These are my links for December 10th through December 11th:
Scalia quizzed at NJ’s Princeton on gay issue – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday found himself defending his legal writings that some find offensive and anti-gay.
Speaking at Princeton University, Scalia was asked by a gay student why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder.
“I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective,” Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.
Scalia has been giving speeches around the country to promote his new book, “Reading Law,” and his lecture at Princeton comes just days after the court agreed to take on two cases that challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
Some in the audience who had come to hear Scalia speak about his book applauded but more of those who attended the lecture clapped at freshman Duncan Hosie’s question.
“It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,'” Scalia told Hosie of San Francisco during the question-and-answer period. “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”
Scalia said he is not equating sodomy with murder but drawing a parallel between the bans on both.
Then he deadpanned: “I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded.”
Hosie said afterward that he was not persuaded by Scalia’s answer. He said he believes Scalia’s writings tend to “dehumanize” gays.
As Scalia often does in public speaking, he cracked wise, taking aim mostly at those who view the Constitution as a “living document” that changes with the times.
“It isn’t a living document,” Scalia said. “It’s dead, dead, dead, dead.”
An Increasingly Polarized Nation– Gerald Seib: “Based on nearly complete results, of the 234 Republicans elected to the House, just 15 come from districts that the Democratic president carried… Of 201 Democrats elected, just nine come from districts Republican Mitt Romney carried… Not only are House members coming from reliably partisan districts, many are winning in landslides. In this fall’s election, 125 House members — 42 Republicans and 83 Democrats — won their districts with 70% or more of the vote…””The situation is similar in the Senate. There will be 45 Republican senators in the new Congress. Only 10 of them come from states President Obama won. There will be 55 Democrats and independents who caucus with Democrats. Just 11 of them come from states Mr. Romney won…””Voting in that presidential race, meanwhile, was starkly partisan. President Obama won the votes of just 6% of Republicans, exit polls indicate. Mr. Romney won just 7% of Democrats.”New York Times: “Of the 234 House Republicans who will sit in the 113th Congress, 85 percent won re-election with 55 percent of the vote; more than half of next year’s House Republican Conference won more than 60 percent. And virtually every one of them ran on holding the line against tax increases and the Obama agenda.”
‘Dr. No’ of Senate says ‘yes’ to taxes– The Oklahoma senator and obstetrician known as “Dr. No” has taken on the most unlikely of roles: getting Republicans to say “yes” to tax hikes.Tom Coburn, who has blocked dozens of bills, infuriated Democratic leaders and been on the lopsided end of some 96-3 votes, has been encouraging fellow Republicans both publicly and behind the scenes to break with the anti-tax orthodoxy that has come to define — some say hamstring — the modern GOP.
Cliff Talks Progress Between Obama, Boehner – Budget negotiations between the White House and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have progressed steadily in recent days, people close to the process said, breathing life into talks that appeared to have stalled.
Related VideoLast August, President Obama and Congress put the U.S. economy on course to go over a “fiscal cliff.” With the 2012 presidential election decided, WSJ’s David Wessel tells you everything you need to know about the “cliff” but were afraid to ask.Both sides still face sizable differences before any agreement might be reached by the end of the year, and talks could well falter again over such controversial issues as taxes and Medicare before any deal is reached.The people familiar with the matter say talks have taken a marked shift in recent days as staff and leaders have consulted, becoming more “serious.” Both sides have agreed to keep details private, according to the people, who declined to detail where new ground was being broken.
The Demographics of Mobile News– In the growing realm of mobile news, men and the more highly educated emerge as more engaged news consumers, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, in collaboration with The Economist Group. These findings parallel, for the most part, demographic patterns of general news consumption.But there are some important areas of difference between mobile and general news habits-particularly among young people. While they are much lighter news consumers generally and have largely abandoned the print news product, young people get news on mobile devices to similar degrees as older users. And, when getting news through apps, young people say they prefer a print-like experience over one with high-tech or multi-media features.These are key findings of an analysis of mobile news habits across a variety of demographic groups. This report builds off an earlier PEJ and The Economist Group report, The Future of Mobile News, which found that half of U.S. adults now own mobile devices and a majority use them for news. Both reports are based on a survey of 9,513 U.S. adults conducted from June-August 2012 (including 4,638 mobile device owners). Men, especially young men, are heavier mobile news consumers than women. More than 40% of men get news daily on either their smartphone and/or tablet, compared with roughly 30% of women. On the tablet specifically, men check in for news more frequently and are more apt to read in-depth news articles and to watch news videos. Women, on the other hand, are more likely than men to use social networks as a way to get news.
Report: Bill Clinton really wants Hillary to run for president again– Former president Bill Clinton really wants his wife Hillary to run for president again according to a report by Jodi Kantor of the New York Times. From the article:Bill Clinton, however, sometimes cannot keep himself from verbally gaming out another campaign for her, said a friend who recently spent time with him. “Every indication is that he would really want her to run,” the friend said.It appears that someone is anxious to be America’s first “First Gentleman” in the White House.
Preparing for ‘fiscal cliff,’ investors move assets to avoid higher taxes– As lawmakers struggle to agree on a plan to avert the series of tax increases looming next year, many investors are taking preemptive action to get out of harm’s way.Americans are moving to sell investment homes, off-load stocks, expand charitable donations and establish tax-sheltering gifts before the end of the year. Financial advisers and accountants say people are trying to avoid the higher taxes that will take effect in 2013 if Washington does not avert the “fiscal cliff.”For the most part, the people moving their assets are the wealthy, who have the most to lose even if a deal is struck. Ordinary Americans also are in line for higher income and payroll taxes and fewer deductions and tax credits if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff. But since most of their earnings come through wages, there is little they can do to minimize the impact. Also, the majority of investment income earned by middle-income people comes through tax-deferred vehicles such as individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s, making the possible changes in taxes on investment returns largely immaterial.
CDT Code for Resin Infiltration Gives Practices Additional Treatment and Billing Options– The American Dental Association (ADA) has announced that resin infiltration of incipient smooth surface lesions is now covered by a 2013 CDT Code classification. The newly defined classification allows practices to accurately code and bill for Icon® by DMG America, a resin infiltration technology that fills, reinforces, and stabilizes demineralized enamel for the purpose of arresting the progression of incipient carious lesions and removing cariogenic white spots. Resin infiltration is a new treatment that has been gaining popularity as an alternative treatment that ends the “wait and see” approach to caries management, without having to “drill and fill.”Icon is the first product to bridge the gap between prevention (fluoride therapy) and traditional caries restoration. Icon’s micro-invasive infiltration technology can be used to treat facial and proximal carious lesions up to the first third of dentin (D-1). Classification from the ADA gives more practices the ability to offer their patients a less invasive, pain free alternative to aggressive treatment techniques. This treatment is performed in a single visit without drilling, anesthesia or the sacrifice of healthy tooth structure. Clinicians can immediately treat upon discovery versus waiting to see whether the caries will progress.The official classification defines resin infiltration as: Application of a resin material engineered to penetrate and fill the sub-surface pore system of an incipient caries lesion to strengthen, stabilize, and limit the lesion’s progression, as well as mask visible white spots.
Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress– The Obama political operation took a big step today, sending out an email to its millions of supporters asking them to call Members of the House of Representatives to pass a Senate-approved bill aimed at preventing the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts on the bottom 98% of U.S. taxpayers. In some cases, recipients are being asked to call their own Member; in others, where their Member is already in favor of the Senate bill, Obama activists are being asked to call Obama supporters whose representatives may be a swing vote. In case there’s any doubt, these emails are aimed at putting heat directly on Republican House members.”We know we can affect change in Washington when we raise our voices together,” says the email from Stephanie Cutter, the 2012 deputy campaign manager. “So pick up the phone and make a few calls. Republicans in the House need to hear from their constituents.”This email represents a critical shift in Obama’s political strategy. Paid for by the Obama Victory Fund 2012, it is not aimed at re-electing the President–the ostensible purpose of that campaign entity–but at moving his legislative agenda. It is the President using his army to go directly in the face of Members of Congress who are perceived to stand in his way. Apparently, OFA’s lawyers have decided that they can use their email list in this manner, after some earlier doubts. (It’s not clear that this crosses any lines; for example, John Kerry continued to use his 2004 campaign email list to advance his political agenda for years after losing his run for the White House.)
These are my links for the afternoon of December 10th
The Republicans’ dour problem– But there was one breakdown by subgroup that showed a marked divide on the hope factor. By a 57-17 margin, Democrats felt California will be a better place a dozen years from now. Republicans, by a margin of 54-23, believe the state is headed downhill.To some extent, these responses may reflect a chicken-or-the-egg situation. With Democrats in control of all the state’s political offices and institutions, Democratic voters might naturally believe things are headed in the direction they believe is upward. The inverse is likely true among Republicans.But no one wins elections by being dour.As California Republicans regroup and consider a turnaround strategy that must include outreach to the minority and women voters they lost badly this fall, they might also consider taking on one other challenge. Instead of focusing so heavily on what they believe will be the inevitable negative consequences of Democratic policies, they need to begin framing their arguments on why they believe their policies will create a brighter, more hopeful future.
I love how the Left-wing Democratic Ventura County Star California State editor likes to lecture the California GOP.
Timm, California has been a Democratic state for decades.
Now, it is deeply Blue due to the exodus (decline of California Aerospace economy, businesses moving to to other less taxed and regulated states) and retirement exodus/death of white middle class voters and the influx of non-white immigrants who vote predominantly Democratic.
Republicans will be a minority of voters, like New York and Massachusetts for decades to come.
Caffeinated coffee may reduce the risk of oral cancers– A new American Cancer Society study finds a strong inverse association between caffeinated coffee intake and oral/pharyngeal cancer mortality. The authors say people who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day were at about half the risk of death of these often fatal cancers compared to those who only occasionally or who never drank coffee. The study is published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The authors say more research is needed to elucidate the biologic mechanisms that could be at work.Previous epidemiologic studies have suggested that coffee intake is associated with reduced risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer. To explore the finding further, researchers examined associations of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea intake with fatal oral/pharyngeal cancer in the Cancer Prevention Study II, a prospective U.S. cohort study begun in 1982 by the American Cancer Society.
Census Report: California lost more people to other states than it gained in 2011– About 100,000 more Californians moved to another state in 2011 than California gained from other states, a new Census Bureau report reveals.However, more than a quarter-million persons relocated into California from other countries during the year and that, coupled with what demographers call “natural increase” – births minus deaths – meant that the state still gained population.The Census Bureau calculated that 562,343 Californians moved to other states during 2011 with the most popular destinations being Texas (58,992), Arizona (49,635), Nevada (40,114), Washington (38,421), Oregon (34,214), New York (25,761), Colorado (23,234) and Florida (22,420).Meanwhile, 468,428 residents of other states moved to California during the year, with the most numerous domestic immigrants coming from Texas (37,387), Washington (36,481), Nevada (36,159), Arizona (35,650), New York (25,269) and Florida (22,094).
RNC launches official review on 2012 election– The Republican National Committee is rolling out a plan to review what worked and what didn’t for the party in the 2012 cycle, appointing five people at the top of a committee that will make recommendations on things like demographics, messaging and fundraising.The Growth and Opportunity Project is going to be chaired by RNC committee member Henry Barbour, longtime Jeb Bush adviser and political operative Sally Bradshaw, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, Puerto Rico RNC committee member Zori Fonalledas, and South Carolina RNC member Glenn McCall. Priebus, who is running for a second term, is holding a call with committee members to roll out the plan this afternoon.The plan is to focus on: campaign mechanics, fundraising, demographics, messaging, outside groups, campaign finance, the national primary process and, last but not least, what the successful Democratic efforts revealed about the way forward, and recommend plans for the way forward, sources familiar with the plan said.
Delta Dental of California wins five-year $2.6B Defense Department contract – Delta Dental of California said Thursday that it’s been awarded a new five-year. $2.6 billion U.S. Department of Defense contract for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program.
However, most of the $2.6 billion is paid out to dentists who provide services for enrollees in the program, according to a Delta Dental of California spokeswoman. On other contracts, Delta Dental has said it gets roughly 10 percent of the total.
The contract renews an existing five-year deal. The program, first authorized by Congress in 1997, offers voluntary dental benefits to the nation’s 5 million uniformed services’ retirees and family members, according to the company. Currently, it serves 1.3 million enrolleess.
(404) http://t.co/xgS – RT @nikkihaley: As I continue to consider the impending U.S. Senate vacancy, many have discussed the possibility of a… …
Marriage and Self-Government – National Review– The Supreme Court should reverse these lower-court rulings, and straightforwardly affirm the right of the people in any state to act, constitutionally or legislatively, to adopt the traditional view of marriage as a relationship oriented toward procreation. The justices need not themselves hold that view — they may consider it outmoded or rationally inferior to a conception of marriage that treats it first and foremost as an emotional union of adults — to see that the Constitution erects no barrier to it, and that states therefore have the freedom to act on it.Of the various arguments advanced for a constitutional “right” of same-sex marriage, none withstands even momentary scrutiny by accepted standards. Are gays and lesbians a powerless and oppressed minority? One can hardly say that after the November elections, in which the cause of same-sex marriage was victorious in four states, in a year when it was also embraced by the president of the United States and enshrined in the platform of the larger of our major parties. Is it rationally indefensible to reserve the institution of marriage to the only kind of union — one man and one woman — that is capable of procreation, and to the kind of union that is proven to be the best general setting for the rearing of children? The question answers itself.
The Sebelius Coverup – Obamacare’s insurance exchanges need scrutiny – Many states are wisely signaling that they aren’t interested in doing the Obama administration’s bidding on Obamacare. As a result, many if not most of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges — the heart of the beast — will have to be set up and run by the Obama administration at the federal level.
When Obamacare fails: The playbook for market-based reform – Amid a protracted rollout, the real-world evidence keeps mounting: the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is too costly to finance, too difficult to administer, too burdensome on doctors, and too disruptive of health care arrangements that Americans prefer. The need to replace it has never been stronger, yet full repeal is unviable in the short-term. The long-term task for reformers is to lay out a convincing case, not for a return to the former status quo, but for the kind of patient-centered health care system only a market-based model can deliver. But what policy changes would that entail? And what would they mean for patients and providers? American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Tom Miller answers these and other questions:
Notre Dame Professor: Upwardly Mobile Mexican-Americans Not Moving Right– Professor Jose E. Limon, director of the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame, made an interesting contribution to the discussion of the Latino vote Monday night at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington. He suggested that identification with the Democratic Party has solidified as an enduring feature of Mexican-American identity.Here are some excerpts from his comments, which came during a discussion of a new book, Mexico & Mexicans in the Making of the United States:After observing that the Latino vote comes “substantially” from the middle class and lower-middle class, Limon said:We have this model of political behavior that also says to us that when a class acquires middle-class status, it starts shifting to the right. That has not happened with Mexican-Americans. I can’t tell you it might not happen 30 years from now, but right now that doesn’t seem to be happening. We are seeing the emergence of a Mexican-American middle class that is decidedly bicultural in many ways, in some cases decidedly bilingual, and that is also still upholding its traditional historical adherence to the progressive Democratic Party.
November election was a tipping point for California ethnic voters– It’s no secret that California’s population has been getting more diverse for decades. More recently, the composition of the state’s electorate has begun to mirror the population. But the people who actually showed up and voted on Election Day have remained whiter, and older, than the pool of registered voters.No more.It appears that for the first time, California Latinos, Asian-Americans and blacks voted last month in numbers roughly equivalent to their share of registered voters. About 40 percent of California’s electorate is now non-white. And ethnic voters made up about 40 percent of those who mailed in their ballots or went to the polls Nov. 6.This should be a wake-up call to Republicans, here and across the country.
While white voters in California still lean conservative and will support Republican candidates, ethnic voters are overwhelmingly Democrats or independents who sympathize with that party. If Republicans can no longer count on large numbers of those voters to stay home on election day, the party is going to have to appeal to them — or risk permanent irrelevance.
No tipping point Dan.
California is a blue state that has become more blue with the decline of the white population (deaths and out migration).
The California GOP except in a few areas of the state where whites and the affluent predominate will be irrelevant – just like in New York and Illinois.
PUC set to OK free phones for homeless – Come and Get Your Obama Phone Californians– Homeless and other poor people in California are on track to soon get virtually free cell phones and service so they can keep in touch with family, potential employers and others crucial to improving their lives.The cell phones would be handed out through a federally funded Lifeline program – already operated by service provider Assurance Wireless in 36 other states – that is likely to win final approval in the next couple of weeks from the California Public Utilities Commission.========California has gone mad…..
Chris McMurray of Crumb and Get It does not agree with Obama Administration policies
These are my links for August 15th through August 16th:
Radford business owner declines Joe Biden’s request to stop in store– Would you say no to the Vice President?This might happen more than you think from both political parties, most businesses just don’t talk about it. The owner of “Crumb and Get It” – did.Chris McMurray’s bakery has been open only since May, barely three months.Wednesday morning, advance teams for Vice President Joe Biden walked in.
“I approached her she said Joe Biden is coming to town today,” McMurray said.
“Crumb and Get It” is a mom and pop store. Literally. Chris and his wife Kelly run the place and need all the business they can get.
McMurray said the Vice President’s entourage got to the point and made its pitch.
“She said they have selected ‘Crumb and Get It” to be his stop on his way to Blacksburg and was wondering if that was ok.”
Here’s the part that might make other business owners crazy.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime but essentially I said ‘No offense to you or the campaign but I just decline you guys coming in here. At that time she said ‘Are you sure? There’s going to be a lot of press, a lot of activity,’” McMurray said.
Why in the world would a new business owner say “no” to a photo op with the Vice President of the United States?
McMurray said it was President Obama’s recent remarks about small business and who built what.
“Very simply, ‘you didn’t build that’” McMurray said. “Speaking of small businesses and entrepreneurs all across this country and actually last night my wife was up all night. No sleep, she’s worked a full 24 hours.”
Shooting spurs heated debate on gay rights, ‘hate group’ label– The shooting of a security guard Wednesday at the Family Research Council (FRC) has spurred a torrent of heated accusations from both sides of the gay rights debate about claims that the conservative organization is a “hate group.”The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), one of the nation’s leading opponents of same-sex marriage, told The Hill the shooting was a direct result of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s decision in 2010 to place the FRC on its list of hate groups for its rhetoric on gays.Brian Brown, the president of NOM, pointed to a recent blog post by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), one of the largest gay-rights groups in the country. The post, “Paul Ryan Speaking at Hate Group’s Annual Conference,” called attention to the vice presidential candidate’s scheduled appearance at the FRC’s national summit next month.“Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end,” Brown said in a statement issued following the shooting.
“For too long national gay rights groups have intentionally marginalized and ostracized pro-marriage groups and individuals by labeling them as ‘hateful’ and ‘bigoted.’”
Why the Doctor Can’t See You– Are you having trouble finding a doctor who will see you? If not, give it another year and a half. A doctor shortage is on its way.Most provisions of the Obama health law kick in on Jan. 1, 2014. Within the decade after that, an additional 30 million people are expected to acquire health plans—and if the economic studies are correct, they will try to double their use of the health-care system.Meanwhile, the administration never seems to tire of reminding seniors that they are entitled to a free annual checkup. Its new campaign is focused on women. Thanks to health reform, they are being told, they will have access to free breast and pelvic exams and even free contraceptives. Once ObamaCare fully takes effect, all of us will be entitled to a long list of preventive services—with no deductible or copayment.Here is the problem: The health-care system can’t possibly deliver on the huge increase in demand for primary-care services. The original ObamaCare bill actually had a line item for increased doctor training. But this provision was zeroed out before passage, probably to keep down the cost of health reform. The result will be gridlock.
Take preventive care. ObamaCare says that health insurance must cover the tests and procedures recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. What would that involve? In the American Journal of Public Health (2003), scholars at Duke University calculated that arranging for and counseling patients about all those screenings would require 1,773 hours of the average primary-care physician’s time each year, or 7.4 hours per working day.
Eric Holder’s uphill battle: Huge public support for voter ID– While the Obama Justice Department, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, uses its authority to block some state voter ID laws (Texas), and investigate others (Pennsylvania), a newly-released poll shows overwhelming public support for laws requiring voters to present identification before casting a ballot. That support crosses party lines, racial lines, economic lines, educational lines, and just about every other line in the electorate at large.In the survey, the Washington Post asked, “In your view, should voters in the United States be required to show official, government-issued photo identification — such as a driver’s license — when they cast ballots on election day, or shouldn’t they have to do this?” Among all adults, 74 percent said voters should present ID, versus 23 percent who said they should not. Among registered voters, the numbers were 75 percent to 23 percent.When something has the support of 75 percent of the voters, plus the approval of the Supreme Court, which by a six-to-three vote in 2008 upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, one might think the Justice Department would give up trying to stop it. So far, that’s not the case with Attorney General Holder.The Post poll found support for voter ID extends far and wide. Seventy-six percent of men support it, as do 73 percent of women.
General Motors Is Headed For Bankruptcy — Again– President Obama is proud of his bailout of General Motors. That’s good, because, if he wins a second term, he is probably going to have to bail GM out again. The company is once again losing market share, and it seems unable to develop products that are truly competitive in the U.S. market.Right now, the federal government owns 500,000,000 shares of GM, or about 26% of the company. It would need to get about $53.00/share for these to break even on the bailout, but the stock closed at only $20.21/share on Tuesday. This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock, and sitting on an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion.Right now, the government’s GM stock is worth about 39% less than it was on November 17, 2010, when the company went public at $33.00/share. However, during the intervening time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen by almost 20%, so GM shares have lost 49% of their value relative to the Dow.It’s doubtful that the Obama administration would attempt to sell off the government’s massive position in GM while the stock price is falling. It would be too embarrassing politically. Accordingly, if GM shares continue to decline, it is likely that Obama would ride the stock down to zero.
The GOP’s Medicare Advantage– Predictably, Democrats went after Mitt Romney’s new running mate immediately, describing Paul Ryan as a “certifiable right-wing ideologue” whose views are “extreme” and “radical.” They focused on Medicare, warning that Republicans “would end Medicare as we know it,” making it “a voucher system” that costs seniors “thousands of dollars in health care costs.”Some Republican hand-wringers moaned. They failed to consider that Democrats were going to level these charges no matter whom Mr. Romney picked as his running mate. And they ignored the ammunition the party has to turn the issue against Democrats.For one thing, the GOP doesn’t cut Medicare spending. This fiscal year, Medicare outlays will total $503 billion. Even under the House GOP budget—considered the most parsimonious plan out there—Medicare spending would be $855 billion annually 10 years from now. That just 3% less than what President Obama proposes, hardly enough to justify Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that Republicans are “gutting Medicare.”
There Is No California– Driving across California is like going from Mississippi to Massachusetts without ever crossing a state line.Consider the disconnects: California’s combined income and sales taxes are among the nation’s highest, but the state’s deficit is still about $16 billion. It’s estimated that more than 2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week to flee high taxes and costly regulations, yet California wants to raise taxes even higher; its business climate already ranks near the bottom of most surveys. Its teachers are among the highest paid on average in the nation, but its public school students consistently test near the bottom of the nation in both math and science.
Why The Screwed Generation Is Turning To Paul Ryan– GOP Congressman Paul Ryan—the tireless, wonky, 42-year-old workout freak—has made history by becoming the first member of our generation to join a presidential ticket. It should come as a surprise to no one that his calling card is reforming entitlements.We hear incessantly about how members of today’s screwed generation face the prospect of less prosperous lives than those lived by their parents. But the maiden generation to stare down that gloomy prognosis was Generation X, the tiny slice of America born between about 1965 and 1980. (Ryan was born in 1970.) We were the first generation to be told we would never get Social Security or Medicare even though we would be forced to pay into these programs.When many X-ers graduated from college, stocking shelves at the Gap was considered a career choice, as jobs were few and far between amidst a major economic downturn. I won’t bore you with the horror show of the low-paying and miserable jobs I had for the first three years after college.Unfortunately, the future looks as bleak for today’s young people. No amount of coddling by their well-provided-for Boomer parents can save Generation Y and the Millennials from the dire economic conditions they face, including criminal levels of educational debt. Pensions have gone the way of the horse and buggy. You want to retire with health-care benefits, as both my professor parents did? Good luck. As the 1994 movie turned Gen-X mantra has it: Reality Bites.
Executive order from Governor Jan Brewer blocks IDs, benefits for illegal immigrants– Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday ordered state agencies to deny driver’s licenses and other public benefits to young illegal immigrants who obtain work authorizations under a new Obama administration policy.After the order was issued, supporters of the program and the DREAM Act took to the streets of Phoenix in protest. Video from Air15 showed the protesters carrying signs and walking down Central Avenue toward the State Capitol.In an executive order, Brewer said she was reaffirming the intent of current Arizona law denying taxpayer-funded public benefits and state identification to illegalYoung illegal immigrants around the nation on Wednesday began the process of applying for federal work permits under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Americans Continue to Give Obama Low Marks on the Economy – Three months before the election, President Barack Obama gets good marks from Americans for his handling of terrorism, fair marks for education and foreign affairs, but poor marks on immigration and three big economic issues: the federal budget deficit, creating jobs, and the economy generally.
Media Refuse to Connect the Dots on Violent Leftists– So far, the media has done nothing but blame the wrong people. At the first site of violence in Colorado, ABC’s Brian Ross turns to the Tea Party because apparently that’s the only template he knows. He could not have been further from the truth.If police reports are accurate, the violence at a Conservative lobbying group in Washington DC was perpetuated by a radical leftist whose motive was purely political. He said so. He reportedly said he shot up the place because of what it stood for. It doesn’t get more clear than that. It’s like a guy going into a US Military Base yelling “Allahu Akbar” and the media still wondering what the motive is. Wait, that happened as well and the motive was ignored. “We don’t know why Major Hasan did this,” is what most media observers said.An honest media is necessary to expose the motives behind these violent leftists. No, this is not equal on both sides. Not even close.
Ryan abandons part of Ryan plan– Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s signature achievement in Congress is his plan to bring runaway federal spending, particularly the skyrocketing cost of Medicare, under control. With Ryan under Democratic fire for his Medicare proposals, columnist Charles Krauthammer suggested Ryan simply declare his plan “history” and move on. “The details of the Ryan plan have some things that don’t mesh with what Romney is running on, and are a little harder to defend,” Krauthammer said Tuesday on Fox News. “I think what Ryan has to say is, look, I proposed the plan in Congress, a congressional plan. It was rejected by the Democratic Senate and by the president. It’s now history.”Ryan is already doing that, at least in part. In his interview with Fox’s Brit Hume Tuesday, Ryan said he has abandoned his plan’s provision to take about a half-trillion dollars out of current Medicare funding in order to shore up the Medicare trust fund for the future (as opposed to the provision of Obamacare that takes about $700 billion out of Medicare to pay for health coverage for currently uncovered people). Romney’s proposal is not to take the money out at all, so Ryan has abandoned his old position and now supports Romney’s
Chicago Dream Relief in Demand – 50K Line Up in Chicago– The turnout for Wednesday’s Dream Relief workshop in Chicago was so strong that organizers began turning people away.The line of undocumented students wrapped around Navy Pier and at one point across the Chicago River to apply for deferred action to allow them, at least in the short-term, not to worry about deportation. As many as 50,000 lined up for the program, according to estimates.Following a major immigration policy change about two months ago, the Dream Relief workshop helps children who were illegally brought into the United States apply for a work permit and even a driver’s license.Five thousand people initially signed up for the workshop, and as the 9 a.m. start time came and went, the crowds kept filing toward the lake. Organizers said they would be able to provide full services for 1,500 people today and partial services to another 6,000.
The new policy announced by President Barack Obama this summer took effect Wednesday and will allow more than 75,000 young undocumented immigrants in Illinois and 1.7 million across the country the temporary right to live and work openly in the United States.
How Tommy Thompson’s win in Wisconsin changes the Senate majority fight – Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson’s narrow victory in Wisconsin’s Republican Senate primary on Tuesday not only bolsters his party’s chances of winning the seat in the fall election but also betters the GOP’s chances of re-claiming the majority in the chamber this November.
In Florida, 17% Change Vote Because of Ryan VP Pick; Vote Changers by 4:3 are Drawn To Romney– 17% of registered voters in the state of Florida say they will change who they will vote for in the election for President as a result of Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as Vice President, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted statewide for WFLA-TV in Tampa.Of those who will change their vote, 57% say they are more likely to vote for Romney, 42% say they are less likely to vote for Romney. The state of Florida is one of the most important swing-states in the country. Florida’s 29 electoral votes are critical to Romney.Reaction to the Ryan pick breaks along party lines. 82% of Republicans, 91% of Tea Party members, and 86% of conservatives say the selection of Ryan is excellent or good. 57% of Democrats and 51% of liberals say the Ryan selection is bad or very bad.75% of Republicans say Ryan would be ready to step-in as President if Romney were unable to serve, compared to 28% of Democrats who say Ryan would be ready.
Cell-phone and home-phone respondents included in this research: SurveyUSA interviewed 640 adults from the state of Florida 08/13/12. Of the adults, 590 were registered to vote. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (70% of registered voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (30% of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, laptop or other electronic device.
‘Dreamers’ Line Up For Legal Status– After a lifetime of fearing deportation, being banned for legal work and fighting to stay in the country they grew up in, thousands and thousands of young undocumented immigrants could get a reprieve today as the federal government begins accepting applications for deferred action permits.Immigrants who are under the age of 31 and were brought into the country before their 16th birthdays are eligible for the permits, which will allow them to stay in the country legally for two years. According to the Migration Policy Institute, up to 1.76 million could be eligible.”I have been waiting for this day and will be in line early,” Jose Cabrera, a 23-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico, told ABC’s Gina Sunseri in Houston. “I hope this means someday I can be a real citizen.”
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.
On Monday morning, Obama reviled the “negative” tone of the super PACs, a dominant fundraising source in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. But by the evening, word leaked to POLITICO that Obama had offered his support for Priorities USA Action, which thus far has raised a fraction of what GOP-backed groups have raked in.
Obama’s top campaign staff and even some Cabinet members will appear at super PAC events. The president himself will not address super PAC donors, although there’s nothing to legally prohibit the president, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden from expressing their support for the group — as GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney has done for the super PAC that backs him.
“We decided to do this because we can’t afford for the work you’re doing in your communities, and the grass-roots donations you give to support it, to be destroyed by hundreds of millions of dollars in negative ads,” campaign manager Jim Messina told supporters in an email Monday night.
The timing of the announcement seemed rushed, several Democrats told POLITICO. It was made in a 10 p.m. call to Obama’s top bundlers, known as the National Finance Committee. Several party fundraisers raised the possibility that the campaign wanted to offset bad publicity generated by a Monday New York Times story, which reported that the campaign had returned $200,000 to the family of a wealthy Mexican fugitive seeking a pardon for drug and other criminal convictions.
Obama campaign to support super PAC fundraising – In a change of position, Barack Obama’s reelection campaign will begin using administration and campaign aides to fundraise for Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing the president.
Obama has been an outspoken critic of current campaign financing laws, in particular a Supreme Court ruling that allowed the creation of super PACs. Until now he has kept his distance from Priorities USA Action.
But in the wake of the group’s anemic fundraising, made public last week, the campaign decided to change its position, and announced the new stance to members of its national finance committee Monday evening.
Two Obama campaign aides confirmed that senior campaign and administration officials who participate at fundraising events for the president’s campaign will also appear at events for Priorities USA Action, the PAC supporting Obama.
“This decision was not made overnight,” one campaign official said. “ The money raised and spent by Republican super PACs is very telling. We will not unilaterally disarm.”
The president, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will not appear at super PAC events, the aides said.
In an e-mail to supporters, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said the decision was a reaction to massive fundraising posted by super PACs supporting GOP presidential candidates.
Judge Michael Hawkins Is No “Moderate” – Lyle Denniston’s SCOTUSblog preview of tomorrow’s Ninth Circuit ruling in the Prop 8 case includes the assertion that one of the panel members, Clinton appointee Michael D. Hawkins, “is considered to be a moderate.” Hawkins has described himself that way—“I think of myself as being entirely moderate in all things”—but even he has hastened to add the disclaimer, “but others might say otherwise.” Indeed, they might.
As I reported when the panel members were initially made public, a source I trust told me that of the nearly 50 active and senior judges then on the Ninth Circuit, there were only five or six other judges who were as aggressively and reflexively leftist as Hawkins and his fellow panel member, the ultraliberal Stephen Reinhardt.
Prop. 8: Final ruling due – The Ninth Circuit Court will issue a ruling tomorrow — apparently, in a single opinion — to decide the challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage, approved by the state’s voters more than three years ago. In a brief announcement Monday, the Circuit Court said it would issue an opinion at 1 p.m. Tuesday Washington time (10 a.m. in San Francisco) dealing both with the constitutionality of the measure (“Proposition 8″) and with the issue of whether the trial judge should have disqualified himself from the case.
The three-judge panel actually has three issues before it: whether the backers of Proposition 8 had a legal right to appeal the District Court ruling striking down Proposition 8 (the “standing” issue), whether — if “standing” to appeal did exist — the ballot measure is unconstitutional, and whether now-retired District Judge Vaughn R. Walker should have recused and thus whether his ruling should now be vacated by the Circuit Court.
Although the wording of the announcement Monday was not entirely clear and made no promises about the scope of the ruling, it could be interpreted as indicating that the panel will find that the measure’s proponents did have the right to appeal, and thus the panel would be free to move on to rule on the merits and on the disqualification issue. Given the makeup of the panel and the past records of the three judges, the chances would appear to be quite strong that Proposition 8 would be struck down.
The company says 26 Fisker employees have been let go from the Delaware factory where renowned automotive engineer Henrik Fisker promised to one day begin producing affordable electric sedans. A Delaware newspaper also reported that subcontractors working on the car venture have been let go.
“It’s temporary,” said Roger Ormisher, a company spokesman. “We’re being prudent and sensible as a company.”
Because the initial phase sounds like it’s been such an unqualified success, the company is asking for terms of the federal loan to be altered so the company can have faster access to their line of time-released taxpayer-backed credit:
Continetti: Combat Journalism | Washington Free Beacon – We can pinpoint the moment that foretold the arrival of combat journalism. At 11:59 p.m. on September 8, 2004, a pseudonymous blogger on FreeRepublic.com accused 60 Minutes of publicizing forged documents to cast suspicion on President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard in the early 1970s. The charge was publicized by conservative new media and soon proved correct: CBS was flaunting materials that had been produced using technology unavailable during the twilight of the Vietnam War. The ensuing backlash claimed the jobs of four at CBS and pushed anchor Dan Rather into early retirement. Conservatives had used the techniques of investigative journalism—documentary research, interviews, detailed reporting on the minutiae of typography and word processing—to debunk a media smear and force CBS and the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry into a defensive crouch.
Religious conservatives play culture war defense – Between the media’s uproar after a cancer-research charity temporarily suspended grants to the nation’s leading abortion provider, and the Obama administration’s recent decision to force Catholic schools to pay for 100 percent of their employees’ contraception, the last two weeks have helped clarify the shape of the culture war in America today.
The battleground is this: The Secular Left is on the offensive, while the oft-demonized Religious Right is mostly playing defense, trying to preserve the liberty of religious adherents to conduct their lives according to their own consciences.
“The right’s recent jihad against Planned Parenthood is about as loathsome as anything I’ve ever seen come out of them,” seethed Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum after Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a leading breast-cancer charity, briefly decided to not give new grants to Planned Parenthood for the coming year.
Drum was writing about conservatives’ opposition to taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood, and, in this case, a charity under pressure from pro-lifers temporarily suspending funding for the abortion provider. It’s a peculiar “jihad” whose main weapon is refusing to give away your money to the enemy.
Prop 8 Merits Ruling Tomorrow – The Ninth Circuit has announced that it expects to issue tomorrow—by 10 a.m. Pacific time, 1 p.m. Eastern—its ruling on the merits of the Prop 8 appeal. Its opinion will address both the constitutionality of Prop 8 and the question whether former judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling should be vacated because of his failure to recuse.
As I’ve said, I think that it’s a sure thing that Judge Reinhardt and Judge Hawkins will vote to affirm Walker’s ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. I expect that they will stay their ruling from taking effect until the process of Supreme Court review is complete.
High-speed rail tapped state funds for unusual lobbying contract – In an extremely unusual use of taxpayer money, the leaders behind California’s $99 billion high-speed train quietly hired a lobbyist to sway the Legislature — the same politicians who appointed them to build the project in the first place.
Documents filed this week show the California High-Speed Rail Authority last year paid $161,103 to one of the country’s biggest public relations firms to lobby the state’s politicians as they consider spending $2.7 billion to launch the polarizing bullet train project.
Rail officials paid the lobbyists by issuing debt that will total about $300,000 with interest. It must be paid back through California’s impoverished general fund budget.
High-speed rail officials defended the spending as a “vital need” when their staff was too small. But both Democratic and Republican lawmakers and even die-hard bullet train backers decried the lobbying as a wasteful and unethical use of taxpayer funds, saying it essentially amounts to the state spending money to lobby itself.
“That is appalling to me. I’ve never heard of such a thing,” said Quentin Kopp, who helped launch the rail authority and was its longtime chairman before retiring in March. He said he never approved the expenses and that the state should go to court to keep the money. “That’s nonsense, absolutely nonsense. It’s embarrassing.”
Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers relied on mandatory Medi-Cal copayments to save $511 million in last year’s state budget and presumed that the state would continue saving in future years.
The governor’s latest budget, which estimates a $9.2 billion deficit, acknowledges the lost savings in 2011-12. But it is relying on $296 million to help balance next year’s budget, according to Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer.
In Arizona, Obama Approval at 41% – Many Democrats have high hopes for the Southwest in Election 2012 and some even think that President Obama even has a decent shot to move Arizona from Republican to Democrat in the Electoral College column this November. However, the president may have an uphill fight to achieve that goal as most voters in the Grand Canyon State disapprove of the way he’s done his job.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone poll found that just 41% of Likely Voters in Arizona approve of the way President Obama has performed his role. Fifty-six percent (56%) disapprove. Those figures are significantly lower than the president’s national ratings. They include 28% who Strongly Approve and 48% who Strongly Disapprove.