Obama’s jobs council shutting down Thursday – President Barack Obama will let his jobs council expire this week without renewing its charter, winding down one source of input from the business community even as unemployment remains stubbornly high.When Obama in January 2011 formed his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, unemployment was hovering above 9 percent. Two years president later, more than 12 million people in the U.S. are out of work. The unemployment rate has improved to 7.8 percent, but both parties agree that’s still too high.A provision in Obama’s executive order establishing the council says it sunsets on Thursday. A White House official said the president does not plan to extend it.
Science Says, ‘Good Riddance, Sen. Tom Harkin’ – Progressive Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced his retirement recently, foregoing a re-election bid in 2014. Science Insider, the policy news arm of the journal Science, wished him a fond farewell, calling him a “longtime champion” of biomedical research.This is exactly backwards.In reality, Harkin has been one of the leading voices of alternative medicine, up to 95% of which is complete nonsense. His insistence upon funding woo, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) no less, has served to undermine biomedical research. Called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), this joke of an organization was created — and packed full of woo-loving cronies — by Senator Tom Harkin.
ObamaCare: Some families to be priced out of health overhaul – Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what’s being called a glitch in President Barack Obama’s overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president’s plan had hoped.As a result, some families that can’t afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can’t get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said.
“This is a very significant problem, and we have urged that it be fixed,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group that supported the overhaul from its early days. “It is clear that the only way this can be fixed is through legislation and not the regulatory process.”
But there’s not much hope for an immediate fix from Congress, since the House is controlled by Republicans who would still like to see the whole law repealed.
Jobless Claims Go Higher; Income Surges, Spending Up – The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose sharply last week but remained at a level consistent with moderate hiring, while income surged much higher than expected and spending inched higher as well.The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits leapt 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000. The increase comes after applications plummeted in the previous two weeks to five-year lows.Personal income rose 2.6 percent and spending was up 0.2 percent for the month, according to a separate report.
Rubio’s amnesty: A path to oblivion for the GOP – IT’S NOT AMNESTY! Rubio’s proponents cry. They seem to think they can bully Republicans the way the Democrats do, by controlling the language.Rubio’s bill is nothing but amnesty. It isn’t even “amnesty thinly disguised as border enforcement.” This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.Despite all the blather about how Rubio demands “Enforcement First!” the very first thing his proposal does is make illegal aliens legal. (Don’t call them “illegal aliens”!)
The ability to live and work legally in America is the most valuable commodity in the world; it’s the Hope Diamond of the universe. I know young, well-educated Canadians who waited a decade for that privilege.
Step One of Marco Rubio’s plan is: Grant illegal aliens the right to live and work in America legally. (Rubio’s first move in poker: Fold.)
People who have broken our laws will thus leap ahead of millions of foreigners dying to immigrate here, but — unwilling to enter illegally — waiting patiently in their own countries.
The only thing the newly legalized illegal immigrants won’t get immediately is citizenship. Rubio claims that under his plan, they won’t be able to vote or go on welfare. But in practice, they’ll have to wait only until the ACLU finds a judge to say otherwise.
A Pointless Amnesty – Illegal immigration is a curious subject: It is one of the few domains in which the authorities entrusted with enforcing the law feel obliged to negotiate the most concessionary terms and conditions with those who are breaking it, as though law enforcement were an embarrassing inconvenience. But the rule of law, national security, and economic dynamism are not mere pro forma matters — they are in fact fundamental, a reality lost on our would-be “comprehensive” immigration reformers.
Pushback: Gingrich, Vitter, National Review, Malkin, Coulter, Erickson oppose Rubio’s immigration plan – The key subplot to Rubio’s immigration push, of course, is how much of a headache it’ll be for him with conservatives in the 2016 primaries. The talk-radio charm offensive is mainly designed to get grassroots opinion-shapers like Rush to at least wait and see what the bill looks like before lobbying against it, but more broadly it’s designed to move the Overton window on what positions are acceptable for a good conservative to hold. Rubio can afford to have immigration reform fail; he can’t afford to be RINO-ized over it. Like I said yesterday, whether or not a bill ends up passing, he’s already achieved something significant by getting Rush et al. to acknowledge that “recognizing reality” in terms of a grand bargain on immigration is something “admirable and noteworthy.” No matter what happens now, unless he ends up voting for a watered-down Democratic bill with token enforcement (which he won’t), he’s got that as a soundbite for his primary ads in 2016. James Antle makes a good point too in noting that none of Rubio’s would-be rivals for the nomination have attacked him on this yet. Jindal, Paul, and Christie have all kept quiet and Ryan has actually endorsed Rubio’s plan. The likely candidates don’t want to alienate Latino voters and the pundits with big audiences don’t want to kneecap a guy who might end up being the party’s best chance to regain the presidency.
Marco Rubio: Applying Conservative Principles To Immigration – I appreciate the opportunity to respond to Erick’s post last night regarding the principles for immigration reform I have recently developed. Before diving into the details of the plan, I want to take a moment to point out how the debate about immigration reflects positively on the conservative movement in general. Unlike the left, whose default tactic is to attack and destroy the personal character of those who disagree with their views, the conservative movement is capable of accommodating a vibrant internal debate on important issues solely on the merits. RedState has always been a welcoming forum for that sort of debate.
Five reasons Republicans won’t win Latino voters with immigration reform – Here are five reasons why.1. ¡es la economía, estúpido!Latinos didn’t vote for President Obama because Mitt Romney was seen as insensitive on immigration. According to a Fox Latino poll before the election, only 6% of Latinos said that immigration was the most important issue to their vote. A Latino Decisions (LD) election eve poll allowed multiple answers to issues that were important and, still, 65% did not say immigration was important to them.
Latinos instead cared about the economy. About 50% said the economy was the most important issue to their vote. By a 75% to 19% margin, Latinos are more likely to believe in a bigger government, with more services, to a smaller one. President Obama got 75% of the Latino vote in the LD election eve poll – a perfect match.
2. Latinos are liberal
Latinos have said openly they won’t change their vote because of immigration policy. Only 31% of Latinos in the LD survey said they would be more likely to vote GOP, if the Republican party took a leadership role in immigration reform. A full 58% said they didn’t know or it would have no effect, while 11% said it would actually make them less likely to vote Republican.
The reason is that Latinos are 9pt more likely to say they are liberal than the general population. Most of that has to do with the economy, but even on social issues, Latinos, especially second- and third-generation, are no more conservative than the general population. In fact, second- and third-generation Latinos are more likely to believe abortion should be legal and homosexuality accepted by society than the general population.
Reid declines to endorse Feinstein’s assault-weapons ban – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday declined to voice support for Democratic legislation that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.Reid said he would bring gun-violence legislation to the floor and open it to a lengthy amendment process. But he declined to endorse the assault weapons ban introduced last week by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), which has the support of the 2nd- and 3rd-ranking Senate Democratic leaders.
“She’s talked to me about her assault weapons. The new one. She believes in it fervently and I admire her for that. I’ll take a look at that,” he said in response to a reporter’s question. “We’re going to have votes on all kinds of issues dealing with guns, and I think everyone would be well advised to read the legislation before they determine how they’re going to vote [on] it.”
Why Immigration Reform Won’t Cure the GOP’s Struggles with Hispanics – Leading Republicans are jumping on the immigration reform bandwagon, hoping that taking the issue off the table will give them a second chance to make inroads with Hispanic voters. But even with a bipartisan deal looking within reach, the Republican party may not benefit as much as strategists expect.Indeed, there’s evidence that Hispanic resistance to the Republican party is as rooted in the GOP’s skeptical view of government, as it is their disagreement with GOP hardliners on immigration. The Republican Party calls for smaller government, but many Latinos look to government assistance as a necessity. Forty-two percent of Hispanic voters say that a government job offers the best chance of gaining career success, compared to only one-third of white voters, according to a June Allstate/National Journal/Heartland Monitor poll.
These are my links for November 17th through November 18th:
Poll: Romney, Gingrich in statistical dead heat in N.H. – Two things are true about New Hampshire Republican primary voters. They vote for people they know. And they love an underdog with a comeback story.Four years ago it was the weathered but feisty veteran John McCain who revived his once hanging-by-a-thread campaign to win the nation’s leadoff primary.And so it seems almost fated that after political observers have scratched their heads for months wondering who will emerge as the non-Romney candidate in the Granite State, the voters’ eyes should turn to Newt Gingrich, a man who was Speaker of the House during the previous century and whose own campaign was left for dead last summer.
The latest NH Journal poll of likely Republican primary voters conducted by Magellan Strategies shows Romney and Gingrich in a statistical dead heat for the January 10th primary. If the election were held today, Romney would earn 29% of the vote and Gingrich would earn 27%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul continues to show resolve by earning 16%. Herman Cain gets 10%. No other candidate is in double digits.
Big Labor shells out for GOP friends – For House Republicans, it pays to be a friend of Big Labor.Major unions are giving a heftier slice of campaign donations than usual to pro-labor Republicans this election cycle, even as overall union contributions to members of Congress lags.Labor insiders say there’s extra incentive to support their GOP friends this cycle as unions look to reward lawmakers who rebuff their leadership on key votes, ingratiate themselves to freshman Republicans and ward off primary challengers as many tea party candidates campaign on anti-union platforms.
Overall this cycle, about 13 percent of labor groups’ political action committee contributions — just over $2 million — have gone toward GOP candidates, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s still dwarfed by the nearly $14 million in union cash that’s gone to Democrats this cycle, but the GOP appears to be gaining ground with union donors after receiving only 6 percent of total contributions in 2010 and 8 percent in the 2008 cycle.
Occupy Wall Street: Anne Hathaway joins protesters but surely she’s in the 1%? – She is one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses and lives a very privileged lifestyle that 99 per cent of people can only dream of.Still, Anne Hathaway acted as an average Joe and accompanied hundreds of protestors as she joined the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Manhattan’s Union Square.The 29-year-old, who is worth a reported $58 million, was pictured marching with protesters and sticking it to the man yesterday in The Big Apple.
Sarah Palin: How Congress Occupied Wall Street – Mark Twain famously wrote, “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” Peter Schweizer’s new book, “Throw Them All Out,” reveals this permanent political class in all its arrogant glory. (Full disclosure: Mr. Schweizer is employed by my political action committee as a foreign-policy adviser.)Mr. Schweizer answers the questions so many of us have asked. I addressed this in a speech in Iowa last Labor Day weekend. How do politicians who arrive in Washington, D.C. as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires? How do they miraculously accumulate wealth at a rate faster than the rest of us? How do politicians’ stock portfolios outperform even the best hedge-fund managers’? I answered the question in that speech: Politicians derive power from the authority of their office and their access to our tax dollars, and they use that power to enrich and shield themselves.
Ventura County Official Announces Bid in New California District – Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett (D) announced on Wednesday that he will seek California’s new 26th district seat.“I am running for Congress because Ventura County residents deserve common sense leadership that is not locked into rigid ideology at the expense of the common good,” Bennett said in a statement. “I have demonstrated that leadership for Ventura County residents here at the county level for 10 years. We have made major improvements in the fiscal health of Ventura County.”The Ventura-based district race is not expected to feature a current incumbent next year, as Rep. Elton Gallegly (R) was drawn into the neighboring 25th district and has yet to say where or whether he will run.
No Republicans have announced for the seat yet, but two other Democrats have: Moorpark City Councilman David Pollock and former professional tennis player David Cruz Thayne.
26th District Democratic Town Hall – The first Congressional Candidates Town Hall meeting is being held tonight for the new 26th district.The Ventura City Democratic Club is hosting the event at the E.P. Foster Library at 7pm.The declared candidates include businessman David Cruz Thayne, Moorpark City Councilman David Pollock and Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett.
The 10 states that will determine control of the House in 2012 – 2. California: The nation’s biggest state has been an electoral afterthought for some time, going a nearly a decade with only one congressional seat changing hands between 2002 and 2010. That won’t happen again. At least three GOP-held seats are likely to go Democratic in the newly reshuffled map crafted by the state’s new citizen’s redistricting commission. But Democrats think they can run up the score even more, while the GOP strategists believe they can win Democratic-held seats elsewhere to even the score. We could see the results spanning from a total wash to Democrats gaining eight seats. Anything on the top end of that scale would be a major Democratic win.
House Leaders Plan Facebook Hackathon – While House Republican and Democratic leaders are finding it difficult to agree on spending cuts, they are coming together next month for Capitol Hill’s first-ever Facebook Hackathon. The goal is to find new ways to use the social network to make information about the legislative process more transparent and to help members of the public more easily engage with lawmakers.Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican leader, and Representative Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland and his party’s whip, are co-hosting the event, scheduled for Dec. 7 in the U.S. Capitol, which will include Facebook engineers, independent software developers, advocates for the open data movement and members of Congress.Hackathon is a term used to describe an event where programmers come together to build applications in a collaborative process.
“There is a lot of opportunity to improve the process,” said Matt Lira, digital director for Mr. Cantor. “We are going to sit down in a bipartisan way and look at how we can tackle some of these problems. We are hoping to get as many engineers as possible. They will have a unique opportunity to help make democracy work better.”
In Debates, Newt Gingrich’s Real Target Is Obama – It’s an open question whether Gingrich can defeat Obama in 2012. It’s taken as a truism that he has “too much baggage.” Well, some of the baggage is lighter than it appears. He was cleared by the Clinton-era Internal Revenue Service of wrongdoing in alleged ethics violations stemming from a college course he taught in the 1990s. The charge that he surprised his cancer-stricken first wife with divorce papers has been, at the least, exaggerated.
Obama Couldn’t Wait: His New Christmas Tree Tax – President Obama’s Agriculture Department today announced that it will impose a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees—the Christmas Tree Tax—to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.
In the Federal Register of November 8, 2011, Acting Administrator of Agricultural Marketing David R. Shipman announced that the Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board. The purpose of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” (7 CFR 1214.46(n)). And the program of “information” is to include efforts to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States” (7 CFR 1214.10).
To pay for the new Federal Christmas tree image improvement and marketing program, the Department of Agriculture imposed a 15-cent fee on all sales of fresh Christmas trees by sellers of more than 500 trees per year (7 CFR 1214.52). And, of course, the Christmas tree sellers are free to pass along the 15-cent Federal fee to consumers who buy their Christmas trees.
Acting Administrator Shipman had the temerity to say the 15-cent mandatory Christmas tree fee “is not a tax nor does it yield revenue for the Federal government” (76 CFR 69102). The Federal government mandates that the Christmas tree sellers pay the 15-cents per tree, whether they want to or not. The Federal government directs that the revenue generated by the 15-cent fee goes to the Board appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out the Christmas tree program established by the Secretary of Agriculture. Mr. President, that’s a new 15-cent tax to pay for a Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.
Nobody is saying President Obama doesn’t have authority to impose his new Christmas Tree Tax — his Administration cites the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. Just because the Obama Administration has the legal power to impose its Christmas Tree Tax doesn’t mean it should do so.
Mitt Romney will be the nominee because the other candidates, right now, are a pretty pathetic lot.
The base will not forgive Rick Perry his immigration sins. In fact, that has hurt him far more than his debate performances, but his debate performances have hurt him badly. Perry, who came out principled and fiery with a record others could only envy, has left others with the impression that he’s a poor man’s version of the village idiot, which in the SEC we call “Aggies”. Maybe he can turn it around.
Newt Gingrich will not be the nominee because, despite his daughter’s rebuttals to the horror stories of how Gingrich divorced his first of three wives, Jackie Gingrich told the Washington Post on January 3, 1985, “He walked out in the spring of 1980 and I returned to Georgia. By September, I went into the hospital for my third surgery. The two girls came to see me, and said Daddy is downstairs and could he come up? When he got there, he wanted to discuss the terms of the divorce while I was recovering from the surgery.”
Gingrich went on to cheat on the second wife with the third. Regardless of the actual facts or even the spin, he won’t win women.
Herman Cain won’t be the nominee because he can’t win women either. Regardless of what you think of the Politico story, Cain’s handling of the story has been an epic disaster. He’s down at least 10 points with women in Iowa. He’s falling even further and doesn’t even realize it. He’s largely been emboldened by a conservative media that is so used to standing by its men that too few are telling Herman that he is now at the point where he must actually sit and answer questions whether he wants to or not and whether he feels maligned or not and whether I think he should have to or not. If he loses women by as big as he is starting to lose the women, he cannot win.
So Mitt Romney will be the nominee. Conservatives will not rally together with the least of the bad alternatives and Romney, like John McCain before him, will run up the middle to the nomination. But, just like McCain, Romney will not beat Barack Obama.
AP has declared Issue 2 (as the law was called on the ballot) dead. As of this writing, with about a quarter of precincts in, repeal led by a whopping 63 to 37 percent margin.
Gov. John Kasich (R) took office in January vowing to curb unions’ power. But he appears to have overstepped his hand in curtailing the rights of 350,000 public workers — including firefighters and police officers — to negotiate over benefits, equipment and other issues.
The backlash against the law began as soon as Kasich signed it, in March. By August, when the governor asked for a compromise with unions, it was too late.
As in other states, the law became a battleground for an ongoing fight between labor and conservative groups over collective bargaining. In Wisconsin, after Gov. Scott Walker (R) eliminated collective bargaining for many public employees, Democrats and labor failed to take back the state Senate in recall elections. Now, unions have their first bonafide win.
By including firefighters and police officers in the legislation, Republicans in Ohio set themselves up for a far more difficult fight. Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law made exceptions for both.
Addressing the controversy before a throng of reporters in suburban Phoenix, Cain said he had no recollection of ever meeting Sharon Bialek, the woman who went public Monday and accused him of groping her in a car after the two dined together in Washington 14 years ago. Cain called her account “baseless, bogus and false” and said Bialek and three other women who have accused him of sexual harassment are part of a coordinated effort to attack his character and derail his campaign.
“We are not going to allow Washington or politics to deny me the opportunity to represent this great nation,” Cain said, adding that he would be willing to take a lie-detector test. “As far as these accusations causing me to back off and maybe withdraw from this presidential primary race — ain’t gonna happen.”
The controversy over the charges escalated just minutes before Cain’s news conference, when one of the previously anonymous women accusing him of inappropriate behavior decided to reveal her name after it appeared on news sites. She urged the other accusers to hold a news conference with her.
Karen Kraushaar, 55, now a communications official for the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, filed a claim of sexual harassment against Cain when he headed the National Restaurant Association and she was an employee there in the 1990s. She received a payment when she left the organization, but Cain, who disputed the allegations at the time, was not a party to the agreement.
“The reason sexual harassment is so difficult to prove is that workplace sexual predators try to make sure the victim is alone when the harassment takes place,” she wrote in an e-mail after Cain’s news conference.
But a CNBC spokesman tells me that the cable network has reserved the right to ask such questions at tomorrow’s debate in Michigan, which is supposed to be focused on the economy.
“The debate will focus on jobs, taxes, the deficit and the health of our national economy, but there are no restrictions on questions,” spokesman Brian Steel wrote me in an email. “As for Herman Cain, he is scheduled to attend.”
Asked whether the Cain campaign had requested any question restrictions, Steel said all conversations with the various campaigns are off the record and declined to say one way or the other.
DeMint endorses Stenberg, sponsors fund-raising drive – Republican Senate candidate Don Stenberg on Tuesday got the endorsement he wanted.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, sometimes described as a kingmaker for candidates seeking conservative support, said Stenberg is “a lifelong conservative with the principles, integrity and courage needed to stand up to the big spenders in both political parties in Washington.”
Stenberg is “not only the strongest conservative in the race, but we also believe he’s the most electable,” DeMint said in a statement issued through his Senate Conservatives Fund website.
The five-candidate 2012 GOP Senate field includes Attorney General Jon Bruning, state Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine, Pat Flynn of Schuyler and Spencer Zimmerman of Omaha.
Stenberg, Nebraska’s state treasurer, is a candidate with strong name recognition numbers, but scarce financial support.
A Senate candidate for the fourth time — he was the Republican nominee in 2000 — Stenberg entered October with $18,000 in campaign cash on hand compared to $1.6 million available to Bruning, the presumed Republican frontrunner.
The Texas Republican Congressman says he has no intention of launching an independent run for president if he loses the GOP presidential primary next year. But, if he happens to change his mind, polling suggests he could have a major impact on the identity of the next president.
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that an independent bid from Paul would garner 18 percent of the national vote. Perhaps more important, it would swing the popular vote toward President Obama by a large margin — 44 percent to 32 percent in a hypothetical three-way matchup that also includes former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
In a head-to-head race with Romney, Obama leads by a far more narrow 49 percent to 43 percent.
“Dr. Paul has strong crossover appeal, and could do very well as an independent,” Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton told The Fix. “He has, however, decided to remain in the GOP, as he has for over 20 years in Congress, and use that appeal to beat President Obama as the Republican nominee.”
But, what if Paul doesn’t wind up as the GOP nominee? It’s not hard to see how a Paul third-party candidacy could create a nightmare scenario — albeit an unlikely one — for Republicans.
As we’ve discussed previously on this blog, a third-party bid is a very difficult undertaking, and there are relatively few politicians — we’re thinking Paul, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and self-promoter Donald Trump here — who could actually pull it off. A politician essentially needs vast personal wealth, name recognition or an extremely devoted following — and ideally all three. And, even then, they have precious little chance of winning.
Kraushaar was one of the two women originally mentioned in a POLITICO story that appeared Oct. 30. Kraushaar and another employee of the National Restaurant Association had complained about Cain’s behavior to colleagues and senior officials at the NRA, and both women left the trade group with a cash settlement. Kraushaar received about $45,000.
POLITICO initially had shielded Kraushaar’s identity to protect her privacy, but on Tuesday, Kraushaar agreed that her identity could be revealed.
Kraushaar, 55, said in an interview with POLITICO that she would like to band together with the other three women accusing Cain of harassment.
“That would be my preference, that we all go together in a joint press conference,” she said, noting that she’s turned down interview requests from a number of TV news shows.
Kraushaar said she had not talked to the other women about such an idea and that such a plan would be executed by their attorneys.
Now the spokesperson for IRS’s Inspector General, Kraushaar has worked as a career federal government official for different agencies in Washington. A Brown graduate, Kraushaar received a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and began her career as a print journalist.
On the details of Cain’s allegedly inappropriate behavior with the two women, POLITICO had a half-dozen sources shedding light on different aspects of the complaints.
39 percent of Republicans polled said they believe the allegations against the candidate are true. On Tuesday Cain accused Bialeck of lying, and said he doesn’t “remember knowing her.”
While recent polls show that Cain continues to match up well against his GOP rivals, a Gallup poll released on Tuesday showed Cain’s “positive intensity score” has plummeted in the week’s since the sexual harassment allegations were first made public.
Bialek is the fourth woman to accuse Cain of sexual harassment but the first to do so publicly. Cain has strongly denied the accusations, and his campaign responded by attacking Bialeck’s credibility on Tuesday, saying she has a “long and troubled” history.
NBC to Air ‘The Biggest Loser: Where Are They Now” Special on Wednesday, November 23 – November 8, 2011 – It’s an inspiring Thanksgiving special unlike any before on “The Biggest Loser,” when the holiday treat “The Biggest Loser: Where Are They Now?” premieres on Wednesday, November 23 (9-11 p.m. ET). Viewers can catch up with some of their favorite contestants from past seasons of the series, but they’ll also be treated for the first time ever to hilarious bloopers featuring the trainers, host Alison Sweeney and the contestants.
Alison Sweeney hosts the special, filmed before a live audience, and trainers Bob Harper, Anna Kournikova and Dolvett Quince will all be on hand to share their thoughts about the current season of the show. Cameras will also follow trainer Bob Harper through “a day in the life.” And a blooper reel adds to the fun, giving viewers a backstage pass to some of the funniest behind-the-scenes moments with the host, trainers and season 12 contestants.
One contestant makes a big surprise announcement, and another shares her emotional story of competing in one of the most difficult competitions in the world. And “The Biggest Loser” family comes together to help one of their own – season nine contestant Sam Poueu – and give an update on his condition following his terrible accident. Plus, cooking expert Aida Mollenkamp will prepare a healthy Thanksgiving feast for the trainers and past season contestants, and share great cooking tips as well.
Fan favorites like Abby Rike (season eight), Tara Costa (season seven), O’Neal Hampton (season nine) and season five winner Ali Vincent will reveal what they are up to now, along with season eight champ Danny Cahill and season 11 winner Olivia Ward. Viewers can also catch up with Hannah Curlee (season 11) and Jesse Atkins (season 10) as well as other popular players like season seven’s Sione Fa and Jerry and Estella Hayes, who give their updates via personal videos.
I attended the taping!
Cain surrogate warns “elites in conservative media” – Niger Innis, the national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality and a “volunteer adviser” for Herman Cain’s campaign, goes on Fox News to attack a group that hasn’t been terribly sympathetic to Cain’s woes — the “elites in the conservative media.”
“I would caution Karl [Rove], I would caution members of the conservative elite that sexual harassment today is being used as a powerful, political weapon the same way that the race card today is used as a powerful, political weapon.
And I would caution these elites in the conservative media, as well as in the liberal media: do you really think it’s just going to end — this political tool — with Herman Cain? I caution them to be careful about what they say.”
A little risky. Cain needs all the friends he can get right now, and this won’t make an already leery portion of the media think more hospitably of him.
By the way, here’s some more small evidence of the Cain campaign’s notoriously inept handling of all this.
At the beginning of the interview, Innis takes care to say he’s not speaking for the Cain campaign, but Fox News host Jon Scott later objected, saying that Fox News was told he was speaking for the campaign. By the end of the chat, it was unclear whom Innis was actually speaking for.
Sharon Bialek, 50, is the fourth woman — and the first publicly — to accuse the Republican presidential hopeful of sexual harassment. In a dramatic news conference Monday in New York, Bialek, a former employee of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, said she had sought Cain’s help in finding a new job in July 1997 shortly after the organization had fired her.
Instead, Bialek said, Cain, who was then head of the restaurant association, reached under her skirt while the two were seated in a parked car and attempted to move her head toward his crotch. Cain’s campaign quickly issued a denial, calling her allegations “completely false.”
Bialek said she shared her allegations with her then-boyfriend and another male friend shortly after her meeting with Cain. However, the man she is now engaged to said she did not tell him about her history with the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO until Friday night, when she told him she was going to New York for the news conference.
Her fiance, Mark Harwood, said he was in “a bit of shock” but admired her decision to come forward.
“It’s not an anti-political thing. It’s not a money thing,” said Harwood, who shares a large, five-bedroom home with Bialek in north suburban Mundelein. “She’s just trying to do the right thing, and that takes guts.”
The campaign released a memo to the press detailing what it characterized as Bialek’s “long and troubled” history, including a 1999 paternity dispute, to argue the public should trust Cain over his latest accuser.
“In stark contrast to Mr. Cain’s four decades spent climbing the corporate ladder rising to the level of CEO at multiple successful business enterprises, Ms. Bialek has taken a far different path,” the Cain release said.
“The fact is that Ms. Bialek has had a long and troubled history, from the courts to personal finances – which may help explain why she has come forward 14 years after an alleged incident with Mr. Cain, powered by celebrity attorney and long term Democrat donor Gloria Allred.”
The Cain campaign goes after Bialek’s employment history and legal record in making its case against her. It lists six civil lawsuits against Bialek, and suggests she has had a troubled worklife.
“Ms. Bialek has worked for nine employers over the last seventeen years,” the campaign writes.
Bialek on Monday held a New York press conference to highlight an incident in 1997 in which she said Cain sexually harassed and attempted to grope her. Cain has denied the charges.
At the time, Cain headed the National Restaurant Association, where Bialek worked for a short time in 1996 and 1997.
Bialek said she approached Cain for help in finding another job after she left the National Restaurant Association.
With Allred at her side, Bialek said Cain, after a dinner in Washington, had put his hand under her skirt and reached for her genitals. She also said Cain had taken her head and moved it toward his crotch.
When Bialek asked Cain to top, she said Cain said, “You want a job, right?”
Foxx’s mayoral Republican challenger, Scott Stone, has been a vocal opponent of Foxx’s purportedly anti-local business policies. Stone recently held a press conference asking Foxx to pledge he wouldn’t give DNC jobs to out-of-state unions, but Foxx refused to commit.
After the press conference, RedState’s Ben Howe discovered that the DNC was “discriminating against” a local large format sign printing company because it does not employ union labor. Since then, more reports of “discrimination” against non-union shops in Charlotte have surfaced.
The Ritz Carlton hotel in Charlotte, where the president is reportedly staying during the DNC next year, plans to temporarily lay off its employees, LaborUnionReport.com reports. LaborUnionReport.com spoke with a Ritz Carlton non-union employee who confirmed “they had been told they would be laid off during the convention.”
The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) disputes the LaborUnionReport.com report. “The claim is totally fabricated and false,” said DNCC spokesperson Kristie Greco. “There is no Democratic Convention-related obligation to cause the furlough of hotel workers convention week.”*
The local newspaper of record, the Charlotte Observer, ran a front page story this weekend also bashing the Democratic Party for its lack of transparency in planning the DNC convention.
His client has not said whether Mr. Cain touched her physically. In a statement Friday on her behalf, Mr. Bennett alleged that Mr. Cain had engaged in a “series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances” toward his client.
“It corroborates the claim,” Mr. Bennett said of Ms. Bialek’s allegation. Asked whether that meant that Mr. Cain had physically touched his client inappropriately, Mr. Bennett said “I can’t get more specific” but added that “I can say it is corroborating.”
Mr. Bennett also said that a woman named Sharon from Chicago left a message on his answering machine over the weekend saying that she, too, had been the subject of harassment at the hands of Mr. Cain. Mr. Bennett said he called her back to suggest that he could arrange for her to come forward confidentially, but that she said that she would think about it.
After watching the news conference, Mr. Bennett said: “I guess she got over her shyness.”
Ms. Bialek is the first woman to come forward publicly with such allegations. In her statement to the press, Ms. Bialek said that she had been fired at the association after about a year working for the group’s educational foundation in its Chicago office. She said she sought Mr. Cain’s help to find other employment during a trip to Washington about a month after he left the group.
During that trip, she said Mr. Cain had secretly upgraded her hotel room before drinks and dinner that the two had to discuss possible future employment. She said that after dinner, he put his hand on her leg and ran it under her skirt and pulled her head toward his crotch.
Sharon Bialek said Cain reached under her skirt and pressed her head toward his crotch when Bialek was visiting Cain in Washington to get job hunting advice after she had been “terminated” from the National Restaurant Association.
Bialek said that when she protested, Cain asked, “You want a job, right?”
Bialek worked at the educational foundation of the National Restaurant Association beginning from 1996 to 1997, when she said her superiors released her from her position, citing poor fundraising numbers.
Bialek said she was already acquainted with Cain after meeting him at NRA conferences, and visited him in Washington in July 1997 to see if he could help her regain her position or find another position within the organization.
When Bialek and Cain were returning from dinner, Bialek said Cain made inappropriate advances in a parked car.
“He put his hand on my leg, under my skirt, and reached for my genitals,” Bialek said. “He also grabbed my head and pushed it toward his crotch.”
Cain’s campaign denied Bialek’s allegations in a statement before the press conference began.
“Just as the country finally begins to refocus on our crippling $15 trillion national debt and the unacceptably high unemployment rate, now activist celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred is bringing forth more false accusations against the character of Republican front-runner Herman Cain,” the statement read.
“All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false. Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone. Fortunately the American people will not allow Mr. Cain’s bold “9-9-9 Plan”, clear foreign policy vision and plans for energy independence to be overshadowed by these bogus attacks.”
The Chicago-area mother, described by her lawyer as a registered Republican, urged the GOP presidential candidate to “come clean” and admit how he was “inappropriate” with her and other women.
Bialek’s story was immediately denied by the Cain campaign, which sent out a news release as the woman spoke publicly at a New York City news conference with her lawyer, noted defense attorney Gloria Allred, by her side.
The stories of three other women have been reported by Politico and the Associated Press.
“All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false,” the Cain campaign statement said. “Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone.”
The disclosure by Bialek brought a shocking twist to the allegations of sexual misconduct by Cain, which date back to his time as head of the National Restaurant Association from 1996-1999.
Cain’s campaign has been roiled for more than a week by the allegations. He is tied with Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. But a majority of Republicans say they wouldn’t vote for a candidate proved to have sexually harassed employees.
"Today California, like the nation itself, is facing huge budget challenges," Brown wrote in a veto message. "Given that reality, I am reluctant to embark on a program of this magnitude and potential cost."
The veto was one of six announced today.
Brown's veto comes after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, vetoed similar legislation three times. But labor unions who have long sought the right to organize California's more than 40,000 family child-care providers considered Brown, a Democrat, more likely to sign it.
Assembly Bill 101 was sponsored by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union and amended at the legislative deadline to include language by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
Kudos to Governor Jerry Brown for vetoing this ridiculous legislation that would organize your local babysitter into a union.
We should put the high-speed rail project on indefinite hold, since it would consume nearly $10 billion in bonds and lacks a credible financing plan, rewrite and perhaps suspend a pending water bond issue, and sell only those bonds whose need falls into the emergency category.
Reality bites, but if we don't accept it, California could become the American Greece.
Dan, Jerry Brown won't push reform. He will muddle along just like Arnold and then retire in 3 years.
California’s cost of living going up – A new report out today finds that residents of many California counties have experienced double-digit increases in their cost of living since 2008.
Dan Walters reports that the report from the Oakland-based Insight Center for Community Economic Development "provides statistical ammunition not only for advocates of raising minimum wages and other steps to aid the poor, but for conservative anti-tax groups, since the center found that taxes are the largest single element in living cost increases."
foursquare – All checked in and ready to play (@ Rio Poker Room)
foursquare – Checking in…. (@ Rio Hotel & Casino w/ 3 others)
Teachers and non-teaching school employees in California are in unions that do not bargain pensions. Instead, their pensions are in big statewide pools that have some of the lowest costs for employers and some of the lowest pension formulas for retirees.
Bargaining for pensions is used extensively only in California and a few other states. One of the first pension reform proposals to include ending bargaining came last month in Rhode Island, where bankrupt Central Falls is drawing national attention.
The Rhode Island auditor general, Dennis Hoyle, said an end to bargaining for pensions and retiree health would make benefits more visible to the public, set a standard and avoid the tendency to save now by pushing employee costs into the future.
In California, particularly in local government, critics say bargaining tends to result in pensions not based on what retirees need or on what governments can afford, but on pensions offered by other government employers.