum With Robocall Story – Mitt Romney’s campaign will spend the next two weeks reminding Republicans around the country of Rick Santorum’s last-minute attempt to convince Democrats to vote for him her ein Michigan, a Romney aide said Tuesday night.
“It’s a major issue. [Santorum is] trying to pass himself off as the true conservative in the race, but he’s supporting the liberal Democrat line against Governor Romney,” said Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign.
He added of Santorum’s efforts to find Democratic help in the state’s open primary: “This isn’t going anywhere.”
A campaign aide said Romney may even work Santorum’s courting of Democrats into Romney’s stump speech going forward.
Worried Dems pressing Obama on gas prices – Congressional Democrats are ramping up pressure on President Obama to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to prevent rising gas prices from threatening the economy and their election-year prospects.
They are growing anxious that the price of fuel could reverse their political fortunes, which had been improving due to signs of growth in the economy.
Republicans have hammered Democrats on the price spike, repeatedly noting that gas prices — now at $3.72 per gallon for regular — have doubled since Obama won the White House.
The sound you hear is the loud sigh of relief from the Romney campaign. A great deal was on the line in the oddest of places — the state of his birth, the state where his dad served as governor, the state he won against John McCain four years ago. A few months ago, no one could have imagined Mitt Romney being hard-pressed in Michigan, and yet it happened.
Rick Santorum may have lost by a few points, but he scored a moral victory by making Romney work for the Wolverine State. This was a real contest that Santorum might have won had Romney not put the pedal to the metal. After all, based on pre-primary surveys and exit polling, Santorum won the actual Election Day vote, suggesting both that Romney’s superior organization delivered for him again in absentee balloting but also that among the party faithful who simply showed up on Election Day, Romney continues to have considerable problems.
53% of Self-Identified Democrats Voted for Santorum – CBS News’ Exit Poll finds that 9 percent of respondents identified themselves as Democrats. Among that group, 3 percent voted for New Gingrich, 17 percent each for Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, and 53 percent for Rick Santorum.
The Mounting Minuses at Google+ – WSJ.com – To hear Google Inc. Chief Executive Larry Page tell it, Google+ has become a robust competitor in the social networking space, with 90 million users registering since its June launch.
But those numbers mask what’s really going on at Google+.
Democrats grow confident of House win – Democrats say they are optimistic that they can regain control of the House of Representatives in the November election, an outcome that would mark a sharp reversal from the thumping defeat dealt to the party in 2010.
“We’ve gone from a gale force wind against us to a sustained breeze at our backs,” said Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term,” Snowe said in a statement. “So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.”
Snowe’s retirement represents a major setback for the GOP’s efforts to regain a majority in the Senate. As a moderate Republican, she may be the party’s only hope to hold a seat in the strongly blue state.
Republicans did get some traction in the state in 2010, including electing Republican Paul LePage as governor.
But in a more neutral political environment, and in a federal race, Democrats will be heavy favorites to steal this seat from Republicans — their best pickup opportunity in the country, for sure.
“I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet,” the president said to a raucous crowd at the United Auto Workers Convention. “The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, ‘you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.’”
On Monday, the Senate majority leader held a conference call blasting GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for touting endorsements from immigration “extremists” like Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. And on the Senate floor Tuesday, Reid attacked Romney’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s bailouts that many credit for saving the Detroit auto industry.
“I’m sorry to say that life support system that the Detroit auto industry was surviving on, Republicans wanted to pull the plug. One man who is now seeking the Republican nomination for president of the United States said, ‘We should kiss the automobile industry goodbye,’” Reid said, without naming Romney.
“He called the death of American auto manufacturers ‘virtually guaranteed,’ another direct quote. And so he argued we should just let Detroit go bankrupt,” he added. “But he wasn’t alone. Republicans in this chamber agreed, many of them agreed, Democrats weren’t willing to give up on American manufacturing” and manufacturing jobs.
The Michigan primary: Five counties to watch – Voters in Michigan head to the polls today, carrying the fate of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s presidential bid in their hands. Win Michigan and, as expected, Arizona, and Romney almost certainly reasserts himself as the clear frontrunner in the Republican race. Lose Michigan and the calls for Romney to reconsider his candidacy will begins. It’s that simple.